Dust In The Wind

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“Where are you going to go, Jessica?” Kelly watches as Jessica packs her suitcase with what meager belongings she owns.

“I don’t know, Kelly.” Jessica looks over towards Kelly. She has been like a little sister since she came to the ranch.

“Why can’t you stay? I don’t want you to leave.” Kelly walks over and hugs Jessica tightly.

“I don’t want to go, Kelly. But Mrs. White said the state wouldn’t allow me to stay here.

Tears were leaking from Jessica’s eyes as she hugged Kelly back. She would miss Kelly the most out of all the foster kids on the ranch. Kelly has been the little sister she has always wanted.

She holds Kelly for a while before she releases her. She looks down into Kelly’s hazel eyes. “I promise I’ll text and call you.”

Kelly looks up into Jessica’s eyes “you promise?”

“I promise.” Jessica places a kiss on Kelly’s forehead.

She releases Kelly and wipes the tears out of her eyes as she puts her cowboy hat on. She grabs her purse and suitcase and walks towards the front door. Hank was going to give her a lift into town. He had spoken to a friend of his that booked musical acts and managed to find her a job with an all-girl group. They needed a sound mixer, and Jessica handled the soundboard well.

She had learned how to handle a soundboard from a friend of his. She dealt with the one her high school used and the one her church used. She meets Hank at the front door and watches as he puts all her stuff in the back of his pickup truck.

She waves goodbye to everyone as she climbs into the truck. She was going to miss the ranch and Mr. and Mrs. Violet. They had treated her like their daughter, even after discovering she was trans.

Her birth mother put her in foster care when she was five. When she got older and started learning about DNA and how it could be used to track down people, she saved up the money she paid for chores around the ranch, bought a DNA kit, and sent it in.

She got the results back weeks later and learned she had other siblings. Her mother had gotten remarried and had four more kids. She tracked them down through Facebook and a few other social media sites she belonged to.

According to what she learned from them. Her mother had been raped by a guy named Kevin Lester, and she was the result. Her mother’s parents wouldn’t allow her to have an abortion. So, she had her and tried to raise her on her own, but she didn’t love her. Looking into her face reminded her mother of what happened when her mother was raped.

That had brought tears to Jessica’s face when she learned how she was conceived. Her birth mother didn’t want anything to do with her, and her birth father was a bastard. After she found out that information, she didn’t stay in touch with her siblings.

Mr. and Mrs. Lester helped her through the process of changing her sex. She was never a little boy, and they knew it. Mrs. Lester taught her everything a young woman should know.

Jessica looks at Hank “thanks for everything, Hank.”

“It ain’t no problem, Jessica.” Hank smiles at Jessica.

He was going to miss her on the ranch. She always helped out when she could and never complained about the work. She was one of the few kids living on the farm that all the hands enjoyed being around.

“So, what’s the name of this band I’ll be traveling with?” Jessica didn’t know much about them, except they had won a record contract and would be traveling the state and overseas.

“The Zombies. According to my friend, they are into the same type of music as KISS, Alice Cooper, Manowar, and Queen.” Hank loved music, but the type of music those bands played, wasn’t his cup of tea.

“I’m surprised they are willing to take me on as part of their crew.” Jessica didn’t have any experience with the music they played.

“Their manager owed my friend a favor, and you, my dear, need a job now.” Hank glances at Jessica as she sits next to him in the truck.

“I appreciate this, Hank. I know you didn’t have to do this for me.” Jessica knew Hank never went out of his way for the other kids that aged out of foster care.

“The guys and I are going to miss you. You never complained when we gave you a task to do, and you always did what we said.”

“Thanks, and I’m going to miss you guys. Can you and the guys look after Kelly, please?” Jessica knew she could trust Hank and the guys to watch after Kelly.

“Consider it done. I’m going to drop you off here at Reds. The band is supposed to show up sometime this afternoon. So, you can kill some time here.” Hank pulls into the parking lot and around to the employee’s entrance.

Hank parks his truck, gets out, walks up to the employee’s entrance, and knocks on the door. After a few minutes, the door opens. Standing on the other side was one of the servers that worked at Reds.

“Hank, what brings you here?” Betty looks at Hank and the light brown-haired teenage girl standing next to him.

“Dropping my friend off, Betty. She’s going to be working with the band that is going to be playing here tonight.” Hank winks at Betty.

“Okay, she can stay in the band room until they arrive.” Betty looks at the girl and notices she has to be under twenty-one.

“Thank you, ma’am.” Jessica smiles at Betty.

Hank and Jessica grab her stuff and take it into the band room. She noticed the place had a sofa and a couple of chairs. There was a water fountain with cone cups on the side of it.

Once everything was unloaded, Jessica turned to Hank and hugged him. She was going to miss him. “Thanks for everything, Hank.”

“Do your best for us, sweetie. And promise you’ll come back and visit us as well.”

“I promise.” Tears were sliding down Jessica’s cheeks as she released Hank.

Hank smiles at Jessica and hands her an envelope “this is from the guys. Spend it carefully.” As he passes the envelope to Jessica.

“Thanks, and I will.” Jessica puts it in her purse.

Jessica watches as Hank leaves after kissing her on the cheek. She watches as he gets into his pickup truck and drives off. She was going to miss him.

She turns back around, heads into the band room, and waits for the band to arrive. She wondered what type of ladies were in the bar and what instruments they played. Around noon, Jessica orders a club sandwich and a coke. She finds out from the Reds manager that the band wasn’t due until later tonight.

After eating lunch and checking her soundboard, she lays on the sofa with her feet propped up so her boots aren’t on the couch. She covers her face with her cowboy hat and catches a nap. She figures it might be a good idea.

Later in the Evening:
“All right, girls were here.” Emmitt pulls into the parking lot, drives around the building, and parks the black touring bus. He gets as close as he
can, so if the girls need to get out in a hurry, they can.

“Come on, wake up, Tam.” Clair shakes the petite drummer to wake her up.

Tam rolls over and looks at her older sister Clair “do I have to? I just fell asleep.”

“Come on, you lazy brat.” Kensi grabs Tam’s foot and yanks her out of her bunk.

“Hey! That hurt.” Tam slowly gets up off the floor of the bus.

“Will you two stop your childish behavior?” Angela looks at her drummer and bass player with a commanding look.

Clair helps her little sister up off the floor. She looks at Angela “they are just having some fun. We’ve been on the road for the last eight weeks.”

“I know, Clair. I didn’t think we would be coming back to Reds after we made it big.” Angela would have liked it if they had gone to another venue instead of Reds.

“He’s been one of our biggest supporters, and we owe him for that.” Clair knew Reds’ owner had been one of their biggest supporters when they were an unknown band.

“I know. I was hoping to avoid this place, is all.” Angela didn’t want history repeating itself, was all.

“Don’t worry about Jake, Angela. We have Emmitt now to protect our asses. Suppose Jake comes anywhere near us. Emmitt will show him how he used to play football.” Tam knew Emmitt used to play football until his knees gave out from a bad tackle.

“Aren’t we meeting up with our new sound engineer?” Nancy looks at Angela to confirm what they were told.

“Yep, Joseph said she should already be here,” Angela spoke to Joseph at their last stop.

“Please tell me this one has some musical talent. The one we had in Minnesota sucked.” Kensi hated the last one they had.

“According to Joseph. She’s fresh off the farm and has done two jobs.”

“Great! We get stuck with a newbie.” Clair throws her hands up into the air.

“Come on, guys, let’s give her a chance. She can’t be any worse than the one we used in Iowa.” Tam remembers that person. The guy kept hitting on her after she told him to fuck off.

“You girls better get inside and meet this person. Harry and I will bring in the gear.” Emmitt looks at the girls.

“You’re right, Emmitt.” Angela leads everyone out of the tour bus and knocks on the back door.

After a few minutes, the door opens to let them inside. The person who let them in recognized who they were from last year.

“Hey, ladies. Welcome back.” Austin couldn’t believe the Zombies had come back to Reds.

“Hey, Austin. Watch you been up to?” Tam looks at the well-dressed waiter.

“Working my ass off to pay for my college loans.” Austin would love to return to school, but he had a bunch of loans he needed to pay off first.

“Tell me about it. I’m still paying mine off.” Kensi had done some online accounting courses and racked up a considerable total.

“Well, mine is almost paid off.” Clair had managed to pay a massive chunk of hers off from money she won on a lottery ticket.

“That’s because you used your winnings from that lottery ticket, sis.” Tam looks at her older sister.

“It was the right thing to do.” Clair didn’t feel guilty about doing it.

“Hey, Austin. Has our new sound engineer shown up yet?” Angela stops to talk with Austin.

“Yeah, she’s in the band room, sound asleep. She’s been here all day waiting on you guys.” Austin peeked in the band room to see if she needed
anything and the woman was sound asleep with her cowboy hat covering her face.

“What type of person is she?” Tam was curious.

“I don’t know. She spent the whole day in the band room, sound asleep. She has a suitcase and her equipment in the band room.”

“All right, thanks.” Angela knew the woman had just aged out of foster care.

The ladies make their way to the band room and find a young woman wearing worn cowboy boots dressed all in western gear lying on the sofa.
There was a black cowboy hat with several feathers sticking up from a silver band around the bottom half of the dome.

“Nice hat. You said she just came off a ranch?” Tam looks at Angela since she is the leader of their band.

“Yep, she just aged out.” Angela looks at the young woman.

“That has to suck. What did they expect her to do?” Tam couldn’t believe people could be so cold-hearted.

“That’s the government for you.” Kensi walks over to wake the young woman.

Kensi reaches down to the young lady and gently shakes her shoulder. She watches as the young woman stirs from her slumber. She watches as she removes her cowboy hat and looks at them all.

Jessica spots five women looking at her. She sits up on the sofa and looks at all of them. They were all wearing black leather outfits that showed off their bodies. The woman who woke her up was black and standing near her. Near her was a short petite woman with long, light brown hair.

“It lives!” Tam smiles at the young woman.

“Hey, we’re the Zombies. I’m Angela, and the short one is our drummer, Tam. The woman who woke you is Kensi, and she is our bass player.
This woman to my left is Tam’s older sister Clair. She’s our guitarist. I’m Angela, the lead singer of the band. That’s Nancy, and she plays the synthesizer and piano.”

“I’m Jessica Hawk. It’s nice to meet all of you, and thanks for giving me a chance.” Jessica smiles at all of them.

“Are you ready to get to work?” Angela returns Jessica’s smile.

“Sure.” Jessica stands up.

“Come on then. Let’s get to work.” The girls start walking out of the band room and setting everything up.

Jessica follows behind them and starts setting up all the audio lines and wireless mics. She double-checks everything and does a quick sound check to get a baseline. When the ladies take the stage to perform later that evening, she balances and enhances their sound.

Jessica watches the crowd as they start dancing and singing along. A smile appears on her face throughout the performance. By the end of their performance, Jessica was glad that she had managed to sleep before the performance.

She helps the ladies with their instruments but leaves the setup of the audio equipment. She finds out they will be playing at Reds for the next few nights. She grabs her suitcase and her little gear and puts them on the touring bus. She meets Emmitt and his helper.

“It’s nice to meet you, Jessica.” Emmitt shakes Jessica’s hand.

Jessica returns the handshake. She had to admit that Emmitt was a vast black guy. No one back on the ranch was as big as him.

“So, where to, boss?” Emmitt looks at Angela.

“The Red Roof Inn, Emmitt.” Joseph had set them up at the same hotel they stayed at the last time they played at Reds.

“Jessica can bunk with us.” Nancy looks at Jessica when she says that.

“Cool, someone new to pull pranks on.” Tam starts rubbing her hands together.

Clair just shakes her head at her little sisters’ antics. She looked at Jessica as they drove over to the hotel.

“So, tell us a little about you, Jessica.” Angela was curious about her.

“There’s not much to tell. My mother placed me in foster care when I was five. My foster parents raised me on a ranch and attended high school.” Jessica had a semi-normal childhood.

She learned how to ride horses and took part in several riding competitions. She also learned how to rope and herd cattle.

“So, you grew up around horses and such?” Tam looks at Jessica.

“Yep, and I learned how to milk cows.”

“Sounds like you had an exciting childhood.” Clair was curious about Jessica.

“It was.” Jessica missed the ranch and what friends she had made.

“So, where did you learn how to handle a soundboard?” Angela was curious.

“I learned from a friend of a friend. I also ran the school soundboard at school and the one at the church I attended. It seemed I had a natural talent for sounds.”

“Well, I hope you are better than the last two.” Kensi didn’t like the last two sound engineers they had.

“I think you’ll like my work. I have a question for you ladies. How long have you ladies been a band?” Jessica looks at Angela and the others.

“For a year and a half now. We won a recording contract from a major recording studio.”

“So, are they picking up all the expenses for you to tour to promote your album?” Jessica didn’t know much about the music business.

“Yes. They are paying for everything.”


Once the tour bus arrives at the hotel. Jessica grabs her stuff and follows Tam, Clair, and Kensi to one room. They had twin beds. Kensi and Clair share one bed, while Jessica and Tam share another. Jessica takes some pictures to send to Kelly later. She was going to keep her promise.

The Next Few Weeks:
Jessica lays down on the couch built into the tour bus. She was exhausted as she closed her eyes. The arena was packed tonight, and the Zombies had sold the place out. She knew the girls were busy partying backstage. She was all partied out and just wanted to sleep.

She covers up with the throw blanket she had bought a few weeks back. Around four in the morning, she is woken up as the girls come stumbling into the tour bus. All of them were shit-faced and dishabille.

Tam falls on the couch Jessica is lying on and gives her a big sloppy kiss. She looks into Jessica’s eyes “you missed a hell of a party, Jess.” Tammy’s words were coming out slurred.

Jessica noticed Tammy’s right breast hanging out of her leather bra. She also noticed that Tammy had a huge hickey on her neck. She looked up at the other women, who were passed out on the additional sofa and the floor.

Jessica catches Tammy when she passes out. She lays Tammy down on the sofa and covers her with the throw blanket she used. Jessica gets up and walks towards the front of the tour bus, where Emmitt and his helper are sitting.

“I think these girls will be out for a while and have a headache when they wake up tomorrow morning.”

“Yeah, I think you’re right, Jess.” Emmitt has come to like and respect Jessica.

By the time Emmitt gets them home and into the house, they are renting. The sun was coming up. Jessica helps their shoes off and their
instruments put away. Afterward, she goes into her bedroom and undresses. She ensured there were trashcans near their beds, just in case they

Jessica gets up hours later and goes downstairs to fix herself some lunch. She had checked on the others, and they were still passed out. She didn’t know what time they were going to wake up.

Jessica decides that she felt like working on a song that has been floating around inside her head. She has never written a song before, but she listened to Angela and Kensi as they worked on a song on the bus. She heads down to the recording studio that the house has and starts working on the song.

Jessica couldn’t play an instrument, but she knew how to mix and use electronic instruments. She spends hours down in the studio mixing and playing. She notices what time it is and puts everything on hold. She heads upstairs to grab a bite to eat. When she walks into the kitchen, she spots everyone standing around in oversize t-shirts and panties. A sly smile appears on her face. She knew they must feel miserable after all the drinking they did.

“How is everyone doing, this afternoon?”

“Not so loud.” Clair was sipping her coffee.

“Like I was put away rough.” Tam was drinking coffee as well.

“Well, you did come out to the bus with your tit hanging out. Also, you gave me a big wet kiss as well.” Jessica makes a kissing motion.
Tam’s cheeks turn beet red. She takes another sip from her coffee.

“You ladies look worse than some of the ranch hands I use to help.” Jessica grabs a cold soda out of the refrigerator.

“We love to party after a big concert.” Nancy had been standing back drinking her coffee.

“Well, you ladies did well last night.” Jessica takes a sip of her soda.

“Hey, we couldn’t have done it without you.” Angela looks at Jessica when she says that.

“I didn’t do much. The sound engineers of the arena did all the work.” Jessica had little to do. The sound engineers did all the work.

“Well, you’re still a member of this band and we couldn’t be as good as we were last night without you.”

“Thanks, Angela.”

After everyone has woken up. They all head down to the studio to begin work on some new songs.

Four Months Later:
October, James Corden Show, Television City in Los Angeles, California:
Jessica watches from the audience as they shoot the show. The Zombies were being interviewed about their newest and number one top hit song Wild Spirits. She couldn’t believe that the ladies loved the song she worked on four months ago after the concert at the Arena. They wanted to make a few corrections to it, but she didn’t mind. They were giving her full credit for the song.

After the interview, James Corden has the band play both songs. The second song was written by all six of them. It was called Spirit Lover and it was the fourth song on their CD called Spirit World.

Christmas Time:
Jessica takes a bus back to the ranch she was forced to leave back in May. Hank was going to pick her up at the bus station. Since she left, she has done well for herself and she has kept her promise to Kelly, Hank, and the Lester's. She had Christmas gifts for all of them and for the other kids currently staying with the Lester's.

She was going to stay through the New Year and meet up with the Zombies in Atlanta, Georgia to start work on a new album. A smile appears on her face when the bus pulls into the bus station and spots Hank and his old pick-up truck waiting for her. She was going to enjoy being home for a while.

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Wendy Jean's picture

This was one of your better stories.