“Cheers, New York City. Goodnight!” We all say in unison to the deafening screams of over twenty-thousand fans before exiting the stage.
“Good show tonight,” Jeremy says to nobody in particular when we reach the green room backstage.
“Sure, sure,” I murmur, taking a towel from an assistant and wiping it across my forehead. I swear those lights are getting hotter and hotter every time we go on stage.
“What?” Nate asks, catching the enthusiasm or lack thereof.
I shrug in response.
“Cheer up mate, this is what we signed up for,” Nolan says with a wide grin, always the optimist, “The Boy Kings are world famous now. We’re almost up there with the Beatles right now.”
“I know it is, and way to stay humble, Nolan. It just becomes a little bit monotonous sometimes. I’m exhausted, aren’t you?” I retort.
“Yea,h Dex, we could all use a break, but this is our life for now. It won’t last forever, so we should appreciate it while we can,” Jeremy chastises me.
“I know, I get it, Jeremy,” I say tiredly.
“You know what’ll make you feel better?” Nate chimes in, and I look at him in question.
“Some football and beer,” he finishes.
I shake my head.
“No, I think I’m just going to turn in once we get back to the hotel, but let me know who wins,” I tell him.
“Really? We should be celebrating. This was our last show of the tour. We finally have some time to ourselves,” Nolan says.
“Time to ourselves? I doubt it. Between promotions, appearances, and being swarmed everywhere we go, I don’t foresee a lot of relaxation coming out way,” I mutter as I walk away.
I honestly don’t see myself ever leaving the group, I couldn’t do that to them, but I know my mood is more than just being tired. I NEED A BREAK. I love what I do, and I appreciate everything it’s given to me. I know we’re blessed to have what we have, but any normal sane person would eventually break down when it’s GO, GO, and GO like we do all the damn time. The ride to the hotel is a quiet one. I can tell the guys are worried about me. They think I’m readying to leave. All I want is some time alone to clear my head and gain a fresh perspective, but how do you do that when you are continually being followed wherever you go? I can’t even go home for some R and R, a place that should be my serenity.
The next morning, I sleep in until eight before deciding to get out of bed. Usually an early riser, eight is sleeping in for me. Nolan is generally the last one to get out of bed, and Jeremy is always the first. I throw on some sweatpants and a t-shirt and meander out into the suite’s dining room. Jeremy, of course, is already there eating breakfast. I take a seat to his right and reach for a croissant.
“Feeling better today?” he asks me quietly, setting down his book.
I sigh deeply and nod.
“Okay, now tell me the truth,” he says, leaning forward, ready to listen.
“Where are the others?” I ask- stalling.
“Nate is down at the gym, and Nolan is still sleeping. Tell me,” he persists.
“I just feel like I need to get away for a little while,” I tell him honestly.
Jeremy sighs and leans back in his chair, his eyes searching my face for a moment.
“For how long?” he asks finally.
I shrug, “I don’t know. A month, maybe two?”
His eyebrows go up.
“A month or two? You think they’re going to let you take off for that long?”
“I don’t know, but it is my life, Jer. I think I deserve the right to take a break just like anyone else does. Wouldn’t you want that option?”
“Of course, I do, Dex, but we have responsibilities and obligations. There are people who depend on us to do our jobs.”
“The tour is over Jeremy, I’m not really concerned about anyone besides our fans,” I argue, “I think I’ve earned the right to be a wee bit selfish now.”
Jeremy nods, “I suppose you have a point there.”
We’re interrupted by the sound of a door opening, and we see Nate making his way to the table wearing nothing but his boxers and his hair sticking up in every direction.
“Top of the morning to you,” he says with a lazy smile as he sits down next to me and grabs a bagel, “what are you two yammering about?”
“Dexter’s desire to run away for a while,” Jeremy tells him.
Nate nods and looks at me.
“I say do it,” he says.
“Really? You think I should?” I ask, slightly surprised by his reaction.
“Yeah, why not? If you don’t, you’ll just become resentful, and we don’t want that now, do we?”
“No,” Jeremy answers for me, and maybe for all of us.
“No,” I say anyway.
“Precisely,” Nate says with his mouth full of bagel, “I am the oldest, and therefore the wisest.”
Jeremy shakes his head, but he can’t help but smile.
“So, where would you go anyway?” Jeremy then asks.
“I have no bloody idea. All I know is I want it to be somewhere away from it all. No major cities, somewhere I can have some peace and fucking quiet.”
“Good luck, mate,” Nate mutters.
“I might know of a place,” Jeremy says.
Nate and I look up at him in question; Jeremy’s expression is one of indecision.
“I really don’t like the idea of you taking off Dex, but I understand you have to do what you have to do. Nate is right, we don’t want you to resent us so you should go,” he pauses and takes a deep breath, “I know a guy in Colorado, he owns a ranch just outside of Denver, near the Nebraska border.”
Nate and I share a look between us then look at Jeremy in confusion.
“And how do you know him?” Nate asks him.
“Yeah,” I add.
“Well, not him exactly, but I know his son,” he clarifies, “remember that guy Peter who worked as a stagehand last year on tour?”
“Vaguely,” I say.
“How do you know so much about Peter?” Nate asks.
“Peter is an aspiring musician, and we started talking, and we’ve become friends,” he tells us.
“Where is Peter now?” Nate then asks.
“He’s currently in LA working on his debut album with his band.”
“You helped him with that?” I guess, and Jeremy nods.
“He’s really talented.”
“So…where does the ranch part come in?” I press.
“Well, if you want, I could call Peter and ask him if you could stay at his father’s ranch. I’m sure that would be more than rural enough for you. How many screaming teenage girls do you suppose, hang out in the middle of nowhere?”
“Probably not too many,” I smile and begin to consider this.
Nate begins laughing out loud then. Now Jeremy and I look at him like he’s crazy.
“I was just picturing Dexter in a cowboy hat and boots,” he snickers.
“I could pull it off too,” I retort smugly.
“I’m not so sure you could blend in very well, Dexter. Your style can be a bit…”
“Loud sometimes,” Jeremy finishes Nate’s sentence.
“Fuck off,” I grunt, “I could fit in if I wanted to.”
I get up from my seat and walk with purpose into my bedroom. I grab my toiletry bag and rifle through it and find what I’m looking for. I grab the items and head back to the dining room. Staring at the guys, I gather my hair and tie it up on the top of my head, and then I pull a pair of scissors from my back pocket. Their eyes go wide.
“What are you doing, Dex?” Nate stands and comes towards me.
“You’ll regret that,” Jeremy frowns.
“It’ll grow back,” I say before I bring the scissors up and cut off my ponytail.