I took a huge inhale and nodded. I smiled and looked at Gerry, “Thank you for the letter.” I was giddy about the night he was going to have, but I reined it in and kissed his cheek before I walked past him. I grabbed Danny’s arm, “I want to go to the front stage area. My friend Lise is there. I don’t want to be back here. I don’t even want to be here.”

He looked upset, “Stay. Please stay back here. We told him you were coming and he’s been better.”

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I hardened my heart, “I don’t give a fuck.”

He nodded, “Still mad, huh?”

My eyes narrowed. He put his hands in the air, “Alright, I’ll be back in a minute.”

I wrapped my arms around myself, wishing I had a jacket or a snowsuit.

“Princess?”

I turned like a well-trained seal, even though it wasn’t my name. Lochlan…shit I thought his name… looked rough, sexy rough. It suited his bad boy of rock and roll look. His dark hair was still in the fohawk-mullet thing and his look was dark as sin.

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“You got a tattoo?” He looked devastated.

I nodded. I wanted to say his name again. I wanted to hear it roll off my tongue or around in my mind.

He looked like he was going to take a step towards me but I spoke quickly, “Congratulations on the show. This is huge.”

He smiled bitterly, “It ain’t no Fargodome, but it’s a step up from the bar circuit.”

I laughed, I couldn’t help myself.

“My mom is in a home now.” He looked like he didn’t know why he said it.

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I nodded, “I know. She writes me letters.”

He smiled the most broken smile, I’d ever seen on his face, “Yeah, Gerry has a new way for her to press a letter and make words. She uses the iPad he bought her.”

I smiled, “Good. The blinking made me tired and I was only writing down the numbers.”

“You staying backstage?”

I shook my head, hating the look on his face, but I was about to buckle and jump him. I needed to be away from him, “No. My friends are front row.”

He bit his lip and winced, “Well, will you stick around after?”

I shook my head with the last of my self-preservation, “No. I have a lot of homework.”

Dean came to my rescue, earning himself an evil look from Lochlan. His name was starting to fit back into my mind. It would be so easy to start saying it again, regardless of the fact it burned me to do it.

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He ignored Lochlan and pointed, “Danny said they are holding the seat, and some girl who is screaming right now and freaking out, is taking your place backstage.”

I smiled and nodded, “Have a good show.”

His eyes got worse, “Don’t leave,” his words were a whisper.

I turned away quickly and waved, “See ya ‘round.” I followed Dean to the edge of the curtains. He rubbed my back, “You did so well.”

I looked at him and Gerry, “I think I can do this. I can see him if I have to, you know, ‘cause of you, Danny and Mike.”

“ERIN!” I turned to see Mike running for me. He picked me up, smelling my neck, “Girl, how have you been?”

I smiled, “Good.” I looked behind him to see the dark blue eyes still watching me. I hugged Mike again and blushed when he gushed, “You look hot.”

Dean nodded, “That is the response I was looking for.”

“You been lifting weights or something?” Mike grinned, not noticing Lochlan getting closer and closer behind him.

I shook my head, ignoring that he had joined the conversation. I spoke softly, “Hot yoga. When the shitty weather is over, I’ll be running again.”

Gerry smacked me in the butt, “Dean said she’s been living on coconut-cream pies from some hole in the earth dive, so she has some extra junk in her trunk. I think it looks good though. You’re curvy now. Kind of sexy. I bet you look good in the business suits now.”

I shot him a look.

Mike nodded, “You do look good. The coconut-cream pies are doing you some good.”

When I looked back at Mike, Lochlan was smirking from behind him. I looked down, “I better go. It was nice seeing you guys.”

Mike hugged me again. I kept my eyes down, so I wouldn’t have to see the dark blue eyes staring at me. I waved again, as I turned and walked away. I went to where a bouncer was standing. He moved and I sat. Lise smiled at me, “Oh my God, I didn’t think you were coming. I asked you like a month ago and you said no. I love your dress.”

I laughed, “Thanks. Yeah, Dean changed my mind. I wanted to see everyone.”

She winked, “Your brother is looking fine.”

“Yeah, he is in his element. This is him.”

She smiled, “This is everyone’s. Anyone would want this life.”

I was about to tell her how wrong she was, but I decided to keep my mouth shut. Let her have her fantasies. Everyone needed a dream.

The girl on the other side of me whispered, “So the girl who had your seat is the one he’s gonna fuck tonight. Lucky, huh? Every show Lochlan picks a girl from the audience and she stays with him backstage.”

I felt sick, but I made myself remember how strong I was. I smiled, “Poor thing. I heard those musicians can’t get it up, ‘cause they do too much coke.”

She made a face, “Ewww, really?”

I nodded.

“Yikes, I was all jealous, but damned if I’m suffering through some limp biscuit. God love her for getting picked.”

I laughed. Lise hit my arm, “You are wicked.”

I shrugged, “Whatever. She got to go backstage because I didn’t want to be.”

Lise winked, “The best part of the show is up front.”

I never thought about that.

The opening act was good. They were indie sounding and fun. The songs were toe tapping almost. They did a great show but we all knew why we were there.

They left the stage after receiving a good cheer.

Lise looked at me with an animated smile, “Eeeeeek.” she squealed. I laughed until the lights went black, then my heart raced.

Lights flashed onto the crowd. We could see smoke above our heads.

His voice sang softly from the dark of the stage. A light flicked on to Leon. He played the keyboard softly. Another light flicked on revealing Gerry. He was lightly hitting the cymbals. The next light was Mike with the bass. With each light being switched on, the crowd screamed.

When the light hit Loch, they lost their minds. He sang softly until the light flicked onto him. Then he rocked. The crowd was off their feet. I was shoved forward instantly. My hands shot into the air, and I clapped along with everyone. The song was intense and fast. His jumped to life, using the whole stage. Song after song my wall crumbled. I screamed along with the fans. They were still amazing. His control over the crowd was ridiculous. He was still the puppet master.

Lise and I gripped to each other, screaming and shouting the words to the songs. The girl next to me cried.

I was in a trance, a Lochlan trance, shit. But then I felt an elbow in my back. I shoved back. We were pressed into the stage. They did their last song of the night. I was deaf and voiceless but it was bliss; the best thing that had happened to me in a long time.

My heart was full.

Until…

“We want to thank y’all for coming to the show. We love Boston!” He threw a hand in the air. The crowd screamed and shoved forward again. I winced. I was going to have stage bruises later.

He waved, “Night y’all!” he pointed at me, “Don’t leave.”

My jaw dropped. Lise screamed.

The girl next to me made a face, “Oh God. He wants to invite you for the limp biscuit too.”

I started to laugh but the crowd pushed forward again. The lights shut off and then on. The band was gone.

I grabbed Lise’s hand. It was getting chaotic in there. Danny came to the front of the stage and put a hand out for me, “Come with me.”

I hesitated but I was again pushed forward. I put Lise’s hand in his, “Her first.”

He hauled her up like she weighed nothing. I put my hand in his, but I was pushed into the stage. I almost fell under the people. I heard Lochlan shout and grab my arm. He hauled me onto the stage, just as the bouncers were getting everyone back and forcing people out the doors. I looked out over the sea of people and then felt myself get picked up and dragged to the back. I slapped his arm, “Put me down, Loch.”

He hesitated for a second; I could feel his heart beating against my squished arm. He put me down. His face softened, “Are you okay?”

I slapped his hand away when he tried to touch my cheek, “I’m fine.”

Lise was smiling at Danny like he was her savior.

Gerry brought out trays of champagne, “To celebrate our Boston concert!” He seemed to miss my near death.

The guys all grabbed one. He handed one to me and Lise. Leon gave me a sly grin. I scowled at him. Mike backhanded him lightly in the stomach. He nodded at the darkened face stalking me like I was prey.

Leon looked confused, and then I literally watched the light bulb come on.

Lochlan held up his glass, “To Danny and the band for the amazing job you all do. I feel like the luckiest guy ever.”

The glasses clinked. I sipped the champagne. He walked in front of me, pushing me back with his presence, “Don’t leave me. Let me try to explain.”

I shook my head, “I can’t do this.”

He took my champagne and put it down on the table next to us. He took my hands in his. The smell and warmth was too familiar. It made me feel sick almost. His eyes burned down on me. I pulled away, “I have to go.”

I looked at Dean. He nodded and gave Gerry a kiss, “See you at home.”

I smiled at them all, “Excellent show.” I looked at Lise, “You coming?”

She looked at Danny, ‘No. I’ll get a ride home with him.”

I smirked, “Eww. Okay. Night all.” I walked away, feeling their eyes burning into my back. We had to drive with the other people out of the parking lot. It took forever to get back on the main road.

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