Claiming Addison

By: Zoey Derrick

“Sounds great, thanks, Darius.” I busy myself with putting papers back into my messenger bag and grab another bottle of water from the pull down. I might need it. Downside to joining so late, I don’t know what’s going to be on board the bus.

Once I’m done stuffing my messenger bag, I take a look around. At one of the buses, the one without the trailer, standing on either side of the door are two, rather tall, muscled up men in black suits. The Ray-Bans they’re wearing complete the ensemble and I feel like I’ve walked onto the set of Men in Black. I wonder which one is J and which is K. One of the guys has a deep, dark complexion and looks oddly familiar, but I can’t place him.

I feel the car shift and hear the trunk close. Darius is at my door, pulling it open. Ironically, the crowd goes crazy thinking that I’m someone important and I roll my eyes. “Oh sweethearts, you’re about to be completely disappointed,” I mumble to myself.

I climb out and almost instantly the crowd dies down, though there is still a dull roar of murmurs from the waiting fans as they realize that I am me and not one of the band members. Darius laughs.

“I couldn’t agree more.” I slip a hundred dollar bill into Darius’s hand. I included a tip in the credit card charge for the car, but meh. He’s done good. “Thank you for your company, your service and for putting up with this madness.”

He smiles, not looking at what’s in his hand and I commend him for that. Most drivers peek. “Anytime, ma’am.” He slips me his card. “If you need anything at all, don’t hesitate to call. For curiosity’s sake, who’s in the buses?” I see him smile slightly.

“That would be 69 Bottles.” I watch his eyes get wide and a smile spread across his lips. “A fan, I see?” He just nods. “Thank you again, Darius, it was a real…”

“Addison?” I hear someone shout.

“It was a pleasure, Darius.”

“The pleasure was mine,” he says with a grin and off he goes around the front of the car. I turn, looking toward the voice that hollered for me. Given that the girls’ cheers have picked up some, but not to an overwhelming amount, I assume that whoever has called my name isn’t a member of the band.

Coming toward me in long, confident strides wearing ripped jeans, a tightly fitted 69 Bottles t-shirt, a pair of shit kickers and a wolfish grin is someone who is vaguely familiar to me, but I can’t quite place him either. I know him from somewhere, but where? He’s extremely good looking.

Darius pulls out from in front of me just as the man approaching reaches the opposite side of the car. “Hi Addison, welcome to the madhouse that is 69 Bottles.” He smirks. “I’m Kyle, the band’s manager.”

“Hi Kyle. So I take it, this,” I gesture toward the waiting crowd, “is normal?”

He laughs with a beautiful boyish grin, a faint blush in his cheeks, weird? “This is minor. I was on the bus and when I heard the collective downshift in the volume of the crowd, I figured it had to be you pulling in.” I cock my head at him, my hair falls over my right shoulder and his eyes light up. “Let me help you with your stuff, I’ll show you to your rack, help you get settled.”

I nod. “Are they all here?”

He shakes his head, “Not yet. We’re still waiting on Mouse.”

“Mouse?” I ask questioningly.

“Uh, sorry. Calvin, he’s the lead guitarist.”

“Oh,” I say, trying to pull back the surprise I feel at the name.

“We call him Mouse, actually everyone does.”

“Why’s that?”

He laughs. “You’ll see.”

Well, okay then. Kyle bends down, picking my duffle bag up off the ground, throwing the strap over his shoulder and pulls up the handle on my suitcase. “I need the duffle on the bus, the suitcase can go…”

“No worries, we have room on the bus for it.”

“Oh, okay,” I say surprised.

“This way.”

He leads me toward the closer of the two buses, but I notice that his pace slows until we are more side-by-side and I catch him peeking over at me. I keep looking at him because there is something very familiar about him, but I can’t place it. I know it’s going to drive me nuts until I do. He, on the other hand, keeps sizing me up, looking me over and I want to roll my eyes. Keep wanting, buddy, because you aren’t ever gonna touch. Nobody touches anymore. I think sadly.

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