The band members looked around in silence while Ricky tipped the bellboy. But as soon as Ricky closed the door, they fanned out to investigate. Bo went into one of the rooms and threw himself onto the bed. Vic and Lazaro hurried to close the drapes against the afternoon sun. Nevin wandered from room to room, gazing in raptures at the art on the walls and the freshly cut flowers in crystal vases.
With a skeptical expression, Kalila crouched to examine a Persian rug and smiled to discover it was the real deal. She stood up and began searching for the perfect spot for her travel lamp. “I like this place, Ricky.” She set her bronze oil lamp on the fireplace mantle, took a step back and considered. “It’s much more sumptuous that the dives you usually book for us.”
From one of the other rooms, Vic called, “I could do without all the windows, though. And has anyone seen my shroud? I know I didn’t forget to pack it.”
“Well, I think the windows are lovely,” Nevin said. “Or they would be if we could have the curtains open.” He stuck his nose into a vase of roses and inhaled deeply. “This is so nice.”
“I thought since there’ll be a lot of publicity for this festival, we’d make a good impression on fans and reporters by staying at the same hotel as the headliners,” Ricky explained. “Behave yourselves, and I’ll continue putting you into places like this.”
Shirtless now, Bo left one bedroom, sauntered into the other, and once again threw himself onto the bed, this time bouncing a little and tossing a pillow in the air. “They went all out on the furnishings. These are good posture-pedics. I’ll get a kick out of putting them to use.”
“Stop that,” Ricky said. “No more than two groupies, no wives or girlfriends from other bands, and don’t even think about fondling the maids and other hotel staff.”
“You’re no fun.”
“Use the tour bus,” Vic advised.
“If he uses the tour bus, where will I hide the bodies?” Lazaro asked.
“Uh, guys?” Ricky held up a hand for their attention. “None of that, okay? You’re in a civilized place, so would you please try to act the part? Fake it. Just for a couple nights.”
Vic leaned against a door frame. “We’re a rock band. Just how civilized are we supposed to be?”
“Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.”
Kalila gave Vic a subtle wink, then put a hand on Ricky’s arm. “Don’t try too hard to make them understand,” she said, her voice like a cat’s purr. “How about we go to your room, and you can explain it to me there.”
“I don’t know if…I mean, I thought you were going to rehearse.”
“Later.” She tugged on his sleeve. “Come on. Let’s see if your room is as nice as ours.”
After they left and the door clicked shut behind them, Vic and Bo exchanged a look.
“Party time?” Lazaro asked.
Vic shook his head. “I just want to find my shroud so I can take a nap.”
“None of you will mind if I watch one of the porn channels, will you?” Bo asked.
“Just keep the volume down,” Lazaro said. He found one of his bags and pulled out a copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. “I want to get caught up on my reading, and this has a lot of big words. Your movies distract me.”
While everyone went their separate ways, Nevin conjured a small stringed instrument and found a seat near a window. He pulled the drapes aside just enough that he could see outside and enjoy the view, then he began playing. Ricky really did worry too much. Demons could be as civilized as anyone when they wanted to be.