Team Seven was sitting in Mystique enjoying 'staff night'.
Once a month, the nightclub would be reserved for twenty-four hours, for
staff members only. Whatever shift they worked, they would have an opportunity
to drop in for some drink, food and entertainment. Orin Travis had come up
with the idea not long after he took control of the resort...his way of thanking
his teams for all the hard work they put in every day. It had become a popular
As Team Seven swigged back their bottles of beer, laughing and joking, Candice
Merryweather watched from the bar, her eyes firmly transfixed on the team's
youngest. She sighed as she twirled the umbrella from her drink. She really
liked JD and cursed herself every day for not making it known sooner...before
Casey Wells came on the scene. The music started and Rain began singing 'Time
of My Life'. A determined look came over Candice's pretty face as she jumped
down from her stool and approached the Seven's table.
One or two of the men looked at her and smiled, but not JD, as he was engrossed
in something Ezra was showing him. Undeterred, she gave a little slap to
his shoulder, grinning as he turned to her.
Noting the near-empty dance floor, JD seemed a little reluctant, but the
young woman persisted, taking his hand and dragging him out of his chair,
barely giving him time to put down his drink. The other six sat back and
watched in amusement as Candice performed her own version of 'Dirty Dancing',
getting very up close and personal on occasion. JD was more amused than
embarrassed and decided to attempt to 'mirror' her, causing laughter from
his friends as they cheered him on.
The audience applauded as Rain finished the song to then go into a rendition
of Sixpence None the Richer's 'Kiss me.' Candice threw her arms around JD's
neck and drew close.
"Mmm...a slow dance, nice."
Gently, JD took her arms and drew them away from his neck. "I reckon I should
sit this one out," he smiled.
Candice pouted. "Aww...you sure about that? I won't tell Casey."
JD sighed and led the girl to a quiet corner. "Candice, I really do like
you, but Casey and I are just on the verge of dating properly. If the roles
were reversed, how would you feel if I was doing this to you?" He smiled.
"I really do like you...any other time I'd be honored to take you out. I'm
really flattered that you..."
Candice stopped him. "It's okay, and it's one of the reasons I like you so
much, there aren't many men around these days that would be so honorable.
Thank you for the dance and...for not laughing at me." She kissed him on
the cheek. "Friends though, right?"
JD grinned. "Definitely. I'd really like that."
When he returned to the table, he expected teasing, but Buck had worked it
out and just winked at him. JD sighed as he picked up his drink. He doubted
he would ever understand women.
The men called out greetings as Orin and Evie Travis stopped at their table.
"Hello, boys," she smiled. "How are you all?" She nodded at their answers
of 'fine', 'good, thanks'.
"Wonderful. I have a favor to ask, I'm sure once you hear me out you'll want
They all stopped drinking to listen, a little apprehensive. Evie Travis was
renowned for her charity work; this was probably going to involve them in
something a little...weird.
"I've approached most of the staff, now; you're the last. In three weeks,
I want to put on a charity show for the guests and staff here. You all work
in show business...technically , so I thought you could find yourselves an
act and perform it on the night. Are you interested?"
All seven just stared. Perform? Had Evie been at the gin? JD couldn't bear
the silence, so spoke up.
"Aww, come on, guys...it'll be fun." He hastily swigged from his bottle to
avoid the glares, almost choking as Evie hugged him, then handed him a flyer.
"There you go...that's the spirit. Right, well...JD, I'll leave you in charge
of your team. Just give me the running order the week before."
JD gulped. "Me?"
"Thank you, sweetie."
"May I inquire...?"
Evie looked at Ezra.
"How many other teams are participating? "
Orin chuckled, Evie gave a thin smile. "Just you, I'm afraid." She brightened.
"So, thank you, you're all wonderful. Bye for now...keep in touch,JD!"
As she left, they all turned their attention to the young tech. JD dropped
his head to the table.
"I am not in show business...I'm in freaking security," Chris growled.
JD raised his head and looked at the flyer. He hadn't realized how long he
had been quiet until Buck squeezed his arm.
"Hey...you okay, kid?"
Looking at him, or more through him, JD nodded.
He stood. "Yeah, sure. Look, I'm gonna head home. I reckon I can come up
with something. If anyone else is interested...let me know."
They all watched him leave, puzzled at the speediness of his exit. Buck picked
up the flyer, sighing as it all became clear.
The hospitality host looked at Larabee. "The charity's for Cancer Research."
They all nodded their understanding, knowing JD's mother had died from cancer.
JD entered his apartment, tossing his keys on the small table next to the
door and crossing the room to drop onto the sofa. Rubbing his eyes, he glanced
at the guitar case tucked in the far corner. Ah well... he may not be Eric
Clapton and he hadn't sung in the church choir since he was fourteen, but
he could probably bang out a tune. Snapping off his lamp, he headed for bed,
pausing as he noted his answering machine blinking. He chose to ignore it
and went on to his bedroom, then stopped, turned around and approached the
machine, hitting 'play'. He grinned at the message.
"Hey, squirt. Maybe it's the alcohol, maybe we've finally all gone insane...but
if you're willing to put this together...we're up for it." Buck whispered
the next bit, "Even Chris. See you in the morning."
Three weeks. JD shuddered. He only had three weeks.
On entering the monitor room the next morning, JD frowned to see someone
sitting in his usual seat. Chris's voice drifted out of the office, summoning
The blond smiled. "I've covered you for today to give you a chance to organize
this ...'thing'. As, and when, you need any more time...let me know."
JD grinned. "Thanks, Chris. Erm...do you have any ideas on what you might
like to do?"
Larabee winced. "As little as possible."
Grinning, the easterner approached his desk. "I had an idea for you and
Vin...hear me out and then tell me what you think."
By the time he left the security chief's office, both Chris and Vin had agreed
to his idea...albeit tentatively. Two down...he decided to go and see Buck.
"I expect you want me to do my Elvis impression?"
The hospitality host was smiling, but looked a little bored with his own
JD winked. "Actually...I'm waiting on a phone call. What do you think of
When Dunne had finished, Buck was laughing...and had agreed. JD was on a
He caught up with the head valet in the break room. On talking, JD soon
understood Josiah wanted one song only.
"I have an idea, but it might involve you dressing in Old West costume,"
JD informed, "how do you feel about that?"
When Josiah heard the song JD had considered for him, he beamed.
"Perfect, JD, thank you."
The youth nodded, now to find Nathan.
Doctor Nathan Jackson frowned. "But that's a duet, JD."
Dunne nodded. "I know, I was thinking maybe Inez might help us out, I was
thinking of asking her and Rain and Casey to help me, too."
Nathan nodded, "Okay, I'm up for it. But I don't do accents."
JD grinned. "No...I think it will work better if you just be...yourself."
Jackson beamed. "Oh yeah...I can do that."
"I see," Ezra said, not really seeing at all. "It seems a little... superfluous
to the festivities. "
JD shook his head. "No...not at all. It'll be a perfect contrast to us all."
Standish smiled. "Alright then, I will and I shall need assistance, but don't
worry, I will arrange for support, myself."
Relieved, JD grinned. "Thanks, Ezra, I appreciate that."
In one day, JD had succeeded in putting a plan together. All he had to do
now, was wait for a few returned phone calls, speak to the ladies and the
band at Mystique and they were set...he hoped.
Ten days to go and JD was on his way to see Chris and Vin. They had locked
themselves in the Gold room to practice and try out their costumes. Once
in the room, JD nodded his approval.
"The costumes look terrific," the youth grinned,
Chris nodded. "I certainly feel the part now." He looked at his young tech.
"I hadn't realized how long your hair is, that style actually suits you."
JD had changed his style to prepare for his own 'performance' .
"Makes me look younger though, huh?"
Vin laughed. "Yeah, 'cause you looked so old before."
JD grinned. "Okay...you gonna run through it for me?"
With a nod, the music started and the two men ran through their act. JD clapped
at the end.
"Awesome. I'll record it for you tomorrow, then you can decide if you're
happy with it, though I have to say, guys...you'll be tough to follow." He
thought for a moment. "Hey, I could put you on last."
Vin shrugged. "Suits me, hopefully they'll all be drunk by then."
With a nod, JD left to visit Josiah next.
Sanchez looked like he had stepped straight out of the Old West. JD nodded,
"Well, I think it looks fantastic; how about you?"
Josiah agreed. "I think so too. Shall I run through my song, now?"
Nodding enthusiastically, JD took a seat in the Green room and watched the
head valet run through his complete performance. He clapped as Josiah finished.
"Wow, that's perfect, Josiah. 'Course, on the night, we'll have a band, not
a tape machine, so it's gonna sound even more authentic." He got up. "I have
to go see Ezra now. Thanks, Josiah."
Sanchez watched, affectionately, as his young friend left.
"No...thank you, John Dunne," he said quietly to himself.
Ezra had commandeered one of the smaller convention rooms and was about half-way
through his act when JD arrived. Sitting quietly, the young tech watched
the rest of the performance, clapping as Ezra concluded. The southerner took
a bow and grinned, the spotlights catching his gold tooth to cause a little
"You're really good, Ezra," JD beamed. "Thanks so much for doing this." He
looked at Casey and smiled. "Thanks for helping Ezra. Did you pick up your
Casey nodded. "The one I'm wearing for your piece is as I expected, but the
one for Ezra's is a little..." she blushed, "...skimpy."
JD almost blushed back at the thoughts her words produced in his head. He
shook himself out of it. "Are you uncomfortable about it? I mean...you have
a gorgeous figure so...err...I mean...sorry, I didn't mean to be...aww hell."
Ezra turned to stifle a grin, Casey beamed. "No, if you think I'll look okay,
then that's fine."
Knowing he dare not tell Casey exactly how he thought she'd look...in
"Cool. I'm gonna bring the DVD recorder tomorrow and tape everyone, so if
you could wear your costumes, that'd be great." He saw them both nod.
"See you in Mystique in about half an hour?" he asked Casey, smiling as she
nodded. With a wave, that was where he headed next, making a mental note
to thank Rain for all the musical arrangements.
Nathan and Inez were laughing as JD walked in on them. He grinned. "Having
They both smiled. Nathan spoke. "This was a great idea, thanks, JD."
Dunne nodded. "Do you have your costumes?"
"Yes, JD..." Inez frowned slightly, "...do I really have to do the performance
in a black corset?"
The youth shrugged. "I thought it might look the part, but if you're not
Inez stopped him. "No...that's fine...I was just, well...feeling a little
shy, I suppose."
"Why? You have a fantastic figure..." JD blushed. "Oh...sorry, I didn't mean
Inez's musical laugh made both men smile. "Oh chiquito...you just made my
Relieved, JD sat down. "Okay...let's see what you've got." By the end he
was clapping again.
"Wow...I can't believe how talented you all are. Inez, are you able to spare
the time to rehearse with me next?"
She nodded. "Rain and the band are here, too."
"Cool. Thanks guys. I'm just gonna go get my guitar." With that, JD left,
smiling. This was going to be awesome.
The big night, and Vin peered through the curtains, turning back looking
a little pale.
"Shit, the place is full."
Buck peered out. "Yeah, full of all the people who said they couldn't help
JD looked up from the running order. "I'm afraid they've all come because
it's us performing...or so Evie says." He brightened. "Still, we should make
loads of money for charity." He acknowledged the smiles and nods.
"Okay...one last time," he continued. "Buck, big opening number...Nathan,
then it's you and Inez...Ezra, you and Casey are next, then Josiah, then
me and the girls...and lastly Chris and Vin...everyone okay with that?"
They all agreed. Chris approached and put his hand on JD's shoulder. "You've
done an incredible job, here, JD. We're all very proud of you...thank you."
The youth was a little taken aback as he saw them all grinning and nodding
at him. "Well, all I can say is...thank you. You all made it real
easy...and just to warn you...you're all real good, and knowing Mrs.
Travis...she's not likely to forget that."
They all laughed. Josiah extended his hands. "How about a little 'good luck'
Forming a circle and clasping hands, the small group of friends and the band
bowed their heads while Josiah said a small blessing. As they broke up, JD
looked at each one of them.
"You know...this is gonna sound corny, but...every one of you is a hero to
me. I count myself lucky to have met you." He grinned. "Thanks guys. I believe
at this point, the tradition is to say...'break a leg'."
With nods of support, they separated. The band took their seats on stage
and Evie stepped up to welcome everyone.
"Without further ado, I give you Ms Buckalina Wilmington and the Queens of
Speaking to the lighting guy through his headset, JD high-fived the drag
queens he had met a few months ago, chuckling when the music started as they
went on stage to rapturous applause, dressed in long raincoats and carrying
umbrellas. They did a little dance, then Buck joined them and in seconds
were belting out the chorus to their first song.
"It's raining men...hallelujah, it's raining men...amen...!"
The audience clapped and cheered right along with them,
barely catching their breath as the coats came off to reveal sparkly dresses
and a new song.
"There's no business like show business...."
Buck was outstanding as he flounced around on stage putting
every ounce of energy into his performance, complimenting the drag queens
As they took their bows, the audience went wild, howling, cheering, applauding
and puffing on blow-out noisemakers to show their approval. Squeezing JD's
shoulder as they passed him, the group headed for the dressing rooms, Buck
promising he'd be right back...he didn't want to miss a thing. Just as he
returned, Nathan was on stage in the setting of a doctor's office with Inez
on the couch in nothing but a black corset and stockings and suspenders.
Buck whooped and kissed JD on the head, causing the younger man to laugh.
"Oh, bro...thank you for that image!"
Music started and the audience chuckled as Nathan 'examined' Inez, flustered
at her insistence on putting the stethoscope to her chest. She began to sing,
with Nathan replying.
"Oh doctor, I'm in trouble."
"Well, goodness gracious me."
"For every time a certain man is standing next to me."
"A flush comes to my face, and my pulse begins to race,
"It goes boom boody-boom boody-boom boody-boom
"Boody-boom boody-boom boody-boom-boom- boom."
"Boom boody-boom boody-boom boody-boom..."
"Well, goodness gracious me."
Everyone was enraptured by their performance, giving
them a standing ovation at the end. Nathan wrapped Inez in his jacket as
he took her elbow to escort her off the stage. He beamed at Buck and JD.
"I really enjoyed that."
Buck smiled, looking Inez up and down and ducking a playful swat from her.
"Hell, so did I."
They all laughed and JD spoke. "You were both awesome. Thank you." He spoke
into his comm and the lighting went to dramatically dark, followed by a wind
machine blowing dry ice vapors onto the stage and Queen's 'It's a Kind of
Magic' playing. With a thunder clap and large flash, Ezra 'appeared' on stage,
dressed in a stylish black tux and matching cape, lined with red satin. He
removed his cloak and proceeded to perform some amazing prestidigitation,
ably assisted by Casey in a sparkly, high-legged body suit Now it was JD's
turn to pull at his collar...wow she had long...legs...
He jumped as Buck whispered in his ear. "Enjoying the view, huh?"
"Buck!" The youth blushed.
The brunet laughed and they both continued to watch Ezra intensely.
"Wow..." JD gasped, "...how did he do that?"
The southerner finished by making Casey disappear only to reappear in a different
location and exited the stage to another standing ovation. As they passed
JD and Buck, they chattered excitedly, clearly Ezra had enjoyed himself.
JD looked at Casey.
"You...you look...stunning. "
She giggled and kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you. I'm going to get changed
for your piece now."
He thanked her and before he knew it, Josiah was next to him while the stage
was being re-set. "Ready when you are, Josiah."
Sanchez grinned, listened for his cue, then ambled on stage as if he was
out on the prairie, back in the Old West and under a starry night sky. He
leaned on a wagon and released his deep baritone voice.
"I...was born...under a wan...drin' star...
I...was bo...orn...under a wan...drin' star...
Wheels are made for rollin'
mules are made to pack.
I never seen a sight that didn't look better lookin' back.
I...was born...under a wan...drin' star..."
The audience was captivated and Josiah looked magnificent,
his performance seemingly effortless as he transported everyone way back
in time. While watching, JD's stomach flipped. He was next...oh God, what
had he been thinking? Everyone had been kind and said he could carry a tune
well...but they were his friends...he couldn't do this...
Dunne jumped as Vin was in front of him. "Give me the comm...go get ready."
"I...Vin, I can't."
The Texan grinned. "Sure you can...hell, if I can do this...you sure as hell
can. Go...go get changed, you got one minute."
Thirty seconds later, Josiah was taking his bows. He came offstage to the
now customary standing ovation and high praise from his friends. Chris grinned
"Damn, Josiah, if I'm half as good as that, I'll be a happy man."
Sanchez looked him and Vin up and down. "Well, the costumes alone will steal
The sounds of movement on stage alerted them to the next performance about
to start. They chuckled as Inez was dressed in a blond wig as Shirley Partridge,
Rain was on keyboards with a long dark wig dressed as Laurie Partridge, while
Casey was dressed as Tracy, the youngest daughter in a little girl's outfit
that which, on any other occasion would have looked damned sexy on the young
woman. Two of the band took on the other roles, the drummer for Chris and
the bass guitarist as Danny, with others as extra back-up for the music.
Ezra quipped about the bass guitarist's rather fetching ginger wig...to be
told, it was no wig.
As the intro for 'Breaking Up is Hard to Do' began, they waited for JD to
Despite being ready, JD's knees were shaking. While he was organizing everything
and everyone, he hadn't given much thought to his own performance, but now
it was here...
Buck smiled as he came up behind him. "Go on, kid...you can do it."
"Doo dooby dum dooby doo dum dum...dubah dubah dum dooby doo dum dum..."
As the bass player started, followed by Inez, Casey and
Rain joining in, JD clutched his guitar, fiddled with his bangs, pulled slightly
at his seashell necklace, blew out a breath and walked on stage, taking up
his position just in time to start singing.
"Don't take your love...away from me,
Don't you leave my heart in misery,
If you go, then I'll be blue...'cause breakin' up is hard to do..."
Buck joined the others as they stood at the side of the
"I didn't realize he played the guitar," Nathan said, clearly surprised.
"Or sing," Ezra added, "Lord knows, on the occasion I've been unfortunate
to happen on him singing along to his IPod...thingy...he certainly didn't
sound like that."
Josiah grinned. "Ah...I'm guessing...ex-choir boy...I can spot 'em a mile
They all looked on as JD got more and more into his performance, finishing
on 'I think I Love You', which went down a storm.
Coming off stage, JD unhooked his guitar, and hugged each of the ladies.
"You were amazing. Thanks so much."
They all giggled. "That was so much fun," Rain grinned, "and JD...David Cassidy
has nothing on you, honey."
JD laughed, taking the compliment as what he considered a mild tease. He
saw Casey cover her heart with her hand as she looked at him.
"Well...I've got a little crush on you now."
Again, laughing, she leaned in. "I hope you're going to keep your hair like
JD beamed. "Maybe..." He jerked. "Shit...Chris, Vin...you're up." He snatched
up the headset and instructed the guy on the lights.
The band started playing, the stage almost in darkness. Chris's voice came
over loud and clear as he and Vin came on stage in black suits, hats and
sunglasses, eventually to have Vin singing opposite him a little further
into the song.
"We're so glad to see so many of you lovely people here tonight, and we would
especially like to welcome all the lazy S.O.B's who were apparently too busy
to help out tonight and are now on my hit-list, yet who have chosen to join
us here in the Mystique Night club at the Montecito at this time. We do sincerely
hope you'll all enjoy the show, and please remember people, that no matter
who you are, and what you do to live, thrive and survive, there are still
some things that make us all the same, you, me them, everybody, everybody...
Everybody needs somebody
Everybody needs somebody to love"
"(someone to love)"
"Sweetheart to miss"
"(sweetheart to miss)"
"Sugar to kiss"
"(sugar to kiss)"
"I need you you you
I need you you you"
("I need you you you")
"in the morning"
"(I need you you you)"
"when my soul's on fire"
"(I need you you you)"
"Sometimes I feel I feel a little sad inside
When my baby mistreats me
I never never never have a place to hide
I need you..."
When Vin played his harmonica the crowd went even crazier
than they had when the two normally reserved men had been moving around the
stage. The band was really belting it out and the audience were dancing and
clapping across the whole of the nightclub.
JD wiped tears from his eyes. "Somebody pinch me...this must be a dream...
Buck grinned. "Well? You asked me to pinch you!"
The five men stared at their two 'Blues brothers' on stage, bathed in blue
light and having a whale of a time. JD sighed as he watched Larabee take
command in much the same way as he did at work, while Vin's quiet assuredness
complimented the security chief perfectly.
JD was choked. "They really are...awesome."
The end of their performance almost brought the house down. It had been the
perfect finale. Coming off-stage, Chris removed his sunglasses and winked
at JD as he passed him, while Vin ruffled his hair.
"Hey!" the youth teased, "Watch the new 'look'."
Evie had to wait for the cries and clapping to die down before she could
speak when she returned to the stage.
"First, before I re-introduce the stars of tonight's show, I want to tell
you we have, so far, raised over two hundred thousand dollars this evening."
"You are all very kind and generous, thank you." She gestured to the group
off-stage. "Ladies and Gentlemen...Team Seven and friends."
The Seven, Rain, Casey, Inez, the drag queens and the band all came back
on stage to take their encore bows, unable to stop the grins at the outstanding
reception they were given. Evie caught JD's eye as she clasped her hands
together and mouthed the words 'thank you'. The easterner nodded and gestured
to his friends, mouthing back, 'thank them'.
The next day, all seven were enjoying a rest day together, at one of the
resort's restaurants, enjoying a light lunch before heading out to Nettie's
to enjoy a horse ride. The place was still buzzing from the previous night,
with colleagues approaching them to tell them how much they had enjoyed their
performances. While finishing their coffees, Evie Travis approached them.
"I won't disturb you, but I just wanted to say again how wonderful you all
were." She turned to JD, her voice softening. "I understand your mother died
JD swallowed and nodded.
"Is there somewhere you would like us to make a small donation from last
The young tech brightened. "Actually, there's a small hospital in Boston
called 'The Sisters of Mercy' who took care of her toward the end...just
before she came home...before...well, you know."
Evie squeezed his shoulder. "Consider it done."
Silence ensued for a few moments after she left. Chris stood. "Well, I'm
about ready for that ride now."
They all grinned and nodded, leaving for and reaching Nettie's in record
time, to head out together, in a line of seven.
Today, horse-riding, tomorrow...who knew? Life was never dull at the
The Las Vegas Chronicles