The Crystal Orchids Episode 3: Friends with Benefits Dinner

It was a bright late morning and David, Rose, Gibson and Spike were sitting around David’s table eating and chatting. The band had just met to begin practice and were conversing with each other. A few of the members were eating a lunch time snack before they began the day of practice.

“So anyway, you know that girl I was chatting up at the bar last night, the brunette?” David started

“The Instagram model?” Gibson asked

“Yeah, her. So anyway, after you guys left, we kept talking, you know one thing led to another and we went back to her place…”

“Stop.” Rose said authoritatively “Whatever you’re going to say, don’t say it. I’m eating yogurt.” Rose said through bites of her snack.

“I wasn’t going to get graphic; I’m just recounting my sexual exploits as per usual.” David replied

“It gets less impressive when you ‘recount’ them every single time.” Spike added “We get you’re a total playboy by now.”

“I mean, why shouldn’t I be? I’m young, obscenely rich, incredibly attractive, humble and I live in Hollywood.”

“Yeah, who needs long lasting relationships or personal growth?” Gibson added spitefully

“Oh, there was some personal growth going on last night if you know what I mean.” David smirked

Rose without looking immediately tossed her yogurt cup unceremoniously over her shoulder and into the sink with a metallic thud and the crashing of dishes as they moved around. She heaved a passive aggressive sigh.

“So what?” David replied indignantly “I have a hedonistic philosophy in life.”

“You have Daddy issues.” Rose retorted

“I do not! I don’t see a degree on your wall anyway, you’re not a psychologist.”

Olivia had just arrived in the dining room, letting herself in the front door as it was already left unlocked impending her arrival.

“Olivia, does David have Daddy issues?” Rose asked

“Oh definitely. Like, text book case.” Olivia replied simply “Why do you ask?”

Olivia and Rose were walking along the sidewalk of a downtown shopping area. The day was perfect, just the right amount of sun, not too hot with a gentle breeze. The duo had decided to go have a girl’s day out while the guys practiced and then took their new songs to the record executives. They looked at the expensive designer clothes displayed in the windows of the shops as people listlessly walked by, enjoying the early afternoon.

“I’m so excited for this date today,” Rose said excitedly, grabbing Olivia by the arm. “It feels like we never hang out any more with just the two of us. It’s like the guys are always involved.”

“First of all, this isn’t a date.” Olivia remarked “It’s a girl’s day out.”

“Ugh, can you let a bi girl dream for once?” Rose groaned, letting go of her friend’s arm.

Olivia stopped to look at a display in the window of a shop called “Xpensivé”

“Do you think I could pull that off?” Olivia asked, looking at a long sleeve navy-blue top and short skirt combination on the dummy.

“I think you could, you’re way prettier than the mannequin.” Rose replied, half-jokingly. The pair went inside and Olivia found the outfit in the store and asked to try it on. She walked into the booth and closed the door. A few moments later, she exited and showed Rose.

“Oh my god, please buy it, it looks perfect on you.” Rose gushed. Olivia looked at herself in the mirror, turning around a few times.

“Will you stop for 5 seconds and tell me what you think honestly?” Olivia replied “See, I knew I was too pale to pull this off. No wonder my mother always bought me sundresses…”

“I am being honest.” Rose answered “It looks good on you. If you don’t like it, it’s only…” Rose paused to grab the spinning paper tag on the waist of the skirt. “Oh, it’s 1200 dollars.” She said a bit deflated.

“Why are you even trying this on? Do shrinks make more money than I think they do, if so, I should try it. I seemed pretty spot on this morning…”

“No silly, I have David’s credit card.” Olivia said smiling “I saw you looking at that purse over there, did you want to get it?”

“I mean, I do need a new purse and it’s really nice…. But it’s 800 dollars. I don’t want to spend too much money. I’d feel guilty if I maxed out David’s credit card on a Swiss purse.”

“Rose, I think we’d have to literally buy Switzerland to max out David’s credit card.” Olivia replied frankly.

“That’s true. I guess I could do with some shopping therapy, as long as David is paying for it.” Rose said with a sly smirk.

“That’s the spirit.”

They continued walking down the street of shops, heavy plastic bags in hand.

“So, I heard that David asked you out.” Rose said, leaning headfirst into the conversation.

“He did.” Olivia responded simply

“And?”

“I said no.” Olivia replied

“Oh, how’d he take it?”

“He was very graceful about it.” Olivia answered

“Wow, that’s surprising.”

“Why?”

“I just figured with David’s ego it’d be hard to accept rejection. He must actually like you.” Rose joked.

“Well, it’s not that I don’t like him, but… I just don’t want to date somebody like him. I don’t want to date a rich celebrity. Well, I don’t know, I don’t know what I want exactly.” Olivia sighed

“Girl, it’s ok. I’m the same. I have zero idea what I’m doing in life.” Rose laughed, putting a comforting arm around her friend. “Now come on, we have a bunch of pumps to buy on a billionaire’s credit card. Let’s forget about life for a while.”

After hours of shopping, the pair carried their bags back to the car and drove home. Rose and Olivia pulled into the driveway as the sun was setting over the hills. Gibson and Sike were at David’s house for a quick practice to rundown tonight’s setlist. As the girl’s walked into the room with as many bags as they could carry in their arms and hands, David and Gibson were exiting the practice space. David had his wine-colored Gibson Les Paul slung around his shoulders.

“How’d practice go guys?” Rose asked, walking over to hug her husband.

“Good, we’re ready to go for tonight.” Gibson replied happily, kissing her on the head. “You should go home and get changed; I’ll meet you at the gig.” He added.

David put his guitar in its case and got it ready to be put in Spike’s van to go to the gig.

“Well, I’ll see you at the show lads. Oh, and remember, try to keep it mellow and PG-13. This is a benefit dinner for autistic kids, so most of the people there are going to be older socialite types.” Olivia reminded them. She placed David’s card on the kitchen counter top as she left the room.

Gibson heaved a heavy sigh and grabbed his synth to load it into the van as well as his two basses. Spike was busy disassembling the drum kit to be transported as well.

The venue was a local civic center that held all kinds of events. The stage wasn’t very extravagant which means that the band couldn’t use their usual light setup or even as much gear as the usually would keep on stage but it was enough to make it work. The audience was to be seated on folding metal chairs in front of the stage. Spike and David were unloading the gear from Spike’s gray van. Gibson was leaning up against a concrete pillar smoking marijuana out of a glass pipe.

“Are you going to help or just sit there and sulk?” David asked as he was grabbing one of his many guitar cases and setting it down outside the van.

“Since when do we play corporate fundraisers?” Gibson asked

“Uh… Since our friend needed us to. Plus, I’m super hyped to debut this new song we’ve been working on.” David replied “Also, quit acting like some tortured, deep artist Gibson. We’re in a band that sings about having sex with robots for hipsters who think liking 60’s music is a personality trait.”

“They’re not going to like it; I hope you know. This song is out there, even for us.” Gibson said grumpily, pocketing his pipe and getting back to work unloading the van.

“Yes, they absolutely are. This is our lives now man. We gotta go all out, even if people don’t like us. Trust me, this song is going to kill.” David said, grabbing the nearest drum from Spike’s drum set and placing it on the ground.

After the group had loaded all their gear on stage and set things up, they met Rose in the backstage area. She was wearing a green velvet blouse and tight black jeans. Gibson embraced her and held her close once again.

“Is that a new shirt?” he asked

“Yes, thank you for noticing.” Rose replied

“You look amazing. Green is definitely your color sweetheart.” He complimented her. She looked up at him with a genuine smile and he couldn’t help but passionately kiss her a few times which smudged her lipstick but neither one cared.

Out of nowhere, Olivia poked her head through the black curtains of the backstage area. Rose left her husband’s embrace and ran over to hug her. She was wearing an elegant red dress and matching lipstick. She had obviously spent extra time on her hair to make it look even more striking than usual.

“Oh my god, you look so fucking hot.” Rose exclaimed; hugging Olivia too hard for comfort. “Some creepy old guy is going to pay so much money to this charity for a fake date with you.”

“Oh, thank you darling.” Olivia replied, pushing her away as gently as she could.

“What did I say about calling me darling, it makes me feel things.” Rose replied with a wry smile.

“Rose, can you keep your bisexual energy in check for a minute. What was it about the auction? They’re auctioning you off? What kind of benefit are we playing at?” David asked, confused.

“Oh, there’s a bachelorette auction after your set. It’s just harmless fun for charity. I figured I’d join in.” Olivia answered with a smile. “Anyway, when do you go on boys?”

“About 15 minutes.” Spike responded

“Well, break a leg, and remember what I said about keeping it tame.”

Gibson nodded and the trio of boys left to get prepped for the show. Olivia turned to Rose.

“Your husband is totally doing the opposite of what I said, isn’t he?” she stated flatly

“Absolutely he is. You should know the two things he hates most are being censored and being told what to do. I fully expect him to break at least a few things.” Rose replied instantly

The show was about to start and the stage was on a rise just above the dancefloor of what was usually a ballroom. The crowd was fairly large, mostly business types dressed nicely and they were all sitting in cheap chairs arranged neatly into rows under an elegant chandelier. A woman in an ill-fitting purple shirt walked out on the stage and addressed the crowd. The murmur of voices dissipated as the woman began to speak.

“Coming to you from right here in sunny Los Angeles, California, they put the Abba into Black Sabbath, please welcome, the psychedelic rock stylings of The Crystal Orchids.” The lady said, trying to be as energetic as she could possibly muster. There were a few claps from the people in the audience.

“Our first show as The Crystal Orchids guys. How exciting is this?” David said intensely. The whole band was bouncing around with a nervous, excited energy. “Let’s fucking go. Rock and roll boys.” He continued, giving a fist bump to both bandmates.

The band walked out onto the dark stage. Spike took his place behind the drum kit and Gibson took his place behind his keyboard; his white thunderbird bass held down low under his waist. Gibson started playing a few chords on his keyboard, which was set to a classic synth sound. Spike lightly and quickly tapped the symbols with his drum sticks which added to the psychedelic atmosphere of the pitch-black stage. David was playing a single note on his iconic Flying V and allowing it to feed back which was just adding to the cacophony of sound. He made his way back to his amp and adjusted the settings, the distorted guitar still feeding back loudly. He saw Rose and Olivia standing next to the side of the stage, looking on in anticipation as they knew they were kicking off the show with the new song. David looked at them and smiled.

“Plug your ears.” He yelled over the music.

“What?” Olivia said loudly in return.

“It’s gonna be loud, plug your ears.” He yelled again, this time making a gesture with his hands to cover their ears. The Rose nodded and covered her ears. She could hear Olivia audibly sigh as she did the same. David turned back to the audience as a spotlight illuminated the front of the stage. The band broke into crushing opening riff as Gibson stepped up to the mic to sing.

“Glory of the maiden bounty of her royal blood. Crimson moon in twilight beacon of the outer gods.”

“Bloody hell they’re loud.” Olivia screamed.

“You really shouldn’t have said anything.” Rose responded.

After the opening song, the band stopped playing for a moment.

“That was our new song, Aegis’ Alter, and that was the first time we’ve ever played it live. So, if you don’t appreciate this monumental occasion, you can go fuck yourself. We know you’re all corporate robots so here’s one you might like; it’s called My Robotic Girlfriend.”

The band continued playing until the hour was up, and as they walked off the stage, they saw Olivia right off to the side of it to greet them. David took his Gibson SG off of his broad shoulders and handed it to Olivia who held it as if she had been given a priceless artifact while he descended the stairs. The neck was grimy with sweat and she could feel it. He took the guitar back and put it into its case.

“Bloody good show. I quite like the new song. It’s a bit different than your usual material. Not sure it needed to be 24 minutes long… And I don’t know enough about Lovecraft to fully grasp the lyrics, but otherwise I enjoyed it.”

“These people don’t get us.” Gibson scoffed, wiping off the strings of his bass and setting it in its stand.  

“Well, I think telling them that if they don’t appreciate you, they can go fuck themselves right off the bat was not… The best way to endear you to the crowd, but they seemed to be having fun otherwise.” Olivia refuted.

The charity event continued on after the show, and now the band was mingling with the rest of the audience. People were discussing business, academics and other topics as a host of h’orderves were being served by waiters and waitresses. Spike ordered a glass of red wine at the bar and was sitting next to Rose. He watched forlornly as David and Olivia were talking and laughing together.

“I know you have a huge crush on Olivia. You can just say it.” Rose said, taking a sip from her wine glass. ”Will you just ask her out already?” Rose said

“First of all, I do not. Second of all, she’s obviously got a thing for David. This is like an entire story arc waiting to happen. I have zero chance.”

“You’ll never know if you don’t ask.” Rose stated

Spike chuckled defeatedly and looked into his nearly empty glass.

David was on the far side of the bar, chatting with Olivia. He took off his white felt top hat and placed it on her head. He fixed her hair around it and then stood back and marveled at his work.

“See, it does look better on you.” He smiled

“Oh, shut up.” Olivia replied with a snicker and handing it back to him.

David spun the hat around his fingers so that the opening faced towards Olivia. He reached in and pulled a white rose from it, seemingly out of nowhere and handed it to her.
“Wait, how did you do that?” She asked, astonished “I had that hat on and I didn’t feel anything. Is there a secret compartment in there?” she reached into the hat and felt around the sides. Nothing.

“A wizard never reveals his tricks, silly.” He joked

“Just tell me how you did it.” Olivia coerced him.

“Honestly, I can’t explain it either really.”

A man shuffled across the stage and grabbed the microphone stand.

“Can all the bachelors and bachelorettes please come backstage, it’s almost time for the auction.”

“Oh, I’ve got to go. I’ll see you later David.” Olivia said, walking towards the stage.

David and the rest of the audience filed back into the seats in front of the stage and waited for the auction to start. Two girls and a man were auctioned off before Olivia’s name was called.

“Please welcome the lovely Olivia Kane to the stage.” The auctioneer said

Olivia walked across the set a bit awkwardly. Her heels clicked against the worn wood of the stage and stood next to the auctioneer, waiving.

“Tell us a little about yourself.” The man said, sidestepping so that Olivia could reach the mic.

“Um… Well, I’m very British and I quite like wine tasting.” She explained, flashing a nervous and unbelievably attractive smile.

“And there you go, she’s British and likes wine. What’s not to love about this lady, right guys? We’ll start the bids for a night out with her at $50. Do I have an opening bid for 50?”

David was sitting in the second row while Rose, Gibson and Spike were sitting a few rows back. David raised his hand and started the bidding silently.

“That’s $50 for the man in the second row. Do I hear 100 dollars?”

A man with graying hair in the first row wearing an expensive looking suit and watch obliged.

“We’re at 150 dollars, anybody for 150 dollars?”

“500 dollars!” Spike exclaimed

“Ooooh, big spender. Well, she’s worth it folks, I mean look at that smile, you won’t meet a Brit with teeth that nice anywhere else. Can I hear 550 dollars?” The auctioneer roared in response

“Oh, fuck this…” David said under his breath.

“100,000 dollars!” he called

That sent a murmur up and down the crowd, which prompted the auctioneer to hush them.

“Oh boy, we came here looking to spend money tonight.” He cried “I love it, I’m looking for 100,500 dollars. Anybody? Going once, going twice…”

“200,000 dollars” Rose shouted. Shocking the crowd once again.

“We got 200,000 dollars, 200,000 going once, going twice… Sold! To the… Lady in the 4th row. It’s 2022, I won’t judge. Congratulations.” Rose produced a wicked grin and looked over at David, who had his hands thrown up into the air.

The group was now standing around the parking lot after the event. Spike was loading the very last of his drum gear into the back of the van. Olivia was next to Rose, leaning against her car. Gibson was smoking the last bit of the weed in his pipe and he handed it to David who finished off the bowl.

“I thought you were going to go higher for me” Olivia teased David, playfully shoving him.

“Well, I’m not playing this stupid game. Rose was obviously trying to get me to spend an outrageous amount of money, and that plan totally backfired, didn’t it? Do you even have 200,000 dollars?” He said snidely, smacking the glass pipe against his hand and then handing it back to his friend.

“What plan? The plan was always for me to win. Nobody gets Olivia, she’s mine!” Rose exclaimed, grabbing Olivia aggressively by her nearest arm and pulling her close to her. Olivia laughed at her friend’s playful flirtation like she always did.

“And who do you think is paying for it?” David asked

“Uh… Obviously you moneybags.” Rose replied, drawing a look of ire from David

“It’s for charity.”

David sighed and laughed. The group stood silent in the cool night for a moment.

“I’m gonna head off, goodnight, guys. David, I’ll bring your guitars by the studio in the morning.” David nodded in agreement and Spike jumped in his van which crackled off in a small plume of exhaust smoke before eventually driving off.

“Well, I better get going as well, have a good night you guys. And have fun on your date you two.” David said sarcastically pointing at Rose and Olivia.

“I don’t know why he’s being sarcastic about this; we’re going on that date.” Rose stated matter of factly.

“Oh yeah, where are we going?” Olivia joined in on the joke.

“I don’t know. Maybe wine tasting. And if you don’t put out, I’m asking for a refund.”

“From… The children’s charity?”

“What’s the point of donating to charity if it doesn’t get you laid?” Rose replied with a laugh, hugging Olivia before she walked back to her car.