My heart beat thrums wildly in my chest as my stylist applies another layer of make-up to my face. I look at myself in the mirror. Compared to the girl I was just a few years ago, I barely recognize myself now.
Genevieve, my stylist, moves closer to my face, paying special attention to the bags under my eyes. I used to hate having someone constantly doing my hair and make-up. But now I barely notice it. The shimmery gloss coating my lips glistens against the lights of the mirror as I go over our newest song in my head. Tonight is the first night we're performing it, and even though I've had three hours of rehearsal under my belt today, I'm still nervous.
The warm-up band is on their second to last song, and even from the dressing room I can hear the roaring fans.
"Good crowd tonight, no?" Genevieve asks with her French accent.
I nod and try to take a deep breath.
Our band, Mixing Fire, has been on tour for almost a year now. Our first single we ever recorded, A Burning Flame, spread like wild-fire. Excuse the pun. Before we knew it, we were signing a record deal with one of the most well-known labels on earth. Our popularity and fame seemed to explode overnight. We were getting phone calls to be on the radio and to talk on morning and late night television programs. And then came the offer of a world tour, and we couldn't turn it down.
This was our dream, after all, to have our band leave the confines of our garage and have our music reach the ears of millions. Some days I still can't believe it's real.
Genevieve puts on the final touches of my make-up and urges me to stand. I frown when I look at the short length of my skirt. I turn to the side and my frown deepens.
"Uhm…are you sure this is what Teddy wanted me to wear tonight?"
Teddy, our manager, is also in charge of our wardrobe when it comes to performances. Usually he has such good taste, but tonight….
"It's just…this skirt," I say attempting to tug it down. "I'm going to be giving them all the wrong type of show…if you know what I mean."
Garrett comes from behind me and gives me a sound smack on the ass. I yelp and shoot him a glare. He counters my action with a devilish grin, wiggling his eyebrows in a playful manner. His red hair gleams against the lights, his freckles now covered by a thick layer of make-up.
Garrett is our drummer and the last member to join our band. The drummer we had before him decided to quit just before we had signed our contract. Somehow Teddy managed to find Garrett a week later….all the way from Ireland.
"You look a wee bit nervous there lassy," Garrett slurs to me in his Irish accent. "Care to calm down a bit?"
He reaches into his low riding shorts and pulls out a flask. He snaps it open and pushes it toward my face. The overwhelming smell of a very high-proof alcohol filters through my nose and I push my head away. Because I'm still underage, all the guys think it's funny to tease me with alcohol. They all indulge in the drink, but Garrett does more than indulge. He swims in the stuff.
"You know I don't drink, Garrett," I reply sourly.
Garrett shrugs and takes a long swig from his flask before closing it and tucking it back in his shorts.
"You're loss, lassy," he says with a grin.
He tousles my hair once, making Genevieve swat him away with annoyance. The door to our back-stage room swings open and a very frantic and sweaty-looking man stares at us.
"You guys ready?" he squeaks.
Beads of sweat drip from his forehead and I have to bite back a laugh. The poor man looks more frightened than we do! Garrett moves forward and offers the sweaty man a drink, telling him he looks 'a wee bit nervous,' which of course has us all laughing in stitches.
Garrett and Hansel, our other lead guitarist, push their way to the front. I stay behind to wait for Adam, our bass guitarist. When he finally emerges from behind the dressing room curtain, I sigh with content.
He approaches me in a seductive manner, his dark hair falling into his eyes as he leans down to plant a kiss on my lips. His hands wrap around my waist, tugging me into his lean body. Our kiss deepens and his tongue pushes into my mouth. Genevieve clears her throat from behind us and I reluctantly sever our kiss. Adam flashes my stylist a warning look before nuzzling his nose against my ear.
"You look beautiful, Tara," Adam whispers, sending a shiver down my spine. "Your voice all warmed up for tonight?"
I look up at him from under my thickly painted lashes and smile. "You betchya. How about you? Fingers all warmed up?"
Adam holds up a pretend guitar in his hands, his fingers sliding wildly down his 'fake' fret. I giggle as he does this and he winks.
"Oh yea, all warmed up," he says.
Adam takes my hand and leads me out of our dressing room. We maneuver our way to the stage, the sounds of our fans becoming deafening by the time we reach the curtain. Hansel, Garrett, Adam and I all huddle together, saying a silent prayer like we always do before we go on stage.
"Love you, mates!" Garrett screams above the roaring crowd.
And with that, he jogs onto the deserted stage. The crowd sees him enter and their cheers intensify. Next to walk on is Adam, and then Hansel shortly thereafter. The crowd is so loud that the stage is beginning to shake from underneath my feet. Because I'm the lead vocalist and the only girl in the band, Teddy always insists that I'm the last to go on stage.
Adam adjusts his guitar strap against his chest, waving to his adoring fans in the distance. His gaze swivels to me, and when our eyes meet he gives me a small smile. It's his way of urging me onto the stage. I lick my lips and slide my sweaty hands down the front of my jean skirt.
I take a shaky breath and push my feet forward. The first step I take onto the stage makes the crowds erupt into a whole new frenzy. My eyes squint against the bright lights and I wave my hands to all the unknown faces. A few large signs come into view from the crowd, many of them painted with a variety of forms of 'I love Tara.' The sight makes me smile and is enough to push me to the microphone at the front of the stage.
I don't have much time before Garrett starts the beat for our first number. After only a measure, Adam and Hansel join in. I close my eyes and count for three measures until it's my cue to come in.
Ok, Tara, you can do this….