Part 10

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Later that evening, we pulled into the parking lot of the downtown brewery that was hosting the bands pop up concert. The parking lot was packed full of people waiting to get a glimpse of Josh, Anthony, Joey and Alex. A couple of hours ago, Josh posted to the bands twitter page about the surprise show. The response was insane. Much to my dismay, he also tweeted about the "special first time appearance"...Me. My anxiety was through the roof, but seated in the car with Josh's hand in mine, I felt He made me feel confident and strong, which was something I was seriously lacking.

Our car pulled up in the alleyway beside the building with the van with the bands equipment following closely behind. We pulled to a stop and Josh looked over at me. "You ready?" He asked, with a sly smile on his face. "Not really, but i guess i have no choice now that you've tweeted about it..." I tried to smile but my lips quivered at the thought of performing in front of so many people. When I sang Karaoke, people were usually wasted and not really paying much attention which made it easier. Here, I was going to be the center of attention and honestly, that scared the piss out of me, but when I looked into Josh's eyes, I began to feel more at ease. Even more so when he leaned in and planted a sweet kiss on my forehead. "You're going to be great, Ana." he spoke before opening the car door and stepping out into the warm breeze, pulling me along with him.

We walked through the back door of the brewery. It was dimly lit and I could faintly smell stale beer. We came around a corner and I saw the makeshift stage the owners had threw together for us. There were string lights all along the wall behind the stage and crew members were loading instruments and equipment into the building. Josh let go of my hand and made his way to the brewery owner and began chatting, but I couldn't make out the conversation over the sound of the radio bumping through speakers in each corner of the establishment. I walked out to the private patio in the back and grabbed my pack of cigarettes from the pocket of my over sized hoodie. I found a chair and had a seat so I could smoke and relax, while trying to psych myself up for the terror I was about to face. "I cant believe I agreed to this..." I whispered to myself. "I'm glad you did, and I'll be your biggest fan." I looked up to see Josh standing in the doorway. He smiled and walked towards me, crouching down in front of me so that we were eye level. He took my face in his hands and spoke softly, "You are going to get through this, and then you'll see what I've learned....You're so talented and you are meant to be on stage. People need to hear your amazing voice, and I want to help you build the confidence to do this. Even if you have some people who don't like you, that doesn't matter. All that matters is that you're happy....that you're doing something you LOVE. You told me this has always been a dream of yours, so I'm going to make sure that dream comes true." Tears welled in my eyes as his words bounced around in my head. I straightened up in my chair and a voice I didn't recognize made its way from my lips. "I can do this." I said, right before Josh puled me in to him. His lips crashed against mine and his hands were tangled in my soft black hair. He pulled me so close that I could feel his heart pounding against my chest. The only break in our kiss was the tiny half seconds we took to breathe. I ran my hands up his spine and onto the back of his neck just as he pulled away from our embrace. He looked deep into my eyes and smiled. "I can't get enough of you, Ana...but we have to go...its almost time to start the show. Are you ready?" I caught my breath and ran my fingers through my knotted hair before responding, "I'm ready."

The band made their way to the stage area as the crowd began to scream. the sound was deafening because of the small space. Josh looked over his shoulder at me and winked and I couldn't help but smile like an idiot. They began the set with "Animal". Everyone in the audience sang along to the words as Josh's enchanting voice filled the room. The next song they performed was "X ana X" and the crowd lost control. They were jumping and clapping, shouting the lyrics along with the band. The energy was insane. I honestly thought they were going to fall through the floor. I don't think breweries were made for this kind of energy. I giggled as I watched Josh do one of his famous back bends.

The time came for me to take my place on stage alongside the rest of the band. I felt a tingle in my fingertips, but took a deep breath to regain my composure as i slowly stepped onstage. I looked at Josh who was smiling at me and made my way to the mic as Josh stepped aside. "Hi, guys. Uhm, my name is Ana, and i'll be singing a song for you tonight." Just as the words left my lips, the band began playing the notes to "Move Me". I took a breath and began singing along as Josh harmonized alongside me. As the song came to an end, I looked up at Josh, who was staring at me with a look on his face I couldn't describe. I looked back to the crowd as the last words of the song made their way out of me. The audience began clapping and cheering as Josh spoke into his mic. "Ana Grimes, ladies and gentlemen!!" He began clapping with them as he smiled at me. Anthony, Joey and Alex joined in and I could feel blood rushing to my cheeks. I smiled and thanked them and made my way offstage so the band could finish up their set. I found a couch near the back entrance and took a seat, basking in the experience and listening deeply to the rest of the show.

I guess I fell asleep because the next thing I knew, Josh was lightly shaking me. "Ana....Ana...hey, its time to go." I opened my eyes and the sight of his gorgeous, sweat drenched face made my body heat up in inappropriate places. I giggled and spoke softly, "I'm sorry... I didn't mean to fall asleep. I guess my performance took a lot out of me." I sat up and stretched before standing up. Josh took my hand in his and gave me a quick peck on the cheek before whispering in my ear, "You don't have to apologize. I need you well rested for what I'm going to do to you later, anyways." He pulled away and winked before pulling me out the back door towards the car.

Thus began the longest drive back to the hotel, attempting to maintain my composure while imagining all the dirty things we had in store for tonight.

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