Christina's New Bassistbygreatowl©
Jack finished his solo with a little flourish. A funky run he knew those hip hop types loved. He hated showing off, but if it got him this gig, then he was willing to play fancy.
He'd been struggling as a bassist for the last few years; floating from gig to gig, trying to make a name for himself as a jazz player. He'd done a couple of sideman slots on some second rate albums, but wasn't satisfied with any of them. He'd been shopping a demo he'd made to several of the smaller jazz labels without any luck. A drummer he knew casually set him up with this audition for Christina Aguleria's band and he'd been more than happy for the opportunity. This gig, if he got it, paid thirty-thousand dollars for three months work and would pay all his rent and bills for a year. The money was too good to pass up.
"Would you mind playing a little more?" The manager asked him.
"Sure. What you wanna hear?"
"Maybe something a little more jazzy."
'OK,' he thought. 'You want jazzy? I can do that.'
He launched into one of his own pieces. A mid tempo number with a lot of changes. It was incredibly easy to play on an electric bass, as he didn't have to reach for notes like he did on his upright.
He pounded away, playing the song the way he would if it was his gig, and not some audition for a pop singer he'd yet to see and a couple of starfucker management types.
As the last notes faded from the amplifier, Jack knew he'd done well. Screw that, he'd done great. He was head and shoulders above the other idiots who'd turned out. He just hoped that they'd seen that too.
"Thank you. What's your name again?" Forgotten so soon?
"Jack. Jack McAllister."
"Thank you, Jack. Would you mind waiting around with the others while we make a decision?"
"No problem." He lifted his bass from his shoulders and went to one of the empty chairs next to the other wannabes. He looked at his competition and a worry entered his mind. All of these guys couldn't hold a candle to his chops, put they all had style in spades; something he was sorely lacking.
They were all wearing the right clothes. They had the right hair. Walked the right way. He shook his head. This was a pop gig. Why hadn't he dressed up? They weren't going to hire a music geek.
Jack suddenly felt self-conscious. His glasses and clothes screamed, 'Dork!' Oh, well. If he ever got a chance like this again, he'd be sure to wear something besides clothing he'd bought at the Goodwill.
The fat guy who'd introduced himself as Buddy or some shit like that, stood and faced the group of eight guys.
"Gentlemen, first of all thank you for your time. It was a difficult decision, but we've decided to go with Mr. McAllister for this tour. Thanks again for coming out. Please help yourselves to any food and drinks before we close up shop."
The other cats looked crestfallen. Jack couldn't believe his luck.
'No fucking way,' he thought, the vision of paid bills dancing in his head. 'I don't know why they picked me but I sure as hell ain't gonna argue.'
The rejects stomped off, leaving Jack alone in the chairs, stupidly clutching his bass, unsure of what happened next. Buddy came over and Jack stood.
"Welcome aboard," Buddy said, shaking Jack's hand vigorously. "You've really got some chops. Christina loved it." Jack was confused. She wasn't here. He'd looked around before he'd gone on and hadn't seen any sign of her. The manager smiled and gestured to the mixing board.
There was a blond woman, not much taller than the mixer. Was that her? Damn she was tiny. Maybe five feet tall at best. She waved and started over to where they were standing.
"That was tight, man." She said, bouncing on her heels. "You can play the shit out of that thing." He smiled and was unsure of what to say to her.
Ok. Time to come clean. Truth be told, he owned her records. They were a guilty pleasure and he loved the fact that she actually had a voice, not some studio engineered vocal chords. Not to mention she was fucking gorgeous.
"I guess you're not much of a talker, either." She said, laughing at the pregnant pause.
"I'm sorry. I'm just shocked I got the gig." 'Way to be, moron', he thought. 'Introduce yourself.'
"Sorry. I'm Jack. Nice to meet you."
Her hand looked like a child's in his. He had to be at least a foot taller than her.
"Cool," she said, politely ignoring his stupid rambling. "Rehearsals start tomorrow at eight-thirty. You good with that?" He nodded his head. Hell yeah it was all right. For thirty g's he was pretty amiable to any situation.
She said goodbye and bounded off, leaving him staring at what he realized was one tight little body. Work was gonna be good.
Rehearsals took up most of the month. After he'd deposited the check, he practically floated into the bank, he'd gone out and gotten pretty drunk, marveling at his own good fortune. He'd woken up at six when the alarm had shocked him from sleep, reminding him that you had to earn thirty thousand dollars.
They'd practiced twelve hours a day, six days a week for that month. The charts weren't very difficult, so he'd spent most of his time watching his new boss.
Christina wasn't there for the first two weeks, owing to the fact that she was mixing her new album. But, boy, when she showed up, you knew it.
She dove right in to rehearsals and sang like she was in front of twenty-thousand people. Jack was positioned to the right of the drummer, so he had a perfect few of her ass as she sang. 'It's totally harmless,' he thought to himself. 'Millions of guys check her out, I'm just one more.'
They'd gotten the set perfected and they spent the last few days with her and her choreographers. She had a team of guys directing her every move during the show. Jack was fascinated by how much went into pop shows. There was so much moving around to remember. Stand here until this happens. Then move over here so your ass doesn't catch fire when the pyro goes off. It wasn't the kind of thing he thought he'd ever get used to.
The night before the tour was supposed to kick off, Christina invited everyone in the band to her house for dinner and drinks.
Her place was huge. It was this steel and glass monstrosity up the hills, with a view of everything. Jack was sure he'd never eaten so well in his life. He gorged on food and soon found himself wandering around, not really in the mood for conversation.
There was a plasma tv, bigger than his front door hanging on the wall in what he guessed was the living room. After staring enviously at it for a while, he noticed the baby grand in the corner.
"Damn," he said to no one. "I need to get one of those." He glanced around and, seeing nobody, flipped the cover up and started to play. He wasn't nearly as good at piano as he was at bass, but if you're going to be a good player, you needed to know how to play piano.
He dicked around a little, working the stiffness from his fingers, and finally settled into 'Watermelon Man' by Herbie Hancock. It was a fun tune and you could get crazy with it. After eight bars or so, he settled into a brazilian rhythm and just played.
When he hit that last chord, he stepped on the sustain pedal and let those last notes just decay off into silence. Playing a piano was almost as good as sex, and he intended to savor the moment. The staccato beat of someone clapping broke his reverie.
He looked up to see Christina, his new boss, standing in the doorway. He stood up immediately and closed the lid.
"I'm...I'm sorry. I should have asked your permission before...shit...Sorry." He thrust his hands in his pockets and crossed his fingers, hoping she wouldn't fire his ass for this.
"Don't apologize," she said, stepping into the cavernous room. "That was cool. I didn't know you could play piano, too."
"Um...yeah. I play a couple of instruments, but bass is my main thing. You have to be versatile if you want to be good...I mean...you know." 'Why am I babbling like this?' he thought. 'Just shut your trap and maybe you'll get to keep your job.'
"That's dope. Will you play something else for me?" She sat down in an oversize chair next to the piano and looked up at him.
God she was cute. Her blond hair framed her face beautifully. He found himself staring at her, getting a little turned on. 'Don't you fucking dare,' he yelled into the recesses of his head. 'Just sit down and play something.'
"What do you want me to play?" He asked in a much squeakier voice than he usually had.
"Anything. Whatever you want." She settled into the chair and gave him a smile that caused his cock to leap in his jeans. He sat down quickly to hide the bulge and played some scales to calm himself down.
"To be honest, I can't really think of anything to play," he confessed, after a few minutes of noodling. "If you could just give me a song..." He felt himself blushing red and silently thanked god for the fact that this room was not well lit.
She laughed a little. "I'm not making you nervous, am I? You can't get stage fright playing for just one person. Play me something, soulful, Jack."
He was silently amazed that she even knew his name. Two months ago he was playing dives in the valley for fifty bucks and now he was in a superstar's mansion, being asked to play a concert just for her. Life was weird.
He racked his brain for any tidbits he knew about Christina, trying to think of something that she would like. He'd worked out some jazz arrangements to a few of her songs for fun on his upright piano at home, but he sure as hell wasn't going to debut them in her living room.
For a reason he'd never know, he started playing 'At Last' by Etta James. His right hand added a vocal melody, and he put it in waltz time. He'd always loved that song and Etta could sing like the devil possessed her. Jack turned his attention from the deeply erotic sight of Christina nodding her head and smiling, and focused on playing.
When the second verse came around, her voice joined in on the melody. He was shocked at how beautiful the sounds emanating from her throat were, but made sure he didn't drop the tempo. She wasn't singing like she did on her songs. This was understated and a little behind the beat. She'd shut her eyes and was swaying, ever so slightly, in time to the piano.
Jack backed off with the flourishes and let her voice take it's rightful place in the song. They played the last chorus at least ten times, just not wanting to stop. This was the real Christina, Jack thought. She's no pop star. She's a singer. And a damn good one at that.
As the song came to it's inevitable end, Jack heard applause. For a split second he thought they were in his mind, but they just got louder and he looked up.
Most of the band and dancers were in the living room now. They were all hooting and clapping, some of the dancers screaming for an encore.
Christina opened her eyes and gave Jack a smile that caused his nervous system to overload. He shut the lid of the piano and sat back on the bench.
She jumped up from her chair and slid onto the bench next to him, enveloping him in a hug.
"That was fucking awesome! I love that song! Will you play that with me during the show?"
He didn't know what to say. He'd played piano for himself at home and at a few jam sessions, but never really in a concert setting. He wasn't sure he could, but he nodded, not wanting to say no.
"Sure. But wouldn't Ricky be better for that?" Ricky was the keyboardist in the band.
Ricky came forward out the crowd and was still clapping.
"I can't play jazz like that, brother. It's all you." Christina smiled that infectious smile at him again and kissed his cheek. Jack blushed all over again and felt those familiar stirrings stretch the fabric of his jeans. He'd do whatever she wanted, as long as she didn't ask him to stand up.
The first concert was the most nerve wracking experience of his entire life. He'd played every song as straight as he could, avoiding anything fancy. He was sweating buckets by the time the end of the show was drawing near and he wasn't sure if he could even pull this off.
After the official concert ended, Christina stayed on stage and took a few bows. She called each member of the band back out on stage for applause and Jack felt his heart leap into his throat when she said his name.
"Ladies and gentlemen. We've got a special encore for you tonight. My bass player neglected to inform us when we hired him that he was an incredible piano player. We played this song together last night and I want to play it for all of you. So, put your hands together for Jack McAllister."
She parked herself on the piano bench and patted it, motioning him forward. The crowd ahd applauded politely and the sound was dying down. Shaking like a leaf, he took his place next to her and laid his hands on the keys. She sensed his nervousness and whispered into his ear, away from the microphone.
"Don't be nervous. Just play for me like you did yesterday." As she spoke the noise of the crowd ebbed from his ears and all he could hear was her. He nodded and began to play.
"At Laaaaasssttt..." She was singing in the same beautiful way she had before. Her voice sent an electric charge up his spine. He stroked the keys, imaging touching her soft skin and running his fingers through her hair. At that moment, the song became so intimate, he found his heart speeding up, flushing him.
Music really was making love. Two people who just wanted to make something beautiful. Tiny explosions that lit up the room, only to fade and die, making way for the next moment. It was the most erotic thing he'd ever done and he found himself saddened that the song was ending so soon.
The cheers from the crowd brought him back for his little daydream, and Jack heard himself hit the last chords. Christina shouted 'Thank You!' and the crowd just got louder. She stood up and grabbed his hand, dragging him to his feet.
"Jack McAllister! Give him a hand!" The crowd roared with approval and Jack found himself more content than he'd ever been. These people were applauding the music that he'd made. Well, helped make, anyway. It was the perfect end to the show.
The tour bus rolled on into the night, swaying slightly on the freeway. Christina had an autograph signing after the show and a bunch of interviews to do, so the band had headed out before her. She would catch up to them in the next town.
Jack felt an incredible sense of loss, not being able to tell her how much playing up on stage with her meant to him. He'd started to tell her after they'd walked off stage, but her management corralled her and pulled her away.
Before she'd gotten too far, she'd turned around and ran back to him, hugging him and kissing him on the cheek.
"That was incredible," she whispered. "We'll have to do it again sometime." He could of sworn that she winked at him when she said that, but he knew it was just a trick of his mind.
"Dude!" Pete, the drummer and two of the dancers came running into the back of the bus, where Jack was alone with his thoughts. "That shit was bomb! They fucking loved you!"
Jack smiled and shook his head no.
"They loved Christina. I was just lucky to have been able to play." Pete hit him in the shoulder and grabbed two beers, handing Jack one.
"Trust me, man. You fucking stole the show. Traci and Lisa agree with me." The two gorgeous dancers nodded and sat down next to them. They reminisced the whole night, everyone too excited to sleep. Jack joined in the fun but found that his thoughts never strayed far from Christina.
The next two weeks seemed to pass in a blur. They woke up every day in a different town. They'd lug their gear to the venue, do a sound check, run back to the hotel for a few hours of sleep, go to the show and then hop back on the bus.
Christina had told him during a rare free moment that she loved their duet and wanted to close every show with it. Jack had very little trouble agreeing to this and eventually became very comfortable in front of the crowd.
He even became more confident flirting with Christina. During one memorable show in St. Louis, he'd gotten really into the song 'Get Mine, Get Yours' and walked up from his place next to the drummer. The song was really bass heavy and he loved seeing Christina shake her taut little hips to the rhythm. The song even mentioned the bass and how much it was like sex.
After he came into her field of vision, Christina turned, surprised to see him, but she went with it and walked slowly up to him, singing right at him. He got so turned on watching her face, singing those words. He was so glad his bass covered his crotch, so that twenty-thousand people didn't see his erection.
During the last verse of the song, Christina grabbed the back of his head and shook him around, singing the overtly sexual tune right in his face. The crowd seemed to love this and after it was all over, the band teased him about it mercilessly.
On the last week of the tour, they landed in New York. They were going to be here for three days, so for a change, they would actually spend the night in a hotel and not on the bus. Christina had to do some MTV thing, so the band decided to go out and raise hell. Jack and Pete were sharing a room at the Hilton and Pete had almost beat him to death trying to get Jack to come out with them.
Jack hadn't had a good nights sleep in a month and wanted to stay in. After the obligatory guilt trips, Pete finally surrendered and left Jack alone.
After zoning out on television for an hour or so, Jack felt a stab of guilt. He hadn't played his upright in a long time and didn't want to let himself get lax on practicing, so he hauled it up from the gear truck and settled in for a good practice session.
Damn, he was out of practice. His forearm muscles had become a little soft from playing electric for so long and he felt them begin to burn after only a half hour.
He pushed through it and was really starting to get a groove going when he heard a knock at his door.
Shit. It was late and the people in the room next to him probably didn't appreciate hearing him practice for two hours.
"Sorry!" He called. "I'll put it away!" He started stowing the bass when the knock came again.
He trotted over to the door, ready to give a huge apology. When he opened it, he was shocked to see Christina standing there.
"I didn't want you to stop playing, I just wanted to come in," she said, grinning playfully. He stood there dumbfounded, blocking the door.
"Can I come in?" she asked, anxiously.
"Shit. Sorry. Yeah, come on in." He stepped aside and she walked past him, into his room.
He shut the door and suddenly realized what a sight he must be. He was wearing pajama bottoms and a tank top and he hadn't taken a shower all day. 'Crap,' he thought. 'I've been waiting for this whole tour to get her alone and this is what I look like.'
She had gone over to the corner of the room where his bass was and was busily trying to pull it back out of the gig bag.
"You sounded great. Play more."
Jack walked gingerly around her and finished pulling his bass out of it's case. Christina flopped down on his bed.
"Play," she insisted.
Jack grabbed his bass and sat down in the chair he'd been practicing in and started plunking softly.
"Christina, it's late and the people next door might get pissed. What are you doing here anyway? I thought you were staying at the W across town?" She nodded.
"I am, but I wanted to see you and you weren't out with everyone else, so here I am!" She flashed a smile, very proud of herself.
"Why...did you want to see me?" He hoped beyond hope that it was to ravish him and fuck him senseless like she had in his dreams for the last few weeks.
"I've got an idea for a song." Jack's little bubble burst with without so much as a sound. He sat back in the chair and tried not to let his face betray his disappointment.