Lou has another run in with a security guard, which leaves her a little worse for wear. More bonding with the band, and an insightful conversation with someone.
A bit of Loucer action for the Loucer fans; apparently it's like air for them! XD Also, the pause during 'Camisado' is elaborated on, and we find out exactly who mucked up... Enjoy!
“I’m sorry, but I can’t let you go back there, young lady. Authorised personnel only,” the security guard said.
“No, I’ve told you; they have to be here somewhere,” Cassie told him desperately, rummaging through her handbag to find our backstage passes. I stood silently beside her. “Look, I’m dating Jon Walker, the bass player of Panic!, okay? Trust me; call him and he’ll-”
The security guard laughed. “And let me guess, your friend here is dating another member?”
“Shit!” Cassie swore. “Where are they?” I heard her pull something out. “Here, I’ll prove it to you – I’ve got Jon’s number in my phone; I’ll call him and he’ll tell you to let us through.” The man sighed exasperatedly while I heard Cassie press buttons. The ringing sound was loud in the echo-y hall. “Dammit, Jon! Pick up!”
“Nice try, sweetheart, but that’s not gonna fool me,” the security guard said. “I think it’s
time you left.” Cassie let out a “Hey!” and I tensed as we were grabbed roughly. I lost my footing and fell, feeling my hands sting.
“You moron, she’s blind!" I heard Cassie come to my defense. My cheeks burned as I felt the guy look at me. He snorted disbelievingly.
“Oh yeah? Where’s her cane or dog then?”
“He’s backstage! Why should you need either as proof?! Can’t you see her eyes? Look, if you just ask someone if there’s a dog back there, I’m sure they’ll-”
“I’ve had enough of this,” the guard interrupted angrily. There was a burst of static as he called for backup.
“No, you have to believe me!” Cassie pleaded. “Fuck, Jon, pick up the freakin’ phone!”
I gasped loudly as I was hauled to my feet by one of my wrists. I tried to pull free, but the grip only tightened, making me think that the security guard’s meaty hands would break my small wrist at any moment. I whimpered, feeling my eyes becoming wet.
“Hey! Let her go!” My head flew in the direction of the newcomer.
“I’m sorry, but these two were trying to get backstage without passes,” the man began.
“That’s my sister you’re holding and I’d appreciate it if you’d let go of her before you break her arm,” Chris said, his voice dangerously low.
“But they don’t have-”
“Yes they do.” Something was passed to the guard. “I’d say that these would let them through, wouldn’t you?” The pressure on my wrist was released, and I almost cried with relief, cradling my hand to my body. I didn’t fight back when Chris pulled me to him, letting him walk me away. I heard Cassie toss her hair and give a loud and indignant, “Hmmph,” as we passed the security guard.
“Are you alright?” my brother asked me. I nodded briefly.
“What an asshole,” Cassie exploded.
“He’s just doing his job,” Chris told her calmly. He ran his fingers across my cheek lightly and I shivered involuntarily. “Who did all this?” he asked, though I knew he probably knew the answer already.
“Ryan,” I muttered, staring at where my feet would be.
“It looks good,” he said thoughtfully. I raised my head as a thrum of voices reached our group. We stepped into the backstage lounge and I heard laughter and Yankee barking.
“Lou, are you okay? What happened?” Spencer asked, walking over to stand beside me. I looked up, giving him a shaky smile.
“I… I don’t seem to have the best luck with security guards,” I told him quietly.
“What the fuck did he do to you?” Brendon exclaimed from the other side of the room. “You’ve gone as white as a ghost.”
“I don’t know if I can move my hand,” I mumbled, still holding it to my chest.
“That retard almost crushed her hand,” Cassie said angrily.
“What?!” Spencer said, and I felt his fingers gently touch my hand. “Can I have a look, Lou?” he asked softly. “I promise I’ll be gentle.” I started to shake my head, but then thought the better of it. Slowly and unsurely, I let him take my wrist.
“Shit…” Chris whistled. “You guys got ice in here anywhere?”
“In the fridge,” came Jon’s voice and footsteps, telling me he’d just entered from another room. Cassie marched purposefully over to him as Chris left to find some ice.
“Jonathon fucking Walker! You are the biggest dipshit on the planet! Why the fuck didn’t you answer your fucking phone, you moron?” Her screeching was accompanied by the skin-on-skin sound that came with slapping.
“Ow! Woman! What the-”
“You asshole! Lou almost had her wrist broken because you wouldn’t answer your freaking cell phone! And you made me look like the biggest idiot and-”
“Hey! Ouch! I just got out of the shower, for God’s sake, woman, stopping hitting me!” Jon cried. Cassie stopped, and the room was silent. There was the sound of someone sniffing.
“Oh,” she said quietly. “Did you use that new shampoo? Mmmm, you smell-” She gave a little cry of surprise and there were the sounds of kissing. I wrinkled my nose.
“Be glad that you don’t have to witness that, Lou,” Brendon told me. I laughed softly.
“No, but I still have to hear it.” The others laughed and there was a muffled retort of, “Fuck you guys,” from Jon.
“I’d prefer it if you guys got a room before you start taking each other’s clothes off,” Brendon said in mock horror. “There are young eyes here!”
“Brendon’s jealous he ain’t got a girl,” Spencer said in a sing-song voice, ignoring Brendon’s snort and comeback of, “Yeah, well, I’m not the only one.” “Where’s Chris gone with that ice?”
“He got called to help with something,” Ryan said, walking into the room and coming over to where we were standing. “What’s the ice for, anyway?”
There was a sharp hiss of breath as Spencer moved his fingers lightly so Ryan could take a look at my wrist.
“The security guard decided to try and crush my hand,” I twitched my lips in a humorless smile. “Cassie couldn’t find our backstage passes, and he tried to move us along.” By this time, Yankee had padded over and sat himself down on my feet, leaning against my legs in front of me protectively.
“Here,” Ryan said, “I’ll get the ice for you and Spencer can take you to a seat or something.” He moved off, leaving Brendon to call for Yankee so I could move. Spencer had let go of my injured wrist and I cradled it again, being careful not to jolt it. Jon and Cassie had moved off to a corner and were no longer kissing, but I could hear their murmured voices. A crackling of ice made me look up as Spencer sat next to me on the sofa he had seated me on. He carefully lay my wrist out on my lap and soon there was an icy sensation enveloping it.
“There was no proper ice pack, so I just had to use a bag of ice wrapped in a shirt,” Ryan explained. The ice was so soothing that it could have been wrapped in dirty socks and I wouldn’t have cared. I flashed Ryan a small, appreciative smile.
“You guys ready to get back on the bus?” Zack’s voice filtered through into the room from the doorway.
“Uh, yeah, I guess,” Brendon said, answering for the rest of the band. “Are you ready Lou?”
My head shot up. “Me?”
“Yes, you. You’re staying with us on the bus, remember?” Jon chuckled.
“Oh, uh, yeah, I’m good,” I stuttered.
“Great,” Zack said. “Chris has already loaded your stuff he took from the hotel room you were in when he found you.” I cringed. I guess news travelled fast. “Guys, there’s another crowd out there, so we’ll wait for a couple of security personnel before we move, okay?” Spencer sensed my discomfort at the mention of a crowd and security guards. He slipped his arm around my waist, nudging my shoulder with his own softly.
“Don’t worry; I promise I won’t let anything happen like last time,” he told me, and I believed him.
A few minutes later, we had assembled at one of the doors to the outside. Jon was quiet and slightly moody because he’d had to say goodbye to Cassie. Before she’d left, she’d hugged me and insisted that we keep in touch, demanding that I talk to her on Jon’s phone when he called her or vice versa. I had laughed and agreed, happy that I’d found a new friend.
Spencer still had his arm around my waist to direct me, and I blushed slightly when I found myself leaning into his body. He didn’t seem to notice as I pulled away slowly, re-adjusting my position. Chris had harnessed Yankee for me and he was at my side, ready and waiting while I held his leash in my uninjured hand. I could hear the screams of the crowd through the walls and door. I gulped nervously. Then the door opened and we were ushered out.
Spencer pulled me close and Yankee stalked beside me in our small circle that had guards all around the perimeter. After this morning's incident, Zack was taking no chances. Despite my nerves and misgivings, we managed to make it to the bus with no mishaps. I let the harness go, hearing Yankee bound up the steps and Ryan swear colourfully as he got underfoot. Brendon stood at the top of the stairs, holding my hand to keep my balance while Spencer brought up the rear behind me. When we were all safely aboard the bus, the door was shut and the engine rumbled to life, ready for the drive to the next venue.
There was a thumping of footsteps and the sound of a curtain being pulled closed as Jon (I guessed from the lack of his voice in the conversation later) disappeared into his bunk, no doubt to pine for Cassie. Yankee walked up and down the bus, sniffing every nook and cranny.
“I hope he’s not gonna-” Ryan began.
“He’s toilet-trained,” I reassured him, sensing where he had been going.
“Good to know,” he replied. “Hey, you want that make-up taken off?” I raised my good hand to my face.
“I completely forgot all about it,” I said, patting my cheek lightly. Ryan laughed softly.
“Told you that you would eventually,” he said. “I’ll get a cloth for you while Brendon can get you some more ice for your wrist.” I’d had to forfeit my ice bag for the trip out to the bus.
“Thanks,” I said gratefully, letting Spencer place my hand on the table so I could inch myself into the booth-like seats. There were the various sounds of the band moving around the bus, as well as Yankee’s claws on the floor.
“Spencer, could you take his harness off, please?” I asked as my dog came to sit by my legs. With directions from me, the drummer was able to release Yankee from his harness, and thus, ‘work.’ He yawned loudly and lay down under the table. “Thanks,” I told Spencer, “he’d appreciate that.”
“Don’t mention it,” he said.
Ryan came back, pressing a warm cloth into my hand as Brendon returned with an ice pack. I bit my lip. “I’m sorry that you guys have to get all these things for me like you’re waiting on me or something.”
“Hey,” Brendon said. “If we weren’t happy to do it, we wouldn’t do it.” There was a brief pause. “If that makes sense.”
I smiled. “It does.” I raised the cloth to my face while Brendon sat next to me and applied the ice to my wrist. I began to scrub at my face, trying to remember where the make-up was. Spencer sighed.
“Here, gimme that. It’ll be easier that way, and I can make sure that all of the make-up comes off.” He took the fabric from my fingers, telling me to close my eyes and apologizing in advance if he accidentally scrubbed too hard. We sat in silence for a few minutes before Ryan mumbled something about heading to the back lounge to read or do something along those lines.
“You can have my bunk tonight, Lou,” he said as he left the room. “I’ll probably stay up late, and it’s not like I haven’t ever fallen asleep on a sofa before.”
“What? No, you don’t have to do that,” I told him.
“Already did,” he said, and then he was gone.
There was a crackle as Brendon shifted the ice pack. “You guys don’t have to give up your beds for me,” I said.
“Humour us,” Brendon replied. “We can be pretty stubborn guys you know, so there’s no point in trying to argue about it.” We descended into silence again.
“Thank you,” I said quietly. Spencer started to grumble, ruining whatever moment we were in.
“Dammit, Ross, could you make it any more permanent if you tried?” he muttered under his breath. Brendon and I laughed. “Sorry Lou, this might hurt a bit,” Spencer scrubbed a little bit harder, setting the wash cloth down a short time later. "There. All done.” There was a muffled yawn. “I don’t know about you guys, but I’m gonna go to bed.” Spencer continued. He touched my shoulder as he left to go to the bunk area. “’Night Lou.”
“Goodnight.” I smiled. “And, Spencer?”
“Thanks for everything you’ve done for me today. You have no idea how much I appreciate it.”
“You’re welcome, Lou,” He said, and I could tell he was smiling. He closed the door to the bunks and then it was just Brendon and I. Brendon re-adjusted the ice pack so it was still cold, telling me, “So, I saw you heard me muck up tonight.”
I cocked my head, not quite understanding, which prompted him to elaborate further. “The guitar part in the bridge in Camisado. You know, ‘The bruises and contusions will remind me what you did when you wake,’” he sung softly. Then it all clicked. I turned and glanced at him.
“That was you?"
“Yeah,” he admitted sheepishly. “You and Cassie were pretty much right in front of me, and I saw you fingering your wrist as I sung that line. Then, when I mucked up, I saw you tilt your head and frown, and I knew you’d heard it.”
I nodded briefly. “Yeah. I heard it. I didn’t know who it was though. I just… I don’t know. I listened to the lyrics in all the songs, and that song and Nails for Breakfast, Tacks for Snacks really stood out from all the rest. I’m not sure why, and you probably think I’m crazy for saying it, but…”
Brendon shifted his position slightly. “No. You’re actually right on target with that observation. Those two songs are different from all the rest; you’re not crazy. As for why they stand out…” he paused for a second. “I could tell you, but I’d rather not. It’s not really my place to say. But, if you’re curious, you should ask Ryan. He… I think he’d prefer it if you asked him, and not found it out from one of us. It might make him feel like we’re sneaking around behind his back or something.” He removed the luke-warm ice pack. “I think the swelling’s gone down a bit. You’re bruises will flare up again, mostly likely, but I don’t think it’s broken or anything.” The singer gently moved my fingers cautiously. I winced. “Yeah. That’ll hurt, but it’s not broken.” I heard Brendon stand up to put the ice pack away.
“Does it have to do with the name of the song?”
“What?” Brendon asked, turning back to me.
“The difference in the songs… Does it have to do with what the name of Nails means?” I rephrased my question. There was a long sigh from Brendon.
“You could say that,” he said, almost sadly. Without thinking, I yawned. “You should probably head to bed. Here, I’ll help you to the bunk.” Rising from my seat, I carefully shuffled out of the booth-seat-thing. Brendon took my arm and pushed the door open. “Oh, hey,” he added quietly as an afterthought. “Chris brought all your stuff and put it in here earlier. Do you want me to help you find pyjamas or something to change into?” With a start, I realised I was still wearing borrowed clothes, having swapped the sweat pants for jeans which were held up by a belt and were baggy on my hips. I blushed.
“No… um, it’s alright. I really can’t be bothered changing at the minute, even though I probably smell a bit,” I whispered back, wrinkling my nose slightly. Brendon laughed silently.
“It’s okay; no one’s going to mind. We’ve all been at stages where we’ve absolutely reeked and needed a shower. It comes with being on tour. Just lay on the deodorant pretty heavily tomorrow, though; works every time.” I could hear him grinning and couldn’t help but to join in too.
“Thanks for the advice,” I said.
“Anytime,” he replied, placing my injury-free hand on a mattress. “This is Ryan’s bunk here. Hang on, I’ll just check…” He patted the blankets and felt all around. “It’s okay. Sometimes he just leaves books and things lying around in it; I didn’t want you to sleep on anything hard or lumpy.”
“Such a considerate gentleman,” I said mockingly with a smile.
“You bet I am,” Brendon retorted cheekily. “Do you want help getting in, or…?”
“I’ll be right,” I told him.
“Ok,” he said turning away. “If you need anything during the night, just call or wake one of us up; we really don’t mind. Goodnight, Lou.”
“Goodnight, Brendon,” I said softly back. I heard the door close as he left and the sounds of quiet mutterings as he talked to Yankee. I smiled to myself as I climbed into the bunk, mindful of my wrist. My nose immediately started twitch as I pulled the curtains closed, Ryan’s scent surrounding me strongly like a cloud. I crawled under the covers and lay my head on the pillow. I sighed happily, closing my heavy eyes. Today had been an amazing day for me. And not just because I attended my first live concert or made a new friend. No, it was much more than that.
Today, for the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged.
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