After a lengthy “discussion”, the Berry’s had convinced Evie to leave the guitars for the evening, packing them safely in the trailer to transport to tomorrow's gig. They had reasoned that she was already tired from the stress of the show, and that she could possibly do more damage than good with the addition of the jolting of the bus as they drove to Texas. She gave in, accepting their reasoning with a huff. She wanted to fix it all now, get it done and tested so she could finally relax, but instead she was ready for a restless night of tossing and turning, undoubtedly having stress dreams if she was to fall asleep.
As she stared at the faux wood finish of the bunk above her, what she hadn’t counted on was her mind bombarding her with questions about Brian. The fact that he had taken time out to reassure her that she was doing a good job had meant a lot to her, especially after the fuck up that was this evening's show. To many people in the audience, the glitch would have almost been unnoticed, but to her trained ears, it was more deafening in it’s silence. The fact that the guitar had ended up cutting out was eating at her, gnawing at every insecurity she had with her skills as a technician. Brian had made time for her after the show, coming to talk with her about the malfunctioning guitar and reassuring her that all was ok, instead he could have been hanging out with his brothers after the show, decompressing with a beer and whatever else they used to wind down.
Did he follow her out of the dressing room because he was only worried about the guitars and what had happened during the show? Surely he would have left once she proved that she had fixed it, right? But he stayed, reading her insecurities like a book and saying all the right things to lift her spirits. Hell, he had even gone so far as to hug her, actual physical contact!
She decided she was looking into the gesture too deeply. Just because [b]she[/b] had reacted to his [s]attractive[/s] body minutes before he joined her side stage did not mean that he saw her as anything other than a colleague. Evie stopped herself thinking any further into the fact that she actually found him attractive, and had enjoyed the few times they had actually talked to one another. She decided that the hug was just a reaction to help her feel better, nothing more, something he would have done if one of the others fucked up.
Evie sighed, finally deciding to call quits on trying to get to sleep. It was now at least 3am, and her brain wasn’t slowing down any time soon, so she threw off her blankets, donned her hoodie and climbed out of her bunk. As quietly as she could, she made her way to the front of the bus, grabbing a bottle of water out of the fridge before making her way to the bench seat. She sat at an angle so she was looking out the window at the brightly lit highway they were barrelling down.
Not for the first time since she joined Avenged, she started feeling homesick, though not for her apartment, but for her tour. She missed her brother, the rest of the band that had become her adopted siblings. She missed their small, intimate crew and the constant barrage of jokes and sarcasm that would be hurled at one another during bump ins and pack downs. She even missed the hum of the tiny, smelly, packed van, trying to fall asleep on it’s stone-like bench seats as they drove for hours through the night.
Before she even realised, tears were slowly rolling down her cheeks as memories of the past 6 months ran through her mind. It was bittersweet, some of the memories wonderful and fun, some stressful and aggravating, but it made her heart ache with longing. Touring was her life, she loved being surrounded by her family day in and out, even when all she wanted to do was gag her brother when he wouldn’t stop whistling the fucking Addams Family theme song. She tried to rationalise that she was still touring, and she was loved and accepted by this new family, but her emotional side got the better of her, and all she wanted was to curl up and sulk because she wasn’t home.
Evie wiped her eyes, drying the tears that had fallen on the sleeve of her hoody as she continued to stare out through the window. She tried pulling herself together, reminding herself that she was almost 5 days down and there was only 9 to go, 8 until she would see Halestorm again at Rock on the Range. She started to feel embarrassed that she was emotionally breaking down after only 4 proper days on this tour, and all because she had made one mistake. She was thankful her small breakdown had happened in solitude, not at some inopportune time when there were a bunch of people buzzing around.
A loud shout followed by a dull thud woke Evie and immediately pain radiated through her body as she fell to the floor. Groaning, she opened her eyes and discovered she was now in the walkway between the bench couches in the front of the bus. It took her a second to realise that she must have fallen asleep after her emotional evening, and due to the shock of whatever woke her up, she toppled to the floor. What a great start to the day.
Evie rose to her feet, cracking her back and neck as she moved. She hadn’t realised just how uncomfortable the bus couches actually were until this moment, her body now screaming at her for making the stupid mistake of sleeping on them. Within seconds of Evie rising to her feet, Matty emerged from the bunk area with a look of disgust on his face. The look soon turned to surprise when he saw Evie in the middle of the walkway, clearly just awake as she was still in her pjs.
“Cute pants,” he said, his brain firing out the first thing that came to mind as he lifted a questioning eyebrow at them. Evie looked down at her legs, forgetting that she was currently wearing her flannel ‘Dumbo’ print pants. She grinned.
“Thanks,” she replied wholeheartedly, blowing off the jab. “They are comfy.”
“Clearly,” he replied, noting the faded colours.
“Was that you that shouted?” She asked, her brain finally kicking in as she slowly became more and more awake.
“Yeah,” he admitted, starting to look a little sheepish. This time it was Evie’s turn to shoot him a questioning look, waiting for him to elaborate. “Fucking Jason put a pair of… less than clean underwear in my bunk after I fell asleep last night. Woke up with them right next to my face.”
“Ew,” Evie said, wrinkling her nose as her expression now matched the one Matty has sported earlier. “Brothers suck.”
“You’re telling me,” he agreed. “Try living with that shit for 27 years! I swear to god he can’t get worse, then he does!”
“Are you guys still living together?” She asked, curious to find out a little bit more about his history. While she awaited his reply, she went over to the fridge and grabbed out a Red Bull, offering one to Matty as well. It wasn’t coffee, but at least it was caffeine.
“Yes. We decided that because we tour with the guys so much, there is no point paying rent on two places while we are gone,” he replied, accepting the can from Evie. The pair then made their way outside, both lighting up once they were in the carpark. It was a beautiful day outside, the sun shining down, warming the black concrete beneath their uncovered feet. “How about you? You still living with family?”
“No, I actually live by myself. I have a small studio apartment back home,” she replied, inhaling her first lungful of the day. “The guys in the band live together, though. Well, Josh and Joe live together, as do Lzzy and Arejay. We constantly tour as well, so they figured that they are better off living together so they can easily practice whenever.”
“How did you end up working with them all?” Matty asked, his curiosity also peaking as Evie spoke. He realised how little he actually knew Evie, how little anyone knew Evie.
“Josh, the bassist, is my brother,” she told him, surprised it had not yet come up. Matty looked at her with shock, also confused how he had not known this information. He took a second to digest it, her answer creating more questions in his head.
“What?” Matty asked, slightly dumbfounded.
“Yeah, he is my big brother,” Evie said, shrugging, She watched as the bus doors opened and JB came outside, clearly just awake as he was also in his pjs. Or, at least he was in his pj pants, yet remained shirtless. He spotted the two and started walking over, shielding his eye from the sun. Evie looked to Matty with a pointed stare as his brother approached. “So I can sympathise about what assholes brothers can be.”
“Aren’t they the worst?” Matty asked rhetorically as JB finally reached the pair. His statement had Evie giggling, and the confused look on JB’s face as he approached made Matty break out in a laugh as well. “Enjoy your wake up?” JB asked his brother, ignoring their sudden laughter and trying to change their conversation into one he was included in.
“You know I will get you back for that,” Matty replied, already having a few plans brewing to one up his brothers prank.
“I am counting on it,” JB said cryptically, wiggling his eyebrows at Matty with a half smirk on his lips.
They stared at each other down, waiting for the other to crack. Evie stood back, watching the interaction take place as she finished the last of her cigarette. The dynamic between the twins was entertaining, to say the least, and Evie was only just beginning to understand the way they interacted. They were both competitive, always trying to outdo the other, whether it was who could set up or pack down the fastest, who could drink the most, or in this case, who’s prank was better. It had definitely kept her on her toes, always anxious that she might find herself in the middle of one of their competitions without realising.
After a solid 5 minutes of silence, Evie gave up and walked away from the pair back towards the bus. She climbed back on, quickly checking behind her to see Matty and JB still locked in their staring competition, which of course they were, and headed towards her bunk. She moved quietly, trying not to wake the others as she dug through her bag for an outfit to wear. She was down to her last clean tee shirt, making a mental note that she HAD to do laundry on their next day off. She gathered her clothes, changing quickly behind the curtain and was ready for her day.
As soon as her laces were tied, she was off the bus and walking to the trailer. She opened it up, grabbing out the first guitar road case she could find. As they had strategically packed the trailer with the guitars at the front last night, she didn’t need any help unloading the rolling cases so she could get to work breaking the guitars down and rewiring them. She was in for a long morning of unscrewing the tiniest of screws, soldering, wire stripping and testing, and she was excited for every second of it.
I know it isn't the most exciting chapter, and it is late, I'm sorry! Work has been crazy, had a packed weekend and had no time to write.
Running out of steam for this story... hoping that some inspo comes soon!!
Thanks for baring with me :)