She comes to every show.

I see her there, in the crowd. Wherever we go to play, she's always there. Her long black hair frames those big, brown, creamy beautiful eyes, and I can't help but stare. They're so captivating and marvelous, those eyes. Eyes that are always staring, always looking at me. She doesn't bop around or sing to the music like the other fans, but she's the only one I notice regardless. She sits in the very front row, and never takes her eyes off me, and when I look at her she smiles, and I smile back.

I think I love her.

We've never met, or talked, or anything. Even though she comes to every show and sits in the very front row, she never hangs around long enough for the after party, or to come back stage and meet the band. I know she knows my reputation; who doesn't? It's not a secret I'm the bands biggest whore. Maybe she's afraid of all the other women that'll be there, afraid that she'll see me with one of them and be hurt. At least, that's what I like to think she thinks. It's the only reason I can come up with as to why she wouldn't want to meet me face to face.

But I wouldn't do with her what I do with other women; she's special. She's too beautiful for that. I wish she knew that.

She's there in the crowd tonight; I see her in the front row, and she's smiling at me. I want to stop playing, ask her her name, and run away with her into the night, but I can't; it'd hurt Danny too much. It's not my band, it's not my show, it's his, and to lay down my guitar and stop now would kill him. It took forever for us to talk him into playing live shows in the first place- I'd be stabbing him in the back if I stopped, but I wonder if he'd understand.

That I love this girl whom I've never met and want nothing more than to sweep her up in my arms and be with her forever.

The shows over and I'm hoping she'll come backstage. Matt's hounding around for Danny, and Ector's going to go mope around in his room which means I'm alone with the usual gaggle of girls. They've already encircled me, and I'm straining for a glimpse of her, anything to alert me of her presence so I can ditch these women and head out with her.

But she's not here; never will be. I let these girls I don't love lead me away where I'll be covered head to toe in the most raunchy sex I've ever had, till the next show, in the next city, where it'll all start again.

We're stuck in town a few days for the bus to get all fixed up. Dunno what happened to it, but I don't care. I've been hanging out a lot with Matt while we're waiting; he's a pretty understanding guy, so I told him about her. At first he just kept smiling, like I was a school-kid with a crush, but then he got serious and said I couldn't keep doing this, that I'd just make myself sad. I told him I realized this, but I didn't know what else to do, and he suggested I go walk around town, see what it had to offer.

So I did.

I went back to my room and washed the glue out of my hair, letting it lay flat. I look a lot different without a porcupine on my head, and I hope she recognizes me should I see her on the streets tonight. I have this crazy idea, see, so I bring my guitar along. I'm thinking that maybe if I play a song she'll hear it and know it's me and we'll finally be able to meet. That, and carrying it around is like a security blanket of sorts; I just feel naked without it.

I'm set up on the curb with my case open for change right there on the sidewalk, even though I don't need people's spare cash. I hunker down and pluck a few chords, tune it accordingly, and begin playing. It's a simple song, but one I love deeply. Eric Clapton's Layla; acoustic version, of course.

It doesn't take long for a small crowd to gather round while I sing out the first stanza, and already a small pile of assorted forms of money have accumulated in my case. A kid stares and tells his mommy that I'm great, that I play guitar like a god, and it's true. I do, everyone knows it; Danny just plays it better.

I scan the crowd and realize it's bigger than I'd like it to be- how's she gonna see me with all these people around? I'd like to tell them to bugger off, that this is a private show, but that'd be rude, especially now that I've taken their money.

I suck it up and launch into the second verse.

And as I'm singing those beautiful words, I look up and through a gap in the crowd I see her, standing and smiling across the street. My heart skips a beat and I almost forget the words, and she knows it; her eyes laugh at me and I smile sheepishly. When I look back in her direction, someone's shifted and blocked my view of her so they can get a better look at this lonely boy playing a lonely love song. I almost want to frown, but instead I raise my voice, moving into the third verse and getting to my feet.

I strum my guitar and walk, the throng of people moving to make way as I pass through, strumming and singing and just looking at her. She knows it's me even without my hair gelled up outrageously, and I think she likes me better this way. She's smiling, and as I get closer I notice how tall and absolutely gorgeous she is- like a model. Brown, beautiful skin, plump pink lips, silky black hair and the longest, most perfect legs I've ever seen. She's about as tall as I am, it seems.

"Please don't say we'll never find a way, and tell me all my love's in vain, Layla."

She knows I'm singing for her, she's so smart. Everyone knows I'm singing for her. It's like everyone knows everything about us, and what we're about as I'm singing here to her, and it makes me smile. I've finished the song, and I can feel the eyes of everyone that came to see that lonely looking boy sing watching me. I'm filled with some sort of confidence, and so I kiss her. Everyone claps and cheers, as if they know what I've been through and how great this all feels to finally be doing this.

We're walking now, my guitar tucked away into its case on my back as we move along the sidewalk, away from those intrusive people I managed to attract. I'm whistling, and she's smiling, and I found out her name is Courtney. I tell her mine's Roger, but she already knew that and I laugh; of course she already knows.

I tell her I love her, and she looks at me but doesn't smile. She looks sad, and as she takes my hand in hers she tells me she loves me, too, and how happy she is we've finally met. I don't ask her why she hasn't ever thought about finding me after shows and instead ask if she'd like to go for a ride; I could rent a car and we could go driving.

She said that'd be nice.

And now we're driving along the coast, watching the scenery go by and talking. Her voice is so musical, and I love it. She doesn't actually know everything about me like I thought she would, but that's fine; we have all the time in the world to just go driving and driving and driving and-

we crash.