Pierre grunted as he tugged his bag from the back of the taxi. Pat was coming around the other side, phone tucked against his ear as he spoke in low tones. Pierre lifted his eyebrows at his long-time friend.
An expression he couldn’t decipher flickered in Pat’s eyes as he said, “Fools Rush In’s merch co-ordinator.”
“Oh? Right.” Pierre’s eyebrows drew together as his friend headed into the airport terminal. He sensed that something was a little off with his friend’s response, but didn’t feel like probing into it. Sighing, he followed in time to see that he and Pat were the last to arrive.
David was hanging over his shoulder, talking away at top speed an excited grin lighting up his features. The expression just made Pierre want to turn around and walk back the way he came. But, before he had the chance to think further than that the bassist caught sight of him and started yelling his name.
“Pierre! It’s Pierre! He’s alive!”
Pierre rolled his eyes as he approached. “No one could stay dead with you yelling like that.”
David grinned at him, evidently not picking up on his sour mood as he said, “Nothing beats travelling, eh?” He clapped a hand to Pierre’s shoulder. Pierre stiffened, but managed not to baulk.
“Yeah…whatever.” He turned his head to the others who were all looking at him as if he would explode at any moment. “Let’s get this over with.”
“Your enthusiasm is inspiring,” Chuck said, his tone acid. Pierre just shrugged and headed toward the check-in counters.
* * * * *
The clunk of the wheels as they drew up into the body of the plane set Pierre’s nerves on edge. Not that he wasn’t already feeling antsy. Since checking in, then heading through security – with David making nonsensical statements the whole way through ‘what if I had a giraffe with me?’ – A sense of foreboding clouded his mind making it hard for him to relax.
He was sitting next to Jeff, thankfully. The guy was a saint when it came to travelling. He didn’t talk needlessly, nor laugh at the most inopportune moments. Sure, he was good for a random conversation if you wanted it, but if you just wanted silence, that was on offer too. And, that was exactly what Pierre needed right now.
Earbuds pressed tight into his ears blocking out any social noise, Fools Rush In’s EP blasting away, he was all set for the flight ahead.
“Jeff, I need to swap seats for a sec.”
Pierre opened one eye at the shifting of bodies switching places and was treated to Pat’s deep frown. That wasn’t normal. Not at this time in a flight. Pulling out one earbud he lifted an eyebrow to show he was at least willing to listen.
Pat tugged at some of his hair before letting out a huff. “I need you to promise me something, Pierre.”
Pierre snorted as he said, “This should be good.”
Pat sighed. “Pierre.”
“Fine. I promise.”
Pat scowled. “You don’t even know what it is I want you to promise me.”
Pierre set his jaw, shaking his head; then he said, “I’ll try not to be an asshole. That good enough for you?”
His friend stared at him myriad emotions flickering across his face before he settled on just frowning some more. Pierre kept his eyes fixed on him until Pat had to look away.
“It’ll have to do,” he said before getting up to head back to his seat. Pierre gave a soft grunt before replacing the earbud and turning the music up.
* * * * *
“Woo! Hello, Perth!”
David did a running jump almost landing on top of Chuck who was trying to rearrange his passport and wallet. Pierre groaned, shaking his head as he caught a glimpse of the fans who were filling the arrival concourse. Faces laughing and grinning at the bassist’s antics were the norm wherever they went. Pierre was too tired from the long flight to appreciate it for once, though. Not that he’d appreciated it for a long time if he was going to be honest.
He was willing to go through the motions, grateful for Pat who hovered close by him, ensuring he didn’t ignore the fans and making comments that were designed to draw him out. But, his mind was elsewhere, his eyes skittering across the crowd. If someone asked him later what he remembered…well, it was all one big blur.
“Pierre?” Pat was tugging his sleeve. Pierre, blinking, allowed his friend to steer him outside to the van waiting for them. He climbed in without noticing anything around him; on auto-pilot his mind shut down, pulling his focus inward. He wasn’t ready for any of this. Hadn’t been ready when she left him. Sure as Hell wasn’t prepared now. Of course, he couldn’t let his friends’ down. Or the fans. It wouldn’t be easy. But, it wasn’t as if he’d cross paths with her. Perth was a big enough city, right?
It wasn’t until David started exclaiming loudly at the things outside the van – “Look, at that pink limo!” – that Pierre came back to the present.
“Huh?” he said, as his friend started poking him in the side. “What’re you talking about?”
David pointed out the window where a large pink Hummer was idling on the kerb. Pierre blinked at it, feeling numb. Then shook his head.
“Quit poking me,” he said, though there was no conviction in his voice. David held his hands up in surrender. Pierre didn’t notice as he turned away again.
David’s huff reached his ears, but he just stared out the window, expression blank as he tuned everything out. Pat’s soft murmur of reassurance was the only thing he picked up as the van continued on its way.