Hey You: Part 5
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Vito agreed to let them use the event space to audition new singers. On the Thursday afternoon following the big fight, instead of enjoying his time off, Milo found himself sitting on the worn couch someone had dragged from the break room and set up on the dance floor. Ivy was next to him, sipping on the black coffee she had requested when he texted her; he was on his way. Her lips made a bright red print on the lid of her cup. A print Milo would like to see other places…
“Oh…what?” He looked up at Ivy’s irritated face as she shoved a clipboard into his hands. Her fingernails were bright red to match her lips. She wore jeans today and a T-shirt with the words, Just a Girl, scrawled across the front of it. Her flip flops peeked out of her enormous purse, and her bare feet were tucked under her crisscrossed legs. She twirled a piece of platinum hair around one of her fingers.
“Stop staring at my cup like a weirdo. I was explaining my criteria.”
“Right. Of course. Sorry.” On the clipboard was a rating sheet for each singer. It was split into categories like Voice, Stage Presence, Appearance, and Overall Vibe. He laughed a little as he looked it over.
“What’s so funny?”
“Nothing.” He shook his head but couldn’t keep the smile from his face.
“Nothing?” She arched an eyebrow.
“I thought I was the nerd. This is pretty nerdy.” He waggled the clipboard in front of her, and she shoved him hard on the shoulder. A smile fought to break out on her lips, but she clamped them together.
“Shut up. This is important. This is my band, and I can’t let just any loser take my place.” She gestured toward the stage where her bandmates were tuning up. It would be strange even for him to see someone else in her place. He could only imagine what it felt like for her.
“Yeah about that, I saw a few of the applicants on my way in and they’re all guys.”
“Of course.” She stacked her forms neatly and clamped them into her clipboard, tossing a pencil onto Milo’s lap. “I’m not going to replace myself with a woman! I’m the enigmatic female lead singer. If I have to replace myself, it will be with a dude.”
Milo found he couldn’t argue with that reasoning so he picked up the pencil and prepared himself for the first singer.
“What’s the first guy’s name?” he asked, looking up from his paper to find Ivy’s eyes tracking a man striding into the ballroom. Milo audibly gulped. This guy was freaking sex on a stick.
“Holy shit,” Ivy breathed next to him, and he knew he might as well go home now. Compared to this guy, he was nothing but a pile of spindly limbs, sarcasm, and glasses that were trying too hard. Even the band froze and stared as he walked in. If Dean’s jaw hung open for much longer, he would start to drool. Mai’s dropped drum sticks rolled across the stage and landed at Ron’s feet, but he didn’t seem to notice.
“Hey. I’m Dylan. I’m here for the audition.” The man held out his hand to Ivy who leaped out of her seat to greet him.
Of course, his name was Dylan. Of course, he spoke in a throaty growl. And, of course, Ivy had nearly jumped him already. Hell, Milo might jump the guy himself. Ivy held out her hand to the giant, sexy musician man.
“I’m Ivy.” Had her voice ever sounded that sweet before? Not once. She pushed a blonde lock behind her ear. Milo cleared his throat.
“Oh, sorry. This is Milo. My friend. He’ll be helping out.” Ivy waved a hand in his general direction but then led Dylan to the stage to meet the rest of the band. Milo sat down and sank into the threadbare cushions. Maybe the couch would swallow him whole and put him out of his misery.
He watched as Dylan shook hands with the rest of the band. He thought Ivy might swoon into his arms at any moment. Said arms were muscular and covered in tattoos. In Milo’s opinion, both his T-shirt and his jeans were too tight, and his hair was too long, but no one asked his opinion, so he kept it to himself.
Ivy returned from the meet and greet on the stage, grinning with girlish enthusiasm. “He seems nice,” she chirped.
“Oh yes, his overall vibe is five stars already.”
Ivy either didn’t catch the sarcasm or chose to ignore it because she just nodded happily. He watched her fill in five stars on her paper for vibe and appearance. Milo groaned internally. If this god of sex was going to be roaming around for the rest of the summer, he might as well forget any ill-advised dreams he had about Ivy right now.
Just as he was making plans to dig himself a hole somewhere, the band began to play. Then Dylan started in. And nothing could have made Milo happier. He was a terrible singer, objectively terrible. Anyone with ears could have told you that.
He glanced over at Ivy, who winced as she watched Dylan writhe around the stage, assaulting everyone in a three-block radius with his voice. Milo watched with increasing glee as Ivy made big sweeping zeros in the columns for voice and stage presence and nearly high-fived himself when she marked down his overall vibe to a three.
When the torture was finally over, Dylan hopped down from the stage and swaggered toward the couch. Did he think he had done well? People’s self-delusion never ceased to amaze Milo. Ivy stood and forced a smile back onto her face.
“Thanks, Dylan. That was um…great. We’ll be in touch.”
“Sure. I get it. You need to give everyone a shot.” He flashed Ivy a cocky grin with dimples. Dimples! Did the torture never end? Much to Milo’s horror, Ivy smiled back, one of her rare genuine smiles. The one Milo worked tirelessly for.
“Right, exactly,” she told him, beaming up at him in all his glory. “Let me give you my number in case you need to get in touch with me.”
He handed over his phone, and Milo watched in horror from the couch as Ivy typed in her number. His chances with her had just gone from slim to none in a matter of seconds.
“Thanks again, everyone.” Dylan waved to the band, who was still recovering from the performance. “See you around, Melvin.”
“It’s Milo,” he muttered, but no one heard him over Ivy’s cackling.
“Melvin! Ha! Perfect.” She plopped next to him on the couch and called for the next singer.
Featured image by Melanie Van Leeuwen via Unsplash.