Jonne was up to something. Larry knew when his bandmate got that evil little twinkle in his eye - the one he had now - that he was plotting something. Now what that 'something' was, Larry didn't know, but judging by the fact that Jonne hadn't asked him for help with his plot like he normally would've, Larry guessed that said evil plan was most likely directed at him.
The blonde leadsinger approached Larry from behind, wrapping his arms around his waist and giving him a sweet little kiss on the back of the neck. "I'm sorry we can't stay for the Velvet Revolver show tomorrow," he whispered, snuggling close. "I know how much you wanted to see Slash."
So that's what this was about. Jonne had come up with some kind of surprise to make this up to him. Larry had been excited for days when he had found out that Velvet Revolver had a gig in Cologne the day after they did. When Tommi had told him they couldn't stay because they had to head on to their next gig, he had been devastated. He had tried to work it out so that he could stay and join the band later, but he just couldn't make it work no matter how hard he tried, and Jonne had watched him whine and pout about it for several days now.
"What're you up to, kultaseni?" Larry asked, leaning back into the embrace.
"Mm, nothing," Jonne said, but Larry could feel him smile against the skin of his neck.
The curly-haired guitarist gave a little chuckle. "You should know by now that I know you better than that."
"Well--" Jonne had never been good at keeping secrets, especially not from Larry, but luckily, Christus picked that moment to walk in. Larry wondered if it was really luck at all; Christus knew as well as any of them how big Jonne's mouth was.
"Hey Jonne, I need you to come here and tell me which shirt looks best with my pink pants."
That made Larry laugh even more - they were all conspiring against him! "Christus, I don't buy your sudden interest in the opinions of other people. Don't get me wrong; sometimes it would do you good to ask someone else whether your outfit looks completely ridiculous before you wear it, but somehow I think this has more to do with your little plot against me than fashion advice."
Christus got a smug little smile on his face as he crossed his arms over his chest and looked at Larry. "Nice try curly, but I won't bite." He turned to Jonne, giving the singer - who still hadn't moved - a scolding glare. "Jonne, NOW."
And that was how it went all day long. Larry quickly discovered that everyone was in on it - including Tommi - except for him. He had no clue what they were planning or even when they would strike, though he hoped it would be soon because the secrecy was starting to annoy him.
They'd made it all the way through their show and back to the hotel with no sign of anything amiss. Larry was just stepping out of the shower when he heard a noise - the sound of the door to his room opening. Normally, he would've dismissed it as nothing; just Jonne or Christus coming in to borrow clothes or maybe even snuggle in his bed for the night. But somehow, this felt different. The hairs on the back of his neck were standing up, and he did not like the sensation one bit. Whatever their 'surprise' was, he was about to find out, and he knew it.
Quickly wrapping his towel around his waist, Larry made his way back into the bedroom, looking around for a sign of some kind of activity, anything. But there was nothing, only darkness. Then his nose caught the smell of a burning cigarette, and his head whipped almost violently in the direction of the scent. There was someone in his room, someone who did not have the familiar sweet smell of Jonne nor the alcohol-tinted spicy smell of Christus. No, this was someone he didn't know. And that made him nervous. "Who's there?"
A lighter was flicked, slightly illuminating the face of the man. Curly hair, slight stubble, sunglasses, top hat.... Could it be? No fucking way... he thought. But nevertheless, he walked toward the lightswitch and flicked it on, his breath catching in his throat as he found himself face to face with his idol - Slash. He suddenly found himself feeling so terribly naked - and not just because he was wearing only a towel, either. He had no makeup on, his hair wasn't fixed... he was sure he must look a mess. He nearly jumped out of his skin when the other man finally spoke.
"You're Larry, right?"
Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod Slash! Slash is in my room!!! Larry tried to speak, but his voice instead came out as a little squeak completely in Finnish. He cleared his throat and tried again, finally finding the English words. "Yes. I uhm... I am Larry. Th-That's right."
"Well, cool man. Your friends tell me you're a big fan of mine and you were pretty bummed when you found out you couldn't hit up our show tomorrow night," his guitar-god hero said.
"Y-yeah. We gotta head out early tomorrow morning to, you know... make the next show..." he said, his hands shaking.
Slash leaned over and tapped his cigarette in the ashtray, pushing his sunglasses down a little to look Larry over. "Get dressed, I wanna take you somewhere."
"O-okay," Larry said, grabbing some clothes. "I'm just gonna...change. In the... you know.. bathroom." Idiootti!!! Quickly, he grabbed some clothes and ran for the bathroom, shutting the door behind him and leaning against it, his chest heaving and heart racing a million miles an hour. Cell phone? Cell phone, cell phone, cell phone... Aha! Cell phone! Grabbing his phone, he dialed Jonne's number, whispering as quietly as he could. "Jonne, what did you do?!"
He heard the little giggle he had come to associate with Jonne on the other end of the line. "Just enjoy, you can thank me later." And before Larry could argue, the phone line on the other end went dead. Well fuck, what was he supposed to do now? As quickly as he could, he got dressed, showering himself in cologne and hairspray. Then he applied a little bit of makeup, taking a long, deep breath before stepping back into the main room.
"Jesus man, you smell like a fucking perfume factory. Smells good though. What is that?" Slash asked, holding out a cigarette for Larry in offering.
Hands still shaking, Larry took the cigarette and lit it, feeling a little better once he'd had his first hit of nicotine. "You know, I'm not really... uhm... sure. Jonne got it for me."
"Yeah? He seems pretty sweet." The guitarist legend said, standing up. "You're fucking him, aren't you?"
"Wha... what?!" Larry asked, stunned by Slash's bluntness.
Slash gave a little chuckle at that. "Hey man, it's cool. Your sexual preference is none of my business. Come on."
What the...? How did he...? Larry was in a state of utter shock and confusion as he followed Slash out of the room, grabbing his key on the way. How the hell had Slash known that just from the brief time he had spent around him?
"Your bandmates have done a lot for you today," Slash said as they walked, draping an arm around Larry's shoulder - which he looked at with wide eyes. "More than you know, even. Remember this."
"Yeah... I..I will..." Larry said, hardly even registering the words. He was too out of it; this was unbelievable.
Larry felt on top of the world as they walked down the street, getting all sorts of looks from people - jealousy, shock, disgust... But none of it mattered. Because here he was with his idol, and he really didn't give a shit what anyone else thought. They walked down the street a few blocks and then crossed, seeming to be headed in the direction of the one illuminated window on the street that wasn't a bar - a guitar shop. When they reached the door, he looked at Slash with curious eyes as the other man held it open for him to walk in.
"C'mon. We're gonna jam."
Jamming with SLASH?! Larry nearly died at that, and he had to force his legs to move, feeling like he was made of lead as he managed to walk in the door. He could smell wood - wood and laquer and something that could only be identified as the smell of a fresh guitar. His eyes hurried to examine all of the models before him, all shapes and sizes and colors, but then he looked down and saw one of Slash's Les Pauls and lost interest in the new guitars. Slash's guitar. Jesus.
"You can pick it up, man. Play it, if you like."
Larry's hand reached out, but he couldn't bring his fingers to do anything more than brush lightly over the fretboard. He worshipped this guitar. "What would I play?"
"Here," Slash said, picking up the guitar - which was already plugged into an amp - strapping it on, and starting to play a solo - something he'd been working on in his spare time. Larry watched the other man's fingers closely as he played, almost making an art form out of studying him, hoping that maybe some of Slash's legend would rub off on him. When Slash finished playing, he lifted the guitar and put the strap around Larry, placing the guitar in his hands. "Now you try."
Larry took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and just played. His fingers travelled along the frets, finding every note, playing it perfectly. Even as nervous as he was, his playing flowed together beautifully, his body moving with the notes, melting into them. He almost didn't realize when he had finished, caught in some bizarre finding-god-through-playing-guitar moment. But Slash's whistle brought him out of it.
"Damn. You're pretty good."
Larry shook with excitement. SLASH had just told him he was 'pretty good' at playing guitar. He set the guitar back in its stand, avoiding the other man's eyes. "Well, you're one of my biggest influences."
Once again, Slash wrapped his arm around Larry's shoulders. "Well, we're not just here to jam. Henrik, who makes the guitars here, has been working on a special model that I designed just for you. You ready to see her?"
The Finn's eyes went wide. "Wow... uhm... Yes!"
Slash laughed, walking him towards the back room. "Henrik, bring out the boy's guitar, yeah?"
Larry almost drooled as the shopkeeper walked out with his guitar. It was styled like a Les Paul, a beautiful sunburst color. The body of the guitar - as Slash pointed out - had a personalized autograph and a little drawing he had done, and they had been laquered over, so they would never come off. Larry's eyes drifted up the guitar as if he were examining a beautiful, naked body, almost getting a hard-on just from the sight. Finally he made it to the headstock, which had "Slash's signature: Larry Love model" in gold foil. It was all just too much to take in.
"There's only one like her in the world now," Slash said, taking the guitar from the shopkeeper and holding it in front of Larry. "So take care of her. Play her, let's see how she sounds."
Larry took the guitar, plugging it in to the amp, swallowing hard past the lump in his throat. He could do this. Again, he closed his eyes, this time playing out a solo he'd been writing with a little help from Jonne, in awe of how the guitar sounded. It was perfect. Heavy, but not too much so. It had a slight hauntingness to it, but again, it was in moderation. This guitar was absolutely perfect.
When he opened his eyes again, Slash - who was smoking a cigarette - once again nodded his head in approval. "She's a beauty. Thanks Henrik." The shopkeeper nodded and headed into the back room again, leaving Larry and Slash alone. "Let's go for a drink. Henrik will have the guitar delivered back to your hotel room."
Larry smiled, nodding. "A drink sounds wonderful right now."
to be continued