About Escaping Indigo
Micah thought he’d always be in a band. All he ever wanted was to play drums and make great music, but when his best friend and bandmate passes away, Micah is left adrift. The thing that’s always lifted him up is now a reminder of everything he’s lost.
In an attempt to put his life back together, Micah takes a job as roadie for his favorite band, Escaping Indigo. He’s always admired the lead singer, Bellamy. On stage, Bellamy is confident, glittery, and radiant. But as the two grow closer, Micah realizes that in person, Bellamy is quiet, introspective, and a little uncertain. And that’s the person Micah is falling for.
Micah is determined to know all of Bellamy, both the rock star side and the side hidden from the audience, the side that creates music that touches Micah’s heart. Bellamy has secrets of his own, though, things he doesn’t want to share with anyone. And trying to uncover Bellamy’s truths might be the thing that ends up pushing him away.
Now available from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/escaping-indigo
About Eli Lang
Eli Lang is a writer and drummer. She has played in rock bands, worked on horse farms, and has had jobs in libraries, where she spent most of her time reading every book she could get her hands on. She can fold a nearly perfect paper crane and knows how to tune a snare drum. She still buys stuffed animals because she feels bad if they’re left alone in the store, believes cinnamon buns should always be eaten warm, can tell you more than you ever wanted to know about the tardigrade, and has a book collection that’s reaching frightening proportions. She lives in Arizona with far too many pets.
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To celebrate the release of Escaping Indigo, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 22, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
I wondered, sometimes, when exactly it was you could tell yourself you’d made it. When you could let yourself believe it. After your first show? After the first big venue? The first album? The first song to chart past one hundred? Past ten? Or was it when another band, a band you knew and loved, recognized you, called you by your first name, clapped you on the shoulder and said they loved your new songs? Was there ever a moment that you could look back on as the defining one?
I didn’t know the answer, because I’d never gotten there. Never reached a point where I could pause and look around, and tell myself that I’d really managed something. Really done something important. That we’d made it. Every new thing had been the most success I’d ever had, in a band, as a musician. But there had never been a time when I’d told myself that this was it. That I’d done what I’d set out to do and everything else after this moment was extra.
It was funny, because all that time—when we’d been writing music and gigging, all the times we’d been auditioning yet another bass player or keyboardist, when we’d been scrambling for every cent so we could drive to another city for a show, so we could put our album out, so we could make sure we had merch—I’d never felt anything even close to what I imagined that particular, pivotal moment felt like. That arrival. It had all been a frantic rush instead, no time to really think at all. Only time to swim as hard as we could and hope our heads stayed above water.
But I wasn’t in my own band anymore. Now I was in a gaudy but still rock-appropriate-grungy Chicago theater, working for someone else, for a band that wasn’t mine. Standing on the side of the wide stage instead of at the front of it. Handing out guitars and setting up drums instead of playing my own drums. Helping someone else entertain a crowd instead of doing it with my own band. And it should have been depressing as fuck. It should have been the worst place I could possibly have ended up. But it wasn’t. And when the band’s singer Bellamy turned away from the microphone and caught my eye, threw me that cocky half smile like he sometimes did, even though I knew he did that for a hundred people in the audience every night, it was almost like I’d made it, instead of having fallen.
That night, I watched from my spot off stage while Escaping Indigo, the band I now worked for, played. They seemed almost better than usual, pushing the music into all the corners of the room, out into the parking lot. The first few shows of the tour had gone well, and they were riding that energy. Bellamy jumped down from the stage to stand with the audience. People reached out to touch him while he sang, pulled at him until he had to hold the mic up and tilt his chin back to get the words out. A hand slithered up the front of his shirt, and he tugged it out, but then he held on to it, twisting his fingers with the other person’s. Everybody wanted a piece of him, something that they could make their own, and he made it seem like they could have that. I knew that feeling. I’d been a fan, the biggest fan, long before I’d ever imagined I’d end up being their roadie.
After, with the sounds of the show still ringing in my head, when the silence around me was almost smothering and my ears felt as if they’d been stuffed with cotton, I went around to the side of the building. It was darker and quieter there. I wanted to have one more cigarette before I headed to the bus and to bed. Instead, I ran into Bellamy. I wasn’t sure it was him at first—I had a moment when I panicked and figured I was about to get murdered in a city I’d never even set foot in before today, but then I saw the black jacket, the skinny jeans, the slight wave in the coppery-brown hair, and I recognized him.
“Got a light?”
His voice was soft, just this side of hoarse. I could still hear him, like an echo in my mind, calling out to the audience, singing songs I knew all the words to, his voice strong and sure, velvety. It was rougher now, but I could hear that richness behind his words, the depth he could coax out of it.
I dug around in my pocket, fumbling for my lighter. He took a step back, into the shadows, and I followed. When I flicked the lighter, the flame lit up his face, highlighted the angles of his cheekbones, made the makeup around his eyes stand out, stark and black against his skin. He held his cigarette up for me, breathed in, then moved away. I took out my own pack and lit one for myself.
Bellamy leaned against the wall. He wiggled his shoulders a little, settling in, getting as comfortable as he could. He drew on his cigarette once, but then he pulled it away and held it by his hip, tucked between two fingers.
I didn’t know whether I should stay or go. Bellamy and I had been traveling together, obviously, and we’d spoken, but never much more than “Good morning,” and “Good show,” and “Please tune this guitar like this.” He’d been kind and polite, but standoffish. And I . . . I had been so nervous to meet him, to be around him, that I’d basically clammed up every time he was near me. It’d be nice to be able to actually have a conversation with him, but I didn’t want to intrude on his solitude. And I didn’t know what conversation I’d be able to come up with, anyway.
I took a tiny step back, and my foot scraped against a patch of gravel. Bellamy jerked his head up and glanced over at me.
I was probably blushing already. I blushed hard and obviously, despite how tan I was, and it was probably visible, even in the dim light here. I waved my hand over my shoulder, trying to play it cool.
“I’ll, ah . . .”
His hand snapped out and grabbed my wrist, but not hard. Only enough to keep me here, enough for me to feel his touch on my skin. Then he let go. “You don’t need to go.” He turned away again, but I didn’t think he was blocking me out. He tilted his head against the building and stared up at the sky. It was clear, but the city lights were too bright, even back here, and there weren’t any stars to see. “I was . . . looking for a place to come down, you know?”
I stepped forward this time, and leaned against the wall next to him. Not close enough to touch, but enough that I could feel the warmth of him, smell the smoke of his cigarette, earthy and bitter. I took a drag off my own, but it seemed almost beside the point, now.
“I missed this,” he said, soft, his voice fading away, blending into the sounds of traffic and people shouting and laughing.
I turned my head to him. His profile was all in shadow, just a sharp nose and chin, hair that was a bit too long. He looked as much like a rock star standing still as he did when he was moving around on stage. He gave off an energy, more contained now, but no less forceful in its magnetism. I thought of him like a live wire, something dangerous and electric and lovely.
“I missed being on the road.” He glanced at me. “There isn’t anything as good as touring, as playing.”
I nodded. That made sense. I supposed it was different for everyone—I knew some people liked the recording the best, and thought the touring was a chore—but there was definitely something raw and beautiful about this, even when it was tedious or uncomfortable.
“I’m glad you have the bus, though,” I blurted out. “Quinn said you used to ride around in a van.”
Bellamy laughed, loudly. “We did. Not for a few tours now. But, god, that was a pain in the ass. We were all so crammed together. This is better. But it was fun.” He trailed off, and he sounded almost wistful. I could imagine it. There was something freeing about being on tour, no matter how you got there. Quinn had told me about the van like it was his own personal hell, though. He’d laid a nearly reverent hand on the bus, and the expression I’d seen on his face had made me laugh out loud. It had reminded me of how long he’d been working with the band, from the time they’d been tiny and he’d been the only roadie they’d had, to where they were now, just big enough to have a tour bus, big enough that we had somewhere comfortable to sleep instead of shitty hotel rooms.
“Are you liking it?” Bellamy asked, surprising me out of my thoughts. “Being on the road?”
I took in a deep breath, but I tried not to make it sound like that was what I was doing. I thought about the first time I’d been able to say I was on tour, when I’d been a drummer and not a roadie. When it had been my band out on the road. It was laughable, because we’d only stopped in three cities before we’d gone home, and it hadn’t been anything like this. No tour bus, no roadies, no venues that held hundreds of people. We’d driven a friend’s van, like Escaping Indigo had once, packed with our stuff, and we’d slept in the back on a tiny pile of blankets. We’d carried our own gear, set up by ourselves. And we sure as shit hadn’t been headlining. But the crowds had liked us all right. We’d sold some of the handmade CDs we’d brought, with our initials written on them in place of a band name, because we never could decide, and people had asked us if we were going to be coming by again. It hadn’t been like this at all. But it had been good. It had felt so good. Freeing and exciting and like we’d been on the brink of something incredible.
“I like it,” I said. I thought about adding something else to it, to explain that I’d done this before, but not in the same way. To keep the conversation going, more than anything. But I didn’t want to bring all of that here, into this quiet space between us, and I didn’t know Bellamy well enough to guess how he’d react.
He didn’t ask me for any more than that, though. He slid me a wry smile. “But you were hoping for a quiet place too, huh? And now I’m talking your ear off.”
I smiled back. “I don’t mind.” Bellamy could talk to me anytime. I’d never even imagined I’d be able to stand here with him, like this. He’d been an untouchable idol for so long that this felt unreal.
He dropped his cigarette and ground it out, then bent and scooped it up into his hand. “It’s good to have a quiet space.” He turned to me. “Touring’s the best, but it’ll wear you down, being with everyone all the time.”
“And I intruded into your space, this time,” I answered, asking without words whether that was okay.
He shrugged. “I didn’t mind, either. My boyfriend and I used to sneak away. Find the dark corners. He was a roadie for us too. So it’s . . .” he laughed, “similar.” His smile went lopsided and sad. “But not the same. Sorry, that was awkward.”
I shook my head. “Why isn’t he working this tour?”
“’Cause he dumped me,” Bellamy answered without skipping a beat. “Middle of last tour, he up and left, no note, no nothing. Guess he’d had enough.”
“Yeah.” He took a step, and I couldn’t see his face anymore in the dark. “Hey, I’m glad you came over. I was worried about . . . It was good to talk to someone. Thanks.”
I nodded. I didn’t know what else to say, but it didn’t matter. He nodded back and then headed off, in the direction of the bus. I stood outside for a little longer, took the last drag on my cigarette. I thought about Bellamy picking his up, careful not to litter, about the way the fine lines around his eyes had tightened when he’d talked about his ex. He’d told me about it like it was simply a thing that had happened, but I wondered if that was what he really felt about it.
I wondered, too, who would be stupid enough to dump someone as talented and gorgeous as Bellamy.