"Nico, darling, I'm starting pilates next Wedneday. Can we change our appointments to Thursdays?" Hilary asks as Nico zips up his jeans.
"Sure, no problem," he answers, taking his money from the dresser before he leaves. It may not be the most glamourous job, but it pays the rent, and the hours are flexible enough to accommodate his musical pursuits.
Of course, the freedom to sleep in meant more when he had band to be up all night jamming with and late gigs in the numerous clubs in L.A. Since they broke up, Nico has nothing to with his free evenings than just hanging around in bars. This club, Amazon Heat, is very exclusive, open only to the very important types, but Nico knows the bouncer and was able to get in. As he sits at the bar he immediately recognizes the two celebrity vocalists ordering drinks, the infamous Lady LaLa, and the more recent rising star, Jacklyn Austen of the band Perro Perdido. Nico doesn't care about LaLa, but Jacklyn...he knew Jacklyn before she was famous. Their bands used to play the same clubs, and they would sometimes flirt with each other between sets.
While Nico wonders if she'd talk to him or blow him off if he approached, Jacklyn gets up and greets him herself.
"Nico," she says, "S'been awhile." By the slurring of her words, he can tell she's had a few drinks already. "Not playing tonight? I'd love to hear you play again."
"My band broke up," he tells her, "I haven't played a gig in weeks. Hey, I'm sorry about Ben," he adds. Her guitarist recently died of an overdose. Would this be a good time to ask to audition as his replacement? he wonders.
"I don't want to talk about that," she says firmly, and finishes her drink in one long gulp.
"Dance with me," Nico suggests, to stop her from ordering another drink. Any more and she'll end up on her face, and that's the last thing she need with all these paparazzi around.
The dancing doesn't do much for her balance, however, and she ends up falling into Nico's arms.
"Why didn't we ever go out, Nico?" she asks him, "I always wanted you, you know." She doesn't him a chance to answer as she presses her lips against his for a long kiss.
At the other end of the club, Lady LaLa strips down to get into the hot tub. All the paparazzi turn their attention to this event.
"Hey, let's get out of here while the paps are distracted," Jacklyn suggests.
"Where do you want to go?" Nico asks as they slip out the door unnoticed.
"How about your place?"
As soon as they get to his place, Jacklyn wastes no time getting her clothes, and his, off. "I always wanted you," she says, breathing heavily, "I want you now."
Nico can barely remember the last time he made love for pleasure, not for money.
Then she passes out on his bed. Nico lays down beside her, wondering what she's doing here with him. Once, she was just like him, a musician trying to make it in L.A. Now she lives in another world, the world of celebrity, and that makes her a whole other person from the girl he used to flirt with between sets. She should be untouchable, so far out of his reach she might as well be in space. That's why they are called stars, after all.
"I have the worst hangover," Jacklyn groans as Nico attempts to get some breakfast together, "What was I drinking, anyway?"
"Something purple," he answers, "You were pretty drunk."
"Well, at least I remember the sex," she sighs, "Definitely worth it." Nico smiles.
Nico talents are not for cooking, and the waffles are burnt. "Sorry I can't do better. Hopefully they won't make you sick."
"I have an iron constitution," she assures him, "Nothing makes me sick."
Nico was surprised she stayed for breakfast and expected her to take off immediately afterwards. But instead, she seems to be settling in for a long visit, and asks him to play for her. He always happy to play his guitar under any circumstances, and he hasn't forgotten that she needs a new guitarist for her band. This could be the chance of a lifetime.
After listening for awhile, she joins him on the keyboards.
"I miss this so much," she sighs, climbing onto his lap, "Everything has changed. I hate it."
What she misses, Nico doesn't know. She's never been to his place before, they were never a couple, never even kissed before last night.
She comes on to him with a desperate kind of hunger. She's using sex like a drug, he thinks, like her drinking last night, she's trying to forget...something. The death of her guitarist, maybe? But she doesn't want to talk about it, whatever it is, she just wants to fuck.
The day grows late and Jacklyn has made no move leave. Nico certainly doesn't want to kick her out, but he has an appointment this afternoon to service some rich housewife. "I have someplace I have to be," he tells her, "Feel free to hang out. I'll be back before sunset."
She says she'll be here, but when he gets back to his place later, she's gone. Of course she left no number. Whatever it was she wanted from him, she must have gotten, and she's done with him now. And he supposes that ends his chance of getting into her band.
Jacklyn gets back to her house in Malibu as the sun goes down. She finally answers the cell that's been buzzing in her pocket all damn day. Of course, it's Arthag. Who else would it be?
"Jax, baby," he says, "I know this is a hard time for you, but you've got a tour coming up, and if you don't pick a replacement for Ben, we're going to have start canceling dates."
"Fuck you, Bill," she says angrily, "I don't want to deal with this right now."
"Well, you know, this could be the perfect opportunity for you to dump the band and go solo," Bill suggests, "A hot chick like you doesn't need a band dragging her down..."
"I'm not a hot chick, you asshole," Jacklyn answers, "And I'm not some lame ass pop star vocalist. I play with my band or I don't play at all." She hangs up before Arthag can say anything else. Ever since Perro Perdido got signed, everything has been fucked up, she thinks. Ben suddenly had the cash to indulge his heroin habit like never before, and now he's dead. She's followed by paparazzi everywhere she goes, and Bill Arthag is lodged up her ass 24/7, hassling her about her image, arranging her life for her. She misses the way it was, when it was just about the music. All that struggling just to get here, she thinks, and here sucks balls.