The Singer and Me Ch. 04byjjcole©
Immediately after arriving in Vegas we checked into the resort, got our credentials and were shown to our rooms. I had a room to myself and so did Ruthie. We did not say anything but as soon as the bellhops left I put my stuff in Ruthie's room.
We then went to Caesar's showroom for a hopefully last rehearsal; it was just noon Pacific time.
Caesar's had an old pro at the soundboard that was very good but the soundboard itself was nearly obsolete.
I asked him why they had not given him a new model and he said, "I told them no thanks. This board and I will retire together this fall. The new one is in the building somewhere and when this one and I retire the new one will be installed with the new guy."
"Sounds like a perfect exit to me."
He smiled at me and asked, "You the acts soundman?"
"Yes, but I know that I am completely unneeded with you at the mixer. But if you don't mind I will watch the show from here."
"No, don't mind at all. Glad to have company."
"Thanks. My mike goes to their ears so you may hear me give instructions every once in a while."
"So you are more than a soundman."
"Yes but not much more. I see and hear things others don't and I am allowed to give my two cents worth.
It is a small family owned company and our two biggest acts will be on this stage this week.
They are ready."
The opening up-tempo song had stayed at the top of the set through the changes. There no longer was an intro for the second song a mostly piano and Violin number that was Melody's first big hit. It had been placed there to allow the audience to sit. The other party song had been moved to the last third of the show. I was batting .500 on song order suggestions. It was .750 counting the Janis song.
Ruthie was not in costume but was wearing a hat with all of her blonde hair underneath and no glasses. If anyone was expecting Melody on stage they saw Melody on stage.
There was some patter before the next song that included something about the town they were in.
At a bit past half way through the performance Melody introduced the next number as something old and something new.
She played and sang her old regret song passionately.
I breathed a sigh of relief.
"Very nice," I whispered to her earpiece.
I mentally upped my average.
That number was the transition to the Janis song. As she gave her intro the short video of Janis never came on the screen.
"Yes there is supposed to be a video now."
"The video booth is right over our heads. See if there is anyone there."
I looked and muttered, "Dark, there is no one there."
"Not a problem, that is Joplin on stage."
"She will love it when I tell her you said that."
The rehearsal went well and the old guy, his name was Holt, said "See you tomorrow night," and left.
I walked to the stage as I wondered if Holt was his first name or last.
The lady that was the liaison was frantically apologizing and said she did not know we were rehearsing. I saw that Allen really didn't want to deal with her so I intervened.
"Who was supposed to tell you?" I asked in my barely controlled anger voice.
"The stage manager."
"I thought you were the stage manager."
"No, I am his assistant."
"Is he here?"
"I, um, have not seen him."
"So the person that should be here isn't and did not tell you or the video people that we were here. What is the stage managers name?
The next time you see this Anderson tell him for me we are astonished that a person working such a prestigious venue did not feel like doing their job today. And then tell his boss that we want an explanation.
How did the soundman know?"
"I told him you would be in town today but I did not know if you would rehearse. He came in on his own."
"Please make sure the boss knows that Holt saved the rehearsal."
I then turned to Allen and winked.
The lady rushed into the hotel and we took the long walk to our rooms.
Allen said, "Thanks for dealing with her. I am not very good at that. It took me a while to realize what she was apologizing for, we can't see the screen from the stage.
Just before we got to our rooms I heard, "Sir, sir. Please accept our apologies. I can assure you that Anderson will not be working the venue for your show," a well-dressed smallish gentleman said.
"Thank you. Apology accepted. However I wonder why he would do that. He does not know us, he would not want to jeopardize his position, so I wonder whom Anderson was trying to discredit.
Now on the surface it would seem the one that erred was the lady with you. But I have seen her work for a week and she is as conscientious as human beings get so I have no problem absolving her from blame.
You have to decide if you can do the same for Anderson. Again, thank you for your prompt attention on this matter."
I shook his hand and continued to my room.
As we walked away Allen said, "You are now the band manager."
'Who is the band manager now."
"Me and I never would have been able to do what you just did."
"I grew up in the midst of a big corporation, I had been working for Sony since I was eighteen. People try to hide incompetence by blaming others but in this case it's just hardball politics, I would not be surprised if the woman had engineered this little episode."
I nodded and finally went into my room then the connecting door to Ruthie's.
"What was that all about?"
"Office politics. They will keep that stuff away from us from now on.
What do you want to do with the rest of the day?"
She smiled and said, "Get married."
I nonchalantly said, "OK."
"I said, OK."
"We can't get married. I haven't even told Mom I'm engaged."
"I suggest to you call her when we go down to eat. Bring your drivers license."
"Why do I need the drivers license?"
"So we can get a wedding license after we eat."
"Oh, you are testing me huh. OK I'll call your bluff."
"We shall see if it is a bluff."
We kissed all the way down the elevator and often as we walked to the buffet.
"Bellagio's buffet has been rated the best for years and they may have enough food to satisfy both of us."
"It smells great in here."
"How many please."
"Edie and Allen may join us."
"Coke and Dr. Pepper please."
We headed for the meat first and both of us got prime rib. Then she got lobster and I got grilled fish. Then the pulled pork. Then prime rib again. Then a rest. I got us two small salads and Ruthie called Edie and told her where we were, then I stared at her phone until she said, "OK, fine," and called her mother.
Allen and Edie were already coming in when Ruthie called them. They joined us each with a plate of prime rib. After they sat I said, "She is just now telling her mother she is engaged which is good since we are getting married Friday."
Both stopped in mid bite and stared at us. Allen knew I had a plan but even he was surprised by the suddenness.
"Here, talk to Mom," Ruthie said as she handed me her phone.
"Hi, my name is Sean and your daughter and I are getting married this Friday in Vegas. We can have you here on Thursday afternoon.
Tell me how many are coming with you.
Five? Total of six?
Tell me the names, I will write them down.
The tickets will be at the Air Canada counter in Toronto. I will call you back and give you the flight number.
Oh, and you are going to Felicity from here before going back home. Think about how many days you can stay away.
I look forward to meeting you and so is my Mom.
Well, I'm ready for more fish, are you ready?" I asked Ruthie.
All three were just staring at me, mouth agape. I lifted Ruthie's chin and kissed her then took her hand and led her to the seafood. She got king crab and I got more grilled fish.
We passed Edie and Allen as we got back to our table.
"Mom agreed to everything you said?"
"Yes, I think she likes me and I like her. I will stay in my room and she can stay with you. It will be the last night we will spend apart I would expect. Oh, by the way, I love you."
She put her plate down on our table then wrapped her arms around me tightly and gave me another "forever" kiss.
"OK, I'll let you," she said and sat down to eat.
After we stuffed ourselves past full the four of us walked to get the license and got a brochure of chapels. Our choices were limited because we expected at least forty people.
I called one and was told there were slots open at two and five.
"Take the two o'clock and lets get it over with," Ruthie said.
Edie slapped her butt saying, "Hey, attitude!"
She then noticed that Ruthie was trembling and quickly said, "I'm sorry," and gave her a long embrace.
Ruthie had just realized I had called her bluff. We were getting married on Friday.
I said two o'clock and ordered the photo package.
"Well my part is done even if it was really your Mom's but she will be in shock for a while so I did not mind. What do you have to do?"
Edie said, "You have to call your bridesmaids, talk about gowns, hair, make up..."
"Sean and I are going to find a titti show, you two go on and have fun."
They ignored him, they were still in an embrace.
"Of course I will be our maid of honor. I would have beaten you to a pulp if you had asked anyone else," we heard Edie say.
Both were crying by then.
We kissed them and reminded them we were going to the Emeril's at Wynn's at eight then left them. We saw them walk towards the fashion mall.
"You just spent a lot of money. Do you need help with it?"
"No, but thank you. You are my best man by the way.
Please keep it to yourself but I have almost as much money as Ruthie has. She had to work for hers but I inherited mine. Don't tell Rob that. He is lucky I am not demanding a raise."
"Humm, too late. I called him and resigned as band manager and told him I appointed you. He is adding my salary as band manager to yours.
I inherited a lot of money from my granddad too," Allen said.
I called Mom and told her the news; she seemed to be very happy to hear it.
Allen called Rob and told him the news. I understood the need for that call; Ruthie was his most valuable asset.
As we walked around my phone began to ring, everyone wanted confirmation of the wedding. All the women asked when Ruthie was going to choose her bridesmaids.
I answered yes we are, Friday, and that she is calling the bridesmaids now.
That last line cut my calls by nearly a hundred percent.
Allen's phone calls lasted longer but slowed as he repeated my line on choosing bridesmaids.
I called my sister and told her to leave for work as usual on Thursday but to go to the airport and catch a plane for Vegas. She was going to a concert with Mom that night and see me get married on Friday.
"Mom is going to be at a concert?"
"Yes, and she is in a whole lot better mental stage so you can unload on her when you meet."
"No, not yet and certainly not during your wedding.
Will I like your wife?"
"You will adore your sister in law, she already loves you. I will call you and give you flight numbers. Love you, bye."
"Ruthie knows about her?"
"Yes, I adore my sister. Ruthie may have picked that up when I talked about her so she adores her too"
"We need to rent tux's," Allen said.
"Oh, right. Should we rent or buy?"
"I am renting one, I own a tux but I need to let it out a bit at the waist. Funny, the only part that shrunk was the waist.
Anyway I use mine several times a year for fine arts galas in the city. Edie and I used too work for the opera and ballet and we still moonlight for them and Edie also moonlights for the symphony. We now mostly coerce the donors into giving more. Edie has five gowns that she rotates for that."
"Hmm, I think I'll buy. Something with an elastic waistband."
We laughed and walked into the lobby of the nearest hotel and asked the concierge where to rent tuxedos and she gave us a brochure covering that.
It must be a popular request.
We found a place that rented and sold them so we headed there. I bought one and Allen rented one and they would be ready Friday morning.
We were at the counter paying for them when Edie called Allen and told him to cancel the reservations to Emeril's, we were going someplace else. They will be back there in about twenty minutes.
She then hung up.
He had no chance to tell her we were not at the hotel but we did not hurry, we assumed she meant twenty-ish.
Both were waiting for us when we got back thirty-five minutes later.
"We don't want to hear about it. Take a shower and get dressed. We are going to rent a car," Edie said.
They began to walk past us but we stopped and kissed them. They tried to make it a short kiss but we held it and they were soon intensifying the kiss.
Edie groaned, pushed herself away from Allen and pulled Ruthie away from me so we went to our respective showers, got dressed and got a text message on where they were.
Allen and I sat in the back seat, she had rented a big three-seat Toyota, I guess they expected to be driving a lot of people around.
Edie drove us north to a restaurant named Aunty El's.
It was the same Elma that Mom was coming to visit.
Alice, Marie, and Nikki were waiting for us there.
Marie said, "The Aunt El on the restaurant's name is Alice's Aunt Elma. This is where Alice and I first sang together when Rob and Vicky married. The food is terrific and so is the slim redhead coming over.
The lady kissed each of the ladies at the table as Allen and I stood. Ruthie and Edie were introduced then Allen and me were.
"Yes, Marti's son."
She gave me a long hug that she broke suddenly and walked towards the office. She was trying hard not to cry.
"Your Mom and Wendy will be staying at her house until they leave. Hopefully it will be long enough to get all three out of the tunnel they are in although your Mom and Wendy look and sound OK already," Alice said.
Our server came to us and handed us menus. Alice said, "We are ready to order and the three did.
We were ready when they finished ordering so we ordered too. I also ordered appetizers.
Alice continued, "Anyway, Marshall brought Holly here for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Aunt Elma is friends with Holly's mother Liz and Elaine, the mother of Holly's best friend Rhonda." Alice said. "Sometimes it is a small world."
"Speaking of small worlds," I said as I watched Mom and Wendy barge into the office.
Ruthie said, "They are already here. Marti and Wendy just walked in. They went to the office."
It was just over five hours after I had called her. I wondered if they had time to pack. It was just eigth in Vegas and with bright sunlight but it was late night in Felicity.
"Lets allow them the time they need before we consume them," Alice said.
Allen and I stood and got another table and three chairs. Ruthie got our servers attention and had her bring menus and appetizers to the places we had set up.
We were being served when the three redheaded ladies, a short, a medium and a tall, came to us. All wore big grins, all had moist eyes. Elma was holding hands with each.
Dinner was delayed by long hugs and long kisses. Mom's kiss to Ruthie seemed to have made both very happy.
Aunt El sat with Wendy and Mom and let go of their hands only when appetizers were placed in front of them.
"So why are you here two days earlier than planned?" Marie asked.
Mom said, "There was a call about a wedding we decided to investigate. We will be part of the wedding party and need to see what everyone is wearing and Wendy needs to organize it."
Ruthie jumped up and covered Wendy with kisses.
While that was transpiring Elma said, "Tell them," to Mom.
"Oh, Elma has volunteered her place for the reception. We will have it to ourselves until six."
Ruthie transferred her kiss assault to Elma. My mouth was full of sirloin so I just happily nodded.
Everyone was enjoying their food and each other.
Mom, Wendy, and Elma loved the cacophony and the laughter. There was a lot of love at that table.
Ruthie and I ate and listened as best we could.
Aunt El stayed at the table until one of the servers whispered something in her ear.
She smiled and got up then came back with Petra, and Jana and Inga. Everyone hugged and kissed them and we made room for them to sit.
We already occupied ninety percent of the small patio when Rob and Vicky came to us.
Vicky shared a long hug and kiss with Aunt Elma and Rob kissed her then they gave his Mom Marie a long hug and a kiss. Vicky sat on Ruthie's lap and gave her a long kiss. Vicky then sat on my lap and kissed me.
Rob patted my shoulder.
Ruthie and I had finished eating so we got up and allowed them to sit on our chairs. I got two chairs and I sat between Rob and Allen then Ruthie sat between Vicky and Edie.
Rob said, "The ladies insisted they had to be here tonight. The plane we used to get you here is still here so I asked Roger if his plane was available and he said yes but your guys need to come back in the morning for the rest of us."
I thought, "It is good to have the money to charter jets."
I heard Ruthie say, "All my bridesmaids are here."
"Janie and Marissa are not here," Edie corrected.
Neither of them can make it, all of their usual relief chefs will be here so are not available."
"We will get them here," Vicky said.
"Good. We can go shopping tomorrow morning," Ruthie said brightly.
"At what time will you need to go to work?" Vicky asked.
"At six. The show is eight to ten then I have to visit with the VIP's. I will not be available before or after the shows and the maid of honor has to work the show too so Wendy will be in charge.
The three of you try to keep Inga and Jana contained. You know how blondes are."
"Brunettes Edie, Petra and Vicky smiled and nodded then kissed the blonde Ruthie.
I was sitting back enjoying myself when Mom came over and sat on my lap. I hugged her to me and she kissed my cheek.
"You already knew I love Ruthie but I wanted you to know that I think you two are perfect for each other,
I promise not to seduce her."
She whispered the last few words in my ear.
"Do you promise to resist if she tries to seduce you?"
She kissed me, got off my lap and onto Ruthie's and kissed her lips softly.
"I love you," Mom told her.
"I love you too," Ruthie said.
Thirty minutes or so later Wendy announced, "Everyone, the place is closed. Everyone kiss everyone before you go, me first."
Wendy, Mom, and Aunt El got the first three kisses from everyone but not necessarily in that order.
Wendy did not complain.
The two were obviously staying. We gave Jana, Inga, and Petra rides to their hotel, all were staying at the Mirage.
Ruthie was exhausted that night and fell asleep in seconds. It took maybe ten more seconds for me to fall asleep too.
I know Ruthie kissed me before she left but I did not get up until around nine. I showered, dressed, and then rushed to the buffet hoping it was still breakfast.
On my way down I got a text message from Allen telling me he was on the way to the buffet.
Tall redheaded guys are easy to spot and I saw him in line about ten people in front of me. He saw me and stepped out and walked back to join me.
I became a bigger fan of his, most people would have asked me to move up with them thereby pissing off everyone behind us. I was glad to see I was not the only one that walked back.
We went to the buffet and got everything with sausage or bacon on it and followed him to the table.
"Ruthie gone when you woke up?"
"Yeah. We need to text them they need to be in bed by four."