Ricky pulled his SUV into a parking space, cut the engine, and ran into the club. Of all nights to get delayed! And when he tried to call the venue manager to see if the band had shown up, nothing. The BlackBerry went dead in his hands.
He grabbed the first employee he saw. “Is the band here?”
“I think so. Their stuff is on stage.”
They had done that much without him, at least. But that didn’t mean they had gone through a proper sound check or that they were in any way prepared to perform. Without him watching, pestering, and monitoring their every move, the band members were likely to wander off on demonic errands of their own.
He pushed open the door of the dressing room and found Bo checking out his leather pants in a full-length mirror, Kalila at a makeup mirror applying lipstick, and Vic sucking on a plastic blood bag, likely stolen from a local hospital. At the edge of the sofa, Lazaro practiced his rhythms with a pair of snare sticks on a coffee table.
Nevin, sedate as always, sat apart from the group, sipping tea. He raised his eyebrows as Ricky stumbled into the room. “You look alarmed about something. Is everything okay?”
Ricky paused to catch his breath. “You’re all here.”
“Yes. We have a show.” Nevin frowned. “Don’t you remember?”
“It’s just I—”
Kalila dropped her lipstick into a bag and turned around. “It’s just you thought we couldn’t do it without you. Isn’t that right, human?”
“More like I thought you wouldn’t.”
Vic sneered, baring his fangs. “Stupid mortal. You’re not as important as you think.”
“He’s right.” Nevin nodded sadly. “We’ve been playing together longer than you’ve been in the music business, Ricky. I’m afraid you often forget.”
“And you act like I don’t know your history: failure to show up on time or to perform at all, leaving gigs halfway through a set, accidentally killing your fans…you’ve been hounded out of three cities and had to change your name five times. I think I have reason to worry.”
Kalila stood up and tossed her hair over her shoulder. “Well, this has been very interesting, but in case you haven’t noticed the time, we need to get out on stage.” She flounced out of the room and the other band members fell in behind her.
Ricky started to follow, then paused. They had done this much correctly without his help. Maybe he should back off and give them a chance to prove themselves. They had hired him to teach them how to manage their career like humans, and human bands didn’t have their promoter breathing down their necks all the time.
He sat in Nevin’s vacated chair and picked up the copy of Audubon Magazine the fairy had left behind. He was flipping through some pictures of quails, fighting the urge to check up on the band, when the dressing room door opened.
The club manager looked as startled as Ricky. “I didn’t expect to find you here. Something the matter?”
“Why would you think that?”
“This is just an odd place for a guy to hang out, that’s all. Needed a little downtime, huh? Maelstrom is a crazy bunch.”
“You’re telling me.” Ricky smiled and stood up. “But I think we may have reached a milestone tonight.” He dropped the magazine on the table. He would find himself a good spot at the bar, and try to relax and enjoy the scene.
There was going to be a good show tonight.