“Come on, make some noise!”
A halfhearted cheer went up as the opening act started to play their last song, then the cheer changed to a roar as a guitar riff wound through their melody.
“Hah, that lit them up,” Romana ‘Moanie’ Forsythe muttered as she went through her set up. “Look it, all the phones came out for Mac.”
Quinn leaned forward from his slouch to see past Moanie and just like their veteran roadie had said, the arena was lit up with phone screens, capturing Mac on stage, shoulder to shoulder with the bands combination singer and lead guitarist. The singer was good and had a certain charisma but Mac had more, whether by virtue of his fame or just because of who he was, he was the star in that moment captivating all of the attention in the arena.
“He’s such a show off,” Tommy sighed, acting all put out. “Guess I have to go out there now and show him how it’s done.”
“You know it boss,” Moanie held out his opening bass and he slipped it on then started to play. The crowd cheered at the new sound and the on stage player looked over with a grin.
“See that?” Tommy smirked as he played. “They don’t even need to see me Moanie.”
“Yeah boss.” Moanie chuckled and pushed at his shoulder so he stumbled out to join the others.
“They couldn’t wait five more minutes to get on stage?” Dane muttered from his seat at Quinn’s feet. He had his head tilted back, his eyes closed, getting his zen on Quinn thought. He didn’t bother to reply, didn’t have to anyway.
“Oh you know how they are boss,” Moanie spoke cheerfully as she crouched down in front of Dane and grabbed one of his hands to rub between her decidedly smaller ones. “They don’t mean nothing by it, just helping the boys out there. We’ll have your kit out there lickety spit and you’ll be bouncing those sticks in no time.”
She patted his knee then stood up and reached up to pat Quinn on the cheek. “You too boss, not long to go now. Got them pipes ready?”
Quinn gave her a thumbs up and satisfied everyone was in order Moanie went to make sure the rest of the crew were ready to go, her slim five foot two inch frame disappearing into the equipment stacks lickety split as she would say.
Five minutes later the openers came off stage in a rush of energy, not noticing Quinn and Dane as they talked animatedly about Mac and Tommy joining them on stage and how great it was. Then much to the crowd’s delight, Mac and Tommy kept playing as the crew set the stage for Sign Of Life. Five minutes after that Moanie was standing in front of Quinn and Dane again. She held out a set of sticks to Dane and he stood up in one lithe movement, kissed her on the cheek as he took them then strode out to his kit and sat down to a cheer. Quinn followed and whoops and screams joined the cheer, then Mac turned and stopped playing as he strode over to join them, and the cheering changed to a chant as Tommy did the same.
Dane looked up with a grin as Tommy stepped onto the drum riser between Mac and Quinn.
“So where the fuck are we tonight?” he asked his usual question.
Tonight Tommy answered with a huge smile. “We’re home motherfucker! Tonight I’m sleeping in my own motherfucking bed!”
“What about you Mac?” Dane asked the big man.
“I think Tommy’s bed might be full,” he said with a grin.
“Haha,” Dane rolled his eyes then his shoulders as Mac and Tommy adjusted their straps.
They could all feel it, the crowd was nearly at fever pitch and they fell silent as they waited for the perfect moment…
Quinn yawned as the crowd got louder going from a jumbled yell to a uniform chant. He looked at each of his band mates and they were all right there with him, waiting for that feeling, that sense of calm… he lifted the microphone to his mouth as Dane hit the first beat and Mac and Tommy played their first notes… it was go time…
Just over two hours later Quinn walked out of the backstage area and into the cool of the night. He stopped to take a drink from the bottle that hung loosely from his hand before moving towards their tour bus. A voice called out from the staging area, one of the roadies asking if he was okay and he waved them off with a shouted back, “I’m fine,” before he found himself suddenly at the door of the bus.
“Fuck!” he muttered as he took a step back. “Maybe not so fine after all eh?” he said to himself then giggled and turned to lean against the door and take another drink. He frowned at the bottle after the last sip because it had been the last sip.
“How the fuck’d that happen?” he wondered with a shake of his head trying to remember how many times he’d passed the whiskey to Mac and Tommy had had a couple of drinks. Not too many though, his wife had been waiting when they came off stage which had prompted their little ‘welcome home’ party before Tommy and Sandra left then Dane had disappeared and he and Mac had shared a few more drinks. He’d left Mac drinking and talking with some of the crew, everyone more relaxed since there was no breakdown tonight, though Moanie did her usual thing making sure all of the instruments were bedded down for the night and ready for the next night’s show.
That had seemed like a good idea to Quinn so he’d headed for the bus to bed down himself and he was almost there. If he could just work out how to open the fucking door. He turned around so he was facing the fucker and reached for the handle then had to change hands since that hand was busy holding the bottle.
“Hah! Did it!” he crowed as the door opened and he carefully stepped onto the first step. A moan sounded and he stopped in the doorway, half in, half out to look around, make sure there were no zombies in there. “Fucking zombies,” he mumbled then grinned as he spotted Dane on the couch. “Hey D-dog,” he greeted with a salute with the bottle. “Want a drink?”
“Fuck,” Dane breathed the word and stood as he hiked his pants up and offered his hands to the couple at his feet. “Sorry pretties, another time.”
“Oops, don’t lemme inta… intra… stop you,” Quinn said with a wave of his hand. “I’m just gonna…”
His voice trailed off as he disappeared towards the bunks and Dane herded his guests towards the door.
“We totally wouldn’t mind if Quinn joined us,” the woman said as she licked her lips and stroked a hand up Dane’s chest.
“I bet,” Dane muttered as he opened the door and looked for one of the security staff he knew would be close by. “That’s very generous of you,” he said with an absent smile then let out a short whistle. “But Quinn isn’t into sharing.”
“Oh well, his loss,” the man said a little huffily as he took the hint and stepped out of the bus.
“I’ll tell him that,” Dane assured as he spotted who he needed and exited the bus to meet him on the ground. “Hey can you organise a car please?” he asked and got a nod of assent then he dodged a kiss before his guests were being led away and he turned back to the bus. Inside he found Quinn by the bench staring at the coffee machine.
He looked over at the sound of the door closing and flashed a grin. “Sorry again,” he muttered and pointed at the machine. “You want one?”
“Nah, I’m good.” Dane joined him and reached over to push the button after checking there was a capsule in place. “Why don’t you sit down, I’ll bring it over.” He doctored it with two sugars and a liberal amount of cream then started a second cup before he delivered the first to Quinn where he sat at the small kitchen table.
“I hope that’s for me too,” Quinn said with a wince as he sipped the sweet brew.
“It is,” Dane agreed as he went back for it. This one he left black as Quinn usually preferred it. “Can’t send you home like that after all.”
Quinn nodded then took another drink. “I didn’t intend to drink that much. Really, it’s your fault.”
“My fault?” Dane arched a brow in query as he sat beside Quinn.
“Yeah, you didn’t drink your share. Sorry I interrupted your fun though.”
Dane waved the apology off. “It was a bad idea anyway. I just thought…” he trailed off with a shake of his head and a heavy sigh.
Quinn didn’t have to hear it anyway, he knew exactly what Dane’s problem was and there wasn’t anything he could do to fix it. “You should come home with me. Since you’re not gonna, you know…”
“Fuck anyone tonight?” Dane supplied with a smirk. “What about you? I’m not the only one in the middle of a dry spell am I? Unless we count your wrong number girl.”
“Count her as what?” Quinn frowned and held up his hand with his index finger extended then added a second finger. “Two calls. And no fucking phone sex. But she has a sexy as fuck voice eh?”
“Does she?” Dane asked casually as he switched cups with Quinn and took a sip of the sweetened coffee. “You should call her.”
“Nah, can’t do that.” Quinn shook his head once slowly from side to side. “Got to respect her privacy and I don’t even do that.”
“What? Call a woman?” Dane asked in surprise. “Pretty sure I’ve heard you do that?”
“Nah.” Quinn chuckled and shoved Dane’s shoulder. “Get involved. Because you know, I’ve got you guys and girls will just fuck that up. And look at Zander, all fucked up over some emotional bullshit. Who needs that.”
“Ah that.” Dane nodded his head. “What about Max though, she seems happy? And your parents?”
Quinn shook his head. “It’s different for them, for her. It’s us, Chess and Z and me, we can’t do them,” he declared the folded his arms on the table and rested his head on them.
“Of course you can,” Dane disagreed. “If you want to.”
“Don’t wanna,” Quinn mumbled as his eyes drifted closed. “Don’t wanna get broken like Chess, like Z.”
“Like me,” Dane added as Quinn’s breathing evened out. Or so he thought.
“Not you.” Quinn’s eyes opened a little, the blue of his irises almost obliterated by his blown pupils. “You’re just butt hurt someone said no to you.”
A surprised laugh exploded out of Dane. “Do you really think I’m that…”
“Conceited, ego driven?” Quinn suggested as he lifted his head then yawned. “Fuck yeah! The alternate is…” he shuddered then stood up. “I can’t even… love? Fuck that!” He picked up the black coffee and chugged It then looked down at Dane looking a lot more sober than he had been ten minutes ago, “Right?”
“Egotistical git or heartbroken sap?” Dane rubbed his stubbled jaw as he considered the options and decided he didn’t want to admit to either. “Do you think your Mamma made pie?”
Quinn grinned at the question and complete avoidance of an answer. “If she didn’t I bet she will if you ask.”
“Or we could stop and get some,” Dane countered as he opened the door and stepped out of the bus.
“Bought pie?” Quinn gasped and slapped a hand to his chest in mock shock before he followed Dane. “Take that back,” he demanded, shoving the other man lightly in the shoulder.
“Take what back?” Dane pivoted to walk backwards with a grin.
“Who said anything about buying pie?” he said with a laugh at the look of confusion on Quinn’s face.
“You did?” Quinn said hesitantly as Dane shook his head.
“I would never suggest such a thing,” he said with a wide eyed look of shock as Quinn frowned.
“But…” Quinn shoved a hand though his hair then checked his pocket for his phone, obviously doubting his memory.
Dane shook his head and turned to loop an arm over Quinn’s shoulder. “Let’s get you home, we need you sober and well rested for tomorrow night’s show. Plus, your Mamma might have made pie right?”
Quinn nodded as one of the security staff opened a car door for him. “We should stop for ice cream though, what goes best with pie?”