Bonus Scene: “Ringing in the Blue Year,” a brand-new post Money Shot scene
The following is a brand new scene that takes place following Money Shot. This is a very special scene brought to you not only as part of the review challenge as indicated below but also as part of the holidays.
Note: This scene is brought to you because of a Review Challenge. What is that? And also, please be aware that spoilers may lie ahead.
“Ringing in the Blue Year”
Sound checks were part of the business. While the official kickoff for Torched on Tour wasn’t for another three weeks, we were playing several venues in New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore, before we kicked off the album launch in Tokyo. We would move west, heading for Europe after the Tokyo launch.
A world-wide tour to kick off a brand new album we’d been teasing for weeks. A tour that would take fifty-nine weeks with over 135 shows in forty-eight cities. It was ambitious even for us. As much as I’d craved normal and sought it out at Blue Ivy Prep—what I’d found there was anything but. Ramsey and Lachlan were seated in the front row, but Jonas was actually up on the second floor of the arena, near the back.
In the wide-open arena, empty save for our crew, the venue staff, and us along with the band—there was an odd kind of intimacy to this. The guys were here. They’d signed up for this crazy tour without a second thought.
“Hey,” Yvette bumped my shoulder, jerking my attention back to the stage where the band warmed up. The crew had the stage dressed, it would be ready for tonight. I had my own guitar on, the strap a familiar weight over my shoulder and across my chest. “Focus and stop leering at your fuckboys.”
I snorted. “They are not fuckboys.”
“You fuck them. They are boys.” Her grin widened and she winked. “They are your personal fuckboys.”
I groaned. “Don’t start.” Thank fuck we hadn’t turned our mics on yet. In fact, one of the crew was heading toward us to set up the headset microphone and the power pack at my back.
We would alternate throughout the show, but a lot of our performance involved movement and dance. This show more than any other we’d done. The songs were also an epitaph to the past two years—and all the shit that went down between Dix’s betrayals and Forrest’s…
Aubrey strode out behind the crew. Like me and Yvette, she was also in shorts and a tank top. High summer was here and tonight’s performance was New Year’s Eve in Auckland, we would be wrapping up with an hour to spare before the countdown. If we were lucky.
The guys had been placing bets on who got to kiss me at midnight, but I pointed out there were numerous “midnights” all around the world. That meant we could spread the love around. When Lachlan immediately started on a schedule, I’d groaned but left them to it.
“Check, check,” I said after the mic went hot and there was a bit of feedback that made all of us flinch. Aubrey made a face and I stuck my tongue out at her.
In addition to the concert tonight, our first video for the new album would drop at midnight Auckland time which was still really early in the States. Backstage Chaos was a personal one for all of us, because it was about more than what had gone on behind the scenes—it had been about our lives and our choices off the road.
Aubrey had written several parts of that one, adding lyrics to the score I’d built. Yvette and Jonas had come in behind both of us to tighten it up. According to everyone, even Ramsey, it was a heartbreaker with a pounding beat.
Nothing that energetic should make you want to cry. I was pretty sure it had more to do with the fact we knew the players and the game. We also knew the hurt.
“Again,” the crew said after he made some adjustments.
“Check, check,” I repeated and it came out smoother.
“Check on check,” Yvette added and the soft lilt of her French accent offered a familiar hug.
“Give me that check,” Aubrey finished it up. “Cause I’m paying.”
I snorted and she grinned. The smiles were coming back. They weren’t as easy or as fierce as they’d been for the last couple of years. During our time at school, Aubrey had been my rock. She’d been there for every damn thing that happened and Forrest snuck in under all our radar.
The wounds he’d left behind—they had left a considerable mark. Yvette and I were vigilant and so were the guys. But Aubrey didn’t want us to treat her any different especially when the nightmares came or she shied away completely from hanging out with new people.
“We good?” I asked and got at thumbs up. Next we wired up my guitar. The acoustic one was backstage and would come out later. We’d start with the electric. Aubrey had her own guitar and Yvette rolled her head from side to side. She was going to move to the piano for a couple of the songs.
A sweep of a glance over the band showed they were almost ready. Everyone was checking their instruments, I tested the strings and eased the tautness on one before tightening it on another.
“Sound check, first arena performance, Long Story Tour,” I said. “Welcome back to all our beautiful people.”
Spontaneous applause from the crew welcomed us back. Sadly, we’d had a few replacements. Some crew had moved on and a couple of the old band had taken new gigs, with another retiring to be home with family. Not like I could fault them for that.
I checked on my guys. Ramsey’s warm gaze was a grounding force. No matter what went down on this crazy tour so far, he’d been all in. Lachlan grinned next to him, sprawling back in his seat with his legs spread, and a knowing twinkle in his eyes. Shaking my head a little, I searched for Jonas. He wasn’t hard to find, he was standing right at the rail.
I was ready to do this, ready to tackle this tour. Tonight, we were going to rock this arena and after, I was going to celebrate the New Year with my guys.
Licking my lips, I tested the first chord, then the second before I turned and gave our drummer a look.
To be continued…
KC, the girls, and the Douchebags Three will all return for Torched on Tour in 2024.
Happy New Year.