Before I got into the vehicle to drive away, she ran up to stop me. “Do you think I could borrow the SUV tonight?” Something in the way she said it made her look anxious although I finally thought she was calming down. Who would have known that she was such a worrier?
“What do you need? I can run and get it for you.”
She ran the nail of her ring finger along her eyebrow, a nervous habit she did on our walk when she felt anxious. “Just some things. The kids usually go down around eight o’clock and I think I can slip out then for a little while.” She hid the reason why she needed the use of the vehicle causing me to look at her curiously.
“Not sure Brandt would want me to hand over the keys for you to drive around without any protection.”
Rolling her eyes, she looked at me exasperated. “I’m not the rock star. There’s no need for me to require protection. No one even knows I am associated with the band.”
I put up my hands, “Hey if you think Brandt will let you go alone I can get the SUV back here by then.” The thought of Brandt giving her permission made her think about it in a more serious light. Pictures were already leaked with her and Brandt’s kids to the tabloids guaranteeing he wouldn’t let her leave alone in a strange town. The caption was wondering who the new nanny was. It wasn’t necessarily a disappointment when they found out it was his sister. Now they may hound her for information on the band or wait for her to get drunk and rowdy to make a quick buck on any of her indiscretions.
“He didn’t seem to think I needed a personal escort when I was away at college.” She quipped, but it didn’t sound convincing.
“That was different. You may be the next best thing until the paparazzi realizes they can’t get to you. They always try.” She stomped her feet like a bratty child and folded her hands across her chest drawing my focus to it making me feel like a pervert.
“Look, what do you need? Don’t worry. I’m used to getting it.” She might as well use me like the rest of them.
“I need to... do some laundry.” My eyes hiked up. Why would she be doing her own laundry?
“I can take care of that for you too. We use a service on the road and it might take a while to get your stuff back but you must have plenty of clothes.” I helped Brandt bring in her suitcases. She could clothe a family of four for a year with how large and heavy they were.
“That’s not the point. I can do my own laundry.” She started pacing back and forth. Why the hell was she so set on doing her own laundry? Didn’t want me to get her expensive panties all ruined?
“Fine. I’ll figure something out. They must have a laundry area at the campsite.” Great. Now she’ll be meandering through the campsite at night without a bodyguard. Brandt would skin my hide.
“No, wait. If it’s just one load, I can take you into town and be back before the end of the concert. Just let me come get you after the opening band goes on.”
“Argh! Okay, whatever. It’ll only be one load. I should be able to get it done before you need to be back. Text me when you’re on the way and I’ll make sure Chelsea is all right with me leaving.” She opened her phone to the contact screen while I filled in the numbers. When she walked away, I heard her mumble something about a babysitter. She might as well get used to it. She was the one on tour with the hottest band out there. Welcome to my nightmare.
Later that night I stopped at the RV anxious to get this over with. Before I had time to get out of the SUV, she exited Brandt’s tour bus with a cloth bag. It didn’t look full but really, she only started with the tour in the last three days. Chelsea looked out the window with a baby on each hip. She waved at me and I smiled and waved back.
Rea, dressed in yet another outfit, made her way to the vehicle. How many changes of clothes did she have? No wonder she was hell-bent on having to go tonight to the laundromat if her clothes only made it on her body for a couple of hours.
The setting sun was behind the bus causing a shadow to fall over her as she made her way to the SUV making her black hair all the darker. It was swept up in a long ponytail and swayed behind her giving her a youthful appearance. Skin the color of caramel showed off a tan already in the early summer and made her brown eyes look all the more expressive. She was beautiful, no doubt about it, but with beauty came high maintenance, hence the reason I was here at her beck and call.
Opening the door of the SUV she slid into the front seat and put her bag of clothes on her lap. “Thanks for picking me up.” At least she had the forthright to show some gratitude.
“It’s my job.” Before she closed the door and the light of the cab died, I saw her dismay on her face. Maybe I was being too honest.
“Well, thank you anyway.”
Putting on her seat belt, she sat back as we drove down the winding road leading out of the campsite in silence. Maybe it was a jerk move, but I hated the idea of leaving the concert hall to drive the princess around. What she said earlier about not having to babysit, was still spinning around in my head. I had to remind myself maybe it wasn’t her fault she was pampered her whole life. I mean, at least she didn’t expect me to actually do her laundry, shocked she even knew how to wash clothes.
We pulled up to the laundromat I found earlier running errands for the guys. It wasn’t necessarily in the best part of town making me glad she didn’t go by herself even if I had to babysit the princess. While she removed her seat belt and climbed out of the vehicle, I went to grab my own laundry. No use going to the laundromat if I didn’t do something useful while I was there.
Opening the door, I scoped out the room. Four people in total. An older lady was camped out reading a magazine at the far end with two elementary-aged children running around her chair trying to tag each other, and an older man to the right side who gave us a side-eye glance returning to folding his clothes as soon as I looked at him. So far nothing that would look like trouble. Garnering a concealed carry permit for my job, my handgun proved a necessity, but with the change in laws from state to state, I often left the firearm in the car unless I got a feeling it would be better to keep it handy. I couldn’t necessarily describe the feeling. The feeling that made my senses heighten. Almost as if the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up. I didn’t get the same feeling now luckily and kept the piece underneath the seat in a secured lockbox.
Rea went to the left side washer, placing her bag on the table to the right while I took my own basket and placed it on the side table taking the washer next to hers. Quickly I watched as she opened the washer and dumped the contents carefully, going to great lengths as to not let me see them. It wasn’t like I would be ogling her panties anyway.
She removed a couple of singles from her pocket but the washer was an old-fashioned kind with a coin slot. Looking around she spied the coin dispenser behind her on the far wall. Before she even got to the machine, I noticed the orange light indicating it was out of coins although it didn’t stop her from trying three times to put in her dollar, making me shake my head.
“It’s out of change.” Rea pulled out her dollars and crumples them in frustration. Evidently, the princess had a short fuse. She must not be used to things not going her way. She stayed at the machine for a little while seemingly gathering her wits affording me time to survey the room again. The guy from earlier gave her a look I didn’t like, so I made a note to keep my eye out for any issues.
Calmly she walked up beside me. “There’s a bar across the street. I’ll just be a minute.” Before she could turn around, I grabbed her arm thrusting my roll of coins at her. I didn’t want her out of my sight. I got the feeling the guy across the way had the bright idea of helping her out as soon as she left without me by the way he had been tracking her since she walked in.
“No here. You can pay me back later.”
She took the roll from my hand, opening the heavy cardboard covering. “Do you have enough for both of our stuff? I need to get soap too.”
Reaching into my laundry basket I pulled out both detergent and dryer sheets and handed them to her. “I guess you are better prepared than me.”
I grumbled under my breath, “That’s why they call me the boy scout.”
Surprisingly Rea managed the rest without any assistance. It appeared princess had at least learned how to wash clothes. It was lucky since she was so particular about her underthings and wouldn't’ let the laundry service do them. Luckily, she didn’t appear selective of my brand of detergent and fabric softener on her fine clothing either.
Once both machines were well on their way to finishing the load, I scanned the room only to find the guy staring at Rea again. When he finally noticed my glare, I gave him a look that said hands-off. It worked as he finished his folding and took his clothes out the door. The only noise in the room was from the lull of the washing machines and the rambunctious boys still running around the end of the isles.
Rea sat down and was searching her phone. “Where’s the closest store that’s open at this time?”
“Looking for shoes to match your evening gown?”
She let out an exasperated sigh, “No, I’ve got some things I need to pick up. There’s got to be one close by I could walk to.” I looked at her not believing what she was saying.
“This isn’t college. You can’t just walk anywhere alone in an unfamiliar town. It isn’t safe. Brandt would have my head if something happens to you with me here.”
“So, just worried about your job then.” Said as a statement of fact instead of a question.
I rolled my eyes. “Some of us need to work.” Hinting yet again at her princess status.
“Look, I’m perfectly capable of getting my own stuff. I don’t need or want an errand boy.” The way she said it didn’t sit well with me. Now I wasn’t worthy to pick out the right ‘stuff’ that she needed?
“Don’t worry, I wouldn’t fathom picking out the wrong lipstick for you.”
We stared at each other for a while, her breathing coming quicker while her lips almost formed a point before she answered, “Do you really think I give a shit about lipstick when I’m stuck all day long in a small RV with a hormonal puking woman and two children who would rather cry and shit on me than eat their pureed organic squash?”
Turning to give her my full attention I countered, “Then what is so damn important that only your hands need to touch it?”
Rea’s eyes widened in annoyance while her skin flushed a reddish color. Aggravation suddenly turned into a crooked smile and wily look, “Tampons.”
After our clothes were both washed and dried, we had little time at the grocery store before heading back, promising me it wouldn’t take long. I left her to get her ‘stuff’ on her own. True to her word she escaped in record time for someone who thought shopping was an Olympic sport.
The paper bag she carried was bigger than what I would consider just her ‘stuff’ and she confided in me that she also bought some junk food. Something to do with Chelsea being so health-conscious.
“So how much does my brother pay you to be my babysitter?”
Her question stunned me, “First off, it’s none of your business, and secondly I’m a bodyguard, not a babysitter.”
She shrugged, “Same thing. You got all huffy when I told you I was going to the bar across from the laundromat.”
“For a college kid, you don’t seem very street smart. You don’t have a clue about the town you are in or the crime rate for that matter. I bet you didn’t even notice the guy gawking at you the second you walked in the laundromat. His eyes even perked up when you said you were leaving by yourself. Not very smart for an independent woman.”
Even in the dark, she seemed a little peaked when I pointed out my observations. “You got all that from the little time we were in there? And you couldn’t possibly be wrong, now could you? Maybe you are just a little paranoid?” It sounded more to convince herself than to scoff at me.
“I’ve been doing this job for the past four years. Big John taught me what to look for. If you are observant, you can ward off trouble before it happens.” No rebuttal but really how could she dispute her safety. It gave way to silence at least for a little while.
Closer to the park she asked, “So is this what you always wanted to do? Be a bodyguard?”
“No. Actually I wanted to be a police officer or detective. I grew up in a neighborhood that was... not like where you are from, that is for sure. We had the cops there all the time. I liked how my father looked up to them. My parents couldn’t afford to move, so I know they appreciated what the police officers were trying to do to keep things safe and peaceful.”
“So why be a bodyguard then?”
It made me think of how I started with her brother. “When I was nineteen my dad lost yet another job. He has a back condition and couldn’t keep up at the feed mill. It was just another long line of jobs he was let go from. He only knew hard labor. He tried to do a desk job although sitting for long periods of time wasn’t easy on his back either. My mother works as a waitress in a greasy spoon type of franchise. They make great pies, and she would always bring me home a piece when the tips were good but the money was always tight.” I turned off the highway and checked my phone for the GPS to make sure I was going the right way.
“She likes the job well enough, but it is hard on her too. I wanted to make some money to help them out, good money to be able to send some home. When my cousin Mouse told me about being a roadie and that I could earn decent money, I jumped at it. My luck didn’t change until I met Chelsea at one of the shows and she convinced Big John to take me under his wing and turn me into more of a personal security guard. With my interest in law enforcement, I saw it as a stepping stone to get into the career I wanted.” She seemed to be interested, so I continued, “I was able to send some money home and help them out while my dad went through reemployment training. He is in sales right now. Just small engines like lawnmowers and snowplows. Not enough for mom to leave her job, but they are in a better place now.”
“Since they don’t need you anymore, does it mean you will be leaving?”
Was it that evident? “Yeah, actually I signed up for the army. I enlisted to be able to go to college. Uncle Sam will pay for my schooling and I can graduate and become a police officer. Not really a bad thing. They can give me a lot of the training in the army and I get to see the country.”
"Don’t you see the country now?”
“I see the united states. I’ve even gone with the band on their European tour, but I want to see more. I figure the more I see when I am in the army the more I can settle down after my enlistment is done.”
“You seem to have it all figured out.” Absently she played with the fog on the window as she sighed.
“Don’t you know what you want to do? You just graduated with some type of degree.”
Another hot breath caused her finger work to be erased as she put her head against the window. “Business. I graduated with a business degree because I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do with my life. I figured a business degree would at least make me marketable but all it did was give me a new headache of sorts.”
“Why is that? I mean, schooling helps to get a job. Once you have the degree, it can open all kinds of doors.”
Her eyes trailed my way as she twisted in her seat. The bored look now turned sad, “My father wants me to work with him. Brandt is the rock star and my other brother Dean is into being the boss man of a ski resort. That only leaves one more child who can take over the family business.”
“Is that even something you want to do?” Her eyes glisten slightly, and I instantly felt sorry for her but then I thought back to her lifestyle. I shouldn’t feel sorry for someone who truly doesn’t need to work again in her lifetime.
“No. I couldn’t care less about industrial construction but what I do care about is my parents. They have been wonderful to me and I don’t want to disappoint them.”
I let the conversation sink in. My parents didn’t have a booming corporation I could fall into like she had, but it only meant I could follow my own dreams and not be expected to take over the family business. The fact that she was even thinking about doing it made her appear a little less shallow. She was thinking of doing something her heart wasn’t into just to make her parents proud of her.
“You really should be free to choose whatever you want to do for the rest of your life. I might have a couple more obstacles but at least I’m following my dream.” We pulled into the driveway of the campsite and I made my way slowly down the winding trails.
“Whatever I want to do?” She scoffed, “I was one of those college graduates that went through four years of hell only to come out and not know what I wanted in life. Being a partner in a thriving construction business doesn’t seem all that bad I guess.”
“Yeah, but just don’t stop looking for something you might like instead. Forty years of work is forty years of work. It can take its toll on you if you aren’t doing something you enjoy.” A brief smile was all she afforded me until we got to the RV.
The large bus was dark and quiet, and she took her time getting out of the vehicle. “Look Rea, no one knows besides Brandt about the army thing. I would appreciate it if you didn’t mention it until I am ready to tell the guys. I just didn’t want the rest of the crew thinking I was abandoning them.”
“It’s a deal as long as you don’t tell Brandt about my dad wanting me in the business. He would feel guilty and talk me out of it if he knew my heart wasn’t in it.” It didn’t seem right to keep her secret, but she was willing to keep quiet about my new career. Brandt wouldn’t think anything less of her if she didn’t want to work in the family business. In fact, I knew he would push her to at least consider something else. It gave me an idea.
“I won’t say anything to Brandt if you at least look into three job opportunities. It is hard to make a decision like this if you don’t know what is even out there.”
She contemplated this, “Okay.” Removing her clothes from the back seat she swung the bag over her shoulder. “Thanks again, Logan. I’m sorry to ruin your plans for the night and I hope you make it back in time.” She shut the door before I had a chance to reply. Instead, I watched her as she made it safely to the door of the bus.
Her hair had that shine to it only women with black hair had. Sort of blue in certain lights and right now with the small light of the RV, she was giving off that exact hue. She left her scent in the vehicle. It smelled like peaches in summer and I tried not to stare at her ass as she sashayed her way into the motor home, but her jeans clung to her slim hips drawing me to her. She didn’t stand very tall, coming up to my chest, but not in a little girl way. No, she was all woman.
No, Logan. Don’t even think about it. Way too many red lights with this one. She was Brandt’s sister for Christ’s sake. He was protective of her and you can’t start anything with her when you were leaving at the end of summer even if she would be interested. And she was a primadonna.
Or was she?
Rea didn’t expect me to be a gofer for her. She didn’t expect me to do her laundry. Didn’t even expect me to fawn over her and protect her. She was independent if not only a little naïve at times, so maybe I misjudged her as being a princess.
Then I thought about had bad she was at watching kids. It was a wonder she put the diaper on the right way. She really was trying though, especially having no experience with toddlers. And what she said about her parents? Some people took a while to find their path in life, but she was willing to forgo it to make her parents proud. Maybe she did have things handed to her on a silver platter, and she did have mounds of expensive items, but she was still down to earth once I gave her a chance. It was just too bad that nothing could come of it.