Brian reached the dressing room quickly, his anger helping to speed up his usual relaxed gait. Immediately he delved to the mini-fridge, grabbing a beer and popping the top before he had fully straightened up. By the time the beer had touched his lips, Zacky had entered the room after him. Brian was not surprised to see his green-eyed friend approach him with a patient look on his face. It had become all but routine for them.
Ignoring the fellow guitarist, Brian chugged the beer, sinking half of it before lowering it to take a breath. He knew exactly what Zacky was going to say before he even started talking, and Brian was not in the mood for another lecture about his moods and how he was affecting others. There was a part of him that knew he had crossed the line with what he had said to Evie, and he had felt some regret when he had seen her chatting with Zacky earlier. The regret was soon forgotten once he had seen her laughing and smiling along with his green-eyed friend, and he tried to ignore the feeling that rose up to take its place.
Before Zacky even had a chance to start speaking, the pair were interrupted by Matt Berry telling them to head to the stage for sound check. He disappeared as quickly as he arrived, heading outside to get the rest of the band and herd them towards the stage. They moved through the dressing room and headed to the stage, Zacky remaining quiet, trying to choose the few words he had time to speak wisely.
“Go on, spit it out,” Brian sighed, tired of waiting for Zacky to give him the tongue lashing he deserved.
“Get your head out of you ass. We may be used to your shit, but don’t unload it on her,” Zacky told him, saving the long talk for another time and trying to keep it simple. When Brian furrowed his eyebrows, Zacky gave him a pointed look in return. He picked up his pace, walking across the stage to his side before grabbing a freshly tuned guitar.
Brian watched him go, mulling over what he had been told. So what, he was in a bad mood. Everyone gets bad moods now and then, and today just happened to be one for him. Like it was his fault that Abby called him non stop again this morning after sending him about a thousand texts over night. He just needed to step outside and get some space, but then Evie came over like a lost puppy, needing his praise. It isn’t his job to make sure she feels better, he didn’t sign up for that shit. He never had to check in on Chris when he was their guitar tech, he was happy going under the radar.
With his thoughts consumed by justifying his actions to himself, he missed the entrance of his fellow bandmates, and jumped out of his skin when he heard the thud-thud-thud-thud of Jimmy’s kick drums as he situated himself at his kit. Trying to get his head back in the game, he spun around to see Matt Berry handing him a guitar. Accepting it, Brian put the strap around his neck as MB attached his transmitter to the strap as well. Sound checks weren’t usually as vigorous as shows, so the transmitter was safe on the strap rather than in his pocket.
He joined the rest of the guys on stage and started playing alongside Zacky, Matt having decided to start the soundcheck with ‘Bat Country’. His fingers flew along the song out of pure muscle memory rather than Brian actually attempting to play anything. He was thankful for the hours he had spent creating, arranging and practicing their entire discography, because his attention was certainly not on the music.
Instead, his attention was on Evie as she made her way across the stage with MB. She had thrown her hair up in a messy bun at the top of her head, and had stripped off her jacket, leaving her in a thin strapped tank top. A huge smile stretched over her face as she quietly laughed at something Matt had just told her. As much as he didn’t want to admit it to himself, he thought she looked gorgeous.
The pair disappeared offstage and out of sight of Brian, and his attention finally went back to the music. They had reached the end of the song, and for the life of him, he couldn’t remember playing the solo. He glanced around to his fellow bandmates to see if any of them had realised, and of course the only one that had was Zacky. His fellow guitarist raised a single eyebrow in question, his gaze flitting between Brian and the side of the stage where Evie was currently searching through the road case.
Jimmy dove straight into the start of ‘Afterlife’, pulling Brian's attention from Zacky and to the music. This time, he really tried to keep focus on the song, what they were up to, what was coming up, but he failed once more.
Evie approached Zacky, the three remaining transmitters in her hand. She put them on the ground next to him before quickly whispering something to him. Zacky nodded and MB crossed the stage once more, this time alone.
The chorus began, and only 4 bars in, Zacky’s guitar cut out. Everyone's attention flew to him, worried that they were having a repeat of the problem from the previous evening. Instead, they saw Evie crouched beside him, swapping out the transmitter pack. She ignored the looks, her attention floating back and forth between the electronics and MB at the soundboard. Barely a second passed between Zacky’s guitar cutting and it returning to the mix.
After a thumbs up from MB, Evie repeated the action with the next transmitter. And the next. Finally, she reattached the original transmitter back to the guitar. The band's attention was solely on Evie and her actions, even Jimmy's drums had settled from the pure chaos that was ‘Afterlife’ to a mere single kick on every beat.
“While you're down there…” Zacky started, his voice carrying across the stage as he looked down at her with a salacious grin. Evie smirked, making a show of slowly checking him out.
“I could do worse,” she replied cheekily, a wicked thought crossing her mind. She knew Zacky was just fucking around, but she wanted to call his bluff.
Her hands slowly put the transmitters back on the floor before she fell to her knees from her crouching position. Zacky’s eyebrow rose, questioning her actions. She put on her best flirty face as she slowly reached up and pushed his guitar to the side.
Zacky’s eyes widened.
Johnny coughed, biting back a surprised exclamation.
Brian, the only one who had been trying to play, hit a wrong note before completely giving up.
Evie’s hands got mere inches from his belt before Zacky took a step back, confusion clear on his face. Evie bit her lip to try to stifle her laugh, but it was useless. Her giggles soon escaped as she collected the transmitters once more before raising to her feet.
“What was that?!” Matt asked, his voice booming through the venue as he had yet to lower the mic from his mouth. He quickly rectified it, holding the still live mic at his waist.
“What?” Evie asked, finally taking in the looks around her. It just made her laugh harder. “You actually thought I would have?”
“Uh,” Zacky managed to get out, his brain finally starting to return to him.
“Really? Here? In front of everyone?” She asked, slightly surprised that they all thought that she would have kept going if Zacky hadn't stopped it. She rolled her eyes. Typical guys, only one thing on their minds. “I was just calling your bluff, dude.”
“Oh,” he said, still as eloquent as before. He physically shook his head, trying to get the image of Evie on her knees before him out of his head. Sure, now he realised that Brian had a thing for her, he would never do anything more than joke around, but still he couldn't help his mind holding on to that image. She was attractive, and it had been far too long since his last blow job.
“You guys are hopeless,” she joked as she started back towards the road case to put the transmitters back. She had a small bounce in her step as she barrelled down the steps side stage, feeling accomplished with her actions. Things like that had happened all the time with Halestorm, and it felt comforting being able to joke around with the guys like she had with her old crew.
“Does this mean that I am next?” Brian asked her as she crossed the stage to head back to Matty to continue their soundcheck duties.
Evie had a thousand different retorts flit through her brain at his words, ranging from snarky to comical to flirty, but none felt quite right. She wasn’t sure where she stood with him after his explosion earlier. While at first she had started to sympathise with him and take no offence to his cruel words, the longer she thought on it, the angrier she got. Zacky had tried to help her understand that it was almost a normal reaction for Brian, but she thought differently, she had done nothing to warrant his asshole behaviour, and she needed him to know that she wouldn’t tolerate it any further.
“No,” she replied shortly, not even taking the time to look at him as she passed by. “I have already checked the other transmitters.”
Before he found the words to reply, she was standing beside MB, delving into yet another gear orientated conversation and paying no further attention to him. Zacky was at his side within seconds of relieving himself of his guitar, leading the pair back outside now that the rest of the soundcheck had been all but abandoned. Zacky lit two cigarettes, handing one to the still silent lead guitarist. He watched his counterpart suck in a few lungfuls of smoke, letting him enjoy the quiet before he began his questioning.
“Do you have a crush on Evie?” Zacky asked, getting straight to the point. He watched Brian cough on the smoke he was exhaling, clearly taken aback by Zacky’s lack of tact.
“A crush? What am I, 12?” Brian questioned, using a question to reply to Zacky. “I am Synyster fucking Gates, I don’t get ‘crushes’.”
“Well, I guess that if Synyster fucking Gates doesn’t have a crush, he wouldn’t mind if I went after her,” Zacky said, trying to sound aloof while keeping an eye on his friend’s reaction. He knew that if it looked like he was into Evie, Brian would surely have something to say about it.
“Go for it,” Brian forced out, not looking at Zacky while he spoke. He didn't have a crush, so it was fine that someone else wanted to get with Evie.
Good luck to him, Brian thought. It's not like he was in love with her or anything, he just thought she was attractive. Gorgeous, even. And smart. And funny. And friendly. And independent. And quick witted.
Fuck. He did have a crush on her.
So, not the longest chapter, but at least it is something :)
Hoping that I will be able to write more, soon!
Thanks for being sooooo damned patient. I really appreciate it :)