“Michael, do you seriously not remember the handshake
we’ve been doing all tour?”
“I promise Y/N. I’ve got it this time.”
Michael held out his fist to initiate the little routine you
two did just before he went on stage every night.
“Just don’t mess up the set okay?” you teased
after the final high five.
“Don’t worry,” Calum scoffed, “he will.”
After a brief, playful scuffle Michael returned his
attention to you.
“I’ll see you out there?” He asked under his
You gently stroked your fingertips through his whispy locks
A crew member poked his head into the dressing room,
“Alright boys, time to go!”
Michael turned to leave but back peddled when he felt your
hand pulling at his.
His quizzical eyes met yours, “Are you okay?” He
asked with a concerned tone in his voice
“Um…Yeah…I just wanted a second alone with
A grin lit up Michael’s face as he leaned into you, his lips
relentlessly layering into yours.
The same roadie came jogging down the hall, “Mike
c'mon! She’ll be here when you get back!”
Michael cupped his hand around the nape of your neck, softly
twisting his fingers into your hair, “You sure you’re alright?”
“Even if I wasn’t, you have a show to play,” you
reply, “Don’t worry about me.”
Just then, the band’s tour manager, Don, stalked into the
room, “Michael you have to go to stage,” he said sternly.
“I know, I know.”
He shrugged on his guitar and pecked one last kiss against
your forehead. As he passed through the door Michael whispered at a level he
thought you couldn’t hear, “Can you just do me a favor and watch over Y/N
while I’m gone?”
“Don, you really don’t have to stay with me.”
He had led you out to your seat on the lower floor with one
of the band’s bodyguards. Don ignored your words so you tried once more,
“I don’t need a babysitter. I’m just standing here, watching the show,
nothing’s going to happen. Don’t you have work you should be doing?”
He looked over at you, then to his phone, which was riddled
with text messages.
“Go!” You urged
Don nodded and disappeared under the stage just as the house
Typically, you took one of the unoccupied seats near the end
of a row but this show was near capacity; almost no empty seats to be found.
Tonight you were seated alone in the middle of a particularly raucous group.
You were able to tolerate their pushing and shoving through the first few
songs; they were excited and you completely understood. But around the middle
of the set, the alcohol started flowing. One of the women routinely vanished
every few minutes and reemerged with paper trays full of frothy beers.
cheers got louder and longer, their dance moves progressively got sloppier, and
soon you felt like the arena walls were falling in on you. The breath caught in
your throat and didn’t release. The vice-like feeling around your windpipe
began the blur your vision. Your knees buckled from underneath you, the
tattered vinyl folding chair behind you broke your fall. You tried to calm
yourself by pulling in a few long drags of smoky air through your nose but it
only made your head fuzzier. Despite the pins and needles pinching in your
extremities, you fought your way into the arms of the bodyguard who was
assigned to your row.
“I Ju…st need to g…g…et bac..sta…ge,” you
The man’s strong arm kept you upright and led you all the
way to the couch in the band’s dressing room.
Curled up against the cushions, struggling to level your
breathing, you heard a few roadies informing Don of what happened.
“Has this ever happened before?” One of the
younger women asked.
“Yeah,” Don answered, “a couple times.”
“Well, what do we do?”
“Michael’s the only one that can ever calm her
“We should tell…”
Don cut her off, “No. He needs to focus on the show
Your eyes fluttered open at the faint sound of someone
yelling. As the voice grew closer you were able to identify it as Michael.
“Where’s Don?” He demanded angrily
“Mikey, just calm down for a second.”
“Don’t ‘Mickey’ me! I told you to look after her! You
could’ve at least told me in my ear that something was wrong!”
Don’s voice remained steady, “Tell me that you wouldn’t
have dropped your guitar and rushed back here.”
“That’s beside the point Don,” Michael continued
the shout, “You know how she is when this happens! You know she’s scared
and you know that she needs me!”
You rolled over to see him fuming through the doorway.
“Michael, stop” you utter.
He turned on the heel of his sneaker and the second your
eyes locked, his entire demeanor softened. In three strides he closed the
distance between the two of you. He dropped to his knees next to the sofa,
stroking his calloused fingertips over your temple, “Shhh I’m here now
You scooted yourself back and Michael filled the empty space.
His gentle embrace cradling you against his torso. One of his thumbs slipped
under your shirt and ever so slightly traced your spine, his gaze never leaving
your face. You rested both of your hands against his chest as a few stray tears
fell from your eyes. He pursed his lips as if here were coming in for a kiss.
At the last minute, he poked his tongue against the tip of your nose. A small
giggle flitted from the back of your throat and an inevitable smile parted your
“There she is,” Michael cooed, “my beautiful
Tommy chuckled as he watched you inspect his newest horse.
He didn’t complain about the enormous amount of time you spent with his horses,
you spent so long fussing over them that they looked cleaner then when he
“You know you can ride ‘I’m if you want.” Tommy muttered as
he flicked his cigarette but out of the stable.
Two Shelby GT350R-C Mustangs entering a turn at Lime Rock Park during the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.
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