Being In The Band

Being In The Band
By Sarah
Chapter 18

        Lizard pulled on her white skirt and pulled up the zipper on the side, then reached for her make-up bag as she sat in front of the mirror.  She brushed her long hair away from her face, splitting it up into two sections, and then three each, and making pigtail French braids on each side of her head.  She nodded to her reflection in satisfaction and stood up, walking down the hall of the ‘backstage’ to the make-up room, where Angie was already waiting for her.
        "Come on, Liz, I'm behind as it is, I don’t want to have to wait on your sorry behind!"  Angie said as Lizard sat down.
        "Oh, calm yourself, Angie, you’re going to give yourself a coronary," Lizard said jokingly, actually smiling for the first time in a few days.  She sat still and listened as Angie rambled on and on about how much she would miss Lizard after the concert that night.  It was Lizard’s last show.
        "Well, Angie, you do have my number, you know you can always call.  And you could always swing by my place in Melbourne when you’re in Florida," Lizard reminded her as she stood up and moved away from the chair for Mindi to sit there.
        "I know."  Angie sighed, then gave Lizard a hug.  "Take care of yourself, girl, I’ll miss you."
        Lizard felt tears spring in her eyes and swallowed hard, holding them back.  "I’ll miss you too," she said, hugging the woman back.  She waved goodbye, heading back to her dressing room and making sure everything of hers was cleaned up.  She packed up her backpack and laid out her after show clothes to make things quick and headed out of the room, going to the green room, where everyone was already sitting in waiting.
        "Why are you all looking at me like that?"  She asked as she walked in.  Everyone, the band, the guys, the bodyguards, the dancers, and all the crew she’d made friends with were all standing in there, waiting.
        "Because we’re going to miss you, why else?"  Fatima said as she stepped forward.  "I can’t believe this is your last night already," she said, giving Lizard a hug.
        Lizard returned the hug.  "Don’t cry about it, just make it the best we’ve had," she said quietly, closing her eyes and trying to hold back her tears again.  She backed away from Fatima and Tommy came up to her.
        "You know, since it’s your last performance, you have no choice but to come to the after party," he said.
        "Oh, no, you know I'm not a big party person, Tommy.  After tonight’s concert, I'm getting all my stuff and getting in my cab and going home," Lizard said.
        "No you aren’t, you are coming to that club with us, Lizzy, and don’t you dare even think about trying to sneak out," AJ said.  "Because I myself will be taking you," he added, a goofy grin over coming his face.
        Lizard couldn’t help but smile back.  "Sorry, AJ, its not happening," she said.  AJ opened his mouth to protest when the stage manager appeared at the door, calling five minutes until the guys were to go on.  Lizard walked with the rest of the band to their entrance, the dancers with them.  She held her head high and marched out to her keyboards, standing in front of them and trying not to laugh too hard when she saw the guys all come out on their surf boards and march around the stage to the ‘Star Wars’ theme.  Once ‘Larger Than Life’ kicked in, she couldn’t help but smile brightly, the energy coursing through the arena was enough to make anyone happy and enthusiastic.  She played through her songs better than ever, making no mistakes, and proud of that fact.  When ‘It’s Gotta Be You’ came to turn, she smiled and waved to the crowd before playing her solo piece as the pair of dancers in front of her showed off.  At the end of the song, AJ and Kevin disappeared, which they weren’t supposed to do.  She didn’t make any move as to suggest that it was strange, seeing as no one else made any move, rather she saw that everyone was smiling at her.
        "As you all know, not only is this the last date of our tour this year, but it is also Lizard Collins’ last night with us," Brian said.
        "All of us, as in the guys, me, the band, the dancers, and everyone involved with this tour would like to thank her so much for filling in for our regular keyboardist, Tommy Smith, seeming as he had to go and break his wrist," Howie said as Tommy came on stage.
        "I try," Tommy said into a microphone he was holding, smiling at Howie.  Lizard couldn’t help but laugh as Tommy walked over to her.  "Liz, I’ve known you for a long time, and when they said they needed a replacement, I went through my list of friends quickly.  But now, looking back, if any of those people had said yes before I got to your name, I think I would’ve regretted my decision.  Thank you so much for doing this," he said to her quietly, without a microphone.
        Lizard felt tears coming into her eyes as Tommy held out a bouquet of roses and baby’s breath.  She took the roses and gave Tommy a hug, fighting to hold back her tears.
        "When I agreed to do this, I never expected to get so much in return," she whispered, pulling away from Tommy a few moments later.
        "When you join the Backstreet Family, you get all our love and support," AJ said as he came up behind her.  He raised his microphone to his mouth and held out a package to Lizard.  "This is to you, Liz, from all of us," he said, letting the audience in the arena know what he was saying.  Lizard accepted the gift and gave AJ a hug, then gave Kevin one also as he brought out another bouquet of roses and baby’s breath.  There were four red roses and one white rose.  She’d never seen a more beautiful arrangement, and she felt tears fall as she realized who the white rose was from.
        "Oh, God, you are all making me cry!"  Lizard exclaimed, wiping her eyes.  The guys all laughed and she laughed along with them.
        "Well, Lizard, I think you deserve a little mic time, don’t you?"  Tommy said, handing her his microphone.
        Lizard shook her head as Kevin approached her keyboard.  "Oh, no, this isn’t happening, I'm not singing.  No way," she insisted, keeping the mic far away from her mouth.
        "You won’t sing alone, but rather with us," AJ whispered.  "What do you think, Florida, should Lizard sing with us?"  He asked the still shrieking audience.  The noise level rose and AJ held his hand out to her.  "Let’s go, Cinderella, its your turn to shine," he said, leading her off the band platforms and onto the stage.
        Lizard breathed heavy as AJ never let go of her hand and Kevin started playing a song.  She grinned when she recognized it and looked at AJ.
        "You had to do this, didn’t you?  You just had to do my favorite song?"  She asked him quietly.
        "Its your last night, Liz, I'm gonna try my damnedest to make it the best," he replied as his leading note rang through the air.

        When we turn out the lights
        The two of us alone together
        Something’s just not right
        But girl you know I’ll never let
        Another’s touch
        Come between the two of us
        ‘Cause no one else could ever take your place

        AJ stopped and looked at Lizard, pleading with his eyes for her to sing.  She joined in the chorus, shaky at first, but then just letting herself go.

        No one else comes close to you
        No one makes me feel the way you do
        You’re so special, girl, to me
        And you’ll always be
        Everytime I hold you near
        You always say the words I long to hear
        Girl, with just a touch, you can do so much
        No one else comes close

        Lizard froze as she remembered who had the next part and looked around for Nick, finally seeing him as he slowly walked over to her and AJ.

        And when I wake up to
        The touch of your head on my shoulder
        You’re my dream come true, oh yes
        And girl you know I’ll always treasure
        Every kiss
        And everyday
        I’ll love you girl in every way
        And I always will ‘cause in my eyes, oh baby

        Lizard couldn’t tear her eyes away from Nick as he sang to her, standing next to her and gently raising his hand to her cheek.  She moved away from his touch as the chorus started and sang along, matching Nick’s harmony perfectly.  She let go of AJ’s hand and smiled up at Kevin as he joined their little group, then over at Howie.  The six of them sang to the end, acapella, and when AJ’s solo came at the end, Lizard didn’t realize that he’d stopped, gesturing for her to sing.
"No one else comes close," she sang slowly.  She smiled as the applause started and blushed, hiding her face from them and backed away.  She went back to her keyboard and placed the flowers and present from AJ on the floor, careful to put them out of the way so she wouldn’t step on them.  She played the rest of the concert with a large smile on her face, not being able to even stop for a moment.

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