The sound of airbrushes filled the air as the black paint was applied to the side of the van. Brady watched with satisfaction as the rusty side of the van was covered up and he could already envision the look it was going to have. They had gone over their logo several times to make sure it was everything they wanted it to be, and then worked it out with the detail guys at the auto body shop to make sure that it would come out the way they wanted it to. They had more money than they were used to, but they still only had enough for one paint job, and it had to be right the first time.
Which was one of several reasons why the band had decided that all of them had to be there to see that it was done properly. The body shop hadn't been as keen on letting them stay and had made it clear it would take several hours to complete, but Jack had insisted. Like most people, they easily fell to Jack's disarming grin and had let them stay in the lobby and even gave them control of the remote for the television, though they had yet to pay any attention to it.
"It's about time the van got a paint job," Theo said. "I was getting sick of the rusty blue color."
"Yeah, well now it deserves it," Jack said with a grin. "We're official now."
"We weren't official before?" Theo asked.
"You know what I mean, Theo," Jack groaned.
"Yeah I do," Theo admitted. "Still, I'm glad we have enough spending money to make the van look good. She's taken us everywhere we need to go, and brought us everything we needed."
"Except for love, eh?" Stacey asked with a chuckle and a light jab of her elbow into Theo's side.
"Can it, Stacey," Theo growled. "I'm the only one who hasn't brought love into this van."
As Stacey laughed Brady interjected, "What about me?"
"Brady, are you kidding me?" Jack asked as he turned toward Brady and shook his head. Stacey and Theo had similar looks of surprise on their faces when they also turned toward them.
"What?" Brady asked, looking between them all.
"What about Silas?" Jack asked.
"He's not here, now is he?" Brady said with a wave of his hand before sitting down and crossing his arms over his chest. "I doubt I'll ever see him again. He's not in my life at all, so what are you talking about?"
"Braids, you've gotta lighten up," Stacey said as she walked toward Brady and then sat down next to him. She laid a hand on his arm and continued, "What do you think happened as soon as he heard Navigator? You wrote that song for him, and I'm sure he's going to hear it eventually."
"Yeah, whatever," Brady said as he closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the wall. "Why hasn't he called Jack already?"
"Called Jack?" Stacey asked.
"I gave him my number so that he could connect with us when he was ready," Jack explained with a shrug. "I'm sure that he just hasn't had the opportunity yet. He needs to be able to pay for the phone call. Why are you worried, Brady?"
Brady opened his eyes and looked at Jack for a moment before responding. "Maybe because I'm afraid he's going to turn out like Gavin did for me. It already seems to be that way."
"Braids, you and Gavin didn't make it because Gavin couldn't handle you being on the road all the time," Theo said with a snort. "He was so controlling of your time that he couldn't stand the thought that you weren't spending every minute with him. If you really think that Silas is that way then you don't get it at all."
"What I mean is that Gavin and I drifted apart across the distance," Brady explained, "and then fell apart."
Stacey squeezed his arm and said quietly, "You're totally wrong, Brady."
"Stacey," Brady said as he turned toward her with a raised eyebrow, "you're usually not the one to tell me about relationships."
"Yeah, well that's because I usually think you're smarter than these two about them," Stacey explained as she nodded toward Jack and Theo, "but this time you're way off your rocker."
"How kind of you to say," Brady replied with a roll of his eyes. "Any way I'm going to be given insight into what you mean?"
"You spent a year with Gavin and you two didn't know each other at all. You spent three weeks with Silas and wrote the best song we've ever had," Stacey explained with a wide smile. "The two of you connected in a way I've never seen people connect. Jack and I are pretty good together, but it's taken us awhile to get here. You and Silas," she chuckled and added, "It's like it was meant to be."
"I agree with Stacey completely, she and Jack are pretty good together," Theo said with a solemn nod that quickly broke into a grin. "No, but seriously, Braids. You've got depth, and you're real. And I think that's exactly what Drake needed. He's got experience, and a vibrant spirit, and that's exactly what you need. And he has a dog, too! How can you fucking go wrong with that?"
Everyone but Brady laughed and Jack was the next person to speak. "Brady, we all see it. I know you've been bitter ever since your break up with Gavin, but you've got to let go of that. He wasn't meant for you, but I can guarantee you that it's not the same thing for Silas. He's going to call us eventually, and you've just got to be ready to go to him when he does."
"Ready to go get him?" Brady echoed. "What makes you think that he'll want us to go pick him up?"
"Because that boy is built for the open road, Braids," Jack said with a shrug. "I can't imagine he'd be anywhere else."
"But what makes you think that he'd choose to be with us instead of hitting the road alone?" Brady asked with an exasperated sigh. "I don't think he's ready to be with people. I think it's going to take an awful lot of healing for him to reach that point, and by then he'll have forgotten all about us."
"Really?" Stacey asked with a roll of her eyes. "We're unforgettable, Braids, and there's no way in hell that he'd forget the Demons of the Crossroads. You said he didn't stay anywhere for long, and he doesn't like people? He spent three weeks twenty-four and seven with us. Yeah, maybe he needed a break but he must have liked us at least some."
"Hey guys, don't mean to interrupt the moment or anything, but it looks like the detail guys are starting to argue about where to put the logo," Theo said as he glanced at the large window that looked into the shop. "We better get in there and stop them before someone does forget about us and blow all our cash."
"Shit!" Jack said as he started toward the door. "Braids, come on. You can mope about Silas later. We've got damage control to take care of."
Brady sighed and followed his bandmates toward the door, but even though he dragged his feet it was Stacey who brought up the rear and she reached out and grabbed his arm as he stepped past. He turned toward her and raised a questioning eyebrow and she pulled him into a hug without a word of warning. He squeezed her back and then tried to step away but she held him fast.
"Um, Stacey. We should really get in there." Brady said as he squeezed her again.
"Twenty seconds," Stacey said as she continued to hold onto him.
"Twenty seconds. I read somewhere that when you hug someone for twenty seconds you start to trust them because of the oxytocin released in your brain," Stacey said with a grin. Brady laughed and stopped resisting until Stacey decided to pull away, but his eyes widened as her lips teased his beard when she kissed him on the cheek.
She released her hold on him and then looked him in the eye and said, "I was going to keep that up until you believed me when I said that you and Silas aren't done. Trust me, Braids, that boy is the best thing to ever happen to you, and to this band. He's a good luck charm; the Navigator to help the demon's meet at the crossroads and come together for the best sound, the best feel, that we've ever had."
Brady nodded and then grinned. "And what was the kiss for?"
"Because you, Brady, don't get even a quarter of the attention you deserve, and I think it's high time that I showed you how I felt about you. You're the best person I know, and that's even with you competing with Theo and Jack. You deserve to be happy, and god damn it I'm going to make sure that you find that happiness. Silas is going to call. He's going to call and he's going to tell you how much he misses you and how much he wants you to be a part of his life, so stop worrying about it and focus on the music."
"He is the music, Stacey," Brady said as he felt moisture in his eyes. "He's the reason that I can play like I do. He was the reason before I even met him, and it's like it was fate. But he's gone, now, and I don't know how to deal with that."
"Keep playing so that he can find his way home," Stacey said with a wink. "Don't worry. The Navigator always knows how to find what he's looking for."
Author's Note: Please let me know what you think of the story by emailing me at Samuel.D.Roe@gmail.com or if you're so inclined feel free to like my page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Samuel.D.Roe.Cynus. Or if you really like my work this is the part where I shamefully ask you to visit my Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/cynus. I'd love to hear from you wherever and whoever you may be.