On Through the Night- A Def Leppard Epic

~~One of my good friends Heather is featured in this DL story, just so ya'll know!~~

All I got is a Photograph…

“I don’t know Heather. I mean…I can’t explain why I like Rick,” I told my British friend Heather over the phone one boring day after school.
“Don’t ask me why I like Joe. I’ll go on forever about him!” she said and laughed.
“Yeah I know. Rambling is a good thing though,” I said.
I reached for my picture book, which happened to be right at my side at the time.
“I really should send you some of the pictures I have in my book. You’d really like them!”
“Oh would you? That’d be so fab! Thanks!” she said.
“How about the next time we’re both online?” I asked.
“Sure thing! Then I could give you some pictures as well!” I looked at the clock, 6:30 pm. It would be 11:30 there. We had to go.
“Heather, I’m sorry, but I have to be going. I must be ready for meeting in 30 minutes,” I said.
“Ok well take care! Talk soon!”
“Bye!” I said. But instead of just hanging up the phone like I normally would, I pushed in the button on the phone.
Suddenly the lights went out…

Part 2- Hello America…or not!

“Oh bloody hell!” I yelled in my fake British accent. I got up off Mom’s bed and walked in the dark to my room. “Shades down again. That’s my Mom!” (Author’s note: my mom is always putting the shades on the windows down at like 5 pm. It’s her habit!) I pulled up a shade and turned back to my bed.
I jumped back at the sight, a sleeping figure in my bed! I crawled over to where the light was and turned it on.
The figure jumped up and pulled the covers off. “Who in the hell are you?” the man said. He was wearing boxers and a white t-shirt. (Let’s keep this clean shall we?) He looked at me with annoyance rather then curiosity.
“My name is Ash.” I said, hesitating.
Without an introduction the man grabbed my arm and drug me into the hall and into the next room. He let go and went over to another figure and shook him.
“Rick, Rick! Bloody hell wake up!” he yelled.
The other man jumped up and rubbed his head. “Yeah what is it? Waking me up.”
“This!” the other said, pointing to me.
“What the bird?” 2nd said.
“Yes! I know she’s yours. Must be. Too young to be anyone else’s!”
“She’s not mine!” the other said, knowing he would be in trouble if I were his.
This argument went on till the entire inhabitance of this place was in the room and fighting over whose girl I was! I had enough!
“Ahhh!” I yelled at the top of my voice. They all looked at me like I had interrupted something important.
“My name is Ash and I am no one’s girl or bird or whatever! Ok? Now who are you?” I said completely taking over the situation.
“Well I’m Joe Elliot, this is Rick Allen, Rick “Sav” Savage, Pete Willis, and Steve Clark” said the first guy.
“Oh you’re the one who drug me in here?” I said.
“Yeah that’s me,” he said.
All the sudden, I figured it out. I had gone somewhere back in time and was with Def Leppard.
The excitement of this thought was too much and I fainted.

Part 3- I’m not Foolin’ Myself…

“Ash, Ash. Wake up.” A voice called from what seemed like inside my brain. I opened my eyes.
“OMG, I can’t see! I can’t see!” I screamed and got up. All around me were figures but they were all blurred. “I’m blind! Blind I tell you!” I said and put my arm over my face like in Shakespearean Play.
Someone put there arms in front of me and slipped my glasses on.
My vision became and I saw the 5 guys surrounding me. “Opps…sorry.” I said and blushed.
“We were all really worried about you!” said Rick as he sat down next to me. He put his arm around me. (And yes, at this point he has them both!)
I smiled but my mind was going crazy- ~He has his arm around me! Ahhh! ~
“Or Rick was worried about you!” Pete said with a smile.
“I knew you were his bird,” Joe said knowingly.
“Look I’m no one’s bird. I don’t even know how I got here. So if you’d help me please I’d appreciate it,” I said with big eyes so as to show my innocence.
“Alright. Where do we start?” Sav asked me.
“Well what year is this?”
“1979” Joe told me.
“Who are you collectively?” I said like I didn’t already know.
Def Leppard!” Rick said.
“Ha! I knew it! I knew it!” I said and jumped up pointing my finger at them all.
“There she goes…spazing again,” Steve shook his head.
“What do you know?” Joe asked curiously.
“I’ve gone back in time!” I said sitting back down as if it were obvious.
“Are you flippin’ insane? How’s this possible?” Pete jokingly asked.
“It’s true. I’m from 2001.”
“Wow, how old are you then?” Rick asked me with intrigue.
“16!” I said, hoping the ages were the same.
“Ha! I’m 16 as well!” Rick said and gave me a hug. I was just about to faint again until Joe brought me out of my daydream.
“So how’d you get here then?” he asked.
“I don’t know. I guess when I got off the phone with Spev and hung it up wrong, I somehow got blasted here. Anyway I’m so happy! I love you guys!” I said giving Rick a hug.
“Wait a minute, Spev?” Sav asked.
“Yes well. She’s my British friend. Her real name is Heather,” I said.
“So you’re American then?” Joe asked.
“Yes. I’m from the U.S. of A.!” I said with glee.
“Monty Python!” Joe said, “You like that stuff?”
“Oh yes! But now I’m thinking….” I aid and stood up and started pacing.
“I know what, where’s Heather?” Sav said pointing to me.
“I knew you were my clone!” I said grabbing Sav’s arm. He just looked at me weird. “Sorry I’m in a hyper mood!”
“Let’s look for Heather then!” Joe said, taking charge.

Part 4- Hysteria when you’re near…

I felt like I was in a Monkees episode searching for Spev everywhere in the flat as Joe called it. We spilt up; Rick, Sav, and I; Joe, Steve and Pete.
“Come on love, let’s go!” Rick said and grabbed my hand. In turn I grabbed Sav’s hand and we were all one big chain of people.
On every corner we’d jump and look carefully around it as if she was some enemy. Rick and I got really into it and started to act like Charlie’s Angels with our fake guns and everything. Sav just rolled his eyes and followed.
“Hey guys and gals! I think we found our bird!” Pete yelled from the other room.
I scrambled from the other two so I could get there first. There, in the 3rd bedroom sat Spev in a trance.
“Spev, Spev, Spev! I’m so glad to see ya!” I said and sat down next to her.
She shook her head and looked at me. “Who are you then?”
“Ash!! And we’re here with Def Leppard in 1979!” I said excitingly.
Spev slowly turned her head around and came into her view, Def Leppard.
“Hi!” Joe said and waved with a smile.
She looked back at me with a face that couldn’t be explained as more then “Ahhh!”… Then she spoke. “Ahhh! I don’t believe this Ash! We’re here with them! And Ahhh!” she spazed.
“I know!!” I said and we both stood up and began to sing “Daydream Believer” in light of the times.
“Ahm,” a voice from behind us called. We looked back to see the 5 guys staring at us with much intrigue.
“Sorry it’s just…” I said.
“It’s just, we’ve never met before and we’re here with you guys and…” Spev finished.
“We’re just really happy!” I finished that.
“Do you always finish each other’s sentences?” Pete asked.
“No!” we both said at once. We fell down in laughter.
“Come on then, up with you!” Joe said as he helped Spev up.
“You too love!” Rick said and did the same.
“Ohh, I think he fancies you Ash!” Spev said as she caught her composure. Rick and I looked at each other both at once and out laughter told us the answer.
“Oh bloody hell! Does everyone laugh around here?” Sav asked.
“Yes!” I said.
“Oh…fine!” he replied.
Finally someone cut in with a logical question… “What time is it then?” Steve asked.
“8 am,” Joe replied with a yawn.
“Well then, since we’re up, let’s stay up. Hang out the rest of the day.” Steve said.
“Alright. Let’s go then.” Rick said. He winked at me and they all walked back to their rooms to change.

Part 5- Rock Rock Till you Drop…

This left Spev and I to sit and chat for a while.
“I can’t believe we’re actually here!” she said.
“I know! I think Joe fancies you too by the way!” I said in a fake British accent in imitation of her.
She laughed. “Really?! Oh I hope so, cause I sure do fancy him! Hum! Hum! Ya!”
“How do you think we got here?” I asked.
“I reckon it was the phone. We probably unconsciously hung up at the same time or something. I don’t know.” She replied with a sigh.
“I wonder what era these guys are at now?” she asked.
“I believe they are probably still in the Spoon Factory or something,” I said as I walked around and looked at Joe’s record collection or that’s whose I assumed it was.
“David Bowie, Led Zepplin, Mod the Hopple, Queen, Beatles…”I read off to Spev. “Boy he has some cool stuff!”
“Well he is my man, he couldn’t possibly not have good music tastes!” Spev joked. I laughed.
Suddenly Rick came up behind me, grabbed me by the waist and lifted me up!
“Ahhh! Put me down! Put me down!” I yelled. He finally did and turned around. In turn, he gave me a kiss. (Or snog as Spev calls it!)
“Ha! I told you!” Spev screamed and pointed.
I just blushed and went to sit down. In turn Rick sat down next to me.
In time all the other guys came out from their rooms. May I take the time to explain clothing very vaguely? You fill in the rest:
Joe- British shirt and blue jeans
Pete- green shirt and white jeans
Sav- white shirt and black jeans
Rick- red shirt and blue jeans
Steve- one of his handkerchiefs, red shirt and black jeans
“Alright then…what would you girls like to do today?” Rick asked, he only wanted to have fun.
“We have a schedule today. We go to a photo shoot which our manager asked us to go to,” Joe informed us all.
“Right, let’s go then!” Rick yelled and drug me by the arm out the door with everyone else following.

Part 6- Get your Rocks off…

There we all were, piled in the one car the 5 of them had. Joe driving and everyone else sitting on each other. Except for Spev, she got the front seat.
“Feels like the Monkee Mobile doesn’t it?” Spev said as she looked back at me.
I gave her the “ya whatever” look as I situated myself better on Rick’s lap.
Suddenly her face brightened. “Here we come, walking down the street…” she began.
“We get the funniest looks from everyone we meet!” I chimed in.
“Hey, hey we’re the Monkees!!” we both sang.
Eventually after much laughter, we finished the song. “Hum,” was all Joe could say. Then he turned the radio on.
“Shake it up baby now…” blared out.
“Twist n’ Shout!” Spev and I yelled. Sav began to slide down in his seat.
“Oh come on dear boy! Have a little fun!” Spev said as she began to do various 60’s dances, sitting. I in turn, did some myself.
Before long, somehow, we got the entire car to dance in their seats to the song. Soon enough we were at the shoot.
“Ah bless! Thanks for playing the radio Joe!” Spev said as she climbed out of the car.
“Of course! Anything for you dear girl!” Joe replied with a wink.
Spev looked back at me with a little “yay” and ran up to Joe and held his hand.
We all followed and walked into the shoot area.
“Hey guys! Great to see ya! Who are these lovely ladies?” their manager asked as we walked in. it was his job to be nice to everyone.
“Spev or Heather and Ash,” Joe said introducing us.
“Well then, if you ladies will just come over here and sit down, the photographer can get the guys ready,” he told us and motioned us to sit down.
We sat, as the photographer; Ernie (lol) motioned the guys back to a dressing room.

Part 7- Rocket, Satellite of Love…

I turned to Spev with a big smile. “Wow! This is fantastic!” I said.
“Yes tis’” she said.
“I wonder why they’re getting their photo’s taken I the first place though?” I said with curiously.
At the moment, the manager passed by, so I asked him. “The boys have been touring the U.K. in support of their debut album “On Through the Night,” he informed us.
“Oh? I had no idea!” I said. He nodded and walked off. I thought for a minute. Compiling my music trivia knowledge together.
“Ha! I got it! It’s like in the movie, exactly, actually,” I said.
“That is fact isn’t it then?”
“Yes tis’. Most of it anyway,” I said.
“What happens next in the movie?”
“I don’t quite remember,” I said and went deep into thought again.
Just then, the 5 guys came from their dressing rooms. They looked completely different then that morning and very gorgeous. Let us picture this:
Joe- Leather pants and sleeveless white shirt
Rick- British shorts
Sav- Leather pants and red shirt
Steve- white polka dot handkerchief and white shirt, black pants
Pete- sleeveless green shirt and white pants
“Wow! You guys look great!” I said and looked at Spev. We winked and walked to our guys’ arms.
“Rick my dear, you’re going to break a lot of hearts!” I said as he out his arms around my waist.
“That he will, and so will my Joe!” Spev said and raised an eyebrow at Joe. In return he kissed her.
“Hey guys! Time for pictures!” manager said.
As we watched the 5 of them walk across to the shoot, Spev pulled my aside.
“He snogged me! He snogged me!” she said, “Am I dreaming?”
“Nope, cause right now I’m seeing Rick in the SHORTS!” I said and almost completely melted at the sight of him.
Soon enough we gathered ourselves together and had a seat again.
“Alright guys, now for this picture I’d like everyone in front except Pete.” Ernie said.
“Why am I behind?” Pete asked annoyingly.
“Don’t worry, you’ll be the tallest Leppard in history!” Ernie replied and placed books down for Pete to stand on.
“Are you flippin’ insane?! Do you actually think I’m going to stand on there?!” Pete yelled angrily and kicked the books aside. He began to charge the photographer.
“Pete no!” Joe yelled and stopped Pete in his tracks. Spec looked at me in horror, as if Joe was going to get a punch in the mouth.
Luckily he didn’t. The band finished the photo shoot and they came over to us.
“You better watch it Pete!” Joe advised him.
“Yeah whatever!” was Pete’s reply.
“Hey guys! I have a problem,” manager said.
“What?” Sav asked concerned.
“Got to go to the pass port office.”
“Why?” Sav asked again.
“Can’t tour America without them!”
The whole band smiled and yelled, hugging each other and us.
We were off to America…but how long would Pete last?

Part 8- Ride into the Sun...

So there we were, off to America! I was very excited cause it would be all their first trips.
Hard to believe this all happened a year ago. But before I go on now, let me shed some light on the past year.
The guys had been touring for about 10 months nonstop with Spev and I following. They recorded their second album “High n’ Dry” which was a hit in the U.K. and the States.
Now that I have brought you up to date, shall we got on with the story?
“When do you guys stop touring?” I asked Rick as we walked onto the next airplane and probably the hundredth one I’ve been on.
“A week Joe said. He said we’re going to start recording again,” Rick told me as he helped me into my seat.
“Alright. Feels good to sit down doesn’t it?” I said with a sigh. I lied back and been to doze off. I fell asleep.
To make the week seem shorter I’ll summarize it. As Rick and Joe said, they toured another week. Then went into the studio to record “Pyromania” with producer Mutt Lange.
“Alright and again,” Mutt said through the intercom.
“Joe he’s worse then you,” Pete mumbled.
“Guys I hear everything. Again,” Mutt replied.
And so it began, these sessions for hours on end every day for months. Was a good thing, Spev and I got to talk about various things during those sessions. One night, Mutt had something to tell us all.
“Guys and gals, I have a proposition for you all! A concert tomorrow in L.A. I know the album’s half done, but I think this will help,” Mutt told us.
We all agreed, Spev and I barely but we knew we had to go along with it.
“Ash don’t worry, it’s just a concert. No more. After this Rick will spend time with you,” Spev consoled me in my hotel room before the concert.
“Alright. You want me to the concert?”
“Yes. We can hang backstage!” she said.
So off we were to the concert.
“Babes I’m so nervous!” Rick told me 1 minute before they were on.
“Don’t worry. I love you.” I said. I kissed him just as they were going on. Spev finished the same a few seconds after me.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Def Leppard!” the announcer yelled. The guys ran on stage.
Played all their older songs perfect all night. Spev and I talked endlessly about how fantastic they all were.
Then they went into “Bringing on the Heartbreak.”
“Oh I love this song!” I said. Spev nodded.
By the middle of the song was Steve’s moment to shine, his solo. Everyone else just stood there and let him play.
“Pete! What are you doing? Get back on stage!” Spev screamed. Pete came back stage, picked up his brandy and began drinking. “Concerts not over yet!”
The worse had come. Joe stormed back and quickly pulled Pete back on stage to finish the gig.
After the gig was over you could see the anger in Joe’s eyes as Spev tried to comfort him.
Suddenly Joe stood up. “Everyone out except the girls and the band!” Gradually they all left for a band meeting.
“What were you doing?” Joe asked Pete.
“Thought I’d have a drink.”
“Pete you can’t do that! Not during a show! Even Steve doesn’t do that!” Joe replied.
“Come on, he drinks more then me!”
“Shut up Pete! Either you quit drinking during shows and get rid of your serious problem or piss off!” Joe yelled.
Pete’s answer was seen in his actions. His towel came flying into my lap.
“Great what now?” Sav asked.
“We find another guitarist!” Joe replied.
“Any ideas where?” Steve asked.
No one answered his questions, but little did we know soon enough another would be right under our noses…

Part 9- Let’s get Rocked…

“Guys, I know it won’t be hard to find another guitarist,” Joe told us all one night in a club. We were all in doubt.
“Yeah but…” Sav began.
“I remember, where are we going to find a drummer, got Rick; where are we going to find a singer, me. We’ll be fine,” Joe explained.
“What about Pete’s technique?” I asked, knowing Pete was a very good player.
“We can find someone better then him in a heartbeat,” Joe sourly said.
We all sat back and tried to let him have his way. “I’m going to the loo,” Spev said and motioned to me to follow.
“Yes.” I said once we were in the bathroom.
“Do you actually think my Joe is right? I mean, the movie, what happens?” Spev asked with much doubt.
“Don’t worry, we’ll find someone,” I said factually.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Girl!” the announcer yelled.
“Oh come on, this band is really fab!” Spev said and pulled me back to our table.
I looked up at this band with a questioned look. “Glam?”
“Yes. Great band though!” Spev said as she and Joe got up to dance.
I sat back. Thinking. Girl, Girl. Don’t I know them? Wait, this is the band!
“Babes? Do you want anything to drink?” Rick shook me out of my thoughts.
“Sure. Um… a coke.” I said.
I looked down at my handwriting. In my spare time I had been writing short stories for an English Newspaper as well as being an editor. Spev had done the same thing too.
I placed my hand on my head and concentrated on my work. The review wasn’t going to be good I could see. But the only good thing about the band was their guitarist. He was dynamite.
“Here you are darling,” Rick said. He gave me a kiss, which tasted like alcohol.
“You drinking?” I asked.
“Only little. I’ve eaten dinner too!” he said, covering up his mistake.
“Ok.” I said with a smile, “This is going to the dumper!” I shut my notebook for the night.
“When’s the deadline?” he asked.
“Monday,” I sighed.
Joe and Spev made their way, with everyone else, back to the table by then.
“Joe, you see this guitarist there?” I said pointing.
“Yes he’s fantastic!” Joe said.
“I reckon we should ask him into the band,” Steve suggested.
We all agreed. And I hoped as Joe went to ask him, he’d say yes. With the power behind his and Steve’s guitars the guys would be a huge hit.
Within a half hour Joe was back…
“Everyone, this is Phil Collen and he’s the newest Leppard!” Joe said.

Part 10- And I Lust Animal...

Getting used to Phil in the band instead of Pete was the easiest thing in the world for everyone. He learned all the songs for “Pyromania” and more in 2 days. And he had the most wonderful sense of humor. One night we gathered at our house after a session for a band/gals meeting as Joe called it.
“We’re back on tour.” was all Joe said.
“When?” I asked holding Rick’s hand.
“The album’s done Mutt said. So we start the tour tomorrow,” Joe said with a bowed head. His fears were true. Spev began to explode.
“You take 2 flippin’ months off to record and now you’re touring again! What is this?” she yelled.
“I’m sorry but it has to be done. And this time you girls can’t come,” Joe sighed, ready for another verbal beating.
I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. I ran off to my and Spev’s room sobbing.
A knock on the door. “Yes?”
“It’s me.” Spev said from the other side.
“Come in,” I mumbled through sobs.
“It’s ok. Rick or Joe, they aren’t leaving us.” She said.
“But…I’ll miss him!” I said. And buried my head in my pillow.
“As will I, but this is the life we chose. So let’s deal with it huh?” she said.
I nodded alright. We walked back down to the living room together.
The tour was a short one and in the time Spev and I got even closer as friends. We actually could finish each other’s sentences.
“Today’s the day!” Spev said as she grabbed her car keys.
“I know! I’m so happy! I’m going to see my Rick again!” I said as I climbed into the car.
“And what about my Joe?” Spev said. I laughed.
We finally got to the airport. We ran to the terminal.
“Rick!!” I screamed and jumped into his arms as he dropped his bags.
“Right! Today’s New Years. I want to spend some time with you and my Corvette!” he said after kissing me. We all walked together to the parking lot.
I waved to Spev and them all as Rick and I pulled away in his new Corvette.

Part 11- Rock of Ages, Still Rollin’…

I looked over at Rick. He had a huge grin on his face. “Would you like some music?” he asked. I nodded.
He pulled the “Pyromania” tape out and it began with those German words.
I laughed. “I love how ‘Rock of Ages’ starts like that!” I said grooving in my seat.
“I can’t believe how much you’ve changed!” he said, eyeing me up.
“What about you? It’s been 8 months!” I replied. “Rock of ages, Rock of ages, still rollin’, rock n’ rollin’!” I sang along with Joe.
All of the sudden, a car speedily passed us and turned in front of us.
“This guy must be going 30!” Rick annoyingly said and began to pass the man. In turn, he pulled in front of Rick again.
“Right!” Rick said.
This scenario went on for about 5 minutes and I could see the anger building up in Rick’s eyes.
“Rick, honey, don’t do anything stupid,” I warned. He just gave me a look like he knew what he was doing.
He quickly pulled the stick-shift back and sped up to 80 mph. I held on to my seat with all I could.
Around the corner we went and passed the man. I relaxed my hands, thinking everything would be alright. Suddenly the car was swerving out of control. I looked at Rick with sheer terror and he looked back with a pale face. I grabbed onto my seat with dear life. Suddenly the car stopped, but not really. We flipped over a fence into a field. Glass and car parts everywhere.
All of the sudden, I blacked out.

Part 12- Love Bites, Love Bleeds…

I woke up and looked around. I had been flung 15 feet from the car. I touched my head to find blood all over the place. I stood up as steadily as possible but I felt like such a drunk.
“Rick!” I called, stuttering.
I held my head as I tried to walk but my body just wouldn’t move.
“Miss! Miss, are you hurt?” a voice called from what seemed like miles. A man ran up to me and applied a towel to my head. “I’m a policeman, that’s my wife over there helping you friend.”
I burst into tears at the thought of this all being true.
“It’s ok, I’ll walk you to my car,” he said as he helped me there.
I looked around. There stood Rick with the lady holding packs on his arm. I gave it another curious look before figuring it out. Rick’s arm was gone!
“Oh could you look for his arm then?” she said. Her husband nodded.
“I’m a drummer, a famous drummer, Def Leppard.” Rick kept repeating this over and over again. “I want my mum.”
The man helped me into my seat and I laid back. “I can’t believe this!” I yelled.
“We need an ambulance!” the woman called. “He’s losing so much blood!”
I looked over at the scene. The man holding Rick’s severed arm and running up to me. Grabbed the phone and called 999.
“Ambulance is on its way!” he yelled. She nodded and continued to stand with Rick.
“You can lay down dear,” the man told me.
I didn’t need to be told twice. I laid down and was soon asleep.
Before I knew it, red and white lights were flashing in my face.
Rick was out on a stretcher and taken away, while I was driven to the hospital in the car.
On the way I pondered a deep and deadly thought, “Would I ever see Rick again?”

Part 13- Bringing on the Heartbreak…

“Let me help you out,” the man said after we parked at the hospital.
“Rick! Where is he?” I screamed. I was so worried by that time I was frantic.
“He’s your boyfriend isn’t he?” the man asked. I nodded.
“Don’t worry. I’ll help you find him.” By the time we got to the desk it was 15 minutes later.
“Hello. Name?” the girl behind the ER desk asked.
“Ashley Townshend (lol),” I said.
She motioned me through a door. The doctor took a look at my head.
“You’ll need some stitches but otherwise very lucky,” he said. “Are you her parents?”
“No we found her and a young man in a field. Do you think we could find him?” the woman said.
“Yes I’ll help you,” the doctor said. He finished stitches and lead us to another part of the ER.
“Nurse, is the there a Rick Allen here?” he asked.
“He’s in emergency surgery at the moment,” she said. I nearly fainted. “That doctor over there was in the surgery room.” She said and pointed to a man a few away.
“Sir, I’m worried about my boyfriend Rick. Is he alright?” I concerned asked.
“We have to reattach his arm, which is being done at this time. He’s lost a lot of blood. After the recovery he’ll be in a room then you can see him,” the doctor explained.
I walked to a waiting room they directed me to and waited there.
“We’re going to go now. Will you be alright by yourself dear?” the woman asked. I nodded.
I thought for a minute. This couldn’t be! But then I saw the glass and parts again and knew the truth.
I got up and picked up the phone. I dialed the house’s number and hoped the band and Spev were home.
“Hello?” Joe asked. I burst into tears. “Ash? Is that you? Are you alright?” he asked.
“Rick and I are at the London Hospital, ER. We were in an accident and…” I began.
“We’ll be right in!” he said and hung up.
I went to sit down again.

Part 14- Miss you in a Heartbeat…

I felt like I was sitting there in that ungodly waiting room for hours. I paced around. Waiting either for Rick to be in Recovery or the band and Spev to come.
Luckily, before I lost my sanity (like I had any before) the band and Spev arrived.
“Are you alright?” Spev asked me. I walked over and hugged her.
“Yes I am. Rick’s in surgery.” I said as I looked at Joe with tears in my eyes.
“Why is he in there?” Sav asked.
“He lost his arm and… and they’re reattaching it,” I said.
“How did he do that?” Sav asked again. Everyone else was too in shock to ask anything.
“I don’t know, I don’t know!” I yelled and walked away.
“Guys, we have to stay calm. We can’t turn on each other now. This is when we have to strong. Stop asking her questions. She’s still in shock.” Phil explained. Instead of Sav being the peacemaker he was.
“Look I’m just so worried. He’s lost blood. Guys…he could die!” I told them.
They all looked at each other and just sat down. I began crying again and Phil held me (see at this point I would have loved Sav to be the peacemaker instead! hehe!), as no one else would comfort, they were all in need of it themselves.
A few minutes later, the doctor came out of the surgery doors.
“Who of you is Ashley Townshend?” the doctor asked. I stood up with a tissue in one hand. “Yes?” I said.
“He asked for you first. Rick’s in a room now, so you all can see him. But I think he’d like to see Miss Townshend first,” the doctor said. I followed him down the hall to a room.
There in the white hospital bed laid Rick. He had bandages around his arm. I just stood there.
“I’ll leave you two alone. I’ll give you about 5 minutes, then you’re friends can come in. ok?” the doctor said. I nodded. He shut the door.
I ran up to the bed and hugged Rick. “Oh Rick I was so worried about you!” I clung to him.
“Thanks love, I missed you too. Ow, me arm!” he yelled.
“Oh I’m sorry,” I said and sat down next to him.
“How are you then?” he asked.
I felt my head. “It doesn’t hurt now. How about you?”
“I have enough bleedin’ medicine in me. I feel nothing, not even your kisses. (To which I frowned!) My arm is back and think it’s getting warmer. Feel it.” he said.
I touched Rick’s arm. It was barely warm. “Well it’s only been back for a few minutes. Give it some time,” I said with a smile. I got up and gave him a kiss.
“Ah I can’t feel that! Why must you kiss me and I can’t feel it?” he joked. I just gave him a dirty look.
“Look at all these cuts on your face!” I said touching his cheek.
“I know. Well you got them too,” he said pointing with his right hand to my face. I nodded.
A knock on the door…
The band and Spev walked in.
“Hi Rick. How are you feeling?” Spev asked and took his left hand.
“I feel nothing. There’s so much stuff in me. I can’t feel my girl’s kisses either!” he said.
“Are you going to keep that joke?” I asked smiling. He nodded with a grin.
“His hand is warm,” she told me. I nodded.
“Mate, you think you’re going to be ok?” Phil asked.
“Yes I think,” Rick said.
Another knock on the door. I got up and answered it. “Rick, it’s your Mom and Dad,” I said. They walked in.
“Oh my little boy!” his Mom came up and hugged him.
“Mom me arm!” he yelled.
“I’m sorry dear,” she said.
So there we all were. And finally my question was answered; Rick was really going to be ok!

Part 15- Sorrow is a Woman…

Rick remained in the hospital for 2 weeks. I didn’t understand why he had to be in that long cause he was getting better with everyday. His arm was warmer and he was able to move it a little. I thought that it was ready to be used again and he’d be ok.
“Rick will need physical therapy for his arm before he can use it again for anything, and even then it will not be at its full strength.” The doctor informed us all.
But none of this was meant to be…
“The infection is spreading Rick, and there’s nothing I can do. Your arm must be amputated,” the doctor said. That day Spev and I were in the room along with Joe and Rick’s parents.
“So give me some a shot or some pills,” Rick said.
“We’ve already done all that. If it’s not amputated, you’re looking at losing a lot more then your arm. Possibly your other arm as well or even you,” the doctor explained.
“Fine,” was all Rick said.
The doctor left to see when the operation could be done.
“Rick, honey, the doctor is right. It has to be done,” I said holding his hand.
“I know, but they just did this and now they’re taking it away again!” he said.
“Dear, you’re a 21 year old boy with your whole life ahead of you,” his Mom explained as she held his other hand.
“I know Mum,” he muttered, “And I will do it because it means my life. And I love you all,” he said.
“I love you too,” I said and kissed him.
“I still can’t feel that!” he joked. I gave him a look.
The doctor was back, “The operation is scheduled for next week,” he informed us.
The doctor took me aside. “Until then Rick needs all the support he can get,” he told me. I nodded.
“Rick man, we have to go. Will you be ok?” Joe said.
“We’ll stay with him,” Rick’s Mom said. Everyone hugged Rick on the way out.
“I’m going too. Alright?” I said.
“Yes,” he said. He leaned up and kissed me. He mouthed, “I love you” and did likewise. I left with the others.

Part 16- Pearl of Euphoria…

“Where are you guys off to on a night like this? Rick’s having his operation tonight you know,” I told the Terror Twins on their way out.
“Manager wants us to take out some bubbly American models tonight,” Steve said sourly.
“Hey! I’m American!” I yelled.
“Sorry Ash, you’re not a model though. I just don’t see why we have to. They buy the most expensive thing on the menu then throw it up 10 minutes later!” Steve replied.
“Come on, sounds like fun to me!” Phil said as he pulled Steve out the door. I rolled my eyes.
“You know, Rick won’t need you tonight. He needs rest before the operation too,” Joe informed as he walked in the room.
“But but…” I began. Spev gave me a look like I shouldn’t get involved.
“So what are we going to do then almighty Joe?” I asked.
“I have no idea!” he said as he flopped down on the couch.
Sav walked in the room. I jumped up with an idea. “Sav!! Sav!! Guess what? I got myself all made up for Rick tonight and I’m not about to waste it on a television!” I grabbed him by the arm and pulled him out the door.
“Bye guys!” Sav said as I pulled him out. I could hear Spev laugh as I shut the door.
“So what are you up to?” he asked me.
“I want to go out and completely forget that Rick is getting an operation as I speak!” I said. We began walking, bars weren’t too far from the house as you can imagine. I began dancing down the street.
“Oh no! You need Rick to do this!” Sav said and began walking away.
I grabbed his arm. “No! I need you man!”
He did stay with me the whole night. We actually didn’t go to a bar; we went to a nice restaurant because Sav was afraid if I got drunk I’d embarrass him.
We got a table and sat down. Ordered our food and a bottle of champagne (it’s the Sav thing!) and finally had time to talk.
“You’re worried aren’t you?” Sav asked as he poured me a glass.
“Yes dreadfully,” I said.
“Why?” he asked.
“I don’t rightly know the answer. He’s my boyfriend though so I have a right to be don’t I?” I said.
“Of course,” he replied.
“Well then. What’s going in your life?” I asked.
“Nothing. No one,” was Sav’s reply in a lonesome voice.
“If I was free I’d bounce on that in a second you know,” I said with a smile.
“Rick’s not here…” He said with a mischievous smile.
“No!” I replied.
He smiled. “I was just kidding you know! By the way, when we first met, why did you call me your clone?”
“Because we think alike.” I said.
“I bet we’re not think of the same thing right now,” he said with a smile.
“What would that be?” I asked.
“Why you’re wearing the shirt?” he said.
“You weren’t thinking that!” I said as I looked at my lowish cut peasant shirt, “Do I have to wear a freakin’ Amish frock around you guys?”
“No, I was just kidding,” he said.
“Yeah but that doesn’t mean you weren’t look!” I replied.
We finally got our food. Ate, then Sav paid the bill. On our way out I walked ahead of him.
“Ash! Are you mad at me?” he said as he ran up to me. I grabbed my hand. I had tears in my eyes.
“What’s wrong?” he asked. “It’s not you it’s just…. that stuff you said in there is what Rick always says to me on dates and I felt weird,” I said.
“I’m sorry,” Sav apologized.
“It’s alright. I miss that though.” I said looking up at Sav.
“I know this is hard on you. Do you want to go back to the house?” he asked. I nodded. He held my hand on the way back and I leaned on his shoulder.
“You know what? You’re a great friend Ash! And the best part is, you don’t take any crap!” he said.
“I know! I would have hit you in that place if not for all the people around.” I said.
“No. I love my Sav!” I said and jumped on him. I gave him a little kiss and then got down. I ran ahead of him.
“Hey come back here! He yelled and ran after me. We ran all the way home like a little brother and sister.

(Author’s note: I apologize to everyone who thought I was being a cheater in this last segment! I love my Rick! I just wanted have a little fun with Sav! Don’t fear, it will not happen again! ~Laughs evilly~)

Part 17- Run Riot…

The next day I woke up around 8 am. I could barely sleep the whole night, even after all the fun I had with Sav. (hehe)
I sat up in my bed. The room was empty.
“I guess Spev is downstairs,” I said to myself. I got up and made my way slowly down the stairs.
“Hey you,” a voice from the living room called. I went in to see Sav sitting watching the TV.
“Hey,” I said as I sat down next to him. I leaned up against him and closed my eyes.
“You ready to see Rick today?” he asked.
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” I said with a sigh, “Where’s Spev?”
“In the kitchen with Joe,” he replied. I got up, gave Sav a hug, and then headed to the kitchen.
“I thought you weren’t a morning person,” I said to Spev as I went in.
“Today’s different. We all want to see Rick bright and early,” she said. I sighed. I flopped my head down on the table.
“You ok?” Spev asked as she sat next to me.
“Sure,” I said.
“I don’t even know why I came down. I’m going to go get dressed.” I said and headed back upstairs. Sav had disappeared from the couch. ~He must have gone to dress as well~ I thought.
I got into the room and shut the door.
As I dressed (no details there) I looked around the room. Half was mine and half was Spev’s. My half was neat, hers was unorganized. Hers had pictures of every band imaginable. Mine had a few hippie peace signs, a poster of John Lennon, and a picture on my dresser. I had forgotten what it was. I walked over and saw it. A picture of Rick and I from 2 years ago during the American Tour. Rick was sitting on his seat behind the drum kit with me on his lap. He was holding my waist and I had the drumsticks. I smiled as he kissed my cheek.
As I looked, I felt a single teardrop fell from my eye. I shook it off and continued dressing.
“Not so bad!” I said to my reflection. I was wearing some bell-bottoms, a red peasant top, love beads, and black-heeled boots. I looked like a cross between an 80’s groupie and a 60’s hippie. Just the way I liked it.
I headed down the stairs to find no one anywhere. I assumed all were in the kitchen.
“Good Morning, Sunshine!!” Phil said as I walked in.
“Hi!” I replied and gave him a big hug.
“I see you and Steve are back from the dead? How was the date?” I said as I found my own chair next to Sav with an empty chair next to me.
“Steve fancies a model!” Phil burst.
“Oh yeah? I thought you said you don’t like bubbly AMERICAN models?” I said.
“Well we got to talking and she’s not blonde, she’s brunette. Her name’s Lorelei,” Steve explained.
“Ohhh!” I said in a childish voice, “When can I meet her?”
“Today. She’s meeting us at the hospital to see Rick,” Steve said.
“Speaking of which, we ought to get a move on!” Joe commanded, “Anyone who didn’t eat yet do so, anyone who did, dress.”
“Yes sir!” Spev and I said at once. We burst out laughing.
While the others dressed, Sav and I ate. Before too long, we were all ready to go.
We hopped in the car and we were on our way. I couldn’t wait to see Rick again!

Part 18- I’ll be Two Steps Behind…

We parked in the hospital parking lot. I ran out of the car.
“Slow down!” Sav said as he caught up to me and grabbed my arm, “He’ll be in the bed when you get there!”
“I know so!” I said. I held his hand as we walked in.
“Oh are you two together now?” Steve asked me.
“No! He’s me moral support!” I said in a fake British accent. Steve rolled his eyes.
“Hi we’re here to see Rick Allen,” I said to the woman behind the desk.
“Ok. We’ll call you. He has visitors right now,” she replied. We sat down in the waiting room.
“Steve! Hey!” a woman said as she walked in.
“Lorelei,” he said. Steve got up and gave her a hug, “Everyone this is Lorelei. Lo, Ash, Heather, and the boys.”
“Hi,” she said, “Who of you is Rick’s girlfriend?”
Everyone pointed at me. I gave her an innocent smile. She sat down next to me. “You must be so worried about Rick. Do you miss him?”
“Yes of course!” I replied, “He’s my baby!” She smiled.
Just then, Rick’s parents walked in.
“Hi Ashley!” Rick’s Mom said. I got up to give her a hug.
“How is he?”
“He misses you! He’s doing alright. Go and see him,” she said.
So we did. We all got up and walked down the white hall to his room.
“Knock, knock!” Phil said as we walked in.
“Rick!!” I screamed as I hugged and kissed him. I was taken aback. I looked sown. His left arm was gone, gone for good. I hugged him again and he put his arm around me.
“I missed you babe!” Rick said.
“Rick, I talked to the doc, he says you have a full recovery!” Phil said.
“Full,” was all Rick could say.
“Babes, you know I love you with or without an arm. We all do!” I said. He smiled that big grin.
“Oh I forgot, this is Lorelei, Rick. My girl,” Steve said as he put his arm around her.
“Ah Steve’s soft for Americans as am I!” Rick replied as he winked at me. Steve bowed his head and blushed.
“Guys I have good news though,” Rick said.
“What?” Joe asked.
“I think I can do it,” he said.
“Play,” Rick said, “I’ve been running it down. If I can get a set up where I play my left hand part with my left foot…I can do it!” Steve laughed.
“I can,” Rick said seriously.
“You need your rest. Um…I’ll be back after lunch ok?” I said in this weird state. Rick nodded.
I kissed him and he held me a long time. He let go and we all went to lunch.

Part 19- Action! Not Words…

On that note, I visited and supported Rick’s ideas on getting back on the drums as heavily as I could. The rest of the band was a little weird about it; all just thinking it might be the medication talking. Spev also supported Rick. She told me, “He’s crazy enough that he just may be able to do it!”
And he did! Six weeks after his operation and recovery, Rick was out of the hospital and back at the house practicing.
“Babe you sound real well,” I said, encouraging his progress.
“Shh, I want to surprise everyone with my progress!” he said. He got up and literally chased me upstairs into my room.
“Back so soon!” Spev said as I came back in the room.
“Yes. He chased me away. Said it was a surprise!” I said. I fell down on my bed.
“Even YOU can’t be near! Wow!” she said.
“Oh well, he’ll get it!” I said and picked up ‘1984’ by George Orwell and began reading it.
“You all can join me now!” Rick yelled up the stairs 10 minutes later.
All of us raced down, practically tripping each other on our way down.
“Sit!!” Rick yelled at us and pointed to the couch. “We all dropped where we were.
“It’s still rough ok? Have a listen!” Rick said as he began the tape. (Author’s Note: by the way, Rick has the electronic drum set now!)
‘Hello America’ began playing. The drumbeat didn’t miss. You couldn’t even tell he had one arm. I looked at Spev in amazement and she looked back with the same. Suddenly Rick messed up and fell off his chair.
“Rick you ok babe?” I said as I ran over to him.
“Fine. That was my Moonie impression you know!” he replied with a smile. I looked over at Spev who was burst with laughter.
“Ha! Moonie!!” she screamed with excitement. We all laughed. He stood up and I hugged him.
The next day Mutt told us he had booked the guys a sort of “Homecoming” gig the next week. On the way out to the car after the band meeting, Rick had a concern, which he wanted us all to hear.
“What do I wear?” he asked.
“What do we have a princess in the band now? You can wear a flaming diaper for all I care!” Joe yelled.
Rick laughed as the only reply from the band was by Phil who said he couldn’t cause that was what he was wearing.
Rick practiced harder and harder for that next week. By the time the night came, he was ready…

Part 20- Armageddon It…

How do I look?” Rick asked me as we stood in front of the full-length mirror in the dressing room.
“Don’t be like me. You look fab!” I said, looking him up and down. His British shorts and one arm. “Don’t worry. I love you!” I said. He kissed me and I walked over to Joe.
“Rick’s ready,” I said as I sat down next to him at his mirror.
“Great,” he said.
I could tell he was nervous, “Don’t worry dude. You’re going to rock!”
Joe smiled. Just then Spev come in all decked out in 80’s clothes. We all couldn’t help but laugh because I was dressed like a hippie.
“I’ve decided to go retro tonight,” she said. I shook my head and pointed at my clothes.
“I guess we’re opposites huh?” I said. She nodded.
I looked around the huge dressing room. People were everywhere. Phil was talking to a groupie, Rick was holding his drumstick and talking to Spev, Joe was talking to Sav and Steve was away in his corner.
I walked over to him he looked up at me and smiled, motioning me to sit on his lap. I sat down.
“How are you?” I asked.
“Ok,” he replied, “Not nervous though!”
“Oh no! Not Mr. Rock God!” I said.
I looked at his area. A bottle of brandy sat there all alone.
“Hitting that hard lately,” I said.
“Well it’s all I’ve got, apart from Lorelei,” he said. I felt the tears welling up because I knew how this story ends. I wasn’t going to let it happen.
“Listen to me Steve, you need someone, you come to me ok?” I said. He smiled and gave me a kiss on the cheek.
“You’ve always been so sweet to me. Thank you,” he said.
“Guys, it’s time!” the announcer yelled. I got up off Steve and ran over to Rick.
“You’ll be fab!” I said and hugged him. He smiled as the band walked out into the hallway.
“Get a load of the freak show!” a kid yelled as Rick passed him.
The anger built up and Rick looked back at me. But all he said was, “Funny came to a rock show got a freak. Isn’t that ironic?” I smiled at his positive views of it all.
In short, the concert was a huge success. An emotional one, being it was the return of Rick. But from that day on he was known as the “Thunder God.”

The next week we were back home after that one-week of concerts. Celebrating the band’s return to the big time. Everyone was there minus Steve and Lo. Suddenly the phone rang.
“Hello?” Joe answered happily.
“Steve’s in the hospital, he passed out and Joe…they said he could die!” Lorelei sobbed on the other end. Joe hung up the phone.
“What is it babe?” Spev asked.
“It’s Steve. He’s in the hospital,” Joe said. We all ran out to the car and were on our way without a word.
Would Steve be ok?

Part 21- Too Late for Love…

Luckily Steve survived this one bout with alcoholism. But the band’s hard touring and album recording became too much for Steve. And the fact that his father never gave him recognition for his fame was just enough to drive Steve over the edge.
In September 1991, Steven Clark died.
“Steve passed today,” Rick told me.
“What? You’re kidding me! This is a joke!” I laughed, as I was too in shock.
“Ash he’s gone!” Rick said. At this point he was actually crying.
“No!” I cried. I buried my head in Rick’s shoulder. I just couldn’t believe it. Tears upon tears were flowing.
“Where’s everyone?” I asked.
“At his house,” Rick said.
By this time Rick had bought his own car again and was able to drive it. We hopped in and sped away to Steve’s flat.
I knocked on the door. Lorelei answered it with tears in her eyes.
I burst into tears at the site. The rest of the band and Spev were sitting on the couch. Spev in Joe’s arms as they comforted each other. Sav and Phil sitting in silence in complete shock. The police surveying the area.
“I’m so sorry Lo!” I said as I hugged her, “How did you know?”
“Found him, lifeless, in his room,” she said.
“Where did they take him?”
“Hospital to do some tests or something,” she said.
“Our work is done here. Did anyone want to come along to see the body?” the policemen asked. We all said no.
A week later, a memorial service was held for Steve. There was no body, just his grave. They were to bury him after the service, at his parents’ requests so no one saw him.
I sat there in my dress, not believing any of this. His father was telling everyone about Steve’s life. I felt so lifeless. This was surely the end of the innocence.
“I’ll never drink again,” Rick told me.
For a moment my heart was glad. I missed him, as we all did. But I looked around at the fans and relatives and passers-by and thought how beautiful his life and purpose really was, and how precious life is. I’ll never forget that day, for me, it was the day my music died.

Part 22- It’s Only Love…

It took months and months before we all were able to cope with Steve’s death.
The band’s next milestone was to carry on. A new guitarist was needed.
Their 5th album “Adrenalize” was made half with Steve and half without. It was the hardest record ever made. We put out ads and things for a new member but no one really answered.
Finally they had found him though, Vivian Campbell. He fit right in with the band.
In the next months Spev and my relationship with our boyfriend got very serious. One day, Rick had something to ask me.
He took me out that day. Finally, at dinner, he was ready.
“Ash, we’ve been together for 13 years, hald of which were the hardest in our lives. But you supported me that entire time and that’s why I love you. What I’m trying to say is, will you marry me?” Rick asked as he slipped the diamond ring on my finger.
“Yes!” I said and kissed him.
Much later, we went home and I bounced into the house. Spev bounced down the stairs.
“Spev I must tell you something!”
“Me too, you first though!”
“Rick asked me to marry him!” I said showing her the ring.
“Oh, Joe asked me as well! Isn’t that ironic?” she said showing me her ring.
The rest of the night was spent comparing rings and telling stories.
By the time bedtime came, I was tired. I laid down and immediately fell asleep.
I could feel the warmth of the sun on my face as I got up the next morning. I looked around.
“Wait a minute! Something’s wrong!” I said looking around. I was back in my mother’s room.
“It was all a dream! But, but…it felt so real! And I didn’t meet Spev or anything!” I yelled.
Just then I looked at my left hand. A diamond ring sparkled on it. I took it off and placed it in my jewelry holder. Smiling, I walked away.