Quick thinking is required.
Jack struggled with an amp, dragging it onto the stage for Josh to sort out, and managed to set it down and lean against it for a while to catch his breath. After a while he went backstage, to find an odd sight: everyone had abandoned their clothes and were walking about in their underwear. He blinked, rubbing his eyes, just in case it was a mirage, but no. It was all incredibly weird… but then Victoria ran past in a blue bra and shorts, and he was momentarily distracted.
I understand what Guy sees in her. Where is Guy, anyway?
Victoria scrambled in the bus, searching for a dustpan and brush (and grabbing Guy’s tie) and dashed back inside to sweep up the glass. It was odd, running back to the drinks machine and seeing the mirror image. Both men were gaping at each other, mouths open the exact same amount, hair hanging in the same position. They clenched their fists simultaneously, sniffed together.
Had it not been for the accents it would have been impossible for Victoria to tell who had said it.
‘Who are you?’
Both men were about to reply, but Victoria quickly covered Ryland’s mouth. She couldn’t be doing with this synchronized talking. But rather than Guy explaining who he was, he took a step towards Ryland, who fidgeted anxiously. Guy leaned in, now an inch away from Ryland’s face. They were exactly identical in every single way. He was a perfect copy.
Suddenly both men cried out in terror. Guy’s arms flailed, one hitting the wall, the other smacking Ryland across the side of the head. With the impact, the shock of seeing Guy and the intense heat, he thumped hard against the wall and collapsed onto the floor.
Victoria sighed. ‘Guy! You know what this means, don’t you? We’re left without a guitarist!’
But he didn’t hear. He was still amazed at Ryland. He bent over him, examining every little bit of him. He didn’t even realise Victoria had left. He stayed like that for some time, frozen over the unconscious guitarist, until he heard light footsteps. Looking up he saw Victoria, with a gleaming red guitar in hand. Guy was momentarily distracted.
‘Ah! Yes, I believe that’s a Gibson SG… wonderful tone… And look! It’s so shiny, I can see my reflection in it!’
‘You play, Guy?’
‘Why, yes… I taught myself. My parents thought–’
‘Oh, thank God for that,’ she sighed in relief. ‘OK, let’s get you an iPod…’
Guy watched her rush off yet again. He was totally confused… but she looked amazing in that bra.
‘Have you got the time?’
‘Nope… I left my watch at home.’
‘It’s almost eight o’clock,’ a girl standing nearby told them. It was extremely hot and sweaty in the crowd, but Charlie and her friends had queued half the day to see the Cobras, and their waiting had paid off. Just one row from the front they were bound to see everything brilliantly.
Low by Flo Rida suddenly came on, and the waiting crowd began to sing along and attempt to squash down at the ‘low’ part. The beats pumped backstage to where Guy was staring at himself in the mirror. Slowly he started to dance, nodding his head, then twitching his arms and tapping his feet a little. By the time Victoria had entered the bathroom (no longer in the bra and shorts but a shiny purple dress) he had broken out into full gangster moves, at which she burst out laughing.
‘OK, we need to cut that out,’ she chuckled. Guy stood straight and cleared his throat, mortified. ‘Aww, don’t be embarrassed. I thought it was cute.’ She sauntered up to him and enveloped him in a hug, leaning in to plant a soft kiss on his lips. Some time later Guy pulled away.
‘I’m a bit confused… you see, why are you attracted to me and not to Ryland?’
She smiled slightly. ‘Good question. One which I don’t really have an answer to, I’m afraid. I dunno… I’ve never seen anything in Ryland apart from friendship. But you… there’s something about you that makes me tick.’ She moved in closer to his ear. ‘Maybe it’s the sexy British accent…’
Guy grinned and leaned in for another kiss, but Tony, tour manager for The Academy Is…, poked his head round the bathroom door.
‘Hey guys – uh… five – five minutes till we’re on.’ He winked at Guy and then left, leaving Guy and Victoria laughing.
‘OK. Are you all set?’
Guy looked himself up and down in the mirror. His hair was scruffy, and he was wearing a Super Mario shirt and white trousers. What an odd outfit, he thought to himself, but at least he looked the part. Earlier that afternoon he’d grabbed an iPod and listened continuously to Cobra Starship. A few hours’ worth of practise was nowhere near enough, let alone the fact that no one else knew Ryland was still out cold in the bus. It was just a secret between him and Victoria. And it made him very, very nervous.
He gulped. ‘I – I think so…’ he responded to her question.
Victoria smiled weakly. ‘Alright. Let’s do this.’ And with a brief kiss on the cheek for luck, they braced themselves for the awaiting crowd.