The stadium lights went off and a blue light il uminated just the floor of the stage. Four sets of feet moved through the blue glow. The roar of the crowd was deafening. Myrna’s heart thundered. One of those sets of feet belonged to Brian. The thud of a bass drum vibrated through her body. Jace’s bass groove joined Eric’s beat, throbbing deep in Myrna’s chest. Trey’s rhythm guitar was added, and then Brian’s unmistakable solo intro. The crowd roared. A bright light flashed and the lights came up. Center stage, Sed entered the song with a low growl into the microphone. The girls beside her screamed and thrust their fists in the air.
Myrna couldn’t take her eyes off Brian, not even to blink. She watched him stalk the stage, playing his guitar as if it were an extension of his fingers. It was almost as if he were making love to it. And she wasn’t jealous of the attention he paid to the strings. It excited her in a primitive way she couldn’t describe. Perhaps it was the ten thousand other people he engaged with his wickedly seductive fingers. When they reached the guitar solo in the middle of the song, Brian took center stage and Sed moved to the back next to Jace. The crowd roared, bodies undulating against each other in a sea of flesh and sweat before the stage.
“You’re a fucking genius, Master Sinclair,” one of the roadies hol ered. The dude must see this show almost every night and he was stil caught up in it. Myrna just watched, every nerve in her body responsive. She felt… alive.
“Fuck yeah! Play it, baby!” Myrna yel ed.
Darlene laughed and patted her on the back enthusiastical y. “Excel ent score, Myrna. Master Sinclair is smoking hot.”
Trey’s dueling solo entered into harmony with Brian’s and he stepped beside him center stage. They strummed each other’s guitars while fingering their own fret boards in synchrony. There was something highly erotic about watching them play together. An unexpected intimacy flowed between the two men. An intimacy she’d like to share. Simultaneously. Heat flooded her face and the swel ing folds between her thighs. Oh my. What was she thinking? Brian and Trey. Together. With her? Just the thought sent her into sensory overload. She fanned her face with one hand.
Another roar from the crowd erupted as the guitarists finished and spun away from each other. Trey did this heel stomping thing that was entirely adorable. It was as if his body couldn’t help but respond to the music. He rocked forward on his toes in rhythm with each chord he strummed. Myrna hadn’t realized how irresistibly sexy Trey was until that moment. Hel , Jace and even Eric excited her, and she couldn’t see anything of Eric but his flailing drumsticks behind the drum kit. Sed entered the song again, singing his heart out at the far end of the stage. Fans surfed the crowd, eventual y landing in the space between the low barrier fence and the stage. Security guards pul ed them to safety and the fans rushed past where Myrna was standing, screaming excitedly as they raced to rejoin the crowd from the back. Myrna scarcely noticed anything but the five men on stage and one in particular. Brian had moved into the background again. He faced Eric’s drum kit and bobbed his head to the beat as he played. When the song ended, the stage went dark and the crowd roared their approval. Myrna was no exception. These musicians were beyond awesome. And she knew them. This was al so un-fucking-believable. She cheered with the rest of their fans, hungry for more.
A spotlight lit the stage front and center, showing Sed standing on a platform at its front. “How are you tonight, Chicago?” he yel ed and pointed his microphone at the audience.
The crowd roared. He put a hand to his ear and they screamed louder.
Sed spoke into the mic again. “We started working on our new album today. What do you think about that?”
More excited screams. Myrna’s entire body grew hot. She had a little something to do with that. Not much, but she’d been there.
“Master Sinclair wil be treating you to a new solo in a little while, but right now we’re going to climb… the gates… of hel .”
The crowd roared when Brian’s intro to “Gates of Hel ” poured from the speakers. The rest of the band joined him on the fifth measure. The crowd went insane. Electrified by the energy of ten thousand young adults, Myrna eagerly joined the insanity. Brian crossed the stage in her direction. She doubted he could see her standing in the dark on the floor beside the stage, but he looked right at her and winked. Myrna’s breath caught. He headed across the stage in the other direction, stil playing. Sed dropped his mic during the long musical outro and jumped into the crowd. Myrna’s heart thudded with apprehension, hoping he wasn’t hurt. Not a chance. The crowd tossed him back toward the stage until the security guards rescued him from their eager clutches and set him to his feet on the floor. The entire barrier fence buckled as the crowd surged forward in his wake. A roadie darted across the stage, picked up Sed’s mic and tossed it down to him. Brian, Trey, and Jace were having a guitar-playing orgy center stage. Sed sang the rest of the song on the floor before the barrier fence. He al owed the crowd to touch his shoulder, arm, and free hand as he paced back and forth. When the song ended, he ran toward the side of the stage where Myrna was standing.
“Hey, Myrna,” he said breathlessly as he passed her. “Are you enjoying the show?”
“Y-yeah,” she sputtered stupidly.
“Sed!” Darlene screamed.
But he had already trotted up the steps and returned to the stage.
“This audience fucking rocks!” Sed yel ed to the crowd. They responded with another roar of excitement. “What do you think, Master Sinclair?”
“I don’t know, Sed. I can barely hear them.” The sound of Brian’s voice over the sound system made Myrna’s knees wobbly. That same voice had brought her to screams only hours before and now ten thousand people responded to him with deafening shouts of approval. Brian held up his guitar pick. “Who wants it?”
Arms extended over the barrier, straining for the proffered prize. He tossed the pick into the audience, causing a wave of bodies to sink in pursuit. He removed his guitar and a roadie dashed across the stage with a silver acoustic. Brian exchanged instruments and the roadie returned to the side of the stage with the electric guitar. After Brian had settled the instrument in place, he plucked a new pick from the tape attached to his mike stand. He glanced at it, as if looking for flaws, and then moved toward Myrna. He didn’t look at her this time. Instead, he sat on a platform, facing the audience at an angle. She’d have to settle for looking at his back and imagine the feel of his hair between her fingers.
“Should we slow this down a little?” Sed asked the crowd. The lights lowered except for a soft glow coming from behind the band. Brian sat on a platform on one end of the stage and Trey sat on the other end. They strummed the gentle chords of their most famous bal ad on acoustic guitars.
“Let me see your mood lighting,” Sed said.
Lighters flicked on. Cel phones flipped open. The sea of smal lights shone brightly in the darkness of the crowd. The music of this song wasn’t as loud as the previous, so Myrna could hear the crowd singing along with Sed. He had a satin smooth voice when he wasn’t screaming. She had forgotten how beautiful y he sang. He sat on the front edge of the stage and gave every word a piece of his soul. Myrna could total y see Sed’s al ure, but Brian was the one she wanted. After the first six songs, the rest of the band left the stage for a short break, leaving Brian by himself. He took the mic in the center of the stage. “Sed promised you a taste of my new solo. Don’t laugh if I fuck it up. I wrote it today.” He paused for effect and then started to play. The notes of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” with Trey’s signature shred, emitted from the amplified speakers. Brian hit the whammy bar on the last note. If anyone could make “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” rock, it was Master Sinclair. “Awesome, huh?” He grinned. Myrna’s heart melted. “I guess that’s more Trey’s speed.”
The crowd cheered and laughed.
“If you wanna hear this thing for real, you’re gonna have to yel louder than that.”
The crowd yel ed so loud that Myrna covered her ears with her hands. When they quieted, she pul ed her hands away. She didn’t want to miss a word of what Brian was saying.
“Myr, this is for you.”
Darlene and Joyce shoved her excitedly, but stopped as soon as Brian started his solo. The entire stadium fel silent, stunned by the skil and speed of his fingers. He executed the notes in perfect succession. When he reached the end, Trey appeared at his side.
“Was that fucking awesome or what?” Trey said into the microphone.
The crowd cheered.
“We’ve got a new riff, too. Brian’s been consumed by his muse.” Trey shoved him in the back, a huge grin on his face. Brian stumbled sideways and laughed. “What do you say, Chicago? Do you want to hear it?” Trey asked. More cheering. The two guitarists segued into the riff they’d practiced in the dining room that morning. Myrna no longer felt like she was standing in a jam-packed stadium. Brian was making love to her and recording notes on her body with a pen. On stage, Brian had his eyes closed while he played. He leaned heavily against Trey’s back. Myrna felt a connection between herself and the man on stage. She wondered if he was thinking of her while he played for al these people. Sed stepped back onto the stage. “Are these mother fuckers talented, or what?”
Eric drummed. Jace strummed. The crowd cheered.
“I guess I’l need to come up with some good lyrics now. I can’t take the pressure!” He gripped both sides of his head in distress. Myrna chuckled.
Sinners moved into the next song. By the time the show ended, every person in the room was drenched in sweat. A fog of condensation hung over the crowd. When the band left the stage, they looked both pumped up and fatigued. Eric, the last to leave the stage and by far the sweatiest person in the room, tossed drumsticks into the crowd like one-way boomerangs. The crowd chanted, “Sinners, Sinners, Sinners,” for several minutes until the stadium lights came up. Myrna made a beeline to the backstage area. She spotted Brian going through the door behind the stage area that led to the dressing rooms. She flashed her backstage pass at a security guard and dashed after him.
He paused and turned in her direction. His smile, meant only for her, dazzled. She ran to him and wrapped him in an enthusiastic embrace. Her ears were numb from the loud music, but every other sense was heightened. The scent of his sweat made her tremble.
“You are amazing,” she sputtered.
He popped the earplugs out of his ears. “Don’t get al fan girl on me now.”
He wrapped an arm around her shoulders and walked her past the dressing room. As they passed, Myrna caught a glimpse of Sed, minus his shirt, surrounded by several girls.
“Where are we going?” Myrna asked.
“Trust me, you don’t want to go anywhere near Sed for a while. He’s in one of his moods. We’re going to the bus. Is that okay?”
She nodded. If he asked her to walk on hot coals, she would have eagerly complied. And why was that? She didn’t understand her own psychology at the moment.
He kissed her temple. “Did you like your solo?”
“How could I not? Al I could think about was you making love to me when you wrote it.”
He chuckled. “I was thinking the same thing.”
“What else would I be thinking about?”
“Five thousand girls screaming your name?”
“There were five thousand dudes screaming my name, too. Not exactly a turn on. Besides, I only care about one woman screaming my name.”
Her heart warmed as he squeezed her closer. They exited the building to a crowd mil ing outside the tour buses. The fans cheered when they recognized Brian, but the security guards kept them at bay until he could get Myrna safely up the steps and on the tour bus.
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