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Lara Sorensen
Memories Pt 1
Sat Nov 18, 2006 23:42

Lara stared out of the tiny window, watching the glittering lights of New York slowly grow closer as the passenger jet sped across the last few miles of ocean. They should have been home two days ago. Two days! She closed her eyes for a moment, envisioning her mother climbing into the back of a rented limo and whisking herself to the airport. A private plan would ferry the normally vivacious woman to a friend’s retreat near Aspen, where she’d remain for seven days.

It was her way of mourning a dead lover.

Normally, Lara would accompany her and spend the week climbing trails only recently abandoned by skiers – or stay indoors if the winter was reluctant to give up its hold on Colorado, which was always a possibility.

“That’s great, man! We land in about twenty minutes … so I’ll hit up your place. Yeah, grabbing a case of something—damn right you supply the munchies.”

She turned to her left, watching Benny flip his phone closed, practically beaming like a 60 watt bulb. “Plans?”

“Yeah, we’re gonna meet up at Jason’s and get ourselves toasted.”

He sounded so gleeful that Lara rummaged up a smile from somewhere and patted his arm before returning her gaze to the night sky. Anything was better than watching the in-flight movie, some stupid 70’s show cum movie. Even worse, they’d accidently played a clip from an upcoming movie about the late, great Eddie Sorensen.

She’d really wanted to be in Aspen by now, away from the hoopla. Though, really, at times like this it was hard not to be a little grateful that her father hadn’t been John Lennon – though they’d known one another peripherally. Most musicians of a certain caliber did.

The plane tilted after a little while, carefully aimed at La Guardia airport. A piece of gum was rescued from her purse and methodically chewed on so her ears wouldn’t pop painfully as they descended from on high to a more plebian altitude. As always, Lara felt that little twinge of relief that she was home as the plane taxied down the runway without a hitch.

It felt like mere moments during disembarking, a hurried squeeze from Benny before he disappeared down the walkway to find his luggage and his friends. Sunglasses balanced halfway down her nose, pulling double duty to provide protection from the artificial light and curious passersby. Luckily, some A-list celebrity had arrived recently at a nearby gate and unknowingly added cover for her exit.

There was no doubt as to her destination once she’d located the suitcases carrying her gear. Taxis were plentiful this late at night, circling the airport like a pack of hyenas. Or sharks. Time didn’t seem to matter; the vehicle swerved through familiar streets while managing to avoid most of the traffic tangles engineered by ice and melting snow. And then she was standing in front of her mother’s apartment building while the doorman stood guard over her luggage until a bellhop could be found.

There was one more thing to do after barricading herself inside the almost-penthouse, suitcases waiting patiently to be unpacked at a later date. Lara sat on the edge of her bed, idly tugging boots and socks off while she waited for Benny to answer his phone.

Bennett Holmes …Sherlock…

He answered on the fifth ring, sounding buzzed.

“Hi, just me. Home safe and sound. I’ll call you tomorrow, ok?”

Suuuure thing, baby doll. There was the sound of drunken laughter in the background. Murmuring a good night, she gently pressed the ‘talk’ key and set the cell on a bedside table.

Baby doll?

At least he sounded comfortably relaxed, considering how serious he could be during rehearsals and concerts. And tours. They’d been on three continents in the last fourteen months, stopping home for a brief two weeks to ditch the tour buses and board a cruise ship for Europe. But at least tonight she’d sleep in her very own bed.

It was almost noon when she finally woke up, still wearing the slacks and blouse she’d donned in London just before the flight. For a moment it was nice to sprawl in bed and listen to the silence. Then, of course, the absolute stillness gave way to a ringing phone.

Sweetie, are you there? Amanda Sorensen’s voice floated out of the answering machine, hope and grief given equal billing. Lara was sliding out of bed before she knew it and hopping across carpet to reach the phone. It helped having one’s own private line.

“Mom. Here. Kind of awake.” She slurred into the receiver, leaning down to scratch an ankle.

Good, I was getting worried. You should have called me last night – I only knew you were home because Brad Pitt flew in at the same time that you did, Entertainment Tonight caught you on camera. Amanda sounded cross.

“I’m sorry, Mom. Passed out the moment I got here. Or a few moments after, anyway. Do you want me to book a flight out?” Hunger prompted her out of the bedroom and towards the kitchen, dodging an army of flower bouquets from different friends and relatives. Her mother had not been there for several days, judging by the varying degrees of dehydration.

Only if you want to, though I am always thrilled to see you. MTV is doing a tribute to your father tonight so they are setting up a live feed between here and Los Angeles.


“Oh … okay. I’ll call you tomorrow? Love you, mom.”

Keep your chin up, sweetie. I charged the other cell, so take both if you go out. Less chance of … Amanda coughed, a male voice murmured something in the background, words indistinct but soothing, Just stay safe, honey. I love you too.

Lara set the phone down on the counter and busied herself by toasting a bagel and smearing cream cheese liberally across both halves. Unlike most of the female singers currently scattered across the globe, she prided herself on having curves. Not the toned-until-plastic curves of Britney Spears, but the sort of figure that bespoke a love of food and the healthy exercise to go along with it. Soon she was settled on the sofa with bagel and a glass of orange juice, her cell lying next to them harmlessly.

For a few minutes longer she enjoyed the peace before the urge to turn on CNN hit and she scrounged around for the remote, finding it halfway beneath the sofa. Settling back on plump cushions, the recent vagabond began flipping through channels until she found one of the twenty four hour news channels that kept her marginally informed while on tour.

Easier to watch CNN then try and puzzle out a Greek magazine.

… And right after this break, we’ll take you live to Laramie, Wyoming, where a large crowd of fans have gathered to pay homage to Eddie Sorensen, co-founder of the rock band Checkmate. Today is the tenth anniversary of his tragic death at age forty-three of complications due to an overdose of…

Lara stared at the anchorwoman, some svelte blonde in a red outfit, lips pressing together as the station broke away to announce the tribute later that evening. Commercials flew past, largely ignored, until a live video feed panned across the lovingly tended gravestone set amidst the wide open spaces of her father’s hometown. His grave sat next to her grandparents, each of the markers cut by a local stone mason.

She’d been named after that town.

It hit her in the gut, then, that a whole decade had passed since the state trooper had stood on their porch, hat in hand, to let a wife and daughter know that one of rock’s enduring talents had …had …

Lara barely made it to the bathroom before heaving up the few bites she’d taken. The chill of porcelin brought a little clarity. Benny would make her feel better, right? It took about five minutes to toddle back to the living room, but she made herself curl up on the sofa and switch the channel to some inane comedy while she dialed her boyfriend’s cell.

Twice. There was no answer. Both calls were ended with a quiet ‘call me when you get this, ok?’ before she made herself take a nap. And then she called a few more times, with the same result, and a second long nap. The jet lag helped, lulling her into a hazy state of awareness until evening finally descended on Manhattan. The apartment jarred in its silence, instead of providing relief.

Lara gave up the fight and forced herself into the shower, washing travel-gritty hair twice before towel drying the dark mass and tossing on jeans that rode low across the hips (mainly because they were the first clean pants she came across) and a plain black turtleneck.

Urban disguise.

By seven o’clock she was packing her mother’s extra phone, and had left another message for Benny with the new number and a tiny canister of pepper spray dangling from her keychain.

This was New York, after all. A taxi deposited her in front of the Russian Tea Room, and it took very little to get her inside past a line of natives and tourists. But her solitary dinner took only an hour and a half; only one person aside from the twittering waiter approached, and he was a friend of her mother’s offering condolences.

Lara had three glasses of red wine before paying her bill. Another cab took her to a dance club owned by a couple of Hollywood celebs, but neither were currently in residence. It was a bad miscalculation on her part, thanks to the paparazzi gathered outside in hopes of attaining that million dollar picture.

Thankfully, one of the bouncers got her inside before more than twenty photos were snapped, but the damage had already been done – as the saying went. She had no doubt that her face would be plastered across the tabloids by the weekend. Probably online within twenty-four hours. And the newspapers …. Morning edition on the east coast.


A hundred dollars got her an exit through the kitchen and out onto a side street, the same bouncer escorted her to the well-lit corner before returning to his job, fifty bucks richer. Lara wasn’t going to count the autograph since it might turn up on eBay.

Strangers swept by, gently nudging her in the direction of a Starbucks. The singer blinked, moving along with the crowd until it merged with a veritable mob in Times Square. People were milling, at least half looking up at the giant screen.

Goodnight my angel now it's time to dream
And dream how wonderful your life will be
Someday your child will cry and if you sing this lullaby
Then in your heart there will always be a part of me

The video was old. Her father had written the song for her when she was a child, not that the general public knew that, and he’d sung it at every concert up to his death. Lara whirled around, shoving passed people until she reached the Starbucks and ducked inside just as the first tear hurled itself down a cold cheek.

A glance over her shoulder provided the oddly macabre, and giant, view of Eddie Sorensen singing to Lara’s eleven year old self, just two and a half years before …

The tears were beginning to flow freely now, and she grabbed a couple of napkins to staunch the treacherous moisture before someone saw—

“Oh, you dear girl.” An old lady noticed first, nudging her husband before teetering over. “Felix, hold my purse, please. She needs a hug.” And so it started, a trip to bizarre world from the senior citizen who mistakenly assumed that she’d just been dumped by a boyfriend, to the employee who brought over a glass of water, to the crowd of teenagers that came in, saw her crying and recognized the ‘chick from the video’.

Lara was getting seriously claustrophobic, breathe hitching in panic. “Look, please … a cof-coffee …can I just get…” She was beginning to hiccup, voice wavering between notbreaking down into a full-blown sobbing fit and fending off the chatter that seemed to come from everywhere at once.

“Lara.” The voice was quiet and assured, barely a hint of hesitation. The man stepped easily through the crowd, his features dark and masculine, and vaguely similar to Benny’s. In one move, he slung an arm around her shoulders and was out of the store in just five steps, with her pressed against his side. They walked a good block like that, until the crowd thinned out a little bit. He stepped away immediately and offered her the remains of a mocha latte.

“You are Lara, right? Bennett’s friend.”

It was only an instant, but during that brief moment, she began to hope that Benny had at least sent someone to find her. But the hope was dashed before she even had a chance to stop hiccupping, though the coffee helped on that front.

“Nigel Holmes. If you’ll permit me a brash statement, you look like hell.”

Well, at least Benny’s brother was forthright.

“Yeah, well, it’s been a hell of a day.”

[* lyrics by Billy Joel]

    • Memories Pt 2Lara Sorensen, Sun Nov 19 00:11
      “Why is that?” He quirked a brow, much like a Vulcan. “Sorry, probably too personal a question.” Lara stared at him. “Because … my dad died today.” Another hiccup, they were slowing down now. “Well,... more
      • Nights in Trench Coats Pt 1Nigel Holmes, Sun Nov 19 14:43
        “Professor Holmes!” … Not again! Nigel hunched his shoulders, as if that were actually going to make him smaller in this instance. Already students had been harassing him on campus. His office hours... more
        • Nights in Trench Coats Pt 2Nigel Holmes, Sun Nov 19 14:43
          He wouldn’t have minded being able to curl up in bed – er, on the sofa at least – but there was a stack of papers waiting on the desk to be read through. At least it wasn’t for a graduate class, by... more
          • Knights in Blue DenimLara, Sun Nov 19 22:20
            One minute she was practically dead to world. The next, mere seconds after a foot slid away from the cocoon of warmth and encountered the chill of an early New York morning, Lara awoke with a... more
            • Red Leather WoesNigel Holmes, Mon Nov 27 01:16
              “See, I really should have taken the couch last night. C’mere.” Nigel stared at the woman that was the very epitome of an abomination before his eyes. First he received a compliment on his cooking –... more
              • Tea Totaling Pt 1Laramie, Wed Dec 13 00:40
                It was sitting on her pillow. The rose bore a black satin ribbon just below the leaves. The crimson silk of her sheets were barely a shade darker than the petals, allowing the note beneath the flower ... more
                • Tea Totaling Pt 2Laramie, Wed Dec 13 00:42
                  Nevertheless, she eased herself into the off-white sleeveless gown, and ignored the suspicion that she looked more like Mae West than the character she'd be portraying. At least Jay wouldn't be... more
                  • Crash & BurnHolmes, Sun Dec 17 10:18
                    “Lucifer, where’s the large suitcase?” “Back of the closet, top shelf!” Caleb scraped a hand over the daily growth of beard he somehow hadn’t managed to shave this morning. It had been early, very... more
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