bashful smile. Sebastian cracking up halfway through ‘Lucky Penny’. Richie performing an extended air guitar. Nick dancing the robot during the mournful part of ‘Celestially Yours’.
When they’d released the first single from the new album about a month later, the ballad ‘Misery Loves Company’, it had hit #1 and stayed there for most of that fall. It had just started to slip when Tommy had gone off that bridge, and his death had catapulted the single back to the top spot for the rest of the year.
Jenna got misty just thinking about it.
‘Shut up!’ Duncan roared then.
Jenna jerked back to attention.
‘This is a disaster,’ Nick muttered. ‘No one asks Boy George for an acoustic set.’
‘No one asks Boy George for anything these days,’ Sebastian retorted. ‘Not even his name, from what I hear.’
‘Culture Club broke up in 1986,’ Jenna said, not that anyone had asked. And no one paid any attention to her, either, as the squabbling commenced – except for the man standing nearest to her, his toned biceps on display.
‘You mean, last year?’ Tommy asked, one dark eyebrow raised into a perfect arch.
‘Oh, right,’ she said, and laughed nervously because his eyes were
, ‘because in 1987 you would definitely say
, I get it. That’s totally what you would say.’
‘Uh, yeah,’ Tommy said, raising his eyebrow a little more.
And why not? She was acting crazy.
Duncan Paradis turned his steely gaze on her then, which was far worse than any look Tommy might have been giving her.
‘Well?’ he demanded.
‘Well, what?’ she asked, nervously.
Jenna realized she was terrified of him. And not in that amorphous dreamy way, where she could sort of sense someone was evil or something and
that they might wish to harm her. This wasn’t like that. She actually felt herself break out in a sweat. A nervous, unpleasant sweat.
‘The band won’t perform anything acoustic, and Ken knows it,’ Duncan told her in that awful voice that made her think of Tony Soprano but without the heavy New Jersey accent. ‘This is a set-up, and we’re two seconds away from walking out of here. I’m betting MTV wouldn’t jerk me around like this.’
‘There’s no need to bring them into it,’ Jenna replied, stung out of her fear of him by ten years of loyalty to her employer.
Duncan Paradis smirked.
‘So what are you going to do about it?’ he asked. Hecrossed his arms over his chest and levelled that glare directly at her. ‘Tell me how you’re going to make me happy, sweetheart, and keep me from taking off. You have thirty seconds.’
Then Jenna remembered that she didn’t have to be afraid of Duncan Paradis or his thirty seconds.
She already knew what happened.
‘Actually,’ she said with a smile that bordered on smug, ‘I have a great idea.’
‘You’re a genius!’ Ken Dollimore crowed, not for the first time, and Jenna was so giddy and pleased with herself that she decided to ignore the fact that he had his arm draped across her shoulders. And the fact he was crowing directly into her ear, which meant his elfin lips were tickling her earlobe when he got particularly animated.
There was only so much she could ignore, however, and the next time his lips touched her skin was well over that line, so she edged away from him in her chair.
Ken appeared oblivious, his attention focused on the set in front of him.
The Wild Boys’ performance was, of course, phenomenal beyond the telling of it. Not that Jenna had had any doubt, having watched it herself in excess of three million times, thanks to her early VHS tape and later DVDs. The phone lines had lit up seconds into the first video the band performed, with teenaged girls screaming and swooning into their receivers, and Ken had come racinginto the studio with the good news that this live broadcast was electrifying the viewing public. Unfortunately, he had also decided to sit with Jenna and watch the