The backstage is in such a mess that James can hardly find somewhere to sit down. Patrick’s girlfriend’s laced knickers, used condoms, shattered Sauvignon Blanc bottles, wet carpet, spilled cocaine, mountains of lagers and cigarette butts. Only those will match the band’s Rock ‘n Roll antics.
“Dirty little fuckers… They think we’re Rolling Stones,” James mumbles half-consciously as he dives himself onto a sofa. He grabs a navy blue towel and shed off the sweats running all over his toned body. The room was filled in a vertiginous stink of marijuana that almost puts James right into a doze, when he faintly hears some familiar voice calling out his name. “James,” the voice calls, “nice gig.” He struggles to get up and gazes at the door connecting to the dressing room. There standing a 20-something girl wearing tight black sleeveless and skinny jeans. Her straight face looks into his direction but she’s reluctantly keeping her distance.
“Are we supposed to know each other?” James was in such a haze he can’t recognise her face.
“I.. Uh..” the girl opens her mouth. There was a slight silence until James realizes and screams. “Annika, is that you?” The girl nods. She settles her glasses, bites her lips and mildly shakes her suede grey ankle-boots, most likely out of nervousness. Her jet-black hair falls down gracefully to her chest. He can smell a strong scent of perfume as he’s slowly walking toward her direction. “Narciso Rodriguez,” James whispers to her ear, closes his eyes and tightly smells her hair. “Look, I shouldn’t be here,” the girl hastily steps back, “I just wanted to know if you’re okay. Seems like you’re on a high.”
He grabs her arms and looks deep into her eyes, pleading not to go. Two years, it’s been two long years since he saw her off at the airport. That cloudy afternoon, he thought he would never see her again. Plane tickets, suitcases, travel bags, x-ray machines are farewell keywords associated with Annika. All fused with uncertainty, he believed his world had come to a bitter end. Until tonight where he’s standing with no distance to the very same person. She’s within reach.
“Drink?” James shows her the way to the sofa while he snatches two bottles of Smirnoff out of the portable mini-fridge. Annika gives him an odd look, questioning eyes as if to say “since when did you drink Smirnoff?”
“Since you told me that you like it, it’s been on the rider list. We sometimes have Baileys and skimmed milk too, only that the guys don’t like it so much.” (to be continued)