The gig was going well that night, considering how
unstable Chester was. What scared Mike the most, though, was the raw
energy and emotion that Chester could put into the songs. The voice that
blasted through the speakers unnerved Mike, sending a tingling feeling
down his spine.
Crawl, up to the clouds
Claw, your way out
I wanna be there
I wanna move on, oh-
I ran like a coward
Far from this place
Show me desire
Mike was stunned. He had never seen Chester this
way before. Singing his old Grey Daze song Believe Me was the only
request Chaz asked for the Australian tour. The crowd loved it, and the
whole place was going crazy.
A familiar face appeared to Mike in the audience.
Toby stood up near the back wearing a “Please do not Feed or Tease the
Straights” shirt on, and he had bleached his hair especially for the
occasion. Beside him stood another guy, with purple spiked hair enough
to make Mike jealous. Mike smiled at Toby, and he put his arms around
his friend’s waist. “Must be Bren,” Mike said to himself.
Their set was finally over when they finished One Step Closer. The crowd went wild as usual for an Aussie gig. The band members jumped off the stage in front of the barricade and began signing autographs for the fans. All except Chester, who quietly put his microphone back in its case and left towards his dressing room.
Chester walked quietly alongside Mike on their last morning in Sydney. Mike decided to make the most of it and dragged Chaz out of bed early. They were now in Hyde Park, strolling along while the mass of workers hurried along to get to their offices.
“So do you want to tell me what this is all about?” Mike asked.
“Tell you what?”
“Don’t start that game again Chaz. You know what I’m talking about. Why are you acting like this? What’s wrong?”
“Nothin,” Chester muttered.
“No. Tell me Chester. Tell me - your best friend - what the hell it is,” Mike demanded.
“Mike, it’s nothin.”
“Don’t give me that cr-” Mike stopped mid sentence. Something caught his eye behind Chester. “Hey Chesty, look who it is.”
Chester slowly turned around, expecting either a roadie or one of the other band members. But it wasn’t. Through the crowd he could see a blonde-haired guy wearing sunnies, although it wasn’t overly bright this morning. He sat on a bench by himself, trying to fix his tie and get a bottle of water out of his bag at the same time.
“You going to say hi?” Mike asked quietly.
“Chaz, the least you can do is go over there and say hello. After all, we leave after lunch and you probably won’t see him again.”
Chester stood there, thinking about the words. Mike was right, he would never see this guy again. Then all he had to do was never let Mike set him up again, and things would be great.
“Look Chaz, I’m gunna get some coffee for us, and I’ll meet you back here in a couple minutes,” Mike said, interpreting Chaz’s silence as though he’d given in.
Chester turned around to refuse, but Mike was already walking away. He shrugged, “how hard could it be?” he thought to himself.
He found himself walking over there anyway, as if
his body made an unconscious decision for him.
Toby looked up, smiling when he recognised the guy.
“Hello Toby, you got a minute?”
“I’m running late for work, but yeah I do.” Toby answered, pulling off his sunglasses. It looked as though he partied quite hard the night before. “The concert last night was heaps cool.”
“Thanks. But I’m here to let you know we’re leaving this arvo,” Chester said matter-of-factly. Toby looked sad when he heard that. “Look, you’re a really nice guy and I would like to get to know you better, but at the moment I’m not looking for a boyfriend. And besides, I’m on tour and can never really stay in the one place for very long.”
“You would like do get to know me?” Toby asked hopefully.
“Well, if I was staying here for a bit longer I would,” Chester said. Actually he didn’t want to, but decided to be nice for a change.
Toby shrugged. “I’ll miss you.”
“I gotta go sorry,” Chester replied, seeing Mike return out of the corner of his eye.
“I will miss you Chester.”
“No you won’t.” Chester answered. “You’ll forget about me, carry on with your life, and never see me again.” He stood up and left Toby, once again all by himself.
“Perhaps,” Toby whispered to himself. But he had better plans than that already.
“But I’m really confused about this Tobe,” Bren said, sitting on the end of Toby’s bed. He just sat there watching his best friend hurry about the room, throwing clothes into a backpack.
“It’s a business trip, and I want you to come with me this time,” he said, looking around for his favourite shirt.
“But why? I mean I’m not working at the moment, but a few days in Melbourne seems crazy. Ever since you got back from work that’s all you’ve been on about. You hate going interstate on business, remember?”
“Well it might not just be about the business trip. Yeah okay I have a meeting with some clients tomorrow morning, but lookie what I have,” he teased, pulling two Linkin Park tickets out of an envelope on the bed.
“I-” Bren stuttered. “Oh Tobe you’re the best!” He exclaimed, jumping up and giving Toby a big hug.
“I know,” Toby replied. “But get your ass in gear. We have to be in at Central for the 8 o’clock train.
“You’re the best Tobe,” Bren repeated again, wrapping his arms around his friend’s waist.
Brendan was feeling particularly kinky that night - probably because he was going to see Linkin Park again. He took a gamble and kissed Toby on the lips. Surprisingly, Bren ended up with Toby’s tongue in his mouth.
The two had gotten-onto each other many times before. Toby however, wasn’t about to tell Bren he just felt a little rusty in the kissing department, and needed a little practice.
“Now go pack your stuff,” Toby breathed, breaking off the kiss.
“I don’t wanna go. I wanna stay here like we are now,” Bren whispered into his ear. He moved his hand up Toby’s back and started rubbing the nape of his neck. He loved Toby’s new blonde look – it made him look really sexy.
“But if you stay here we both won’t see Linkin Park tomorrow night.” Toby reasoned.
Bren didn’t have to say anything for Toby to understand he’d given in. He kissed Toby once more and turned to leave.
“Now go pack your stuff and hurry up,” Toby said, slapping him on the ass as he left.
But that wasn’t all Toby had collected that day. Once Bren had left the room, he pulled out two backstage tags from the envelope. He smiled to himself, picturing Bren’s face light up at the gig tomorrow when he would reveal the tags to him.
“Geez Tobe the things you do for him,” he whispered to himself.
Why does it feel like night today?
Something in here’s not right today
Why am I so up tight today?
Paranoia’s all I got left
I don’t know what stressed me first
Or how the pressure was fed
But I know just what it feels like to
voice inside of my head
Mike smiled one of those trademark smiles he was capable of. He saw down in the mosh two familiar faces. He’d seen them at the Sydney gig two nights ago. His plan was going well.
His plan started at the end of their Sydney gig,
while the band was signing autographs. Chester had disappeared - but
Mike half expected that anyway. Most of the fans had gone, but the real
die-hards, including Toby and Bren, still stayed back talking to the
“Sorry folks, time to go,” the security guard
“Bye Toby,” Mike said reaching out to give him
a hug over the barricade.
Toby silently cursed himself for not wearing briefs
“Here take this,” Mike whispered in his ear,
“Call me in half an hour.”
Toby looked around for Bren, but he seemed really
occupied with talking to Brad.
Mike almost felt guilty for setting the two up. But
he had a strong ‘this is the one for Chaz’ feeling about Toby, and
he wasn’t about to ignore it.
Toby did phone him back. The two of them discussed
the next morning’s activities.
The meeting in the park was all a set-up. Mike knew
that Toby would be waiting for them. All went well. Toby had called
again when Mike arrived back at the hotel. He retold the conversation in
full, and told Mike how he was feeling towards Chester.
Tickets and backstage passes were then left at the
hotel lobby by Mike, to be picked up later that day after the band had
Mike smiled again. He’d never played cupid before
and set people up - especially his best friend Chaz with another guy. It
didn’t feel weird to him – he was doing Chaz a favour.
Their set finally came to the end, the band as
usual finishing off with One Step Closer.
The band began signing autographs for the fans -
even Chester, which rather surprised Mike.
The crowd was getting rough though, no one wanting
to leave. However security was tight, and the rowdy ones were kicked
Toby and Bren stood up the back near the doors.
Bren was getting tired and was ready to leave. He already had his LP
shirt signed by the guys back in Sydney, and was not particularly
interested in trying to squeeze past all the obsessed Melbourne fans.
“’Scuse us boys, coming through,” the
security guard called to them. She was walking out some guy who tried to
climb over the barricade. Her grip was noticeably tight around his
“We’re finishing up here now. Time to head
home,” she said to them as she continued on past them and through the
Bren motioned towards the door. “Ladies first,”
But Toby didn’t move. Instead he reached into his
pocket and pulled out the tags. He opened the cord loop on one and put
the tag around Brendan’s neck.
He looked down at the tag, confused. But then he
read what was printed along one side – Backstage Pass. “OhmygodTobe-”
he blurted out.
Toby nodded, smiling all the while.
|TOP | Last updated 15 February 2002 19:42 (AUS EST / +1000 GMT).|