Hi everyone! Well…. Oh, just read on, and you will find out… :) I suggest cranking up this tune while reading. Well, that is if you like to crank things up! :) Enjoy…..

Flashbacks in italics

More Than a Feeling

"So who thought it was a good idea to schedule these shows outside"? Annabelle huffed as she wiped her forehead off with a towel.

"Well at least we have a slight breeze to work with" Jason replied as he took the towel from Annabelle then snapped it back in her direction.

"Well, sorry, that slight breeze doesn't help the fact that it is five hundred degrees here" Annabelle spat out as she grabbed another towel and put it around her neck as she went to reach for another bottle of water.

"Just look at it as a kind of rookie ritual. We have to start somewhere right"? Jason said as he flopped down in a chair while working on his own water bottle.

"So the depths of hell is a good starting point"? Annabelle asked as she took the bottle and poured a bit of the cool liquid over her head, still hot to the touch after their last song had ended a half hour ago.

"Well, unless you're the wicked witch of the West, you won't melt" Austin teased as he got up and took the bottle from Annabelle and proceeded to dump its remains all over her.

Soon the rest of the band was howling at the sight of Annabelle chasing Austin around the backstage area and after tripping over a cord bundle taped to the ground, Austin was out of reach for the younger band mate who sighed in defeat as he disappeared out a back door.

Annabelle had not been herself during the entire tour. They were on their second to the last show, which was a good thing. Everyone was a little road weary, this being their first tour as well as their youngest band mate's attitude being anything but the rambunctious little sister they were used to seeing. Nothing anyone said or did really brought her back to her normal self. Of course they were all a little overwhelmed by all that went in to traveling and getting ready for the shows. This was a whole different life, not that anyone was truly complaining. It was just something they needed to adjust to, together as a band, as friends. They were living the dream, but within that dream, a little dose of reality had set in, this was not the little café and coffeehouse tour where they broke down their equipment and went home after. This was now the business of roadies, managers, arenas, late nights, early mornings, sound checks, screaming and overzealous fans, security guards, after parties and a slight longing to be at home. Annabelle had found her way back to the rest of the band and took it upon herself to take up the whole couch, put a towel over her forehead and closed her eyes, trying to forget about the oppressing heat in the two day visit to Phoenix, trying to forget about the fact that she never really knew what being tired really felt like until now, trying to forget about how she left things with the blue eyed beauty that still appeared in her dreams no matter if she was in a deep sleep before the next day began or even a short nap to refresh the senses. She was there, in color, blue eyes asking so many questions, without saying a word.

"You had this planned all along didn't you"? Annabelle asked as she pulled Simone in for a tight squeeze as the tickets to Hawaii lay resting on the bed.

"I had a little help, and actually, it wasn't even my idea" Simone replied as she released Annabelle enough to look into her eyes.

"What"? Annabelle asked she moved a bit further away from Simone shooting her a very puzzled look.

"Well, your mother actually came to me with the idea. She wanted to give you something more than just a graduation card and well, this was her idea, her gift to you, to us, knowing that you would be leaving for awhile" Simone stated as she took Annabelle's hands and began to caress them gently.

"Wow, that's, I never would have thought" Annabelle muttered as she pulled Simone in briefly and rested a sweet kiss on her lips. She continued by saying," I can't wait to watch the sunsets with you, but this, this is the gift I will cherish the most. This way I will have you with me, no matter where I am at, or wherever you are".

Annabelle pulled Simone down to sit on the edge of the bed as she picked up the book and began flipping through the pages. She stopped on the page that beamed with the image of a sturdy tree with the ancient structure standing proudly behind it, reminding her of their first adventure together, their first escape, their bond growing each day, deeper as they took in the beauty of the landscape around them. Annabelle continued to flip through the pages, with a smile on her face and Simone's chin resting on her shoulder. As the colors burst off each page turned, the words that accompanied them, settled straight into Annabelle's heart. She had never seen anything so beautiful she thought, words and pictures, married together, all those things that had flowed from Simone's sight, from her mind, from her soul. There was only one thing more beautiful than the scenes flowing by in her hands. Nothing, in her mind that either words or pictures could ever do justice. She had it right beside her, radiating her warmth, feeling her smile on her skin as she continued to turn each page. Annabelle turned her head slightly, placed a quiet kiss on Simone's cheek and said "I know, someday, I will see these places with my own eyes, with you as my guide".

"That is the plan" Simone whispered as she placed her own soft kiss onto Annabelle's shoulder then stood up and reached for the book, placed it on the bed next to Annabelle, pulled her up so they were now facing each other and continued by saying "I am so proud of you" as she moved a few hairs back behind Annabelle's ear, looked into to her deep pools of blue. "Annabelle, I love you, I don't think I tell you that enough, really I could never tell you enough, but just know, I love you" With that, Annabelle was silenced, but her response had silenced Simone as well, when her lips were brought to her own, they were now sharing this silent response, feeling all the emotions from the day and from this moment in that kiss. That kiss that would take them into the rest of the night.

"Well guys, this is it, the last show. It has gone by so fast, but I know I can't speak for everyone when I say, I am glad to be home" Jason said as he ran his hands through his hair before settling back in the chair at the table as the band had been finishing up scarfing down what was left for breakfast on the tour bus. He went to set his napkin down when he felt his phone vibrating in his pocket. He smiled at the screen when he noticed who the text was from. The rest of the band started to snicker and then were making kissing noises toward Jason's back as he was now leaving the table to get some privacy.

The band had been from the East Coast, Midwest, Southwest and now wrapping things up in the area the band members called home. One more show and then it would be back to the studio to begin work on their next CD. They would have a couple of weeks break, but then back to work. Most of them already had plans to hang out close to home and be with family and friends. Maybe take a short day trip here and there to the coast to recoup from non-stop grind of the last month and a half. Annabelle quietly dismissed herself from the table and walked down toward the front of the bus to step out for a moment to get some fresh air. The air that she missed, the cool breeze that touched her face, the familiar surroundings, as a twinge settled over her heart, she took a deep breath, moved toward the side entrance of the place that she had seen many concerts in during her years at Cal. The many people moving about had their tasks to attend to and didn't pay any attention to the girl now wandering through the stacks of equipment as she picked up a guitar and sat in chair that allowed her enough room to sit back fully, with the guitar across her lap. She began to strum a familiar tune, one that had been floating through her head the last couple of days. She closed her eyes and let the words ring through her head.

"Do we really have to leave already"? Annabelle whispered as she felt Simone's distance grow as she removed herself from the bed to open the curtains to let the colors greet them, giving them one of nature's best wake up calls. The cottage was secluded; they felt as if they were on their own private island, no noise, no tourists, no traffic. They spent the week taking in the surroundings, not dealing with the trappings of a normal tourist excursion in this part of the world. They would just rather be 'trapped' with each other for this short while knowing that things were about to change. They had talked about everything that was about to happen, not always being a happy conversation, but with each other's reassurances, even hesitantly sometimes, they seemed to remain secure with what the future had in store for them. Annabelle had noticed Simone was a little distant herself a few times throughout the trip. Not necessarily on purpose, but seemed to be off somewhere else here and there. When she asked her about it, she would just say 'I am just going to miss you' and would follow that up with a weak smile. For whatever reason, Annabelle didn't want to push Simone, she just wanted to enjoy the little time they had, in their own world, right now.

Annabelle moved back over to let Simone's warmth occupy the space next to her again and just as she had settled onto Simone's chest, closing her eyes, trying to capture every single moment, she heard a phone go off across the room. Soon the air was slightly cooler and Annabelle just let out a small sigh and pulled the sheet up over her torso and rested her head on her hand as she propped herself up on her elbow. Simone had gotten a couple of calls during the week from her boss. No, she wasn't working while on their trip, but for some reason, Steve thought it would be okay to call knowing they were on vacation. Simone had told Annabelle that Steve was just following up with her about a possible promotion.

Two weeks earlier

"Hello" Simone stated as she balanced the phone on her shoulder, not wanting to stop her thoughts as she finished writing the last couple of sentences.

"Simone, can I see you in my office, in about ten minutes"? Steve said as he shuffled a few papers into a neater pile.

"Sure, is anything wrong"? Simone asked not really sure about the tone in his voice.

"Oh no, nothing is wrong, just something I need to talk to you about, not over the phone" Steve responded as he looked at his computer screen, re reading the email, for the third time that morning.

"Okay, I will see you in ten minutes, bye" Simone said as she set the receiver down not taking her eyes off the computer screen.

"We have about two hours left before show time. Did you want to go check out some of the other bands"? Jason asked as everyone had just come back together on the bus after going through their normal routines of getting ready physically and mentally for another set.

The band would play the same set of songs each time, except for the last song. Most of those were reserved for one of Annabelle's creations or a cover of a song with her own take on it, to making sure to leave the crowd wanting more. Once the shows were over, most of the band hung around backstage, but Annabelle would head back to the bus, not wanting to be around a bunch of fans, which were mostly there to try and hook up with the guys. Well, two of the guys anyway. She had already 'threatened' Austin bodily harm if he decided to take one of the 'V.I.P.''s up on their offer. Jason had already gone through his phase of meaningless hook ups with girls he had met while being in the band. For him, he only had his sights and thoughts set on one person. As for Annabelle, of course there were blatant attempts by fans, men and women, to 'show her a good time' just for the sake of it, the typical groupie stereotype. She was polite most times, but after awhile took herself out of the equation unless she knew they were specifically there for an autograph.

"Hey guys, I was wondering if you wouldn't mind changing the last song"? Annabelle said as she looked down at her hands while they rested on the table.

"Why"? Jason asked

"Don't worry, it's a song you all know, I just feel like playing it tonight, to end the show" Annabelle replied with a sigh as her worry lines hadn't had a chance to relax for pretty much the duration of the tour.

"Okay, well if we already know it, sure why not" Jason said as he moved closer to her and wrapped a comforting arm around her shoulder, wishing he could remove the sullen features that had taken over her face.

"Are you seriously thinking about taking him up on his offer"? Annabelle asked while throwing her hands in the air as she got up from the table to get water out of the fridge.

"Annabelle, well, yes, but I wanted to discuss it with you first, I haven't given him an answer yet" Simone replied as she fidgeted with her glass that was now just full of ice cubes.

"Simone, I don't, I don't know what to say. I know this is a big deal for you, but, I can't I just can't even think of moving right now" Annabelle said as she sat back down, her voice a little more soft than before.

"I haven't said yes or no yet. Really, I wanted to talk to you first. I know this is a shock to you, as well as myself, I just think that eventually, this will lead to better things, for the both of us" Simone responded, almost as if she was pleading her case.

"You keep saying that Simone, but it feels like you have already made up your mind, and you are just trying to convince me, that somehow, this will be a good thing to do, right now" Annabelle stated as she leaned back in her chair, needing a little space at the moment.

"Annabelle, just hear me out, I.." Simone was cut off by Annabelle saying, "I have heard you Simone, loud and clear. I am happy that you have been asked to take on this job, its great that they are already thinking of promoting you, but, but if that means you have to pack up and move to L.A., right now, I, we just got started, I mean, I don't know what I mean"!

"Okay, I will just tell them th.." Simone could not finish her words when she heard Annabelle say "No, this is a great opportunity for you, I mean it's not like we are married, or even living together really. I know we have had to be apart because of the traveling and now me leaving for this tour, but, at least, I knew, you would be back, here, I would be back, here, home. Of course I have a home in L.A., but with everything going on right now, this is home, you, me, the band, the label, and your job. Just take it Simone; you may not ever have another chance at this again. I know you love what you do, but this will, as you said, allow you to take on more responsibility, have more control over what goes into the magazine".

"Annabelle, what are you saying"? Simone asked in a somber tone.

"I am saying that you should take it. Take the offer. Take the promotion. Again, if you turn it down, since they offered it to you unsolicited, you may not get asked again. But I do know, I am not ready to pick up and leave, from here. For some reason, you have put thought into this, hesitated to say yes or no. Its not for me to decide what you do Simone, but as I support you in your job, as you have been supportive of me with everything, I can't do this right now, I hope you can at least understand that" Annabelle replied, no longer sitting in the chair, now pacing, trying to get her point across.

"I understand that I have upset you with all of this. I will call him and.." Simone was soon being overwhelmed by Annabelle's words when she heard "Yes, you will call him and say yes! I don't ever want to feel that you are unhappy because you passed this up, because I am not willing to move right now. I can barely think straight as it is, leaving you to go on tour, actually going on tour, bigger stage, larger crowds, traveling further, probably not having a minute to myself. Even though all that is going through my head, I am still more excited than I have ever been, I still sometimes can't believe all this is happening. Simone, I love you, no question, and I know you love me too, but, now, not feeling that I will be coming home to you, I don't know, I don't know what to say, how to feel. We have been through so much, this really shouldn't surprise me right"? Annabelle said, as she poured her thoughts out on the table, hoping that what she was saying was making sense to Simone, and to herself as well.

She didn't want to even think about what the distance was going to do her heart, their relationship. They had talked about this so much, trying to reassure one another that this was it; they were it for the other. Simone had never really said too much about moving in together, but it was always in the back of her mind. Annabelle thought about it quite a bit, but she never verbalized her feelings either, thinking that it would just happen, eventually. However, she didn't think it would be now, and in a different city. Annabelle held on to her secret wish as well. She held onto the fact that she never wanted anyone else. She only wanted what was right in front of her. That simple. She always dreamed of the future. A future that had a certain blue eyed beauty standing next to her, confessing their love for one another, for everyone to witness. She could just look into Simone's eyes and knew she felt the same, but as was typical in Simone's case, she still held on to that sliver of doubt, of what the future may bring. It's not like they both had a nine-to-five job that would find them getting home at the end of each day, eating dinner, catching a few shows and settling into bed to wake up together and start another day. Their lives were quite the opposite, and as they were just getting started to their own unique routine, one more thing was thrown into the mix. One more thing to increase the distance across each other's lives. One more thing to stir up mixed emotions of trying to be supportive without giving up who they were, their identity, to just be that person that sat at home and waited for the other to return. For them, that was not reality. For them, reality was now hitting them full force, like a head on collision, but without finding anyone particularly at fault.

The band had wound their way through another set as the sun began to go into to hiding for the evening, allowing the temperature to settle into a more comfortable spot, cooling the band members as well as the crowd now spread out across the large lawn reveling in what the band had been offering the last hour or so. The crowd had only grown over each date on the tour. The band was now offering something more unique to listen to with their original songs, interpretations of cover songs and of course, the lone female of the band, with more to offer than just a pretty face in a group of boys, more than just a 'token' to make the crowd more curious, more than just a body to stand in the background and take up space. She was what most in the crowd wasn't expecting. Someone to stand out and take them on an emotional journey with her words, her music, her stage presence. Most nights had the fans on their feet at the end, shouting 'encore', 'more', and even sometimes the name of a song they wanted to hear but was not included in the set. As the band came together for a quick water break, Jason looked over to the offstage area and noticed a familiar face, standing in an area that unless you were standing exactly where he was at that moment, could not be seen otherwise. He just gave a small, almost sad looking smile, then turned and took control back of the crowd when he said "Alright everyone, you have been such a great audience tonight and thank you to those who have traveled with us, we hope to see you all again soon. We are going to leave you with one last song, you all may know this one, and it's just our 'rendition'.

Jason and Austin began picking a familiar tune, building up slowly and soon the notes came billowing out from Aaron's bass. Annabelle stepped up to the microphone, closed her eyes and let the words flow out, like she had done so many nights and days before, but this time, she hesitated just a bit, enough to have the boys play on more line for the intro, allowing her to collect her thoughts before everyone heard:

I looked out this morning and the sun was gone
Turned on some music to start my day
I lost myself in a familiar song
I closed my eyes and I slipped away

It's more than a feeling
(More than a feeling)
When I hear that old song they used to play
(More than a feeling)
I begin dreaming
(More than a feeling)
'Til I see Marianne walk away
I see my Marianne walkin' away

Simone had gotten in with a pass that Jason had left for her. She wanted one more shot, one more chance to convince Annabelle that everything would be okay. She wanted to give her everything, everything that she had. She already gave her her heart, as worn and broken as it was in this moment; it filled with pride when she heard the sound of Annabelle's voice filling the night air. She had been holding her emotions in check for the duration of the show, staying in the shadows, just wanting to catch a glimpse of the beautiful soul that had become such a big part of her life, but was now, feeling like a bad dream, one that she hoped she would wake from just by closing her eyes, counting to ten and then opening them again. She had tried this on many occasions to no avail. She had talked to Annabelle as much as possible while she was on tour, but it was mostly small talk, 'how are you', 'how was work' 'how is the new place'. Annabelle had left for the tour before Simone had started the moving process. Simone kept trying to reassure Annabelle that this move was probably temporary and that she wouldn't really be traveling that much anymore, staying around the office to make the final say on what stays and what gets edited before it is placed in the magazine. Her name would now be on the inside of the front cover with "Editor" next to her name. She tried to convince herself, that Annabelle would realize that once they saw each other again. The day the band left for the tour, Simone had to catch a flight to Los Angeles, to formalize the position that she was being offered. They said their goodbyes, but this one was bittersweet, without a real hope of knowing when they would see each other again. Annabelle had put on a good face for the time being, but deep in her heart, she felt that Simone was slipping away, even though Simone protested otherwise. Simone reached into her pocket and moved the box around in the palm of her hand. She had decided to move toward the backstage area, to find the tour bus and do what she came here to do. She wanted to see Annabelle, more than anything, but she knew that it would just make it harder, at this moment, when Simone would just have to leave again the next morning. She reached her destination and pulled the box from her pocket.

So many people have come and gone
Their faces fade as the years go by
Yet I still recall as I wander on
As clear as the sun in the summer sky

It's more than a feeling
(More than a feeling)
When I hear that old song they used to play
(More than a feeling)
I begin dreaming
(More than a feeling)
'Til I see Marianne walk away
I see my Marianne walkin' away

Simone set the box down on top of the pillow she knew belonged to Annabelle. Her scent filled Simone's lungs as she took a deep breath to try to collect herself, to stop herself from just falling onto the bed and waiting until Annabelle came back.

When I'm tired and thinking cold
I hide in my music, forget the day
And dream of a girl I used to know
I closed my eyes and she slipped away
She slipped away

Simone looked at the box once more, resting in its place, and picked it up, set it back down, making herself leave it for Annabelle to see. She didn't have to re open it to read the note she had folded neatly within. All she could do was hope. Hope that her words would reach Annabelle's heart. Hope that the silver object would bring them closer together. This would mean that all would be okay; everything would come together, for the both of them. She hoped to see the silver object again, sooner than later, but she didn't care as long as it was sometime. She pulled the note from its resting place and re read her words:


You hold the key now. The key to my heart. The key to my soul. The key to my life. If you chose not to keep it, please do not tell me; please do not return it to me. I don't want to see it unless it is in your hands. I hope that someday I will have the opportunity to exchange it for a different one. One that will be created for something that we chose together. I love you. Always.

From my heart,


She put everything back in its place, moved toward the front of the bus and as she finished walking down the steps, she paused, still hearing that voice, that would normally draw her closer to the sounds, but this time, at this moment, she would just have to remain still, as the song was coming to and end, allowing her voice to settle into Simone's heart, that for once, instead of feeling a sliver of doubt, through the ache forming within, she felt hope, even for just a brief second, hope. The final chorus was swimming through the air as the clapping was now being heard keeping with the beat of the song, Simone made her way back to her car and quietly slid out of the parking lot heading south.

It's more than a feeling
(More than a feeling)
When I hear that old song they used to play
(More than a feeling)
I begin dreaming
(More than a feeling)
'Til I see Marianne walk away

More Than a Feeling is by Boston

Okay boys and girls, this 'adventure' has come to an end. Thank you all for sticking with me on this roller coaster ride! I will never be able to thank you all enough for reading and reviewing this fic! I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing this. Some of you may ask, is this it? Is this all? Well, I have a feeling that 'their' adventure isn't quite over yet…. As to when this adventure may continue, that is yet to be seen. Have faith my friends….. Please, have faith…

Peace and love to you all!