I’m getting too old for this shit, he thought to himself, before laughing softly. How many times had he said that very thing on stage? The thing is, he was way older than everyone thought, but then that was his dirty little secret, with only Richie knowing the whole truth about him. He probably would have never chosen this profession, had he known he and the band would end up being so big. Yes you would, he told himself, music is in your blood. But, he had never expected fame to be such a big issue. Now, he had to use one of his powers constantly, masking his true appearance so that no one would wonder why he didn’t age, only dropping the facade when he was behind closed doors or asleep, not being able to hold the spell while relaxed in slumber. In his world it was called a glamour, the spell that he used to make himself look older, so that no one would guess the secret. However, simple vanity kept him from actually making himself look like your average 44 year old man. He could probably pass for 34, because he just couldn’t make the 44 stick after he looked in the mirror. Now, that was a myth about his kind! He really did have a reflection, and that had been sometimes curse, sometimes blessing. In the eighties, it had been a curse, some of those clothes and hairstyles. Geez, what had he been thinking? There was a lot about him that the world took as fact, but was really the greatest fiction, worthy of Dickens himself. The world thought he was born in 1962 in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. In fact, he had been born in 1562 in a small village in Italy. He had become what he was now at the young age of 25 and would never appear to age again, unless of course he used the glamour. The world also thought he was married with four children, when in fact they were hired actors. He should have never got into acting; it just made his face more familiar to people. And, he admitted to himself, you’re really not that good at it anyway.
"Enough," he said aloud to the empty hotel room, before picking his wine glass up and walking to the big window to look out at the lights of the city winking at him in the darkened night sky. He ran his fingers through rumbled blond hair as he stood at the window. What city was this? Hell he couldn’t remember, Oh yeah, Minneapolis. He had to quit this quiet self-introspection before he let it drive him to that dark place he went to sometimes, more often now than ever before.
He let his thoughts drift to the woman in the bedroom of his suite. She was his usual fare, long blond hair, blue eyes, legs for days, and her breasts were way more than ‘a hand full’, but her brain was less than a head full. He chose those kinds of women from the multitude who came to see him and the guys in concert because they didn’t wonder about the unusual mark on their neck the next morning, just took it as a hickey from a rock star and took their ‘trophy’ home. He never felt guilty about feeding from them, because he gave them what they wanted and they gave him what he needed. He would send this one on her way in the morning just like he had all the others, a smile on her face, a great memory, and a plea not to tell anyone about what happened so that it didn’t get back to his "wife". There was always the occasional problem, a woman who gave herself away as a blabber mouth, that he would quickly realize would tell the next person she encountered about her night with him, and not care if it was a gossip reporter or not. Those women he had to use another of his powers on and erase her memory of what happened. He couldn’t bring himself to completely erase their memory but he made it fuzzy enough they wouldn’t remember it well enough to know if it was fact or some drunken dream. The woman in the next room was married, her husband away on a business trip. He liked those most of all because he knew they wouldn’t let out the juicy details of what had happened in his bedroom, not wanting their husbands to divorce them over a night of wild passionate sex with a rock star. Or as he liked to refer to it . . . "An exchange of bodily fluids." He still had a hard time not laughing out loud when he would make that statement to some reporter in an interview. Oh, if they only knew!
There was a light knock on his door. He crossed the room quickly, not wanting another knock to wake his guest. He knew who was at the door, no one else would bother him this late at night, he glanced at his watch, or rather, this early in the morning. He was wearing only a pair of faded jeans; he hadn’t even bothered zipping or fastening them when he got out of bed earlier. Not wanting to give some maid an eyeful, he opened the door just a crack, to peer into the hallway, making sure it was who he thought it was, before opening the door a little farther. His best friend stood in the hallway, his long dark hair tousled like he had run his hands through it several times, his brown eyes looked sad. He motioned to Richie to come in, before he walked over and closed the door to the bedroom.
"What’s up, Buddy?" he asked his friend.
"Just talked to Heather," Richie answered softly, as he closed the hotel room door.
"Shit," he muttered, "what’s her problem now?"
"Hell, Jon," Richie said, shrugging, "what isn’t her problem?"
"Okay," he nodded, "what’s her problem tonight?"
"We’re still arguing over who’s going to get custody of Ava," Richie explained, "and when I told her I would be home for a few days between legs of the tour, and that I wanted to see my daughter, she told me that they had plans and that Ava wouldn’t have time for me. Can you believe that shit? My daughter not having time for me?"
"Rich," he said, "this will all be over soon. Just try to hang tough for your daughter. Surely, the judge will see the light and give you custody."
"Yeah, but what then?" Richie asked hoarsely. "How would I raise a little girl while we’re on the road?"
"Bring her with you," came the quick answer, "we can mind our manners, and you’ll get her a tutor for when she should be in school and a nanny to take care of her while you’re on stage. Or, heaven forbid, let her stay with her mother while you’re on the road."
Changing the subject, Richie jerked his head toward the closed bedroom door, "Another meal?"
"Keep your voice down," Jon cautioned quickly, softly, "she might hear you."
"What? You didn’t use all your powers . . . uh . . . I mean charms, to put her out for the night?" he asked, chuckling softly.
"Yeah," Jon answered, "but sometimes if their mind is strong they’ll wake up before they should."
"If it’s the blonde from the bar, her mind’s not that strong, she should be out ‘til next year," Richie laughed.
"It’s the blonde from the bar," Jon answered, trying not to laugh himself, "but mind your mouth, I’m a little fond of Jennifer, uh . . . " He paused, that didn’t sound right to him. He tried to remember her name. "Uh, Janice," another pause, "no wait, Janine. Yeah, that’s it, Janine."
Richie had started laughing softly as soon as Jon had paused over the woman’s name. "Are you sure?" he asked, still laughing.
Jon shook his head, laughing softly. "No, I’m not. Hopefully, I’ll remember it by morning."
"Speaking of morning," Richie said, turning serious, "you’re all set, right? You’ve got everything for when we leave out?"
"Rich, I’m 444 years old, I think I know how to put on a pair of sunglasses," Jon replied wryly. That was another myth about his kind. All vampires had light blue eyes, an icy pale blue that was very sensitive to light. It wasn’t that he couldn’t go out in the sun, it was just that doing so hurt his eyes. Thank goodness for the modern invention of sunglasses.
"Just checking," Richie said sheepishly. "I still haven’t forgotten Sydney."
Jon hadn’t forgotten Sydney either. They had been supposed to leave the hotel for the airport at 9am, but were running late as usual. He couldn’t find his sunglasses and decided a quick run to the van and he could sit with his eyes closed to the airport, everyone would just blame it on a hangover. But, it hadn’t been that simple, the quick run to the van had caused him unbearable pain and he had been blind for several hours afterward while his body repaired the damage the UV rays had done to his retinas. Richie had to do a whole hell of a lot of covering for him that day. Now, he always kept several spare pairs of sunglasses, and he guessed, so did Richie. "Don’t worry," he told his friend, "I’m good."
Richie nodded, and headed toward the door. "I guess I better go try and get some sleep, you should do the same."
"I’ll try," Jon answered, "but, I can’t hold the glamour in sleep. If she woke up before me . . . ," he left the sentence dangling. Richie knew what would happen if the woman woke up before Jon.
"You could just wake her up and send her on her way," Richie responded.
"Ah, I could," Jon smiled, "but then that wouldn’t be very gentlemanly of me now, would it?"
"Fuck gentlemanly," Richie said, "you need your sleep too."
"Yeah, but I don’t need as much as the rest of you, a couple of hours and I’ll be fine. I’ll try and catch a few winks on the plane."
Richie knew what that meant, he was going to have to do some covering for his buddy so that no one noticed he looked 25 when he slept. "Oh, shit, Jon," Richie said, as he remembered a problem with that scenario, "tomorrow’s when that reporter starts following us around for the article about the tour."
"Fuck," Jon swore violently, "I forgot, yeah, tomorrow’s the day the bird dog joins us. I guess I will have to try and get some sleep now. See ya in the morning, Bro," he told Richie.
"Yeah, see ya. G’night," Richie answered as he closed the hotel room door behind him.
With his friend gone, his thoughts drifted back to the woman in the bedroom. Gingerly, he opened the bedroom door. Yeah, Rich was right. She’ll be out ‘til next year. He laughed softly to himself as he grabbed a blanket from the bed and a pillow. He’d just catch a nap on the sofa.