Backstage, the dull buzz of noise couldn’t camouflage the tension thrumming through the air. Spinal Tap was sprawled out in their dressing room, performing whatever pre-show rituals each of them had. Though none of them spoke, the unsaid words were obvious: if they performed well tonight, they could be on their way back to popularity; if tonight was a bust . . . well, they’d make sure the door didn’t hit them on the way out.
Sitting on a cushy, comfortable rolling chair, David casually read the latest issue of a guitar magazine. In actuality, he had done very little reading at all; the noises emanating from the corner, where Derek and his latest “friend” resided, were very distracting. In addition, he just couldn’t concentrate—he tapped his boots on the vinyl floor and hummed to himself under his breath. It was more than the usual pre-show jitters, though, a strange feeling in the pit of his stomach that kept him on edge.
A knock sounded on the doorframe, and Ian, their manager, popped his head into the room.
“You’re on,” he informed them. “This is it, lads, so do a good show.”
David put down his magazine and Derek disentangled himself from the girl in the corner. Smoothing his beard and adjusting his horrific leather/chain outfit, he made the horns sign. “Rock and roll!” he yelled, shaking his arm and pumping himself up. He led the band out of the dressing room and toward the stage, closely followed by David, Mick, Viv, and finally, Nigel.
Onstage, the crowed cheered wildly as they played song after song without a hitch. This wasn’t like Derek getting trapped in his pod, or the Stonehenge disaster that would soon follow. For once, Spinal Tap seemed to play a normal show.
As David launched into the opening of “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight,” their last song, he glanced over at Nigel. The bright stage lights drained all the color from his face, making his glittery blue eye shadow stand out even more. Tight pants, an ugly shirt, and a rather ferocious snarl completed his image. This was Nigel in all his glory, and David was rather entranced. Soon, however, he recognized his cue to sing, and stepped toward the microphone.
“Little girl, it’s a great big world, but there’s only one of me,” he growled, putting more effort into the song than he had in a long while. He scanned the crowd, satisfied as he observed some rowdy crowd surfers. Regardless of crappy album sales and poor management, Spinal Tap was far from unpopular.
Going into the second verse, the energy on the stage was nearly tangible. Derek’s fingers were flying, and Nigel’s guitar wailed as he poured his soul onto the fretboard. Not to be outdone, David winked at a small group of girls toward the front, then nodded suggestively. They screamed in delight, and David smiled—he might have been an aging, outdated rock star, but fifteen years later, he still had it. He glanced at Nigel to see if he had noticed the exchange; however, he was concentrating intently on his guitar. Too intently. They had done this set hundreds of times; Nigel could probably play it in his sleep. Why then was he hunched over the neck of his guitar, stubbornly refusing to look at David?
Confused, David returned his attention to the crowd. The second he turned away, Nigel looked up, his gaze directed toward the blond singer. Out of the corner of his eye, David witnessed the action, and became even more baffled. The exchange, however, curiously aroused him; he suddenly wanted to be near the coy guitarist, to see if he was embarrassed by . . . very friendly physical contact.
With that in mind, David casually sauntered across the stage, stopping when reached the person in mind. Leaning forward to sing into Nigel’s microphone, he felt his friend tense up and turn away slightly. David grinned—he would just see how far he could push him. Managing to scrunch himself even closer to the brunet, he draped his arm over Nigel’s shoulders, laughing as though he were enjoying a particularly hilarious private joke. He might have been—Nigel just didn’t understand it yet. After several moments of this intimate position, Nigel’s body relaxed and his faced morphed into an easy smile. David’s insides danced in celebration—for some strange reason, he felt as though he had won something.
The feeling of hot flesh on flesh and sweat intermingling was oddly alluring. David had stayed in this arrangement for longer than strictly necessary, indeed, longer than he had intended, but for some reason, he was loath to leave. Standing like this with Nigel just felt . . . right, somehow. He liked watching the brunet’s expressions in such close proximity, loved the life in the guitarist’s brownish eyes. He wanted those eyes directed at him. Suddenly emboldened, without thinking, really, he reached out and pushed back a piece of reddish-brown hair. Nigel looked at him in surprise, but after several moments of intently studying David’s vibrant blue eyes, his expression softened. David’s grin widened even further—he was on a roll tonight!
They finished the song in this manner, and when the crowed roared, David grabbed Nigel’s hand, laced their fingers together, and raised both their arms in triumph. With cheery waves and “good night”s, the band left the stage and retreated to the sanctuary of backstage. For a moment, David feared he would lose the connection he and Nigel had developed onstage. His concern was unfounded, though; upon reaching the dressing room, Mick hightailed it to the bathroom, and Derek and Viv began chatting up the groupies that had somehow infiltrated security, leaving David and Nigel alone.
Plopping himself down on a chair and resting his feet on the counter, David watched in satisfaction as Nigel settled himself against the wall across from him. The chemistry between them was far from gone—David was just about to remark about the excellent show they had just played when Nigel’s face closed itself off and he felt a weight on his arm. Withdrawing his feet from the counter, he swiveled his chair, coming face to face with Jeanine. She smiled at him, then directed a slight glare toward Nigel.
“That was a great show, darling,” she said, placing her hand on his shoulder. “You really played great.” She played with his wavy blond hair for a second, then leaned in for a quick kiss; nevertheless, it lasted a few too many seconds for David. When he pulled away, he automatically looked for Nigel—he found him alongside Viv and Derek, laughing loudly as he flirted with some obsessed fan. His stomach clenched in frustration with Jeanine and disappointment—it was beyond obvious that their newfound attraction was gone.