Chapter XXI: Danger

Not long after his first official performance at the Red Rendezvous Harwood was offered a steady gig. Once he protested performing alone Betty, the bartender put him in touch with a friend of hers, a drummer named Shannon Elm. They didn’t call themselves Goopie’s Groupies, they were just Shannon and Harwood. They met earlier on Friday afternoons, practiced then had dinner on the house, a few drinks to soothe their nerves and perform.

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It was fun and people liked them. It got some extra cash in Harwood’s pocket but most importantly kept his mind of the things that troubled him.

His son was a toddler already, a big boy with light brown hair and Harwood’s green eyes. But he was still with his mother all the time. Harwood didn’t want to separate them but he did want his son with him more often. He was ready to buy a crib and all but Dilly said no. In her opinion Billy was still to small for those kind if changes. It made him angry but he didn’t want to fight, it would just make things worse if he and Dilly turned against each other, for all three of them….

The worst part was he had no one to vent to. Sure there was always Betty and the bottom of the glass to keep him company but even that was loosing its charm. He tried calling Juan but his best friend bluntly told him he didn’t have time for him at the moment, he had rekindled his romance with Dilly’s mother, Milly Pidgin and between spending time with her and his personal projects he was way over his head.

And so Harwood would stand alone on his porch watching the fading sunset over Twinbrook Bay. Rookie, his little puppy would sneak carefully up to him and Harwood would pick him up and give him a kiss on his little white snout.

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“You are all I need, little one.” He would say. But it wasn’t true. He needed his son, he needed friends, and perhaps even some love.

Before he had retired Harwood was always surrounded by people, people that leeched of his wealth and his fame. He knew it of course but at the time he didn’t care, it was all part of that life and he didn’t let it bother him.

But when he decided to hop that train and come back to Twinbrook, the town he grew up in he believed things would change. He hoped he wouldn’t have to endure such shallow friendships again, he believed it would all be different…

It turned out he was wrong. As soon as news spread about him and Dilly breaking up the rumors started spreading as well. People were talking how he knocked up Dilly and left her to take care of the kid alone, how he never wanted to marry her, not even after he had gotten her pregnant… There were so much of those going around, and most had so little truth in them but still it kept people away.

Sure a crowd would gather for his performances Friday nights but that was as far as it went.

Harwood was on the peak of his loneliness when he got a call from an unknown number. He answered only to be greeted by a soft female voice that made his skin prickle just by the way the lady said his name.

“And whom do I have the pleasure of speaking?” He asked. The woman was young, from Twinbrook, he judged by the accent but he just couldn’t place it.

“So you don’t remember me?” The woman said with mock sadness. “I know you weren’t that drunk, maybe I am just too forgettable…” She added and Harwood was sure she didn’t mean it. She knew he would remember her and he did. This time at least…

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When he met Julianne Knack, the first time they officially met, he knew he had seen her somewhere before, but he did have a few drinks in his system, enough to make his mind a little hazy. He didn’t realize how he knew her until she said her name.  Then it all came back to him, the night he hid in the bushes of Pattina’s home, like some crazed stalker, waiting for his pray.

It was just Julianne he was hiding from, Julianne in her work clothes, from very far away. That was why he didn’t recognize her straight away when they started talking one night at the bar. Once she said her name it all came crashing. Their evening ended rather abruptly, it was a shame really, she was very attractive, and Harwood had a feeling they had both been enjoying themselves but learning she was Pattina’s daughter…

Sure nothing ever happened between him and Julianne’s mother, nothing but a passionate kiss but they did have a history and he wasn’t just about to go after her daughter… Julianne it seems did now know this, or just didn’t care.

“Of course I remember. It just took me some time, I am an old man you know.” He answered.

“Or there are just a lot of girls lined up at your door… Well anyway… You promissed me a sculpture, and home delivery… I did not forget.” Harwood scratched his beard absently unsure as to what to say. It was true, he made a promise, still she was Pattina’s daughter… Julianne waited for a while and when he said nothing she went on. “I am hosting a party tonight, come with my present, and don’t bring a date.”

 

Harwood knew he should have said no. But there he was, in front of the Knack’s house once again. He wondered if Julianne’s parents would be here, her father came to his performances often, either he really liked his music or was waiting for a chance to beat him up. Harwood never found out which, and Pattina… He hadn’t seen her for a while… Whatever it was between them, remained complicated, even after her apparent divorce.

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He brought his “Peanuts in Clay” sculpture, and a bouquet of flowers for the pretty hostess. She was visibly amazed by both his manners, and her gift, Harwood was in turn amazed by the long legs her short red shorts revealed.

The party was smaller than he anticipated but still Julianne couldn’t stay with him long, having to greet the people still coming in. This worked for Harwood. He fount that DeAndre Wolff was also at the party. DeAndre was a rather famous musician, in Twinbrook at least, and he and Harwood joined guitars. It kept him occupied for the most of the party, and in turn easier to stay away from Julianne who kept shooting him flirty glances all evening.

Restrain yourself old man! Harwood thought as her dark eyes met his. She looked nothing like her mother but there was something they both had… Something that made them so darn hard to resist… Harwood wasn’t sure how much longer he could fight it, yet he knew he must… The Knack woman were a danger… A sweet one, but a danger nonetheless.

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