In Pieces – Chapter 1

Ashleigh stirred as she lay in bed in early on a Saturday morning. It was late January, and the pressure of her senior year in high school was starting to drive her to the point of insanity.

Unfortunately, he stress had been momentarily added to by the sound of the telephone ringing. Quickly picking up the phone and momentarily wondering who in the world would be calling her house at six in the morning on a Saturday, she soon got her answer.

“Hello?” She said, in her groggy state. She certainly was not in the mood to be bothered.

“Ash! Okay, guess what?” Joey squealed into the phone.

“What?” Ashleigh mumbled, wondering what could possibly be so important that Joey had to call her that early.

“Aaron is going away for the summer. He said we could use his car while he was gone!” Joey said, her voice filled with excitement.

Ashleigh blinked and glared at the phone. This was the whole reason Joey was calling her? “That’s why you phoned me? I’m going back to bed.” Ashleigh said, irritated that Joey could get so over excited about something so mundane.

“No! Wait, I had an awesome idea, and I couldn’t wait to tell you.” Joey replied, eager to let her best friend in on her plan. “We take Aaron’s car and follow the Backstreet Boys on their Black & Blue tour. We’ll see one concert, and follow their bus to the next city!” Joey said, pleased with herself.

“That’s a stupid idea.” Ashleigh said, not sharing Joey’s enthusiasm at all. “There’s no way we could afford that.”

“So get a part time job!” Joey said dismissively. She was intent on convincing Ashleigh to go with her, especially since she’d spent most of the night convincing her brother to let them use his car.

Ashleigh sighed and looked around her room. Her walls were covered in Backstreet Boys posters, as were most girl’s back in 2001. “Good seats to their shows are really expensive.” She said, still unable to rationalize this.

“That’s why we don’t get good tickets. We buy crappy ones and then sneak to the front.” Joey replied.

Ashleigh grinned a little. As much as she hated to admit it, Joey’s idea did sound like fun. After all, what girl in their right mind wouldn’t want to see the Backstreet Boys every night for an entire summer? “Okay, Joe. Let’s do it.” She said, knowing her friend was going be ecstatic.

“Yes! Ash, this is going to be so awesome. Imagine it, we’ll get to see Nick Carter every night!!. Oh man. Is it July yet?” Joey squealed. She was obviously very easily excitable, and had put a lot of thought into this idea.

Seven months later, the two girls stood in front of Joey’s house as they packed Aaron’s car with their suitcases. In Ashleigh’s hand she held an envelope, which contained tickets to a fair amount of concert dates.

They were planning on driving to Albany to catch their first show on July 1st. This was going to be a two day trip, filled with Backstreet Boys music, junk food and gossip. The girls couldn’t be any more excited.

“I can’t believe we actually managed to do this.” Ashleigh marveled. Ever the pessimist, she’d figured that they would have gushed about the idea for a month and then forgotten about it. “This is amazing.”

“I know. I told you it would be worth it to do tech support.” Joey laughed. For the past seven months, Ashleigh and Joey had worked after school in a tech support call centre. The job itself was horrendous, but it paid a decent amount more than minimum wage.

“Even though Nick will only be this big.” Ashleigh said, holding up her thumb and forefinger. The tickets the girls had bought for the shows were the worst possible tickets you could buy, but they were cheap and they’d decided quantity over quality. Besides, they had been planning on sneaking up to better seats once they were in the venues.

“I’m sure he’s bigger.” Joey smirked as she got into the driver’s seat. Ashleigh climbed into the passenger’s seat and popped a CD into the stereo. She and Joey grinned at each other as they began to sing along with the familiar song.

When the girls finally arrived in Albany, it was about an hour until Showtime. They’d gotten a little lost on the way there, and as a result they were running somewhat late.

After parking the car, they made their way inside the Pepsi arena. They were amazed at what they saw – a plethora of Backstreet Boys merchandise everywhere. Not that they weren’t expecting it, they’d seen the Millennium concert when they’d been in Minneapolis a few years before.

“Fuckin’ rights.” Joey breathed as they walked around, taking in the atmosphere. Before this moment, this had just been a fantasy for them. Now that they were in the venue of the first show, the entire plan and experience began to seem real and not just a fantasy.

“No kidding.” Ashleigh said, as the two of them made their way to their seats. In their years of friendship, Joey was always coming up with outrageous plans and ideas, but this was the first time they’d actually gone through with one of them. “This was a good idea, Joey.” She said, finally acknowledging that her friend’s plan wasn’t just some lame idea she’d dreamt up overnight.

“I told you so.” Joey smirked, sitting down. “Holy, I can nearly touch the ceiling.” She laughed as they took their seats.

The girls laughed and joked with each other as they waited impatiently for the show to start. It had been a while since the two of them had been to a concert together, the last time being when they saw the Millennium show a couple of years prior.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity to Ashleigh and Joey, the lights went dim and the band began to play. The two of them looked at each other with anticipation. There was no doubt that the energy in the area was at its peak as the crowd chanted “Backstreet Boys! Backstreet Boys!”

As the boys rose from the stage, the beginning notes of Everyone began to play. The crowd, of course went ecstatic and Ashleigh and Joey cheered right along with everyone else.

As the boys performed, the energy of the fans didn’t decline. In fact, it seemed as though with every song they got more excited, more energized.

Ashleigh and Joey giggled and made comments to each other throughout the whole show, talking with each other as if the Backstreet Boys were close personal friends of theirs. They both gave each other a knowing look when Nick pulled pranks on Kevn and rolled their eyes when Howie winked for the 478th time.

By the time the concert was over, the girls were on a high that no one would be able to bring them down from. Usually the end of a concert is bittersweet, exciting and fun, but soon to be a memory.

Though for Ashleigh and Joey, their fun was just beginning.

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