They would be performing in less than thirty minutes, and his blood was beginning to pump with excitement. Tim Franco had managed to score them this gig in Twin Falls that was better than anything they had ever imagined. They weren’t opening for this one; they were the main event.
Brady would have never imagined that the past few weeks would have turned out the way that they had. Navigator had gone viral, and already had over a million hits on YouTube, and nearly everyone that heard it seemed to like it. Brady attributed that to the way that Jack sang the lyrics more than anything else, though the entire band was behind the song one hundred percent whenever they played it.
The thing that troubled him was that the comments often centered on a question that he didn’t know how to answer, and the rest of the band had told him that it was up to him if he wanted to address it. Everyone wanted to know who Silas Drake was. Everybody wanted to know the inspiration behind their hit song, but Brady didn’t think that they deserved to know.
“Demons,” Tim said, addressing the group as he walked into the green room, followed immediately by a dark-haired twenty-something with a beautiful face and intelligent eyes. Theo immediately honed in on her, but there was something about her which gave Brady pause. She looked confused and completely out of her element, as if she had never been backstage at a rock concert before. “As you know, we offered a number of backstage passes for this event. This is Emma Riggs, and she bought one this morning.”
“Sup, Emma,” Theo said as he jumped to his feet. He walked over to her and stuck out his hand. “Name’s Theo.”
“Umm, hi,” Emma replied, shaking his hand and blushing. “It’s good to meet you, Theo.”
“Likewise,” Theo said with a wink. Brady rose to his feet and stepped up to Theo’s side as Jack and Stacey untangled themselves from each other.
Brady put his hand on Theo’s shoulder and whispered in his ear, “I don’t think she’s here for you, Theodore.” When Theo shot him a dirty look, Brady ignored him and turned to Emma, “You look like you’re a bit out of your depth. Why don’t you have a seat?” He gestured to the couch where he had been sitting and started walking toward it. “Is this your first time backstage?”
“Yeah,” Emma said, nodding. “It’s my first time at a concert, actually.”
“Usually people don’t go right for a backstage pass as their first experience with a concert,” Stacey observed. “What brought you to us? Do you really like our music that much?”
“To be honest I’ve only heard one song,” Emma said with a shrug. Jack and Brady shared a look before turning their attention back to her. “I’m here because of Navigator.”
Brady took a second look at Emma and quickly realized that he had been missing something familiar about her. "Oh. My. God," Brady said as he took a step back from her. "You're Silas' sister, aren't you?"
"So you do actually know Silas, and it's not just a coincidence." Emma paled and Brady guided her down to the couch as her knees gave out beneath her. Her eyes began to fill with tears as she shook her head violently. "I can't believe it, I just can't believe it!"
"No way, this is Drake's sister?" Jack asked as he leaned forward. Nothing was going to distract him from this interesting piece of news, though it didn't look like Stacey had any inclination to do any more distracting either. "I have to admit that I'm a bit surprised to see you here. Pleasantly, but still surprised."
Emma repressed her tears with a sob and looked up at Jack. "You're surprised to see me? Why would you say that?"
Brady and Jack shared a look but Theo jumped in before either of them could say anything. "We didn't think anyone in his family cared much about him, considering the way he avoided talking about them."
"That was a great bit of tact you used there, Theodore," Jack growled. "You might try being a little patient with our fans." Theo looked appropriately admonished as he hung his head and looked away from Jack, staring at something on the wall.
"Where is Silas now?" Emma asked, drawing every eye in the room back to her. She looked between all of them until finally settling her eyes on Brady. "Why would you dedicate a song to him and how do you know him? I have so many questions."
"I don't know for certain," Brady replied, "But I do know that we dropped him off in Colorado a little over three weeks ago. I'm not certain I should tell you the exact name of the town we left him in though. He didn't seem too keen on reconnecting with his old life."
"Braids has a point," Stacey said as she drew Emma's eyes to hers. "But I can also see where Emma is coming from. Being an older sister is sometimes difficult. You always have to weigh what your parents expect of you against whether or not you support your siblings. We don't know the full story, and perhaps we need to hear it from Emma if we're going to be able to make the decision about sharing what we know with her."
"Please, you have to tell me," Emma begged, locking eyes with Stacey, but when Stacey remained silent she turned toward Jack and said, "I have to know that he's all right."
"That, I can assure you is true," Jack said with a disarming grin. "That boy can take care of himself better than anyone that I've ever seen. Besides, he has Addy to out for him, and that's more than enough to keep anyone safe."
"So Adelaide is still with him," Emma replied as she wiped the tears from her eyes. "That's a relief. At least one thing worked out for him the way that it should have."
Theo gave her a hard look. "Should have?" He echoed. "He should have had the right to a family that loved and protected him. He should have had people looking out for him; that cared about him; that wanted him to be happy. He should have had an older sister who defended him instead of coming years after the fact to settle her guilty consc . . ."
"Theo! That's enough!" Stacey interrupted, rising to her feet and raising her hand threateningly. "I swear, if you say one more word I'm going to slap you so hard that you'll think we're still dating! You don't know what she went through. You don't know her story. Maybe she did stand up for Silas, huh? Maybe she just couldn't do enough. It's hard to be the older sister. It's always hard."
"No," Emma whispered, "He's right. I wasn't there when I should have been, and by the time I realized that it was too late. He was gone, and I couldn't search for him the way that I wanted to. When I told my parents that we should look for him, they told me that he ran away. When I said that we should go to the police, they told me that he was better off gone. I went to the police anyway, and they came to my parents and asked them what had happened. When my parents told them that Silas had run away because he was gay . . ." she shook her head and fought back a sob. "The sheriff agreed with my parents that it was better he was gone than be part of our community. No one would listen to me. No one."
"And so you just stopped?" Theo asked, and Stacey raised her hand to slap him when Jack stepped between them.
"Yes, I did," Emma admitted. "I felt completely helpless, but I never gave up hope that he'd walk back through the door. I searched for him in silence, on Facebook, made posts on Reddit, I called homeless shelters for a while until I realized he'd never check into one. But he had just disappeared, until . . ."
"Until you heard our song on the radio and came to find us, hoping that we knew your brother," Brady surmised. "I get it now. You took the first chance you got to find out more. Theo, I think you need to lay off. It seems like she's doing everything she can, now."
"Whatever," Theo said as he stepped away. "I'm going to go on stage and make sure everything is set up. I'll see you guys there." He disappeared through the side door to the room and the metal door slammed shut behind him.
"You have to understand, Emma," Jack said after recovering from the sound of the door slamming, "Theo never told Silas this, but your brother reminded Theo a lot of his cousin. His cousin came out to his parents and they rejected him, and then he tried to kill himself. Theo confronted his aunt and uncle and made them see reason, but he doesn't respond well when he finds out that someone is in a similar situation. You struck a nerve."
"He never told me that," Stacey whispered. "I had no idea. Why did he tell you that but not me?"
"It happened right after the two of you broke up, and before you and I were together. He wasn't all that great of friends with Brady yet, so I was the one he confided in," Jack explained. "I figured it was his business and I'd never betray that, unless I had a good reason. Like now."
"You guys are different than I had expected," Emma said. "My parents never liked rock culture, though they never exactly prevented us from listening to rock music. Silas was always the one that listened to it the most, thought I think that was because of the fact that Ian left him all of his music."
"Ian sounds like a great guy," Jack said with a chuckle. "What happened to him?"
Emma paled and looked away, "He was kicked out of our house eight years ago. I haven't spoken to him in years."
"That's too bad, it sounds like Silas could have used an ally like that," Brady said, and then when Stacey raised her hand threateningly at him he continued quickly, "I mean, I'm sure you did the best that you could with the hand that you were dealt. Clearly you're coming after him now."
"Thanks, but I really would like to see him," Emma replied. "Will you help me reach him? You said that you know where he is."
Brady and Jack shared a look before turning back toward her, each waiting for the other to speak up when Stacey jumped in. "I'm afraid we don't have any way of contacting him, but we do know which town he was in. He has Jack's number, and he can call us if he needs anything, but there really isn't much that we can do. Maybe someday he'll hear the song and decide to check in. We could always tell you if that happens."
"That would be great," Emma said enthusiastically. "Let me leave you my number." She pulled out her cell phone and looked at Stacey expectantly.
"Are you in a hurry?" Jack asked after Stacey took down her digits. "You seem like you're ready to go. I thought you came to enjoy the show."
"I do want to hear all about what happened with Silas, but I'm afraid my husband doesn't know I'm here," Emma replied with a sigh. "I didn't tell him any of this, and I kind of left quickly once I found out you were here. I need to get back to him so that he doesn't worry. Could I call you sometime and get the full story?"
Stacey nodded enthusiastically. "Of course you can. I'd be happy to tell you what I can without infringing on Silas' privacy. I can tell that you're concerned. Next time we come this way I'll make sure that you get a chance to come see the show and bring your husband as well."
"Thanks," Emma said with a blush. "Thank you, for everything."
"Don't mention it," Brady said. "All we want is the best for Silas, and we can only hope that he'll find his way home someday. Maybe you'll be part of bringing him peace of mind. It was a pleasure meeting you, Emma."
Author's Note: Now we have Emma on the scene. Is she going to be a big player in what comes next, or will Silas ignore her completely? Assuming Silas even talks to the band any time soon.
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