The crowds cheered louder each night, or so it seemed. The roads turned and twisted, the gentle rumble and hum of the tour bus and private jets became a midnight comfort for Chris Danielsons as he spent each night after each show staring at a set of divorce papers.
Actually, he stared at two sets of divorce papers.
One set was plain white. The other set was a pinkish color. They were, what, warning papers? Sure, it had been more than a month since he’d been served divorce papers right before a Chasing Cross show, but did that mean he would hurry to sign the papers and send them back?
Somewhere just outside Syracuse, far away from Bakersville, Virginia but closer to some spot in Maine where Chris swore he was going to build a cabin someday, the tour bus sat parked and Chris stood in the aisle, stretching. He’d just taken a long nap, something he started doing before shows for a quick shot of energy. It seemed a little sad because ten short years ago if Chris or any of the guys in Chasing Cross needed a little boost of energy, they sought out a bottle. Whiskey, vodka, gin, or wine, it didn’t matter. They always saved the beer for after the show, or during. Today’s world brought them bottles of water and healthier meals, but lately Chris had been enjoying a stiff drink more and more.
Anything to keep his thoughts at bay.
Anything to keep him from signing the divorce papers.
It wasn’t the time.
Not when he was hundreds of miles away.
Not when it felt like thousands of miles away.
Chris bent a little and looked out the tinted window of the tour bus. He looked to the back of the building where the crew was hard at work. They were all talking, working out the last minute kinks and details of tonight’s show. They had been working from the second the brakes squealed when the bus and trucks pulled in twelve hours ago.
City to city, tour bus to private jet, Chasing Cross had once again become an unstoppable force. And tonight’s show was the last before a much needed break. Then, Chris told himself, he’d handle this divorce situation head on.
Another bus was parked next to Chasing Cross’s, something that Chris wondered about himself. Peter had been working hard – maybe too hard – to bring Chasing Cross back on top of the rock world. Chris wasn’t sure whether it was something Peter wanted or the band wanted. Chris just wanted to play music for fans. Whether it was ten people or ten thousand, he was happy. This was no longer about getting rich; the diehard Chasing Cross fans had made every member of Chasing Cross wealthier than they could have ever imagined.
This was about music now.
This was about life.
This was about giving back to the fans.
And helping out other bands along the way.
The door to the bus opened and Chris saw Rick’s head pop up a second later. His jeans had a hole in the knee and he tapped his hands on his legs. Ever since getting his cast off and getting the all clear to finally play full sets, Rick had been so focused, he was like a man possessed.
“Chris, they’re set for sound check.”
“Sounds good,” Chris said.
“Our friends are up on stage right now,” Rick said. “They sound good. Really tight, you know?”
“Who? Fallen Tuesday?”
“They’re the only ones touring with us.”
“They’ve always been tight. They’ve been around for a little while.”
“Yeah,” Rick said. “But the passion, man. It’s like they live for it and nothing else.”
Rick looked at Chris and Chris didn’t reply. Rick waited a few seconds and shrugged his shoulders. He turned and left the bus in a hurry. Chris watched the drummer walk away and felt the frustration for Rick. After spending all that time in a cast – by his own dumb decision to drink and drive – Rick wanted something that just wasn’t there. Rick wanted to be twenty again, with the world to gain. Those days were long gone and Chris knew it pained Rick. Especially to see the other guys starting to settle down, enjoying life off the stage and outside of the studio. Not that it didn’t bother Chris to watch Johnnie rush to New York City to see Jess and help her write her next book or to see Davey pop in at Anna’s school to guest teach music to the kids, or to see Danny rushing to Virginia at any chance he got to check on Liv and her father.
It just proved how much time had gone by since Chasing Cross signed their first deal. Since they recorded their first album. Since they played their first big show.
Since they took over the world of rock n’ roll.
But times change, and so do people.
It’s the beauty of life.
Or maybe, in some ways, it was the nightmare of it…
The thought hit Chris and he swallowed a lump of guilt and pride.
“Divorce papers,” he whispered as he forced himself to get off the bus to get to work.
It was the only job Chris ever had and it was the only job he ever wanted.
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Genre – Romance
Rating – PG13
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