tagLoving WivesNothing as Sexy as a Man in a Skirt Pt. 03

Nothing as Sexy as a Man in a Skirt Pt. 03

byqhml1©

Here we go. Thanks for reading so far.

................................................

We played for a few more months, adding songs as we found them. We did our version of Galway Girl, with me on accordion, and I got to sing it. The crowds started recognizing it, singing 'day-I-ay-I-ay' at the top of their lungs.

We did a version of 'Some Nights' that Robbie and I arranged. Three microphones, my pipes, a floor tom tom for Molly, and Robbie with his snare drum, giving it an almost martial air, everyone singing, and I faked the auto tuned voice with my pipes.

Dave was a big fan of Rapalje, and he had us all listening soon. He suggested we do 'Loch Lomond', and we did, just the guys, no instruments until the last, with Dave singing lead, and at the end Molly and I did a five minute mournful Fiddle/Pipe exchange, that usually left the crowds quiet. We also broke down, after a lot of begging from our fans, and did a version of 'Danny Boy' that was well received.

I was a Rod Stewart fan, and saw him several times while in service, and one day I was sitting in our living room, doing the slow sweet intro of 'Rhythm Of My Heart' on my accordion. It was one of my favorite songs, and was about a soldier returning home to his family. Amanda sat down and put her head on my shoulder, listening to me play for a moment. I knew she wanted to talk, as I put the accordion down and snuggled.

"What's up babe?"

She looked at me with scared eyes, so I knew it was something serious. "Honey, can we talk about having a baby? My residency is almost over, and now would be the perfect time."

I looked at her intently until she got nervous. "We don't have to, baby. It was just..."

"The best thing you could ever say to me! I wanted to bring it up before, but was waiting until you were established. You would make an excellent mother, and I hope I would be an adequate father."

Amanda was crying now, the tears getting bigger. "Really?"

"Seriously. Come with me." I led her to the bathroom, pulled her birth control pills out of the medicine cabinet and flushed them down. "There. Think I'm serious now?"

"Yes, and you are so wrong, mister. I see you with kids, and I know you'll be one of the greatest fathers of all time. Now, let's practice for the big event."

She was almost late for work. Doctor Krall could be a real asshole, and she got together with the women under him and compared notes. If you were lily white, or a little flirty, you were treated better. Make waves and your life was hard for a long time. I would be very, very glad when she no longer had to tolerate him.

She didn't say much, but I knew she was nervous about employment opportunities, very few freshly minted doctors stay local, their grades and reviews have a great deal to do with the offers they got. Amanda had excellent credentials, despite a few negative reviews fro Dr. Krall, so she would get the best interviews.

She had studied to be a pediatrician, as she loved to work with children, but there weren't a lot of local opportunities. I knew it was laying heavily on her mind, so I took her for a drive, parking in an empty driveway. You could just barely make out the ruins of a foundation. it was what we in the South called a 'homeplace', the foundations were from my old house. The land had been in our family for a hundred and fifty years. I knew I would never build on it, most of the land around it was zoned industrial now, and I'd had many offers as the economy had improved. It was time to let go, found our own homeplace.

"What is this place?"

"This place is your freedom, baby. Originally twenty three acres, I added another seventeen when the economy crashed. The house burned down while I was in Scotland. I put the insurance money into a trust the Colonel set up for me, where no one can touch it. Kim had a cow when it came out in disclosure of assets. She couldn't touch it anyway, and I just didn't want to hear her nag me to sell it, so I never told her I owned it. I'm giving it to you baby, to do what's best."

"Thank you honey, but what am I going to do with forty acres?"

"You're going to sell it. The property has gotten really hot lately. Look around, count the new businesses and construction you can see from here. One developer is sniffing around, hinting at eminent domains proceedings. This way, if he wants it, he'll have to put in a bid like everyone else. The lawyers say it'll go for between two hundred fifty to four hundred thousand, depending on how bad someone wants it. That ought to be just enough to open your own office or buy a partnership. Your choice. The auction is in three weeks, so we should know how much you have to work with then."

I'm glad I was standing close, because her eyes rolled back and she would have fallen if I hadn't caught her. I kissed and nuzzled her hair while she woke. Her hair was now in a riot of short curls, that I really liked. Amanda said she wanted it just a little longer, but not as much as before. I liked it any way she wore it, but I really was not a fan of bald. She promised me she would never do it again.

She came to with a start and a scream, before jumping up and down, kissing any part of me she came into contact with. She calmed down but the tears kept coming.

"Thank you, honey. You don't know how worried I was."

"Oh, I had a pretty good idea. you don't live and love someone as long as I've loved you not to notice things."

She held my hand on the way home, relaxed, before she suddenly sat up. "We can't spend that money on me! That would buy a really nice house."

I surprised her even further. "No worries, love. Fifty percent of everything I made while I worked for the Colonel, plus that pension and insurance money I told you about, has been in an account in the Sechelle Islands, guided by the Colonel. He assures me we can buy any house we desire, within reason. So concentrate on your career, and when you're not, start house shopping."

I thought for a minute she was going to faint, but instead she just smiled. "What would you do if I told you I wanted to live on the Moon?"

"I'd start shopping rockets. You need to understand that you are the most precious thing I've ever held, and I would do absolutely anything to make you happy. Any children, and I hope there is at least two, will be extensions of that love. Do you understand?"

She sighed, leaning back again. "I'm starting to," she said in a dreamy voice.

After that, Rhythm Of My Heart was our song,and we sang it to each other as a lullaby, practicing it for our children.

.....................

Of course, we added it to our shows, using it as a closer, making it longer and softer, and we ended up singing the last verse over again, standing with arms locked in front of the microphones, without our instruments.

I think back now, and those was probably my favorite times in our whole history as a band. When we wanted to add a song, we would get the words and sing them together, working on vocal arrangements before we even brought the instruments into play. We usually sat on stools, shoulder to shoulder, over one mike. I felt it kept us close.

.....................................

While Manda dealt with her career and started house and practice shopping, we were working more and enjoying it less. I was starting to think the group may have an expiration date.

Manda and I had a favorite restaurant, the Mexican one we went to on one of our first dates. I knew the mariachi band, and one day I noticed Juan was missing, and asked about him.

"Juan is pretty sick, he has cancer. They caught it, but his hospital bills are enormous. He had to quit the band, and work extra shifts at his regular job. It's really hard on him, and Maria is scared to death he's going to collapse."

I thought about it, and talked to the band. We called in a few favors, rented the local high school football field, lined up the security and first aid the permits required, and we held a benefit.

Twelve bucks bought you six bands and ten hours of entertainment. The local Hispanic churches set up food booths, all trying to outdo the other with spicy and tasty offerings, all profits going to help Juan. We were the headliners, so we went on last. There had a rock group, a country group, a solo blues man a lot of us sat in with, a young Mexican group that tore the crowd up, a beach band, and us. Juan's band sat in and played a few numbers as each group tore down and set up.

We'd gotten together and practiced a few times for the big finish, and after our set, I spent a couple of minutes talking to the crowd.

"On behalf of Juan and his family, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. His family have been part of this community for the last thirty five years, and Juan and I played high school football together, so our friendship goes back a long way."

"This money will help him pay his bills, assure the quality of life his family deserves. He was supposed to say a few words, but I'm afraid emotions have gotten the better of him. Instead, he's agreed to play with us, as a thank you. Let's welcome him to the stage!"

The crowd roared as he stepped up, holding his trumpet. Despite his recovery, he was still thin and pale. He waved, and then stepped back.

"Well folks, that's the show....almost. His band, my band, Summer Sounds, and a few more of the people that have played here tonight, we all got together and decided to go out in style, so the next few numbers are our way of saying thank you for your support. Here we go, boys."

His band had on their mariachi outfits, complete with big sombreros, the beach band all had on shorts and big, flowery shirts, there were two from the country band in western shirts and cowboy hats, and we were all wearing our kilts. It was quite a sight.

We started out with a song featuring Molly on vocals, a song that I had always loved, 'In These Shoes', by the late Christy McColl. The crowd loved it, and Juan really stepped out on a trumpet solo, while the horn section of the beach band filled in behind him. I wasn't playing anything, but helped with the chorus, and when it was over and the applause stopped, the group fired up with 'You Can Call Me Al', the Paul Simon hit. Robbie sang lead. Amanda had gotten a rare day off, and she was onstage with us in her kilt, and as the band played, Molly, Amy, Amanda and I were in a row, doing an African dance to the beat, only stopping when I played the tin whistle, then starting right back. When we weren't dancing, I was banging on the congas, and Manda was playing the rototoms, complete with small cymbals.

It had gotten dark by then, and we danced around as Dave did the bass break so integral to the song. The crowd was roaring when we finally stopped playing ten minutes later. Everyone stopped, and the stage lights went off.

The crowd thought the show was over until a spot light hit me and I started singing.

"Wanna jitterbug, wanna jitterbug," The band broke into 'Wake Me Up Before You Go Go', by Wham.

The girls were lined up behind me, swaying and moving their hands in time just like the video, and we just cut loose and jammed out for about eight minutes. A kid from the Mexican band did an organ solo that had the place rocking, Amy and Molly were on one side of the stage at one point, Amanda and I on the other, and we had practiced doing cartwheels across the stage before the crowd arrived. I had on my black Speedo, and the girls were supposed to have on full cut black panties, but when the crowd started roaring I knew something was up. They'd all worn thongs instead. We ended up together, the girls giggling like mad. This would be a benefit the people would remember for a long time. The applause and cheering went on for five minutes.

None of us knew it, but one of the local television stations had sent a crew to do a puff piece on the benefit, it being Saturday and a slow news day. They did a nice piece, featuring the last song. They had to blur our the segment with the girls doing cartwheels, but it was so hot they played the segment again in the morning.

Four or five people posted us on YouTube, and we got almost a million hits in a month. One network morning show, cashing in on the popularity, invited us to appear. It took a little coordinating, but we all showed up. The hostess, making chit chat, asked what we were called. We were in our kilts, the mariachi band in full regalia. The horn players for the beach band were in their standard bright flowery shirts, and we were all wearing sombreros. I just blurted out the first thing that came to mind.

"Jalepeno Haggis!"

It stuck, and the agent Molly and Rob had met set us up with a one time deal, and we recorded four songs, the ones we did at the concert, plus a pretty good original written by Rob and Molly, and sold it on Itunes. None of us took any money, giving all the proceeds to Juan.

..................................

Tony, Dave, and I were starting to tire of the band. We had started it as a lark, and it had taken a life of it's own. Amy's Agent, as I dubbed him in my head, was pushing us to sign with him and go full time as musicians, playing four or five nights a week all over the country, even abroad, where our style of music was better appreciated.

Tony killed that idea pretty quickly. "I'm getting my daughter back, the ex is remarrying and her new flame and Amber don't get along that well. There isn't a snowball's chance in hell I would quit my steady job and go on the road. That would kill any chance I had of gaining full custody. You guys can go, but it'll be without me. " Tony paused for a minute before grinning. "Besides, me and Bernie have been talking. Her daughter and mine are best friends, so we've gotten thrown together a lot. Things happened. Very, very, very good things. It looks like I may be getting two daughters instead of one, and a pretty hot mother to go with them." He'd told us right after we started playing he was putting every dime he made off the band into a savings account, waiting for the day he would need it for just such an event.

Dave and I were happy for him. He spent a lot of lonely years after he and his wife split over her affair, and it took him a long time to start trusting women again. Bernice, besides being an all round nice person, was pretty hot. When she came to shows or just to hang out in the barn, electricity just seemed to flow between them. Even their daughters could see it, and they spent a lot of time giggling and started introducing each other as "my sister."

Dave felt the same way. "I'm getting really tired hustling the kids off to a relative or a sitter. Janine is starting to act out a little, and the school counselor says it's because we've screwed up her routine. I haven't talked to Amy yet, but it's coming. I hope she takes it well. Congratulations, Tony, there's nothing quite like the love of a good woman."

Boy, did that statement come back to haunt him in the weeks that followed.

Tony and I had no doubts that Amy would like to keep playing; she was getting hooked on the attention. I saw several serious discussions in their future.

"Well, I'm like you guys, I'm just about done. Manda will be a full fledged doctor soon, and she is already shopping partnerships, or maybe opening her own office, hiring a couple of older doctors interested in part time work. We did really well at the land auction, three developers got into a bidding war and we were the ones who won, because we got almost two hundred thousand more than we hoped for. I'm in line for a promotion at work, that comes with a lot more responsibility. I told her I would be done with the band in a few months, and she agrees it's time to put that phase of our lives to an end."

We sat, remembering, and agreed it had been a hell of a ride, one worth taking. We decided to tell the others after our next few bookings, to give them time to think about it.

We didn't get to do it the way we planned, because Robbie rode home with me two weeks later, hemming and hawing around until I told him to spit whatever was sticking in his craw out.

"Dwayne(the Agent) wants to put us on contract, even has a record deal lined up."

"That's great, Robbie, but what's the catch? There must be something about it that makes you uncomfortable."

He blurted it out as quickly as he could. "He doesn't want the whole band. He wants just me, Molly, and Amy, saying we would be more hip and relevant with younger sidemen."

Curiosity got the better of me. "What do you and Molly think about that?"

"We think it sucks! We wouldn't be where we are now if not for you and Tony. It seems disloyal to even think about it."

He was surprised to see my grin. "I think you should go for it. Tony, Dave, and I have already had this discussion, and we're all ready to hang it up. Now, pay attention here. I don't trust Dwayne, not as far as I could throw the Sears Tower. Get a good lawyer, maybe use the firm I did to get my divorce. They have one whole group dedicated to intellectual property law, and it would be worth the money to get their advice and listen to it. I can call Maggie and set it up for you, if you like. And this is important, Robbie, I know you guys want to make music your life, so be careful, or you'll end up without control, working for peanuts. Don't sign a thing without letting the lawyers look at it first."

He sighed, glad I wasn't angry, then frowned. "Dwayne has a contract ready, and he's pushing us, saying he can't help us until we sign."

"That ought to tell you something. Don't do it Robbie, protect yourself and Molly first."

He agreed to talk it over with Molly, and not sign anything until the lawyers looked at it closely. Then something he'd said before hit me. "Where does Amy stand in all this?"

If he looked nervous before, he looked downright stricken now. "Promise me, I mean really promise me, that what I'm about to say remains between just us for now. Amy has the bug, bad. She wants to go on the road, see the country, and the world for that matter. Molly seems to think there might be something going on between Amy and Dwayne, and that's coloring her decision."

Well, damn, that was not news I wanted to hear. My opinion of cheaters was pretty well documented, and I started wondering. Thinking about it I realized Amy had been keeping a distance between us. She and Dave had two kids, a boy ten and a daughter seven. It would devastate Dave if there was something to Robbie's suspicion.

"Be really careful Rob, and make sure Molly does the same. If Amy is fooling around and it gets back to Dave, it will be very bad. But I'll tell you this. I'll be talking to Amy, soon. If she is even thinking about fooling around with that sleazeball, she needs to tell Tony up front how she feels and walk away. It'll hurt him, hurt him bad, but he may be able to not hate her quite so much than if he finds her screwing around."

I thought about it for three days. I'd tried to get Amy alone after a few shows, but she was gone like a shot. I got the feeling she was avoiding me.

..........................

Dwayne, still trying to curry favor, got us a job we couldn't pass up, playing at the opening ball of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, one of the oldest and most prestigious games in the South.

The ball was by invitation only, a kind of who's who mixer of the elite. I found the woman running it to be annoyingly condescending, and knowing I would probably never play there again, I let her have it.

"Look lady, we've been doing this for a long time, so we know what we're doing. So why don't you bugger off and let us set up in peace. If you don't like the show we do, you don't have to pay us. Fair enough?"

It was very obvious that she wasn't used to people telling her what they thought, and she huffed and blustered when she could get her voice back.

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