100 Love Letters
Sometimes, I think about my future. That ambiguous grey haze in my brain, that loose connection of my ambition, education, and my desires. It's hard to say where I'll end up. I've spent so long expecting the love of my life to come along that I didn't know what I'd do when he didn't show up.
I shouldn't say that. I'm only twenty-four. But I've been writing these letters since I was sixteen. That's eight years. It's like I'm writing to myself. It was never like I was writing to you, whoever you are. The future looks so bleak. I guess it's not that I'm expecting something I shouldn't. It's just that when everyone tells you how pretty you are, how wonderful you are, how loving you are, you'd think something more would come of it besides a string of loser boyfriends and one very badly broken heart in there.
Who are you? Why aren't you here yet?
I love you. I just wish I could find you.
Amy bit her lip in frustration. She flipped through the box sitting on the table in front of her. Ninety-eight letters. Ninety-nine if she counted the one she was currently writing. With uncharacteristic viciousness, she tore the page out of her spiral notebook and stuffed it in the box. She slammed the lid on top and stood up. Not even bothering to finish her latte, she dumped the box into a trash can. Papers spilled everywhere, but she didn't care. One of the workers would clean it up.
As she left the Starbucks, she bumped into a man coming in. "Sorry," she muttered, keeping her head down. Amy always had a problem meeting eyes with strangers, but her apology was more gruff than usual. Her temper got the best of her and she made a break for her car, not bothering to zip up her coat. She looked back only briefly to see the young man, a knit capt obscuring his hair, bend down to pick up the papers. Hopefully to dump them in the trash.
"I'm such a moron," Amy muttered to herself as she started the car. "Moron moron moron. Why the hell did I waste my time? Even if I do get married, any guy I would marry would be so weirded out by his wife giving him a box of letters written before she even knew him."
As she put her car into gear, her cell phone rang. With a sigh, she put her car back in park and checked the phone. With another sigh, she answered. "What?"
"Aren't you just a ray of sunshine?"
"Mary, shut up."
"Is that anyway to treat a pregnant woman?"
Amy rolled her eyes, but dropped the irritation from her voice. "Sorry. Bad day."
"I heard about the job thing."
Amy drummed her fingers on the steering wheel. "Did Jeff tell you?" She let out a snarl. "Dammit, I told him not to tell anyone!"
"Relax. You'll find another job. And I have just the thing to cheer you up! Trev got us backstage tickets to the Rock for Research concert!"
Amy blinked a few times. She wondered how Mary's husband Trevor managed to get his hands on those tickets. They weren't exactly made of money, and those charity concert tickets usually cost a pretty penny. Especially with backstage passes.
"I heard about that," Amy said carefully. "I wanted to buy tickets but seeing as I have no job, I only have enough money to waste it on lattes at Starbucks and gas for my car."
Mary chuckled. "Well, now you can go. I've wanted to see both Cheshire and the Fugue State. I've never heard of Stanner Rocks, but Trevor says they're good. And we'll just have to suffer through Mousetail and Knightley."
"Hey, I like Knightley." Amy pursed her lips. "Just because they had one music video doesn't mean they totally suck."
"Whatever. Just come by and we'll hang out until it's time to leave, okay?"
"Okay." Amy hung up after a bit more pointless chitchat. She glanced towards the door of the Starbucks, but didn't see anyone due to the sun's reflection on the window. With a final sigh, she put her car into drove and headed down towards Mary's house. As she drove, she thought about what had happened. Taking all of her letters to Starbucks was a stupid move, but she needed to sit there and think. Why was she wasting her time, and her hopes, writing letters to a guy who might not even exist?
It had been a romantic notion, one born out of a sixteen year old's daydreams. The reality was that eight years later, she was far more jaded and far more weary of the world to continue writing them with the passion she'd once had. Lately, it seemed they were more of a diary to complain bitterly. They didn't have the same tone, the same romanticism of her teenaged letters. And no one wanted to read that, least of all the guy she was going to marry.
When she arrived at Mary's, she said nothing about her letters. Mary knew about them, but didn't know how prolific Amy had been, or how frustrated they made her. Trevor was still at work, and Mary worked from home as a web designer.
"So, to cheer you up, it's bad music video time!" Mary cackled at Amy's disbelieving expression. She ushered the younger girl into the door and led her to the computer room. "Sit down, I have quite a line up for us."
Amy wrinkled her nose, but sat in Trevor's computer chair. Compared to the rest of the house, the computer room was cluttered, and junk food wrappers were strewn about Trevor's computer desk. Mary's wasn't much better. Amy tried not to let the clutter bother her, and kept her attention on Mary's computer screen.
"First up," Mary said, and clicked on one of the tabs on her browser. "Losing you by Jan Terri!"
Thirty seconds in, and both Amy and Mary were crying they were laughing so hard. "This is so the worst music video ever!" Amy said, wiping at her eyes. "Her hair! The 'bad boy' on a motorcycle beneath a no parking sign! Waving at no one!"
"Singing by an industrial pond!" Mary burst out.
A few more videos, and Amy was certainly feeling much better. Mary just had that way of knowing exactly what to do to cheer her up, whether it was a movie, youtube video session, or baking cupcakes. With the letters pushed out of her mind, she could let go and be happy for a few moments, basking in laughter with her best friend.
"Now," Mary said after several videos. "The finale." She clicked on the final tab, and Amy snickered as she recognized the title of the video.
Mary just smiled and hit play. Knightley, the infamous band they were going to see later that night, were splashed across the computer screen. It was a pretty bad music video, one that generated more interest in the band than they'd gotten the rest of their existence. Because of it, they sold more CDs and got a headlining tour the year before. They'd always been something of an underground success, but when a few stations played the video on network television the band took off. It was just a shame it was in such an embarrassing way.
Nikita Otto, lead singer of the band, pranced across the screen in tight leather pants and a ruffly shirt. In every movement, Amy could sense irritation. Both the girls stifled giggles as the other three members of the band appeared dressed alike, holding their instruments. It was like something out of a bad romance novel as Nikitia wooed a mysterious lady in white running through a crowded ballroom while the band played. The concept wasn't completely terrible, but it was cliché and the production values weren't the greatest. All the band members wore make up, and the only one that seemed to enjoy himself was the flamboyant guitarist.
There were several artsy shots of Nikita singing soulfully in shadows. His hair had been bleached bone white and was styled into spikes for the video. Based on publicity photos he had grown it out so the strands would hang into his gorgeous blue-green eyes. It was a brooding style, and it seemed to suit him, if his personality in interviews was any indication.
It wasn't until the woman in white threw off her outer dress, revealing a metal bikini that would do Princess Leia proud that the girls lost control of their laughter. Amy missed the rest of the video, as she couldn't see through her tears. She knew from previous viewings that the woman and Nikita would be kissing at the end, on stage in front of shocked ball attendees.
"You have to wonder how they all managed to do that," Mary said when the music ended. "Somewhere along the line someone should have said, 'No way in hell.'"
"What makes it truly bad is how good the band is," Amy put in. "Nikita has a killer voice, and they have some serious harmonies going on there. The drummer is tight, and the guitarist is practically as good as that dude from Dragonforce."
Mary was about to reply when Trevor poked his head into the computer room. "Honey, I'm home. Bearing concert tickets!" He held up the four tickets with glee. "Jason's coming too."
Mary and Amy exchanged a glance. Trevor hadn't tried hard to hide the fact that he wanted Amy and Jason to get together. It was rather irritating, as Jason was not Amy's favorite person.
Amy checked her cell phone. It was nearly 6, and the event started at 8. Considering how huge the event was, they had to leave as soon as they could to reach the Amphitheater and get in. People were probably already camped out, waiting.
"Let's get going," she said, pulling her long brown hair into a ponytail. "We don't want to be fashionably late."
"It's not like we'll walk in front of people to get to our seats," Trevor said. "Relax, Ames. We have all access passes. That means we'll be backstage and not be bothered by screaming teenagers wanting into Nikita Otto's leather pants or to try and steal Jackson's shoes again."
Mary snickered at that. Amy herself smiled a bit. Jackon Brigger, the guitarist of the bad Mousetail, had lost his shoe during one crazy set in a smaller venue. A girl had thrown herself on stage, grabbed the show, and managed to shove it down her pants before security could drag her away. Rumor had it she sold the Converse high top on Ebay.
"You have all access tickets!" Mary seemed to snap out of her laughing fit. "That means we'll be hanging out with the bands between their sets! Oh my god, Trev!" She jumped up and kissed her husband quite thoroughly. Amy coughed, embarrassed by the extreme display of affection.
"Time to go!" she said brightly. "I'm driving!" She escaped to her car, but not before grabbing her coat.
The night air was chilly, and she could see her breath as she made her way towards her car. Trevor and Mary weren't far behind. The couple kept up a steady stream of chatter. Jason, thankfully, was meeting them at the Amphitheater and Amy wouldn't be forced to talk to him any more than necessary. He, like everyone else, was wise to Trevor's matchmaking game. Unlike Amy, he was enthusiastic about the match. Perhaps a little too enthusiastic. He gave her the creeps, so she kept her distance as much as possible.
True to form, the streets were clogged for a couple miles around the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. "God, I hate driving in St. Louis," Amy muttered as she went ahead ten feet. "Almost as bad as a Cardinals game."
After what seemed like an eternity, Amy pulled into a parking space quite a distance away from the doors. The three of them hiked to the Amphitheater, giggling and shivering in the cold. Jason was waiting for them, bundled up in a leather jacket. He wasn't bad looking. In fact, he had soft brown eyes and dark curly hair that made him quite attractive. But his personality left something to be desired.
"Hey, Amy," he said, his smile a bit too wide.
Amy edged closer to Mary, who gave her a sympathetic look. Trevor handed out the tickets, which they flashed to the security guard.
"How did you get these, anyway?" Jason asked as a man in a suit led them through a dark corridor, past the lines of people waiting to get to their seats. More than a few people shot them dirty looks. Amy took it all in stride. The amphitheater was huge, and she'd never seen this part of it, the behind the scenes.
"My boss couldn't go," Trevor replied. "So he gave them to me since I was the first to finish my work today."
"Lucky," Mary said.
The man in the suit, who introduced himself as Cheshire's Manager's assistant ("What a mouthful. Do you think it's written just like that on his businesscard?" Amy had whispered to Mary, who giggled so much the man glared at her), led them through another set of doors.
Several people milled around. Mostly roadies carrying equipment and people with clipboards and earpieces rushing around.
A young woman wearing all black and a crooked crown on her mane of black hair held onto a man in a similar outfit. A woman was lacing her into a corset.
"Look," Jason said, nudging Amy. "Julia from Cheshire."
"Why is she getting dressed out here?" Amy asked, eying the signs of the dressing rooms. Each had a handmade sign for each of the bands.
"Probably not enough room. Those are long corset strings," Mary observed.
The man didn't say anything as he led them to the odd trio. "Julia, Garland, these are our all access pass holders."
Julia looked over her shoulder at the four, and a brilliant smile crossed her ruby lips. "How great to see you all!" Her Liverpool accent rolled off her tongue. "Goin' to enjoy the show, ay?"
"Looking forward to it," Trevor said, his eyes wide. Mary nudged him with a snicker. Julia was a gorgeous woman, and Amy didn't blame Trevor for staring. The woman tied off the corset.
"There ya go," she said in an equally thick accent. "Should loosen up just enough by the time ya go on stage."
"Thanks, love," Julia said. "Pardon us, but we have to go finish getting ready. See ya round." She and Garland disappeared into their dressing room.
"Well, isn't this fascinating," Jason said.
"Well, like a bunch of famous bands are going to have time to make small talk with us." Amy rolled her eyes. "At least you can tell everyone on Facebook that you watched Julia Vesper get laced into a corset."
"There is that," Jason said, and he started to pull out his iPhone.
"This is ridiculous!" One of the dressing room doors was thrown open. "Are you seriously telling me I can't drink?!"
"God, Ives, shut the hell up and get back in here."
"I'm a rock star, for god's sake. We're supposed to be alcoholics!"
A man came barreling out of the dressing room, his pants ripped and his leather jacket over a bare chest. Amy always thought Alan Ives was trying to hard. But it certainly didn't backfire. He was almost as popular as his band mate, Nikita Otto. Who was currently chasing after Ives.
Ives was so angry, and so determined, that he plowed right into Amy, sending the both of them crashing to the ground. Ives was at least half a foot taller, and more muscular than Amy, so he was no light thing. She let out a little shriek, surprised by a hundred and eighty pounds of male falling right on top of her. But her shriek was cut short as all the breath whooshed out of her lungs.
A sharp pain in her chest told her she'd had the wind knocked out of her, and she couldn't seem to gather her thoughts enough to push Ives away as she desperately tried to get oxygen.
Ives was pulled off of her, but she couldn't get the strength to push herself to sitting position. She lay gasping, her eyes wild as she stared at Nikita Otto, the man who pulled Ives off of her.
"Get her a glass of water, goddammit!" Nikita yelled. He dropped to his knees, and with Trevor's help, pulled her up until she was sitting straight. Someone handed him a water bottle.
Amy couldn't take her eyes off of Nikita. He'd been extremely attractive in the music video, but here, face to face, it was unreal. Not his looks, but the fact that she'd only seen him in pictures before. With Julia, there hadn't been this moment of surreality. Part of it probably had to do with the fact that her lungs burned and her head was spinning.
"Are you all right?"
Amy couldn't get the breath to speak. Nikita handed her the water bottle, but Amy didn't think she could swallow if she tried.
"Just breathe, Amy. Just breathe." Mary's voice was soothing. Amy closed her eyes as her friend rubbed her back in gentle circles. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, she managed to get her breathing regulated.
Ives had disappeared. Probably to sneak alcohol or something stupid like that.
"I'm sorry, Amy," Nikita said. "Ives is a troll."
"It's okay," she replied after taking a sip of the water. She didn't feel quite ready to get to her feet yet.
"You can lay down on our dressing room couch if you need to." Nikita smiled. "At least until you feel better."
Amy nodded, and Nikita and Trevor once again worked together to lift her to her feet. She leaned more heavily on Trevor than Nikita. The singer unnerved her. He was probably only being nice because he'd halfway caused her to get hurt. She was already feeling better, but she didn't want to say anything.
An aide opened the door, and Nikita set her down on a couch. The other two band members, Eric Lemp and Kale Ostero watched in curiosity.
"You sure you're all right?" Nikita asked.
Amy nodded, and she took another sip of water. She looked around the spacious dressing room. Clothes were strewn about, as well as several soda cans. It looked lived in, though she knew the bands had only arrived in St. Louis the night before. Well, they were guys, what else was she to expect?
"What happened, Nik?" Eric asked.
"Ives flattened her." Nikita frowned. "Are you sure he wasn't drinking earlier?"
"I've been with him all day, up til now," Kale said. "Unless he managed to sneak some when I was in the bathroom, he's dry."
"Dammit." Nikita ran a hand through his white hair. "He's going to do a lot worse than run over some girl if he doesn't stop."
"He's not going to stop. It's part of his image." Eric's voice was brittle. As if he too were about to snap.
Trevor, Amy, Mary, and Jason all watched in fascination as the band aired their dirty laundry in front of them as if they didn't even exist.
"Five minute call for Stanner Rocks!" someone yelled outside the open door.
"Yeah, well, being drunk at an after party is one thing. Being drunk on stage can ruin us. And we've had enough embarrassment for a lifetime." Nikita grabbed a handful of guitar picks from the table and threw them at Eric. "Give those to Ives when we go on stage. I'm not going to talk to him when he's being like this." He stalked from the room, anger radiating in his wake.
"Well, this is new." Kale spoke in a flat tone. "Aren't we a bit one the new side to have addiction problems?"
Eric glanced nervously at the newcomers. "I guess I know what's going to be in the tabloids tomorrow."
The four exchanged awkward looks. Things were just going swimmingly.
Author's Note: I know this isn't the third story of the Sun series, but I couldn't help it. I've had this chapter half written on my computer FOREVER and I finally decided to do something with it. It wasn't until I was watching a music video of a heavy metal cover of Bad Romance that I decided a rock band should be involved (I'm not even joking), as rock star stories are my guilty pleasure. The music video Amy and Mary are watching is so unreal. I'll link it in my profile, but you can find it if you search "worst music video ever" on youtube.