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Title: Hello Texas
Warnings: Nothing hot in this part. Basic set-up and maybe a little fluff. Will be more, but future parts may not be in chronological order.
Discaimer: I have tried to be somewhat true to the facts regarding most of Mike Nesmith's life, but Ellen is obviously not a real person. No offense meant to the memory of Mike's REAL life wife. this was just the only way I could do the crossover story I wanted to do.
Summary: Ellen Raymond was childhood friends with John Lennon. It is now 1965, and she has been his lover for two years. She also works for Beatle manager Brian Epstein, which means she must travel with the group. They have just come to Los Angeles for a concert and a short vacation. She meets a tall dark stranger in a club...
Author's note: This section inspired by the song "Any Way You Want Me" by Gene Watson
He was tall and lanky with dark, soulful eyes that appeared much older than the face they were attached to, a mouth that seemed infinitely more comfortable in a frown than a smile, and a mass of thick, wavy, black hair many women might envy. Honest, perhaps even pleasant-looking, but not really conventionally handsome. Dressed in simple, faded jeans, boots, a checked shirt and denim jacket, he was unassuming, the epitomy of "average", the type of man you might pass on the street and not even notice.
Quite frankly, when he took the stage at the Troubadour, Ellen didn't expect much. That all changed within the first few notes. He sang in a clear, pure voice that delved down into the farthest reaches of a tenor one moment and then soared effortlessly up into an angelic falsetto the next, covering all manor of emotions from anger to love, sounding first harsh, strident, then changing to tender and sweet, sometimes within the confines of the same song. He was quite funny as well, bantering easily with the audience, winning them over with anecdotes and jokes that illustrated a slightly goofy, unique, even eccentric mind.
One example of this came late in the set and was directed to Ellen personally. She looked up to find those piercing, ancient eyes locked upon her own as he said in an entirely dead-pan, serious tone, "Nine is brown."
She gathered her wits quickly, played along without missing a beat; "Three is red."
Her response elicited an endearing, crooked grin that proved the beginning of a connection that would last for the next eight years.
He had noticed her immediately as she crossed the room to sit at a front table someone had fortunately just vacated. But then, it would have been impossible NOT to notice her. She was easily the most beautiful girl in the room, the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen anywhere for that matter, tall and lithe with flashing, emerald eyes and an abundance of ringleted hair the color of fire.
His eyes traveled leisurely over every line and curve of her perfect body before at last coming to rest on her exquisite face, the face of a madonna. Suddenly, his mind was filled with visions of that face close to his. He could almost FEEL the sweetness of her kisses. She would taste like strawberries, WILD strawberries.
The thought consumed him, made it nearly impossible to concentrate on his set. No one would have ever known it though. At the tender age of twenty-two, Robert Michael Nesmith had already learned the art of iron self-control. Becoming a sucess, proving himself, was a need almost as great as breathing. He was focused, ambitious, hard-working, brilliant, and creative, all attributes that would make him a millionaire before he was twenty-five and an even richer businessman by the time he was in his thirties. But for now, he was a struggling musician, and he had neither time nor patience for distractions. He saw his future clearly, and the steps he needed to take to get there were all mapped out carefully in advance. Falling in love (or lust depending on your point of view) at first sight with an achingly beautiful stranger way out of his league definitely wasn't part of the plan. It was rash, impulsive, and stupid, that's what it was.
And yet, he found himself heading straight for the table where she sat like a queen presiding over her court as if his feet had a will of their own. His biggest fear had been that she would leave before he had a chance to talk to her. Fortunately, though, (or unfortunately, also depending on your point of view) she was still there, and she was even more beautiful up close.
For the first time he could remember, he found himself speechless. For several seconds, he could only stand and stare helplessly in mute awe at the godess before him. Finally, he gathered his courage, extended his hand in greeting, introduced himself, "I'm Michael, Michael Nesmith." Idiot! The emcee introduced you. She already KNOWS your name.
Bless her heart, she pretended not to notice. "Ellen Raymond."
What a small, delicate hand. It felt lost in his. He held it briefly to prolong the contact, grazed her fingertips with his as he released it.
"This is my sister, Vicky."
What? He'd barely noticed that there was anyone else at the table. It would be rude not to acknowledge her presence, but he was reluctant to take his eyes off of Ellen even for a second. Somehow, he managed to tear his glance away. He turned dutifully to the other woman: Beautiful...not like his Ellen (he added the pronoun as a wish), but attractive nonetheless. Rich, chesnut hair, big, brown eyes, and a lot of attitude. He could tell. She was wearing the shortest bright red halter dress he'd ever seen, lots of jewelry, and a bit too much makeup. Way too gawdy and flashy. Ellen's beauty was more subtle, understated, but all the more powerful for it. She didn't need all the trappings - just the slightest hint of color at her eyes, cheeks, and lips, a black cocktail dress that was downright demure compared to her sister's, with all that lovely, shining hair falling loose down her back. And what was that perfume she was wearing? Something sweet and flowery...roses, she smelled like roses.
"So are you practicing to be a statue, Cowboy, or would you like to sit down?"
Ellen blushed with embarassment. "Vicky!!...Don't mind my sister; she's a little drunk."
"I am not. It just looked like he was waiting for an invitation, so I gave him one. You sure weren't going to do it."
"If there's a problem, I can split."
"No, no, it's fine; sit, Mr. Nesmith."
"Mike," he ammended.
"Call me Ellen, then."
"So what are you havin' there, Ellen?" he asked, indicating her drink.
"Scotchie," Vicky supplied.
"Scotch and coke," Ellen explained.
"Bit rich for my blood. Think I'll have a beer." He signaled for a waiter, still taking care to keep his eyes on Ellen.
Vicky examined him critically. "So where are you from, Cowboy? I'm dying to know how you got that accent."
"Born and raised in Texas."
"So you really ARE a cowboy then."
Ellen butted in to soften her sister's boorishness. "How long have you been in California?"
"...little over a year. What about you? That accent ain't exactly local either." He said the last with a slight edge and one narrowed, chocolate-brown eye at Vicky.
"We're from Britian. We grew up in Liverpool, but we live in London now."
"Liverpool? Isn't that where The Beatles are from?"
"Funny you should mention that..."
Ellen gave her sister a withering look that clearly said "shut up, or I'll kill you."
"So what are you doing in Lala Land?"
"I've been traveling on business. Right now, I have a few days off, so I invited Vicky to fly in and keep me company. It's our first night on the town."
"So you came here to listen to some good music and ended up with me instead."
"Stop - you were great."
"You really were," Vicky added sincerely.
"Thanks; that makes two of you," he grinned.
"How long have you been playing...professionally, I mean?"
"I've been fiddling around with it for a couple of years, but I didn't really start trying to earn a living at it until I moved out here."
He paused for a moment to take a pull from his beer then asked, "What do you do?"
Ellen gave her sister another warning glance before telling him, "I'm a personal assistant."
"She means she's a glorified secretary."
Now the look evolved into one of complete fury. Vicky ignored it, bypassed Ellen entirely in fact to address Mike directly. "She's been studying music and dance almost from the time she could walk. I've also offered to have my agent get her modeling jobs, but she'd rather chase her boyfriend all over the world, being the gofer to his business manager instead."
To finish this bombshell off, Vicky faced her sister again, told her meaningfully, "You deserve better."
Ellen rose from the table as if she'd been goosed. "I'll catch up with you later back at the house after you've removed the tremendous stick you seem to have lodged up your arse tonight. You can take the car...if our new friend here doesn't mind being my escort for a little while, that is."
What? Had he heard her correctly? Was she actually asking him to leave with her?
"Could you, please?" she reiterated.
Still he felt the need to clarify. "You want to go somewhere? Together? You and me?"
"Yes, if that's all right."
"Sure." He payed for their drinks and walked her out, not exactly certain how he'd managed to score such good fortune, but grateful for it nonetheless. The only thing that gave him pause was the word Ellen's sister had thrown out there toward the end of the conversation...boyfriend. If past experience was any indication as to what type of guy girls like Ellen usually dated, he would soon have some 200 lb jock-type looking to kick his ass. Well, no guts, no glory. Still, he'd prefer it if the guts weren't his.
"Are ya sure this is ok?" he asked as he ushered her into the Buick Riviera his mother had given to him when he left Texas (well, she'd made the down payment anyway).
"What do you mean?"
"Well, Vicky DID say you had a boyfriend."
"Vicky said a lot of things. As much as I love her, Vicky has a big mouth."
"It IS true though?"
"Honestly, Mike, at this point, I don't have any idea. I'm not sure WHAT he is anymore."
"I'm not touchin' that one," he insisted with another of those crooked grins.
She returned it, then reached over to give his hand a companionally squeeze. "So, where are we going?"