“Why does he keep staring at you?"
I glanced up from my clipboard, pausing to glance at the guy Mia was pointing out. Ten seconds passed before I decided that I didn’t recognize him, shrugging as I returned to taking inventory. I could feel Mia pacing from beside me, obviously distraught over this stranger whose eyes were glued to me. With a sigh, I tucked my clipboard underneath my arm, grabbing her by the shoulders. "Mia, please, calm down.”
“He’s just creeping me out,” her voice was hushed, “seriously, he’s still staring.”
I bit down on my bottom lip, cocking my head as I looked back over. It was just your average tattooed band guy. He didn’t look any more familiar than the other hundred that were walking around the festival ground. “Maybe he just thinks that I’m pretty.”
Mia rolled her eyes, snatching the clipboard from me. I knew it was her way of taking her mind off of the situation, actively focusing on something that needed to be done before the band took the stage.
“Aspen,” she called out and I could see the creeper out of the corner of my eye become startled. “We’re missing a pair of cymbals.” I groaned out loud, rushing over to stand beside her. I looked over the checklist, noting how she marked beside each item multiple times. It couldn’t be a mistake.
I shoved my hands into the pockets of my shorts, legs leading me over to the spot where the roadies were just lounging about. I should’ve stayed in school, this job was way too fucking stressful for shit pay. “We’re missing the hi-hat cymbals.”
A couple of the roadies almost fell out of their seats at the sight of me, scrambling to check the back of our trailer. I rolled my eyes, arms crossing themselves over my chest as I tapped my foot impatiently. “Isn’t it crazy how two chicks have to do all of your work? Seriously, you guys need to get off your asses.”
It was a chorus of ’yes ma'am’ and ’we’re sorry’. I ruled with an iron fist. There was no other way that all the men on tour would take me seriously. One of the downsides of being a female in the music industry. I peeked at the watch on my wrist, a few hours to show time. “Chop, chop. We don’t have any time to kill.”
It wasn’t more than a few seconds later that one of the roadies appeared in front of me, a cymbal bag clutched tightly in between his fingertips, and an apologetic expression on his face. I patted him on the head like a puppy, grinning from ear to ear as I turned on my heel. “Don’t be late for set-up unless you crave death,” I exclaimed as I walked back over to Mia, who happened to be perched on top of one of the flight cases.
I placed the cymbal bag by the drum set, quietly plopping down beside her as she scrolled through her Instagram feed. She looked up at me, a mischievous grin plastered on her lips. I couldn’t help but groan out loud, unprepared for whatever it was that was going to slip from her mouth.
“So you remember that creepy guy from earlier?”
“He knows you.”
My eyebrows creased in confusion, eyes wandering over to the spot where he was still seated at, conversing with some other heavily tattooed man. “How do you know?”
“He approached me while you were gone. He wasn’t sure if it was you and didn’t want to embarrass himself.”
“Okay, so where do I know him from?”
Mia only smirked and nudged me with her elbow. “Go ask.”
With a heavy sigh, I rolled my eyes and hopped off of the case, flicking her the bird as I walked my way over to him.
He stared at me as I approached, halting conversation with the other fellow as soon as I was in ear shot. “Apparently you know me?”
He only nodded.
“Care to elaborate?”
His cheeks turned pink and it would’ve been cute… had I not been annoyed by the situation at hand. God, we were adults! How difficult was it to speak to someone you allegedly knew?
“Well, my name’s Tony,” he stretched his hand out for me to shake. I complied and mustered the most polite smile I possibly could.
“Alright, Tony. ‘Fess up. How do you know me?”
He was scratching at the back of his neck, eyes looking at everything except for mine. I could tell that the guy he was previously chatting with knew the truth from the way he was avoiding my gaze as well.
“Remember Allison? I think you guys went to school together. It was the Halloween party she threw her senior year. The cops showed up and shut it down when someone started a fire in her backyard.”
I narrowed my eyes at him, “yeah, of course, I remember. That was the night I-”
My eyes widened in shock, mouth falling open as my hands shot up to cover it. That was 'the night I lost my virginity’, I wanted to say. But it was only then that his face started to become familiar. He was the guy I lost my virginity to in a drunken stupor. The same guy who I dated for a couple of months before he vanished into thin air. It took everything in me to stop myself from knocking him out. I was probably nine shades darker than the red of my shirt, fists balled tightly as I attempted (and failed) to compose myself.
“Small world, yeah?”
I rolled my eyes. “Entirely too small. Hope you’ve been good, asshole.”
I turned around, ready to run in the opposite direction when he grabbed my wrist. I whipped my head to look at him, expression reading anything but pleased. I hoped he could feel my gaze slitting angrily at his skin.
“Aspen. I wanted to tell you that I’m sorry.” It was funny, he sounded pretty genuine.
I knew better than to fall for his lies again.
I yanked my wrist out of his grip, jaw clenched as I marched my way back over to Mia. She looked at me expectantly, probably waiting for me to tell her some story equal to the Notebook. I snatched my bookbag off of the ground, “let’s go check on the band.”
She took the hint, nodding as she followed behind me quietly.
“This is going to be a long fucking summer,” I muttered, more so to myself. Hopefully, this would be the last time I had to run into that ghost from my past. But knowing God... he was just aching to ruin a good thing.
this is just a little sneak peek of something that was stirring around in my mind. i dunno if i'll follow through with it buuut i just had to let it out.