The crowd is huge tonight; the entire stadium is filled. It’s five minutes until show time. I can hear people onstage, talking to themselves and to each other. I run the brush through my hair once more before checking my dress and boots. I grab my shawls and see that Karen already has them all set up, ready for me. The incense is burning; I can smell it from here.
“Show time Stevie!” Christopher calls from the hall. I scurry to the left wing and wait until the lights go low to walk around the curtain. The audience claps wildly, I wave and the applause gets louder.
The band starts the first song, “Outside the Rain”. I put my all into singing, like I always do, like I always have. The song ends and I say a few words, “Welcome, everyone! Thank you for all coming out here! This is a special place for me, Los Angeles. It’s kinda where this whole thing started. So I’d like to dedicate my next song to this place and the people here who helped me make it this far.” “This one’s for you, Lindsey” I say to myself as I nod to the band and they break into “Dreams”.
We sail through the set perfectly, until “Edge Of Seventeen”. The second verse comes and I look out on the audience, preparing for my walk along the stage. I am trying to feel the crowd, who is having the best time. My eye catches something from the corner. A face I know so well. I push the thought to the back of my mind, focusing on singing. I glance out again and I steal one more look.
“You’re crazy,” I tell myself, “There is no way, it’s a look-alike.” I have time for one more look out on the face before I begin my trek. It is who I think it is.
I turn around and wait for the guitar solo before I start. My hands are shaking; I signal to the band to cut it a little short this time. I make three passes along the stage; the crowd goes wild. Every time I pass, I enjoy the reactions, eyes light up and people reach out to me.
I return to the mic for the final verse then I say, “Thank you, so much. Thank you for the white winged dove. I’ll be right back.”
I motion for Sharon and Lori to follow me.
“What’s up girl?” Sharon asks me.
“He’s here. What do I do?” I sputter.
“Who’s here?” Lori puts her hand on my shoulder.
“Linds, I saw him, he’s in the second row.”
“Are you sure, there’s no reason for him to come tonight.”
“It’s him, I know. I know his eyes, his face, it’s him.”
They don’t seem to believe me, but humour me anyway.
“Well, is he with someone? Or alone?” Sharon asks.
“Alone, I think, but it’s hard to tell. What should I do?”
“Finish singing the concert? You can’t do anything about it unless you want to call him on stage for a duet.” Lori remarks.
“Gee, thanks Lor, I knew that much.”
“Pretend he’s not there, that’s all you can do.”
“You guys are coming back, right?” Chris comes up and asks us.
“Yeah, just a sec,” I say, adding a “Breathe, Stevie. Deep breaths.”
“C’mon you three, this is a concert.” Chris chides us.
“Coming, we’re coming.” I nod to Sharon and Lori, “Ok, I’m ready, I’m OK.”
I tell Chris that he’s here and to tell the security people to let Lindsey backstage if he so wishes to come.
We all return to the stage and I force myself to finish the last two songs. I can block his presence during “Rhiannon”, but when “Landslide” starts, I feel my knees go weak and keep my eyes glued to him, as discreetly as I can so that I won’t attract attention to him.
“Thank you, everyone! Thank you, all, so much. God bless. I’ll see you again soon!”
I take a final glance at where Lindsey was seated but he is not there. I go backstage to my dressing room.
Lori and Sharon are already there, wiping off their make-up and changing out of their stage dresses. I try to go through the routine of ending a show. I start fixing myself a cup of tea. I ask everyone else if they want any. No one does so I sit on the couch and sip mine absent-mindedly while chatting with Sharon. Lori leaves to go find Chris.
“Come in,” I say, someone is knocking on the door.
A secutiry guard sticks swings the door open and pokes his head in, “Ms. Nicks, you have a visitor.”
My heart jumps, “I’m not expecting anyone, who is it?”
“A man named ‘Buck’,”
The name hits me like a bag of sand. I turn and give Sharon a panicked look. She smiles and picks up her things, moving into another room. I shoot a glare at her as she leaves.
“Ms. Nicks, should I escort him to the door?”
“Huh? Uh-no, I wish to see him.”
“Very well.” The door opens further and I hold my breath as Lindsey walks in and the door shuts.
“Well, hello.” He smiles, offering his hand.
I shake it, “Hello, Lindsey,” I say softly.
“Aren’t you going to invite me to sit?”
“Oh, of course. Here, anywhere is fine.”
He takes a seat on the couch. I sit tentatively on the opposite edge. “So what brings you here?”
“As if you don’t know…” he grins.
“Moi?” I ask innocently.
“You sang well tonight, you still have it, I see.”
I feel myself blush slightly. “Thanks.”
He pushes his fingers through his curls, “Gee, I had this all planned out.”
“Well, do you wanna go out for dinner or something?”
“Umm, I’d love to.”
“Now?” he asks surprised.
“Let me change first,” I turn and disappear into the back room. “Sharon?! Lori?! Chris?! Anyone?!” I say sharply. “Guys?!” I hope to find someone who can slap some sense into me before I have to go back to Lindsey again. Why do I keep allowing this to happen?
I start changing, out of a huge black skirt and tight top to a huge black skirt and tight top. Go figure. That’s beside the point, why do I keep allowing him to return? Why do we keep “breaking up” and then end up falling back into each others arms? It’s insane, but that’s how we are, Mr. and Mrs. Intense. I retouch my make-up and walk back to where Lindsey is waiting.
“Ready?” he holds his hand out to me again.
“Yes, sir.” I say, taking his hand as we leave the room for his car.
At that moment, when my skin touches his, I know that his eyes, his face, him. He will come back to fine me; and I will never be able to say “no” to those blue-grey eyes.