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Are You Lonesome Tonight? Part I
By karenk <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Disclaimer: Okay, umm, I guess I can safely say that most of the characters in this story are mine. A little violence but very mild. A little loving but also very mild.
I first posted this over a year ago and found myself at a block. Well, after deciding not to make this too complicated, I'm out of that block finally and this is the first part of the story. Second part should follow shortly. Shortly being a very relative term <g> I already know how this is gonna end, I just need to find the time and discipline to write it all down into an actual story. Wish me luck...
This story was loosely based on the song of the same name. Now I don't really know.
Enjoy! And let me know what you think!
"Gesh. I just hope this town will have a little more action than the last one. Who am I kidding? With any luck I'll be able to find a job here... Oh well, can't be any worse than 'Dullsville' back there." The rider shook her head with a self-depreciating laugh, "Didn't take too long for trouble to find me. As usual. Hope this town would be the one for me... gonna be thirty soon, then I'll have to return home, not looking forward to that but I did give my word to mother and grand auntie." She sighed a little as her mind went back to that day she made a deal with her mother.
"Dear, remember we're only going to give you until you're thirty to make a living for yourself with that... that thing of yours. Regardless if you do make it or not, you will return to the family business, understood? Promise?"
"Yes, mother, I promise."
She had been so young, so eager, so confident of her impending success with 'her thing' as mother called it, now... she allowed a dry smile to crack as she patted the case slung over her back gently and warmly, "Well, Gab, guess it's just you and me, huh?" People had always given her curious stares because she actually gave her guitar a name. Gab. She could never imagine why. Other than Gab and Argo, her beloved Harley, she never allowed herself too many other material possessions, those things just never held any interest to her.
She never had to worry much about money, she knew all she all she needed to do was to call her grand auntie secretly for more, especially after mother had refused to give her any financial support for her 'foolish' quest.
Her thoughts now found its way to her grand aunt. She has always been a big favourite of her grand aunt's not only because her grand aunt won't have kids of her own but more because she looked a lot like her grand aunt at the same age.
By now the grin on her face had no bounds, 'Grand auntie has bailed me out of so many different types of trouble in the past without a shred of complaint, just a twinkle in those beautiful blue eyes of hers. I miss her more than anything else back home', the lone rider thought wistfully as she rode Argo into the new town, passed the sign that read, "Welcome to New Potedeia. Population: 27,880" The new sun was just rising out of the horizon.
Meanwhile, at the largest house in New Potedeia, the maid was going through a ritual that she had to go through for the past 18 years, how to awaken her young mistress from the young woman's favourite past time. "Missy? Rise and shine, Missy."
"Ummph..." the young lady of the house responded, "Just 5 more minutes... Lindy... just 5 more minutes..." she mumbled sleepily.
Lindy smiled in resignation as she walked over to the windows and drew the curtains wide open hence allowing the bright sunlight into the room. It caused the still stubbornly wanting-to-remain-sleeping girl to draw her blankets up and over her. "Oh no you don't, Missy. C'mon, up. I've already drawn your bath and your parents and cousins are already having their breakfast downstairs..."
With the mention of breakfast, the figure raised herself from the bed, "Hey! Make sure they leave me some. Yesterday there was hardly any food left for me and you do know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, don't you?" the young lady lazily rubbed the rest of her sleep out of her eyes as she got out of her very comfortable bed and walked unsteadily towards her bathroom.
Lindy followed closely behind, and made sure that her young mistress did not trip over anything as she had done a week ago, "Missy, are any of the other two meals ever any less important to you?" Got a gentle poke for that. "Go right ahead and bathe, I've already set aside lots of food for you, but don't take too long or your breakfast will turn cold."
After the door closed behind her, she stepped out of her silk nightdress and climbed into the warm bath, "Uhh, heavenly..." she thought, and allowed her eyes the luxury of closing for a moment. Opening them up again, she remembered the time, "Damn, better not be late today or Principal Losa will put me in detention again for the last ever day for school and I can't afford to stay back today... got a date..." she was at once nervous and then excited at the promise of her upcoming day.
And her upcoming date with arguably the most eligible bachelor of the state, Ferdinard Martin (or Ferdy as he allowed her alone to call him). She was the envy of the whole school. Her eyes rolled a little as she thought of the good-natured ribbing she had gotten from her friends over this development.
A short time later, she skipped down the stairs to join her parents, Herbert and Helen Bates, and her two older cousins, Jayson and Andrew, at the dining table. Bates Manufacturing is the single largest employer of this relatively small town of theirs as it had been for the past four decades. Jayson and Andrew both started working for their uncle after the latter's heart attack five years ago.
"Good morning everyone," she brightly chirped as she took her seat. "Umm, I see someone in a good mood today..." Jayson teased his cousin gently. Andrew snickered beside him.
Her father placed his newspaper firmly down, "Young Martin is a good man, honey. He'll be good to you and it'll be to our company's advantage to have the Martins behind us in our expansion plans..."
"Dear! This concerns our little girl's happiness, how can you tie this with a business venture?"
"I AM thinking about our daughter's future. The Martins are amongst the top ten richest families in the country, our daughter will be fine with them..." and the all too familiar argument found itself thrown back and forth between the two.
She sighed, too used to having to listen to this series of arguments between her parents. From 'she's still so young' to 'she's old enough to get married'. Her own thoughts on the subject were, 'Wow! Hang on for a minute here, whoever said anything about getting married? He is a gentleman, but gods above, he's so boring! I just feel that, that, there's something or should I say, someone, missing in my life and I intend to find it. No matter where I have to go or what I have to do. I'll find it or that person...'
"Hi. I would like to rent a room please." The leather-clad woman had found a cosy-looking motel just after entering the town proper.
"For how many days, young lady?" the kindly old woman asked from behind the counter.
"Um, at least three days, I would think. Maybe even longer..." 'If I can find a job here', she thought to herself.
The owner nodded and brought out a card for her newest guest to fill in, "My name is Wilma and I own this little establishment. Now, if you would fill up this card for me and state your method of payment here, the contact number of your next of kin, etc."
She filled the card up dutifully and included the contact number of her grand aunt and her partner rather than that of her own mother's. After filling the card up she handed it over to the waiting Wilma. "Um, Wilma. Would you know if any of the clubs here are looking for singers?"
"Well," Wilma glanced at the card, "Miss..."
"KC, just call me KC."
"All right then, KC, there are a number of places here that I can think of, one of them is called The River, it's one of the newer ones. I heard their singer left them, pretty much in a lurch, two days ago, I'm pretty sure they haven't found a replacement yet. You should try there first."
"I think I will, Wilma. Thank you very much." KC was really grateful, happy to have saved an extra few hours of searching.
"You're most welcome, KC. Now, here are your keys and do you need any help with your luggage? I can ask the..."
"It's okay, everything I need is here with me," she lifted her guitar case up and a mid-sized duffel bag for Wilma to see, "but is it all right for me to park my bike out there?"
"Yes, it's quite all right. I can help keep an eye for it when I'm at the counter."
"Thank you again. If it's in the way..."
"I'll let you know, don't you worry." KC smiled as she climbed up the stairs to her room.
Room 308, KC slipped the key in and opened the door. Stepping inside carefully, she closed the door behind her and took walk around the small room. 'Hmm, quite nice. Well, much nicer than most other places I've been in the past few years that's for sure. A real bath, that's great. Didn't think this place would have an actual bathtub.'
'Soft bed, very soft bed. Very nice... very nice indeed' she declared to herself as she carelessly threw her bag down while she gently laid her guitar case on the floor. She took a seat at the edge of her bed as she finished her examination of the room, 'Small TV, but that's okay, I don't watch that much of it in any case. Table and chair, bedside lamp. Perfect! This place is perfect!' as she fell back to her bed for a short rest.
'Oops' thought the little blonde halting in mid-step, 'this is not good.'
"Do you know what time it is now?" came the question from outside the door.
'Uh huh, not good at all' "You have missed almost the entire first class. What do you have to say for yourself this time?" Principal Losa tapped her toes, obviously waiting for an answer.
'Hmm, an excuse, I need a good excuse. A new excuse... cat sick? No used that before, umm, overslept? Lame. And will definitely get me into even more trouble. Upset stomach? No, she'll ask me to see the nurse. C'mon, think, Dawn, think! Your entire after the last day of school day depends on it! Ahh, I think I've got it... now let's try this, shall we?'
"Well, Principal Losa, it's like this, on our way here, we came across a car parked at the side. It had a flat tire. So I insisted that Roy, my driver, help the poor lady who was just standing there helplessly. So Roy did and that's why I was late." Dawn said with her fingers crossed behind her back.
"Hmmph, then why couldn't you have walked her on you own?" the principal demanded.
"Then I would have reached here even later, Principal Losa!" Dawn protested.
"All right, I'll accept your excuse this time, after all it is the last day of school for you... but I do not wish to hear any complaints from any of your teachers today, Miss Bates or it's straight to the detention room for you."
"Yes, Principal Losa." Dawn said soberly but inside she was about to scream with delight. She almost ran to her classroom, knocking gently on the door and entered with her head slightly lowered, "I'm so sorry, Miss Waters, but I..."
Back at the motel, KC had just finished a quick shower and busied herself with the task of untangling her long raven locks and after doing so successfully she gathered up her hair and tied it up. Next, she put on her only clean shirt, slipped into her only pair of jeans, and then seated herself down on the bed while she pulled on her boots.
She stood up and moved to stand in front of the large mirror for a critical self-examination. 'Not too bad, could be worse' she thought. "Okay, here we go again, Gab. To The River this time." She spoke out loud to herself as she picked up her guitar with one hand and her leather jacket with the other and left her room.
"Good luck!" Wilma called out after KC had asked her for directions and was headed off to the exit.
"Thanks!" KC swung round and flashed Wilma one of her rare genuine smile. 'I think I'm going to like Wilma a lot' she thought to herself as she settled into Argo. She chuckled when she suddenly remembered that that was usually the last thing her grand auntie would say to her whenever they met (usually at some police station somewhere where her grand auntie would have bailed her out of).
Her grand auntie and her professor, just thinking about the loving couple made KC jealous. 'When will I ever find someone who would love me that way? Will I ever find that special someone?' she thought to herself as she started up her bike.
It wasn't difficult finding The River after following the precise instructions given to her by Wilma. Ignoring the butterflies settling in her stomach, KC strolled into the club and to the casual observer she projected an air of sheer confidence.
Several people were in the midst of cleaning the tables and arranging the chairs for business later. They eyed her a little warily before one of them stepped forward to greet the leather-clad stranger.
"Hi. How may I help you?"
"Yeah, I heard you're looking for a singer?"
The blonde woman smiled, "Yes we are. Hang on for a minute, I'll go and let the boss know." And she headed off to the back office and entered after a soft knock.
The other waiters and waitresses slowly got back to their various tasks, leaving KC still standing just in front of the door. She took the opportunity to have a complete look around the entire place.
Blue is the colour most widely used in the club, blue walls, blue ceiling, blue-coloured napkins, blue-coloured placemats on the tables, even the chairs have blue-coloured seats and backs. Her eyes next focused on the slightly raised platform and right in front of it, a beautiful painting of a flowing river on the floor.
So intent were KC's observations that she did not realize that the blonde woman had returned, "I don't believe we've been introduced. I'm Kerry and I'm the senior waitress here. You are..." she put out her hand.
"Huh? Oh, sorry. I'm KC." She shook the offered hand firmly.
"Well KC, the boss would like to speak to you. This way, please." Kerry led KC to the back office and closed the door behind her. "Serene, this is KC. KC, this is Serene."
Serene is very different from KC, one tall and broad shouldered, the other slight and seemingly delicate. But both do have jet-black hair and electric blue eyes that are busy at the moment seizing one another up.
"KC, I hear from Kerry that you're interested in being our new singer." Serene rose from her chair to shake KC's hands.
"Yes." Was KC's simple reply.
Serene smiled widely and dismissed Kerry from the room with a nod, "So, what can you sing?" after Kerry had silently left.
KC shrugs, "What would you like me to sing?"
"Well, my purpose of setting up this establishment is to provide people with a complete dining experience. From good food, to great atmosphere to beautiful music that they can dance to. Songs that are more sensual and romantic rather than fast-paced."
"I can do that." KC said confidently.
"Good. How about a trial song right now?" Serene asked.
"Sure, let me just get my guitar out..." KC removed Gab from the case and started to sing,
"I will spend my whole life through, loving you, just loving you..."
Serene settled herself back on her chair and closed her eyes, letting the words and the voice go deep inside of her, tearing a little as she remembered the song and the singer who first sang that song to her.
"...I'll always be, loving you." The song finished much too soon for Serene. KC looked at her expectantly, Serene smiled, "That was beautiful. You're hired. Can you start tonight?"
"YES!! That's it! Yeah!" Dawn happily shouted as she skipped down the steps together with her three best friends since childhood, Lauren, Jo and Michelle, giving one another high five's all the way.
"No more homework!"
"No more tests!"
"No more early nights!"
"No more waking up early!" and they all laughed because the last comment came from Dawn as everyone knew how hard it was to get Dawn to wake up in the mornings.
"Good for Lindy!" Jo quipped. They laughed again.
The good friends were joking and laughing so merrily that they failed to notice a good-looking young man, holding a bunch of roses, standing at the sidewalk beside a convertible.
The young man noticed Dawn laughing with her friends at once and slowly eased his way close, once in front of her he held up the bouquet shyly, "Dawn?"
That finally got their attention, "Oh, hi Ferdy. I didn't expect to see you here. For me? Thanks." she accepted the bouquet, and tried to ignore the giggles of her friends behind her.
"Shall we?" Ferdy asked.
"Shall we what?" Dawn asked, faking innocence.
"Um, make a move?" Ferdy was puzzled, Mr Bates had guaranteed that Dawn would be more than happy to see him after school, he wasn't so sure now.
"But what about my friends? I've made plans..." Dawn felt like strangling the man, she had so looked forward to a trip to the mall with her friends.
"Oh, don't you worry about us, Dawn. Have fun! I'll call you tomorrow." Lauren said in a hurry.
"Yeah, go on..." Jo and Michelle urged, "Call you tomorrow!" they promised before leaving Dawn with Ferdy.
"Well..." 'so much for best friends', she thought, "where're we going?" she asked Ferdy who had opened the door for her, "I thought maybe we could just go for a long ride and then back to your house for a change of clothing and then on to dinner. Would that be all right with you?"
"Okay, sounds good." Dawn replied with false enthusiasm, 'Long ride with you? Boring... especially when you start sprouting news about the stock market...' she thought to herself.
Soon the convertible was headed out of town, slowly and steadily. "...so, the stock markets around the world aren't exactly in the best of times at the moment..." Ferdy went on and on, oblivious to the fact that he had an audience of none.
Dawn had long since tuned the sound of his voice out of her head, choosing instead to focus on the beauty that surrounded her and her hometown. The flowers, the fields of gold, sounds of birds chirping, engine spluttering... wait a minute. Engine spluttering?
She shook herself out of her daydream just enough to allow the voice of Ferdy's to slip into her mind.
"Great! Just great! Just what is wrong with this car?" Ferdy whined.
Dawn leaned over to have a look and immediately spotted the problem, "Um, Ferdy, didn't you top up the petrol?"
"What petrol?" he asked, a little quizzically.
"This petrol gauge here shows empty, didn't you know that?"
"Really? I never knew... I mean, the driver at home did all this things for me. I never..."
Dawn, sighing inwardly, "Well, then you'll have to walk back to town, buy some petrol and come back for the car and me. I'll stay here and make sure that your car is safe."
"Are you sure? I mean, it's only a car. I can always..."
"No, no. I insist. Go ahead, I'll be fine."
And finally, after arguing with Ferdy for over ten minutes, he agreed to go back into town alone and come back as soon as he could with help. And some petrol, Dawn reminded him. She settled herself down comfortably in the back seat, waiting for the sun to set.
Not far away, another person had also decided to ride to the place where she could watch the sunset. 'The negotiations went very well', KC thought to herself. She hadn't needed any backup people or a band, it had already been her and Gab and that was all that she needed, she told Serene. No frills needed, just a stool and a microphone.
Serene was the one who suggested her current destination as being THE place to go after KC had told her that she liked to watch the sunset as it calmed her down. She now knew for sure that she was going to like this place.
"Hi, little lady. All alone?" Dawn sat up from her seat in surprise as she had tuned all other sounds out again. She found herself in serious trouble as four members of the notorious biker gang, Ares' Angels, surrounded her.
The largest-sized one leaned into the back seat and proceeded to stroke her hair, "Aw... you little poor thing. All alone in the middle of nowhere. Here, why don't I keep you company, huh?"
"Leave me alone..." but to no avail, as another of his cronies made a grab for her hands to stop her from beating away the advances their leader. The other two just stood by the side, laughing while making sure that there was no way that she could escape.
Suddenly, a "Hey!" stopped the men in what they were doing and made them all turned round. They snickered, thinking that another of their pals would be joining them.
The figure atop the mean-looking bike slowly unclasped her helmet, she pulled it off hence revealing her face, she said menacingly, "The lady said to leave her alone." The men then realized that that was not one of their pals, but was in fact it was a woman. They laughed again.
The big leader walked up to her and placed his grubby hand on her cheek, "What cha gonna do 'bout it, sweetie?"
"Well," the lady said in a calm voice, "this for starters!" and kicked the man hard in his groin area, causing the big man to double over in pain. He only just managed to squeak out to the others, "Get her!"
The two who were just standing by the side launched their attack at the same time. Two swift kicks later and they were down, two more punches to their stomach and they were out for the count.
While this was happening, Dawn had managed to kick the man still grabbing onto her wrists away with her free legs. The stranger quickly leapt over the car to land a final kick to the man's chest area, sending him down and crawling away.
"Are you all right, Miss?" Dawn's saviour asked, worried.
"Yeah, yeah. I'm okay. Thank you, you saved my life." Dawn was filled with respect and admiration for the dark stranger.
"Don't mention it, Miss..."
"Oh. My name is Dawn Bates. What's yours?"
"Scram? Is there such a name? Do your parents have a wicked sense of humor or something? Why would they name you 'Scram'? I mean..." Dawn blurted out.
"Wasn't talking to you, Dawn. I was referring to them." she pointed at the defeated pathetic-looking foursome, each helping one another get back on to their monster bikes, the leader had by now recovered somewhat, he growled, "This ain't over, lady. I'm gonna hunt ya down."
'Wow, she's actually yawning at that threat!' Dawn was amazed she had never seen anything like this before, 'but I think I better warn her about them'.
As the bikers rode away, back towards town, Dawn turned to face her savior, all the seriousness showing in her face, "Um, I think you better take him seriously, you know. He's a member of Ares' Angels, they have well over a hundred members here in this town alone. Several hundreds more in the neighboring towns. You have to be careful..."
"Thanks for your concern, Dawn, but I'm always careful. And I can take good care of myself..."
"Yeah. Tell me about it! I saw it all! You're amazing. You have to teach me all of your moves. How you did that high kick thing for starters. Flattened him straight away..."
"What is a young and beautiful lady doing here all alone in a deserted country road?" she asked when she finally managed to get a word in.
"I was here with my 'date' but he forgot to pump petrol so he has gone back to town to get help. How about you? What are you doing here? And are you new in town? I mean, I've never seen you before or anything so I think I can assume that..."
"Yes, Dawn. I am new in town. Just came in early this morning. I'm here because someone told me that this was the best place to watch the sunset."
"Definitely, the car couldn't have stopped at a better place for me. New in town, huh? For how long? What do you do? Do you travel a lot? Seen a lot of different places? I for one has never left this town of mine, I wish I could. I want to see and experience the whole..." She stopped after hearing sounds of faint laughter, "Hey! What's so funny? Share the joke with me."
"Do you ask every new person you meet SO many questions at once?"
Dawn can't help but blush a little at that.
"Hey, I'm sorry, didn't mean to tease you. And the answers to your queries are, yes, I don't know, I sing for a living, yes, quite a fair bit and yes, I do see a lot of different places. I think that about cover all your questions, don't you think?"
"Yes, pretty much, err... what's your name again?" just as she was about to open her mouth and answer, a car drove up to a stop behind. And out came Ferdy and Jayson with a large can of petrol and a short length of rubber tubing.
"Jayson! Ferdy!" Dawn called out while the two men stared hard at the stranger amongst them, "she chased a few of Ares' Angels away when they were disturbing me..."
"Are you all right, Dawn? Ferdinard, how could you have left Dawn here all alone? She could have been seriously hurt... and thank you so much for helping my cousin. How about you come over for dinner tomorrow night? I'm sure my uncle and aunt would like to properly thank you."
"That's not necessary..."
"But I insist..." Jayson was not to be denied. "So do I!" Dawn quipped.
"Well, all right, but I won't be able to stay long."
"That's right, you sing... where do you sing, err... You still haven't told me your name yet."
KC laughed as she walked back to her bike, getting on to it and pulling her helmet back over her head, "My name is KC and I just got a job singing at The River. Tonight will be my first night. Well, I have to be going now, whereabouts is your residence and what time should I be there tomorrow?"
"Bates. It's the biggest house here, you won't miss it and we usually have dinner at about 6pm." Dawn answered.
"I'll be there. See you then, bye!" KC shouted as she rode away.
"Bye!" Dawn shouted after the roaring away figure of KC, 'Hmm, KC... see you soon' and she turned her attention back to her cousin and the hapless Ferdy, trying their best to transfer the petrol from the can to the tank.
'Very pretty... but a little too young for me, I'm afraid. And taken. Too bad.' KC sighed and turned her attention to the more sinister news, 'Ares' Angels, damn! They're here too... I should have known that it wouldn't take that too long to... how many members did Dawn say they have... ahh, a couple of hundred here and more in the surrounding towns.'
'This can mean trouble. And here I thought this town would be peaceful for me... is there really no where I can go to get away from them? Yeah, home. But I don't want to go back, not now. Though... Mother's health has been getting steadily worse in the past year and grand auntie has never shown any inclination for business, so guess I'm the only one left. I'm sure Father never intended for his business to fall into strangers' hands... but oh, how I HATE the business world, I would much rather sing, but sometimes one just doesn't have the luxury of choice...'
'Wow! How about that? Just like the knight in shining armour of my dreams. Though I think she's more like my dark knight in black leather and riding a bike.' Dawn thought to herself as she waited for the men to finish with the transferring of petrol. 'It has been almost half and hour and they're still arguing who is going to do the pumping. I'm starving already. Wonder where KC is right now... ' her stomach started to growl in protest.
'Let's see... there was Lisa about three towns back, nice, pretty enough but, something was lacking. Before her was Cilia, the wannabe-supermodel, sure eats like one and expects me to eat like her. No way! Wanda, no sense of excitement; Agatha, made the mistake of telling her about my family connections; Claire, bad news from the start. Then there was Danielle and of course, Ariel...' KC mentally made a list of the women that she had been with for the past few years while searching for her 'special someone' that her grand auntie had said was out there waiting for her.
'KC must lead a very exciting life, to be travelling through town after town... how romantic it must be...' To pass time while waiting for her cousin and Ferdy to decide whom would do the pumping, Dawn tried to imagine KC's nomadic lifestyle, 'Hmm, I'm assuming here that she has a nomadic lifestyle, that is. I don't really know that much about her... guess I'll just have to wait till tomorrow to talk to her. Or maybe I can make Ferdy bring me to The River tonight to watch her perform... worth a try.' She hopped down from her comfortable perch on the boot and walked the few steps to stand next to her cousin and Ferdy who had lost the argument.
KC pulled up at the nearest eatery to have dinner before heading back the club, 'Dinner tomorrow with her family... why on earth did I agree to that?' she shook her head as she grabbed a seat by the counter. As the eatery was almost empty it didn't take too long for a waitress to take her order, "Um, just give me your special for today and an iced tea."
"Coming right up." The perky little waitress with 'Annie' engraved on her nametag cheerfully replied. A short time later, Annie returned with the drink, "Thanks, Annie."
"You're new here, aren't ya?"
"Yes, I am."
"So... ya gonna tell me ya name?"
"Is that KC with a 'K' and a 'C' or spelt out?"
"KC, my initials."
"Why do ya use ya initials?"
KC sighed again, everywhere she went people were bound to ask her that question, so she prepared to give her stock answer, "Okay, Annie, it's like this..."
"C'mon, Ferdy! It's all your fault that I'm stuck here. The first afternoon of my vacation is gone!" Dawn pouted, she couldn't believe that Ferdy had actually refused to bring her to The River tonight, "Fine! I'll just go myself."
She swung around and stormed off towards Jayson's car. Jayson stretched out and grabbed hold of the fuming Dawn. "Waitaminute, Dawn. Ferdinard's right. The River is in the rather bad part of town. Ares' Angels are known to hang out thereabouts. Do you seriously want a replay of this afternoon again? Without KC this time?"
"You too, Jayson? What is wrong with you people? Where's your sense of excitement? Your sense of adventure? I'm going to see KC tonight, with or without any of you!" she declared, shaking herself free from Jayson's hold and entered the backseat of Jayson's car, slamming the car door shut.
"So, ya're gonna sing in The River tonight, huh?"
"Yup. By the way, this is really good..."
"Glad ya like it, I'll send your compliments to the chef." Annie giggled.
KC wiped her mouth clean, "Please do and I'll need the check, wouldn't want to be late..."
"Here ya go..." KC took a look at the check and proceeded to grab a bill from her wallet, "Keep the change. Thanks, Annie and I'll see you again." She hopped down from her seat and exited the by now crowded eatery.
Annie looked down at the bill in her hand, a ten-dollar bill for a six-dollar dinner, 'Hmm, I wouldn't mind having her as a regular customer.' She smiled.
"All right, all right. You win, Dawn. You win. I'll take you to The River tonight." Jayson finally conceded to Dawn after watching her sulk in his backseat for the hour after their argument and then refusing to leave with Ferdy after his car had sufficient fuel to last at the very least the trip back into town.
Well, witnessing the sun rise up from the dark storm clouds was well worth it, he thought as Dawn launched her arms to encircle his neck, "Oh, thank you, Jayson! You're the best!" she said delighted.
"But, we need to go back home first to wash up and change and I want you to say sorry to Ferdy."
"Why? This is his fault..." Dawn pouted again.
"I know, but he is the only son of a very rich man, he doesn't have to do anything for himself at home. I'm actually surprised that he didn't bring along a few of his servants with him for this trip. And did you see his face when you refused to ride back with him?"
"I saw it, but I'm still not going to apologise." Dawn firmly said while crossing her arms. Jayson knew that gesture meant that Dawn was going to stick to her stand. 'So stubborn, yet so cute.' he thought and chuckled silently.
"Hi Kerry! I hope I'm not late, am I?" KC asked as she entered The River through the staff entrance.
"Nope, the dinner crowd is kinda slow today. Do you want an intro?" Kerry asked.
"Nah, not necessary. Is my guitar on the stage already?" KC had looked around and had not found Gab.
"Yes, I've placed your guitar on stage next to your stool. I hope that's all right with you?" KC smiled in recognition as she turned to glance at the stage setup, completely no frills, just as she had requested, "That's fine, was a little worried there... when should I start?"
"Anytime you want, stop for a break after half and hour, anything. Serene said that it's totally up to you."
"Okay, then let's get this baby on the road."
"Good luck, KC." Kerry called out as KC headed for the stage. KC turned round and gave Kerry a dazzling smile.
"She doesn't need luck from us, Kerry, she creates her own." Serene had appeared behind Kerry suddenly. Kerry was a little startled but recovered quickly as she smile to acknowledge the truth in the statement. She then turned her attention to the stage where KC had already briefly introduced herself and was into her first song.
KC was just stepping down from the stage after the end of her first set when Dawn entered the club with Jayson. She waved enthusiastically at KC but it took KC awhile to recognise Dawn because she was dressed in a short, stunning red dress. And she looked very grown up, KC thought. 'Wow!' KC was caught speechless and dumbstruck by this vision before her and the truth that Dawn had been in and out of KC's mind ever since their encounter earlier. KC rather absent-mindedly acknowledged Dawn's wave and waved back, still slightly taken aback, 'Hmm, well, I never...'
KC shrugged over her surprise as she walked over to the side where Kerry was supervising the cleaning up of a nasty spill, "Kerry, may I speak with you for a second?"
Kerry looked up, "Sure KC, by the way, you're great! So, what's up?"
"I just saw a couple of my friends walk in, is it okay if I go and chat with them a bit, or is that frowned upon?"
"No, go ahead, you're not a waitress, KC. You can do whatever you want during your break." Kerry reassured her and then turned her attention back to the spillage.
KC easily made her way to Dawn and Jayson's table. She decided to wait at one side, while a waitress wrote down their orders and KC noticed that Jayson was chuckling away, while Dawn was doing the actual ordering.
After what seemed to be a long while, Dawn had finally finished and the waitress walked away, shaking her head. KC was puzzled and when she walked towards the table she could hear bits of the conversation between Dawn and Jayson, "... thought that someone as small as you can order so much food... or are you just paying me back for this afternoon?" Jayson said in a teasing tone.
Dawn snorted, "I didn't order THAT much... KC! Hi!" as she spotted the approaching figure.
'Oh my God, she looks even better up close... close your mouth, KC. But she is a beauty...' KC found her heart pounding fast and furiously as she walked ever closer to the table, 'no one but Ariel has ever made me feel this way so soon after we meet. Well, we did meet under some unusual circumstances. Don't go there, KC. Don't go there, she already has a boyfriend...' she shrugged off her other wayward thoughts as she willed her voice to be as normal as possible as she greeted them, "Hi Dawn, hi Jayson." 'Okay, that wasn't so bad now was it? Deep breaths... get a grip of yourself, KC. You've seen a lot of beautiful women before, yeah but none quite like this one. And I can just bet that she doesn't really know just how beautiful she is...'
"Hi KC. Sorry we missed your first set..." Jayson's deep tone was a welcome interruption to KC's wandering thoughts, he opened his mouth to continue when they were interrupted by Kerry, "Excuse me, are you Mr Jayson Bates?"
"Yes I am."
"You have an urgent telephone call, this way please." Kerry, who had been paying close attention to KC's reaction to this beautiful young woman, gave KC a quick wink.
KC caught it and found herself starting to blush, she was beginning to be glad for the dim lighting the club had. By the time she felt sufficiently composed, Jayson had already hurriedly excused himself from the table.
"What? Did you say something?" KC's mind suddenly registered that Dawn had commented on something. "I said, I hope everything is okay," Dawn was worried for her cousin, "and you haven't said a word about my dress."
"Your dress?" KC felt herself fumbling over lines that she normally wouldn't have had any problems with, "Looks great. You look great," 'Great? You can be so lame at times, KC. Try heavenly and stunning, and wow!' "Truly, you look very, um, grown up. And beautiful." She added the last almost like an afterthought.
Dawn had not heard the last comment, she was trying to decide if she should be offended by the 'grown up' comment, 'Nah, I think I'll let her off this time.'
Jayson came back to the table with a concerned look on his face, "I'm so sorry, Dawn. We have to go..."
"Go? But we just got here! I haven't heard KC. And I haven't had my dinner..."
Jayson placed his hand gently over Dawn's mouth to stop her torrent of words, "That was your father, Dawn. Something happened at the office, I have to go back and I can't leave you here..."
Dawn nodded, but the moment Jayson lowered his hand, she said, "KC can give me a lift home... please Jayson? I'm not needed at home and you know how mother can be whenever there is a crisis in the company..."
"As much as I hate to admit, you're right. Well... how about it, KC?" Jayson asked. "Sure, no problem. I'll give Dawn a lift back." KC said in a rush and was rewarded with an ear-to-ear smile from Dawn.
"Okay then, thank you in advance, KC. I'll settle the bill, Dawn and then I'll be going. Enjoy yourself and remember your curfew."
"Yes, yes. I'll be home by midnight. Or else my dress will turn back into rags..." Dawn grumbled and pouted. Jayson laughed and patted Dawn's head as he walked back to the counter to settle the bill in advance.
For KC, she had never seen a pout as, well, as cute as Dawn's, she lowered her head a little and smiled. And realised a little too late that Dawn had asked her a question because the younger woman was staring at her. "Um, something wrong?"
"No. You seem distracted, are you okay?"
"I'm fine," she said curtly, not wanting to give herself away, 'Yeah, right. Try you're the source of my distraction, Dawn. Damn. Why are the nice ones always taken?' "I'm kinda like this whenever I'm performing..." KC gave as an excuse.
"Like what? What do you mean? Do you feel nervous? I always get butterflies in my stomach whenever I tell stories..."
'Uh oh. I forgot she love asking questions. Yup, this is gonna be a long night for me...' KC sighed as she signaled for a drink, 'well, better pay attention.' But she as she leaned back, she found, a little too late, that concentrating on Dawn's words was going to be a Herculean task as her attention is drawn to the mouth that the words are coming out from. With Dawn so deeply engrossed in asking her questions and KC so intent on Dawn, they didn't even notice Jayson leaving the club, doing some staring of his own, a jealous tint in his eyes.
ONE WEEK LATER...
'Wow... those baby blue eyes... they're just so beautiful. One can just lose oneself in them. The rest of her ain't bad either...' Dawn thought as she sat transfixed at her by-now regular table in The River. She had been here every night for a week, watching KC sing and unable to take her eyes off the captivating figure on the stage.
On stage, KC herself was trying desperately not to let Dawn's adoring gaze affect her concentration. 'C'mon KC. She's just a young, innocent kid. Don't go there.' she tried to warn her sub-conscious but knowing deep down inside that she may have gone too deep already, having spent most of the past week in Dawn's delightful, if not chatty, company.
Even the dinner with the Bates went pretty well. Considering that she had to work hard at not staring back at both Ferdinard Martin and Jayson. It was not an experience that she would want to repeat anytime soon. But it all seemed worth it when Dawn happily gave her a goodnight peck on the cheek. One that she could still remember in clear, vivid detail.
As KC stood up for her last break for the night, the doors of to the club burst opened and six members of Ares' Angels strutted their way in.
KC quickly worked her way to stand protectively in front of Dawn's slight frame. The leader of the men who had attempted to assault Dawn earlier stood at the head and looked menacingly at KC and Dawn, "There you are! I was wondering where you two would hide from us... The River huh? Think that can protect you?"
"Yes." The burly man turned his head round in surprise and found himself under the hardened gaze of Serene, "The River is under the protection of Cynthia herself and you're about to create trouble here. Do you want to answer to her?"
'Cyn protects The River?' KC stared at Serene in open-mouthed amazement. She and the current chief of the Ares' Angels knew each other intimately... unfortunately.
"The River is extending those protection rights to my singer and her young lady companion." Serene continued firmly.
Which got her no where with the big man, "You throw chief's name around and expect us to quiver in fear? Anyone can claim that chief protects them. 'Sides, your damned 'singer' humiliated us and we, Ares' Angels, never, ever forget!"
At this time, one of his cronies stepped forward, "Sam, maybe we should drop this... for now. Tas would have our hide if we stir up trouble in a place protected by the chief herself."
"I don't give a damn! I've waited too long as it is to have a piece of that bitch!" Sam shoved his man away and took one more step towards the wearily waiting KC. But he was stopped by yet another of his men, "Sam, drop it. I did hear that chief is in town..."
KC's eyebrow arched when she heard this piece of news. Dawn stood silently by, not quite knowing what to say or how to react. Part of her is jumping up with excitement over this but another is terrified out of her wits, she had heard so much about Ares' Angels and the things she had heard were not good at all.
Suddenly the door to Serene's office slammed open and a slender woman with light golden curls walked out, "You've got that part right!"
Sam and his cronies' jaws just about dropped as the chief of Ares' Angels herself, Cynthia Bedrick appeared. They quickly moved a step back in respect.
Cyn shook her head, "Sam... did I get that right?" Sam nodded his head nervously.
"You're an area leader here?" Sam shook his head.
"No? Then, you're a..." she trailed off, fully expecting Sam to complete her sentence.
"Section head." Sam replied quietly, a stark contrast to his previous attitude.
"Section head? But you act as if you own this place. What were you thinking of doing here?" Cyn asked in a dangerously low tone. Sam was silent.
"Then allow me to venture in some wild guesses here... hmm, let's see... you were thinking of starting a fight right here at a place that I'm offering protection to, right?" Sam remained silent, his head lowered.
"Well, have I got news for you. Not even I, I, Cynthia Bedrick, can defeat the person you're thinking of going up against. Not even 20 of the best Ares' Angels, at the same time, can and you're thinking you can?"
Sam's head jerked up in, surprise written all over his face. Could she be... just what did the chief mean by this?
Cyn sighed dramatically, "That's what I always say about all you newbies. You guys don't know anything about our past history, our illustrious history. Or should I say, our illustrious founder?" Cyn turned and gazed at for the first time in almost a decade at those familiar blue eyes, "Kathryn Connor-Pappas, it has been too long."
The name sent shockwaves over the club, for some it was a name that inspired awe, for others, the surname was a familiar one.
KC walked up to Cyn, maintaining eye contact throughout, affecting not to notice the slight change in the club's atmosphere, "Not long enough, if you ask me. I don't want to stir up any trouble for any one..." she said purposefully.
Cyn frowned, "Kat, I don't understand you. You gave up being chief to do this?" she waved her hands in exasperation.
"You'll never understand, Cyn."
"Try me. Please, Kat. You owe me at least that, you just walked out on us. Didn't what you and sis fought so hard to achieve mean anything any more?"
"It stopped meaning anything when my father died." Cyn looked down, distinctly uncomfortable. "I can be out of here by sunrise tomorrow if you want." KC continued flatly.
"KC. The name's KC now."
Cyn visibly rolled her eyes, "Fine. KC, you're probably safer here..."
"Why is that?" Dawn butted in without thinking.
Cyn smiled widely, "Why, Kat... as KC, your tastes have grown considerably younger, hasn't it?"
"Don't go there, Cyn." KC said evenly.
"Fine, fine. You never let me have any fun..." Cyn shrugged and settled down on by a nearby table.
"Why is it safer for me here?" KC tried to unclench her teeth.
"I've got..." Cyn started a little reluctantly, "...sources and they're telling me that there's a contract out for you. I'm still trying to find out one, who ordered the contract, and two, who's gonna deliver the goods."
"I can take care of myself, Cyn. I don't need..."
"But, Kat... KC, you need us..."
KC raised her hand to interrupt, "I don't want anything to do with Ares' Angels again." She said firmly.
Cyn looked at her hands and said quietly, "Sis didn't mean to shoot your father, KC."
"Of course not." KC replied sarcastically.
Cyn looked up in irritation, "Sis is paying for it now, isn't she?"
KC angrily slammed her fist right through the small wooden table near where Cyn had settled herself into, "She killed my father. Father who had never objected to our relationship, my father who never even objected to me being chief of one of the most notorious gangs around. He never objected to anything I ever did! Never! What was the purpose of killing him except to put my family and the authorities all over Ares' Angels?"
"Sis is more sorry than you can ever imagine, KC." Cyn said softly, looking up into KC's pale blue eyes.
"Sorry does not bring my father back."
"Sis did not kill him." Cyn pointed out.
"Her bullets were the reason why he died." KC countered.
Cyn gave up, "Regardless, I still don't think you should be out on your own. I did promise Sis that Ares' Angels would protect you and your family until she gets out. Kat... KC, you've always been like my other big sister, I need your advice on running Ares' Angels so that scum like our 'friends' here don't ruin our image. The image that you so much wanted us to have and achieved when you were chief. It's still not too late to shape, or should I say, re-shape Ares' Angels."
"No, Cyn. I've washed my hands off Ares' Angels. You want to protect me and my family? Go ahead, just stay out of my sight. As for scum like them here, you're too late. I've come across many members of Ares' Angels throughout my travels and scum like them are more the norm rather than the exception. This is the image the folks now have of Ares' Angels, not Angels like Tas or Mitch. After all, they're leaders and not out on the streets."
"But you still care..." Cyn started.
KC interrupted, "Of course I care. I almost gave my whole life to Ares' Angels. I saw Ares' Angels as 'dark' guardian angels for the common folk out there but that dream died. It died when I left. You can't revive something that has been dead for so long, Cyn. You shouldn't even try." KC paused to take a deep breath, "It's late, I have to bring Dawn back to her place. I'm still not someone you can mess around with, be sure to tell that to your 'friends' here, Cyn." She turned back towards the still awfully silent Dawn, "Shall we make a move?"
Dawn nodded simply, not knowing what to say. She followed KC out of the club and into the chilly night, leaving behind a resigned chief of Ares' Angels. "Sam, rest assured I'll be having a chat with Tas regarding your behaviour. And that of your associates." Cyn said coldly as Sam tried not to blanch.
The ride back was cool, in the weather as well as in the conversation. Or the lack of one, with KC deep in thought and Dawn not quite knowing what to ask or if indeed she should ask anything at all. So she just held onto KC tightly as KC sped her way towards the Bates' house up on the hill.
But midway to the house, at a stop sign, KC turned back towards Dawn, "Can we detour a little or do you need to get back home now?"
"It's okay. Let's go to the place." Dawn squeezed KC a little as she answered.
The corner of KC's mouth turned up as she bestowed upon Dawn her crooked grin. The 'place' as they have come to refer it to was where they met for the first time and the place where they have gone back to every single day since to watch the sun set.
Soon, they were settled under the big oak tree with Dawn comfortably leaning against KC's body as they gazed at the moon.
And it was there that KC finally opened up her past to Dawn, she told Dawn all about her relationship with the de facto chief of Ares Angels', Ariel Bedrick. It was the teen romance that would have been every parents' nightmare. They were wild and uncontrolled, they started a gang just because they could. The only person she respected was her father, Patrick Connor, and fortunately for KC, her father had understood.
He had understood that his only child was going through the inevitable rebellion phase of every teenager, so he kept KC's mother, Michelle Pappas, off her back and gave KC lots of leeway and bailed her out many times over. And if he couldn't bail her out, her beloved grand aunt and her professor would.
Until one night, while KC was having dinner with her visiting grand aunt and her professor, Ariel had gotten herself drunk and she had forgotten that KC wasn't home.
"Father was home alone when Ariel showed up. She created a huge scene and refused to leave even when father told her that I wasn't home. She insisted otherwise and barged her way in. Don't really know what happened next but father was shot 3 times with his own gun and..." KC said quietly as tears ran down her face.
Dawn squeezed KC's hands tightly, not wanting to say anything yet but still wanting KC to know that she was there for her. Always.
KC smiled wanly as she continued, "One of the bullets could not be removed because it was in too dangerous a place. Ariel was arrested and convicted of attempted murder. She was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. I broke off all contact with Ares Angels' shortly after and cleaned myself up. I completed college and I really thought that everything was going to be fine but... it was not to be."
KC closed her eyes, took a deep breath before continuing, "Father died of a heart attack slightly more than a year after he got shot. I was a mental wreck for months after that. My only comfort came from playing my guitar and singing and finally grand aunt managed to persuade mother to let me leave home for a few years. I'm to return to the family business before I turn 30." KC ran a shaking hand through her raven locks.
"When would that be?" Dawn spoke for the first time in a long while.
"Not for a couple more years." Dawn smiled widely up at KC as she snuggled closer on this cool night. 'Good.' They both thought.
At the Bates' driveway, KC killed Argo's engines and turned round as usual to help Dawn get off the massive bike. Dawn gingerly removed KC's helmet to return it to the singer as KC tied her flowing locks up.
KC took a deep breath, she had been dreading what she had to say and the reaction she would get for saying it since they decided to finally make their way back to the Bates mansion, "Dawn, maybe we should stop seeing..."
Dawn's eyes shot wide open, she had come to enjoy the times she and KC spent each day and she shook her head furiously in protest, "No... don't..."
KC raised her hand to stop Dawn's quiet protests, "For the time being, Dawn. I want to make sure that none of what happened back at The River gets to you. Give me a couple of days to settle it and I'll get in touch with you again. I swear."
"Really?" Dawn whispered.
"Really." KC answered seriously, "I'll look you up." KC said, trailing her rough fingers over Dawn's smooth cheek, she took a deep breath and lowered her mouth towards Dawn's and kissed her gently.
Dawn had never experienced anything like this kiss she was being given, she felt herself returning the kiss in full and more when, "Had enough?" Dawn and KC were started and broke their kiss.
Dawn turned round and faced the red-face of her father. "Father!"
"Dawn, inside now."
"Inside. Now. Your mother's waiting."
Dawn looked extremely reluctant but KC nodded at her slightly and Dawn made her way slowly to the door.
Once he heard the door close behind Dawn, Herbert Bates turned his sole attention to the leather-clad woman in front of him. "I've heard all about you and I'm giving you this only warning, never see her again."
"Sir, I don't think that's up to you." KC said coldly.
"I won't have you corrupting my daughter. Get within 100 yards of this place and I'll have you arrested. Leave my daughter alone."
KC just smirked as she cranked up Argo's engines and rode off without a word.
And through the night, snippets of the conversation between Dawn and her parents could be heard.
"You're our daughter and we're telling you to!"
"I won't and you can't make me!"
"You're marrying Ferdinard Martin."
"I'm not marrying that..."
"Yes you are. Ferdinard has already asked me for your hand and I've accepted. You're marrying him."
"But Father, I don't love him!"
"You'll learn to. Now go to your room."
"Don't you think you've been a little too harsh on her. And Dawn's still so young..."
"What do you know?"
"Herbert! She's my daughter too. True, I don't think she should still see that KC anymore but why are you forcing her to marriage so soon?"
"All because of your precious nephew!"
"No, the other one. Andrew!"
"What has Andrew done? I haven't seen him in a week."
"And chances are, you'll never see him again. He has embezzled almost $5 million of company funds and ran off. Now you understand why our daughter has to marry Ferdinard Martin now? I need the dowry money to keep the company afloat until I can get rid of some of our investments."
"Then you should have explained that to Dawn calmly."
Snort. "Why don't you do that?"
Sigh. "I will. Tomorrow."
KC opened the door to her room and wasn't surprised at all to see Cyn sitting on her bed waiting for her.
"What now?" she asked warily while taking off her jacket.
"Ariel's gonna be released from prison in a few days."
KC's hands stilled for a moment before continuing its task, "Why are you telling me this?"
"Thought you two might want to meet."
Cyn nodded as she got up from the bed, picked up her jacket and walked towards the door, "Sis has always asked about you. She still loves you very much."
KC closed her eyes, "Don't tell me this now." She said tightly.
Cyn sighed as she closed the door behind her.
KC shook her head and slumped onto the bed in resignation. Why does life have to be so complicated?
"I'm not marrying him, mother." Dawn stated flatly the moment her mother entered her bedroom with breakfast.
"Dear, you don't have a choice here."
"Why not? This is my life! My future! He doesn't have the right to..."
"Dawn, he's your father. But... he does have his reasons. You have to understand his position. Dear..." Helen moved to hug her daughter tightly and explained the whole situation the best she could to the increasingly despondent Dawn.
To be continued...