1. Chapter 1 by PhantomPirate7
2. Chapter 2: On The Road to Texas by PhantomPirate7
3. Chapter 3: Are We There Yet? by PhantomPirate7
4. Chapter 4: On The Road Again by PhantomPirate7
5. Chapter 5: Tyler Means Starting Fresh? by PhantomPirate7
6. Chapter 6: No Pudding, No Proof by PhantomPirate7
7. Chapter 7: Always Seem to Be Meeting Up by PhantomPirate7
8. Chapter 8: Trouble by PhantomPirate7
Britt Nicole had finished her set, and was off to the left of the stage, working on putting away her & her bands gear. Finishing lugging the bass guitar off, she came back to wrap up a few other pieces of equipment.
Jason's eyes flicked down left and he saw Britt putting away her equipment. After she was done with the bass, he noticed that a person had slipped in nearby. Going back to the audience, he waved to a little girl who was being balanced on her dad's shoulders, not thinking too much about it. By the time he reached the first chorus, he looked back over and noticed the person was now closer to her... He was not one of the security guards. He began to get a bit nervous. Moving closer to where Britt was standing, he waited til a break in the singing came, and he leaned forward. "Britt!" he hissed.
She didn't hear him.
Looking back at the unknown person, he saw that he had moved closer to her, and was almost down right in front of the stage.
He froze for a bit, and missed his cue.
"Jason!" he heard Daniel call to him, "c'mon, you missed your cue!"
Jason jumped off the stage, "Go with me on this!" he yelled back.
Walking right up to Britt, he took her hand, "C'mon."
Climbing back up the stage with her, he announced, "Everyone, Britt Nicole!"
The audience cheered, and Jason gave her an extra mic, "Sing with me."
She glared at him, "What are you, crazy? I don't know the lyrics!"
"Just go with me on this, there easy lyrics," he said, letting go of her hand.
She rolled her eyes, but sang part of the chorus with him.
Jason noticed that the person had disappeared, and he furrowed his eyebrows in concern.
Wrapping up the song, he announced again, "Britt Nicole, everyone! Give her a hand, she did great!"
She smiled and waved, then turned to Jason, "You're insane, you do know that right?"
"Hey, listen Britt; can you hang around on the stage til we're done?"
She scoffed, "Why? No more surprise singing I hope? Look, Jason, I'm tired ..."
"I know, and I understand. Look, um, you can sit down on a chair, but I'd feel better if you stuck close by til we're done."
She rolled her eyes, "Fine. I sure hope you have a good excuse for this..."Satisfied with her response, the band kicked off "Hello".
About three songs later, they finished the last song, and were cleaning up their gear, when Jason went over to her. "C'mon, I'll explain what happened."
Britt sat on the chair, arms crossed, listening intently to his story.
"He reminded me of that killer the police are looking for. He just came out of nowhere, and was heading right for you."
"It was probably one of the security guards."
"No, it wasn't. He didn't look like any of them. I didn't get any close-ups, but his structure didn't fit any of the guards."
"I highly doubt it's the killer they've been looking for, Jason. I mean, why come in here?"
"I don't know. I don't have an answer, but I do know what I saw."
Britt sighed and stood. "I appreciate your concern, really I do. Jason, you've worked hard on this tour, and I know you're tired. You need to go catch some zzzzs. Just go ahead, take it easy, and catch a nap. Everything is fine! I promise."
Jason just looked at her in disbelief.
"And next time you want to sing together, a notice more than one minute before would be nice. I'll see you later, and take a long nap, relax, it was nothing."
With that, she turned and walked off behind stage, leaving Jason standing there in awe. She didn't believe him.
"Hey Britt, what's going on?" Matt asked her, taking a sip of his water.
She let out a long sigh. "Oh, Matt... Jason thinks there is a stalker after me."
Matt sat his water down and looked at her. "What do you think?"
"I don't know... I think maybe he just needs some sleep."
"You know Britt, Jason may be crazy sometimes... but he's a friend, and I don't think he'd joke about something so serious."
"What do I do about it, Matt? I guess I was somewhat mean to him... it just seems so insane for a stalker to be after me. I just don't get it."
"I wouldn't dismiss it totally Britt. Jason's a great guy, and if it really is something this serious, I wouldn't just discard it."
"I guess you're right, Matt."
"I know I am, Britt. You can ask my wife, she had a stalker once too, and didn't believe me, of course until he broke into the house. She believes everything I say now. I've gotta go call her and tell her, I can't have any more children due to a medical problem. Catcha later."
"Maybe you should talk to Jason some more, Britt." He stood up, and gave her knee a pat, "Don't worry, everything will be okay."
As she watched Matt walk off, she hoped he was right. Standing, she started towards her trailer. She stopped, hesitantly, outside Hawk Nelson's trailer. "Maybe Jason was right. Maybe someone was out to hurt me." With indecision, she continued to her own trailer, hoping she could sleep well that night.
Chapter 2: On the Road to Texas
The morning sun crept through the RV’s window blinds slits, and found their way to Britt’s face. Feeling a shaking movement by her feet, she moaned and turned on her side.
"Britt, its six a.m. C’mon, we’re getting ready to go on the road."
She sat up slowly, to see Matt at the foot of her bed. "Can’t I just sleep for another thirty minutes?"
Matt laughed softly, "No, sorry Britt. We’re all packing up things and we could use an extra hand. Then we’re going to get some breakfast at the Cracker Barrel… and Aaron’s treating."
Almost instantly, she became more alert, "Breakfast? The Cracker Barrel? Okay, I’m awake."
Almost as soon as she went outside, she grimaced inwardly at seeing Jason. That was the only bad thing about this tour… she wouldn’t be able to avoid him very well.
"Morning, Britt!" Aaron said with a wave.
"Hey Aaron. What do you need me to help move?"
"You can help Jas get my drum set. He’s over there," he said thumbing back to the stage door.
Inwardly Britt groaned. "Sure," she said, hiding her feelings.
She stuffed her hands in her pockets, and walked towards Jason. He let the door close behind him, and was carrying the center drum of Aaron’s set when he saw her. "Hey Britt! Morning," he said cheerily.
She was surprised at his good mood, considering all that happened last night, and how she had treated him. "Good morning, Jason." She helped him put the drum away, and then they both went back to get some more instruments.
"That was the last piece of Aaron’s drum set, but I’m just going to go ahead and put some more away."
She nodded, "I’ll help you."
She picked up Daniel’s guitar, while Jason grabbed a box of equipment. Her mind reeled as she followed Jason. "Why is he always so nice to me?" She couldn’t help but wonder what he could be after. As Jason was adjusting things to make more room, she headed back for the some of the amps, when she heard him say, "One of the amps in there is heavier, I’ll get that one in a sec, I’m just straightening out this mess a bit."
Britt eyed the amps, and she turned when she heard Jason talking, but she couldn’t hear what he was saying. She turned back to the amps, and grabbed one. She just wanted it all put away as soon as possible --- the eggs and bacon called to her greatly. She whirled around, but hadn’t seen Jason coming towards her. Before she knew all of what was happening, an ‘Oomph’ was heard and the amplifier dropped.
Her mouth dropped open. Jason stood in front of her, his hand on his temple, which was now red from where he’d been hit. She’d glanced from Jason to the amplifier, which lay shattered on the ground. "Jason, I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there…"
Jason shrugged it off, "No problem, it was an accident. Don‘t even give it a second thought."
Aaron had jogged over, "My amp! What happened?"
"It’s my fault," Britt admitted. "I’m sorry Aaron."
"Mine, too. I didn’t tell Britt I was behind her," he paused, "I’ll get you another one Aaron."
"But what about breakfast, Jas?"
"Bring me back something, but hold the eggs."
Matt noticed how quiet Britt was as they sat at the Cracker Barrel enjoying their breakfast. He nudged her gently, "Hey, what’s getting you down?"
She frowned, "I’m such a klutz. I broke Aaron’s amp, and hit Jason in the head. No one’s ever going to want to tour with me if I’m always injuring them."
"C’mon now, you know that isn’t true. Don’t be so hard on yourself; the guys aren’t mad at you. Jason will buy another amp, and his bruise will be temporary. But if I know Jason, he probably doesn’t mind the injury," Matt said with a grin.
Britt smiled a bit, "For real?"
Matt chuckled, "Definitely. Check out their pod casts."
Breakfast was finished, and Aaron had left a hefty tip, especially since the waitress not only was nice, but attractive and they both had participated in some light flirting.
Aaron was paying at the cashier, when Jason came through the door. "Hey, everyone."
"Hey Jason, were you able to get Aaron’s amp?"
"Yes, it took me awhile, but I finally found one. How was the breakfast?"
"Good. We got you some blueberry pancakes," Daniel answered, handing him the carry out box.
"Thanks," Jason said with a smile. He drummed on the lid absent-mindedly, before quietly asking Daniel, "So…how’s Britt doing?"
Daniel looked at him, a coy smile on his face. "This is a surprise to me, Jas. However, I can see where this could be going. She’s doing okay. She’s been really quiet the whole morning, barely said a word to anyone, except Matt."
Jason didn’t say anything, but Daniel kept his intense stare on him. Finally, Jason chuckled. "Nothing is happening. I just worry about her."
Daniel smiled widely. "Nothing yet. Besides, usually the caring comes first." He punched him in the arm, "Anyway, remember to make me best man at the wedding."
He laughed when Jason turned a bit red.
"Ha-ha, laugh I t up," Jason’s face suddenly became more serious. "I’m worried about the next show Daniel."
"How come? I mean, you’ve had your hair black since the start of the tour…"
Jason grinned a bit, "No, it’s not the hair… but speaking of it, you won’t let it go that I changed the color."
"Sorry, I like it better blonde."
"Someone’s following Britt… and you know about that killer the Police have been pursuing for months?"
"I think he may be the one following her. I’m just concerned he’ll be here again tonight."
Daniel frowned, "Have you tried calling the police?"
Jason shook his head, "She doesn’t believe me. Britt chalked it up there with me being tired."
Daniel cringed, "Ouch. Burn. What are you going to do?"
"I’m going to keep an eye out tonight. She was a bit mad at me last time, since I said she was going to sing with us."
Daniel nodded, but didn’t get to say anything else, as the others came up, all but Aaron.
Daniel turned and saw Aaron chatting with the waitress. He let out a whistle, "Yo Lover boy! We’ve gotta get going!"
Aaron turned and shot him the meanest scowl. He scribbled down some things and handed them to her with a smile. Jogging back to the group, he announced, "Okay, I’m ready!"
As they were walking back to the joint hotel, Aaron grinned widely. "I’ve got a surprise for you guys!"
Daniel groaned, "Ugh… I hate surprises…"
"Hey! This is a good one, I promise!"
"What is it?" Britt asked curiously.
"Well… Since, we’re going to be on this tour for a long time, I figured it would be good to get to know each other even better. So, I’ve worked it all out, and we’ll be sharing a tour bus to Texas."
Chapter 3: Are We There Yet?
Daniel looked at him, "And how are we going to all share a tour bus? They’re kind of limited in bunks Aaron."
Jason looked at Britt, and saw that she looked nervous. "Maybe we should just stick to our own buses, Aaron. It’s a good idea, but…" He moved closer to Britt, and was about to continue, when she interrupted him.
"No, No. Jason I’m okay with this really. I think it’s a great idea Aaron."
Matt looked at Jason, who looked a bit wounded, and then at Britt -- who definitely looked uncomfortable.
"Awesome! I knew you’d be cool with this, Britt!" Aaron hooked his arm around her neck playfully, "You’re just like one of the guys!"
"Thanks… I think," Britt muttered.
"Well, if it’s all settled then, I’ll let the other guys know, and we’ll be back down in about ten minutes so we can get on the road," Matt stated.
"Sure thing! We’ll see you then," Aaron said.
As the rest of them climbed the stairs, Daniel looked at Aaron. "I hope you got that waitress’ number, ‘cause when Britt kills you sometime tomorrow I’ll have to know your next of kin."
Aaron gave him a shove, "Shut up, Danny!"
Britt stood in her dressing room throwing in a few more things to her suitcase. She was mad at herself for not saying no to Aaron’s suggestion and all because she didn’t want Jason sticking up for her. "I’m such a jerk," she thought. "He seems like a great guy, and I can’t just trust him!"
Slamming her suitcase shut, she picked up her other two, and started down the stairs. Seeing Jason and Daniel out of the corner of her eye, made her want to get down the stairs even more. "Maybe there’s an elevator!" Her eyes scoured the floor for the elevator, only to see the dread ‘Out of Order’ sign posted on its doors. Letting out a sigh, she began going down the stairs, lugging the heavy suitcases behind her.
Jason saw Britt leave her dressing room, and struggle with the suitcases down the stairs. She’d hurt him earlier… but he still felt he should help her. "I’ll be back in a bit Daniel…"
Britt stopped a bit to get a better grip on her shoulder bag, when suddenly the largest suitcase on wheels, rolled forward. Grabbing at it, she couldn’t get a grip and the suitcase continued rolling.
Jason saw the suitcase roll down the stairs, and Britt desperately trying to get it back. He broke out into a run, and dashed by her and after the suitcase.
Britt had dropped her other suitcases, and started to jog down the steps after the runaway, when a cold breeze brushed past her, startled she looked to see Jason chasing after the suitcase.
She blew a stray piece of hair off her face. No matter what she couldn’t escape him.
Jason was gaining on the suitcase, but knew he couldn’t stop in time, before it barreled into Jeremy Camp at the bottom of the base level. Hopping onto the banister, he let himself slide down, the rest of two levels. He would most definitely beat the suitcase this way. Reaching the base level, he jumped off the banister, and landed by Jeremy, who looked startled to see him.
Jason stuck his foot out, "Hey, Jeremy!" he said just as the suitcase thumped his foot.
"Hey, Jas, how’s it goin’?" Jeremy glanced down at the suitcase, "I had that happen to me once. I’m just going to say you handled the recovery much smoother than I did."
"Really? I’d like to hear that story sometime," Jason said, a bit out of breath. He looked to see Britt was almost at the bottom level.
"I got it, Britt," he picked up the suitcase, but hadn’t realized the latch had come undone, spilling all of the clothes over the bottom steps. He looked down, "Oops…"
Britt flushed. "Great, now it’s just gotten worse. My clothes and everything is exposed to two men… I just want to get to Texas…"
Jason looked embarrassed and Jeremy couldn’t stifle his laugh any longer.
Britt shook her head and bent down and began to put the clothes back in the suitcase, when the tour bus horn honked.
"We better hurry up," Jeremy said.
Jason kneeled down, "I’ll help you put it back."
Embarrassed, she grabbed all of her panties and bras into her arms, "Um… okay… You don’t have to help but… thanks Jason."
"It’s no prob… ‘Sides, I spilled them all. I didn’t know it wasn’t latched."
She smiled, which he returned, and her eyes locked with his for a moment… Until Daniel came in.
"You guys coming? We’re all ready."
Britt cleared her throat, "Yeah, we’re coming."
She threw in her undergarments, and both she and Jason stood. As Jason held open the door for her, she made a mental note: "Avoid Jason as much as possible on the remainder of the tour."
Chapter 4: On The Road Again
Their had been some tension over the lack of bunks on the one bus, a problem Aaron hadn’t thought of, which finally was fixed. Jason had given up what was going to be his bunk for Britt, and now he had the love seat all to himself. Matt took the window seat, and Aaron since it was his idea, got the lowest bunk bed.
Daniel and Jeremy sat, both strumming their guitars and throwing lyrics and song ideas back and forth.
Britt was writing in her journal, while Matt was on the phone with Sarah, and Jason had just hung up his cell.
"I miss you, hon," Matt said as he brushed over his wedding band. "How’s Emmy? Really? She is? I wish I could be there…"
He let out a sigh.
His phone beeped and he looked at the picture that was now on his screen. Little Emmy sat in her high chair, strawberry ice cream spilt on the tray, and chubby sticky ice cream fingers in her hair, and her mouth had an ice cream mustache.
Matt could tell from the photo she was giggling. He smiled, then laughed. "Sarah, I’m afraid I’ve passed my bad eating habits to our daughter."
He heard Sarah’s sweet laughter from the other end, and he missed them even more.
"A playdate? Okay. Give Emmy a kiss for me. I love you, Sarah."
"I love and miss you too, Matt." he heard Sarah say quietly.
Matt hung up and looked at the photo again. Smiling, he selected it as his wallpaper.
"Hey Matt, is that Emmy?" Jason asked, who had been sitting next to him.
"Yeah, it is. Sarah just sent it to me."
Jason smiled sadly, "She’s really cute, Matt."
Matt smiled, "Thank you." He looked at Jason, "What’s wrong?"
"I just got off the phone with my brother. He and his wife were expecting a baby, and she went into labor 2 days ago. The baby was born still-born today."
Matt was shocked and saddened, "I’m so sorry, Jas." He reached over and hugged Jason. "I’ll be praying."
"Thanks Matt," Jason said.
Matt pulled out of the hug, and got up. "Jas and everyone, would you like something to drink?"
After receiving the ‘orders’, Matt left to get everyone’s drinks.
Britt closed her journal, and let out a sigh. She felt really bad for Jason, but she wasn’t as close to him as matt was and didn’t know to respond as well. "Jason," she started.
He looked at her, and she fumbled with frayed corner on her journal. "I’m sorry about your brother and his wife."
"Thanks Britt," he paused, "I just wasn’t expecting it, you know?"
She nodded. "I don’t think anyone does."
Matt came back with the water and sat back down. He pulled out his cell again and dialed.
"Hey! You’ve reached Matt T. leave a message!"
"Hey Matt, it’s… Matt," he said with a chuckle.
"Hey there! So what’s goin’ on?"
"We’re on our way to Texas right now."
"Awesome! So how is everyone?"
Matt stood up and walked over to the lounge seat and sat down, "Everyone’s pretty good. Jas and Britt are having a harder time though."
"Why, what’s wrong?"
"Jason’s brother and his wife lost their baby and Jas thinks a stalker is following Britt, and he’s trying to keep her safe."
There was silence for a moment. Then Matty laughed. "I’m sorry to hear about the baby. What I’m laughing at is Britt and Jason."
"What? Why? It’s something serious."
"Not that part. ‘Keeping her safe’ part. Matt, think of the possibilities!"
"Yes, I know."
"You have to set them up Matt!"
"No, I don’t. If things happen, I’m letting them happen on there own, not forcing them."
Matty sighed, "You’re no fun, you know that?"
"I’m a lot of fun!"
"If you won’t do it, then I will."
"Don’t even, Matt. Just leave them alone."
"Trust me, alright? I’ve played Cupid before and I did a good job too…" He trailed off waiting for Matt to confirm.
There was silence.
Matty sighed, "Ah Matt… tsk tsk. You know very well who I’m talking about. Just think, sweet precious darling little Emmy, wouldn’t have been if I wouldn’t have introduced you to Sarah."
Matt sighed, "I know, and I’m glad you did."
"You two connected instantly. Beautiful it really was, I did a great job."
Matt rolled his eyes at his comment. "Yes, we did," he smiled, thinking back to that day. "I just think it’s a bad idea. Britt’s not ready for it. She has a wall put up towards Jason."
"Why? He’s a nice guy."
"I don’t know. Just promised me you won’t try it?"
"Oh wow! There’s the doorbell. Gotta go! C’ya later Matt!"
When there was no response he hung up, hoping that he wouldn’t play Cupid again.
Daniel sat down next to Jason. "Do you wanna go back home for a bit?"
"I mentioned that to them. But they said they don’t want me to miss out on some of the tour."
Daniel nodded. "So… how long has it been?"
"How long has what been?"
"Since you’ve had ‘eyes’ for her?" he said, batting his eyelashes.
Jason chuckled. "I didn’t say I had ‘eyes’ for her."
"Jas, man, when are you going to realize, that actions speak louder than words? And you don’t have to say a darn thing."
Jason didn’t say anything at first. "I care about her."
"I know. We ll do, but I think your caring is different and goes deeper."
"It does," Jason said quietly.
"But Britt doesn’t like me it’s obvious."
"Pshaw," Daniel said with a wave of his hand, "She’s just playing hard to get. Girls do it all the time."
Jason shook his head. "I don’t think so. She seems to want to avoid me at all cost."
"Hmm… Maybe you’re right, but they’ve always played hard to get with me."
"Maybe they’re not playing," Jason said laughing.
Daniel ribbed him. "Shut up!"
"So, if you know so much about women how come you don’t have a girlfriend?"
Daniel shrugged, "I dunno. I guess I haven’t really been looking."
Jason noticed Daniel sounded distant. "Are you okay?"
Daniel grinned. "Yeah, I’m fine."
Jason thought he’d been thinking back about something sad, but didn’t press it any further.
"Hey guys!" Jonathon said, "We’re almost in Tyler!"
"Really?" Daniel asked, "Awesome!"
When Jonathon left, Daniel turned back to Jason. "Don’t give up man. If she does like you, she’ll come around.’
Jason just nodded. Daniel got up, and walked away. Jason rubbed his eyes, knowing that what Daniel said wouldn’t happen.
Chapter 5: Tyler Means Starting Fresh?
The tour bus pulled into the back lot of the arena, and the groups were ready and anxious for the concert -- especially after being in the tour bus all day.
Daniel massaged his neck and looked at Aaron. "Don’t ever suggest that again, please. It was very tight in there…" he paused, "and you kept me up half the night text-messaging that waitress…" he grumbled.
"Her name’s Wendy, and I’m sorry for keeping you awake… but I wanted to talk to her."
"O.K. fine, Wendy then. Is there anyway to turn your text messaging to silent?"
"I’ll look," Aaron offered.
"Thanks," then Daniel grinned, "maybe you should call next time. Your bill will probably be outrageous!"
Aaron laughed, "Yeah, probably will be."
"Is anyone hungry?" Jonathon asked.
"I think we all are," Matt said coming up alongside Jonathon.
They all headed for the cafeteria, Jason and Britt lagging behind. Entering the cafeteria, they all got their food as quickly as possible, and sat down.
"Where’s Jeremy?" Aaron asked suddenly.
"He was with us coming in," Britt said, surprised he wasn’t in for the food.
"I’ll go find him," Jonathon said, getting up.
Fifteen minutes had passed before Jonathon returned. "I found him."
Jeremy walked in, with a surprise guest. "Sorry, guys, I couldn’t keep him out. I tried security and everything.." he said with a wide grin.
They looked, surprised to see Matt Thiessen standing next to Jeremy.
"FYI Jeremy, I actually bypassed security," he said with a mischievous smile on his face.
Jeremy laughed, "I don’t believe you for a moment."
Matt stood up and went over to Matty, "Hey man! This is a great surprise! I wasn’t expecting you to come! It’s great to see you again!"
"Thanks, you too! After our convo last night, I caught the red eye here."
"Why don’t you join us for some food?"
"Sure! Those Chewy bars on the flight don’t do much for me, but they sure did help the Chatty cathy next to me, even if it was only for a few minutes. She was very informative for a five year old -- and quite interesting."
Matt laughed, "If I know you, you didn’t mind the talk, especially from children. You gave her the Chewy since she was still hungry after the first one, didn’t you?"
Matty sat backwards on the chair. "She was sweet. I couldn’t say no to her. She even offered me her Ken doll, and went into great detail of her storyline."
"You played with her, didn’t you?"
"There are some things about me you will never know, Matt. That is one of my many ones." Matty said with a smirk.
Matt laughed, "Have some breakfast with us."
After breakfast had been eaten, Jeremy announced he had someone he wanted them to meet.
"Guys, this is Chad. He’s the newest crew member. He’ll be driving one of the tour buses."
"Hey, welcome Chad!" Daniel said, shaking his hand.
The others said similar greets, and then Jeremy introduced him to everyone. "Steven’s not here right now, but you’ll get to meet him later."
"It must be weird being the only girl on the tour," Chad said to Britt.
"It was, especially at first. I’ve become a little more adjusted," she replied. The last words fell more quieter, as her gaze fell on Jason. "Mostly adjusted."
Chad followed her gaze as well. "Is he your boyfriend?"
Her gaze was broken, and she laughed. "Oh no! No he’s not my boyfriend, that’s just Jason."
Now Jason was looking in their direction.
"Hey man!" Daniel said, poking Jason.
"What?" Jason said looking at him.
"Britt was looking at you!"
Jason nodded solemnly. "I know."
Daniel rolled his eyes. "All right, you know what? I’m tired of your moping, even if it’s just for a day. We’re doing something fun! Something that doesn’t involve women .. Particularly Britt!" Daniel turned Jason sideways, "March!"
After they left the room, Daniel announced. "We’re gong to go play some hockey. You could use some fresh air. We’ll go see what Texas has to offer."
"Daniel, I…" Jason stated, but stopped when he saw a woman walking down the hall, carrying a baby on her hip, and another woman was with her.
"Isn’t that Sarah and Emmy?" Jason asked.
"I think so…"
Sarah came over to them. "Hi! Jason and Daniel, right?"
"That’s us… maybe. It depends on what we’re in trouble for," Daniel joked.
Sarah laughed, "Actually, I was wondering if you know where Matt is?"
Sarah followed Daniel and Jason back to the cafeteria, the unknown girl following behind.
"Matt, there’s a surprise for you."
Both Matt’s in the room looked, "What is it?"When Matt (H that is J) saw Sarah he stood up. "Sarah!"
He quickly went over and embraced her. "I’m glad you came!" he kissed Sarah then looked at Emmy. "Emmy! She’s grown so much in just two months!" He placed a kiss on her soft-blonde hair. Then he saw the other girl. "Sam!" He hugged her, "Wow! This is great!"
Matty stood up from his chair and came over, "Aww… poor Emmy…"
Matt instantly looked concerned, "What? What’s wrong with her?"
Matty grinned devishly, "Nothing, just the fact she looks like you."
Matt frowned, but Sarah turned to Matty. "Matty, I know you’re our friend, but I won’t let you talk to him like that." Raising her hand, she hit Matty on the back of his head.
Matty scowled, but not for long -- cause that’s when he saw her. Long brown hair, gorgeous eyes. "Wow. She’s cute," he said grinning.
Matt looked, "That’s my sister."
"Uh huh," Matty said pushing past him. He walked right up to her, "Hi, I’m Matt."
"Sam," she said with a smile, as she shook his hand.
Matt stood there watching Matty talk and flirt with his sister, a small grin on his face. "Matty, Matty. If you only knew."
"What?" Jason said, who’d been standing next to him.
"I read Relient’s book, and I know what type of girl she is -- I’m just not going to tell him."
"C’mon Jas, let’s have some guy downtime."
Daniel pulled into the parking lot of the skating rink. "We’re going to play a few rounds, of which I’ll win of course."
"I’m getting some food inside. I’m hungry and it took you an hour to get here."
"Calm down Jas, the map was wrong."
"Or maybe you got lost?"
"No, no. It was the map. Don’t make me ruffle your mo -- chill out. When you got girl troubles you’ve gotta go do manly things."
"All right, I know I’m being grumpy. I’m sorry Daniel."
"Don’t sweat it," he replied.
After getting on their gear and skates, they went onto the rink.
Usually Jason got into playing hockey, but he just couldn’t anymore. All is mind could focus on was Britt and the stalker.
Britt was setting up the stage for her opening set.
She heard someone call her name and looked down to see Chad standing at the base of the stage.
"Oh, hi Chad! I’m just setting up for my set tonight."
"Need an extra hand?"
"No, I’m good, thanks." She let out a sigh. "Is Jason still here?"
"I overheard he and Daniel talking about going to play some hockey."
She nodded, "Oh okay."
"Whatever you need him for, I can probably help you with just as well."
She was a bit taken aback by the tone in his voice, but figured he meant nothing by it, and was just trying to help. "Oh, it’s nothing."
"I can leave a note for him when he comes back if you’d like."
She smiled, "No, that’s all right, but thanks Chad."
"Sure, no prob."
Matt came up behind her. "Hey Britt, how you holding up?"
"I’m doing pretty good Matt, thanks. I’m a bit tired. I think I’ll go get some Joe."
"Sounds good for me too. I’d like you to meet my wife, Sarah."
"Hi Sarah! It’s great to meet you, I’m Britt."
"You too! Matt’s told me we’d probably get along great."
Britt laughed, "I hope so. Would you like to join me for some Starbucks? Maybe Sam would like to come also."
Matt rolled his eyes, "If you can detach Matt from her hip."
Daniel and Jason had wrapped up their hockey ‘game’, and Daniel had won.
Walking the towards the car, Daniel looked at him. "Jas, I suck at hockey and I still won! This really bothers you. But I see why, it’s very serious."
"I’m just really nervous about tonight… If this guy is the stalker the cops are looking for, then why show his face?"
"You saw his face?"
"Only the outline. I wish I saw it more, then if it is him, I could’ve called the cops and none of this would be happening."
"Let’s see if there’s any news about it on the radio," Daniel stated.
He switched it to AM radio, and backed out of the space without looking. He smashed into a Jaguar that was driving by.
Daniel yelled in shock, and then his mouth made the perfect ‘O’. Squealing his tires he left the irate blonde by the Jaguar giving him the "bye bye birdie".
Jason looked at him in shock. "You could’ve killed her!"
"What?! I’m Daniel Biro of the Hawk Nelson -- I can’t go to prison!"
He switched it to AM radio, and backed out of the space, when a bulletin came on the radio.
"’The police have recently discovered that the Stalker of the South has changed his appearance. According to an anonymous source, it is rumored that the person has had plastic surgery.’"
Jason looked at Daniel, his mouth agape.
They were both speechless.
Chapter 6: No Pudding. No Proof
That was all Daniel could say.
Jason groaned, "This just makes it worse! How am I supposed to find out who this guy is?"
"You’re going to have to become a detective. You’ll have to watch for him, look for similarities between him and other people around you or Britt. No one’s ever going to know as long as your subtle," Daniel paused. "I think I’ve made an honorary member of the Hardy Boys."
"Then I guess I’m Frank," Jason said somberly.
Daniel shook his head. "No, you’re Joe."
"Why am I…" then Jason stopped. "I get it. You like the blonde better. You just can’t accept the darker hair can you?"
"I’m sorry! I liked it better blonde."
Jason just shook his hand, but there was a tug of a smile on his lips.
"I’m thirsty. How about we drop in at the Starbucks up ahead?"
Sarah, Britt and Sam sat the table talking and enjoying their Mocha frappucinos.
"That was so sweet of you to come down and see matt. He really missed you and Emmy," Britt said.
"We missed him too. I think Emmy even knew he wasn’t there. She’d cry for a bit after I put her to bed, because he’d always read a story to her at bedtime. So, I thought it’d be good to come down."
"I wanted to see Matt too… I’ve missed him. Plus, I thought Texas would be really cool … and it is, I love it!"
"I’m hoping to see some more things here before we leave," Britt replied.
"Was Matt T. hitting on you, Sam?"
Sam laughed a little, "Yes … mercilessly."
"Do you like him?" Sarah asked playfully.
Sam bit her lower lip. "Yeah, he’s cute, but I think I’ll play with him a bit."
"You mean play hard to get?" Britt asked.
"Oh, Sam… Matty is most definitely a hand full, but to play hard to get that’s being mean."
"Don’t most guys like that?"
"Matt wasn’t like that. We both clicked right away. We met casually for some coffee, and it just furthered from there."
"That’s so sweet," Britt said quietly.
"Are you okay?" Sam asked.
She smiled faintly. "Yeah, sure, I’m good."
"So… I shouldn’t play hard to get?"
"I think you should just be cool. See what he does next -- if anything -- then if you like him, go with it from there."
"Okay. I guess I’ll try."
"Britt, are you sure you’re okay?" Sarah asked.
She sighed, debating whether to say anything. "It’s just that I hear you talking about how sweet you and Matt are, and I’m really glad, but I’ve never experienced that with guys I’ve dated."
Sarah put her hands over Britt’s. "One day you will, Britt. One guy will be very lucky to have you."
Daniel and Jason got out of the car, and went inside.
While waiting inline, Jason happened to look out the window. His eyes got wide as he saw Daniel’s Land Rover heading right towards him!
"Not now, Jas. One white chocolate frappucinos and one Jamocha frappucinos, please."
"Hang on," Daniel said as he paid the cashier.
Before Jason could finish there was a horrible crunching sound, and the back of Daniel’s SUV smashed through the front of the Starbucks.
Daniel looked and screamed. "My fifty-thousand baby!"
While Jason was off to the side of Britt, in his arms. "Hey," he said calmly, grinning.
"Hey," she responded, still kind of dazed.
They were interrupted by Daniel’s loud wailing, as he cradled what was left of his driver’s side mirror.
Almost immediately Daniel saw Britt, Sarah, and Sam in the far corner, talking and drinking. He didn’t say anything to Jason about it and instead got in line.
"I’m gonna get Aaron a super-caffeinated drink. One that’ll leave him wired totally all night."
"I’m just jokin’ with him. He loved the place in Canada. I’m just going to mix together some drinks, put them in a giant mug and give it to him."
"I don’t think that would be a good idea."
"I’d like 1 White Chocolate and 1 Jamocha frappucinos. Also 2 of your strongest coffee mixes and 3 of your strongest frappucinos mixes, please."
Daniel grinned widely when the cashier gave him a ‘Huh?’ look.
Sam grasped Britt and Sarah’s hand. "Hey! It’s those guys, Jason and Daniel!"
"Oh no!" Britt said out loud before she could stop herself.
"Why don’t we ask them to eat with us?" Sam asked, cheerily.
"No, Sam, I don’t think…"
But it was too late, Sam was already waving them over.
Chapter 7: Always Seem to Be Meeting Up … Even Though I Don’t Want To!
"Oh hey, there’s Sarah and Sam," Daniel said monotonously.
He had been hoping they could go without Jason knowing Britt was there.
They walked over to the girls table, and to make things hopefully a little less awkward, Daniel sat down next to Britt, while Jason sat next to Sam.
"So… what’s up ladies?" Daniel asked.
"We were talking about men," Sam answered.
Britt rolled her eyes. Sam was making this worse.
"Ah…number one topic amongst women," Daniel said with a chuckle.
"You must drink a lot of coffee," Sam stated, pointing to the five cups he had.
"Only one is mine. The others are for a friend."
Suddenly, Sam checked her watch, "Oh no! I haven’t fed my pet for two hours! I have to go or he could starve to death!"
Daniel was speechless at her declaration. Before he could say anything, she was gone.
"That was uh, interesting."
Jason laughed a bit.
"Sam is like that," Sarah said, "But she’s such a great friend."
"Is Emmy with Matt?" Jason asked.
"Yes, both of them. I thought it would be nice for Matt to spend some time with her."
Sarah finished the least of her frappucinos, and set it back in the cup carton.
There was a few minutes of awkward silence between the four of them. Finally, Jason grabbed the bull’s horns and spoke: "You okay, Britt? You’ve been quiet this whole time."
She smiled faintly, "Yeah, I’m okay."
"is everyone ready?" Sarah asked.
"I’m good to go," Daniel said.
Jason and Britt stood up. Jason extended his hand, "Here, I’ll throw it out."
"Oh, thanks," she said handing him the carton.
"There’s room in my SUV for us all," Daniel said.
"I think I’ll take you up on that," Sarah replied.
"Britt, Jas? You guys wanna come?"
"I think I’m going to walk," Britt and Jason said at the same time.
"Besides, it’s not very far," Britt added.
"Okay. See ‘ya back at the arena."
Jason and Britt walked in silence for quite sometime.
"How did your hockey game go?"
"Bad. I lost."
She smiled a bit, "I guess Daniel’s brushed up on his skill."
"No," Jason laughed, "I just wasn’t focusing on the game."
"What do you think of Chad?"
"I think he seems pretty cool."
"Me too," Britt replied.
"Hey, uh, Britt… If that stalker is here tonight, I’m going to be off the stage, but keeping an eye out."
Britt stopped and turned to him, "I’m not a child. I don’t need a baby-sitter!"
Jason was taken aback. "No… I just thought it would help some. I… I wasn’t trying to make you feel that way…"
She waved her hand, "Just forget it."
Jason stuck his hands in his pockets. It was starting to get a bit chilly. "It’s getting colder. I don’t have any jacket to give you though…"
"I’m fine," she said shortly.
Jason looked at her short sleeved top and her cut off cargo pants. "We can walk faster and get inside."
She checked her Timex, "We’ve got time."
Jason just sighed. Britt picked up the brisk and was getting farther away from him.
Daniel and Sarah entered from the back door, and his mission was right off to caffeinate Aaron.
"No prob, Sarah," he said with a wink.
Looking around, he saw Aaron talking to Mark of Sanctus Real. "Yo, Aaron!"
Aaron turned and waved, "’Scuse me a sec, Mark."
"What’s up?" Aaron said, tossing the hair out of his eyes.
"I bought something for you."
"What is it?"
Daniel whipped out the big blue mug. "I call it ‘Daniel’s Coffee Frap Made With Love’… It’s all for you. Courtesy of Starbucks."
"All right! Rockin’! Thanks Daniel!"
"Think nothing of it," Daniel said with a grin.
Twenty minutes later Britt came through the door, Jason right behind, the door almost hitting him in the chest.
Daniel saw this and came over. "I can tell that was a disaster."
"She hates me."
"I can tell there is cold air -- lots of it. Between you both."
"I’m going to give her space," Jason said quietly, "she feels like a child, like I’m trying to baby-sit her."
"Ouch. That’s understandable then why you’re doing that."
"I’m going to go check the equipment for tonight," Jason stated, somberly.
"I’m going to hang around. I wanna see Aaron get high. Jonathan will probably help you though."
Jonathan and Jason sat in their dressing room, checking and tuning the equipment.
"So… what’s going on with Britt?"
Jason sighed. "I think someone maybe be stalking her."
Jonathan’s eyes got wide, "Really? Who?"
"I don’t know. I only saw the outline of the face."
"Does she know?"
Jason nodded. "She doesn’t believe me."
Jonathan was silent for a moment. "She could be in denial. Doesn’t want to think that it may be a possibility for someone to be stalking her."
"I think that could be part of it," Jason replied.
"What if he shows up tonight?"
"I don’t know… She doesn’t want me watching for him, so I’m not going too."
Jonathan nodded. "That might be best since she doesn’t want you to." He put his guitar back in its case, "Done. Everything’s ready."
"Thanks for helping."
"No prob. I don’t mind," Jonathan turned and flipped open his laptop lid.
Jason saw he was looking at a girls’ profile on MySpace. "Who is that?" he asked, curiously.
Jonathan turned a little red, "It’s this girl I’ve been talking to her online for about six months now."
Jason smiled. "Cool! What’s her name?"
"Jessie… We want to meet each other, but it’s hard between time for me, and money for her."
"Oh yeah, I understand that. Where is she from?"
"Florida. From somewhere on the Southwest coast."
"So, how come you couldn’t meet while we were in Fort Myers?"
"She wasn’t in town then. ‘Cause I had asked her about that."
"Oh okay. Maybe you could go down there and surprise her?"
"It would have to be after our touring… and we’re touring non-stop up to December! It seems like such a long wait."
Jason nodded. "Sorry, I wish it could be sooner."
"What time is it?" Jason asked.
"Whoah. The day has flown by so fast."
"I know, it has."
Jason yawned, "You ready for the show?"
"Heck yeah!" Jonathan said with a grin.
Britt peeked her head out, and looked out at the packed arena. She gulped. She was nervous and she had a bad feeling in her gut. She hadn’t seen Jason since she blew up at him earlier. She felt really bad what had happened earlier, but couldn’t bring herself to apologize.
Her shoulders slumped and she felt defeated. A hand rested on her shoulder, and she turned to see Matt.
"Let’s talk a bit Britt."
Matt held little Emmy in his arms, while he closed his dressing room door. "What happened earlier tonight, Britt?"
She sighed. "I really was a jerk with Jason. I blew what he said, to a point, out of proportion."
"Tell me more."
Jason was setting up the stage, when Chad came up.
"Hey… Jason right?"
"Yeah, that’s me."
"It’s so cool being here! I can’t tell you how excited I am!"
Jason grinned a bit, "That’s great! We’re all glad to have you. Do you know which bus you’ll be driving?"
"Yeah, um, I think Britt’s bus."
Jason stopped what he was doing for a second. "That’s cool Chad."
"Thanks! I don’t know her too well, but she seems really cool."
Jason nodded, "I don’t know her too well either."
"I’ll see you after the show then Jason!"
"Yeah, you too!" Jason replied.
"So, how come you haven’t apologized to him?"
Britt looked uncomfortable, "My pride. It’s like when I’m with him, I’m mean to him … and then I feel awful about it! But I can’t bring myself to apologize!"
Matt untangled Emmy’s fingers from his hair before continuing, "I’m not trying to be preachy … but I think you should apologize."
"You’re not being preachy. I know I should. I felt it right away. I always do, and yet my pride always wins out."
Matt gave her hand a squeeze, "Don’t let it this time Britt."
She smiled, "All right, I won’t."
Then little Emmy grabbed a hold of Britt’s hair.
Britt laughed, "Hey sweetie! I love you too!" She gave Emmy an Eskimo kiss, and Emmy giggled. "Thanks Matt. You always seem to have a way to help my nerves. I think that’s God talents given to you. One of them, anyway."
Matt just smiled, "Thanks Britt, no one’s ever told me that before."
Britt nervously walked towards Hawk Nelson’s dressing room. "Lord, give me strength to do this…."
She knocked on the door.
A wide-eyed Aaron answered. "Oh hey Britt, come on in."
"Aaron, are you okay?"
He twitched a bit, "Yeah! I feel great! I’ve got all this energy!"
"Your twitching, Aaron! Why don’t you sit down?"
"I am?" Aaron looked at his hand, which was shaking a bit, "Well, okay…"
He sat down on the sofa, but couldn’t seem to sit still, he was bouncing his leg constantly.
David sat in a chair, looking very sheepish and uncomfortable.
Britt was getting very concerned, "Guys, do any of you know what’s wrong with Aaron?"
"Nothing’s wrong with me, Britt. I feel fine! In fact, I have tons of energy! I’m ready to get out there and jam!"
She looked around the room, and noticed Daniel avoiding her gaze, and he looked a bit nervous.
"Daniel… do you know anything about this?"
"Let’s talk outside Britt."
Daniel followed her out the door, and closed it behind her. "Okay! I did it! I feel horrible about it!"
"You did it as a joke?"
"Yeah, sort of. To get him back for the whole ‘one tour bus’ idea."
"I didn’t think it would effect him this drastically! What do I do Britt?"
"Well… I think I’ll talk to Aaron, tell him I think it’s best if he doesn’t play tonight, and maybe you can ask Mark if he wouldn’t mind playing in Aaron’s place?"
"Sounds good, Britt. Thanks a million!"
Britt went back into the dressing room, and sat down beside Aaron. "Aaron, listen, I think you should sit this one out. You have so much energy, it’s not good for you, and I think you should just rest."
"I feel fine! I want to play Britt! I have loads of energy which will help to make this our best show yet!"
Mark listened as Daniel explained about super-caffeinated Aaron, and how he got like that.
"You’re so bad Daniel… But in regards to covering for Aaron, if he’s not up to it, most definitely."
"Thanks so much Mark! You don’t know how much I appreciate this!"
Daniel rushed back to his bands dressing room. "Good news -- Mark agreed!"
"Bad news -- Aaron insists and wants to play."
"What?" Daniel looked at his watch, "Maybe it’ll have time to wear off?"
"Hmm… I don’t know… How many different types are in there?"
Her eyes got wide, "I don’t know Daniel…"
"Thanks for the help Britt."
"Sure, anytime…" she paused, "um… would you happen to know where Jason is?"
Daniel grinned a bit, "Last time I saw him, he was going to do a sound check with Jonathan."
"Okay, thanks Daniel."
She looked for Jason onstage, but didn’t see him anywhere. Spotting Chad, she came over to him. "Hey, um, Chad, have you seen Jason anytime?"
"Yeah, he was just onstage with me not too long ago."
"Do you know where he went?"
"No… Can I help you look for him?"
"Would you? I’d really appreciate it."
"Sure. How about we try back behind the stage?"
Britt and Chad started to head backstage, when a voice softly singing was heard.
Britt stopped and peered around the corner.
Jason was sitting, his legs dangling over the backside of the stage.
She felt herself stuck. She couldn’t move as she listened to him sing.
"I see those eyes, and the pain behind the browns… the things no one sees, and only you feel."
She felt a tear slip down her cheek. She knew what he was singing was about her, and it was beautiful… and at the same time too much to take.
More tears came, as he continued:
"I just want to help, I just wanna be there for you. But, I feel like you want to keep me ten feet away…"
She sighed. "I have been really mean to him… and he doesn’t deserve that…"
Jason stood, and she gasped and hid behind the curtain, smacking right into Chad.
Jason emerged and saw them both. "Uh… hey guys," he said, a little uncomfortable with the predicament.
Britt quickly moved away form Chard, but not without Jason noticing Chad smell her hair.
Jason furrowed his brow in concern.
"Hey Jason," Britt said quietly.
"Are you ready to start tonight?"
"As ready as I’m going to be," she paused, "you may also want to go see how Aaron is after Daniel’s joke."
Jason rolled his eyes, "I told Daniel that wasn’t a good idea."
"He’s pretty wired," Britt replied.
"So… Chad told me he’s driving your bus."
"Oh? Really?" Britt said, surprised.
"Yep," Chad interjected, "speaking of… I’m gonna go make sure everything’s working properly for Oklahoma."
Britt watched Chad leave, and then turned back to Jason. "I didn’t know my other driver quit. Maybe he’s sick…"
Jason shook his head, "Usually they’ll tell you."
She shrugged her shoulders, "There’s a lot going on right now in life. Chad’s the least of my worries. I just hope Brian’s all right…"
Jason was starting to get irritated, "I’ll talk to you later Britt. I’ve gotta go check on something."
"Oh okay… Yeah. Well, tell Aaron I said to take it easy."
Jason nodded, as he exited through the back door.
Chad was examining the oil stick when Jason came up.
"Hey," Jason said. "I just wanted to tell you, thanks for being so gung-ho about all this. It’s making things so much easier for Britt, and I know she’ll probably tell you herself when some of the pressure and stress fall off her shoulders."
"I know what that’s like. It’ll get better."
"Yeah," Jason said nodding. "I’ll catch up with you later, Chad."
"Sure thing, Jason! I’ve got some song ideas I’d like to pitch to you."
Jason just nodded. Opening the backstage door, he watched Chad until he turned back to the bus. Letting the door slam, Jason hid behind Jeremy’s tour bus, watching Chad.
It looked like he had either pulled something out or disconnected something. Jason scowled, his view wasn’t good enough to be completely sure from where he stood.
Chad slammed the bus hood, and Jason quickly hid. He was waiting til he heard the backstage door slam… but it never came.
His eyes froze with fear, when he felt a hand tap his shoulders…
Chapter 8: Trouble
Jason turned slowly, afraid to see who was behind him. To his relief, Jeremy stood there.
"Hey Jas, what’s up? Why are you hiding by my bus?"
"It’s sorta a long story."
"OK… Isn’t Chad Britt’s new bus driver?"
Jason nodded. "Have you noticed anything odd about him?"
"He seems highly irritable…"
Jeremy nodded, "So… what’s going on? Who are you waiting for?"
"I was watching Chad… I suspect he may be stalking Britt."
Jeremy’s eyes got wide, "Really? You think so?"
"He sniffed her hair earlier."
"OK… That’s definitely weird!" He paused, "I’ll help you. I’ll be more than willing to spy on him. I think Jared would like too also."
"Did someone mention my name?" Jared said, poking his head out of the bus door.
"I did," Jeremy said with a grin. "How would you like to help me spy on someone?"
After explaining everything to Jared, he was more than willing to help out.
Jason sat backstage, nervous at the thought of Britt performing. He had a bad feeling about it.
Jason turned to See Matt T. standing there. "Oh, hey Matt."
"The other Matt told me what’s been happening. So, how are you feeling about tonight?"
Jason ran his hands thru his dark hair. "Terrible! I’m respecting her wishes and not going up… but I have this terrible feeling about tonight."
"Listen, tell you what, Sam and I are going to be in the front row, so we’ll help keep an eye out."
Sarah sat on a chair, reading her Bible, while Matt rushed around the room, looking for something.
"Sarah, have you seen my shirt? The black and gray striped one?"
"The prison shirt?"
Matt grinned, but rolled his eyes, "Yes, the ‘prison shirt’."
"In the suitcase, sweetie."
Matt flipped open the suitcase and resting there on top of his shirt, was a pink snowflake outfit. Matt held it up. "What’s this doing in here? This doesn’t fit Emmy…" he trailed off, befuddled at this.
Sarah put down her Bible, and got up out of the chair. She went over to Matt and put her arms around his waist, looking up at him, her chin resting on his chest, she smiled.
Matt looked down at her and caressed her cheek.
"Matt, we’re having a baby."
Matt’s eyes got wide with surprise. "Oh, Sarah! That’s wonderful!"
Matt gave her a little twirl and they both laughed. "I love you so much."
"And I you," Sarah whispered, kissing him.
"I am completely surprised… but in a good way. Now little Emmy will have a brother or sister."
Sarah smiled, "I know. I’m so happy, Matt."
Britt paced backstage, the tour was getting ready to kick off, and she was kicking herself for not wanting Jason nearby.
"Why don’t you just tell him?"
"Tell Jason," Daniel suggested.
"I can’t. I need to do something on my own," quickly changing the subject, she asked: "How’s Aaron?"
"He’s still full of five cups of coffee, and bound and determined to play tonight. Jason was right. I shouldn’t have done that. I feel terrible about it."
"Argh!" Britt rubbed her eyes in anxiety and exasperation. "I don’t want to do this Daniel!"
"Do what? Sing? Britt you’re fine. You’re great at it, don’t sweat it."
"No, not the singing… I just don’t want to go out on stage."
"You think Jason’s right, don’t you?" Daniel asked quietly.
Britt nodded worriedly, "I have this nagging feeling that I made way too little of it."
Daniel gave her a reassuring squeeze on the shoulder. "If anything starts to happen, don’t you worry, we’ll take care of it. Jeremy’s got a whole setup worked out."
"He knows about it?"
The crowd roared and Britt gave a small smile, "It’s show time. Thanks Daniel."
"Hello everyone!" She yelled into the mic as she came onstage. "How’s Tyler, Texas tonight?!"
The crowd roared.
Jeremy turned to Jared, "O.K. You know what to do. If you see the stalker dude tell Matt, and he’ll…"
"Whoah, wait… Which Matt?"
"Thiessen. Tell him and he’ll get Jason. Got it?"
"Yeah, absolutely!" Jared paused, "Where are you going to be? And why am I the only security guard?"
"I’m going to be backstage watching. I’ve put a camera on your shirt. It’ll work quite nicely. As to the guards, I can’t be one, everyone here knows who I am, but you on the other hand, nobody knows who you are."
Jared frowned a bit, "Thanks Jeremy," he replied dryly.
Jeremy slapped his arm, "Good luck. See you later and thanks for doing this."
Jared just nodded and gulped nervously. He crossed his arms and put on his best tough face.
Matt stood in the front row, Sam right next to him. "Uh, Sam, after the show would you like to catch a late snack?"
"Sure! I love late snacks! Can we do Sonic?"
Matt grinned, "Absolutely! I hope you don’t mind if I bring Emmy along. I’m sitting for Sarah. A special occasion she said."
"Not at all! Emmy’s such a doll! I know she’ll be good."
"Great! Can’t wait!" Matt said, just as Britt walked onstage.
Sam smiled at Matt.
Staring out at the sea of faces, his mouth twisted into a sadistic smile. Tonight, in front of all these people he’d kill his most famous victim yet. Just thinking of it and all the media it would bring, gave him great pleasure.
Pulling the hood over his head, he chuckled as he took a final look at the audience. He stepped out amongst them.
Britt was half -way through ‘Holiday’ and she was starting to feel better now about the whole situation. Everything in the crowd looked normal, so she relaxed.
Jared stood in front of the crowd, watching as intently as possible, when he heard someone say, "Excuse me."
Turning to look at the person, he replied, "Yes?"
"Aren’t you Jared, a member of the band?"
He smiled, "Yes, I am, why thank you."
"I remember you from the pod cast," she said with a smile.
His smile grew wider, "Thank you, I appreciate you recognizing me."
Jeremy rolled his eyes, "I get it, Jared. People recognize you. Pay attention, please."
Jared rolled his eyes, "Stop it! I am."
The girl looked surprise, "What?"
"Oh, sorry. Ear set’s on."
"Oh, okay," she smiled, relieved that he wasn’t talking to her, "did you leave the band?"
"Oh no, I’m just up here for a bit."
"They allow you to do both?" She asked, skeptically.
Jared leaned in, "Between you and me, they don’t all know I’m up here."
"Good save," Jeremy commented, "And dude, she’s way attracted to you."
"Thanks… and to the second comment, who couldn’t be?"
"Ear set again?"
He edged towards the stage, undetected so far, and the security guard was being distracted by a woman. "Everything is falling into my plan quite nicely," he thought.
Matt and Sam were singing when he suddenly placed a hand on her arm, "Sam! Look!"
Sam looked where Matt had pointed to see a man calmly walking towards the stage, "We have to tell Jason!"
"I’ll go tell him. Keep an eye on him Sam!"
"Yo Jared, how’s it coming?" Jeremy asked.
"Excuse me," Jared said to the girl, whom since earlier, he had learned her name was Cassandra, "It’s coming along great! We’ve got a lot in common!"
"Jared! I’m shocked! You have a lot in common with the stalker? You think you know someone!"
Jared was speechless, then Jeremy burst out into chuckles.
"I’m kidding man! I knew you were talking about the girl. Seriously though, have you been keeping an eye out, man?"
"Uh…" Jared scratched his head.
"Dude?! This is Britt we’re talking about! Do you see this cloaked man anywhere?"
Jared turned to Cassandra, "Excuse me again."
"Whoah, Jared. I just thought of something… What if Cassandra’s working with him to distract you?"
Jared stopped. He hadn’t thought of that. What if Jeremy was right?
Matt T. burst through the backstage door, skidding across the newly washed floor.
"Hey! Watch it, kid!" The Janitor yelled.
"Sorry! It’s an emergency!"
Emmy started crying as he ran down the halls to Hawk’s dressing room.
"Sorry Emmy, but I have to do it," Matt T. said.
Pushing open the door, he ran in, "Jason --- Britt… he’s here!"