Ricky handed Connor the check and waited while he examined it. “This is irregular,” Ricky reminded him. “We shouldn’t have to pay in order to play here.”
“After what Maelstrom did at SineWave last year, you’re lucky anyone will book them.” Connor tucked the check into an envelope and dropped it in the safe. “Besides, a security deposit isn’t the same as paying to play. If they don’t do anything crazy, they’ll get it back at the end of the night. Now come on,” he stuck out his hand. “It’s nothing personal, so let’s shake on it and I’ll get you a drink.”
Ricky shook the manager’s hand and followed him out of the cramped office. The club wasn’t much of a place, just a gutted warehouse with a bit of drywall tacked up and covered with dark curtains to give the impression of rooms and substance. Connor's girlfriend Meredith was supposed to be doing bar setup, but since she wasn't around, Connor went behind the bar and poured them each a scotch.
Ricky accepted his drink and tried not to glance too often at the stage. Lazaro was setting up his drums, Nevin was letting Calvin help with his keyboards, and Vic and Kalila were taping down the electrical cords to their amps. They looked like any other band. Harmless.
Ricky took a sip of his drink.
Connor disappeared into the liquor room at the far end of the bar, then returned, frowning. “I wonder where Meredith went?” Muttering, he flipped open his cell phone.
While Ricky waited to see if he would get an answer, he looked again toward the stage. All busy and accounted for, acting like humans, except…where was Bo? Ricky scanned the stage again, hoping his eyes had deceived him. Vic and Kalila were tuning their guitars and Lazaro was adjusting a cymbal. But Bo?
“Dammit, she was just here a minute ago,” Connor said.
“Restroom?” Ricky offered.
“She would’ve answered.”
“Maybe she went out to her car for something,” Ricky said. He tossed back the rest of his drink. “Excuse me. I’m going to see if my guys need anything.”
While Connor tried again to call his missing girlfriend, Ricky climbed up on the stage. In low tones he said, “Where’s Bo? And don’t make excuses.”
Vic raised an eyebrow. “Do I look like an incubus babysitter?”
“We don’t keep tabs on each other,” Kalila reminded him. “He’ll be set up in time for the show. Don’t worry.”
“It’s not the show I’m worried about.” Grimly, Ricky went behind the stage and followed the narrow hall to the makeshift room that served as both dressing room and storage. The door was closed, but he could hear enough through the thin walls to guess what had happened to Bo. And Meredith.
He paused, hand in the air, unsure whether to knock or walk right in when Connor appeared by his shoulder. “Hey, glad I found you. I was wondering if—” A moan from the other side of the door stopped him in mid-sentence.
Ricky tried to stop him, to no avail. Connor slammed open the door, and there on the dirty sofa, naked limbs entwined, were the bass player and the manager’s girlfriend. Connor roared, Meredith scrambled for cover, and Bo, his incubus hunger satiated by his afternoon tryst, simply looked confused.
There was no need for Ricky to stick around, since an incubus could take care of himself. He backed out of the room and ran down the hall, with the sound of crashes and shouting echoing behind him. When he got to the stage, he shoved his way through a mass of cheap black curtains and stood trying to catch his breath. The band had been playing a simple melody but they stopped what they were doing and looked at him.
“Problem, human?” Vic asked.
Nevin frowned in concern. “You look angry. Did you find Bo?”
“I found him, all right,” Ricky said. “Pack up. There won't be a show tonight.”
“But we paid a deposit,” Kalila pointed out. “And we’ve done nothing wrong.”
“You haven’t,” Ricky said as the howls and sounds of destruction grew louder. “But I think what Bo just did counts as a forfeit.”