I'm baaack! I hope at least some of you guys missed me, because I missed all of you! It's good to be back to writing and writing a story that I don't hate! That's my reason for not being around for a while, because I usually put myself down, but those days are over! I like this story so far & I hope you do too. Well, I'll shut up now & let you read! -Sara
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"Zena Rose." John laughs into the microphone. My eyes immediately go wide after hearing John say my name and I noticed that Garrett's head shot up from looking down at his guitar. He immediately tried to make it look like he'd snapped his head up for nothing, but it was already to late. People were getting curious as to what was going on. I could see Garrett scan the crowd casually, looking for the familiar face that he'd seen so many times before. I had almost forgot what it was like, to be around them..to have them call my name or even talk to me. I tried to look off at something else, something like an amplifier or maybe even a mic stand, but it seems as though when my eyes desperately need not to look at John or Garrett, my heart locks into overdrive and looks John straight in the eyes and then back and forth from the both of them. "Yes Zena, I did just say your name." Everyone in the crowd starts to look around for this 'Zena' girl that John was speaking directly too. Which was me and right at that moment, I ducked my head to look at the floor, hoping that no one would actually find me. I don't have time to answer questions about my life with John and so I was about to just leave the crowd. Leave this venue and get as far away from every single old memory that flooded to me. I was drowning in thoughts of years ago and so much so that I could breathe. I was starting to get claustrophobic and the crowd felt ten times more tighter than it was moments before. I could feel tears that were forming at the rims of my eyes and if only they had waited another few minutes, because then I'd be alone and out of the situation. I look down at the floor, hoping no one notice my eyes and assume that I was her, which I was. I couldn't stop praying that John would just let it go and continue on with the performance...and with his life. "I haven't seen you in so long." He chuckles, smiling slightly, but then it fades slowly when he finally sees that I was nearly noticeably crying. I could see that Garrett looked concerned. He was such a good guy and was so caring.. always the one to worry about others.. "If it's alright, I'd really like to talk to you after the show, please. I know you might now want to talk to me, but I sure as hell would like to talk to you." His smile soon returns and he just barely reveals his perfect teeth back to me once more, and then says, "Zena, this song is dedicated to you."
He starts to play a song called, "Into Your Arms" and by the chorus, I was already pushing past every single person inside of the crowd. I don't care if people saw me or if people knew it was me, I was leaving and as I left, I just let everything go. Why did I honestly think that coming tonight would be a good idea? John is outgoing and if he wants something, he'll get it, but the only thing he's proven that he wants is me and he just won't understand that I am and have been out of his reach, and Garrett..oh my god, Garrett. I wanted nothing more than to just talk with him again, or at least have some kind of contact, but considering what was happening, the whole crying thing, I'm not so sure that it was in my cards for the night anymore.
Just thinking of how long ago it was sent an immediate flash of memories that I didn't want to remember.
Who am I kidding, the time that John and I shared were some of the most amazing moments of my entire life, but so were the memories of Garrett and I. If I said I didn't think about that one tour 4 years ago almost everyday, I'd be lying. Regardless, this was just all to much for me to handle right now.
In that moment, the only thing I wanted to do was leave, but that's what I thought was all I wanted. It's as if my feet have dug themselves into the pavement and refused to walk any further. It's like somehow my body knew that if avoided talking to Garrett any longer, things would only get worse and if I didn't talk to John and settle things for good, I would never recover.
Recover from the doings of the infamous John Cornelius O'Callaghan V.
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4 years ago / Day 1 of tour
"Zenaaaa!" I smiled to myself watching as my favorite boys yell my name out the window of the still approaching little white van that would be home for the next few months. Once the van was close stopped, I loaded all of my stuff in the back of the connected trailer, took one last look of my shitty apartment complex and didn't look back. Have fun rotting in this mold infested fun house, neighbors! I sighed with relief that tour was finally starting back up and walked around to side door to see the people I had missed so dearly. They welcomed me with nothing but love and assurance of a kick ass tour.
I was being swarmed with the voices of the people I had missed so dearly. Considering I was their sound tech, you would think I'd be with them most all the time, but I wasn't. I barely got to see them because ever since other band started to get interested with them, they've just been traveling around, talking with big record labels and some really amazing bands. Alanticism was finally starting to get the attention they deserved. I'll admit, I wish I had been there with them the whole time because these guys were my brothers, but they needed to do this all as a band and seeing them now couldn't make me any happier. The wait was worth it, because here I was, back with my best friends.
"Hey Zen, are you PUMPED!" Chase, the lead guitarist of Alanticism, practically shouts excitedly to me, loud enough that it rattles the car. Well, not literally, but pretty damn loud. I knew I was louder, though, so I just looked at him with a straight face before just shouting a big, "HELL YEAH!" back to him. Everyone joined in on our excited shouts and chants. Not those scary religious chants, though. I'm talking about those badass chants where we just shout really awesome things. Now that's what pumps me up. For others, it's probably extremely annoying, but to us, it was kind of like a traditional pre-concert ritual. I guess this was more like our little own pre-tour excitement coming out in all of us.
After about another 10 minutes of everyone giving me the run down of the past month, we pulled into the venue for the night. It was good that the tour started and ended in Tempe, our hometown in Arizona, and because of that, I was all the more happy. After about an hour and a half of bringing their instruments in, tuning everything to the right tone and making sure they sounded good when amplified to the highest level. I almost forgot how loud these boys liked to play, but it was good to remember with non other than a screech on the famous lead singer, Andrew's, guitar. He makes a face at me and we both laugh, although through the dark plexiglass that separates me and the guys, I don't think he could see me respond with a chuckle.
"Hey, Zena!" I hear Andrew call from outside. I pop my head out the door and flash a wide smile, waiting for him to continue. "Drinks?" I nod, slip back into the booth, turn everything off because we were finally through with sound checking, and I made my way out towards him..only for him to be directed in the opposite direction by an extremely fast talking manager. I'd assumed they were with the headliner, trying to go over the tour and everything else he probably needed to know. I frowned at him like a little girl and he mouthed to me, "Rain check?" I didn't want to have to wait, but I nodded back at him right before he disappeared backstage.
Looks like one stool at the bar, then. I asked for a Miller Light and paid the bartender. He slid it in my direction and attended to the only person left to attend to- himself. He pulled out another beer for his own thirst, popped the cap and gulped it down as he walked his way into the back. Man, was it boring sitting at the bar alone. I was already showing signs by tipping my bottle over and rotating it on the bottom, around and around and around...
My thoughts were interrupted by an extremely attractive guy coming up next to me and standing closer than I'd hoped. I mean, he wasn't touching me, but whenever it came to guys, getting close to then just set me right into a really awkward mood, meaning I am just the most weird around guys. If there were an award, I'd probably get it. Listen to me, we aren't even talking and I'm assuming I'm the most awkward out of them all.
The bartender comes back and the second the guy beside opens his mouth to speak, I steal a glance over at him and take a big sip of my drink. "I'll have what this pretty lady is having." He tells the man, also looking over at me, but he was smirking slightly. I looked at him and then away quickly, smiling to myself. Ugh, he comes the large wave of awkwardness. I could tell he was the kind of guy who wouldn't stop when he wanted something. Obviously I was right, but he immediately introduced himself. "John." He turns to face me, still leaning on the bar and puts his hand out for me to shake, and so I do.
"Zena." I reply back to him. His eyebrows raise. "Yeah, I know. Blame my parents..." I chuckle, turning back to face the bar.
"No, I like it. It's...unique." He smiles, waiting a moment before pulling out a cigarette from his back pocket, as well as a lighter that has obviously been used plenty of times. I watch as he puts the cigarette between his lips and before lighting it up, the bartender peeks his head in and tells him that you can't smoke inside the venue. John nods his head and slowly puts the cigarette back, but then retrieves it after he's gone. He lights it at the end and the smoke instantly hits my nose and I inhale it in and exhale with a cough. John looks over at me and pulls the cigarette down. "Sorry.."
He's just about to burn it on the table and throw it out, but I put my hand to his hand and say, "No, it's fine. Don't worry about me." I laugh, actually doing the last thing I thought I would ever do. I took the cigarette from between his fingers and took a long drag myself. I coughed a little, but then I just sucked it up and handed it back.
"You know, you didn't have to do that." He smiled, returning it to between his lips, which were by the way, perfect and unchaped.
"No, but I wanted too." I smirked back and he once again raised his brow, but only one this time. I sensed a little bit of successful flirty...one point for Zena Rose. "So, have you heard about the lead singer of The Maine? I heard he was a total tool bag.." I laughed, finishing off the rest of my beer. "Fingers crossed that he's not, because living around a jackass 24/7 would suuuck." I say, raising my voice when saying "suck."
All he did was shake his hand and smile back. How was that funny? Whatever, he had a cute smile and it wasn't anything bad to look at. Before he could say what he opened his mouth to say, Chase called me from the door across the room, leading backstage. "Hey, I gotta go. I'll see you later, okay?" I smile, successfully throwing my beer in the trash from across the room. I put my hand into a fist and pulled my arm back, "Yesssss." I said, before walking out on the first guy that actually showed interest in me. Oh Chase, what's more important that that?
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It was finally time for the guys to play. They were nervous. I was nervous for them. I was nervous. Why was I nervous? I was behind the scenes. What if I messed up? Oh my god, Zena, shut up. I was overreacting just a little bit more than I really should, but all I needed to do was just take a deep breath, step into that booth and then I'll be fine and that's exactly what I did. The guys went on and they had almost everyone in the room dancing along to their music. Which meant they'd probably buy cds and that means...gas money!
After their set was over, I was more than happy with the way it went. Since the next band had their own tech, I went over and helped Danny, their merch guy, sell some stuff to the people who weren't in the crowd, but eager to buy. We sold a few albums, but I was hoping there would be more people after the concert was over. I've seen how these fans get when the show ends. They're all like hungry lions, rushing up to the table for their stuff and I swear, it can get pretty crazy up here. Well, for other bands. For us, it's pretty much like a McDonalds next to a Waffle House. Which do you prefer? Yep, we were the Waffle House, so that definitely makes us out of business in the merch selling department.
The next band had gone up, played and was done before I really even had the chance to listen. Ah, well I had another 2 and a half months to catch their set. Lastly, The Maine. Everyone was waiting anxiously, while Danny and I sat back with no interest, what so ever. Some girls even tried to start a chant, but it faded away within seconds. The lights dimmed with surprise and everyone started to scream like maniacs. First up was their drummer, a long haired boy who sat himself comfortably behind the drums, even though I'm sure it wasn't the most comfy seat to sit it. Next were the guitarists and bassist. I was immediately leaning forward in my seat when a guy with shaggy, but well kept hair walked casually onto the stage, grabbing for his guitar on the way up. Oh man, these guys were extremely attractive and I had my eyes locked on the boy with the crazy hair. That was until the lead singer came on.
"You have got to be shitting me." I saw blatantly, letting my head fall back in embarrassment. Of course no one else was there, so I had no reason to be mortified, but I was only because I had called the lead singer, to his face, that he was a tool bag. John was the lead singer. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Well, now this is awkward. He looked directly back at me and laughed, and without even having to say anything, I knew he was making fun of me. Ha, ha, very funny.
Oh god, I need to just not talk from now on. See what I mean? Not only am I the most awkward, but I think I have now earned an award of 'Most likey to make herself look like a total jackass.' Yep, that fit.
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I decided to go out by the buses and hang around with the rest of the bands or at least The Atlanticism. I wanted to congratulate them on a good show. Ugh, I missed hearing them play. I missed music in general. After the guys went off to talk to almost every record company known to most everyone in Tempe, I had to go and get a new job, temporary, of course. I mean, I have to get paid somehow. So I got a job at a local animal shelter and all I'm going to say is this- no way in hell am I going back. That place made me so emotional, because of how many dog I had to watch get put to sleep and actually put to sleep myself. Well, I'm back now, so let's just not think about that.
Unfortunately, remembering those horrible days at the shelter, I had zoned out so bad that I rammed right into someone and fell back, but was instantly pulled up by the person who I'd run into. His hands were wrapped tightly around my wrists and his grasp was warm. An unexpected shock of warm hit my skin and I laughed. I just laughed and like an idiot. My head throbbed horribly bad when I did, but I did it anyway and so did he. I looked up at him and was immediately thankful for that head-on collision. He was the guy from on stage, the one with the shaggy, but well-kept hair and bright blue eyes, something new I had found attractive about him and one thing I obviously hadn't noticed before while he was performing.
After a moment of him just holding onto my wrists and me looking deep into his eyes, we both react and detach. We both chuckle again. "Sorry." I say to him, shaking my head in embarrassment for being so clumsy. All he did was smile shyly from behind his hair, that covered his face when he looked down at the ground. A small laugh escaped his mouth and all he said was, "This might sound crazy, but if bumping heads with you is what it takes to talk to you, then it was well worth it." He waited for my reaction, which was cherry red cheeks and a flirty smile. He continued with his name, which fit him perfectly. "Garrett."
I reach my hand out and hope he'll accept, because right in this moment, I wanted nothing more than to feel the warmth of his skin again, "Zena." and in those few seconds that we held each others hand, I felt that warmth again. God, I probably sounded like I was the main character in one of those cliché romance novels where the girls instantly falls for the guy, blah blah blah, yeah, you know what I mean. We've all read a book like that sometime in our lives.
After a moment of sheer awkwardness, he instantly asked me, "You want to grab a beer or something? I'm sure the rest of the guys are all hanging out, celebrating the first night of tour at the bar across the street."
"Yeah, I would like that." I smiled, standing along beside him as we walked towards the street that separated us from the alcohol. Since we were on the corner of the street, we had to stop and look both ways, just like our parents had taught us. Obviously I was blind and walked straight into the way of the approaching car that had just turn around the corner. Garrett quickly pulled me back and I fell back into his arms. 'Oh. My. God.' was the only thought that currently repeated through my mind. It was even more awkward because there were still people outside waiting around for their ride after the show. When my heart rate finally goes back to it's consistent pace, I look at Garrett and laugh, shaking my head at the ground once I stand on my own. "Two times in a row. I think I owe you."
He exaggerates a fake sigh of relief and a hand over his heart. "I actually thought you were going to get hit," He laughs back. "And yes, you do. Let's not try to get you run over this time, okay?" I nod, smiling slightly to the ground. He offers me his arm and I lock arms with him, giving him a curious look as he walk across. "It's for your own safety. If I can save you twice, I'm sure if you just stick with me, you'll be saved another million more times."
"Where would I be without you.." I chuckle, hoping that I really would stick around with him. He was nice, attractive and, I know this is corny, but my hero. Uh, he just saved my life, so his name is definitely marked in the good part of my book.
"Probably dead, or at least in a lot of pain." He laughs back, allowing me to unlatch arms with him after reaching the front doors of the bar.
I nod, glancing in the windows of the bar. There was all of The Atlanticism, some of the other members of the other two bands and there was John. I'm sure that he'd confront me about earlier and you know, he seems like a big boy. A word like that doesn't seem like it would even leave a mark on that boy's skin. I turn my attention back to Garrett and say, "True, but now that we're here and I owe you, drinks are on me!" I raise my hands in the air and walk in, heading towards the rest of my friends. I sat across from Andrew and Garrett sat next to me, who conversed with others, who I was assuming were the rest of his band mates. Every once in a while, he would look back at me and smile, probably thinking I wouldn't notice...but I did and apparently John did too.
I looked over at him and smiled in an embarrassed type of way. He signaled for me to come over and so I did. Who knows, maybe he was a complete tool.
The guy he was standing with nodded at both of us and walked past me to everyone else. "You know, what you said earlier really hurt." He tells me, trying his best to mask his almost drunk expression for a serious one that didn't look anything like what I'm sure he'd hoped. To me, it looked like he was on the toilet or something. Thankfully, he stopped after a moment. I could smell the beer on his breath and even though he didn't seem drunk, some of his words started to connect in weird places and so I knew he was only a bottle away from reaching his capacity.
"Yeah, sorry about that.." I chuckled, looking over the beer that I had bought earlier, still no where close to being finished. I guess that I was just already so tired that my body rejected the thing I wanted most. "If I would have known you were him, I wouldn't had said shit."
All he said back was, "Eh.." with a slightly laugh, coming out more like a snort because of the amount of alcohol he had in his body. After about 4 and a half minutes of talking to him, or should I say it was more of a one sided conversation where I talked and he listened..and drank, his eyelids started to grow weak and fall over his eyes. It was time to take him back to the bus.
"Alright buddy, you're drunk, so I'm taking you back." I laugh, coming around to his side and pulling his right arm over my shoulders. I set his beer down on the counter, turned him around carefully, trying not to hit his dangling head on the door frame, and walked him outside. Before crossing the road, I looked both ways a million times before successfully crossing the road safely. "Which bus is yours?" I ask him, and he lifts his head and points to the little white van with so many words on it that I could even tell it was a white van. You'd think it was graffiti'd or black.
I heard him groan lowly and his legs started to go out of step with each other. He started to trip, but I caught him before he fell. Man, seems as though today was 'National Trip and Fall, but be caught' day or something. First me with Garrett and now me with John. We finally made it to the bus without either of us falling. Thankfully, the area was ridded of any left over concert goers. At least John wouldn't have to face any questions about 'that one time when you were so drunk, a girl had to carry you back to your bus,' but I'd be surprised if this was this first time.
Once I reached the bus, I dug into John's pocket and found a set of keys, not really caring about who saw and assumed I was trying to steal their car, or something. I tried a few keys until one worked, shoved them back into his pocket and set him on the first set of seats inside. "John, listen to me, you will have a shittier hangover in the morning if you get up, okay? Just go to sleep and I'll see you in the morning." Before I even got the chance to close the doors, I John grabbed my wrist and whispered my name. "What?" I ask, trying not to come across as annoyed, which I wasn't, but it sure sounded like I was.
"Stay..with me." He murmured, pulling me gently towards him. He wasn't forcing me or anything, but I just didn't think it was right. He needed to sleep anyway..and alone. "Please.."
"John, I-" No matter what I tried, he just kept asking, but asking lower and lower every time. Sooner or later, he'd be passed out and he wouldn't even notice I was gone if I left now, but as I tried, he noticed. So I sat down next to him and stroked his hair as I waited for him to fall asleep. He grabbed for my hand and since I knew he wouldn't remember in the morning, I let him. Not as anything more than a supportive friend trying to help him get sleep after this long day. For about a good thirty minutes, John's hand was wrapped tightly with mine, but I knew I was good to leave after his gentle grip loosened. Before leaving, I stroked his hair one last time and shut the door.
It wasn't until I had shut the door until I truly felt the heat that my hand was radiating. I felt an unexpected shock of warmth course through my hand, just like it had before. I quickly took my other hand, cold from the air, and wrapped it around the other, hoping that it would go away. Feeling the heat like I had before with Garrett made my mind start to rush with thoughts, but I immediately pushed every single one aside because John was that last person I wanted to have feelings for.
Or was he..?