Chapter One: Ground Zero

The wheels of the plane hit the tarmac with a thud, and the entire cabin shook with the friction of coming to a halt. I kept my head between my knees, inhaling deeply through my nose before releasing the breath while keeping my lips firmly shut. A large male hand rubbed gentle circles on my back, and the matching voice cooed soft lyrics in my ear. No matter how many times we flew, I would never get used to the jolting suddenness of the plane landing; it always felt as though we had crashed.

Don't tell them I was afraid of dying.

"Come on Izzy," the familiar voice finally said; after a few minutes of the plane's shuddering and squealing it was now rolling smoothly towards the airport terminal. "Time to get this show on the road."

Boy, my father could be lame sometimes, I thought, finally opening my eyes and glancing around. The other occupants of first class were already moving around the cabin gathering their items from suit lockers and the overhead compartments, including the five men who I was travelling with. I stood and went about my business in silence; knowing full well that once we hit the airport that there wouldn't be a whole lot of that.

I couldn't reach the overhead compartment, and the flight attendant who came to my aid looked down her over thin nose at me, sneering as she passed my messenger bag. I thanked her politely then suddenly remembered the one item that had been on me before the drama of landing.

"Where's my iPod?" I asked no one in general, but loud enough for each person in the general vicinity to hear.

"Here," Bobby called, throwing the small green object at me with a grin; I caught it and glared. Why were twenty or thirty something year old men so immature? "You sort of threw it away when the plane started plunging ground ward."

"Thanks for keeping it safe then," I glared at the burly man. Honestly, in general you'd think of it as a stupid thing to do; Bobby was the six foot tall, well muscled drummer that played in the band Killing Patrick with my father.

He flipped my sarcastic remark off with a polite middle finger, still grinning in amusement, before grabbing his own hand luggage and heading towards the front exist. My father, or Pete as the rest of the world know him, Dylan, Mattie, and Phil -the rest of the band members- were also walking down the isle towards the waiting fandom. That's a word right?

This was another reason I hated landing, it always meant that the following half an hour would be filled with the screams of the band's fans, and questions from nosey reporters. Once again my prediction wasn't disappointed. Our security, two scary looking men named Frank and Jeremy, met us at the gate, and as they stepped out into the public eye in front of the guys, at least a hundred screams started up. It was no surprise that ninety five percent of these were female.

Don't get me wrong, I know fans are important and that changing people's lives is part of the reason my father strums his fingers to the bone every performance, but after the trauma of landing all I ever wanted to do was curl up in a ball and sleep for a year.

I quickly slipped into the center of the group of men, avoiding the few media reporters who had slipped around the back to hassle me for answers. I might have not been famous -well only through association- but the media seemed to see me as an easy target to infiltrate the band's life. Our procession stopped near the baggage caracals, and Jeremy left to grab the luggage, while the guys started signing the CD cases, posters, and photos of themselves that the mob of fans started handing them.

I stood back a little, pushing my black hair away from my face and wiping away the smudged eyeliner away from under my eyes. Honestly, jet lag was a bitch; it was ten to eight at night here, but back home it was almost four in the morning. A flash caught my face, and I blinked rapidly to clear my vision. A reporter was standing in my personal space.

"Is it true Izzy that this will be the bands final international tour before they retire?" the said reporter asked, still invading my personal space.

"Where'd you pull that one from? Most the guys are only just hitting the thirty mark, do they look ready to retire?" I questioned in reply, annoyed by the man's closeness.

"But they're planning to take a break after this tour?" He continued. If the microphone got any closer to my mouth I was such it would be shoved down my throat.

"Yeah, they need time to work on the new album," I replied, yawning as the camera flashed again. I really hoped none of these photos would make the shinny pages of whatever celebrity magazines they printed over here.

"What about you, Izzy? He prodded. Honestly I wished Jeremy and Frank didn't already have their hands full keeping rabid fan girls of the guys.

"What about me?" I know, I'm not very polite when I'm tired.

"What are your plans for the next year?" The reporter stated, obviously thinking his original question would suffice.

"Uh, well I'm just bout to start my last semester of high school, then after that… I'm thinking about art school." I mumbled dully into the microphone as the camera snapped another shot. I wondered if there would be an article about whether or not I was a drug addict in the magazines tomorrow; it had happened before when I had been interviewed while severely jet lagged.

"So you're not planning on following in your father's footsteps?" He asked, and I noted out of the corner of my eye that Jeremy was returning with the luggage.

"It's an idea," I replied, thankful that with Jeremy back and the fans appeased that our group was once again on the move. I waved at the camera man and gave him a grin, letting him snap at least one good shot of me. I didn't want to appear completely jaded.

"Have fun?" Mattie, who was the vocalist of the band, asked me with a grin. He'd obviously noticed me being badgered for answers by the press.

"Like always," I joked back as he slung a leather clad arm across my shoulders as we walked. The media snapped a few photos of the two of us walking together and I rolled my eyes. I hoped this wouldn't turn into another scandal.

It took me a few moments to realised why the weather was unseasonably warm once we stepped outside; the other side of the globe meant opposite weather. Back home it would be around forty degrees in our terms, and here I would guess it would also be forty, except they used Celsius. Weird…

The media were still following as the guys all slid into the waiting limousine one by one, snapping random shots of each of the members, which seemed to be pointless. I was the second last to get in, followed by Mattie who sat down next to me. God, I was tired.

I leaned my head against the lanky thirty year old's shoulder, and closed my eyes as the vehicle drove smoothly out into the traffic; at least we were staying in a hotel tonight before we had to occupy the tour bus. Quickly I dozed off as we slid through the unfamiliar city, my feet curling under me, and my head slipping from Mattie's shoulder into his lap. Distantly I heard one of the band member's laugh; my last thought was that I was probably the butt of the joke.

Chapter Two: Sunset, Sunrise

I squirmed between the soft linen; so fresh it still smelt sweetly of washing powder. It also smelt distantly of cinnamon. How did the bed know my soft spot, I wondered absently as my mind drifted through the void between sleep and awareness. Wait, I thought, my mind suddenly jumping into the awareness side of the void. Bed? Since when had I been in a bed? I was certain I had last fallen asleep in the limo.

When I opened my eyes I immediately wished I hadn't; obviously whoever was nice enough to put me to bed hadn't considered the open curtains at the other end of the spacious bedroom. Light streamed in unblocked and I groaned, rolling out of bed and stumbling over to close them. My head pounded from the rude awakening, but once the heavy drapes were shut I opened my eyes, blinking rapidly to banish the white spots which clouded my vision. I now knew why they called it the sunburnt country.

Looking down at my clothes I quickly confirmed that I was still in the same clothing I had worn on the plane, except now my black skinny jeans were sitting far to low on my hips, and my matching black -shocker- Good Charlotte t-shirt was rumpled. Attempting to pull the jeans up properly, I wandered out of the bedroom and into the main room of the hotel; two men were sitting at the breakfast counter.

"Morning sunshine," Bobby called far too cheerily for my taste, his mussed mahogany hair falling haphazardly into his dark eyes.

"Fuck you," I replied, shuffling over to where he sat with Phil, the band's bassist. I plonked myself down on one of the stood and rested my head in my hands. "Where's Dad? I need to kill him for not closing the curtains last night."

"He didn't put you to bed Izz," Phil said with a soft laugh. I brushed my ebony hair away from my face and looked up at him through sleep ridden eyes.

"I got all the way to my room by myself?" I questioned. Fuck, I thought, surely I would at least remember that.

"Nope, Mattie did the honours," he replied, laughing once more at my shocked expression. "You fell asleep in his lap on the way here and the poor bloke didn't have the heart to wake you up. It's not like you're much of a load to life anyway."

"Don't go giving the girl a skinny complex," Bobby mock scorned, and then they both laughed. I returned my head to my hands and stared blankly at the bench top. Sure, I'd known the guy for the past seven years but surely he could have at least woken me up for bed time.

"What's the time?" I suddenly asked, looking back over as the pair of men.

"Uh, two in the afternoon or something?" Bobby said, obviously not to sure himself.

"Where is everyone?" It was a good question.

"Mattie's in his room on the phone to manager man, Pete's taking a fucking long shower, and Dylan is still busy getting his beauty sleep," Bobby answered, ticking off their names on his fingers. "And us two charming fellas are right here."

I rolled my eyes, nodding at the same time. A shower sounded good; I desperately wanted to be clean before we hit the bus later this afternoon. Why weren't the band playing in Sydney first? I didn't know, but apparently we could only get an international flight here. We had to drive north to Brisbane before heading south again.

"Imma gonna take a shower," I yawned getting up from beside Phil who ruffled my dark hair. Bobby laughed and the pair nodded in unison. Just need to find some clothes, I thought, shuffling back towards my room.

---

Almost forty minutes later I had finished showering, drying and straightening my hair, applying makeup, and getting dressed. It would be my last time for the next few weeks with a specious bathroom that didn't stink of male; unless we were staying at any hotels during the tour that I didn't know about.

When I walked out into the main room of the hotel I found that now five of the five men were lounging around, Mattie, Phil, and my dad playing a video game on the hotel's playsation, Bobby alternating between cheering one of the guys on and playing his own game on his DS, and Dylan sitting waiting for the shower to free up.

He jumped up as I exited the bathroom, and I gave him a grin.

"First in, best dressed," I told Dylan, and he cuffed me lightly across the head. I shoved his lanky self playfully in retaliation and he both laughed as he closed the door on us.

"You shouldn't poke fun at the poor boy," Mattie joked, flopping back into the soft leather of the couch after loosing the Mario Cart race he'd been playing with the others.

"Easy pickings," I replied, moving across the lounge and into the bed room which had been mine for the night.

I scooped up the messed pile of clean clothes by my duffel bag and shoved them haphazardly back in and zipping it closed; after spending most of my years on the road with the band, any inborn feminine tidiness I once had had been demolished. I wouldn't have missed it for my life though -being on tour with the guys. Even if my mother did want me.

I think my mother lived in Ireland now, although I wasn't entirely sure, last time I had spoken to her she had found what she described as he 'perfect man' and was settling down, already heavy with his child. After that we lost touch. Thinking about it; that was almost four years ago now and somewhere in the world I now have a three year old half sibling; living with my estranged mother, and the step father who hadn't wanted to meet me. I sighed, sometimes this was a fucked up world.

Now I'm being depressive, I thought, grabbing my bulking duffle bag and carting it out into the main room; my guitar and violin should have been shipped in today, along with the bands instruments and equipment.

The guys were no longer sitting on the couch. I looked at my watch to see it was almost four o'clock; they'd vacated down to the bus. Sighing I bent my head down and continued lugging my duffel bag through the hotel and down the hallway, encouraging my mind with the thought that at least someone would have made coffee by the time I got there.

"Fancy a hand?" A familiar voice questioned from behind me; Mattie. He was standing there with his hands in the pockets of this tight jeans looking amused at my struggle. I dropped my bag and let him take it.

"Left or right?" I joked stepping into the elevator.

He held up his left hand. "Definitely right," he beamed down at me, before sobering slightly. "So are you going to be a good girl this tour Izz?"

"When haven't I been?" I asked, looking up at him innocently, smiling in an attempt to keep the mood light; I didn't want to have this conversation.

"Izzy," he warned gently, frowning at me.

"Mattie. That was once," I lied smoothly.

"You promise?" he asked, almost pleadingly.

I looked down to my feet and sighed, my mind wandering through memories as the elevator dinged on the ground floor. "Yeah," I agreed looking back up to see his face soften.

He wrapped his arms around me and pulled my body to his for a hug; I hugged back reassuringly. If there was anyone who could keep me out of trouble it was Mattie; the man with the plan; the boy who knew all the tricks of the trade.

All of a sudden a bright flash lit up the open elevator. I cursed and pulled away from Mattie.

Fucking media.

--

A/N: Well thanks to everyone who managed to slug their way through that little ditty! I hope everyone enjoyed the read, but as always it would be a great insight if you all sent in a quick review to tell me what you think. Also I'd like to mention that any of the bands/people that actually appear in the story are purely fictional, although I will quite often make references to real bands/people.

Anyways, if any of my Time After Time readers are watching I'd like to mention that I haven't forgotten about you guys and I PROMISE I'll update in the next couple of days. You can hold me to that.

--Wayward.