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Bennett Holmes
Homeward Bound!
Sat Jun 3, 2006 23:38

“Psst… wakey wakey…”

Nnnrgh! Bennett groaned, batting at the hand which was currently poking him in the side. He hated flying. Cramped seats, bad meals – sometimes – and people stared like they were a plague. After the last year, it was driving him bloody insane!

But then the ding signaling that they needed to fasten their safety belts went off, so he actually had to sit up now. Scrubbing a hand through his hair, and letting lose with a jaw-cracking yawn, Benny managed to do what the flight attendant was saying over the speaker as they prepared for landing at LaGuardia. Home! It only took eight flipping months!

When Bennett had first signed on with Synchronicity, he hadn’t really thought of the potential ramifications involved with an up-and-coming band. Sometimes they were part of an unplugged set at a secreted location, and other times the three-person group had opened for big-name bands. By that time Benny had gotten over enough of his shyness to use his height to an advantage; at least then he wasn’t the only uncomfortable person around! Hmph.

Landing was a breeze as usual, and they were one of the first out of the plane. Supposedly there was a driver waiting to meet them, along with two security personnel borrowed from the airport. But he seriously could not imagine needing the guys; it wasn’t as if he couldn’t clear a path on his own. With his hand at the small of Lara’s back, guiding them along, they made decent timing through security and into the lobby. That was when he saw it. A flash, then little spots hovering in his vision, no matter how many times he blinked.

“Oh shit. Lara babe, lookit that.” Gesturing toward the locked door that they were eventually going to have to escape through were a few media types. Another was added to the bunch, and more flashes went off. That seriously did not look healthy. “Hey! Where’d we put that digi-cam?”

Rifling through their carry-on while their bags were fetched and tossed into the car waiting for them, Benny eventually found what he wanted. Then revenge was his! Seriously, this just had to be a case of sleep deprivation, because he began taking photographs of the media folk that were photographing them. Sticking his tongue out in between photos, he was eventually dragged off through the door.

Security concentrated on Lara, and he just snapped random photographs. But they were just as blurry eyed as he was during a concert, which had a delightful effect! A few jostled for position, even bumping into one another, but Lara was already further down the corridor, nearing the exit. Resisting the urge to giggle that was extremely tempting, Benny rushed off in that direction at a dead run. Last time he had tried something like this, security had killed all his fun. Then again that had been at a major venue, so they were all fuddy duddies. Pffbt!

Two security guards wearing the typical yellow polo shirts were waiting just outside the front doors next to a large Excursion that was apparently their ride. Jumping in through the open door, he slammed it shut. “Go go go!” Oh God, he was going straight to hell for this. “Here, have some pictures.” Finally giving in to the urge to giggle, Benny dropped the camera into Lara’s lap and glanced behind them. A few photographers had managed to make it out the door, but that was it. Woo!

The drive was spent quietly chatting with Lara, mainly concerning how they had to visit family and such. They hadn’t made it home from Christmas, and were going to have to make it up to everyone. Idly frowning, and giving the driver some directions before they got off the freeway, he chanced another glance back. Fifteen minutes had passed, surely the photogs would be gone by now, right?


“Look look look!” Pointing over his shoulder, Benny eyeballed one sedan that was keeping two car lengths behind them, but matching every single move. Every one. “Lara, I think someone has a crush on youuu!” Smirking, even when he got smacked in the shoulder for the comment, the oaf continued to watch them as they exited the expressway and headed towards the city. “Oooh, idea.” New directions were given, which caused the driver to bank a sharp turn onto a side street before racing off. Then their stalkers decided to blow the red light.

“Damn it! Where’s a cop when you need one?” Muttering to himself, he reached over the back seat to grab the luggage, before thinking better of it. It could be dropped off at Lara’s mom’s, or his father’s house. It’d only weigh him down – why did she have to bring her entire wardrobe, and buy another one while they were gone? The driver finally pulled down a quiet residential street, and came to a sharp halt before a good-sized house. The area was definitely familiar for Lara, but this wasn’t his brother’s home. “C’mon!”

Out the vehicle they went, bum-rushing the door before the photographer could harass Lara any more. Knock-knock-knock! Uhm. Ringy-ringy? Damn! Pound-pound-pound! Ooh, that got a response! A light-haired fellow cracked the door open, and then allowed them entrance just in the nick of time. The bastards had pulled up to the curb while the SUV pulled away.

“Oh man.” Huff-huff-puff. “Thanks Sean.” Taking a deep breath, Benny smirked at Lara. “Isn’t that the same bastard that got you in San Francisco?” By the look on her face, it definitely was. Maybe he really did have a crush on her! Too bad, mine! Oooh, how he loved thinking that, even if he couldn’t especially say it aloud. Then he finally saw it; Sean wearing his coat, John coming down the hall with one slung over his shoulder. “Er… Right. We’ll just skip through the backyard. Thanks!”

Off they went!

John let them out the back door without a word, and they were able to skip across the lawn with nary a soul knowing. If unless it was the neighbors. There was a fence between the two yards, but a gate was open in between them, allowing entrance to Caleb and Lucy’s property. The backyard hadn’t changed any since he last saw it, though the pool looked larger and more sunken into the ground. But the couple hurried up nonetheless, because it wouldn’t do either of them any good – especially Lara – to get caught sneaking around.

Humming to himself as he walked hand-in-hand with Lara up to the back door, which was blessedly open, Benny escorted her inside. It was just the mud room, which had some children’s spare toys in the corner, an extra car seat, and other things of that variety. What could he say; it practically fit Caleb like a glove. Though some days it felt like he knew Lucy better than his own brother. Maybe because she was a close age to him, he really didn’t know.

“Welcome back, you two. Come on in, I’m just getting James ready.” Bennett eyed the miniature version of Caleb in the father’s arms. That image definitely fit. Well, they followed, considering everything. What was the pair going to do, stand on the back porch there? Pffbt. “Want to come with?”

“With?” Benny queried.

“Where?” Lara was always more to the point.

“Just the Playhouse. Its going to be reopening to the public soon, auditions are today.” Oh, that was right. He vaguely remembered Dad mentioning something about that a while back during one obscure phone call or another. “It’s a good place to hide, anyhow. Better then letting the media camp out for you at John’s. Or here.” Wait, here? Caleb’s grin was a mite unnerving, especially when he pointed out the front blinds toward a slow-moving sedan. How the hell did he know all this shit?

“Uhm, sure?” Pausing, he glanced at Lara, then out the window. “Yes. Definitely yes.”

Benny never gave much thought to the popularity that Synchronicity was attaining beneath Lara’s knowledgeable management. Hell, he had tried not to get paid that first month, only to be two-timed by his family giving up his routing information to his bank account! After that, he had given in and just had fun; things went a great deal smoother then. Besides, what could he hate about hanging out with Lara all that time?

A half hour and they had managed to make it to the Playhouse unscathed, though at one point it involved Benny leaping over the backseat of Caleb’s Jeep into the back, and Lara ducking down. Mental note – Get plastic surgery so no one will ever recognize him again. That or invest in a shitload of sunglasses. Like boxes of them, more than some Hollywood starlet. Of course, he forgot himself and began snickering, which quickly turned into the ‘what are you laughing about?’ game. Hey, at least it kept them busy. And Caleb and Lucy rather amused, apparently.

That all changed inside though.

Once they set foot on that stage, the sound stopped. It wasn’t immediate, more gradual, but slowly people began to turn their heads and stare. A few went back to what they were doing, but the majority of the ragtag bunch that he remembered from post-show gatherings just… did not.

“Psst, I think they’re staring at your tits, Lara. I told you that you shouldn’t have gotten that job done out west!” Smack. “Ow!” Grinning, he stuck his tongue at the woman and rubbed his arm. Damn guitarists. Ouchie. Well, there had to be a place for them to hang out while auditions went on, so this couldn’t turn out too terribly.

Which happened to be with the baby, a couple of gay guys, and his brother and sister-in-law. Kicking back in his seat, Benny was more than happy to watch someone flub their lines and the like. Well, at least for a while, until he was forced to do something he wasn’t exactly fond of. Like getting up on that stage – had it always seemed so small? – and sing a part. Nerves would have killed him before this last tour, now he just… Eh.

“Why me?” That was a good question!

“Because you can sing. Get your ass up here, little man.” Belatedly, he realized Caleb’s not-so-subtle jab did exactly what was intended, and got him up on the stage. Damn. “I know you hate musicals.” Acutally… Well, since Lara had found out his dislike of them, she had done everything in her power to change his mind about it. Thus, it was a closely guarded secret that he actually liked this show. “Here, just sing Mark’s part. Nice and easy tenor, all right?” Sure, whatever.

Unfortunately – or maybe not – Bennett found himself actually getting into the reading. It was the devious grin from Lara, which was definitely not about a little baby gurgling happily, that made him realized he had really been set up. Oh shit, what had she told Caleb?! No, he was being unjustly paranoid. Right?

We’ll see…

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