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Rise & Rise Again

it feels like heaven is gone.

I had spent most of the night awake, talking to Austin about what had been going on in my life since I left. There wasn't much to tell on my part.

He told me about the headliner tour and how well that had gone. We swapped phone numbers, since both of ours had changed since then. I turned on the television, keeping the volume low, but let my eyes stay on Austin. Nick had agreed to stay in Austin's room with Alan for the night to give us the alone time we needed to talk.

While in my thoughts, I remembered seeing his new tattoo. He seemed too overtaken with his concentration on the news channel, so I didn't see a problem with taking his hand and turning his palm up to look at the tattoo. It's a small pink rose with a flowy, cursive Juliastemming from it. The flowing curves wrap around his entire left wrist and go up between his fingers to wrap around his left ring finger where there used to be a white tan under his knuckle. Now, there us just a black band of ink that wraps around his finger. The skin is freshly healed with little scarring.

"When did you get this?" I ask, tracing the letters with my finger. His fingers tighten into a fist, causing the veins in his arm to press into his skin.

"Right before Christmas. It was going to be a present to you."

I stare at the flowing cursive, my heart catches in my throat. Austin had been out of town to visit his dad for the holidays when I made the impulsive decision to leave, breaking off our eight month engagement. My free hand gripped at the ring hanging from the silver chain around our neck. Our wedding was a week ago. My dress was still sitting at the dress store, fully paid, just waiting for the final alterations. Our wedding planner was still waiting for a simple phone call saying the wedding was back on.

"It's okay, Zoe," he tells me softly. I realize that I'm crying. I wipe away the tears before he can. "You were hurting and wanted to be alone. I don't fault you for leaving, okay? I still love you no matter what."

I can't speak, I've lost my voice. Curling into his warm side, I lay against him and cry. We've been there for less than 48 hours and I've already been through the emotional roller coaster ten times. It makes sense, though. I didn't cry once after Julia until now, because I kept denying that it had happened.

It wasn't my weekend, and it definitely wouldn't be my year, either.

For a few moments I believe he's crying too from the muffled sharp inhales that he takes with his face pressed to my hair, and the way he shakes slightly as he holds me. When I finally look at him an hour later, his eyes are a bit puffier than usual, but they're closed. I can see the sun barely coming through the hotel window.

It's another day, but it may not be a very good one.


After I chugged an energy drink down, ran a comb through my bedhead and covered my red, puffy cry-eyes with make up, I was officially able to leave my hotel room and go through the motions of today. I had to walk to Austin's room to give Nick the room key, but when I got there, I knew that would be useless. Nick came to the door just long enough to open it before running off to the bathroom to barf. Alan was out on the balcony talking on his phone, and Austin was no where to be found.

"Zoe?" Nick called from the bathroom. I went in, but stayed in the doorway so not to get any closer to the extremely sick Nick.

"How are you holding up?" I asked him. He didn't look very well.

"You're going to have to shoot for me."

After a quick twenty minute lesson of how to use Nick's camera, it would have been maybe ten minutes if it wasn't for him throwing up, Alan grabs my arm and pulls me out of the room saying we're going to miss the bus to the venue if we don't run.

"I'll have my phone on if you have questions!" he yelled, but it was muffled by more vomit and the door being slammed shut.

Instead of the elevator, which may have not been too fast, would have been faster than running down seven flights of stairs. When we're at the bottom, I feel slightly light-headed and like a fish-out-of-water as I'm trying to gasp for fresh oxygen. Alan keeps tugging my hand, and I don't have enough power to stop myself from going any farther.

Outside the hotel is a shiny, white charter bus that is taking the last of the few band members that are running late, like us. Alan pulls me in just as the doors are shutting. He's lost, crawling over the seats on top of people before disappearing somewhere in the back. I don't see any others from Of Mice, or anyone else that I'm entirely close to, so I take the first empty seat I can find, which is in the front row right behind the driver.

I put the strap to Nick’s camera over my head, and clutch the black device in my lap as the bus starts to move. There’s talking behind me, some of it louder than others, but soon it’s just a buzz as the vibration of the bus moving shakes the seats. I can hear Alan loud and clear, yelling at someone for something, and then his shirt goes flying through the air and at my feet. Wonderful.

The ride takes, maybe, fifteen minutes. I’m the first to file out, and as I look at the large gates and the buff security guards I realize I don’t have a press pass nor my phone to call for help, on. I’ve lost Alan in the group of bands as they grab their bags from under the bus since all of them, just like us, are having to catch planes right after their sets. He may have red hair, but he’s shorter than all of these people that surround us.


I turn at the sound of my name, still holding Nick’s camera tight, but sigh in relief when I find Tino waving at me from behind the fence. He’s got my pass in his hand, since his is around his neck. I run over, taking the pass from him through the fence and thank him.

“Austin has been calling your cell since we got here.”

“Sorry, I left it in my room. I thought I would have more time to go back and get it but Nick is sick and Alan just grabbed me and ran.”

Tino gives me a slight smile and nods over to the open gate were security is checking passes. “Come on. Lover boy is getting ready for signings.”

I nod and run over, somehow falling in one of the two lines behind Kellin Quinn, and in front of Alex Gaskarth. I was only in the line for a minute or two before Tino waves for me to follow him; Alan is ahead with Phil beside him as they try to find their trailer. Tino grins and goes a different way.

“This is a shortcut. They’re going to be looking for the room for at least an hour.”

I laugh and shake my head at Tino’s antics before I keep quiet as I follow him. He waves to his friends, and then the faces that he’s just familiar with. After a few left and right turns, we get to the trailer, and as soon as I step in, my hot bones are chilled with cool, fresh, recycled air. Aaron and Austin look up from their phones, plugged in to charge in the corner.

Aaron smiles and waves. The first time he had seen me since I left, was yesterday at the animal sanctuary, and then I had my breakdown. I walk over and crouch to hug him around his neck, one that he returns before I’m pulled away by Austin and forced to sit across his lap. I scrunch my nose, not quite use to the affectionate display anymore. It has been just over two months since we’ve even talked to each other, so going back to our usual nature is slightly strange to me.

Austin kisses my check before he goes back to his phone, looking through his tags on Twitter and Instagram. There were the usual objectifying-fangirls and the constant attention-seeking-you've-saved-my-life-fangirls, and then there were the funny, sarcastic ones that Austin would always reply to or smile at. They were the true fans, the ones that knew not to overstep to boundaries of the personal life of the one that meant so much to them. There were ups and downs of being with a rockstar.

He then pulls up my twitter account, something I hadn't updated since October. At the top is an old picture of Austin and I at the beach when we stopped in Florida during Warped Tour. He's holding up a surf board, with his other arm wrapped around my waist. I think Aaron took the picture, but it may have been Phil. We were happy back then, excited to become parents and take on that challenge and finally have a family.

Yet here we were, broken as ever.

I take the phone from him and quickly sign him out, signing myself in. Over one hundred notifications pop up in the corner, but I simply ignore them for now. I'll go through them on the plane ride to Sydney tonight. For now, I leave one simple message for the few thousand people are still follow me.

Zoe Xavier @zoexstormtv

Hanging in Austrilia with a few rockstar friends.

And then, without much warning, I took a quick picture of Austin and I. He was looking over at the door just as Alan and Phil came in, carrying their bags for later when they had to get on the plane. I smiled as I tagged him in it and quickly logged back out before handing the phone over. Austin looks down, getting a notification of being mentioned. I climb out of his lap and go over to Tino to talk to him as he plays with his phone. I feel something hit me.

Looking up, Austin is holding up a piece of balled up paper. There's another piece on the floor under me from where he threw it. Austin sticks out his tongue before grinning and walking over to Alan and Phil to talk.

"Hey, you have a signing in ten minutes!" Their Austrilian tour guide says from the door before walking away, speaking into his walkie talkie.

"Mind if I tag along?" I ask Tino, holding up Nick's camera. He grins and shakes his head.

"Just don't get in a fight with Adam if he takes all the good shots."

"Adam's here?" I'm surprised. I had not seen him any yet.

"Yeah, he's right there."

Tino points, and I follow his finger. Sure enough, there's one bald Adam Elmakias standing in the door way talking to Alan before the two walk away, Phil turning to grab his phone before going with them. Aaron stands up and waves at us.

"C'mon, don't want to be late."

We weren't late, if you call getting through exactly on time as not late, but plenty of the fans were surprised to see me standing behind them. The only pictures anyone had seen of me in the last year, or so, was me with a pregnant belly, or wrapped in Austin's arms. My hair hadn't changed other than for the few color tones from when I would dye it and it would fade.

Some smiled at me, some waved, and a few even asked if I would get in the group picture. I don't object. However, when one little girl, with almost matching purple hair, walked up with six small boxes, I'm surprised when she hands me a small purple one with light pink ribbon.

"I didn't know if you were going to be here, so I was just going to ask Austin to give it to you, but then I saw your tweet and was hoping I could give it to you personally."

I nod and smile and reach over the table to hug her. It feels nice to be back.


The security guard let me through just as I flashed my press pass. It was the first day of the Soundwave Tour. The Pierce boys were about to start playing at the stage I had just come to. Nick, my ever-so-trusted camera guy, had eaten some bad fish and was stuck in the hotel, so I was stuck putting my nonexistent photography skills to the test. So far I had taken one good picture of my shoes, and that was it.

The volume of the crowd increases just as the familiar Dancing Skeleton comes out on stage with his familiar intro for the band. I've lost count of how many times I've heard the story. The intro only lasts a minute before I see Mike bobbing behind some speakers to get to his drums. Jaime and Tony come out together, starting off the beginning strum and chords of "May These Noises Startle You". I see Vic, just off stage, with a mic in his hand and guitar hanging off his body. He has his eyes closed, concentrating just before he begins to sing.

I smile, holding the camera up and flashing a few pictures. Jaime makes a face at me and holds it long enough for me to snap it into the camera's memory card. I return the face and look back at Mike. He's shifting a few of his snares. The crowd suddenly goes crazy as Vic walks out, carrying his signature white and green goo guitar. The last time I saw them perform, it was side stage in Warped Tour heat while seven months pregnant. The thought of my Julia Rose brings a frown to my face until Jaime leans over the stage with his tongue hanging out at me. I jump back in surprise, not realizing just how close to the stage I was. I laugh, and he laughs back, walking over to his riser, mouthing the words to "Hell Above". I mouth them back, moving my body to the beat slightly before going over to Tony's side to snap a few good pictures of him and Mike.

The crowd behind me is crazy, and about three crowd surfers have kicked me in the back of the head before reaching the security guards and being forced back into the crowd. I pressed my self against the side of the stage, trying to not get bumped again and to continue getting mediocre shots for Brad.

"How the fuck are you guys doing today, Brisbane?" Vic yells into his mic. The crowd screams together. He smiles, turns to Mike and nods. They all begin to play together as Vic introduces the next song. "This next one is called, 'Bulls in the Bronx', and I would like to dedicate it to every single person out here tonight that feels like they can't make it another day because you can. I believe you're strong enough to make it."

The crowd goes loud again. I smile up at Vic, snapping a picture of his smile as he sings.

Their show, as always, was intense and I'm dripping with sweat from the body heat and running around the pit taking pictures. It was even better than the last time I had seen them. The set was only about thirty-five minutes long, but their schedule was still full until later tonight. There was one final bow as the rest of the confetti flittered down before they threw the remaining pics and the ripped, dirty set lists. The fans slowly trickle out of the crowd, seeing as Pierce was the last band at this stage for the day, however I follow where all the backstage VIP people are going. Meet and greets are always my favorite to watch. I always made it a priority to sit in on the signings Of Mice had done at Warped Tour last year. Some of the fans even included me in some of the things. I actually got a little teary eyed at that when they would hand me little baby things that were meant for Julia. I still had them, in a box, under my bed back at my small apartment.

I fell in line behind the excited teens and young adults, Nick's camera in one hand and my pass in the other.

While the teens are hurrying around to figure out where to go, I scoot past them and go straight to the small trailer situated just behind the stage. I wave to familiar roadies and techies as they clear the stage of their gear. Once to the small room, set up as a temporary 'dressing room' for bands before and after their sets, I find half of the boys shirtless and the other two toweling themselves dry. I snap another picture, quite happy with my handy work. Jaime comes straight to me after chugging a bottle of water. I'm greeted with a sweaty hug, one I return, as he rubs his cheek against mine. I push him away easily, laughing at his antics.

"Jaime Alberto, you stop that! We're already sweaty enough." I try to scold him, try my best not to laugh, but we both end up grinning. Another pair of arms, these are long and lanky and inked up, hug me from behind. Now I'm soaked in nasty guy sweat, along with my own.


Vic looks up, but laughs when he realizes I'm talking to his younger brother.

"Xavier!" Mike teases back, keeping his arms around my torso as Jaime walks away shaking out his now messy, curly hair.

"I know where you sleep at night, Whiskey Hands. I can make it look like you died peacefully in your sleep."

His response is quiet, loud enough for only me to hear, but I'm surprised profoundly by it.

"Or we could put my bed to good use and keep it warm," he says, and my body tenses. There's always been the flirting, but it's just friendly teasing. There was never anything behind it. Never.

Was he just overstepping the invisible boundaries we had placed up? I was hoping he wasn't because Austin and I were trying to pick up the broken pieces of us and make things right again. Now Mike was starting to hint at feelings for me too?

"Mike," I say softly, stepping away from him and turning to face him. He was grinning, his eyes slightly glassy from alcohol and weed, but I knew he was still conscious of his actions. "Mike, we-"

"Sorry, Zoe, I didn't go too far did I? I was just teasing you." He tries to sound convincing but I don't take it.

"Mike-" I start, but stop, and shake my head. "Don't let it happen again, okay?"

And so begins a long and tense tour. Mike's grin falters, and so does the twinkle in his eye until he just purses his lips and turns away from me; he walks out of the trailer. Vic and Jaime share a look before grabbing a bottle of water and walk out behind him. Tony, wiping sweat off his chest and putting on a dry shirt, gives me a sheepish smile and then walks out last.

For a moment I debate whether or not I should follow them, continuing on with my photos, or if I should go ahead back to Of Mice's trailer back in the main arena and put up all my things. I had done a few shots of them but ended up leaving half way through to catch other sets. Pierce's set was my last for the day and I felt like I should just leave it at that.

I didn't follow them to the Meet and Greet, and just decided to head back to get my gear and get ready for tonight. There was going to be a small party hosted at a local bar and all bands and press had been invited to go. Since Austin and I were still trying to smooth out the details in our frayed relationship we agreed that some time together in public wouldn't be bad. Maybe it would help.

I hoped it would help.

The walk back to Of Mice's trailer was quiet. A majority of the other bands had already packed up and shipped their things to the next airport and were on planes to the next stop-


I fell back, clutching Nick's camera to my chest so there would be no possiblity of it crashing to the floor and breaking. My buttbone was aching and I knew it would be uncomfortable to sit on it for a long time like I was going to be over the next few days. I look up, and the look of horror on Adam Elmakias' face almost makes me laugh, but I'm in pain so I refrain from doing so.

"Holy crap are you okay, Zoe?"

Laughing softly, I nod and take his offered hand to stand back up.

"Yeah, Adam. I think I'm going to be just fine."


this is perfect. <3

christinaannxo christinaannxo

Just read the whole story in 2 hours cx its 12:30 in the morning and totally worth it xp

Aw! The nusery scene was sad :( but I can't wait for the marriage scene next!

amazing update! your writing is crazy! specially in this chapter! ;) ;)

taxigerm taxigerm

Oh hot damn. This chapter is fabulous Dahling. :3

WhiskeyPrincess WhiskeyPrincess