rehearsing for the stage
She watched as Mick grabbed his bottle of water and headed outside. It was late now, he probably wanted to get home to his family. Nearly everyone else was packing up too and Stevie glanced around the rehearsal space, looking for Karen. Nothing. Oh well. She sighed and settled on the floor, sitting cross-legged and comfortable. Lindsey was a few feet away, talking to one of his roadies and she caught his eye for a moment, giving him a quick smile. It had been a good day: no fights, no arguments, no awkward silences. He shook hands with the taller man and walked over to her, quickly sitting opposite her, a few inches away. They didn’t talk at all for several minutes and she felt amused at the fact that, after all this time, they could still just sit together and be.
"Destiny Rules sounded great, right, today?"
She reached out a hand and patted his thigh. “Fantastic.”
"I thought it might be a bit awkward for us to face-off while we sang that chorus but it seemed to work okay."
"Well, it has to. Besides, since when have we hesitated to bring our history and relationship onto the stage and display it in all its wonder?"
Lindsey laughed and covered Stevie’s hand with his own, letting his thumb run lightly along her wrist in small circles. “I still remember almost being caught short the first time we performed Go Your Own Way and the glare you gave me. Thought you’d burn me to a crisp!”
"Not for lack of trying, believe me," Stevie grinned. And it was true. Some nights on tour she’d just wanted to run over to her partner and beat the shit out of him, tell him how much she hated him and how disgusting he was, flaunting his girlfriends around her. Other nights, she just wanted to go there and hold him, and smooth out the concerned expression on his face, and run her hands through his hair. That last desire hadn’t really changed much over the years… "Do you remember when we were in Japan and -" He leant forward, eagerly, ready to share in their past.
Lindsey noticed Karen’s presence first and gestured for Stevie to stop talking, apparently not exactly wanting her assistant to hear that level of detail about their personal life… She smiled apologetically and asked if Stevie wanted to go yet. She didn’t. And said so. “Um, okay, so?” Karen asked, slightly confused.
She raised an eyebrow at Lindsey, amused when he rolled his eyes at her. Looking around, it appeared everyone else had left now, leaving the three of them alone in the building. Time flew when you were busy reminiscing about your favorite bedroom memories, apparently, and not just when you were having fun. Not that it hadn’t been fun discussing that time they’d almost been caught by Ken in his backyard…
"I’ll take her home, Karen. Pinky promise," he added, entwining Stevie’s fingers in his.
"Yeah," she muttered. "I just won’t ask whose home and how long the other person will be staying…" Turning around, handbag at her side, she left the building and Stevie turned to Lindsey, thanking him. Not that he’d had much choice.
"You going to take me home, Linds?"
"As long as you force me to stay."
"I think I can manage that," she murmured low, infusing her voice with a sexy huskiness she knew Lindsey loved. "It’ll be my pleasure."
singing on a stage
It was all in the eye contact. She allowed herself to drink in the sight of him as he moved back a step and hauled his guitar into the air, triumphantly, exposing just an inch of bare skin as his red shirt rode up. Basking in the crowd’s adulation, her musical partner’s face lit up as Stevie watched fondly. He turned to her then, as he always did, and she smiled proudly at him. Mick started the drumbeat for the next song and she grinned as Lindsey’s eyes opened wide in surprise and he quickly trotted over to his microphone. It would never do for him to get complacent.
The tune was a familiar one and the words seared in her soul. They’d been performing it for years now and the initial satisfaction she’d gained back in 1997 from the audience response had dimmed somewhat. Her mind whirred as she sung the lyrics in a fairly rote manner. This tour had sapped all that energy and passion and truth from it and she kind of hated herself for that. And him. They’d discussed the song during rehearsal, talked about its performance. And he had pissed her off so much she’d decided to change it. No eye contact, no stare-downs, no anger, nothing. He hated when she gave him nothing.
Coming to the end of the chorus for the second time, she gripped the black ribbons on her mic stand and stared out into the crowd, the stupid lights from their digital cameras flashing right at her. With a grim sort of satisfaction, she imagined Lindsey standing a few feet away, playing, playing, playing and getting no reaction from her. No jealousy, no possessiveness, no love. He abhorred that. However, as he joined in singing again, she caught a different tone in his voice, an insistence and demand in his guitar-playing.
And she looked at him. He was glaring at her, all blazing eyes and posturing with his guitar. Oh. She kept singing, wasn’t going to falter, and glared right back. Lindsey wanted to play that game, did he? He’d never win. Turning the mic so she could face him, Stevie barely noticed as the cries and screams of the audience get louder and instead focused on communicating with (at) her ex, spitting the lyrics at him.
He looked away and she gloated, a flash of satisfaction heating her from the inside out. He’d never win. And he’d never get anyway from the woman who had loved him. She looked back at the audience, not allowing herself to try and muddle through what he was thinking, so obviously provoking her like that. The crowd clapped loudly as she sung her last note and she lowered her head, taking a deep breath. His blue eyes still burned her.
She’d never get anyway from the man who still loved her.
The room was perfect, with its dimmed lights and candles and throw-rugs and burning incense and a nice steaming cup of coffee awaiting her on the low table next to the sofa. She reached for it, cradling it in her hands and jiggling her leg nervously. Karen had just left her alone, muttering curses into her cell phone, and Stevie was a bit lost. There were still a good fifteen minutes before she had to leave the security of this room and head onstage and she didn’t feel ready. At all. The break had been good for them, to be quite honest, and she’d needed some time to relax at home. However, she’d felt distinctly uneasy since this morning, after spotting Lindsey watching her from a few seats over on the plane. He’d had an odd glint in his eyes and she wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not.
Resting her head against the back of the sofa, she drew in a deep breath and closed her eyes, trying to quell the sick feeling in her stomach. She almost spilt her coffee over her black skirt when she heard Lindsey’s voice from the entrance to her dressing room. Her eyes shot open as he approached her, hands held palm-up in faux innocence and with a small grin on his handsome face. Bastard. He knew exactly how nervous she got before shows and this was NOT helping. At all. She scowled at him as he approached her, placing her mug back down on the table.
"Miss me, honey?" he teased in that affectionate voice that made her alternate between wanting to kiss those stupidly lovely lips and slap him for being so insensitive to her emotions. Because of course she had… He laughed as she narrowed her eyes at him and sat beside her. Too close. Always too close. He told her about his vacation - about how Will had been caught sneaking a girl into his room at their hotel, how Leelee had gone an entire two days of giving him the silent treatment and about the gorgeous shells Stella had insisted they bring home. All four buckets of them… She turned to face him as he spoke, reveling in the way his face lit up as he talked about his children, the pride she saw there.
She was proud of him. And envious of that family holiday in a way she’d never tell him. He talked, on and on, on and on, and she listened attentively, occasionally interjecting and making him laugh. His hand on her leg, he leaned into Stevie, grinning as he told her about the day Will had busted his lip trying to impress his older ‘friends’ at the beach.
"Yeah, cos you were never cocky and a show-off like that, Mr Buckingham?"
"Only when I wanted to impress you."
"Like that was difficult," she snorted, smiling gently at her bandmate. "You always had me."
His expression changed at that, eyes blinking once, twice, very slowly and he looked at their joined hands in her lap. “Stevie…” he started, voice laden with emotion. It took them several seconds before they noticed Karen was standing near them, hesitant to break the moment. Thank god her assistant had interrupted.
She desperately wished they hadn’t been interrupted.