1. Another Day Rolled

Some days, it really didn't pay to roll outta the bunk in the morning.

Sitting here in this smokey, dimly lit bar, nursing my third whiskey of the night, the truth of those words were never more apparent than they were right now. All I really wanted to do was to slink back to my newly rented hotel room, climb into the strange bed, pull the covers over my head, and slip away into the hopefully dreamless oblivion of sleep..

Ugh.

Could the day have gotten any more screwed up? I didn't think so.

Irritated, I pushed my hand through my hair and rubbed it down my face before allowing it to fall back down to the table to cradle the rock glass holding the latest two fingers of whiskey.

I should've made it three fingers. Or four. Hell... I probably should've just bought the damn bottle of Beam.

Although it was the last thing I wanted to be thinking about, my mind insisted on wandering back over the events of the day, trying to figure out what had finally brought me to my breaking point.

The day just started badly. I knew it the second I hit my head on the low upper edge of my bunk on the bus that it was going to be a shit-tastic day. How long had I been sleeping on this damn bus, anyway? The half million dollar Viper Coach we affectionately (cough) named "Eileen" had practically been my home for at least the last year of this tour. Why now was I suddenly hitting my head on my bunk? Claustrophobic damn thing. I felt like I was in a space pod.

A very small one.

You'd think, for all the money that we paid for the damn things, Prevost could afford to make the beds bigger. I was the "Rock Star", after all. Shit.

Muttering curses as I stood, rubbing my head, it didn't help my mood any to hear Jasper chuckling from behind the closed curtain of his bunk, located directly across from mine.

"What the hell are you laughing at, dickhead?" I snapped at him, still rubbing the sore spot on my scalp. Yeah. There was going to be a lump. Shit. Shit.

"You, idiot," Jasper shot back, laughter still in his voice. "How long have you been sleeping in that bunk?" He cackled as he pulled his curtain back to grin at me. "You just about rattled me outta bed with that one." I flipped him off. He winked at me. "How bad did you splinter the wood on the bunk, Eddie? I know you didn't hurt that block head of yours."

I scowled at him and yanked his curtain closed again. "Shut up. It's not like you've never hit your damn head in these stupid ass coffins we sleep in every damn night." Behind the curtain, I heard him snicker. From the bunk underneath Jasper, I heard Emmett snoring - still deeply asleep, even though it was just after two in the afternoon.

Ah, the life of a rock star.

We'd just pulled into the last city... Nashville, Tennessee... for our last tour date for the next five days.

Five days. It was like winning the lottery.

Running both hands through my sleep flattened hair, I wandered towards the back of the bus to use the john. Standing there, still half asleep, I wondered yet again why I continued to do this night after night. Somewhere along the way, I had lost the joy I used to find in it.

I wasn't exactly sure when my outlook on my career started to change. Writing songs, singing, and playing music was all I ever wanted to do... ever since I was a kid. I could remember using a spoon for a microphone and singing along with the radio, entertaining my parents by putting on a show in the living room after dinner. I might have been about seven or eight years old at that time. That was possibly my earliest memory of wanting to be a singer.

I'd grown up of course, kept my love of music and performing, and found a few buddies in high school who had the same dream I did, and we started a band, practicing at night in our parents garages. They were both still with me now, and it was by God's own grace that we'd never killed each other.

Killing one of them this morning had very nearly happened... the smart ass. But, that was just how Jasper had always been, and how I expected he would always be. At least he kept life on the road interesting.

It had been the typical "rock star rise to fame" I'm sure that has been told many times over by every musical 'celebrity' that had ever made it big. We played a gig one night in a club that a producer just happened to be having a drink in, he heard us, liked what he heard, and set up a meeting. The rest, as they say, is history.

Fame came quickly to our little trio. Our music was new and fresh, with songs written that spawned from true life, and the people loved it. We were high energy on stage, with a reputation for engaging the crowd with sing alongs and funny to sexy improvised songs made up on the spot, and for being easily accessible to our fans, we were an instant hit with the people who were looking for something different from their normal music. We'd been on tour now, state to state, for just under a year, and were living the dream that we'd had all our lives - me especially.

Now suddenly, here I was, questioning everything I had ever wanted to be, and everything I had ever done with my life.

Finished in the john, I washed my hands and wandered back to my closet area to pull out some clothes. We had a few hours before we had to be at the venue to load in, and I wanted to go and get some grub and stretch my legs some before the repetition of the last few nights began again.

Walking back through the bunk hall, I noticed that Emmett's bunk curtain was pulled back, and he was propped up on one elbow, rubbing his eyes. He looked up and gave me a sleepy grin as I walked by to get into my assigned closet for some clothes. I grinned back at him, in awe, as I always was, at how he managed to sleep in that bunk, as crammed in there as he was. They seemed entirely too small to me, and I was fully half his size. At six foot five inches tall, weighing in at two hundred and sixty pounds, Emmett was a beast.

"I'm going to get some grub. You want anything, Em?" I offered. Knowing his appetite, he had to be starving. It'd been at least four hours since he'd eaten last. He yawned hugely, still rubbing his eyes. I was surprised when he shook his head.

"Naw, man. My stomach is still a little messed up from all that shit we drank last night. I think I'm gonna go easy on it this morning... at least for a little for awhile yet." He patted his stomach, grimacing. I chuckled.

"Em, it's after two in the afternoon."

Surprised widened his eyes momentarily and he glanced down at his watch. "The fuc-... Hell, Eddie. Why didn't you wake me up sooner?"

"You're a rock star. You deserved to sleep late after the way you wowed that crowd last night." I winked at him. "I can't have my star axe slinger too tired to put it out there for the ladies tonight. You had them on their knees at the last venue... totally made them beg for for more!"

"You're damn right I did." His blue eyes sparkled as he grinned. He knew exactly what effect he had on the women in the crowd every night. I laughed and gave him a high five.

Jasper called out from behind his curtain, "Bring me a bag of Dorito's and a Pepsi, would ya?"

"Sure. Give me money."

"Edward! You were just gonna bring something back to Emmett! What the hell man?' He complained, yanking back his bunk curtain, and glaring at me. Oh shit. Why did that boy insist on sleeping naked in a bus full of guys?

"I like him better than you." I smacked him on the forehead. "Besides, who was laughing at me for hitting my head on the bunk earlier, asshole?" I said as I yanked his curtain closed again. "That's what you get for being a jerk. And put some clothes on, you perv."

I left Emmett laughing his ass off, and Jasper muttering to himself something about if I 'didn't like to see him naked, then I shouldn't look', and walked out of the bus on my way to get some food.

The rest of the day passed in typical fashion for a band on the road; load our gear into the venue, get set up, do a preliminary sound check, meet with the crew from the venue, security meetings, and then we had a few hours to hide in the bus before the show started. Since we had all been up until the wee hours of the morning the night before partying with our opening act in the last venue we played, all three of us decided that it would be prudent for us to just head on back and take naps before this evenings coming gig. I gingerly crawled into my bunk, taking greater care than normal not to hit my head, and crashed.