It had been weeks since Rachel’s full frontal nudity was burned into Taylor’s mind, and even with his mischievous personality, he had pretended it had never happened just as he had promised. It helped that Rachel had remained hidden away from him as often as she could, still feeling the sting of embarrassment lingering between her ears. She tried to wave it off, but couldn’t keep the blood from rising to the surface of her skin when the memory kept into her mind again.
Two weeks ago, Dave had hopped a flight, packing what he could and traveling back to Encino, where his realtor had found him a small condo to stay while he was working. It was still a bit of a drive to the studio, but he didn’t mind, liking the place well enough to sway slightly when it came to the commute. Rachel was crippled with grief. Saying goodbye to him for the first time in ages was something that didnt settle well, and waking up each day and forgetting he had left wasnt making matters any easier to deal with. She went to work each day, offering up her time to avoid going home to an empty apartment as long as possible. Every so often, she found herself on Jamie’s porch again, but with the new album in the works, Jamie was spending as much time with taylor as she could.
Dave was scheduled to fly back within the week, but as usual, the business end of it all got the best of him, and bringing Rachel over seemed more manageable. Not to mention the fact that he wouldnt dare buy a place without her input, especially as often as he planned to have her there. Taylor had flown back a couple days before, and despite Daves effort to get her to join him, her embarrassment hadnt dissolved enough to travel with him. She was reluctant to leave the restaurant and her family for any period of time, but Julie assured her that all would be fine, and that she wouldnt let her pass up the trip.
After braving the flight alone, Rachel was astounded when she stepped out of the airport and noticed the light trickle of rain falling into small puddles onto the sidewalk. Surely she was imagining it. Of all the places, on all the days, Rachel stepped into a rainstorm. She shook her head, smiling slightly as she scoffed at the precipitation. Silly her. She thought she would have a break from the rain. By the time she caught a cab and fixed her smudged makeup, the rain had let up and the sun had appeared through the thin layer of clouds. She gazed out the window, smiling up at the clear blue color and the light bouncing off of the remaining drops on the window. Her mood shifted quickly as she remembered where she was headed, spouting the address to the driver and shifting her glance back through the tinted glass.
When she arrived at the studio, she payed the driver and lugged her bags from the trunk, hoping that she would blend in to her surroundings. The strangers who walked the streets were shades darker than she was, golden brown and glowing, wearing just enough clothes to cover the important parts. Rachel tugged at her second hand brown leather jacket, looking down at her plain white t-shirt and faded jeans. She looked out of place, but pushed the thought from her head as she strolled up to the glass doors. Dave would be happy to see her, and he would be just as pail.
The woman at the desk held up her long slender finger as she jotted down notes and held the phone between her jaw and shoulder. Her red fingernail gave rachel the creeps as it towered over the pad of her index finger and caught the fluorescent lighting from above their heads. The gum in her mouth made a smacking, soggy noise against her teeth between the “uh-huhs” and “yes sirs” that absent mindedly fell from her mouth towards the person on the other end. What seemed like hours passed before she finally hung up, finishing her note as she blue an oversized bubble between her lips and let in explode onto her face. When she finally looked up, she picked at the gum that had stuck to the sides of her mouth and pressed her eyes almost shut as she plastered a fake smile onto her face. Rachel responded with a hesitant smile, unsure what to expect.
"Hi honey. What can I do for you?"
"I’m here to see Dave…umm…Mr. Grohl. He’s expecting me."
"Have a seat, please."
Rachel did as she was asked, and could barely see the dark roots on top of the woman’s head as she heard her red fingernails click against the buttons on the phone. She watched as the woman’s chin arose, eyeing Rachel over her oversized desk.
"Whats your name, Honey?"
There was a long pause, then the woman’s voice boomed through the room again.
"Yes, it’s Connie at the front desk. Theres a young Lady here for Mr. Grohl."
"Thank you, I’ll send her your way."
Rachel looked up as the Connie stood from her seat and strolled around the desk.
"Mr. Grohl is available. I’ll walk you back. Sorry for your wait. Boss man is very particular about recording sessions being interrupted."
"Oh, its alright. I understand."
"Mr. Grohl is your husband?"
"Oh no…He’s my boyfriend. I just got in from Seattle to see him. He has you call him Mr. Grohl?"
"Oh no, honey. Thats just the rules. The talent is referred to as Mister Or Miss Unless otherwise instructed. Some prefer stage names to legal names. Some go by Sir or Ma’am and nothing else."
"It’s strange to hear him be refered to as Mr. Grohl."
As loud as Connie was, Rachel liked her. She was nice, and was good at her job. She immediately felt guilty for passing judgement so quickly.
"Go through this door right here and to your right there will be a heavy wooden door labeled number 5. You dont have to knock, hes expecting you."
Rachel smiled. “Thank you.”
"You betcha, sweetie. If you want, I’ll wait on you for lunch. We can bring Mr. Grohl and his band something back."
"That sounds great."
Connie winked and turned away, letting the clip clop of her heals guide her back to the front. Rachel pushed through the first door, pausing at the second for a moment as she looked through the little glass window. There, Dave sat on a stool, guitar on his lap and knees spread out. Swiveling back and forth, he threw his head back and his laughter bellowed into the air. She smiled, soaking in the sight for a moment before she noticed his skin. Damn it. He was tan. It such a short amount of time the man was just as dark as anyone she had seen. Taking a deep breath, she turned the handle and slowly pushed open the heavy door. All four members turned their heads sharply, dropping their smiles for a moment as they wondered who was entering. Dave’s face lit up immediately as he scrambled to sit his guitar down and leap to his feet. Rachel smiled widely, raising her hand up slightly and mouthing a hushed hello. Dave hugged her tightly, kissing her ear and then pressing his scruffy face into her cheek.
"Mmm. I missed you!"
Rachel’s eyes raised as she remembered they weren’t alone.She locked eyes with Taylor for a second, but both of them blushed Scarlett, pulling their glances away.
"Rachel, I want you to meet the rest of the band. This is Franz. I played drums for his band back in the day."
Rachel took Franz’ hand as he extended it to her. “I remember you telling me about that. It’s great to meet you, Franz. Ive heard a lot about you.”
"Likewise." Rachel was surprised at the low warmth of his voice. For such a thin man, with sharp features, she never expected such a sound to escape his lips.
Dave nodded across the room, leading Rachel by the small of her back towards the fourth member. “This is Nate. He plays bass.”
"Hi, Nate. Its nice to meet you."
Nate didnt say anything. He shook her hand and smiled with pursed lips, nodding at her as he looked back down at his bass. Rachel looked at Dave, puzzled, and before she could even make a face, Dave mouthed “he’s shy” and patted her on the back.
"You already know Taylor."
Taylor smiled and waved a drumstick at her shyly, and though he never was one to keep a tight lip, Rachel knew why. She decided to play it cool.
"Good to see you again, Taylor. Jamie is sure missing you."
Taylor’s glance shifted around the room, over to Franz and Nate then back at Rachel. He nodded then sat back behind his kit.
Rachel was unsure why he made such a face, but made a mental note to ask Dave later. Dave drew her attention away from her surroundings, bending slightly to speak with her at a low tone.
"I wont send you into the control room if you can be super quiet. I have to lay part of the guitar track and then we can go grab some lunch."
"Oh…actually. Connie and I were gonna go…and bring you guys back something…if thats okay."
"Connie…you mean the receptionist? "
"Well, alright. You dont waste any time making friends do you?" Dave chuckled.
Rachel shrugged one shoulder. “Shes nice.”
Dave clapped his hands and turned back towards his friends, asking them if eating in would be a problem. They all agreed, assuring Rachel that it didnt matter what she picked. Food was food. Dave pulled a card from his pocket and shoved it towards her.
"No, I got it. Let me get it."
"No..its from the studio. Connie should have one just like it but she tends to forget it. Pay for your lunch and hers. Okay?"
Rachel nodded and accepted a long kiss from Dave. “I’m so glad you’re here. We should be nearly finished by the time you get back. It wont be long til we can call it a day. Love you.”
"Love you too." One final peck was shared between the couple before Rachel was out the door again, excited to get to know her new friend.