(with AJ & Matt)
“I’m good. Thanks,” your friend replies.
And now you’re too embarrassed to admit you’re hungry. You have energy bars in your backpack, you remind yourself. Go find Ben. You can stop to eat later!
“I’m good too,” you say. “We should find Ben—he must be worried.”
“Right.” AJ continues down the corridor and opens the second door on the left.
Evan and Tom! You grin at Alec’s bandmates, immersed in their video game world.
Your stomach growls at the smell of something salty. You don’t need to read the sign to know what’s behind this wall.
“Are you guys hungry or thirsty?” AJ stops in front of the door. “Can I get you anything?”
You glance inside the room and see a mouth-watering buffet table.
You can’t stop smiling, following Matt and AJ through the bus parking lot. And it has nothing to do with this dream-come-true day you’re living right now—it’s about them. The silent, happy looks they exchange. The discreet way they hold each other’s hands.
You’ve seen many pictures of them together when their relationship went public. The news had broken the internet for a day or two: Alec Brock’s Brother, Matthew Brock, Rumored to Be Dating his Former Bodyguard. But they looked very different in those photos—always angry, visibly uncomfortable. You didn’t even believe the rumors were true.
Not until today.
No wonder they were angry that week—having their privacy violated on a global scale. Especially because, though Matt has been open about his sexuality for years, AJ hadn’t come out publicly when the paparazzi published the photos.
You give him a sideways glance. It must have been tough. You’re happy to see with your own eyes that at least he seems okay now.
“Ladies first.” AJ smiles, holding the gate open for you and your friend.
The whole backstage area is a lot less glamorous than you thought it would be. You’ve been watching backstage footage of your favorite artist since you were a kid, but none of those videos showed how cluttered things actually get here.
There are cases and cables and equipment everywhere you look!
“This way.” Matt points at the stairs.
And that’s when things start to look more like the backstage you’ve seen on TV. Long white corridors, closed doors with little signs indicating what the room is used for.
“Where’s Ben?” Matt’s voice comes out high-pitched.
“You just missed him,” Evan says without taking his eyes off the screen. “He went searching for you!”
Matt rolls his eyes at AJ, pulling his cell from his pocket.
You glance at your best friend nervously. This whole mess is your fault. You shouldn’t have left the stage area with Zach. You should have stayed with James—like Ben asked you to!
“Where are you?” Matt says into his phone. “No, I’m in the green room! You told me you’d be waiting here.”
Matt exhales a long breath and none of us dare to say a thing.
“Fine. Hurry up!” He hangs up, glancing at you and your friend. “We had a little misunderstanding…”
“I’m so sorry,” your friend blurts. “We didn’t mean to cause you any trouble! Maybe we should just go back to the VIP line…” She turns to you, her eyes guilty.
“We should!” You nod at her, then look at Matt. “We don’t want to be a burden to you or Ben anymore.”
“Nonsense!” He smiles crookedly, then rests a hand on your shoulder. “If my brother invited you in, he must have had a strong reason. You’re his guests tonight—and he doesn’t get a lot of those, so you’re not bailing on him—not on my watch.”
Both you and your friend laugh.
“Let’s show them around, then—in the meantime!” AJ pulls the door open.
“Is Alec still in the press room?” Matt asks.
“Yep,” Tom replies.
And Matt exchanges a hesitant glance with AJ.
“Let’s go.” AJ leads us into the hallway, assuming his bodyguard posture. “That was the green room, ladies. That’s the place we usually hang out.”
“I thought you hung out in the dressing room,” your friend says.
“That’s more for resting and recharging for the show.” He opens the next door. “See? Empty.”
You crack a smile, following him inside.
The musicians’ dressing room is a lot less equipped than the room Tom and Evan were in. But there’s a black couch on one side and a table full of snacks on the other.
Your stomach growls again.
“Go ahead, treat yourself!” Matt grins at you. But it’s not until he picks up an appetizer that you allow yourself to do the same.
“This tour’s catering team is amazing!” AJ adds. “We’re not always lucky, but this time around, I can’t complain.”
“They’re trying to convince you to stay.” Matt gives him a teasing look, making AJ laugh.
You don’t understand the joke, but it’s cute seeing them tease each other. It puts you at ease to enjoy the moment and appreciate how freaking lucky you are…
I’m backstage. At Alec Brock’s concert!
I’m in James’s dressing room right now! Looking at his stuff, eating his pre-show snacks!
You grab another appetizer, then reach for a napkin to clean your hand.
“Look!” Your friend widens her eyes at the door. Reggie, Alec’s drummer, has just walked down the corridor with two other members of Sunset Motion.
You can’t help but follow them with your gaze. Surreal. This whole day—absolutely surreal!
“Let’s go?” AJ says, amused.
He and Matt show you the improvised gym next. Then the production office, where Alec’s dad and the whole management team work on tour. And then you turn left into another corridor and, without a warning, your heart stops.
Alec’s dressing room reads the green sign.
“Don’t get too excited,” Matt says. “He’s probably not in there.”
“Still…” your best friend mumbles, her face a mix of shock and excitement.
AJ knocks on the door. No one answers, so he turns the knob.
Your heart has come alive now, beating so fast you can’t even breathe! This is Alec’s dressing room! I can’t believe I’m in Alec’s dressing room!
The first thing you notice is the big black couch. Just like in the other rooms, Alec has a little buffet full of snacks, plus a table and some chairs to accommodate his guests. There’s also a TV on the opposite wall, and a few decorative items scattered here and there. But the thing that catches your attention the most is the little set up in the corner of the room: the silver keyboard you’ve seen Alec playing so many times on TV, and one of his acoustic guitars, patiently waiting for him on a stand.
This must be where he practices and writes new songs when he’s on tour. Your whole body melts as you step closer.
“Are you okay?” Matt asks with a chuckle.
You try to compose yourself, but you can’t. Not this time. You’re in Alec Brock’s dressing room! It’s impossible to hide how much this means to you.
Without a single rational thought in your head, you rest your fingers on his keyboard, sit in the chair he must have sat in.
The world stops for a moment. Everything goes quiet.
You know he’s not in the room but it’s almost as if you can feel Alec’s presence next to you. His green eyes staring at you as he presses these keys and sings “No More Lies”—
“Aren’t you coming?” your friend calls from across the room.
AJ is showing her the real dressing room. The place where Alec gets his hair and makeup done, and actually gets dressed.
“Where do you keep his clothes?” your friend asks expectantly.
You’re dying to see them too! If you feel this connected to Alec just seeing his instruments, imagine how will you feel touching the clothes he wears on stage?
“They’ll bring them later in the day,” AJ replies. “They’re probably ironing them by now—in the wardrobe room.”
“Can we go see it?” The words burst out of your mouth.
You try to correct yourself by giving AJ an apologetic look, but you’re too excited to regret your request. You really, really, really, want to see Alec’s wardrobe.
“Let me check.” Matt chuckles, reaching for his phone. “Nina? Are you busy? I have two fans here who’d love…”
Please say yes! Please say yes! You stare at your friend, and she seems even more excited than you are.
“Let’s go.” Matt puts down his phone, then heads to the door, smirking at you.