Here in the green room this evening I’m scheduled to meet Colin Dunlow, lead singer of the world’s hottest rock band, Dumbarton. Who better to interview him than the woman who brought his talent to the forefront, his literary agent, so to speak-- me, Christine London. Little did I realize when I first imagined such a man, he actually had already stunned the rock and roll dynasty with his raw talent. I’m expecting him any moment and we’ve only just begun.
The dark shadow of his sinuous frame fills the doorway as he steps into the room, back stage Royal Albert Hall, London.
Wry lift at the corner of his mouth, eyes gazing into mine with a questioning twinkle, the lines at his forehead deepen as he narrows grey blue eyes. Does he really have the ability to melt me with the suggestion of a smile?
Hands ruffling already tussled blonde mane, his biceps flex, charcoal gray tee rising to expose slim abs, a sparse path of hair dipping into trouser line. The arc of his brows frames mysterious eyes holding secrets and promise. Tendons at his wrists divulge tension unseen in his expression. Could he be as nervous as I?
The apples of his cheeks rise, he smiles in genuine warmth, my heart fills in a flush. Suddenly appearing the little boy, he squints in mock self-consciousness and extends a large hand.
“My name’s Colin. Nice to meet ‘cha. Thanks for stoppin’ by tonight.”
I allow my focus to leave his face in quick appraisal of the room I’d entered just moments before. Guitars rest against the wall held by padded stands at a tilt. The only light sifting in shafts of mote-flecked air illuminated by canisters recessed in the ceiling.
Ms. London: My pleasure.
Colin: Cheers, then.
He lifts an arm directing me toward a pair of stools basking in a warm beam of light in front of a mic dangling from above. I drop onto the tallest, across from him.
Ms. London: Magazines and media alike have reported about your love affair with your fans. You take every opportunity to engage them, shaking hands along stage’s edge, signing autographs even after a grueling concert, joking backstage and appearing on talk shows. You’re a man well loved in return.
Colin shifts on his stool fingers laced together between strong thighs.
“This mystery woman of yours. It’s been rumored you have more than the casual relationship with a certain California-based Jazz singer.”
His jaw tightens, a muscle at the hinge twitches.
Colin: I met Miss Lindstrom quite by accident. In an accident actually. Ran into her just down the road. She’s here to help raise funds as Dumbarton is, for charity.
Ms. London: And there’s nothing more?
Colin: The lady lives six thousand miles from here and is returnin’ there soon as her series of events wrap here in the UK.
Ms. London: She poses no threat to your number one standing on the charts? She had one hell of a launch in Los Angeles-- and here tonight.
Colin: I wouldn’t know.
The hollow echo of something metallic striking the concrete floor in the hallway announces we are not alone. Through the backlight of the doorway comes the broad figure of an athletic man over six feet in height. Unlike the casual denim of my interviewee, he is dressed in classic woolen trousers, crisp white dress shirt button down at the neck. The sheen of his fine leather wingtips and the perfect crease bisecting his shin belie his business intent.
“Excuse me, but I need to see Mister Dunlow.”
Colin: “I’m in the middle of an interview, Kyle. Can it wait?”
Kyle: bowing in acknowledgment “Sorry Miss, but my client and I must have a word.”
Colin: You’ll excuse me Miss London. My manager can take it from here. I’ve got someone I must catch.
Ms. London: But I thought we were to—
Colin: I apologize, I really do.
Kyle: looks to Colin in evaluation, shoulders stiff in shunted recrimination. Where’s she gone?
Colin: As far away from the two of us as she can, I’m sure. The stern look of reprimand is undeniable, blanching his face except for the rosy fire rising to his cheeks.
Expediency wars with sanity on Kyle’s face.
Kyle: Go then. He snaps, head jerking toward the door.
Colin rises from the stool shooting a glance pregnant with unquenched anger toward his manager. He turns toward me, nodding his apology and walks out the door.
I look at his retreating form for a long moment reluctantly returning my attention to Kyle.
Ms. London: So…I, uh--”
Kyle: No, no, nothing to worry about miss. Colin told me he was expecting you, but that was before we had that rather amazing debut performance of Miss Lindstrom. His dark good looks remind me of a male underwear model I saw last week in GQ magazine.
Ms. London: I heard. She is indeed remarkable. Is she your client as well?
Kyle: She is.
Ms. London: Has Colin gone home for the evening then? I look to the door again as though my concentration would somehow bring the illusive and magnetic Mister Dunlow back into the room.
Kyle: I imagine, yes. He’s had a long night.
Ms. London: Nothing to do with his recent return from rehab.?
Kyle: Once an AA member, always one. Colin’s the strongest man I know. He’ll remain on the straight and narrow.
A question mark of black hair falls into his eyes and he rakes it away with a casual gesture.
I don’t know how much research you’ve done on Colin, but he’s not had the easiest path these last few years since the band has gone global.
Ms. London: More than you know.
Kyle: Then perhaps you are also aware that we grew up almost as brothers.
Ms. London: You’d never guess it looking at you.
Kyle: He’s straighter laced than that rocker exterior would betray. Becoming his manger just seemed natural as he progressed from garage musician to local legend.
Imagining Colin Dunlow as some sort of California beach boy hold up in his parent’s garage with four other spotty teens seems about as incongruous as mid winter sunshine in Peterborough. Both men grew up within a stone’s throw of the quaint English Midland’s town. The middle class bedroom community hardly seems rife with angst and struggle.
Ms London: So what’s your theory?
Kyle: About what?
Ms London: Why your client has gone after a woman he just met.
Kyle: Miss Lindstrom? He chuckles. Not likely.
Ms London: It was written all over him.
Kyle: He’s no allowed. No sooner had the words left his mouth than his face telegraphed regret.
Shoving hands in trouser pocket, he looks to the floor. His sponsor has disallowed it.
Ms London: His AA sponsor?
Kyle: Yes. It’s part of the programme. Got to become strong as an individual before any relationship can be considered. He raises his chocolate brown eyes to engage mine and in an instant I can see into his soul.
Ms London: Perhaps it ought to be you going after Miss Lindstrom.
He looks at me for an uncomfortable moment.
Kyle: She’s my client.
Ms London: Yes.
Shifting weight from one foot to the other Kyle’s demeanor changes from man in control to lad caught sneaking a toad into the house.
Kyle: Perhaps you ought to reschedule this interview for a better time, Miss London. His eyes shift toward the door, then back to mine.
Ms London: Perhaps you should hire a bodyguard to look after your client rather than taking it all on yourself.
Kyle: What makes you think he needs protection?
Ms London: He has become larger than life and with celebrity comes exposure, with exposure—risk.
He lowers his chin, brows squeezing together.
Kyle: Do you know something I do not?
Ms London: Not at all. It’s just that most men of his caliber have more than one threatening nutter following them. Has he never had a problem?
Kyle: None he’s shared.
Ms London: I’ll ring you in the morning, then, to set up a better time for Mister Dunlow.
Kyle: Fine. He begins to turn, but stops to face me.
The ice in his tone throws a wall between us. I hike my bag to my shoulder and stand.
Ms London: Please tell Miss Lindstrom I’d like a few words with her as well. She’d make a great success story.
Kyle: Cheers. A curtain lowers over his features as he extends a hand. Thank you for your interest.
I look into his eyes. Was there a moment of uncertainty behind that cool control or is it the sultry Miss Lindstrom that has set both these men off their game?
Kyle turns and strides out the door.
Shadows Steal The Light by Christine London
February 2011 MuseItHot
Colin Dunlow is caught in a web of alcoholism precipitated by his skyrocketing fame as lead singer of the world’s hottest hard rock group, Dumbarton. When he bumps into legal activist and sultry jazz singer, Jenna Lindstrom, he’s no idea what’s in store. How can he maintain his newfound sobriety whilst navigating a comeback and investigate who might want him dead? All of this and he has an AA sponsor who won’t allow him any serious relationship, not if he wants to live. What’s a rocker to do? Especially when the woman of his dreams hates rock and roll.