"Hayley, take me back."
"You will. You'll miss everything."
"No I won't."
"TAKE ME BACK, SLUT!"
I awoke quickly, and realized that I was on Josh's bus still. I didn't know where we were or what time it was, and my whole world spun, complete disorientation taking control of me. I didn't even know who was around me. I knew Josh was somewhere on the bus, but other than that, I could only assume the rest of You Me At Six were around. I looked around my settings, trying to gauge what time of day it was. Judging by the faint lights coming through the curtains that separated me from the rest of the world, I guessed it was daytime. Even though, after years of touring, I knew lights outside your bunk could be deceiving.
I didn't have time to dwell on the matter as I remembered why I was there and a huge wave of nausea hit me. I wrenched open my bunk curtains and rolled out as fast as I could, the bus floor cold under my feet. I ran from my bunk to the bathroom, only to find the door locked. I knocked as hard as I could, and the lock snapped. I took this as my lucky sign and ripped the door open, sliding onto the floor next to the toilet. My body heaved but there was nothing to throw up. I rested my head against the side of the bowl, breathing deeply as the sickness passed… and heard a quick "ahem." I looked up from where I had sat, and saw Max Helyer climbing out of the bus shower, butt naked.
"Oh shit, sorry Max. It was kind of an emergency." I sighed, turning away from him.
"It's fine. Josh told us what happened. I'm so sorry." he sighed, and finished the little step he needed to climb out of the shower, and wrapped a towel around himself.
"Its cool, Maxie. I should have expected it." I mumbled, as he went to walk out of the room.
"Cop a good enough look?" he laughed, and I felt my cheeks flare up and knew I had gone red.
"Yeah. Yeah sure thing Max." I mumbled again, as the bathroom door closed. The sudden silence stabbed my eardrums, and I noticed that I was once again alone. I felt my eyes sting with more tears, and my upper body felt heavy. I shifted onto the floor in a fetal position, sobs wrenching out of my chest. I still didn't know what time of day it was, and the disorientation was even more daunting. All I knew was:
1. You Me At Six had picked me up.
2. They took me away from my cheating boyfriend.
3. They were on tour somewhere.
4. I was bawling my eyes out in their bathroom
Eventually, I heard the plastic door creak open. I felt the footfalls vibrate through the floor. Someone was in here.
"Josh knew you were in here, sent me back in to check on you." I heard Max sigh, as the door closed behind him.
"Maxie, tell me, how many days have I been asleep?" I asked, slowing my tears down to a little sniffle. He chuckled, and slid down against the wall, sprawling throughout the leftover space in the room.
"Know the feeling, its kind of like jet lag. Its 5 pm on Wednesday night, you've been asleep for 3 days. We all let you sleep. We know how you get when you get sad. I was like it for a few days when Lolia got a job in Tennessee." he chuckled slightly. I sucked a sharp breath in at the mention of the name Lolia, her image still burnt bright into the back of my mind. So much better... so much better...
"Yeah." I sighed, propping myself up off the floor. "I kinda owe you guys a lot now."
"Yeah... Look, Hayley, I don't know why he did this to you. Such an amazing, caring girl like you who has been through so much already doesn't deserve this." he sighed, climbing up off the floor.
"I don't know why he did it either." I whispered to myself as Max left the room. What's wrong with me? Why did he cheat on me? What did I ever do? What is the world’s problem with me?
I felt the bus finally shudder to a halt, and I pushed myself off the floor. Were we at the next stop, I assumed. I climbed off the floor, my muscles aching in protest. I grabbed the toilet to pull myself up. I walked out of the room, the whole bus looking foreign to me.
I moved up towards the lounge part, to notice no one was around. A slip of paper caught my eye, and I walked over to the table. Josh has left his phone along with a note for me.
EAT SOMETHING HAYLEY GOD DAMMIT.
I smiled at the note, thinking about how typical it is that Josh would speak to me like that while I was going through this. The more he treated me normally, the more I felt like I was. I meandered over to the bar fridge, finally noticing how hungry I was. The small selection of food almost turned me off it, but a muffin and coke zero would do for now. I moved to the table, bumping Josh's phone onto the floor by accident.
"Oh shit." I mumbled, reaching for it. I picked it up. It felt heavy in my hand, and I bumped the unlock button. I gasped in shock as I took in his wallpaper. I recognized the girl that Josh was hugging in the photo, but she looked so different to what she did now. She had red sunnies pushing her fringe out of here face. A black singlet, with "Operation Ivy" sprawled across it in white writing. Leopard spotted jeans with butterflies sewn roughly on the knees. It was all topped off with red converse all stars. Her hair was a brilliant blonde. Her eyes sparkled with happiness and her mouth carried the ghost of a laugh long gone. I stared at the girl for a moment longer, before feeling tears sting my eyes. I was so happy back then. Clueless, but happy. I wished I'd stayed that way. This was before I even had a clue of what Chad was doing behind my back and after everything that had happened in the past. I chucked the phone back onto the bench, and ate my muffin. The silence disturbed me as I chewed. The boys must have been playing a show. Once the food was gone, I found myself needing another distraction. I reached for Josh’s phone again, unlocking the screen and opening his music tab. I scrolled through his list.
“The 1975… Coldplay… Paramore… Oh shit, Paramore.” I hissed to myself. The band had no idea I had left town again. We had a break from touring and recording but still… I should have let them know. I relocked Josh’s phone, chucked it back on the table and sprinted for my bunk. I rummaged through the bunk, looking for my phone through the bed covers. I felt my hand touch it, and I curled my fingers around it, pulling it out from under my pillow. I unlocked the screen to see 15 missed calls from Chad, and 5 from Jeremy. I shuddered, removing the notifications from Chad. I dialed Jeremy’s number, and placed the phone to my ear.
“Hello?” I heard Jeremy say from the other end.
“Jerm, it’s Hayley.”
“Hayley? Jesus Christ, where are you? Chad came to my house looking for you! He was furious. Plus we didn’t fucking hear from you for three days”
“He was furious? Ha.” I snorted,
“What is going on? Come over.”
“Can’t. I’m in… I don’t know… wait let me think about where we go on tour… umm… Oh shit, I didn’t grab any clothes before I…umm sorry Jeremy hang on… I’d say we’ve been through Georgia, maybe Florida… could be headed for Louisiana, to play a show in New Orleans in the next few hours. I can’t be sure though, I can’t find any of the guys. I think they’re playing a show…”
“WHAT? With who? What guys? Tour?”
“Umm… Josh picked me up from Chad’s place… and Max was in the bathroom. So I’m gonna guess I’m with You Me At Six.”
“Oh. At least you’re with decent people. People who know about everything.” He sighed. “Aright, I’ll let Taylor know where you are. Be careful, Hayley.”
“I will, Jerm. Bye bye. I’ll see you when this tours over and everything blows over in Tennessee.” I smiled, hanging up the phone. The bus rumbled to life again, meaning the boys were back. Time to go say hello.
"HAYLEY!" I heard Josh yell from the lounge, "YOU AWAKE YET?”
"Yeah, I am." I said normally walking back towards the lounge. I hadn't seen Dan, Chris or Matt yet, so they were excited enough to encompass me in a massive four-way bear hug.
"Hayley!” Matt exclaimed as they let me go, “It’s so good for you to be on tour! I mean, it’s shit how you got here… but like… yay!”
"Matt.” Josh snapped. Matt’s face fell as he was chastised.
“Josh, it’s fine. Jesus, Matt, it’s great to be on tour with you guys, man!”
“Yeah, this’ll be fun!” Chris smiled. Dan nodded quickly. I smiled widely, happy to be with so many good friends.
“God, you guys all smell like sweat and overused men’s deodorant. You can tell you just played a show.” I wrinkled up my nose, and the whole bus laughed.
"Have you eaten anything yet?" Josh asked; as the others headed for their bunks and the shower, ready to get out of their show clothes. I sat down in the chair next to him, looking directly at him.
"Yeah." I smiled, "I'm feeling a little better too... well as better as you can feel after having your heart ripped out of your chest and stomped on. How'd the show go?"
"Eh, dead crowd. Something just isn’t connecting with the crowds and me at the moment. The last two shows have been the same…”
"Aww, can't work a crowd?" I giggled, punching his arm. His little smile left his face and he coughed.
"Not anymore. Had you on the brain. I was worried, leaving you on your own… with a bus full of sharp objects and various medications, in the state you’re in… I just didn’t want a repeat of what’s happened to you in the past, that’s all.”
"Hey come on, don't let me distract you from the job you have to do! I was fine. I don’t go to stuff like that anymore. I promise. Besides, he’s not worth killing myself over anyway" I smiled. Josh’s face lifted back to its usual smile, and he released a breath I’m sure he didn’t realize he was holding.
"So I bet you aren’t tired?" he asked.
"No, can't say I am." I said.
"Wanna go get some dinner? We can put off leaving a little while longer." He asked, pushing himself off the couch, “I just need to go get changed first.”
"Sure…" I said, jumping up after him, “By the way… I don’t have any clothes... Can I borrow some until I get the chance to go shopping?”
“Course, take anything of anyone’s.” He smiled, walking towards his bunk. I put on one of Matt's hoodies, which was lying around. It was the middle of winter, meaning it was a little cold out. Josh came back, grabbed my hand, and dragged me out of the bus.
“McD's?” he asked. I nodded vigorously.