It’s getting interesting as the story progresses to include the decisions that you’ve made into the storyline. This week’s resolution of the question that I asked the week before last is a perfect example of how the back story for the band is becoming a rich and deep tapestry.
I continue to enjoy the process as we explore the possibilities for where the band will go and I hope to write many more episodes into the future.
Thank you for taking a chance on putting a story together in this fascinating way.
Enjoy this week’s chapter and—DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!
Love Toni xx
The bitter Wellington southerly hit me as soon as I stepped outside the doors of the backpackers. By the time me and Ella turned into Courtney Place I’d pulled my coat tighter against my body.
It may well have been spring, but someone forgot to give the Wellington southerly the memo.
“Fuck, it’s cold here,” Ella muttered as she swiped at the strands of hair that had blown across her face. “I doubt I could keep my hair long if I lived here.” She continued to struggle with the strands of her long hair as the southerly whipped it around her face.
I wasn’t fairing much better.
Stupidly, I’d reapplied my lip gloss before we’d headed out the door and now thick strands of my hair stuck to my lips.
I let go of my coat to gather the out-of-control strands into a tight knot in an attempt to tuck them into the neck of my coat which now billowed out behind me in the breeze.
“Yeah,” I agreed, “mine wouldn’t last long in this weather either.” I looked around. Most of the locals seemed unperturbed by the blasting Antarctic air that blew down the centre of the Wellington street. “I guess you must get used to it.” Ella and I were no doubt spoiled by the sub-tropical climate of Auckland. We may have spent far too many hours out in the water getting chilled while we were surf life saving, but that cold had nothing on the chilling wind that seemed to cut somehow right through to my bones.
I shuddered and pulled my coat tighter around me.
If the truth be told, I still couldn’t quite believe that I was actually here in Wellington.
One minute I’d been determined that Dylan needed to be out on the road by himself and that I wanted nothing to do with him and then the next, I found myself pouring all over the band’s social media feeds and longing for the touch of him against me.
Then there was the nagging and unresolved issue of whether I might be pregnant.
All I wanted to do was put the idea right out of my mind. But on the whole, I was a practical girl and if, in fact, it turned out that I was pregnant, then I needed to deal with that and, part of dealing with that was letting Dylan know.
But did I mention it to him before I found out myself?
That was the question that I’d not yet been able to answer and I couldn’t find it in myself to share my fear and anxiety with anyone else—even Ella.
Somehow, that seemed disrespectful to Dylan and the last thing I wanted to do was have anyone gossiping about him.
It could ruin his chances with the band and I knew how much his music meant to him.
Likely, more than me.
But I could deal with that thought later.
“This place looks okay,” Ella said breaking into my musings.
We were looking for somewhere to have brunch and she’d spied a funky looking cafe.
“As long as it’s warm,” I replied my body doing another involuntary shudder.
A bespectacled gentleman with a goatee beard and a loose grey cardigan manned a small window serving cups of takeaway coffee to well-wrapped Wellingtonians.
“If the locals come here to get their coffee, it must be good,” Ella asserted with an unexpected authority.
She stepped around the crew of locals waiting patiently for their morning brew, pulled open the door of the cafe and stepped inside.
I followed, grateful for the respite from the cool weather. My body immediately relaxed as it was greeted with the warming scent of food and the soothing temperature of the small, but noisy cafe.
We ordered from the counter and then found ourselves a tiny alcove in the rear of the humming room.
“There’s nothing like this in Auckland,” Ella announced as she took in our colourful surroundings.
I couldn’t help but agree. Or at least nothing anywhere near where we hung out.
“You suppose the boys have gotten used to eating at places like this, now that they’re on the road?” Ella asked.
“No idea,” I shrugged. I didn’t recall seeing many photographs of them hanging around in places like this. Most seemed to be in front of stage doors with fans, or stupid selfies of the boys in vans or loading gear. “As far as I can make out,” I replied, “they asked us to meet them tonight at the pub they’re playing, so I guess they spend a lot of time eating pub food.”
My stomach growled and reminded me how long it had actually been since I’d eaten a proper meal.
As if in response, a young woman who could easily have passed as a roadie on Dylan’s tour arrived at the side of the table. “Eggplant Parmigiana?” she asked, holding a large white plate aloft, “comes with polenta chips, chipotle aioli and salad.”
“That would be me,” I said with a polite smile.
“And you’d be having the grilled chicken salad with green beans and gravy,” she said as she placed the second plate in front of Ella. “Anything else?” the waitress asked.
“We should have a couple of iced coffees coming,” Ella replied.
“They shouldn’t be long,” our waitress said as she cast an eye in the direction of the overworked baristas who stood behind the large and imposing coffee machine.
She topped up our water glasses and then was gone.
“How many kilos of coffee you reckon they get through here?” Ella asked as she tucked into the impressive meal sitting in front of her.
“No idea, but probably a lot.” I said as I picked up my knife and fork and fell upon my own plate.
Food had never tasted so good.
Our waitress appeared back at our sides with our iced coffees. “How are the meals?”
“Fantastic,” I replied and I wasn’t making an overstatement.
The atmosphere of the cafe, the warmth of the womb-like room and the food hitting my hungry stomach had all come together to ease what I hadn’t even realised were my fragile nerves.
By the time I’d finished my meal and gotten half-way through my iced coffee, I needed the bathroom. As I stood up a familiar cramping sensation flooded my body.
“Won’t be a minute,” I said to Ella as I excused myself.
I made my way back behind the kitchen proper and into a tiny blue space. The walls were papered with flyers for bands and a special flyer caught my eye.
Dylan and Marty stared down at me from the wall of the ladies bathroom.
All kinds of inappropriate thoughts scattered through my head.
I pulled the flyer from the wall, folded it up and tucked it into my bag. The ridiculous thought ran through my mind that I didn’t want them staring at other women in the bathroom.
I found an empty stall and hung my bag on the back of the door.
A flood of relief washed through me when I caught sight of blood on the white porcelain of the toilet. For the first time in over a week I felt as if I could breathe again.
The should I, shouldn’t I thoughts that had been terrorising me at uncomfortable hours of the night would now leave me alone.
There was no need to mention this to anyone.
Somehow, I felt as if Dylan and I had escaped a terrifying juncture that could have changed the face of both of our lives.
I splashed cool water from the bathroom tap across my face and surveyed myself in the mirror. I didn’t look too bad for someone who’d been worrying herself sick for over a week.
All of a sudden, real excitement at the prospect of seeing Dylan ran through my body. I had no idea what the future may hold for the two of us—or even if we had a future—but now we could make that decision together, without the inevitable overriding feeling of obligation that a pregnancy would bring with it.
But, I still couldn’t decide if I should tell him what had been going on and why I was really here in Wellington.
I tucked my t-shirt in my jeans and then I thought better of it and pulled it out again. I felt, what… nervous? I struggled to describe the strange sensations that flickered through my body like the lights that passed over the band when we were on stage.
Maybe nervous had to be the right word, about now it was the only one I could come up with that described the unusual sensations.
The nerves I felt on stage had subsided considerably since we’d been on tour, but this kind of tension, it was a strange and unsettling experience.
In fact, it was silly of me to even be feeling like this.
Marty and I were preparing to meet with Destiny and Ella for dinner.
I’d already changed my t-shirt twice and now I refused to pull another one out of my clean laundry bag.
This wasn’t some kind of first date.
I ran my hand through my hair.
I mean, I’d been to bed with Destiny for fuck’s sake.
The random thought brought with it a flash of erotic memory that made my jeans suddenly an uncomfortable fit.
“For fuck’s sake,” I muttered to myself.
“You say something?” Marty asked from the other side of the room.
“Nah, nothing.” I lied.
Marty just looked at me, a silly grin pasted on his face.
“What?” Suddenly I felt defensive.
Marty tipped his head to one side, “You’re nervous.”
“Fuck off, I am not!” I wasn’t going to admit it to myself, never mind to fucking Marty.
We’re going for dinner with the girls, I tried to remind myself. Girls that we’d known forever.
Certain parts of my anatomy weren’t listening. It seemed that no matter how much I tried to convince myself that this was simply a meeting of old friends, my logic had fallen short somewhere.
“Best get a move on,” Marty said as he glanced at his watch and then checked himself in the bedroom mirror one more time. “They’ll be downstairs waiting for us by now.”
I followed Marty out of the room with a heightened sense of excitement that only seemed to increase the closer we got to the bar’s restaurant.
The place was packed—maybe even more so than last night.
Word of the gig had spread through Wellington and I had a sense now that we’d been on the road so long of when a gig was going to go well and when it wasn’t.
This gig was going to go off.
Perfect, I thought to myself. Calvin had confirmed this afternoon that the US agents were going to be in attendance.
This was the chance that we’d been working toward and I needed to keep reminding myself that whatever brought Ella and Destiny to Wellington to see us—it was the gig tonight that mattered.
Then I saw her.
I’d forgotten the way Destiny’s boots hugged the shape of her legs.
The way they drew my eye to the expanse of skin between the top of the leather and the beginning of her checked skirt.
When I could lift my eyes up the rest of her body, I could see that the check skirt was actually an orange and brown check dress.
Destiny wore a thick orange coat over the dress—an Aucklander unaccustomed to the cooler weather of the south.
Most of the other women in the bar were dressed in skimpy halter-neck dresses that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the winterless north. The locals didn’t seem to feel the cold as much as those of us visiting from more sub-tropical climates.
“Hey,” I said, suddenly uncertain.
Did I hug her?
Was it appropriate for me to kiss her?
She’d sent me away on the road and I still couldn’t be sure of our relationship status.
“Hi,” Destiny breathed as she leaned the length of her body into mine.
The familiar scent of her enveloped me and I had a flash of memory of her lying naked in my bed.
Destiny’s lips slipped over mine and it felt like the most natural thing in the world to kiss her.
She tasted of wine and as she stepped back from me, her hand lingered in mine and I had the most overwhelming desire to order a bourbon and forget about the gig tonight.
* * *
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