Ricky sat at the computer, nodding over the keyboard. Reviewing new contracts always made him sleepy and it didn’t help that the band had been insane after last night’s show, keeping him up until dawn doing damage control.
He reached for his cup of coffee but knew it would take more than caffeine to stop his eyes from crossing every time he read the insurance clause. The part about “claims arising from Artists’ willful misconduct or gross negligence” was worrisome with a vampire and a zombie in the group.
He heard a sound in the bedroom and nearly dropped his cup.
“Hey, Ricky. Come here.”
Ricky stood up. “Bo?”
“Yeah. Come here, would you?”
Cautiously, Ricky went to the bedroom, but paused in the doorway. No way was he going to get caught alone with an incubus, especially one stretched out on his bed. “I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t materialize here.”
“I know you were hoping for the djinn,” he said. “But you’re lucky it was me. This bed is no good and it’s no wonder you always look tired. We’re going to fix that.”
“If I look tired it’s because I have to chase after you guys all night. I don’t know what you have in mind, but—”
“Relax. Mattress Madness is having a sale and it made me think of you.”
“But I don’t need a new mattress and I sure as hell don’t want you thinking of me when mattress stores have discounts. Now go away. I have work to do.”
Bo stood up, smiling in his lazy, seductive way. “I feel like doing something nice for you today, human, since we were kind of rough on you last night. But if there’s some other way I can do you a favor…”
Ricky felt the pull of Bo’s sex appeal and shuddered. “Stop that. You know I don’t swing that way.” He took a step back. “If going to Mattress Madness will make you leave me in peace, fine.”
While Bo waited impatiently by the front door, Ricky shut down the computer, put some shoes on and found his keys and wallet. Then they drove to the mattress store, with Bo keeping up a steady chatter about the girls he had seduced the night before, the new sex toys he had ordered from a catalogue, and the strip club being built on the other side of town. Ricky knew it would be useless to try and change the subject, so he pretended to listen, adding appropriately vague comments during the pauses in conversation and hoping this errand wouldn’t take long.
At the store, they were greeted by a chubby, balding man who offered to show Ricky the sale mattresses. Bo tagged along at first, but sampling each bed took time and soon it was just Ricky and the salesman, with no incubus in sight. The salesman tried to explain the benefit of individually wrapped coils, but Ricky was in no mood for his spiel. He was tired, he had contracts to read, and he didn’t even want a goddamn mattress. He looked around the store. Where had Bo gone off to?
He thought he saw a glimpse of blond hair on the other side of the room, so he made his excuses to the salesman and hurried over just in time to see Bo pull a giggling brunette off a Posturepedic. He gave Ricky a mischievous smirk. “Delia here is going to show me the storeroom. You can join us if you like. Otherwise, I’ll catch you later.”
“You were supposed to help me shop.”
“I’m sure you can figure it out. It’s really not that complicated.” He took Delia by the elbow and led her away, making idle conversation. “So let's try out the California King with the dual-adjustable air chamber design. Do you have it in pillow-top?”
Ricky was about to go after them, and to hell with if he made a scene, when the salesman reappeared by his side. “So do you want the Tempur-Pedic? I can make you a great offer, with free same-day delivery.”
“No, thanks,” Ricky said, “But I appreciate your time.” Then while the salesman looked on in dismay, he stomped out of the store.
On the drive home, Ricky ran into gridlocked traffic on the freeway and was detoured twice when he tried to take the side streets. Since he was hungry, he stopped for takeout at his favorite sandwich shop, only to find it closed. He arrived home grumpy, out of sorts, and more exhausted than ever. He heated some leftover pizza, but the crust was chewy and the cheese tasted funny, so he threw it away. He booted up the computer, but was in no condition for reading contracts and spent half an hour on the sofa instead, flipping through the channels before deciding the day was a wash and he should just go to bed.
After checking the room for signs of an incubus, he got undressed and lay down. Then he sat up. He bounced on the bed. It was firmer, and very comfortable. He pulled up a corner of the bottom sheet and smiled for the first time all day.
He lay back down, more relaxed than he had ever thought possible. Bo had been right. A new mattress was exactly what he needed. He rolled over, pulled the blanket toward him, and drifted into pleasant dreams.