Piers pouted. Chris had obviously forgotten, he’d gone out for his morning run without saying a word, so there was nothing else for it. He pointed Cristobal towards Williamsport and headed for some comfort shopping. He caressed the steering wheel of his beloved El Camino and sighed. “Just you and me Babe, just you and me.”
Piers’ last stop, and the longest, was at his favorite shop of all in town; Don’s Musical Emporium.
The owner, and former local country star, Don, walked over as soon as Piers entered.
“Well, well, howdy stranger! I haven’t seen you in these parts for what, six months?”
“Heh, heh. Hi Don. Yeah, been kinda’ busy this last year.”
“Saving the world with Chris again, I suppose?”
Piers blushed. “Um, something like that. You know we can’t talk about it.”
“It don’t stop me asking. And saying thank you, for whatever you’ve done for us all that you, uh, can’t talk about.” Don tapped his nose and winked conspiratorially. “So young man, what can I get you today?”
“Er, well, I’m a bit out of touch with the country scene just now. You know my tastes, anything you can recommend?”
“Hmm, let me think, this guy’s doing well right now. Michael Ray. He’s from Florida somewheres, but he sings and writes just like he was from Nashville itself. He’s already caught the attention of Rolling Stone.”
“Sounds cool, better start a basket. Now, anyone else … ?”
Piers arrived back at the Deuce of Hearts with an armful of CD’s. He knew he could stream a lot of his music, but he liked to read the sleeve notes, front and back. Plus there was his neatly ordered CD collection to tend and grow. Sorted alphabetically, A to Z, then in date order, studio recordings first, followed by live, then singles. He sat down to listen.
When Chris came in from his shower a short while later, he found Piers apparently lost in the music. Headphones on, eyes closed. Knowing better than to disturb his Ace whilst he was so focussed, he quietly picked up the empty CD case lying on the coffee table.
But Piers wasn’t totally lost, despite appearances. Ever alert, his senses caught the heady scent now in the room. The citrus of Reaction, the musk of Bear. Piers opened his hazel eyes. Chris was busy scrutinizing the CD case.
“Who’s this?” Chris asked, seeing Piers gazing at him now.
Piers took off his headphones. “Uh, Michael Ray.”
“Um, I hadn’t noticed.”
“Yeah, right! Nice tats though.”
“Chris, I don’t choose them for their looks.”
“Ha! This one could be a model.” Chris peered at the cover picture more closely. “Not so sure about the earrings though. You know, you could have been a country singer Ace. With your looks, you still could.”
“I don’t have tattoos or earrings! Besides, my singing voice isn’t deep enough.”
“How low can you go?” Chris growled.“
"See? Your’s is perfect. And you play guitar. Now you would have made a great country singer.”
“Don’t you have to be straight?”
“Anywho, I’m no good with words. I couldn’t write a country song for salt water taffy! You, on the other hand, are very good with words. We’d make a great team, you and me.”
“We are a team!”
“A country and western team I mean. I’d be the cute, model singer and you’d be the hot songwriter.”
“You’d sing my songs?”
“Ok then. Using your best country voice, repeat after me …”
“Yeah, off the top of my head.”
“I’m just getting a beat in my mind.”
“A bleat? It sounded like sheep. Ha, ha, ha!”
“Very funny. Bear with me Bear. Baaa-da-da-Baaa …
I’m so sorry Babe,
It must have slipped my mind.
Today is Valentines Day,
How come I was so blind?
No chocolates, no roses,
I know I’ve been unkind.
But I’ll make it up, I promise,
If I only could rewind …”
“Ha! You sound just like Justin Timberland.”
“Yeah, him too … Er, hang on! Valentines Day?”
“Yes, February the 14th, just like every year.”
“I’m so sorry Piers, it, er, it must have slipped my mind.”
“Heh, heh, that’s copyright infringement.”
“You got me Ace. How can I ever make it up to you?”
“How about a duet?”
“Ok, you start.”
“Pardon … Oh, you mean as in Grrrr?”
“Yup, it takes two. That’s a duet in my book.”
“Ok, but who’s gonna’ sing the high notes?”
“Oh, you’ll find a way.”
“Me? But I thought …”
Piers smirked wickedly, then blew on his hands to warm them.
“… Ah, I see, gulp.”
“Captain Chris Redfield, country’s first counter-tenor, Mwhahaha!”
“Um, can’t we just do chocolates and roses for now?”
“Later, if you can still walk …”