I yawned and stretched, looking at my watch as I did. It was 9pm, I had slept for about 20 hours. I needed that, the tour took a lot of out of me so I took sleep when I could get it. Snoring from the other bunks let me know the others felt the same. I smiled to myself, a few years ago we would have been up all day and night partying. Right now I wanted coffee, a bacon sandwich and a cigarette, a far cry from the old days. I pulled back my curtain and threw my feet out, I grabbed a tshirt from a pile on the floor, not sure who it belonged to I pulled it on anyway, some shorts followed and I was ready to find some food. Harry was the only one else awake, he was flaked out on the couch, scratching his stomach and watching some guy in a jungle, all he needed was a wife beater and a beer can and his look would be complete.
"Coffee in the pot", he said without his eyes leaving the screen.
I saluted him and poured a cup, cigarettes, I needed cigarettes. I grapped a packet from the counter and popped one in my mouth.
"If you plan on smoking that you can do it outside", Harry said, still looking at the tv, "You're not giving me your cancer".
I rolled my eyes and opened the door, hopping out of the bus.
"Smokers are jokers!", he called after me.
I laughed and lit up my cigarette, the nicotine hit got any left over sleep out of my system. I looked around it was still bright, but nobody seemed to be around. It was a little creepy, I took a wander around the camp, Hot Pink's bus door was open voices could be heard inside aswell as the clinking of cutlery. Usually everyone ate outside, especially since the weather was so good. I kept walking till I got to Caufield's bus where Jack was standing outside, leaning against the side, eyebrows furrowed, looking off into the distance. I went over to him and stood beside him and looked in the same direction. Erin was sitting with a group of guys and a few girls, from the distance I knew who they were. Olly, distinctive by his hat and tattoos, and his band mates, Bart his dark roots with lank blonde hair that hung in rats tails around his shoulders and Rudi, nothing too distinctive about him, except an unusual laugh. I saw beer cans and bottles littering that ground around them, and I had a feeling it wasn't the only thing they had been consuming.
"Ryan, I have no idea what to do anymore", Jack sighed, "I try being nice, I try being tough, I try to pretend she's just going through a phase. But, I can't deal with this anymore. My parents keep calling me wondering how things are going, how I am, how she is. Rich is ringing me, making sure everything is alright. I can't keep lying to everyone. I don't even know how I became the one in charge. It used to be all four of us but now it's me making decisions, her doing her own thing and Ben and Adam are beginning to lose faith in thing ever getting better".
"I know we're not best buds or anything and I'd hate to be imposing on your family", I said, "but I can help. All you need to do is trust me".
Jack looked at me, I could see it all, he wanted his little sister back, but I was a practical stranger, the two of us had never really spoken, I was just some guy who used to do drugs, who was offering to do what he couldn't do. I didn't know how he would take my offer, as an insult or welcome it.
"I don't...", he started.
A glass smashing stopped him. He looked towards Erin and her 'friends', they were laughing, Bart grabbed Erin and threw her across his lap. She laughed and slapped him playfully, she pushed herself off him but he didn't let go, keeping his hand on her thigh, rubbing it slowly. I suddenly felt sick, my eyes flicked to Jack whose cheeks suddenly glowed an angry red.
"I trust you", he said quietly before turning back and getting into the bus.
I threw my cigarette on the ground and stood on it. Licking my lips, suddenly feeling nervous, I began a walk that seemed to take forever. As I came closer to them I saw Erin bending forward to a table, I saw the white powder lines. That moment changed everything, I felt the anger Jack had felt. My face felt hot, I clenched my fist. Bart and I had history, I didn't want Erin to share that history too.
"Hey", I said from behind them.
They all turned to look at me, all except Bart who continued drinking. I resisted the urge to kill him and looked to Erin.
"What's up Erin?", I asked.
"Ryan", she said slowly, standing up, barely, "it's Ryan everyone".
"Hey Ryan", they chorused.
Olly gave me a thumbs up but was quickly distracted by a red headed girl pulling at his shirt.
"Ryan's my hero", Erin told them, beaming at me, "he's my super hero".
I smiled at her, trying to act normal.
"Didn't think he'd be your type", scoffed Bart.
"Erin you wanna go for a walk?", I asked her reaching my hand out.
"Ehm...", she looked from me to the others, trying to make up her mind.
"C'mon babe", Bart cooed turning to face us, "stay here, we've got plenty more to go around".
I looked back at him, this time not hiding the hatred. Erin looked back to me, sensing the tension she took my hand and looked to Bart.
"I'm going to go with Ryan", she said, "I'll see you guys later".
We walked away, I let out a sigh of relief, not realising I had been holding my breath.
"Pussy", Bart said.
I stopped and dropped Erin's hand. I walked back to him and bent down, our faces only an inch apart.
"Keep the hell away from her", I threatened, "you will not fuck her life up, we're going now. When we get back you better be gone".
I went back to Erin who was now looking as though she was going to throw up. I wrapped my arm around her waist, knowing if I didn't she would probably collapse and partially because I knew it would piss Bart off. We walked for a bit, I listened to her rambling on about nothing in particular, stringing random words together with erratic hand gestures. When we had gotten a good bit away from Bart I let go of her, letting her twirl around and continue rambling. We were on the field in front of the stage, I sat down and watched her. Knowing all I could do was wait until some of the drugs had worn off. Eventually she sat down beside me, she let out a some kind of woo noise and lay down on her back. She stretched her arms above her head and smiled. I looked down at her, her smile slowly disappeared.
"Don't look at me like that", she said.
"Like you care".
"I do", I said.
"Well don't", she replied, her voice low, "don't care about me. I don't deserve to be cared about".
I lay down beside her and looked over to her. She closed her eyes slowly and sighed.
"You want to go to your bus?", I asked her.
She shook her head.
"I can't go back there tonight, it'll only hurt the guys".
I carried her back to my bus, her arms wrapped tightly around my neck. I wasn't sure whether I was making the best decision by bringing her back with me, part of me wanted to make sure she was ok, another just wanted her. Opening the bus door was a bit of a struggle with her in my arms but eventually I got it open. I shuffled down the narrow corridor between the bunks, I could hear the guys playing xbox.
"Hey finally!", Ger called, his head appearing out of no where.
I shushed him quickly nodding down to Erin asleep in my arms. I gently lay her in on the bunk and went to go to the boysm before I could get my body out of the bunk her eyes flickered open.
"Where are you going?", she whispered, her voice hoarse.
"Go back to sleep", I replied.
"Don't go", she groaned.
"You need to sleep, I'm just going to the guys".
"Promise you'll come back", she said, her eyes grew watery.
"I'll come back".
"You'll spend the whole night with me?".
She gave me a slow nod of approval and closed her eyes again, rolling onto her side. I went up to the guys rubbing my eyes. 20 hours of sleep suddenly didn't seem like enough.
"What's up?", Harry asked me.
"Stuff, she's going to stay here tonight", I replied, I didn't need to say anything else they understood. They had looked after me.
"Ya going get freaky?", Steve asked winking.
"Oh for God sake Steve!", Harry exclaimed, ever the sensitive one, "the girl is clearly in a vulnerable position, Ryan would never take advantage of that".
"Your right, sorry", Steve said putting his hands up.
"He'll wait until she's sober", Harry sniggered.
I rolled my eyes.
"You guys are sick", I said.
"Don't pretend you don't want to", Dave sang.
I gave them the finger and went back to the bunk, I turned back to pull the curtain between the bunks and the rest of the bus only to see Dave and Steve reinacting doggy style.
"You are only embarrassing yourselves", I replied, both annoyed and amused.