Backstage, Zacky cornered Brian in a small practice room next to the bands dressing room. The lead guitarist had his acoustic in his lap, noodling around as his brow furrowed and he stared at the wall opposite where he was seated. Zacky had seen that look more than once or twice.
“What happened?” Zacky asked him, cutting to the chase. Brian jumped slightly, clearly not having seen nor heard Zacky enter the room. His attention went to his green eyed friend, unable to put his shield in place before their eyes met.
“Nothing,” Brian replied lamely. He hoped that if he responded in short, sharp sentences that maybe Zacky would take the hint that he didn’t want to talk. Though Brian would normally confide in him, there was no way he was ready to explain what had happened between himself and Evie, especially as he wasn’t exactly sure what went wrong.
This morning he had woken up alone, the side of the bed he had watched Evie fall asleep on was stone cold. When he made his way to the landing, he saw her bags were gone, and each and every call and message he had sent her had gone unanswered. Clearly he had fucked up enough that she felt the need to disappear without a trace. Any typical one night stand, this would be a blessing, but he had thought they had something a little more substantial than that. Apparently not.
“You think I am going to buy that?” Zacky asked rhetorically, sitting on an armchair next to the one Brian had occupied. He crossed his legs, resting an ankle on his opposite knee and waited for Brian to speak.
“There is nothing to buy, Zee. Nothing to report,” Brian lied, his attention going back to the guitar in his hands. He sighed heavily. “Where is my damned capo?”
“There is no way that’s the truth,” Zacky told him, his tone sharp and indicating that he is taking no shit. “I have seen you two together. You have chemistry. Are you really trying to convince me that nothing happened when the two of you were alone at your house? Do you think I am that dumb?”
“Leave it, Zack,” Brian told his friend, matching his tone with Zacky’s. His chocolate eyes met green, both stubborn and neither backing down.
“Did you guys make out?” Zacky guessed, watching his friend with an eagle eye to pick up any physical reaction to his assumptions.
“Zack,” Brian warned.
“You guys touch?”
“That’s enough, Zack.”
“You fucked?!” Zacky exclaimed, knowing he hit the nail on the head as Brian’s resolve faded. Before he knew it, the lead guitarist was in front of him, looking down with stone cold eyes.
“I said enough!” Brian yelled, pointing threatening at Zacky.
“Calm down, man. Fuck,” Zacky said, raising his hands up in defence. He was not prepared for the hostile reaction from his friend.
“I’m not playing these games, Zacky. I don’t want to talk to you about it,” Brian told him firmly, retreating back to his chair and placing the guitar back in his lap. He played a few chords, growling in frustration when he hit yet another off fret. “Fucking capo.”
Zacky couldn’t help but be a little hurt at his words. Brian had been one of his best friends for years, nothing was kept secret between them, everything was out in the open. Though he had been at the receiving end of Brian’s anger before, it was usually something that was easily fixed or rectified, most of the blow outs coming out at the studio when everyone had reached breaking point anyway. They were always honest, especially when it came to relationships and women, something they would often ask the other for advice about.
Wordlessly, Zacky rose from the armchair and out the door. He paused for a moment outside the bands dressing room, hearing the telltale noises of Jimmy tormenting Johnny, Matt’s deep cackle spurring him on. Zacky quickly spun on the balls of his feet, making his was through the corridors to seek our a certain blonde. If he wasn’t getting answers from Brian, he could source them elsewhere.
He passed the Berry brothers with a nod, shaking Bruce’s hand as the older tech fixed with the stage monitors before he finally spotted Evie holed up next to a myriad of road cases. She had one of Brian’s Schecters on her lap, her fingers running up and down the fret board with ease as she stared at the open guitar boat. It was almost comical the similarities between Brian and Evie, both lost in thought as their fingers plucked at made up melodies.
As Zacky approached, he noticed Evie rub at her eye gently with her right hand before quickly wiping it on the fabric of her jeans, her hand then returning to finger picking the strings. Again, the similarities between the two struck him, both vulnerable and miserable while unguarded, quick to replace the shields and bury their pain so it was no longer visible.
He quickly changed his strategy, putting aside his want for information and concocting yet another plan to try and push his two friends together. As much as they wanted to ignore whatever transpired between them, it wasn’t healthy, and it was making them both miserable!
“Hey, Evie!” Zacky called out, giving her a second to pull herself together before he reached her current position.
“Hey, Zee,” she replied, hiding her moment of shock from his greeting and putting up her walls to hide her current chaotic mind.
“Do you know where Syn’s capo is? He is going mental without it,” Zacky asked, the idea coming to him in a moment of pure brilliance.
“Yeah, it just in here,” she told him, searching in the box of miscellany that was in the bottom of the guitar road case. “There should be at least one in each boat.”
“Great! Can you take it to him? He is in the practice room beside the dressing room?” Zacky asked her, already starting to walk away once his request was out of his mouth. “Thanks, Evie!”
And with that, he was walking back down the corridor, aiming to make it to the dressing room just before Evie found Brian in the practice room. Evie found the capo, holding it limply in her hand as she watched Zacky retreat away from her. She was half a second from calling out to him and getting him to deliver it to Brian, but before she could even open her mouth to start speaking, the lefty was around a corner and out of site. With the hustle and bustle happening around them, Evie highly doubted he could even hear her if she shouted out, and it would also garner the attention of many of the roadies walking around. That was something she was not too keen on, so she kept her mouth shut.
She rose to her feet, placing the guitar back in its spot and taking a breath. She had managed to zone out for awhile as she had been messing around the guitar, but it was as if reality had smacked her in the face and made her return to the real world. Well, in this case, reality came in the form of a meddling Zacky, putting his foot in the middle of the turbulence between herself and Brian. Did he know what he was doing, or was it just an awkward coincidence?
Bringing back her faux confidence from earlier, Evie made her way back towards the dressing rooms, wishing that her outward persona would reflect on her insides and calm her stomach. She had known that she was bound to run in to Brian today, after all, it was her job, but she had been hopeful that when she did, they would not be alone. That was shot to hell now, thanks to Zacky.
She made it to the practice room, staring hard at the dark blue painted door as if it would dissolve under her gaze. She gauged the size of the capo in her hand and the gap between the door and the doorframe. There was no way she could just throw the capo in the slightly opened door and walk away, she would have to enter the room. Fuck.
She paused for a moment, listening to the music that softly flowed into the hallway. She knew it was only one guitar being played, but the skill behind the cresting melody was phenomenal. She knew Brian was talented, she had seen that every night, but she hadn’t known that along with the blistering solos he had crafted, he could play such intricate gypsy jazz. For a moment, she let herself become enveloped in the music, letting the melody crest and fall with melancholia.
Before she could think anymore, she knocked on the wood, the vibrations making their way up her hand and into her arm. She slowly pushed the squeaking door open inch by inch, letting soft jazzy melodies wash over her as she stepped cautiously within the threshold. Brian’s gaze immediately lifted from the acoustic in his hands and straight to her. The melody stopped mid stanza, the pair left staring at each other in awkward silence.
"Um, Zacky said you needed this,” she said softly, holding out the metal capo. There was at least 7 feet between the pair, neither finding it appealing to close the gap. This left Evie standing awkwardly, one arm outstretched as their gazes didn’t drop.
“Yeah. Thanks,” Brian replied, his voice as low as Evie’s had been. He watched as Evie bit at her bottom lip, the seemingly innocent reaction causing flashbacks of the previous night to flood back. Flashes of kissing those lips, biting at them playfully, her moan filling his bedroom…
“I’ll just leave it here,” she told him, finally able to shake her trance and placed the capo on the coffee table between the two armchairs that furnished the room. She turned to leave, stopping as soon as she heard his voice.
“You left,” he said, his tone accusing and upset. She sighed, unprepared to dive into everything right before the show. “You just… left.”
“I did,” she confirmed, her back still towards the door. She couldn’t get her feet to move, nothing she could try to tell herself let her break free of the spell.
“Why?” He asked her, the question appearing simple on the surface, yet ran so deep.
“I should have left a note, thanking you for letting me crash,” she told him, blowing past his question and trying to set things on a less turbulent track. It was fruitless.
“That’s fucking bullshit, Evie,” Brian told her, his voice hard. He rose from his seat, quickly making up the distance between them in mere seconds. His hand reached out, grabbing Evie’s shoulder and spinning her so he could actually see her face as they spoke. He was not ready for the look of pure anguish on her features. “Last night was more than just ‘crashing’ and you know it.”
“What, did you want a note that said ‘Thanks for the sex’ instead?” She asked rhetorically, a small amount of venom creeping in her words. She was upset, and there was no knowing which way her emotions would take her from here out. If he wanted to talk and get this out now, it was at his own risk. “Or maybe ‘Great night, loads of fun, don’t fucking touch my stuff’?”
“What are you talking about?” Brian asked, confused as to what she was trying to imply. “I didn’t touch your shit.”
“My phone, Brian. Larry called, you sent the call to voicemail, then came upstairs and fucked me!” She yelled out, finally letting out some of the anger she had bottled up. “So what? What does that matter?”
“Choice, Brian. You took that choice away from me. Larry’s call might have stopped us from making a mistake.”
“Are you saying last night was a mistake? That you regret it?” “Yes. No. I really don’t know anymore,” Evie admitted, pulling herself away from the man in front of her to try and get some more space between the pair. The closer he came, the less her brain functioned rationally.
“You don’t know?” He questioned, hurt at her implications. “So I took away your choice, and you don’t know if you made a mistake by fucking me?”
“It’s not that simple, Brian! It doesn’t just boil down to a mistake, whether we should or shouldn’t have fucked. It’s so much bigger than that!”
“How? How is it the end of the world? We had sex, it was great. Mind blowing, even. Then you just disappear, ignore all forms of communication, and expect everything to be fine?”
“Because if I don’t, things get messy. I am not going to lie and say that I was never attracted to you, because I was. I am. But there is nothing else this can be, Brian. Can’t you see that? In two days, I am disappearing from your life, you will keep touring, and I will go home, thousands of miles away from you, and I will live my life. There is no more to this than a one night stand.”
Brian was silent as he took in her words, letting the honesty and truth behind them hit home. She was right, and he had also had the same thoughts, but it didn’t stop it from hurting any less. He hadn’t expected to become so infatuated with the temporary guitar tech, thinking he just appreciated her skill and found her attractive. If that's all there was to it, he would have been happy with a one night stand. But there was more. She knew there was more as much as he did, which was why she was pulling away so intently.
He closed the distance between them, one hand holding her hip so she couldn’t back away, the other reaching up and cupping her jaw. He ran his thumb over the apple of her cheek, taking in her watering blue eyes. His heart sank with the look, hating that she was hurting because of him.
“Is that what you truly want?” He asked, inching his face in closer to hers until they were mere millimeters away from one another. “You are ready to just give it all away? This connection?”
“I -” she started, unsure of how to answer his question. He was so close she could feel his breath dancing across her lips, close enough that his scent invaded her senses, melting her from the inside.
“Last night meant everything to me. Seeing you in my house felt… right. Talking with you into the early hours this morning showed me how intelligent you are, how passionate you are about music, about food, about literature. I learned that there is so much of you that I haven’t been able to explore. Last night you showed me a new side of you, one that is sassy, sensual and playful. You let me in to you completely, and I don’t think I am ready to give you up. Not yet.”
Brian made no move to join their lips, fighting against every single cell of his body that was screaming at him to close that inch. He wanted it to be on her terms, when she was ready. By the look in her dilated eyes, he didn’t think it was far away.
A sharp knock at the door broke the bubble that surrounded them, Brian taking a step back but keeping his gaze on Evie. With a deep breath, he put his guard back up and opened the door to reveal Matty at the entrance.
“Sound check in 5,” Matty told him, already stepping towards the band’s dressing room. “Oh, have you seen Evie?”
“Nope. I’ll let her know if I see her,” Brian lied, nodding thanks to Matty before returning his attention to Evie. He watched as she quickly slipped by him through the still open door. She quickly paused, giving him a gently kiss on the lips before disappearing down the hall and towards the stage.
Brian growled, uncertain if their chat had helped or hindered his chances. He watched her figure retreat, a glimmer of hope rising in his chest as she paused, looking back at him for a moment before rounding a corner.
She looked back. She kissed him, and she looked back.
Two updates in 3 hours. Be proud!!
Also, I dont know why, but whenever I copy this over from my document, it gets rid of some of the spacing... so if there are any weird spacing issues, I apologise!!