BEHIND THE LIGHTS

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Chapter 9

October 22th, 2016
Munich, Germany
Faithless - Black Veil Brides

As they waited for the doormen to check their tickets once they reached the entrance, the excitement of going in instantly increased.

“Oh,” the man that had checked Leah’s ID muttered as he looked at the screen in front of him.

“What is it?”

He swiped the ticket through the reader a second time. She knew there was nothing wrong with it, but for some reason, she felt nervous.

“This is a normal ticket,” the blond man noted, typing something on the computer.

“Yeah…” She looked at him as if he was speaking Chinese. “So?”

The doorman chuckled, confusing her even more. “There’s a Black Ticket associated with your name.”

“What?”

“You’re a bit late for the soundcheck, but you and whoever is coming with you, to a maximum of four people, will watch the concert from the first row reserved for VIPs and you’ll have access to the after-party.” He grinned, amused by her gaping expression.

“That’s great!” Marc almost squealed.

“Stop fangirling like a teenager!” Leah slapped his hand as he tried to grab her ticket. “How?” She turned to the doorman again.

“Someone made a call and reserved this for you,” he said as he squinted, reading what was on his screen. “Guess it’s your lucky day.” He shrugged with a smile as he handed them the black bracelets with the VIP experience words written in gold. “Have fun.”

“Yes!” Chris exclaimed as they made their way inside. “Did you apply to some drawing or something?” he asked as he took the ticket from her hand, examining it as if he couldn’t believe it was real.

“No, I...”

It clicked. Søren Fucking Wolff.

“What is it?” Erik asked as they approached the security post.

“Søren texted me before telling me something about a gift he had for me... Can’t believe he did this.”

“Are you sure you didn’t get on your knees in front of him?” Chris quipped.

“No!” She glared at him. “And I’m glad we got this opportunity; we could have never afforded it, but I don’t know if he’s expecting something in return…”

“Then, maybe you’ll have to please him after the concert,” Marc teased, emphasizing the word please in a very creepy way.

“Yeah, right.” Leah snorted.

“No kidding, what man would do something like this for free?” Chris continued.

“Maybe he’s just trying to be nice?” She tried.

“Sure.” Chris laughed.

“Well, the good thing is that you’ll be able to ask him when the concert is over.” Erik mischievously grinned. He wouldn’t be part of the teasing because he always took her side, but it was obvious he thought the same.

So annoying.


Hot, frantic atmosphere. Loud music. Harsh lyrics. Blinding lights. When the singer from the second band went down on one knee as he sang, just by straightening his arm, he reached the public. And as disgusting as it could be for some, shaking his sweaty palm put Leah in a hyper state.

As the lights turned on, Chris and Marc left the VIP area to go pee for the tenth time and get some more beer.

“Ugh! I’m gonna die,” Leah whined as he leaned on Erik. “Not listening to that witch ever again,” she mumbled as she looked at her feet.

Julia had convinced her to look a bit more feminine but, hell, she was dreaming about her feet inside some soft, comfy Vans. Standing in the same place for more than five hours wearing those boots was a torture, her back and feet hurting like a bitch.

“Are you going to be alive for the party?” Erik joked.

“Of course, I will! I still have to talk to that control freak.”

Erik burst out laughing. “Control freak?”

“Yeah.” She nodded.

If the guys and Julia were true, and Søren had hidden intentions when he got that ticket for her that was what he was because, what would you call someone that’s doing you a favor to have something in return?

Leah couldn’t deny she felt flattered, but at the same time, it bothered her. She had already been in that position, played by a man who felt entitled to everything because people thought he was some kind of god. It took her some time, but she had realized no one was worth the suffering.

“We’re back!” Marc sang as he made his way through the crowd, Chris following suit. “Here,” he said as he handed her one of the beers in a plastic pint cup.

“Thanks!” Erik nodded before gulping his almost in one go.

“The concert’s about to start, I’m not going to get you more.” Chris laughed.

“I’ll drink from yours.”

“No way!” He slapped his hand when he tried to get his drink.

“I can always drink from Leah’s.”

“How so?” She glared at him.

“You’re the nice one,” he stated with a grin.

Just as she was about to retort, the lights dimmed and smoke filled the stage. The vibrations produced by the amplifiers mixed with the animated murmur spreading in the arena awakened her.

After a few seconds, purple lights switched on, giving the hall an eerie atmosphere. As their eyes adjusted to the new illumination, the silhouettes of four men appeared in front of them, the uproar of the buzzing crowd getting louder by the second.

As Jørn sat behind his drums and started playing with them, Leah got more excited. His drumsticks came down to his toms, marking a Viking war drumbeat, rhythm slowly changing into the ominous pace of their opening song as he hit the bass drums with ferocity. His long blond hair began to move in circles while he headbanged, dragging everyone into that parallel universe they always created.

As the rest of the members joined, Leah’s heart sped up. No matter how many times she watched their videos or listened to their music, nothing compared to the energy of one of their lives.

The lights turned a light shade of blue, and Alex began to move on the stage with that cocky attitude he used to have, playing some low and aggressive notes on his bass. He didn’t even need the long hair he had in the past to make everyone feel the power emanating from every single pore of his tattooed shirtless chest. He owned it.

As a characteristic sliding guitar sound resonated through the space, Leah’s focus shifted to Ian. With the colorful tattoos adorning his arms on full display and his hair cut in a mohawk style, the top longer than the last time she saw them playing, the way the Irish guitarist moved on stage, prompting the crowd to scream louder.

Flashes of light followed the bass drum hits as they kept giving their all, the harsh and solid melody taking over everything. And in the middle of that frantic atmosphere there he stood, the man that made her heart race like no one else. He was already playing too, his white guitar shining under the spotlights as he moved closer to the mic.

Jørn picked up the pace and with incredible skill, he set a perfect tempo, controlling the others like a master of puppets. The whole band was headbanging, haunting everyone with their dark, electrifying sound, everything falling into place when Søren’s voice thundered in her ears.

“It’s time to open your mind
Try to find the man inside
Faded in the misery of a lonely life
Stand up to the pain and rise”

Shivers ran through all her nerves as her eyes followed his every move. Søren’s confident and imposing attitude on the stage was hypnotizing.

That man was a creature from another world. He had it all. The intense gaze, the muscular, lean body covered in tattoos, the jeans fit him like a glove, and the ability of making everyone vibrate with the strings as he played. But what always had her on her toes was that deep, raspy voice of his, so full of emotions and torn, rippling into a darker shade as he growled.

As the music went on, Leah lost herself into it, feeling every cell in her tuning into their frequency as she sang along. Chris put his arm around her shoulder and smiled at her as he joined her in what probably was the lamest singing of their lives, but she couldn’t care less. She was enthralled by the explosion of that recycled ball of emotions that were their lyrics, intoxicated by the beautiful notes filling every particle in the air.

The musicians flew through their set as they jumped from one song to the next. Every smirk, every horn sign, every jump, every harmonic, every drop of sweat made Leah’s heart race, bursting with enthusiasm when Søren squinted and his eyes fixed on hers. She was one of the hundreds inside the venue, but somehow he managed to find her, bringing her small existence into notice as he pierced through the bubble that protected her.

After eighty incredible and exhausting minutes, the concert came to an end. The members of the band saluted their public. Ian threw one of his picks to the audience while Alex raised his bass in the air, sweating like a pig but shining with pure bliss. Jørn leaned forward in his seat and with a hand on his ear, as if he couldn’t hear, encouraging people to scream louder.

With an increasing roar from the fans, Søren couldn’t help it and grinned with that perfect, white smile of his. It was a bit crooked, but it was so honest he looked almost cute.

He held his arms to the screaming crowd and bowed. When he raised his head again, with a smile still pinned on his stupid, attractive face, he ran a hand through his wet hair and put it up in a messy bun.

After a few more seconds of endless crying, he finally spoke, “thank you, guys!” he panted. “Thank you... What a blast we had tonight. I wish that we could stay forever but they might kick us out, so we’re only gonna play one more... It’s called—Actually, you know what? Fuck that. What is it you wanna hear us play to complete this amazing night?” He turned his head, hand beside his ear, to listen to the public.

“Crown of thorns!” Chris shouted from the bottom of his lungs, making Leah laugh.

A bunch of voices mixed in a baffling sound of screams and whistles.

“I’m hearing a lot of shit but there’s one concise word I keep hearing—”

Before he could finish talking, Ian played several teasing notes, earning a few squeals from a group of girls that should have lost their voices by now.

“Is that it?” the singer asked, a wide smile on his face. “Okay, let’s do that one.”

As the music hit again, everyone went back to their position. A powerful sound soon filled the arena as everyone in the crowd headbanged.

“With every fall you feel the pain
Heart pounding hard in the brain
In the dark wearing the crown of thorns
Left alone with shattered hopes”

While bouncing in and out of her head all night, Leah allowed herself to enjoy that matted yet starstruck sensation invading her as the music pulsed, drowning all the fears she once had.

With shooting fire on the stage, more chord changes, and a heavy drum hit, the final closure of the concert came. Walking to the edge of the stage, the musicians clapped and bowed to the frenzied crowd. Grinning in ecstasy when they waved their hands at them.

After a couple of minutes of fooling around and joking, they made their way backstage. However, before they disappeared, something inside Leah writhed as his eyes found hers again… making her feel more real and alive than she had been in her whole life.

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