Ace (Band of Brothers #1)

By: Lyra Parish



"I don't have your bus number yet. We're still figuring out the details and waiting for a few more people to arrive tonight. As soon as I figure it out, I'll let you know. Do you want your guitar with your suitcase?"

I nodded and handed it to her. She turned her head, and in the distance I saw a set of four tall men walking toward the backstage area. I knew exactly who they were before their faces were in sight. This would be the first time that I laid eyes on Band of Brothers.

"Okay, well, it's warm-up time. I've got some more shit to take care of. If you need anything else, holler."

I gave her a smile and she jogged toward the brothers with my guitar in hand. I could tell by the way her head was bobbing that she was giving detailed instruction. Not wanting to be seen, I took a few steps back into the wing and pulled my camera from my sling, hoping for a shot.

They entered the stage laughing, then started stretching and doing vocal warm-ups. Guitars were being tuned and drum heads hit to test the microphones on each one. Being there, hearing them get ready for tonight made this real.

I couldn't help but watch their every move. They were tall and lean with muscles in all the right places. All of them had the perfect amount of sun-kissed skin, scruff, messy hair, and chiseled faces. Looks that good should be illegal. I had seen countless photo sessions and spreads of them, but seeing them in person was different. I didn't realize how hot they were. And that thought scared the crap out of me and made me even more nervous. They weren't supposed to be attractive. Why couldn't they be dirty, grungy, no-shower-taking dudes with greasy hair? Yep, I was officially doomed.

I leaned against the wall and noticed I was being watched as well. Ace found me hiding in the wings and glanced over at me a few times. I had heard he was the biggest douche of them all, and having him aware of me made me edgy. I didn't want attention. I didn't want his attention. I needed to blend in, not be seen, and continue to be the introvert that I had been my entire life. But each time he glanced over at me, I felt like I was being dragged under a microscope for him to examine and I could only take so much before I walked away.

In the distance, I could hear them finishing their warm-up. The vocals bounced around the cement area and the echoes played Ping-Pong with one another. I glanced down at my phone. The gates would open in exactly one hour and the crowd that had been baking in the hot Georgia sun would soon be rushing in. I rubbed my face, realizing I was tired from traveling and my day had only begun.

I ran into Miley at the back of the stage. "Is there anywhere I can take a quick nap while I wait for the show?"

She finished listening to the radio, then gave me a quick little smile. "You can sleep in my bed. It's the purple and gold bus. Back room. Sheets are clean."

She started talking on the radio again and I mouthed thank you to her as I walked toward the long line of buses.

There was no backing out of it now.

I was officially on tour with Band of Brothers.





5





Ace




"Who was that?" I asked Nik once we were finished warming up.

"Who?"

"The girl. Didn't you see her? She was close."

I couldn't have been dreaming.

He turned and looked where I was staring and shrugged his shoulders at me as he removed his bass.

"Don't know what you're talking about."

"Yeah, the girl that stood right there. She had blonde hair a little past her shoulders and blue eyes. She was wearing jeans and a blue tank top."

"Did Prince Charming see his Cinderella? Maybe you should see if she left a shoe behind?"

I rolled my eyes and grabbed a bottle of water before I walked off stage. Sometimes my brothers said the stupidest things, but I couldn’t help but wonder about the mysterious blonde who tried to blend in with the wall. She acted like she didn’t want to be seen or that she didn’t care about Band of Brothers. By quickly observing her body language and the way she held the camera tightly in her grasp like she would crush it with her bare hands, I found it extremely odd. Most photographers were quick to cozy up to us, and the journalists… don’t even get me started with them. When they asked my brothers questions, every word was subjected to being printed somewhere. Many times I had to watch what I said in passing and make sure they weren’t brought back to my bus. All I needed was an article to add to the playboy reputation the media had spun.

I watched her rush behind stage and walk with quick steps like my eyes were burning holes into her skin. I couldn’t believe no one else noticed. She wasn’t a figment of my imagination, I was sure of it. Usually when I fantasized about a woman, she wasn’t blonde, meek, and didn’t run away like I had given her a disease with one look.

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