Chapter 3 – Copenhagen
This was it. Brice had just broken up with his sleazy girlfriend. And now he had asked me to stay behind in the tour bus with him, to talk about a personal matter. I was sure he was going to ask me out. Finally the 28-year-old guitarist had realized I was the woman for him! And we would rock on happily ever after…
“Harlow, it’s my mother’s birthday next week. And I was wasn’t sure what to get her… but you’re a woman too, so I figured you know what women like. What should I buy her?”
He looked at me with his big eyes, so innocent and hopeful. Never had I expected to be pissed off at Brice, but that moment had now finally come to pass.
“Excuse me?” I asked, not quite believing what was happening.
I wanted to punch him so badly.
“Well, I thought you might have a better answer than the guys. Women in general like chocolate, right? Maybe I should buy her a huge personalized chocolate bar? With a sweet message on it?”
“Yes, how about one that says ‘F*** you’?” I suggested.
Brice burst out laughing, apparently unaware of my inner drama and the raging, heartbroken fire burning inside of me.
“That would be a bit rude, wouldn’t it?”
“Yes, I’m sorry. Don’t mind me, it’s that time of the month again. Yes, just put ‘Happy birthday, I love you so much’ on a chocolate heart. I’m sure she’d love that.”
“Great! I’ll do that. Thanks for helping me out here, Harlow. You’re the best!”
I forced myself to smile and give him the thumbs up signal. Then I went outside to search for drummer Kurt. I needed another big hug.
A few days later
“Yes, sir, I’m sorry… it’s just that Harlow told us we had to be back by five pm, not three pm…”
Gabe was talking to manager Chris, who sounded furious on the other end of the line. The band would likely be late for their concert in the Danish capital. And it was all my fault. I was the one who insisted on going for a scenic drive around the area.
Now I found myself in a precarious position. Sitting in the back of the car, between Jack and Brice, while Kurt was doing his best to drive us back to the concert hall without breaking too many traffic laws. Gabe, sitting in the passenger seat, ended the call.
“I specifically asked you if you were sure about the time, Harlow…” he said, almost gritting his teeth. “I was going to ask Chris, just to be sure. But you were so certain it was 5 pm…”
“I really thought it was 5 pm! I’m so sorry…”
The car stopped and I noticed we had run into a traffic jam.
“Sorry you will be, because I’m going to murder you as soon as we’re back at the concert hall,” the bass player icily informed me. I quickly looked down in what I hoped would be a pity inducing posture.
“Good idea. If you need me, I’ll help,” Jack said cheerfully. The singer didn’t seem too worried about arriving late at his own concert.
I elbowed him, while Brice squeezed my knee reassuringly. I nervously rubbed my hands and looked at my watch every few seconds or so. The tension in the car was rising with every passing minute. Perhaps it was best to make a run for it, as soon as Kurt had parked the car.
Half an hour later I decided to pray for the traffic jam to go away. And it worked! We arrived at the concert hall only ten minutes late. Luckily for me the guys immediately rushed to the backstage area to get ready. I took my camera out of my bag and positioned myself on the side of the stage, largely out of view from the audience.
The crowd was enthusiastic as ever and the concert was great. I’ve seen so many performances of Featherstone during the time I worked for them, and each one was amazing. Even if Jack’s voice was a bit hoarse from overusing it, he always sounded fantastic. The guys were just so happy to be on stage and give everyone in the audience a good time. I admired that.
What I didn’t admire was their sense of mischief. Between two songs the band would occasionally speak to the crowd to hype them up and also to catch their breath a bit. I wasn’t really paying attention, until I heard my name being called.
“… Our darling PR lady, Harlow, is turning 26 today,” Jack told the crowd. “It would be such an amazing gift if you sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to her!”
My eyes grew wide. It wasn’t my birthday today. This was their way of getting back at me for almost making them miss their own concert. They knew how much I hated being the centre of attention and how scary I would find it to stand in front of a crowd. Let alone a crowd of almost thirty thousand people.
Gabe, Kurt, Jack and Brice all looked at me, grinning and smiling, and motioned for me to come out. I frantically shook my head and slowly stepped away from the stage.
“She’s a little shy, guys! Why don’t we cheer her on a bit?” Jack suggested. “Har-low, Har-low, Har-low…”
The audience joined him in chanting my name.
“Gabe, go get her,” he then ordered his band mate, knowing I wasn’t going to get on stage by my own free will.
Before I could even think about running away, the 40-year-old bass player grabbed my right arm and firmly pulled me out of the shadows and into the light. I shielded my eyes against the bright stage lights with my left arm.
“There she is, ladies and gentlemen, give her a big applause!” Jack cheered. “Let’s sing for her. Happy birthday to youuu, happy birthday to youuuu, happy birthday dear Harlow…happy birthday to you!”
Thirty thousand people joined him in the sing-song.
I had given up trying to get away. I couldn’t anyway. Not with Gabe and Jack standing on both sides of me with their arms over my shoulders. To the audience it probably looked like a friendly pose. But I knew their goal was to physically prevent me from escaping.
I sighed. Might as well let the singing and the cheering wash over me. This wasn’t so bad, actually.
But as soon as they would allow me off the stage, I’ll be plotting my revenge…
To be continued. Click to read chapter one and chapter two.