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Anna’s heart was still getting used to the awesome act she had put on as the opener. Never in her life had she had so many interact, but never had she had so many faces staring back at her. Stomach feeling better now that the show was over and she was standing at the afterparty with her friends in the band and their loved ones, she moved to sit on a stool near the edge of the bar. Sitting in the seats next to the bar, her band curled around the small coffee table, enjoying the company and the ability to just sit back and relax. They weren’t forced to work the crowd as the party was just set aside to give back to the bands for doing such a great show.
[+blue “Oh, Anna, you and the boys were wonderful. Did you see how much you banked? This is the biggest show yet, and I have a feeling that this isn’t the last…”] Lacey said, her eyes fading to behind Anna.
Anna glanced backward and her eyes focused on the figure standing there with a drink in his hand. If it wasn’t obvious enough, her breathing had hitched a little bit. Her pupils dilated slightly and she ran her fingers through her bouncy curls. Blood filled her cheeks as she heard his deep voice fall from his lips, producing compliments. However, she was listening to his slight southern accent, and was falling into the velvet depth of his voice. The more he spoke, the more she felt at home again.
Leaning back against the bar and resting her elbow on the counter with her drink in her hand, she tried to look a little more casual than she felt. She wasn’t sure if it was working, and she was silently cursing herself as she fixed herself. [b “Thank you, especially coming from you!”] She said. A soft giggle escaped her voice. [b “I bet you get those reactions all the time whenever you speak to someone now, and to answer your question, yes I wrote those lyrics.”] She was still blushing as she fixed her dress, taking a sip of her drink in between fixings as she was focused on the man with his hat turned backwards, his clothing casual and his composure something that she was incredibly jealous of.
With another swig of her drink, she was setting the glass down so she wouldn’t be constantly drinking from it and look like she was trying to drown herself, he had spoken about giving her a spot. The burning sensation of the liquor hit the back of her throat and she coughed, feeling the embarrassment overwhelm her as she began to cough a little more. Tapping her chest, she tried to breathe and she grinned stupidly. [b “Of course I would love to join the rest of the tour!”] She had said, slightly cutting him off, but she motioned for him to go on and she listened as she gulped to gain composure again.
[i Only thing is there aren’t any other buses with space so you’d have to share a bus with me./ I mean you’d get your own bunk and I don’t snore too loud.]
She laughed and coughed once more before she ran her fingers through her hair and fixed her dress. [b “That doesn’t sound too bad, but the moment you start to snore, I’m going to throw a pillow at your head.”] She laughed, hoping that she wasn’t crossing lines and being weird for their first time meeting. She had been singing for years now, but it still made her want to do more when she met encouraging stars, one that also gave up a lot to be there and had worked so hard to get to where they were.
As they were talking, she could feel her heart racing more and more as she was beginning to realize that this wasn’t going to be her last show as opener for Kane. And they still had 9 months left! She could practically feel the energy pouring from her. [b “You’re pretty impressive on stage as well. You know how to engage the crowd, and I’m pretty sure you made a girl faint on the front row.” ] She laughed. A lot of girls were swooning and many were reaching for him when he walked close to the edge of the stage.
Before she could say anything more, she wasn’t paying attention to the music was playing. It was a country song that she didn’t recognize, but a fan girl dressed in all Kane garb walked up, tapping Kane on the shoulder. [+green “Hi! Can I have this dance?”] The brunette was beautiful. Sharp and piercing blue eyes and she fit everything she was wearing perfectly. If Anna was confident in her outfit, she didn’t anymore at this point. Tan legs, beautiful smile, and incredible body, almost like the perfect spitting image of the girl he would describe in his song “Pull it off”.
She waited for his response, unsure as to what the hot commodity was going to do. She wasn’t much of a talker or looker compared to the woman that was standing in front of him now. Anna looked past her and could see a group of girls who were fan girling as they couldn’t believe their friend was actually talking to Kane Brown so casually. With a soft smile, she looked to the side and her drummer was lifting a brow at her and mouthed to her, [i Dance with him.] She felt blood rush to her cheeks even more and she glanced back at Kane, still unsure as to what Kane was going to do.
"Thank You Good Night!" Kane called out to the crowd before handing off his microphone to one of the crew and taking out his in ear monitors and handing them off as well. His drummer smiled, "Kane.. man theres an after party tonight, you going?" he asked and Kane sighed, "I was going to but I don't know if I'm up to it." His drummer Jayden shook his head, "Nah your going and your going to have fun, a few drinks will take your mind of of that bitch and theres plenty of other beautiful girls ready to talk to you.... Mr. Rock Star." Kane shrugged, "To be honest I don't see all the posers anymore but I do want to talk to that girl that opened for us... what was her name?"
Jayden thought for a moment, "I think she said her name was Anna." Kane nodded, "I'll go look for Anna, I want to offer her a spot on the tour, she was special. You saw how the crowd interacted with her and that voice... man... angels would be jealous." Jayden chuckled, "You like her don't you?" Kane shrugged again, "I don't know her..." That was the end of the conversation. Kane stopped in his dressing room and waved to some fans who had paid to be backstage. He wasn't obligated to stay but he did sign what they wanted him to and take all the pictures he could before heading to the after party.
The bar in the venue was shut down just for band and crew... and those lucky enough to get invited by one of the band or crew. The club was full but Kane made a beeline for the bar, he needed a Jack and Coke or at least a beer. At first Kane didn't notice the blonde girl at the end of the bar talking to another girl but he ordered his drink with the bar tender and turned seeing her. As soon as he got his drink he headed her way.
Kane was a southern gentleman through and through, he was raised right by his mother and grandmother and he would never interrupt or be rude or too forward, but at the same time he was a man that knew what he wanted. When he saw that she wasn't talking to the woman anymore he tapped her on the shoulder... "Miss Anna?" He questioned smiling and reaching out his hand to shake hers. "I'm Kane Brown... Can I sit here?" He asked gesturing to the bar stool beside hers.
Sitting down in the bar stool he took another drink of his Jack and Coke and said, "Your very talented, I listened to some of your set tonight. Did you write that song yourself?" For the first time he looked at her... looked into her eyes and smiled at her ringlet curls falling down in her face. She was beautiful but she seemed uncomfortable here. He honestly was uncomfortable but this was his only down time so he might as well try to enjoy it. "The reason I came over here was... well I want to offer you a spot on my tour. Its not much but its the opening slot. Texas Wolves dropped out officially and we have 9 more months on this tour, all the way to Europe.. its a paid spot and its yours if you want it. Just let me know by the morning so my manager can get it all set up and get promotion out to the rest of the shows. Only thing is there aren't any other buses with space so you'd have to share a bus with me. I mean you'd get your own bunk and I don't snore too loud." He chuckled at that last part, trying to get her to smile.
It was standing in the middle of the stage, with the light bright in her eyes where she felt warm, wanted, and loved. The crowd had cheered during her set, between songs, and had a small encore for her. It was something that she was not used to. A big grin spread over her lips as she looked out into the crowd. She was there. She was an opener for an upcoming and already risen star. She was taking someone else’s place, but she hoped that she could keep it after people had heard her play. Within meaningful lyrics and purposeful beats, she hoped to win herself in the spots of the many hearts that stood in the audience, as well as the ones backstage who were in charge of her play career on this tour.
On her final song, Darkest Nights, the final chords rocked the crowd and the lights came down at the very last beat and sound of the song, leaving the crowd with a energized finished. The crowd had cheered and Anna ran off stage with a smile, holding her acoustic guitar against her chest as she did so. Coming to the edge of the stage and moving between the people that had come to see Kane, she was finally able to stand with her guitar hanging from her shoulders. Some fans that had seen her immediately swarmed her…
[+red “Oh my gosh! Anna Markee! Fantastic show!”] Three girls who had worn matching Kane Brown shirts squealed enough to make it contagious. Anna was flushed and immediately took the admiration in rather quickly like a sponge. Signing a part of their shirts, she moved away with the help of some body guards as they led her back to the changing room. Closing the door behind her, she slowly leaned against the door for a moment and held her hands against her chest. Her heart was racing, her breathing was rapid, she was there. She was here! She had made it, but she wasn’t finished yet. She was on her way to the top and she was not going to stop now.
In front of her, she could see the black, thick-laced bodice dress, the one that her makeup and dress artist had picked out for her coming on to the tour. She felt her face blush as she knew that this was a little more revealing than she wanted it to be, but it was what the crowd had wanted, what society wanted…She was facing that all too bluntly. Her body was tightly toned due to her workout habits and strict diet. She knew that if she wanted to sing like a star, this required that she eat healthy and it was a perk to have the body come with it. A smile came across her lips as she moved away from the door.
In a few steps, she was wrapping her fingers around the lace fabric. Anna took a deep breath and unbuckled the belt to her cream dress and within minutes she was pulling the fabric over her lingerie. Glancing at herself in the mirror, she paused, running her fingers over her midsection where she could see hints of her frame from the tight fabric clinging to her skin. Off the shoulder lace, she fluffed out the extra lace hanging about mid part of her arms and she glanced down to see the dress cut off higher than she expected. She knew that she would not be bending over in this dress.
Spreading lotion over her legs more, she pulled on her matching black boots and she fluffed up her hair before she walked out of the changing room and headed toward the stage to see Kane Brown singing on his set. Coming to stand on the opposite side of the stage of backstage fans, she leaned against one of the supporting speakers as she looked out in the crowd, seeing the excitement, the energy and the mesmerized look on their faces. Kane was a sight to see as he sung on stage and claimed the crowd for his own.
His own moves had the crowd dancing together with him, and his lips produced the right lines and the deep twang of his accent had already stolen the hearts of the girls on the front row as well as the rest standing in the crowd. A smile pulled at the corner of her lips. She hoped she could reach as many hearts as he did with a single song with her life. She had read many things about him before coming onto the job, but she wondered how he was in person, how he was to talk to. However, just because of her level of being the opener did not always include being able to have alone time with the main act. She had to keep herself at a distance just like the rest of the crowd…
After standing there for a few more minutes, she was directed to go to her dedicated stand where she was already selling tshirts with her name and face on it as well as some of her lyrics. A smile on her lips brightened more as she moved behind the stand and took pictures with fans until she got notifications that the after party was happening soon.
Still feeling energized from her set, she had walked happily into the already crowded room. Some of those that had paid big bucks to stand at backstage with Kane Brown were dressed just chic as she imagined. Beautiful ladies were everywhere, and just as many attractive men stood with them or looked at the many prey they could find. She walked in slowly, finding very few people she knew.
Her eyes traced the crowd until she gave up and walked over to the bar and ordered herself a drink. From there, maybe with a little more liquid encouragement, she could talk to more people. As she wasn’t the main star, not many were bothering to talk to her except for her band that had helped her get to this point. It wasn’t but sitting at the bar for a few minutes when she had seen her guitarist walk in with his wife and she soon made her way over to Anna. Giving her a hug, she smiled. [+blue “Congratulations, Anna! You and the guys did so good!”] Lacy said. Anna held her close for a moment, and nodded enthusiastically, [b “Thanks Lace! It means a lot to me!”]
Kane had been struggling. The 21 year old country star was currently on his first headlining North American tour. It wasn't big venues but bigger than he himself had ever thought he would be able to play let alone sell out. At the beginning of this tour his girlfriend of a year had broken up with him. She told him she needed a man not a roamer that was always skipping town. Kane was a musician... he didn't stay in one place very long. Another night, another show. He never made friends with people because he would have to leave them the next day to go onto the next town. He had only been on this tour 3 weeks but already he was restless.
He hadn't gotten much sleep... he missed her but at the same time, she left him and he wasn't in love with her... he had been dating her because she was a model and the first girl to express interest in him when he started rising in popularity. Now that he saw through that he thought he was destined to be alone. Depressed and lonely, he didn't leave his bus unless it was to play and even then sometimes he was reluctant but tonight for some reason he decided to go and see the opening act.
The opener wasn't their usual act, they had all fallen ill with a stomach bug so they were confined to a hotel in the last town... tonight's act was a new girl, one that Kane had never heard of so he thought he would check out the show. His Timberland boots clicked on the floor as he walked toward the side of the stage. He was only catching her last two songs but the girl could sing, and she was easy on the eyes.
Crew started swarming Kane and putting his in ear monitors on him as well as giving him his wireless mic, preparing him for his preformance. All he could think about was the after party. They were in this town for their day off tomorrow and he was finally getting a break and would be able to let loose and forget about Kelly, his ex. She had only wanted him for the clout and the perks that came with dating Kane Brown.
Kane snapped out of his thoughts when he heard the talented girl tell the crowd good night. That was his cue, as she ran off the opposite side of the stage his band took their places. He didn't even know her name but he was going to find out tonight. She was talented and he wanted her on his tour.... and maybe his duet he was supposed to be writing but had been putting off.
"How we doin' out there tonight!" Kane yelled into the microphone and the crowd roared. He was a natural... but to think only two years ago he was working for Fedex delivering packages at 19 years old, convinced he would never make it. Boy was he wrong.
[i Deep breaths…Deep breaths…]
Anna looked into the mirror. Her reflection stared back at her. Bouncy curls, bright and sparkly cheeks, the perfect face for a country singer was coming on real nicely. The make up artist powdered her cheeks a little more, dusted more hairspray over her hair, and laced some lipgloss over her lipstick. With a bright eyed girl staring back at him, the artist could see the masterpiece coming into frame. She paused and glanced back at the mirror, not seeing herself, but the future country star that she wanted to be.
This is what it took right?
Her eyes slipped to look lower as she could read the papers of the set list of her songs that she was going to sing before the main man took the stage. It was in that moment as she was squeezing the chairs handles feeling the butterflies turning into wasps in her stomach that her manager was walking right into the room. His hair brushed to the side, the angle of his jaw at just the right shape that girls would follow him anywhere. And she had to admit herself, she had followed him everywhere. Her eyes traced his face as there was worry and frustration spread over his features. [+blue “It took everything I had in my list of strings to get you this gig, make me proud, Ann.”] He said.
As if she didn’t have enough pressure as it was, she nodded slowly. [b “Yes sir.”] He gave her a smile, lifting his roughened hand and cupped her chin like he always did before shows. [+blue “You got this beautiful. One step forward.”] He said, somewhat confidently. She could tell by the way that his eyebrow twitched at the end of the sentence that things were not all golden like he made himself out to be. He had his doubts. Pressing her lips together, she pulled her face away from his touch as he turned to leave. She was pulling on her dress and letting the off white lace hit the ground softly behind her boots, she felt herself take another look in the mirror.
She smiled a somewhat confident smile, glanced at her makeup artist and all he did was hold his hands together. [+green “My work here is done. Let me know how the show goes.”] He says, packing up his bag and heading toward the door to leave her in the dressing room alone.
She twirled, already hearing the fans faintly through the walls. It was not a big venue, but it was big enough for screams to echo. Slipping on her rings and grabbing her good luck charm bracelet, she clasped as she walked out in time for the stage manager to walk up to her telling her that she had a few minutes before her set.
She walked, her wooden and leather soled boots clapping against the concrete. Hair bouncing, smiles beginning to wear down at her cheeks, she clasped her hands, trying to breathe as her stomach was in knots. At this point, she reached the main part of backstage and she could look around, already seeing and hearing the fans getting ready for the main act, but she was out there enough to have a few fans, she hoped it would be more by the end of the set. Pressing her lips together, she looked behind her, feeling the guitar set in her hands and in this moment she felt a little nostalgic. Her eyes fluttered as she looked all around, but all her mind was picturing was the days when she first really started singing. Even just starting at the bottom in a rinky dink bar, she could remember the many days of heartache and worries she had went through to get here.
Hazel eyes stared back at her in between flashes and she could feel her heart racing more now. Her palms were growing clammy. She could hear his voice beginning to invade her thoughts, but it was quickly interrupted by the stage manager coming to touch her elbow to lead her to the main stage.
Her eyes looked out into the crowd as she held her guitar tight to her abdomen. Walking out into the spot light and hearing the crowd, she smiled brightly…This was her night and [i he] was not going to ruin anything. Anna grabbed the microphone with her hands and she pulled it her way to bring it to her lips. [b “Hello Houston!”] She said and the crowd cheered. It was in that moment that her band began the chords for her song, “Laced Beauty.”
[center [i There are thin pieces laying on the floor…]]
[center [i It covers the ground like it would mean so much more.]]
[center [i String after string, we fell apart so easily]]
[center [i I thought we would be together forever, but that was just me.]]
She stared into the crowd, seeing a few pair of lips that were mouthing the words. Others were swaying and some had lifted their phones to record it all. She smiled and glanced to the sidelines getting a glance of who was there, but her fingers had to continue to play the strings…Continuing to fill the void of waiting times before the next set of entertainment.
[center [i From the beginning, it was wrapped so tight]]
[center [i We sparkled and glowed through the night]]
[center [i But it was just an illusion, you knew all along]]
[center [i We could have been so strong]]
As the words played through the echos of her guitar strings…Pictures of her laughing and smiling with him replayed through her mind as she continued through stanzas…
[center [i In the midst of it all, I was confident]]
[center [i I knew what you had meant]]
[center [i Yet here we are, in the middle of the street]]
[center [i Fighting for something that I thought was because of me]]
[center [I But really, it was for your own dignity. ]]
Anna could see the words practically playing in front of her face as she sang, but it wasn’t her lyrics she saw. Words of his…slashing words, crushing and desecrating syllables that had torn her down to the very thin flesh that she thought she was. And now…standing there on stage, she knew she was more…
Now only she wished to keep it that way.
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