(This chapter may drag on slightly, but trust me almost everything in this story is a detail important to the events to come. It’s all about learning and connection. Hope you enjoy.)
I woke up in my bunk at 2 in the afternoon, waking up to the sound of the guys laughing and gunshots in xbox form. I don’t even remember getting into my bunk, but I definitely remember how fun last night was. Hanging out with everyone was already almost the best part of the tour, besides playing the shows of course, which I was very excited for tonight. Today was going to be another crazy day with a lot of food, sugar, caffeine, and a lot of guy hang time. Personally, I liked being on this all guy bus. I loved hanging with Jess, but I know her and I would stay up entirely too much talking about boys and all the girly things we have in common. This way, I could maintain my beauty sleep and have a completely different experience with these guys on tour. It was honestly much easier to get my ass out of bed, knowing that someone in the next room was waiting for me.
“Hey, you have to see Max on Left4dead right now, he has 34 minutes on Survival mode,” Brandon said as I came into the kitchen as he was grabbing a soda out of the fridge.
I laughed, “Wow, seriously? He’s hardcore haha,” I followed Brandon to the sitting area.
Max was sitting in the recliner in running shorts and no shirt, playing his ass off laughing, “Dude this is insane!”
“You nerd,” I laughed at him, mostly because his laugh was extremely contagious.
He looked over at me and smiled, “You’re awake. I had to put you in your bunk last night haha.”
“Aww thank you, that’s very sweet,” I said, surprised and fluttered by the thought of him carrying me.
“Dude focus! Almost 40 minutes,” Pilar yelled at him, totally ruining the moment. Max replied with a string of expletives as he went back to the game.
“Oh and a cup of tea for you is in the microwave,” he said glancing and smiling at me.
“You seriously don’t have to do that,” I said walking by and running my fingers through his hair.
He smiled up at me, “I wanted to. After I finish this game, you wanna join me for a run?”
“It’s on,” I grinned.
After I drank my tea, I got some running gear on and met Max outside in front of the bus with Brandon. They were pushing each other around and kicking each other, it was pretty cute to see them having fun and trying to show off their strength. Brandon was a total show off and a very competitive person Max told me, so Max had been running and doing a lot of strength training. And damn it showed, he was getting some really good looking biceps and abs. Of course, I was also competitive, especially when it came to guys thinking they’re tougher and stronger. So, I took advantage of my newly found energy and ran right along with them. They were surprised of course, and Max made me feel a lot more confident by telling me my form was much better than his. Max was very humble I’ve noticed, which was an amazing quality considering how perfect he was in every way I’ve seen so far. He had it all; athleticism, vocal talent, writing talent, comedic timing, very caring, and just an amazing guy. I wanted to know more though, not just from my perspective but from his. We had a lot to talk about.
“Did you play sports in school,” I asked as we jogged back to the bus.
“Yeah I played soccer and rugby all the time, when I wasn’t playing with my dad’s band and getting into trouble,” he laughed.
“I had no idea! Your dad had a band?”
“Yeah when I met him when I was 15, his band instantly asked me to play for them. We were terrible, probably because we were to fucked up on substances, haha.”
We stopped by the bus and he turned to me, “Uh yeah my dad used to be a pretty bad role model. We drank a lot and tried every drug back then... like idiots. I’ve been clean since Alessia was gone though.”
“Wow that must’ve been hard for you.”
“Yeah, I was never the partying type, but it was the only way to have a relationship with my dad then.. When Alessia went missing, I just pretty much quit everything, including talking to my dad. We had a lot of fights and he was just being irrational and trying to fix everything with alcohol.”
“Holy crap, I know how that is. My step dad, ex step dad thank god, he was a really violent alcoholic and put my mom and I through hell. It got so bad that I moved in with Josh when I was 16. Talk about bad decisions.. But I never let myself regret that you know?”
“Wow, I had no idea you went through stuff like that. It doesn’t seem like it, besides that we share the down points.”
“Yeah, I don’t talk about the past often... guess it’s because I’m passed it.”
“I wish I could get passed it like you, but it’s just so complicated,” He said leaning on the bus.
“It isn’t easy. It takes a lot of revelations and strength. There’s always going to be things we can’t get over and it turns into fears. But, that’s why it’s good that you’re here, so we can talk about stuff like that,” I walked up hugging him, “You talk about whatever you need to whenever you need to.”
“You do the same,” he hugged me back tightly, as my head pressed against his chest. This is way too comfortable like this, I mean this hug and telling him things I don’t talk about with anyone. It’s a little bit scary, but it felt too good to close up now. I sure as hell wasn’t going to push him away, not consciously anyway. He pulled away smiling, “Let’s get back to the fun. I’m going to get dressed and then we should go get some food before soundcheck.”
“Sounds perfect,” I smiled back and followed him back onto the bus, totally staring at his body from behind.
I threw some jeans and a different shirt on, not really caring what I looked like on the guy bus. It was funny, for once I didn’t feel the need to dress up or put on make up for a guy I liked. That was a good sign that I wasn’t over thinking things and was just having fun with Max, instead of worrying if he liked me or was attracted to me. With every other guy, I freak out and start wearing heels and wearing makeup 24/7. Screw that, I was not that needy and try hard girl anymore. Besides, if I wasted time with that I would honestly miss the close friendship and this whole learning experience I had with Max. That’s another lesson I learned through all the break up shit, it’s what’s on the inside that matters and you should never take good moments with someone for granted. Worrying about what you look like takes away from that.
I stood backstage as Max’s band walked on and opened the show, opened it with some seriously heavy metal. Not only could Max sing and play guitar very well, but he had a wicked powerful scream. The band was really tight and had a very progressive sound to it. It would get very grungy and distorted, and then break off into this beautiful melodic sound where Max’s voice stole the attention of the show. It was very heart shaking music, because of the raw emotion and power in it. Max wasn’t a character or living a double life, that was all him on stage. It was definitely making me tear up, because you could hear the pain and passion in his voice. Especially on the last song, because it was about his sister and it was about death at the same time. The rawness was enough to make anyone fall in love with him and this band. Not that I was falling in love in the romantic sense, but in this obsessive crushing way. It was yet another new experience that would make this tour the best one to date.
When we got back to the bus after celebrating our first show on the tour, Max got on a call with his dad and most of everyone was on the phone with family and friends. Then, there was me. It was one of those times that made me think about how many friends and family members that are distant from me now, just because of all of the drama with the Farros and the fact that I had to move away. Those aren’t even the most hurtful reasons I’ve lost people in my life to be honest. Between all the success Paramore has had and all the limelight we’ve been in, people are basically jealous of it back home, so much that they have come to hate us. Most of these people clearly weren’t worth the time in the first place if they can’t just be happy for us and our success, but it still hurts sometimes that people feel that way and hate us. Even people who don’t really know us judge us by how much success we’re having, because yes success comes with money and we’re very fortunate that way. But, god we aren’t snobby rich people. At least I hope we aren’t. I just really miss those old friends that knew us before all of the drama and the popularity. It’s ironic that I’m surrounded by new great friends, and still thinking about past friends, but it’s really not about the past. It’s about what I miss right now, and yes it will pass and it won’t bother me in an hour or so, but it is a lonely sobering moment that makes me feel so painfully human. Another thing that makes me human, is finding resolve in one special person.
2 weeks later
Regardless of the huge shows we’ve been playing every night for a couple weeks and the part of our future weighing heavily on our performances and record sales during these shows, this night is the most nerve racking night of my entire life, in a good way. And, we weren’t even playing a show tonight. No, it was so much more than that. I wasn’t worried about the way I looked tonight. I wasn’t worried about the way I presented myself tonight. I wasn’t worried if nothing big happened tonight. Worry wasn’t a factor in my nerves for once. It was way more amazing than that. This a nerve racking feeling I could handle without shaking, well not as bad as usual anyway. This was a feeling of uncontrollable excitement that made me want to bust out laughing and jumping around the bus. Everything about tonight was going to be perfect, and I just knew it. I didn’t worry. I wasn’t self conscious. I was focusing on anyone else but me, especially the person who is the reason I’m feeling all of this excitement right now. Tonight was the date night, and it was going to be like playing a good show times a million.
So, normally on a double date the guys are supposed to meet the girls at the place the date is taking place at. But, unfortunately for my nerves I was the one taking my date to the place we were eating at. God damn just thinking about this right now made me even more nervous. Just walking 3 blocks with Hayley to a DATE made me all giddy like an idiot. Thank god she laughs at me, because I was going to be pretty childish for the first 10 minutes until I calmed down and realized it was no big deal and we were all just friends. Luckily Hayley was not at all like most girls and didn’t take a billion hours to get ready, she was actually the one waiting on me because Brandon made me late getting back to the bus. So, here I was, walking out to meet my best friend and definitely the most beautiful girl I’ve ever been on a date with. As I walked out to the front of the bus where she was waiting for me, talking to Manny and the other guys like normal, I realized that there was nothing to be nervous about, because it’s her. Because it’s so damn unbelievably easy to be around this girl and be close to her. So easy that it was actually really hard for me not to push closer at times, and this was one of those times. As I saw how fucking perfect she looked tonight, I knew that this was not some stupid double date for partying or for my sake, but this meant so much damn more than that. She was the only girl on the entire planet that I didn’t have to force myself to be close too, and an entire night dedicated to that was absolutely priceless.
I found myself absolutely comfortable telling her she looked absolutely gorgeous in front of the guys, and I also didn’t mind that she said I looked cute. But, I totally did smile like a little kid, laughing from excitement under my breath. She wore a black and white thinly striped dress that was modest, barely touching the top of her knees, but still with pretty sexy thin straps. The ice was broken, and I actually ended up pushing her off the bus before the guys possibly ruined this moment with childish laughter. She noticed I wasn’t much of a tie guy, and I replied that I was surprised she wore a dress tonight, because she usually only dressed up for photoshoots and the press. For some reason we both started laughing at this stupid little conversation, because we both knew it was actually stupid and pointless, but also cute. The walk went fast as we approached this Italian restaurant on the outskirts of Portland. It was a place that reminded me of an old house I used to walk by when I went to school, tall and thin with an old dusty look to it. I told Hayley that and she was pleased to bring me a little bit of home out on tour. She had no idea how much more “at home” I felt around her than actually being at home sometimes.
We sat next to each other, across from the giggly Taylor and the very immature Jess. They were a lot more excited it seemed, probably because they became 12 years old around each other, and I’ll admit Hayley and I are the same at times, but not all the time unlike them. Hayley and I laughed to ourselves at them, looking at each other like we were the parents and they were the children. It was pretty accurate, because the waitress already seemed annoyed with them and we asked if they could chill out for awhile until after dinner. Then, I honestly found myself not giving a damn about anything around me as I stared at her as she and Jess talked about their dresses.
“Take a picture, it lasts longer, Max,” Taylor said laughing.
“Oh I don’t need to, I’m sure I’m never going to forget this moment,” I said, kind of whispering to him.
He smiled, “Me either man, it’s surreal. You always imagine what this is going to be like as a teenager, but it’s never this good haha.”
“I know, it’s like a fuckin dream come true, god.”
“What are you talking about,” Hayley asked, looking at me intrigued as I blushed.
“This bread is so fucking good,” I said shoving some in my mouth laughing.
“Sometimes I really wonder if you’re from Earth babe,” she said.
“Awww they’ve started on the cutesy names, Taylor. I told you it’d only be a couple weeks,” Jess said excitedly.
Hayley blushed, “It just came out,” she looked at me.
I kept my calm, “You can call me whatever you want, I’m sure as hell not going to be offended, and nobody else will either.”
She smiled, “I can definitely say the same.” Wow this is going so damn good.. “Let’s eat and then go have some fun, I wanna show you how we have fun on off nights!”
“Should I be scared,” I laughed glancing at Taylor.
“Yep, it’ll involve trespassing or getting thrown out of somewhere for sure. I swear it always happens on every tour.”
“You bike,” she asked me.
I laughed, “Nah I’m more of a skateboard guy.”
“Even better,” she grinned at Jess and they both giggled. Taylor and I shrugged at each other.
After we ate and laughed, and I ended up spilling tea all over my vest because Hayley misunderstood Jess, and later yelled the word penis right in front of everyone as a question, we headed out to the nearest mall to get dessert and wreak some havoc before bedtime. When we got there, Hayley made us go into the Outdoorsman store and get on the test bikes, which we rode all the way out of the store in the atrium of the mall. Hayley laughed and said, “See, this is why biking is fun, because you can do it anywhere! And plus, it wouldn’t be a Paramore tour if we didn’t do this.”
“Alright I totally get it,” I laughed at her, “But I’m still a skateboard guy!”
“Ok if you keep saying that, I’m going to have to tell you my secret,” she grinned as we rode through some crowds of people.
“I’m seriously a skater dude, beanie wearing, ex-smoking, metal-core, skater dude. I have photographic proof!”
She stopped and looked at me, “I want one of those photos right the hell now..”
I laughed, “Why? I was totally a loser back then, I was totally just a wannabe.”
“Because that mixed with everything about you, is like a massive turn on for me.” She says this right in the middle of the mall.
“Ok if we’re sharing about this, then those plaid shirts you wear on the bus are fucking sexy as hell.”
She blushed, “When you walk around in the morning with jacked hair and no shirt, it reminds me of some movie perfect guy.”
“Ok this is actually turning me on,” Jess said stopping in front of us, “Um... we’re going back to the bus now guys. Thanks for tonight...” Jess and Taylor dropped their bikes and basically ran out of the mall.
Hayley busted out laughing and almost falling off the bike, “Got rid of them!”
I laughed with her, “I see what you did there!”
“Now, for cookies?” She grinned.
“Always, is the time for cookies!”
She laughed, “Oh my god this is the best date ever!”
“Haha I know right, god mine usually end in a drunken stumble to bed and never getting called again,” I laughed as we rode to the food court.
“God mine usually end in a horrible goodnight kiss, and I try avoiding the guy for weeks because he kissed me like I was some kind of mouth cancer test.”
“That sounds sexy,” I said sarcastically. “The best kiss I ever had was this chick I dated for a year, until she cheated on me!”
“Oh my god girls are bitches,” she laughed, “I’ve never done anything like that. But god I don’t even have a best kiss! They are always just ok, you know.”
“Yeah same here, just that one time was a bit of a spark and chemistry and shit, but nothing like I wanted.”
“Relationships suck haha. I never want to be in a dead end relationship again,”
As usual, we talked until we got kicked out of the mall for closing time, then all the way back to the bus. We learned so much about each other it was insane, especially the whole turn on and attraction thing, but also the relationship talk we had. We wanted the same exact things in our lives at this point, after not getting what we wanted for a very long time. We both felt this date was refreshing and so much fun, that it didn’t even seem like a first date. It felt like we’ve known each other for years. It felt so good to be like this with someone again, especially someone as perfect as her. This night was obviously going to end on a really good note, but I wanted to end it in a very special and personal way that would ensure that this night was truly not the end of this whole quality time. I wanted to show her that what she wanted was important to me. I wanted her to know that this night meant everything, along with her presence in my life. I wanted to give her something special that she said she’s never had before.
We got out of the cab on the corner of the lot where the buses were parked and walked up to our bus, talking about the perfect weather we had throughout this tour. We stopped right before the bus, knowing that we would walk into a bunch of sweaty band guys, and that would definitely throw off this vibe. I was really nervous again, shaking, almost trembling when I thought about what I had to do right now. I know it’s a physical act and it can make or break a relationship, but god there was so much more in this than usual. It wasn’t an impulse. It was a thought out action of feelings and joy and care for another person. It didn’t require an explanation. So I grabbed her by the waist gently but kind of firm, pulling her forward to me in a tight hold. Then I kissed her head lightly, making her tilt up to look at me. I looked down at her seriously, in a gaze I’ve never done before in my life. I tilted my head down randomly and swiftly, and kissed her gently but deeply at the same time. I was going to be a gentleman about it and be quick, but she wrapped her arms around my neck and kissed me back even deeper as our faces and bodies pressed together. I wasn’t expecting this at all, and it honestly made me weak in the knees, especially after the dream I had about kissing her. This is not how I expected this night to end, but god it was so much better than any expectations. It was the best night of my life.