Leslie quickly adjusted the snapback on her head, glancing over at her bandmates as they continued to prepare themselves for tonight’s show. They had played this club only a couple of times before, but it was by far Leslie’s favorite in all of Sydney. It really wasn’t that special, though; just an old club with a bar that happened to have good alcohol for a cheap price and a nice, retro feel to the whole place. But that was why Leslie loved it- it was different. Leslie had always been one to love different. Hell, she was different. All of her friends were different too- she had never been one to associate with people that tried to be like everyone else in the infamous, universal in-crowd.
So maybe that’s why when she saw a familiar, timid boy standing near the edge of the stage, she got a little distracted.
Leslie really wanted to know why the boy- Michael, was it?- seemed so... scared. He looked like he was about to pass out when she had talked to him in the bathroom a couple of minutes ago, and he wasn’t looking any better now. He looked worse. Michael’s head was lying against some guys chest, and he looked like he was shaking in fear, but it was hard to tell from between the curtain Leslie was standing behind. The other guy, whom had dark brown hair with a blonde streak running through his kind-of fringe, was rubbing his hand over the shorter boy’s back. He was whispering something in Michael’s ear, to which he nodded slowly.
Leslie didn’t get it. If the kid was upset, why not just take him back home? Like, he didn’t seem to be any older than sixteen. And he was at a club. She definitely wouldn’t blame him for being a little nervous.
Leslie was pulled from her thoughts when she felt a tap on her back. She turned around to see Aiden, their band’s drummer. He was smiling, drumsticks in hand. “You ready, dude? We’re about to go on. You just seem a little... out of focus?”
The brown-haired girl shook her head quickly, adjusting her snapback again, which was beginning to feel itchy for some odd reason. “No, no, I’m fine. I’m ready; let’s do this shit.”
Aiden’s smile widened even more, and he quickly patted Leslie on the back before running off to the stage to start the show. Aiden always started their shows, whether it be at a bar or an actual venue (well, they hadn’t played a venue yet, but, just sayin’). He just had this aura to him that always got crowds excited, and honestly, he was the best performer to manipulate people into losing their fucking minds that Leslie had ever seen.
Soon, the rest of the band joined him on stage; Blake (guitar), Park (bass), Tyler (guitar), and then Leslie. Leslie’s bandmates always made her go on last because she was the lead singer, like, most-important-member-for-last kinda deal. Which, Leslie so didn’t argue with. She was the frontwoman, everyone paid the most attention to her. Maybe that was kind of a conceited way of looking at things, but Leslie didn’t really care.
Soon, everyone was on stage. Leslie smiled as she looked over the audience. Yeah, it wasn’t that big, only about fifty people or so (most people at the club just came there to get drunk at the bar, as most people would), but it was still something. Leslie used to think that her band would never even make it out of Tyler’s garage. She couldn’t of been more blessed as she stepped up to the mic in the front of the stage, the spotlight shining in her eyes.
“Hi, we’re The Rejected Perfection,” Leslie said, smiling as she saw a few people in the crowd smiling back up at her. “And uh, we’re not really that great of a band. We only have a few songs, and I guess they’re at least a little decent? But, um, you guys can just decipher that yourselves. This is A Stab in the Back is Fun if You Know You Won’t Regret it Later.”
Leslie chuckled as she heard and saw a couple of people cheer from the crowd, one of those people being the guy that Michael was leaning against. He had a huge smile on his face as he watched the band begin to perform, while Michael nuzzled his head against his neck. Were they dating or something? Because if not, they were undeniably very close friends.
Leslie’s attention was brought back to the music once she heard the familiar guitar tune. Dun-dun, da da da da-da, dun-dun, da da da da-da. She sucked in a sharp breath before grabbing on to the microphone, listening for the sound of cymbals crashing before she started to belt her heart out. Leslie’s heart had always been lost to the music.
“Some people want, what someone else already has,” she breathed, “And some people desire somethings that they cannot have. But if you look inside, you’ll see the truth, whether you have to dig deep through, or just scratch the surface...
“Souls tend to lie, while mouths speak the truth,” Leslie sang, pulling the microphone off of its stand. “But there it is right there: I’m lying to you.”
She started to clap as her bandmates sang the chorus; she could feel the sounds of all their instruments working together thumping inside of her chest. Leslie loved everything about music- the way it sounded, the way it happened, the way it felt. Tunes and melodies were intertwined within her like her own heart strings.
“It’s not so hard if you really try to say what you will and do as you speak,” She belted out, stomping her foot to the beat as the song picked up. People were starting to cheer from the crowd. Leslie smiled at them; her heart smiled at them. “But it’s also way easier to do what you please, even if it means they’ll all end up with knives in their backs...”
After the chorus was over and Ty strummed his guitar solo, Leslie grabbed the microphone stand again, quickly pulling the mic from it as she started to finish the song off. This was her favorite part.
“Trust is just a fund, so why do most of us expect it so much? We will all bleed treachery eventually. So keep your pretty mouth shut if you’re not in for the kill; but just know that mouths were made for us to talk, so don’t rely on them keeping still!”
Soon, the song was over. They played a couple of more before it was the next performer’s turn, and it was probably one of Leslie’s most favorite gigs that they had ever done. She didn’t know why, it just felt... different. And Leslie loved different.
Right when she walked off of the stage, Leslie was greeted by a fan. This wasn’t very common for her, or really any of her bandmates for that matter. Yeah, there were always a couple of people that complimented their performances, but never someone that looked like they were positively dying for a picture or an autograph. To put it lightly, Leslie was immensely surprised.
And, her surprise only heightened when she noticed that it was the guy that she had seen with Michael, and that the nervous-looking boy was still clinging on to his arm as if he would die if he let go.
“Hi, Leslie. Oh my God, just, hi. OMG I’ve wanted to come up and talk to you for, like, ever. I’ve just never had the balls to. But I’m Caden, and I love you, and your band, and you’re amazing, oh my God. Just, shit. I can’t believe that I’m talking to you right now. Like, I’m talking to you, Leslie, The Leslie Axl Coverdale. The Leslie Axl Coverdale that I’ve seen play live with her band a bajillion times all over Sydney, The Leslie Axl Coverdale that I’ve stalked on Twitter since day one. The Leslie Axl Coverdale that I’ve had dreams about fu-”
“Woah, slow down there,” Leslie laughed awkwardly, grabbing onto Caden’s shoulders to try and calm him down.
“Sorry,” Caden blushed, his eyes glancing towards one of Leslie’s hands.
After a couple more extremely awkward seconds, Leslie pulled her hands back down from Caden’s shoulders, letting her long, lanky arms fall beside her even lankier figure. Caden stared at her expectantly. Michael looked like he was about to faint, but not out of fanboy-ness.
“Uh,” Leslie gulped, not really knowing what to say. She had never interacted with fan(s?) before. “Do you guys want a picture or something?”
Caden instantly responded, his head nodding up and down so quickly that Leslie almost thought that he would end up breaking his neck. “Hell yeah we would!”
Leslie smiled awkwardly, slowly shuffling beside Caden. She was tempted to put her arm around him, like she had seen most other artists do with their fans, but decided against it since the boy was already shaking, just in the presence of her. She didn’t want Caden to pass out, which he was probably very close to doing.
“D-Do you want me to take it?”
Leslie looked to her right, smiling awkwardly once she saw a very timid-looking Michael. He was shaking just as Caden was, but obviously not out of excitement- out of nervousness. He had a camera in his hands that was covered in various types of stickers; ranging from Nirvana to My Little Pony. Leslie couldn't lie that Michael had a nice music taste, but the glittery pony stickers were a little... odd. Leslie was also surprised that she hadn’t noticed the camera before, as it was attached to a strap that hung around the back of Michael's neck.
“Uh, sure,” Caden muttered, suddenly becoming awkward. His glance went toward Michael, who was still shaking. Leslie knew that something was up, and she could tell that Caden knew exactly what it was. She wanted to ask about it, but it wasn’t her place to. Leslie was an asshole, but not that much of an asshole.
Michael took in a deep breath as he held the view-finder up to his eye. He adjusted the lens a little, before counting down from three and snapping a couple of pictures. He didn’t shake at all while he took the photos. He seemed to know exactly what he was doing.
Michael looked up when he was done, avoiding Leslie and Caden’s eyes. “Okay.” He spoke so quietly that Leslie could barely decipher what he was saying.
Caden nodded, telling Leslie how much he loved her again and hugging her to where the dark-haired girl was struggling to breathe. When Caden started to walk off, Michael quickly grabbed onto his arm, holding him maybe even a little tighter than he had been before. Leslie smiled at him and waved when the boy looked back at her, but Michael just cowered and looked away, starting to shake again as he and Caden exited the club.
Leslie sighed, walking to the bar to get a beer before she and the rest of the band had to leave back to the hotel. But as she popped open the can, she just wondered: why was Michael so scared? Like, Leslie could understand him being frightened. The boy seemed to be really young and his friend (or boyfriend?) had seemingly dragged him to a club, complete with a bar, loud, obnoxious drunks, and mostly shit bands. Michael had the right to be nervous. But, just, he was acting too nervous. More nervous than most would be, in any given situation. But Leslie just didn’t know why.
And as Leslie climbed into the band’s tour bus (well, minivan with their logo spray-painted on both sides of it), she just hoped that Michael would come back to the club again the next Friday, because she just really wanted to see him again. And maybe try and get to know him. And, maybe just try and figure out why he was so damned nervous.