Finally, the boys came into the greenroom.
"Hello, ladies," AJ said, grinning. Elisa smiled at him, and his eyes widened, amused.
"Well well well," he muttered, laughing to himself as Brian, Nick, Kevin and Howie entered behind him.
Apparently, Brian and Nick had already told the rest of them about the singing thing earlier.
Nick caught her eye and shot her an amused smile. Brian's eyes widened and he winked at her.
After explaining about the way things were going to go, the guys hung out for a while. Kevin sat next to her and asked her simple questions. He did not let on that he knew she had sang with Brian and Nick earlier. Elisa was impressed by his seriousness about music and family.
She’d told him how her sister had given her the pass when she had to leave early.
“That was kind of her. Family mean a lot to you?”
Elisa didn’t know how to answer the question, given the past year. Kevin sensed her discomfort.
“You don’t have to answer that. Obviously, you and your sister are close.”
“Yeah, we are,” she said, thankful for his tact.
Nick watched Kevin and Elisa as he talked to another fan. This fan was a little too friendly, “accidently” touching his leg every now and then.
He sent AJ a look that said “Help!”, and AJ relieved him of the groupie chick. He walked to the door of the greenroom, and lingered there until Elisa glanced over. He nodded outside, an obvious gesture for her to follow him.
She followed him until he stopped at a huge speaker. Nick finally spoke.
"So apparently, we keep running into each other." He leaned against the speaker.
"Not on purpose. It was actually supposed to be my sister on stage, but her kid got sick."
"I'm not mad about it. To be honest, I’m actually glad to have gotten to see you again.”
“I don’t know, to be honest. I’ve had a couple weeks of crap, and you’re like a breath of fresh air. The first fan not to be all over me.”
"I'm sorry you've had a rough time."
"I've had worse."
Elisa stood uncomfortably.
"I'm still sorry."
Nick smiled at her.
"I didn't ask you here to be all doom and gloom. Just wanted to thank you, for earlier, Miss...ummm...damn. Here I am, dancing and singing to you and I didn't even have a notion to ask your name."
"Miss Ummmm Damn was taken that day, so my parents had to stick me with Elisa. Elisa Montgomery," she said, holding out her hand.
He took it, but didn't shake. He grinned at her.
"A sense of humor, that's great, Elisa. And you have a beautiful name."
“Thanks,” she said, grinning.
Nick smiled back.
"I should get you back to the greenroom, before the fans think I'm picking favorites."
"Are you?" Elisa asked, a mischievous glint in her eyes.
"Maybe," he mumbled, shrugging.
Elisa's eyes widened.
"Don't do that. It's not fair," she said seriously.
"I'll try, Elisa. Let's head back to the greenroom?"
Elisa walked in first, and ten minutes later, Nick joined them, and interacted with the other girls, although he'd send a private smile to Elisa every once in a while.
AJ plopped himself by Elisa. He grinned at her.
"You must be the sidewalk entertainment from earlier," he said, lowly.
"Does everyone know about that?" she asked.
“Yeah, but I reckon it’s the first time one of us mentioned it.”
“Yeah, it is. Is it really that bad?”
"Easy, it's okay. I wanted to say you did a number on my boy over there. He's been in a funk. Today's the first time I've seen him happy in weeks."
Elisa breathed a sigh of relief, and began chatting with AJ about their musical tastes. They were somewhat similar. AJ tripped over the fact that she had seen a KISS concert when she was a little girl. However, when it came to country music, AJ admitted while he liked some songs, he was a novice.
Elisa actually was surprised by how well she got on with him, as his personality was so out there. She typically despised wild people, but AJ’s brand of crazy was tolerable.
She met Howie, who was nice enough, but seemed to be assessing her for something. She felt nervous around him, and was happy when Brian made his way to her.
Brian…was hilarious. He was from Georgia, like her, and they talked about home. She told him how she’d moved to LA when she was seven with her mom, and how much she missed Georgia sometimes. They had so much in common, it was crazy, and his love of his family was endearing. He teased her a little about Nick stealing her away, and how the other girls were probably going to tear her to pieces when they left the room.
Finally, it was time for the boys to get dressed.
"You ladies can watch from the wings, or back here. Or a seat out there. Someone will come get you when it's time to come onstage," Howie said, blowing the girls a kiss.
And, as Brian predicted, three blonds approached her as they left.
“What did Nick want with you?”
“You know he’s engaged, right?”
“I hope you don’t plan on getting far.”
Elisa rolled her eyes.
“First of all, it’s none of your business what Nick wanted with me. Secondly, I don’t think you care about him being engaged, since you were practically jerking him off earlier. And finally, I don’t plan on getting anywhere. I plan on enjoying this concert and I refuse to let you three blond Barbie knockoffs ruin that.”
And, leaving the three stooges in silence, she left the greenroom to watch the show from the wings.
She always admired the way the boys performed, but seeing it up close was unreal. She had no clue how they still did it twenty years later, but they did it and they did it well. If she didn’t know their ages, she would swear it was twenty year olds out there on that stage.
Elisa watched Nick interact with the fans. He was definitely in his element, and his energy was infectious. He laughed, played, sang, danced, and just excelled at it all. She could tell he was high on life, and he was loving it.
As “I’ll Never Break Your Heart” came on, she was joined by the other women in the greenroom. It was almost time for them to go onstage. They watched the boys sing and dance with their mike stands.
That song led into “We’ve Got It Going On” and that’s when the real dancing began. Nick took off his jean jacket and threw it into the crowd, and Elisa lost all brain function as he began to move.
As Nick danced onstage, he occasionally glanced toward Elisa. She was just watching him with a glazed look in her eyes. When she finally caught his eye, he read a mixture of emotions in hers. Yet all of it was gone in a second as she shot him a smile and clapped for him.
The boys came to the wing to escort the girls on stage. There were ten girls, five boys, so each boy escorted two. Nick reached for Elisa's hand, and the hand of another.
"You having fun?" he murmured to her.
"Mhm," she said.
Squeezing her hand, he sat her where he could see her in his peripheral vision.
As the girls were seated, they harmonized the chorus to "Safest Place to Hide." Then they all cracked up onstage and then Kevin went into the story of "Back to Your Heart."
Nick realized how he hadn't thought of Maureen once, and normally he did at this song. Now he was appreciating all the fans out in the crowd tonight as they listened to Kevin’s story.
Brian murmured to him.
“Dude…last time we have to hear this story. I love Kevin but this is getting old.”
“You’re a douche, dude,” Nick said, grinning. Brian had a point but neither of them would ever tell Kevin that.
Howie shushed them as the music began.
As they began to sing, Nick heard Elisa’s lovely voice slightly behind him sing along. He and Brian grinned at each other as they harmonized together, remembering what happened that afternoon.
She had stopped singing by Nick's second verse, though, and out of his side vision, he saw her wiping tears from her eyes.
Elisa was crying because this song was emotional, and she could feel Kevin’s love for his wife in it. She only hoped she could find a man who loved her as much as Kevin did his wife.
"I'd turn back time, to make you mine, and find a way back to your heart. I'd beg and plead, fall to my knees, to find a way back to your heart..."
They finished the song, and Nick turned to Elise, and smiled reassuingly at her. She smiled back softly.
Turning back, he realized it was time for "Madeliene", and since this was the last show, he was going to do something different. Standing up, he went to the first girl in line, and took her hand.
As he sang, he danced with each girl, making the crowd go nuts. He loved it when these ideas came to him, because it made others happy.
At Elisa's turn, he sang soulfully to her.
"Rise up, rise up, rise up Madeliene, the sun will come out again..." he sang, touching her face and smiling. She smiled happily, and he spun her toward AJ, who had joined him in dancing with the girls. Brian, Kevin, and Howie smiled approvingly at the two nutjobs for what they had done. It was definitely a nice thing to do, and it made the crowd happy.
Then it was time for "Quit Playing Games", which was one of Elisa's favorite songs to dance to. She sang along happily when the boys asked the fans to join in.
As the girls were escorted backstage, Elisa smiled. This was definitely one of the best nights of her life.