As if an electric current ran through them both, Evie and Brian jumped apart and stared at Zacky. He couldn’t help but be highly amused by the guilty look that flashed over both their faces as they put distance between one another, neither of them making eye contact and a blush colouring their cheeks to a similar shade of red.
“What are you doing out here, Zach?” Brian asked him, his tone sharp as he tried to regulate his breathing.
“You disappeared before you had some one-on-one time with one of your favourite guitarists,” Zacky replied, cheeky grin firmly in place as he walked closer and joined the couple. “Clearly you found something better to do.”
“I’m just going to go,” Evie said quietly, trying to slip past Zacky and make her escape.
“Oh no, you don’t get out of it that easily!” Zacky told her, turning to chase after her.
The three of them rounded the corner and saw the rest of their group standing near the door, the few smokers having lit their cigarettes while they all chatted together. Evie upped her pace, realising that if she melded into the group, Zacky would be less inclined to question her and Brian, giving them a chance to get their story straight. Her luck was finally seeming to change, at long last!
“Evie! Come here and smoke with me and Slash! Slash and I are just hanging out, smoking. Have you met my friend, Slash?” Jimmy called out to her, clearly using any excuse to mention that there was rock royalty in his presence.
“She plays guitar and smokes?” Slash asked rhetorically, his fascination with her seeming to carry over from their first meeting. “Where were you before I got married?”
“Underage,” she replied, her sass kicking straight back in. Her reply got her a round of laughs from the group, helping her put aside her anxiety from getting caught in a lip lock with Brian.
“And funny. You really are the whole package,” he grinned at her, making Evie all but faint from the attention.
“It’s a surprise to us all no one has snatched her up yet,” Zacky said, rejoining the group with a bang. He sidled over to Evie, resting his arm around her shoulders as he stared down mischievously at her. To the others, it would look like a friendly gesture, but Evie knew better. True to his word, she wasn’t getting away without a fight.
“What can I say, I am hard to “snatch up”,” Evie said, air quoting his ridiculous phrase in an attempt to lighten the conversation and brush it away.
In yet another turn of luck, the Berry’s came to join the group now nearly everyone had migrated outside to smoke. Evie chanced a glance over to Brian while the conversation split around her, Matt starting up a conversation with Slash about his upcoming work, Johnny and Jimmy speaking with Ace about the tour. Before Brian joined the conversation with Matt, she caught his eye, receiving a subtle wink and smirk in return.
If she had thought that before yesterday, her journey over the last week and a half had been enough excitement for a lifetime for both good and bad reasons, she was now starting to feel like Dorothy, caught up in a tornado, not knowing which was was up or down, not knowing what was reality and what was a dream. How had her life become so chaotic and so far from her norm in such a small amount of time? Was she really ready for it all to go back, to finish up the Halestorm tour, return home and wait for them until they started a new tour cycle?
She had to be. She had no choice but to fall back in the life she had left behind, keep this two weeks as nothing but fond memories and stories to tell when she was older. She had known coming in that it was a timed offer, there had always been an an end date written in stone for her to return to her life, this was just a small pit stop on her way. While that had previously been her silver lining, the light at the end of the tunnel, it was starting to morph into a barren wasteland of routine, waiting and part time jobs to pass the time.
Tired of being forever caught in her thoughts, Evie pulled her head back in, deciding that it was time to pull up her bootstraps, get the job done and get out. There was no point wallowing in her self-induced misery anymore, it wasn’t getting her anywhere, it was just making life harder than it needed to be. She wanted the rest of her time on tour to be fun and enjoyable, deciding to let whatever happen between now and Rock on the Range happen, no matter if it was just staying friendly with the band and crew, or if there was anything more between herself and Brian. There was a reason she had let herself get caught into yet another kiss with him, and maybe it was about time she started listening to what her subconscious was telling her.
With sleep still in her eyes, Evie shoved her backpack into the overhead compartment and slid into her seat, reminding herself to thank Larry for booking her a window seat on her flight from LAX to Ohio. She donned her sunglasses, shielding her eyes from the rising sun and buckled herself in. 6am was far too early for a flight, let alone to be awake. Her body was not thanking her for her sleep schedule, and getting only four hours of sleep last night was not helping her out in the slightest.
Evie settled herself in, popping in her headphones and adjusting her body until she was feeling comfortable enough that she could fall asleep. The next two days were going to be huge for her and she needed to top up her sleep meter so she could function. Plus, sleeping the flight away would bring her closer to landing, which was closer to arriving at the festival, which meant she was closer to reuniting with her brother and friends.
Just as she was starting to drift off, an earbud was removed from her ear. Evie jumped, startled back to being fully awake and ready to rip the person a new asshole, but was stopped before she could even open her mouth. Sitting beside her, grinning as wide as could be, was no one other than James Sullivan.
“I found you!” He told her, clearly excited that it was in fact Evie in front of him. “At first I was a little unsure because I usually never see you in the daylight, and never ever wearing sunglasses. But something told me it was you, so I just HAD to come and see and make sure it was. And look, it’s you!”
Evie’s mouth opened and closed, doing a great impression of a brain dead fish as she listened to Jimmy’s rambling. How on Earth was this happening? He continued to talk at her, spouting on and on about how he didn’t let himself fall asleep last night because he knew that he would never wake up on time, or how he had to go in and literally pick Johnny up out of bed. Evie finally found her voice when he mentioned how excited he was about the change of plans, knowing that now was a good opportunity to find out just what the fuck was happening.
“Change of plans? What do you mean, change of plans? Why are you here right now?” Evie asked him, having to physically put her hand over his mouth to get him to shut up and realise that it was her turn to talk.
“Well, yesterday Larry told us that you were catching your flight this morning, we all yelled at him until we were on the flight, too!” Jimmy told her, his eyes bright and cheery is if it wasn’t 6am. Evie hated him a little for that.
“Why?” She questioned, her brain still lagging behind. “Because we want to come with you, of course!” He answered happily as if it should have been obvious.
“We all love you, some more than others, and want to spend as much time with you before you leave us.”
“I-ah-wh-” Evie stuttered out, trying to wrap her head around his words. “What do you mean, some more than others?”
“Brian, of course,” Jimmy replied easily, as if the words were weightless. Again, Evie had no response. “Don’t give me that look, of course I know there is more going on between you two! I have known that guy since we were kids, there is nothing that gets past me. The fact you clearly feel something towards him as well just makes me so happy!”
Evie remained silent as Jimmy bounced away, completely oblivious to the state of inner turmoil he had left Evie in, and the way the other passengers were already glaring at him. The plane hadn’t even entirely boarded yet and they were already getting over his boundless energy.
As the person beside her sat finally came and took their seat, Evie forced her attention from the back of Jimmy’s head and back out the window. Her mind was swimming with the new information the drummer had unloaded on her in mere minutes, from the fact that she would have the Avenged boys beside her until she flew back home to Pennsylvania in 48 hours, to the knowledge that now two people knew about the confusing feelings she and Brian shared. She had all but written off anyone else finding out, thinking that she only had to be around Brian once the band arrived to Ohio the next day, and by then she would be back in her routine and with her own crew. She would be on home turf, and she wouldn’t let herself slip and become overwhelmed by the dreamy guitarist and do something stupid like get caught kissing him in public.
Evie’s attention was once more stolen as the flight attendants started their safety demonstration. Her gaze moved from the pretty brunette showing the plane how to correctly put on a flotation device as her curiosity got the better of her and she looked at her seat neighbour. It seemed that all her luck was well and truly depleted, the warm chocolate gaze meeting hers as a smirk took over his lips.
“What the fuck is actually happening?” She asked, now considering herself overwhelmed.
“I paid the guy next to you $100 to switch seats. He didn’t complain, after all mine was in first class,” Brian replied, his eyes twinkling in a similar way to Jimmy’s. These boys were as crafty as each other, Evie thought. Brian reached out, grabbing her hand in his own and went back to watching the safety briefing.
Evie, however, stared down at their entwined hands. She watched as Brian’s thumb slowly brushed back and forth over the back of her hand, the movement making the butterflies in her stomach erupt without warning. Without looking over, he squeezed her hand, the grin forming back on his lips as he resumed the movement. Evie looked between her and and his face, trying to make sense of anything that was happening. Once the flight attendants packed up the demo and the plane started off to the runway, Brian’s attention was back on her.
“I told you, I wasn’t ready to give you up, yet,” he told her, answering her unasked question.
Evie’s breath was stolen as he leant over and joined their lips in an innocent, chaste kiss. She reminded herself of her decision to go with the flow, and let herself become immersed in Brian. At least while she still had him.
Hoping to get another chapter up soon as this was pretty short.