Helen got Keith off the hook, giving him a half dozen sheets of paper. The set lists from the gigs they were combing through for material to put on the album. He leafed through the pages. “Lot to listen to.”
“That’s right,” Helen replied, “so get comfortable, baby.” She sat in an armchair with a plate of meatballs and spaghetti and a glass of wine.
“Yeah. Faith, wanna get comfortable with me and go over all this together?”
“You got it.” They sat on a sofa and she perked her ears up as the next track came on. He found it pretty interesting, too. It was him taking the lead on a blues standard, “Rock Me, Baby.” Starting it off with a long, long solo.
After a while, Luis joked, “Hey, man. You sure you remembered to sing on this thing?”
“Shut up, Louie,” Helen barked. “I wanna hear it.” Luis decided to come over and keep messing with his buddy out of Helen’s earshot. Sam got in on the huddle, sitting next to Faith.
The cut flat-out rocked and had them all nodding, everybody tapping on something, patting their feet. Keith’s vocal finally did come on. Hard. Clean.
This one had to be considered. It occurred to him this might not be an easy task for any of them. Since there were likely to be a lot of songs in the had-to-be-considered category. Yeah, they were going to be here awhile. And might as well take notes.
He made that suggestion. Carl and Katie had been way ahead of them and left a stack of legal pads and a cup full of pens on the coffee table.
Faith quietly asked Keith, “This include me? Should I make notes, too?”
He shrugged and smiled. “Sure. You got ears.”
She shrugged and returned the smile. “Okay.”
Small talk kept popping up, of course. But in the main everyone sat, listening close. In the booth, Carl kept subtly adjusting the sound. Getting it clearer and clearer. After a few hours, Helen called time out and they took a break.
“I sound good!” Luis exclaimed. Which cracked everyone up except Faith, who had yet to catch on to the guy’s personality.
Helen adjourned to one of the side rooms to put her feet up and close her eyes. Luis went into another side room to a shoot-‘em-up blood-and-gore video game. Keith and Faith sat with Sam for a few minutes shooting the breeze. Then he invited her to go out on the landing and take in the view. Smiling to herself, Sam watched them walk off, then, nibbling a celery stalk and slugging Southern Comfort, quite contentedly sat reading a Billboard Magazine feature — on her.
“This,” Faith said, gazing out on the skyline, “is so pretty. It’s beautiful.”
Keith simply nodded, still not knowing what to say to her. “Yeah.”
“Man, I feel like it could be some kind of fairy tale. Just a couple weeks ago, the closest I was to any of this was letting Sam crash at my place and listening to her talk about it. You know…” She looked at him, those strange eyes of hers taking on a soft light. “She thinks a lot of you. I kind of like y’ myself. Really love the way you play.”
“Thanks.” He found himself stupidly staring at his shoes, actually embarrassed.
Next week: Keith finds his tongue.