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Whether your reading fancy is paranormal, historical or time travel, all her stories capture the rich array of emotions that accompany the most fabulous human phenomena--falling in love.
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Two Worlds Collided
By Karen Michelle Nutt
CreateSpace Independent Publishing PlatformCopyright © 2016 Karen Michelle Nutt
All rights reserved.
Los Angeles, September 2007
Evie Reid, the president of the Civilized Heathens fan club slid into the booth at the local coffee shop where two of her close friends and members of the fan club were already seated. They had ordered coffee and pie it appeared, and since only crust was left on their plate, they'd been here a while.
Today had started out taxing and never improved. First, her alarm didn't go off and she missed her yoga practice and three of the nurses, she worked with at the Senior Living Facility, called in sick. It was like the universe was telling her go back to bed and start over fresh tomorrow.
On the other hand, the plans, for the gala set for next week, were coming along wonderfully.
Tribute bands were auditioning for the live performance, and Leon Green, the keyboard player of the original band, confirmed he would make a special appearance.
This year marked the tenth anniversary of Bellamy Lovel's death, the lead singer and songwriter of the band, who died too young, a tragic death where he took his own life. Millions mourned, still mourned for the vibrant and sometimes wild man who could light up the stage with just his presence, but then add his sultry voice to the mix and he had the audience mesmerized.
"Hey, Evie," Lisa Blaine paused long enough to greet her then continued relaying another story about how her mother didn't understand her. Lisa, a twenty-four, leggy blonde still lived at home with her parents, while she tried to figure out what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. She enrolled at the community college for the third year in a row, but with no plans to stick it out past the first semester. Seemingly, upset over something her mother had said to her earlier in the day, Lisa tossed her long strands of hair over her shoulder in an exaggerated huff of frustration and it fell like a waterfall of silk.
Evie sighed. She would kill for those straight strands to her unruly reddish-brown tresses she kept knotted at the base of her neck. Evie was average height with a curvy body. Her eyes were hazel, but one was tinted with a splash of baby blue. The mismatch colors made people unsure what eye to concentrate on when they talked to her. Her hand pushed her glasses back on the bridge of her nose. She had contacts but preferred her glasses when she was in a hurry.
"You're late," Kelsey Parish announced as if Evie didn't already know this.
"Sorry," she told her. "Had trouble leaving work. Short staffed today."
Kelsey was the same age as she was, thirty-four and had lived in Louisiana until she was ten when her Haitian mother uprooted her and her sister to drive across country to California, following a boyfriend who ended up being bad news. Kelsey never knew her Irish father, who had skipped town once he learned he was about to become a dad for the second time. With flawless caramel colored skin, black hair that she cut asymmetrical and straightened, and amber colored eyes that added to the mystery of her exotic looks, it would seem she inherited the best features from both of her parents.
She and Kelsey had been good friends since they were in college when they roomed together.
Both struggled to complete nursing school while working part time at a restaurant that made them wear tight shirts and skimpy shorts, but the tips were good. To blow off steam, some nights they would crank up the stereo, drink wine and listen to Civilized Heathens into the wee hours of the night.
Now, Kelsey was an ER nurse in a downtown Los Angeles hospital. She worked crappy long hours and had to deal with degenerates who played with knives and guns like they were cowboys out in the old west. However, she claimed she loved every minute of working there. Personally, Evie thought she was crazy, but if anyone could handle the criminal element that walked through the hospital's doors, Kelsey could do it.
This unique woman had a heart of gold that most overlooked because of her brass ways. With her free time, she helped organize the events for the fan club, showed up when they needed extra help, even if it only entailed setting up tables or making necessary phone calls for an upcoming event. Generous too. She donated money, treated the members to coffee or volunteered to pick up people if they didn't have a ride to the monthly meet-ups or to the special events.
"You're obsessed," Lisa reenacted the tiff she had with her mother. "This is what my Mom tells me as I'm leaving the house this morning. Isn't that what being in a fan club is all about?" She threw up her hands. "We can't get enough!"
Evie agreed. It was a fan club after all. She didn't know how to explain her obsession anymore than Lisa could to her mother. Civilized Heathens, the rock band of the late 80s and 90s, mesmerized her. The music moved her, the lyrics were poetic, and the lead singer, Bellamy Lovel, with his long curly hair and striking blue eyes, lit up the screen with his energetic presence on stage. The combo proved to be the fascination that still drew people to the fan site they created last year on the ever-popular forum, launched by Harvard University students.
Millions, who hadn't had the chance to see Bellamy Lovel perform when he was alive, could now live vicariously through the videos loaded on the site by the fans. Gotta love technology.
"'Isn't he dead'?" Lisa mimicked her mother in a whiny voice. "As if she doesn't already know the answer. "'You need help', she says. 'You're in love with a dead man'."
"Don't listen to your mother," Kelsey told her. "Of course you're obsessed, we all are. You're right. It wouldn't be a fan club otherwise."
"I just wish ..." Lisa sighed, "I wish there could have been some way to save him, you know."
She absentmindedly played with the spoon in front of her before placing it on the napkin once again. "I took a picture with him once. Still have it in a frame on my dresser. Of course, my mother gives me a whole lot of grief about it, 'Unless you can time travel and change his past, you best forget about him and stop wasting your time with the fan club. If you put as much time as you do with that damn fan club, you'd have finished school by now. Why can't you be more like your sister?' Jeez, I'm trying to find what I want to do. I can't help it if nothing interests me enough to choose a major." She rolled her eyes. "Anyway, fans have been adding their stories on the site about the first time they saw Bellamy perform and where. There's also interesting stories about mementos fans have kept. Someone has a napkin Bellamy doodled on, and another posted they have a lock of his hair."
"Makes me wonder how they managed that?" Kelsey said.
"Right?" Lisa agreed. "Like to see it though."
"Did I ever tell you guys, I was approached to be Bellamy's private assistant on that last tour?"
"What?" both Lisa and Kelsey said in unison as they stared at her.
"As long as we've been friends," Kelsey said, "you left that little tidbit out. What gives?"
"Yeah, what gives?" Lisa repeated. "'Cause, I would have remembered if you had said something like that. Do tell." She leaned her elbows on the table and rested her chin in her hand.
"There's not much to tell. I didn't take the job, obviously, but I had my reasons." She chewed on her lower lip as the memory of that reason came to mind.
"We're listening." Kelsey leveled her gaze at her, daring her to refuse to continue.
She shifted her weight. She'd bet Kelsey perfected that look while working in the ER. Anyone would be hard pressed to refuse her demands. "You know my brother was Civilized Heathens'
photographer and cameraman for promotional purposes."
Lisa nodded. "Your brother's work is fantastic."
"The band wanted someone with a low profile to be Bellamy's assistant while they conducted interviews and other promo events before the tour began, and preferably someone with a nursing degree. Bellamy at the time had been in rehab," she reminded them since there weren't too many secrets involving the last months of the singer's life, they would have read the same articles she had. "But he hadn't completed the program, and because it had been a voluntary stay, he checked himself out early. The band knew he was unpredictable, and wanted someone to keep him on schedule."
"They wanted a babysitter," Kelsey added what Evie hadn't said.
"I've always felt guilty I didn't take the job." She shrugged. "Might not have been able to do anything to stop him in the end, but ... I suppose we'll never know."
"Out of curiosity," Kelsey asked, "why didn't you take the job?"
Only her brother knew her reasons, but she guessed it didn't matter now. "I've been a big fan of Civilized Heathens since the 80s."
"Of course," Lisa said with a nod. "I dig those 80s songs." Lisa would have been four-years-old when their single, 'Go For It' reached number one on the pop rock charts, and only fourteen when Bellamy Lovel died.
"I was banned from Civilized Heathens' concerts. Told by security if they ever saw me at one again, they'd have me arrested."
"Omigod, you?" Lisa asked. "You? Calm, collected bookworm that you are, how in the world did you manage to piss off the band?"
"It was all a misunderstanding, really." She shrugged. "And I realize it had only been a scare tactic on their part, but I was embarrassed. When I was offered the job, I was scared they'd remember the incident. At the time, it seemed it would be the end of the world if they did."
As she told the story, she thought back to the 1987 concert at the small venue in Orange, where the host stamped the patron's hands with a red circle if they happened to be underage and couldn't be served alcohol. Funny, the band members were all underage. She'd been fourteen at the time, skinny, no boobs and she'd just had her braces put on, not one of her finer years in the looks department. Her brother, three years her senior, had taken her to the concert after she begged him and then threatened she'd tell their parents about the girls he would sneak into his bedroom. He finally relented.
She stood right at the stage, where all the other teenage girls were huddled. Most of them were a few years older than she was, more developed and most likely would catch Bellamy's eye before he'd ever glance in her direction, but she didn't care. She was in heaven.
The eighteen-year-old Bellamy knew how to play to the audience even back then. He leaned down and shook hands with the screaming girls at the stage, her included. She hadn't meant to hold onto him so tightly nor did she mean to yank him toward her, but he lost his footing. Thank goodness he was agile and shifted his fall to land on his feet in front of her as he steadied them both, but the crowd pushed forward trying to reach him. She was crushed against his chest and his necklace tangled itself in her hair.
Luckily, security came to the rescue and quickly lifted Bellamy back onto the stage and to safety, but his necklace didn't make the transition and was torn from his neck.
"Wow, that was close," Bellamy said from the stage. "Babe, maybe later?" he winked at her.
He actually winked and her mouth started to hurt from the wide grin she wore. He continued to belt out the song as if nothing had happened, but her world had tilted on its axis. She gripped the necklace that happened to be a bonelike carved hippocampus, a mystical sea beast with a head of a horse and a tail of a fish. She had to give it back to him. She knew this. He hadn't meant for her to have it. Her darn frizzy hair.
"I don't have backstage passes," her brother told her. He had yet to become their photographer and cameraman for the band, and it had been a few years since Clark and he'd hung out together. Clark's parents had divorced when he was in the tenth grade and he'd moved to live with his mother in Irvine.
"But we know Clark," she insisted.
"I know Clark, but he probably won't even remember you. Just keep the necklace."
But did she listen to his advice? No, of course not. When his back was turned, she tried to sneak backstage. She spotted Bellamy and yelled to him with a wave. He glanced her way, but the security guards stepped in front of her, stopping her from reaching him and hauled her off and told her they had her photo on record. If she showed her face at another concert, she'd be arrested.
"Humiliated, I ran off to find Bryce," she told Kelsey and Lisa as she came to the end of her story. "Never saw him so pissed, and had to hear about it all the way home."
Lisa was still chuckling as she reached for her soda. "Now that is a story you should be telling.
It's hilarious. I can't believe you've been holding out on us, Evie." Lisa gave Kelsey a sideways glance with the straw still in her mouth as she spoke. "You've been awfully quiet. What gives?"
Evie glanced at Kelsey, who eyed her with a strange glint in her eye.
"Yours and Bellamy's paths have crossed a few times," Kelsey said with some thought, not really a question, but as if she were thinking out loud. "It could work." She slammed her fist on the table.
"Jesus, Kelsey," Lisa said with a start. "What's with the theatrics?"
"Only the solution." Her lips curved wide as she glanced at Lisa. "You gave me the idea. Never thought to implement such a thing, but you, my friend," she leaned across the table then and reached for Evie's hand, "are the key to this. Please tell me you still have the necklace Bellamy gave you."
"He didn't give it to me."
She waved her off and sat back in her seat. "No matter the rhyme or reasons, do you have a possession of Bellamy Lovel's or not?
"Yes, of course, but–"
"Then it can be done. I'll have to check my mother's book and ..." Kelsey once claimed her mother's family practiced voodoo or was it hoodoo? Evie was never quite clear which it was.
"What are you babbling on about?" Lisa interrupted.
Those large amber eyes widened with excitement. "Time travel, my lovelies. We're going to send Evie back in time to save Bellamy Lovel." She rose from her seat and grabbed her purse. "Meet me back at your place," she said to Evie and hurried away as if contemplating time travel was a normal everyday conversation.
"Is she on something?" Lisa asked. "Because that was just crazy talk."
"I have no idea." She chuckled. "I guess I'm heading back to my place. I'll talk to her then."
"I'll go with you. I have the life-size cutout of Lovel in my car. Charged it to my credit card.
Wait 'til you see it. It's just about as huggable as you can get."
After Evie ordered a slice a pie to go, they drove back to her place. She and Lisa were discussing the last of the details for the gala when the frantic knocking at the door put an end to the discussion.
"She's here," Evie said and stood to open the door. Kelsey strode inside, holding a plastic bag without so much as a greeting of hello. "Good Lord, Kelsey, what's that smell?" She fanned the air in front of her nose.
"Where is–" Kelsey stopped cold and Evie followed her gaze to where the life size cutout of Bellamy stood, wearing white pants with blue stripes and an open shirt. He was crooking a finger at them as if to say, Slide a little closer. "That is perfect," Kelsey exclaimed. "Loved him in those tight pants, and whoever thought he should wear a button-down shirt and show off that chest should receive a medal. Bring it outside," she ordered. "And Evie, get that necklace. We're going to need it, too." Kelsey was already heading out the back door to the patio, fully expecting them to follow her instructions.
Lisa looked to her for an explanation and Evie shrugged. "You got me. Let me see if I can find the necklace. I can't help but be a tad bit curious. Aren't you?"
"If you say so." Lisa retrieved Bellamy. "I guess we're going to a party," she said to the cardboard cutout.
When Evie and Lisa stepped outside, they froze as they watched Kelsey drawing a circle on the ground.
"Is that blood?" Lisa choked in disbelief as she stood witness to this lunacy. She placed the cardboard cutout of Bellamy next to her.
"Of course it's blood," Kelsey said without pause. "You need fresh blood to perform the ritual."
"What did you do?" Lisa asked as she drew a little closer. "Did you murder someone on the way over here?"
Kelsey harrumphed. "As if I'd have time to kill someone, fill a bottle up with their blood, and hide the body so I could hightail it over here without being caught."
"It's blood, though," Evie said, just as shocked as Lisa was. That had been the scent she'd picked up when Kelsey had strode into her house.
"It's chicken blood, girls. Get a grip."
"Ew," Lisa said.
"What?" Kelsey said sarcastically. "Did you think when you carnivores picked up your chicken pieces that there was never any blood involved?" Kelsey was a vegan and wouldn't dream of harming another animal for food, but here she was with a bag full of chicken blood. "Stop looking at me as if I murdered your grandmother, Evie. I picked up the blood at the butcher shop."
Excerpted from Two Worlds Collided by Karen Michelle Nutt. Copyright © 2016 Karen Michelle Nutt. Excerpted by permission of CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
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