Edited by Pauline Nolet
Cover © 2011mypokcik
at Shutterstock images
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited
Copyright © 2011 Leah Spiegel
All rights reserved.
To my hero, my fiercest protector, my sister, my friend…Megan Summers, who accompanied me to my first concert. Really I was just tagging along so she could see Loretta Lynn play, and I’ve been tagging along ever since.
“So take your place here next to me
And I’ll take my place there next to thee
And no matter how far we my roam
It’s by your side I will make my home.”
- Dave Matthews Band
“Her friend is
.” I heard Warren, the bass player, murmur to Hawkins as I tried to pretend I wasn’t stuck in the same crammed elevator overhearing the embarrassing conversation about what to do with me. Hawkins, whose body nicely filled out his six foot three frame solidly, was crossing his arms while leaning against the side of the elevator. He glanced over at me for like a nanosecond before he turned his shoulder back and said, “You know I prefer blondes.”
My mouth dropped open in shock before I quickly snapped it shut. Doing a double take, I wondered, who the hell did he think he was? I mean, besides the fact that he was the lead singer of a notoriously famous band. I glared over at him, noticing the way his lip curled like he had smelled something bad, and how the expression seemed to be stuck permanently on his face.
It only made matters worse that there wasn’t anywhere to safely rest my eyes as I took what had to be the longest elevator ride in the world. If I had continued to look down, I’d have a front-row view of Warren’s hand squeezing Lizzie’s butt in her low rise, white, denim jeans. If I looked up I’d have a clear view of Warren, who looked like the kind of guy that spent his days surfing and his nights playing in the band, trying to suck my friend’s face off. Yuck! So my safest view was to look in the direction of Hawkins, who was projecting irritation with every fiber of his being.
“Don’t worry, Hawkins.” Lizzie disconnected herself for a second, pushing her platinum blonde hair off her shoulder, and announced, “Joie’s not interested in you either.”
I blinked a few times in surprise because coming to the rescue of anyone besides herself wasn’t exactly Lizzie’s forte. “She has these rules.” Lizzie giggled as she stole a glance over her shoulder to smile at me. Ah, that was the Lizzie I knew, I thought grudgingly. I bugged my eyes out at her, sending a telepathic message, ‘Seriously, shut it now!’
The last thing I wanted was to have my personal rules shared with a rock star who acted as though he thought he was better than me. Surely no one wanted to hear about my rules. I tried to hold on to that notion while I bargained with God that if he could speed up the elevator I would never get myself in this mess again.
“Rules?” Warren asked.
I felt my shoulders cave in defeat; seriously, a little help, would it have been too much to ask?
“Yep, and she’s breaking one right now!” Lizzie giggled.
“What rules?” Hawkins asked as he stole another glance over in my direction. I would have characterized his blue eyes as sexy or penetrating if they weren’t narrowed and staring at me menacingly.
Blowing a strand of my dark brown hair out of my face, I glared ahead and thought, great…
Lizzie continued excitedly, “Yep, she didn’t want to come with us but since we made her, she came up with these rules before the summer tour. One of them being that she would not be seen at the same hotel as your band.” Lizzie smiled over her shoulder at me once again, but I was beyond pissed.
“Why? We don’t bite.” Warren laughed. “Unless you like that sort of thing.”
“Because,” Lizzie emphasized. “Joie’s
are,” Warren replied, giving her behind another inappropriate squeeze.
“Hell, yeah, I’m
biggest fan,” Lizzie exclaimed with a flirtatious smile.
Rubbing the stress out of my forehead I thought, and I’m
least favorite fan now. Does anyone care about that? Hawkins looked over at me once more.
“We have rules, too,” he muttered. “One being, you’re supposed to actually be
to our hotel suite.” Our eyes met for a second and I could tell he was clearly pleased with himself.
“Hey, I invited them,” Warren roared from too much tequila. “Don’t be a buzz kill, Hawkins.”
“Yeah, Hawkins!” Lizzie exclaimed like she actually knew the jerk. Encouraged by Lizzie’s comment, Warren leaned in to continue their make out session.
I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and wondered what I was doing on this elevator anyway? Actually, invited or not I knew
I had gotten there. First my father, who I had never really known, passed away and left me a lump sum of money—too small to make much money in a savings account, but too large to leave under my bed. The only other things he left me were the keys to his old 1968 Volkswagen Van and years of needed therapy to overcome abandonment issues.
Then Riley, my best friend, who at the moment was picking up tomorrow’s breakfast for us (and who by the way was going to be really pissed when he found out that we met the band without him), landed an amazing position of writing show reviews for The Grimm Brothers Band’s website, which included scoring free tickets to attend the entire summer tour.
Coincidently Lizzie, who I’ve known my whole life because her mother and mine were best friends, was dating the drummer of The Larks, the opening act. That, and the fact that Lizzie wanted to spend her last summer before college doing something memorable, had given her and Riley the idea that they should go around the country together following the bands.
I had no intention of going, but did have the money and transportation to take the trip, so they started bugging me to go. I love Riley; Lizzie has always been one of those friends that’s fun to have when you want to do something wild and crazy, but the thought of being in a vehicle with them for twenty-four seven sounded scary. I had been successfully holding them off until my mom asked, for what seemed like the seven hundredth time, “What are you going to do with your life?” or “Why haven’t you enrolled at the local university yet?” So as scary as the thought of being cooped up in a van day after day with the same two people might be, especially when one of them was Lizzie, it paled in comparison to my mother when she was motivated. Needless to say, I eventually caved and agreed to come along on the tour.
After Riley and I deliberated over the maps, the tour schedule, and our budget; I dropped the cash in my carry-on bag. I grabbed up my vintage camera and mumbled something about getting college credit for a “sightseeing” trip across the country to my mother before I left the house.
Five concerts later, I was in the elevator wondering…why lord was I here? I should have been down in the Volkswagen Van, laid out on the cot getting my beauty sleep and wondering what the hell I was going to do with my life. But no, I was here instead of there for two reasons. The first being that someone had to watch Lizzie in case she did something more stupid than when she hiked her shirt up a few minutes ago to get Warren’s attention outside the hotel. The second reason…well, Lizzie
me here with her. She has never been considered “street smart.” Case in point, we didn’t know these guys. Yeah, they were on the radio every day. Yep, they were famous enough to be on the cover of
Rolling Stone Magazine
, and yes, they apparently preferred blondes and I know I should get over that, but I obviously haven’t. But seriously, being famous doesn’t automatically come with a great moral compass. So even though it didn’t look like Lizzie was going to
my help anytime soon, I would be there for her tomorrow when she did her walk of shame back to my father’s Volkswagen Van.
I was brought out of my thoughts as the elevator doors opened when we reached the band’s floor. Warren quickly escorted Lizzie down the hallway to the right, which didn’t surprise me, but it did leave me beside Hawkins for a brief moment before he headed out of the elevator in the other direction. His sudden departure caused the bodyguard in the hallway to freak out at the barely eighteen-year-old girl standing in front of him.
“Whoa, wait, who are you? Hawkins, is she with you?” he asked him.
Hawkins turned around to look at me again, but before I let him open his mouth I answered for him.
“No, he prefers blondes,” I nodded at the bodyguard, “and I prefer someone who knows I could care less.”
I could tell that Hawkins was momentarily surprised as if it was the first time he’d actually laid eyes on me. “So I’ll just be going now, thanks.” I smirked at Hawkins as I pressed the lobby button and the doors closed.
A laugh escaped my mouth as I did a little happy dance to celebrate my great verbal jab back at Hawkins, that was until I heard a soft cough behind me. Crap, how many bodyguards were with us? I straightened my back, cleared my throat, and impatiently waited to exit the elevator. The doors swung open and I jetted across the glistening cream tiled floor while never looking back. As I went to exit the hotel, I glanced over at the bar that was filled with fans frantically waiting to catch a glimpse of the notorious, ass-grabbing, blonde-loving, egos so freaking huge they had to pay taxes on them: Grimm Brothers Band. I looked at all the brunettes and sighed. “Girls, it’s just not your night.”
“And thank god for that,” I added, pushing the double doors with more force than necessary while feeling the last cool gust of air conditioning.
The change in temperature was drastic; the humidity in the air hit me dead in my tracks. I felt my white tank top and light, faded jeans instantly cling to my body. Ugg! It was sure to be another hot, sticky night in the van. I listened to the rhythmic sound of my white flips slapping against the pavement as I mall-walked it over to where I spotted my van.
My Volkswagen Van was from the sixties and was painted a pale blue color on the body with white on the top. I know driving an RV or even a minivan where the air conditioner worked would have been more comfortable, but my van was free, and because it reminded me of my childhood, there was some nostalgic value to it.
Approaching the tiny space between the van and the car next to it, I wondered, man could this parking lot be any more packed? I pulled back the big awkward door of the van as it creaked and squealed in protest. I hopped up onto the mostly-covered, black vinyl seats. “Mostly” because the seat was worn so thin that the cover had split down the middle, allowing stuffing to peak out.