Cory couldn't complain. Even if the stage was stifling. It was summer, and the heat with the humidity made most nights ugly. He guessed the bus never shut off for anything. It was their life-line to give them a breather from the rest of the world. Even there, he wasn't sure he slept. He guessed he did.
But it was a lonely life. Spending much of his time setting up equipment, doing sound checks and breaking it down. If he got lucky, he took up the slack. Sometimes, he might play all night in three different bands. But there were nights he just watched from the back stage too. That's where he met Sage. Not that he talked to her much. But she did know a few secrets about getting around a concert. Of course, they weren't always at the biggest venues.
Yet somehow, they always found each other. At first, he wouldn't think that way. It was quiet. She never said that much but told him about electric stuff, usually. She was pretty good with the lightening too. After while, they'd hang with people who wanted to have hot dogs after the show. Or even smores at a bond fire out back. But neither of them drank.
Straight edge, they were labeled. "You two need to took hook up, dude." Cory heard more than once on the road, at a show, anywhere they might be noticed.
"They're just teasing." She let slip one night after a show. They were both in a sweat. She brought him a cold bottle of water and he dunked it on his head as if he might absorb it all, through his skin.
"Yeah." His smile felt lopsided around her. She was cute, but fierce. For all he knew, she might have a girlfriend. He finally sipped what was left in the bottle. "So what do you do when you aren't doing this?"
"You serious?" Cory would have never thought that.
"Not really." She smiled back. "I quit after three weeks. Maybe I'm a gypsy."
"Really?" She was easy to talk too. And he told her about his old band. She told him about growing up in the back of a gas station. Soon enough they were talking about movies and things they were missing out this summer.
They ended up staying out all night and hitting a 9 a.m. showing of the latest Harry Potter movie. Suddenly, it felt good to have a real friend again.