That "Love" Girl
Chapter Three

By Rachel Rene

The next day Kari spent with the Monkees, watching them rehearse.  They were on the bandstand, and she was sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the couch.
    "You guys are really good!" she said, while clapping when they finished a set of songs (which included: I Wanna Be Free, Papa Gene's Blues, Sometime in the Morning, I'll Be Back Upon My Feet, and Last Train to Clarksville)
    Mike blushed and scratched the top of his head, taking off his green wool hat.  "Ya really think so?"
    "I know so!  You guys are so groovy, man, you must be booked with gigs to play!"
    They looked at each other.  "Well, hon'...we don' really have any gigs."
    Kari practically choked on her astonishment.  "No gigs?!  You're puttin' me on!  Man, you guys would blow the roof off any place!"
    "Really?" Micky asked, "We're not that good."
    She nodded.  "Yes you are, babe.  Stop bein' modest an' believe me!  Listen, I got this part time job at this real swingin' place in town.  I need a few
bucks till I get my store started, so I'm waiting tables at the Orange Ballerina."
    "Orange Ballerina?" Davy asked, "Is 'at a new place?"
    Kari nodded.  "Yeah, I checked it out when I was lookin' for a house ta rent, and they offered me a job.  Maybe I can get ya a gig or two."
    The Monkees looked at each other, and Micky hooted with joy as Peter gave Kari a hug that she thought would break her ribs.  "Thanks so much, Kari."
When Peter called her that, she looked at the ground, then quickly turned her head to hide the tear rolling down her cheek.
    "Hey, babe, what's the matter?" Micky asked, walking over to her and locking his arms over her shoulders, her right shoulder to his chest.
    She hurriedly wiped the tear off and looked back at him.  "It's nothing...Really, I'm fine."
    They stared at her quizzically.  "You don' look fine," Mike drawled.
    Sighing, Kari looked at each of the faces staring at her, waiting for her to explain why she suddenly turned sad.  "It's just mom used to call me Kari all the time.  My friends usually called me Val.  But when you guys called me Kari, it reminded me of my mama... She died a year ago."
    "Oh... D'you... D'you not wont us to call you 'at, then?" Davy asked sincerely.
    Kari looked up at him (he was still on the bandstand).  "It's fine.  Ya just took me by surprise, that's all."
    Peter was scratching his head, and he turned to Kari.  "'Val'?  Where'd they get 'Val'?"
    Kari smiled and wiped away another tear.  "My middle name's Valleri.  Karisma Valleri Love... I guess I forgot to tell you."
    Micky lifted her chin with his finger, so she was looking up at him.  "You all better now?" he asked with pouty lips and puppy-dog eyes.  She nodded, and he grinned.  "Good...then you won't mind a tickle war!"  Micky yelled, and attacked her.  She managed to squirm away, and hide behind the couch, but he jumped over it and tackled her to the ground.  Pinching and tickling each other till they both had happy tears streaming down their faces, Micky and Kari rolled around on the ground.
    "Alright, y'all.  That's enough!" Mike barked, as he pulled Micky off Kari.  "We gotta get dinner made or else we're liable ta starve!"
    Kari was still lying on her back, catching her breath as Micky, Mike and Davy walked to the kitchen.  Peter extended a hand and helped her up.  "Thanks, Pete." she brushed herself off.  She noticed one of her beads broke off, "Aw, man!" she exclaimed, "That one took me nearly five hours ta make!"
    Peter took the beaded necklace from her hands, and observed it, running his fingers over the bright yellow and green beads.  "This's pretty made it?"
    He handed it back as Kari nodded.  "I got a lot more, but I really liked that one.  The pattern was kinda challenging and it took a li'l longer than the other ones," she held up the other five beads around her neck.  "I make my own jewelry, and (try to) make my own clothes, and some of the stuff at my pad.  That's why I wanted ta have my own store, so I can sell the stuff I make by hand."
    Peter grinned with admiration.  "I can dig, man!  Hey, I'll even be your first customer!"
    She smiled reverently.  "Thanks, and I'll make sure ya get the best of the best!"  The two walked into the kitchen holding each other's hand.
    Micky looked at them and teased, "Are you two a 'steady pair' now?" he grinned and poked Karisma's side.
    She blushed and looked at Peter, who was also smiling sheepishly.  "Naw..." was all he said.

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