Ace (Band of Brothers #1)

By: Lyra Parish

The four of us waited around the back until the gates were opened. People flooded in by the herds. It was crazy to see them sprint for the pit area before anyone else. I remembered being that excited kid when watching my favorite bands. Many shows I was pressed up against that gate with no room to move while other people's sweat covered my body. It was the best.

I passed Miley on the way to the bus, then turned around and walked back toward her.

“Miles,” I said.

She stopped allowing me to fall in line with her step, but gave a little motion with her hand signaling for me to hurry.

“Who was that girl backstage? When did you start carrying around guitars?”

She glanced over to the stage, which had nothing but techies running around giving last-minute touches.

“What girl?”

I knew I had exactly 30 more seconds of her time before she walked away. Patience, she had none. She had that look in her eyes that said she was on a mission.

“The blonde girl. Tank top. Awkward. Shy," I said.

“Oh yeah. That’s Elizabeth Riley. And this is her guitar. She’s touring with us during the summer. Works for some little magazine that I can’t even remember the name of. Photographer-slash-journalist. Anyway, Ace, is that it?”

I smiled, showing her all of my whites. “Yes, your highness.”

“Glad one of you can bow down to me. Chat soon.” Then she walked away.

I met back up with my brothers who were taking their time strolling across the parking lot. They were talking about the states they couldn’t wait to visit again as sweat rolled down their faces.

Nik waited for me. “Find your Cinderella?”

“Not yet. But the girl I saw backstage is a journalist and photographer. Another person to add to my dodge list,” I said.

“When are you going to give it up and give people those interviews they're dying to hear from your mouth?”

I glowered at him. “Never. I’ve got to keep some things private, plus you all blab it all anyway. What else is there to know? You leave no room for the imagination.”

He lifted an eyebrow at me. “Lots.”

Nik and I walked on to the bus and already there were women waiting.

What the fuck?

Rex had two scandalously dressed women sitting on either side of him with his arms wrapped around their shoulders. I shot daggers at Rex and he shrugged.

Before shows I liked peace and quiet. Too many distractions agitated the shit out of me. People were paying good money to see us and I wanted to make sure I was giving them every penny worth. I sang at each show like it was my last because in this business one never knew when they’d be tossed aside like a used up condom. Once the label whored us out to the masses, we'd be pushed aside, at least that's what kept me focused. If it happened, we'd continue to play, but I'd hope we'd continue to be successful like U2. I wanted to sing and play guitar until my voice couldn't be heard and my fingers wouldn't move.

It was a hard truth to accept. There would always be the next best thing, that new and upcoming band that the label threw money at—one that would be the greatest of the new generation. Bands have come and gone like the tides at sea. For every one of us that made our dream come true there were thousands who were still starving artists. I knew what it was like, and I never wanted to go back there again which was why I took all shows seriously. If only all the Hathways did.

Out of all of us, I should be the irresponsible one because of my age. I always saved my rendezvous for after the show. Thinking about it pissed me off even more. I shook my head. There were too many unprofessional people in this business, and I would never have that check by my name.

One girl pulled a joint from her purse and lit it. I took one look at Nik and walked off the bus. Rock and Roll and drugs went together, I got it. I understood, but this wasn't my type of pre-show.

Jex followed behind me calling my name. “Ace, hold up.”

I stopped walking and turned and glared at him. “You need to loosen up, man. You don’t have to be like that.”

“Be like what?”

He gave me a look like I was being ridiculous and maybe I was. I was frustrated in so many different ways.

“You’re being an uptight douche.”

“I’d rather party after the show. Thousands of people paid to see us. The least we can do is give them the show they paid for.”

He squeezed my shoulder and laughed. “Since when did you become more uptight than me? You’re making me proud, but you gotta stop worrying about the small stuff, especially in this business. You need to loosen up little bro or you’re going to be bald by thirty and single for life.”

“I think I need to be alone. I’ll meet back up with you all before we go on.”

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