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Kalila was going to be furious.
Ricky scanned the dim, noisy room, trying to identify the one he sought in the sex-saturated atmosphere of hooting men and half-naked women.
There he was, at a corner table, being entertained by a cute Latina with a mane of heavy black curls. Ricky pushed his way through the crowd. “Dammit, Bo, they’ve been looking for you for days.”
Bo traced a finger along the girl’s g-string. “I’ve been doing my best to satisfy them, but there’s only one of me.”
“I’m talking about the band, not the girls, you deviate.”
Bo drew back, offended. “I’m not devious. Why do you call me that?” He looked at the girl on his lap. “I play straight with you, don’t I babe?”
She giggled. “You’re not exactly straight. Natasha says you go both ways, but that’s okay with me. You’re honest, at least.”
Bo gave a curt nod. “There you have it, Ricky. I’m not devious at all.” He gestured toward a chair beside him. “Sit down and have a drink. You need to learn to relax.”
“You’ve been missing rehearsals and they’re all out looking for you. Do you still want to be with the band or what?”
“I haven’t missed any shows, have I?”
“Good. Tell the others I’m having fun and I’ll see them when I see them.”
Ricky leaned his hands on the table. “That’s not how it works. You should be glad it’s me who found you and not Kalila.” He racked his brain for a way to entice him back. “Come with me now. I’ll take up for you. You won’t be in trouble.”
Bo shoved a bill in the girl’s g-string and motioned her off his lap. Then he looked up at Ricky with a dour expression. “Don’t lie to me. Kalila’s mad I lost track of time. I’m sorry.”
“I’ll make sure she doesn’t punish you.”
“You’re just a human. You can’t do anything.”
“You’re a demon and she knows time is a tricky concept for you. You haven’t missed any shows, so all’s well that ends well, right?”
“I guess.” He stood up and reached in his pocket. “I don’t suppose there’s time for just one more—”
“No.” Ricky motioned for him to follow and started weaving his way out of the smoky club.
“Can’t we stop on our way back for even a few minutes?”
“Not even for a few seconds.”
Outside, Bo paused to look up at the clear night sky while Ricky continued toward the parking lot. After a moment, he ran to catch up. “You know, this band stuff is a lot harder than I thought it would be.”
“A lot of things are in life.” Ricky unlocked the doors and gestured for him to get in.
“None of that.” He slid into the seat and fumbled for the ignition. “We each have a job to do, so let’s just stay on track. No deviations, no thinking. Thinking is how a person gets in trouble.”
“Not me. I have other ways.”
“You can say that again.”
“So…no chance at all for a little fun?” Bo rested a hand on Ricky’s knee.
Ricky slapped his hand away. “You just don’t know when to quit, do you?”
Bo leaned back in his seat and sighed. “Damn, you’re grouchy.”
Ricky glanced in his mirrors and prepared to merge onto the freeway. “Yeah, Bo. Whatever you say.”
Kalila was going to be furious, all right.