The third entry to the second round of the already infamous search term challenge, following a media-hounded relationship.
If you are the author – or know or guess who the author is – hold your tongue; this post will be updated with author details after the challenge is over. If you want to enter, remember that submissions are due Sunday!
Voting has closed, so I can now reveal the author of this entry: Tama Wise.
“Girl, I can’t even believe you. I mean with all the shit you put up with from that man. If you can even call him a man.”
Zadie chuckled, cradling the phone between her ear and shoulder. The speaker-phone had given up the ghost months ago, and right now, she needed her hands for more important things. The kitchen was a carefully controlled tornado of ingredients, dishes and pots. About her was everything she needed to work her magic. That and her laptop, carefully poised between the mess.
“Ok, so maybe he’s not as much a man as Quentin,” Zadie remarked, mixing flour and milk. She tried to brush an errant hair out of her face, where it had escaped from being tied up in a topknot. “But I sort of like his style.”
“Oh, you just a freak.”
“Which one of us started off our music life as a groupie, Lah?” asked Zadie. She smiled, mixing quick and steady. She was all too ready to go there if she had to.
“And which of us always said that rule number one was never getting with a band member?”
Zadie smiled again, glancing over at the microwave as she heard it beeped to a stop. Bowl and wooden spoon down, she pulled out the gently melted chocolate, adding it to the mix. Across her sparce, but generously appointed apartment, she caught glance of herself. It took her a moment to recall the tight, red leather dress she was wearing there on the entertainment show, nothing like the sweats and game jersey she was wearing now.
“Well,” Zadie remarked, folding the chocolate into the mix. “Given what Jacob’s doing with the drummer half the time, I figure that rule number one has been broken a few times over already, Lah.”
“I just don’t want to see you getting hurt, girl.”
“There’s nothing to worry about,” she replied. Zadie watched herself on television a moment. She remembered now that they were showing an incident a week back or so. She gave a wicked grin when she caught herself swinging and decking the reporter who had got a little too close, a little too hands on. “It’s just a bit of harmless fun. I like him. But it’s nothing like that.”
“Uh huh. How many times have I heard that before, girl? And what is this now? Fourth new guitarist?”
Zadie was distracted a moment, as she mixed and watched television. She didn’t recognise what was coming up now. It looked serious. “Second guitarist, second trumpet player.”
“Well, way I hear it, Jacob sure likes blowing trumpet a lot for someone on lead guitar … oh, you watching Entertainment Now? What the hell?”
“Sure. I’ll get back to you, Lah.”
“Tell me how tomorrow goes.”
“Sure,” Zadie said. She fished up the remote and rung off, dropping the phone back into the cradle, while gunning up the volume on the television. She took the bowl with her as she mixed, her attention fixed on the TV.
“… next week. The Repocussions Band hasn’t yet replied to the incident, and band leader Zadie Delanski hasn’t yet been able to be reached for comment. Entertainment Now reporter Simon Jackson is said to be considering further legal action, despite initially having not pressed charges for the assualt …”
Zadie was distracted by the doorbell, dumping the remote finally on the vast leather couch. Jacob wasn’t due for another half hour, but there was always the chance that he might actually turn up early one day. She opened the door on the tall, powerfully built courier, blissfully distracted a moment, before she realized he was thrusting a package at her. The labels on it reported it cross-town, same hour. She smiled warmly, enjoying the guys chocolate grin as she signed for the box.
“From the band, right?”
“Yeah,” she replied, handing the board back. “But you might need to come up with something a little more original if that’s the start of you hitting on me.”
“Oh nah, I just know you from my girlfriend,” he said. Zadie didn’t mind that silky smooth voice. “She’s got all your guys CDs. Even the Japanese special releases.”
Zadie chuckled warmly. Maybe she’d misread him. She took the box from where she had tucked it under her arm, smiling passed the courier as she saw Jacob swaggering down the corridor. She’d learned quickly enough not to judge him on his short, scrawny appearance. It hadn’t taken much longer to find out what lay under those sagging, off-the-rack new urban clothes. Jacob shon one of those darling Asian smiles of his, watching after the courier as he left.
“Who was that?”
“No one you should be jumping,” Zadie warned, doing her best to tuck the box behind her. She headed back into the kitchen and put it down with the pots.
“You takin’ parcels? What you got for me?”
Zadie laughed, stepping back towards Jacob as he came into the kitchen. She took him in her arms and kissed him before he got a chance to look at the laptop. The website was still up; ‘How to make a male body part cake’, right down to the webpage she had just called in an order of the mold from. She guided him back a few steps.
“Why don’t you go get changed, and then we can go out. I’ve been waiting for this surprise all day.”
That was enough to distract Jacob from her plans. He grinned as he swaggered off to the bedroom, with a look like he was half expecting her to follow.
* * *
Zadie had thought about wearing the red leather dress that she had seen herself wearing on Entertainment Now, but had finally settled on something a little more lacey. She could afford to dress in Jacob’s old left overs at home, but outside, she had an image to maintain. Any sort of exposure was good exposure in the rock business, and exposure what was this particular outfit was all about.
Tonight was her and Jacob’s night, but no sense in not letting the media hounds get a little of what they wanted.
Jacob came about to her door, and opened it, just like the gentleman that only she knew. She’d already visited the parents that raised the kid that the music world didn’t get to see. Occasionally, he let his sensible side show, but only for a moment. He played as much the part of the out of control rock star for the cameras as well. When he wasn’t out here, or with Zadie, he was relaxing at home with the bands drummer.
The cameras flashed like explosions of light about them as they headed to the restaurant. Zadie tried to ignore them, tried not to let them get her in the same hard mood that they had that night. Tonight was all about fun. As much as she already knew what Jacob had in stall for her, she wanted to act like she had no clue.
“So, you just wait,” Jacob said. “I got us a place picked out. Your favourite place too.”
Zadie hadn’t the heart to correct him as they swept into Leguamo’s. Everyone was smiles and happy words, all slightly put on and faked expressions that Zadie was smart to, and knew that Jacob missed. The short Asian had a quiet word with the owner, as Zadie headed to ‘her favourite table’. She could still see the reporters outside, circling like vultures. She vaguely considered maybe this wasn’t such a cool idea, so close to the windows.
“So I got you a lil something,” remarked Jacob. He passed the small package across the table to her as he sat down.
“Isn’t this a little against tradition?” she asked, but Jacob just shook his head, interupted her before she had a chance to saw anything more.
“I saw it and wanted to get it for you. I mean, I know how much you like this sorta thing, girl.”
Zadie tore open the zebra striped paper, assualted by the bright color beneath, the strange sensation of the fabric. She let the paper fall aside as she held up the garment for closer inspection. Bless Jacob’s taste in all things related to girls. She considered that he really might be the boy that Lah always said he was. She wasn’t sure if it was a skirt or a rather wide belt.
“Yeah, it’s called a peasent skirt. Least that’s what the girl in the shop called it. Saw that color and figured that you would like it. I know how it’s your favourite color.”
“Blue, yeah,” she gave an honest smile. He didn’t have the same sharp sense of style as her, but it was a kind gesture. Zadie wasn’t going to let that go to waste.
“Periwinkle!” he replied. Zadie folded it and set it carefully aside. She’d certainly find some occasion to wear it. It was almost more revealing than her lacey outfit.
“A periwinkle peasent skirt. Thanks, Jacob. I mean it.”
“Ain’t nothin’, girl. Figured I’d give you a present to go with dinner.”
Zadie tried to relax, but couldn’t help but notice the flashes of the cameras outside. Jacob tapped her on the arm and pointed across the restuarant. She realized that the waiter was standing there patiently. Jacob stood up, pushing his chair out, grinning like a kid.
“Oh, no. You’re not serious,” Zadie said, when she worked out what he meant to do. Jacob was already gathering her, looping an arm through hers.
“Why not? I mean, how can you go to a seafood place without tryin’ the lobster.”
“I told you last time that I don’t like the idea of picking them out live though,” replied Zadie. She looked at the full tank, swimming with the poor little devils. As much as she liked lobster, this was enough to turn her off. “Don’t you think it’s a bit inhumane?”
“It’s only inhumane if they are humans, girl. I’ll pick out yours for you then.”
Zadie had to smile at his youthful enthusiasm. It had to be one of the things she liked about him so much, that and his almost endless stamina. She watched as he pushed up the sleeve of his puff-jacket and dunked his hand straight in.
“Use the tong at least!”
Jacob snagged one like a seasoned pro, and pulled it out, streaming water onto the carpet. He chuckled and wiggled the still writhing thing towards her face, laughing. She backed off a little, enjoying it all the same, forgetting about the fact that the thing was going to end up in the pot in a matter of moments. Zadie got her hand up to wave the damn thing off. Right about the time that it latched on her nipple, straight thought the lacey number. Zadie let out a shreak, batting the thing to the floor.
The camera’s were still flashing quick and fast, all the while.
* * *
“Well of course it ruined the night,” Zadie snorted. She was putting the final touches on her masterpiece, spreading the icing thick and even with a knife. She kept the phone cradled hard between her ear and shoulder as she worked. “What the fuck do you think?”
“Girl, you should have seen the coverage, it was all over the news. I know you say any publicity is good publicity, but damn if that ain’t some strange publicity.”
Zadie just let out a light grunt. She gathered up the last of the icing, and started to spread it out. She didn’t bother answering, but the silence was quickly too much for Lah.
“Did you even know there was a video camera out there?”
“At least it didn’t have Simon any where near by,” Zadie sighed. “Half expected him to come out for the evening. Might have even been a good thing. Maybe I could have given him something to really press charges over. I’m ignoring the fact he harrassed me!”
“Don’t even let that bother you, girl. All you should be worried about is Jacob. I saw how he was. The camera’s had some pretty full coverage of you shouting at him like that.”
Zadie moaned, putting the knife down. Her masterpiece was as good as finished. She hope it tasted half as good as it looked. She shook her head and took the phone in her hand, now she had the hand free.
“You know I don’t mean to inflict pain to Jacob.”
“Inflict pain on, you mean,” came the reply. “And I think you probably hurt him well enough, the look on his face.”
“Ok, so maybe I shouldn’t have cussed him out. It’s just sometimes when you have the pressure of the cameras on you twenty four seven … I just got stressed out, that’s all.”
Zadie looked down at the cake for a moment. Sure, everything they did together was harmless fun, but then maybe if she was worried this much about things, it was a little more serious. She didn’t want to hear Lah start pulling her on her track record with band members. She checked the clock, and hoped that maybe Jacob might continue with his habit of turning up early, even after last night.
“Anyway, I’ve got a cake to finish.”
“Don’t run away from me, girl.”
“I’m not!” Zadie lied, making her excuses. “I’ve got a cake to finish, and Jacob’s going to be here soon anyway.”
“Sure. Well, call me back. I want photos of that damn thing. I can’t think of a more perverted thing anyway.”
Zadie smiled and hung up, as she heard the door open. Jacob was looking a little more somber, but soon cheered when she smiled good natured at him. No harm, no foul. This time, she didn’t bother hiding what she was doing in the kitchen. It only added to letting Jacob forget how she had acted last night. The whole thing seemed stupid enough.
“Holy fuckin’ hell, girl,” Jacob said, joining her in her arms. He was still staring at her creation on the kitchen bench. “That’s a cake shaped like a –”
“Uh huh,” replied Zadie, with a wry smile. “Now you get to have it and eat it too. Happy birthday, Jacob. Might have to give you a little something else to make up for last night, though.”
Jacob laughed, and kept looking at the cake. “Girl, you know me too well. Best of both worlds …”