Please read the Disclaimer in Part One!
Rating: This chapter is rated R for sexual innuendo, raunchy language, and a little bit of sexual activity.
Special Disclaimer: Another couple of well-known pop musicians' names are taken in vain in this chapter. Once again, it is not intended as a presumption of that person's actual nature.
Xenite Disclaimer for Part Three: No reliable sources of information about backstage etiquette were consulted in the production of this fanfic.
Ella sat cross-legged on her bed in the hotel room, dialing the phone. Zina was on her bed, lying on her stomach, going through a huge sheaf of paperwork.
"Hi Lilah," Ella said into the phone. "It's me. Yeah ... yeah, the meeting just got out. ...No, it was pretty boring actually. All this stuff about venues and facilities and budgets, you know? ... No, I was good ... no, I mostly voted however Zina voted. What? Yeah ... yeah, she's my roommate." She glanced over at Zina, who didn't look up, scrawling with a red pen.
"No, it's fine," Ella said. "Yes ... oh, guess what? The Indigo Girls were at the meeting, and get this -- yeah, I know, but get this -- I'm walking past them and Amy goes, 'Hey Ella, congratulations on the Emmy.'" She paused. "Yeah, and then Emily goes, 'Yeah, I'm sure it's the first of many.' Can you -- yes, Lilah!" She rolled her eyes in exasperation. "Of course I said thank you, what am I, an idiot? ... Oh, great, thanks a lot. You're a real pal. ...Listen, I'll be flying in early tomorrow morning. Can you pick me up at the airport? Great ... yeah, I'll call you later and give you the flight number. ...Okay ... say hi to Mom and Dad. Tell them I'll try to stop by tomorrow ... okay ... see you then. Bye."
Ella hung up and stared distractedly at the phone for a moment. Movement from the other bed caught her eye, and she looked up as Zina rolled over and reached for something on the floor at the far end of the bed.
"Sister's a real worrywart," came a muffled voice accompanied by scraping noises. Ella watched with appreciation as Zina drew her slender form back upright, clutching a battered guitar case.
"Um, yeah, she is kind of a nag," Ella admitted. "I don't think she trusts me to behave myself in public."
Zina gave a snort and unbuckled the fastenings. "Hey, bet she doesn't approve of singing in elevators."
"No ... you have a really lovely voice, by the way," Ella murmured, still watching as Zina pulled out the acoustic guitar and plucked the strings experimentally. Cocking her head to gauge the tuning, the former punk rocker looked over at her roommate.
"Nothing like yours," Zina demurred, and strummed a chord. Ella thought she could feel it resonating in the depths of her groin.
"Don't be silly," she murmured, feeling her face heat up. "You're lots better than me...." Her voice trailed off as Zina laid the guitar aside and came rising smoothly off her bed, moving onto Ella's like lightning, slender fingers framing Ella's face. Zina kissed her firmly and Ella responded, arching upward. She could feel Zina's eager hands moving lower.
"Mm," Zina sighed throatily. "Let's make beautiful music together."
Ella giggled into Zina's lips. "Maybe I better take a later flight."
SIX MONTHS LATER
"Hey Ella, great set," said several voices as Ella passed through the narrow corridor backstage and made her way to her dressing room. She thanked them all with a smile, flushed with adrenaline.
"Hey, Ella, thanks for taking the pressure off," Amy Ray teased as Ella opened the door. Ella nodded at her and shut the door, her brow furrowing.
"What did she mean by that?"
"Huh?" said a voice over the sound of the shower. Ella raised her voice.
"Amy said thanks for taking the pressure off! What's that mean?"
Zina poked her head out of the shower. "Emily said that since we joined the tour, no one asks her if she and Amy are a couple any more. They're all asking, 'Is it true about Zina and Ella?'"
Ella rolled her eyes and groaned. "Perfect. And I finally had my mom convinced that you're like another sister to me."
Zina winked salaciously and drew her head back out of sight. "Hey, we're getting great reviews, though. See the Times?"
Ella picked up the paper and skimmed the text. "'Feminist music's newest Dynamic Duo'? You gotta be kidding me...." She tossed it on the sofa. "I still say we need...." She trailed off as she heard humming from the shower. Zina was singing the song they had been working on.
Ella pulled back the shower curtain. "Hey, you changed keys."
"I thought it would be more powerful if the bridge modulated to minor. Ya know?"
"I guess it couldn't hurt to try." She dropped her sweaty stage clothes -- bilious green -- onto the floor and stepped into the shower. Zina had two handsful of suds ready for her hair. They soaped each other in rhythm as they harmonized. The bridge *did* work better in minor.
Too soon, there was a knock on the door. "On in five, you two!" called a voice. Ella tried to stifle her moans and calm her breathing as Zina yelled back, "Okay!" They stumbled out of the shower, giggling and swatting at each other, still slightly slick with soap. Ella rubbed her hair randomly with a towel and grabbed her outfit for the next set.
"Here we go," said a voice at the door. Ella looked up. Zina was standing there, smiling slightly, wearing her favorite brown leather outfit, clutching her guitar. Her grin made Ella's stomach do flip-flops.
"Here we go," Ella repeated. She stepped into her shoes, ran a last hand through her hair, and reached to take Zina's hand. Together, they stepped out to greet their adoring public.
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