Being In The Band

Being In The Band
By Sarah
Chapter 18

        Lizard walked backstage and silently changed out of her outfit.  The concert was over, she only had a few more shows to do, and then she could return home and be alone.
        ‘Thankfully,’ she thought as she returned her skirt and shirt to a wardrobe assistant.  She grabbed her bag from her seat backstage and hurried out of the green room before any other band member came in to try to convince her to go to the after party with them.  She hurried outside to the chaos still occurring, fans waiting outside the door for the guys to appear.
        "Hey, wait a minute, aren’t you Lizard?  Lizard Collins?"  One of the fans asked her as she tried to fight her way through the crowd.
        "Yes, I am, but if you don’t mind, I’d like to leave," she said.
        "Wait, can I have your autograph?"  The girl asked, holding out a pen and paper.
        Lizard stopped fighting against the crowd and signed her name quickly.  Her first autograph. "Thanks!  Thanks a lot!"  The girl said, smiling brightly.
        Lizard couldn’t help but smile back.  "Quite welcome," she replied.  She retreated in the direction she’d come and went around the crowd, heading to the buses.  She reached the gate and a familiar bodyguard, Q.
        "Tired, Lizard?"  He asked as he unlocked the gate.
        "Very," Lizard replied as she waited.  She saw out the corner of her eye a group of fans heading her way.
        "You’re Lizard Collins, right?  Can I have your autograph?"  One of them asked as Lizard turned around.
        Lizard took the piece of paper from the fan and signed it quickly, only to be handed five more in its place.  She signed as many as she possibly could, as quickly as she could, until she realized fifty or so people surrounded her.
        "Q!"  She yelled, trying to back away from the crowd.  She was walled in, she couldn’t move, claustrophobia was starting to kick in.
        "All right, everyone, let Ms. Collins through, she’s very tired and she just wants to get some sleep," Q said as he pushed his way through to her and grabbed her hand.  He tried to pull her to the gate, but couldn’t succeed, she was being pulled the other way.
        "Q, get me out of here, I can’t breath!"  Lizard said, panicking.  "Let me go!" She yelled at the other people who were holding her back.
        "Look, its Nick!"  Someone suddenly yelled.  Everyone screamed and ran towards the door Nick was standing in, leaving Lizard behind as she immediately collapsed on the ground, trying hard to breath.
        "Its ok, Liz, come on, let’s get you on that bus," Q said, helping her stand and practically carrying her to the bus.  She sat in one of the front seats and fought to regain a regular breathing pattern as Q radioed for an EMT.
        "I'm ok, Q, I'm fine," Lizard insisted as he let the EMT on board.
        "Just to be safe, Liz," Q said as the EMT sat in front of her and gave her an oxygen mask to put on.  Lizard sat back in her seat, listening to the EMT as he instructed her on how to get her breathing back to normal.  By the time he’d left, the band bus was starting to fill up.
        "You ok, Liz?  We were all talking in the green room and suddenly bodyguards started flying by the door.  We stopped Lonnie and he told us you were in trouble," Dennis said as he knelt down in front of Lizard.
        "I'm fine, the fans just were a little over anxious to get to know me," Lizard said, fighting sleep.
        "When Nick heard, he ran to the stage door and jumped up and down, trying to get the attention of the fans.  I guess it worked ‘cause he banged the door closed quickly and leaned against it, holding it for dear life," Mindi said as she sat down next to Lizard.
        Lizard nodded and closed her eyes, silently thanking Nick for helping her, but falling asleep before she could ask anyone to remind her to do so personally.

        Nick bit his lip and nervously bounced his leg up and down.  He looked around the crowded green room, waiting for the rest of the guys before heading to the buses.  He wanted to make sure Lizard was ok, if she made it to the bus all right.
        ‘God, when I heard that over Lonnie’s walkie-talkie, I couldn’t believe it.  They said it was worse than that time in September with the dancers,’ he thought, running his hands through is damp hair.  He stood up and walked over to AJ, who was just hanging up his cell phone.
        "Hey, Bone, have you heard anything on Liz?"  He asked.
        AJ looked at him strangely for a moment.  "She’s fine, Nick, but why don’t you go see her for yourself?  It won’t hurt, and you can travel on the band bus, there’s no problem with that, its only for one night," he suggested.
        Nick shook his head.  "Nah, she doesn’t want anything to do with me," he said, looking down to the ground, the familiar feeling of rejection washing over him.
        "Nicky, you aren’t getting any closer to getting her by just standing here wishing she was yours.  The only way you’ll get her is if you take some action.  That requires you to do something.  Why don’t you ask her out somewhere, or just invite her to spend an evening with you in the room.  It won’t hurt to try," AJ said.
        "But it’ll hurt when she turns me down."
        "I doubt she’ll turn you down."
        Nick’s head snapped up.  "What do you call what happened a week and a half ago, AJ?  She totally blew me off, she said that she couldn’t do it, that she didn’t want to get involved with me!  She refused to even try to make it work between us, that hurt more than I thought anything ever would.  It hurt more than me catching Carla with her ex!"  He yelled.
        The room suddenly fell silent and all eyes were on Nick.  He closed his eyes as tears started to sting through, then fall slowly.
        "Nicky, I-"
        "Stop, AJ," Nick interrupted him.  "Please," he pleaded, finally opening his eyes.  He saw the looks of sympathy from the rest of the guys and the dancers that were still standing in the room.  The dancers all made a move to leave and soon it was just the five remaining.
        "Nick, you don’t have to explain anything," Kevin started.
        "No," Nick said, stopping him.  "I have to explain, you all have a right to know why I’ve been such an ass to you all," he said.  He wiped his face clean of the fallen tears and sniffled, sitting down in a nearby chair.  "The day we left for Michigan, right before we had to catch the flight, I had just got off the phone with Carla.  We’d said the usual ‘good-bye’s and ‘I’ll miss you’s and ‘I love you’s.  Well, she was a little upset that she was slightly sick so she couldn’t come and see me in person before I left, so I decided to make a surprise trip over to her house to see her.  I parked in the driveway, walked to the door, and saw Carla and her ex having sex in the living room.  I freaked and left for the plane, not telling her that I saw her.  When she called me the next day, I was all ready to tell her it was over when she asked me if she liked the fact that I saw her with another guy.  She knew I was outside, and she liked that I was hurting.  She said that if I broke up with her that she would go to the media with some shit she had on me.  She was serious, and I know she would’ve done it if I hadn’t stayed with her."  Nick paused, sniffling again and taking a deep breath.  "I want to say to you all right now that I'm sorry for how I’ve been treating you, but Carla is making my life hell.  She’s going through my bank account like there’s no tomorrow and I know for a fact that she’s still with that guy, seeming as I checked my account last week and found that she bought tickets for him and her to go to the Bahamas."  Nick stopped there, not wanting to talk anymore.  He looked down at the floor and wiped his eyes as tears started to fall again.  He only wanted to get up and run, to not let the other guys see him cry.
        "Nick, I’ve known you for nearly seven years now.  But never before have I ever known you to feel this way about someone," Kevin said quietly.  As the more mature, older one of the group, he was normally the one keeping them all in line, making sure they did nothing wrong.  But for once, he couldn’t do anything about it.  "You’re only nineteen, Nick, and I'm trying to absorb the shock of knowing how much you actually love Liz."
        "What?!"  The other three exclaimed.
        "What do you mean, he loves Liz?"  Howie demanded.
        "Yeah. He barely can be in the same room as her!"  AJ said.
        "And she him!"  Brian added.
        Kevin held up his hand.  "Guys, let’s not talk about this now.  Kaos, it’s good that you finally told us.  But maybe we aren’t the ones who need to hear this the most," he suggested.
        Nick nodded and sniffled again.  "I just don’t know how to tell her," he whispered.
        "Just tell her.  She’ll listen, you know she will," Kevin replied before standing up and walking to the door.  "Come on, guys, let’s go, we’ve got a nice two day break and I want to start it by getting some sleep," he said, opening the door and waiting for his bandmates.
        Nick followed everyone out, walking slightly ahead of Kevin until he felt the man next to him.
        "I'm proud of you Nicky.  Seven years ago, if anyone had ever told me that the little blonde shrimp sitting on the couch playing nintendo was going to become this wise man standing next to me, I would’ve told them that they were on something.  But now," Kevin paused, then smiled.  "Now I see that they would’ve been right."
        Nick managed a small smile and wiped away the last of his tears.  "Thanks, Train.  If someone had told me seven years ago that the man standing in the corner that intimidated me so much would soon be the older brother I never had, I would’ve said that they were living in a dream world.  Now, I would’ve thanked them for pointing out the obvious."
        The two walked outside and to their bus where the rest of their friends were waiting and they all went to their bunks.  Except for Nick.  He went into the back of the bus and picked up his drawing pad and a pencil.  He fell asleep after doodling whatever came to mind, his last drawing sitting on the floor in front of him.

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