Helen and Keith make a deal


Their food came. Keith studied his plate of spaghetti and meatballs, dropped the napkin over his lap and began playing in the plate, nudging strands around with his fork. Muttered, “Nothing’s the end of the damned world.”

She reached in her shoulder bag, handed him a folder. “Go home. Any questions about these charts, call me. Have them down cold, because anyone needs more than three takes on any of the songs I’m firing on the spot.”

“Cool runnin’.” He put the charts away, poured them both a bit more wine, and gave her an amused look, knowing from their times playing together that she was a taskmaster. Some of the other guys’d had a different description for her. Keith looked at it from the perspective that time was money and Helen had never been interested in wasting either one.

“I’ve decided to add a backup singer,” she added, taking a sip. “Not just any singer. Somebody with style. Original style.”

“That a fact?” He wasn’t a great fan of the grapes and resolved to, when they finished the carafe, order a shot. Meanwhile, he was surprised. He’d never thought of Helen and her huge ego using backup.

“Mm-hm. With fire.”

“Male, female?”

“Either way, I don’t care. I just want an added touch. They have to be able to bring dimension, something special.”

“I’ve got somebody who fills that bill,” he said, rubbing his chin. “Young, but she’s damned good. In fact, kind of puts me in mind of you. Personality wise. Real tough cookie.”

“An attitude case?”

“No more than you are, baby,” he said with a wink. Helen stuck her tongue out at him. He had never realized just how sexy it was when a woman wagged her tongue at you like a petulant little girl — until he met Lesli Hall. She did it every so often and he’d found it charming as hell.

Helen asked, “She got a demo?”

“Yep. Pretty good one, too.”

She brightened. “Great. When can I hear it?”

He swallowed what little wine was left in his glass before answering. “Soon as you swear to God not to say another word about Lesli the rest of this night.”

Helen threw her head back and laughed hard. Which drew quite a few looks. Particularly from men who’d been dying for an excuse to gawk at this gorgeous chick without offending their dates.

“Deal,” she said. “Lesli who?” They shook hands, drank their wine and ate dinner. He never did get around to finding out whether she was married or not. One thing for sure, though. Helen St. James was a piece of work.


Next week: Can’t stop thinking of Leslie

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