Mark and I had come to a point in our relationship where it was OK to hang out as friends – so casually, in fact, that we decided to go on vacation together. There was a big 3-day music festival in a beach town – I don’t know any other way to describe it except that it was like Lollapalooza meets outdoor waterpark. There were going to be plenty of lesbians there…because Tegan and Sara were scheduled to play.
So there we were, Mark and I, at a picnic table on a rooftop overlooking the main stage. I was sipping a mojito while he browsed through a newspaper and drank scotch on the rocks. Palm trees swayed in the breeze behind us.
“There are so many hot girls here,” I said dreamily.
“You should go talk to one of them,” Mark laughed. “Get out there. You know you want to.”
“OMG,” I mumbled, hiding my face. “No.”
Just then a mob of girls ran up the stairs shrieking.
“What the hell…” I muttered.
“Holy shit,” said Mark, his jaw dropping.
I followed his gaze to the center of the mob and instantly understood. Tegan and Sara had arrived – in bikinis. I almost spilled my mojito on myself, and had to shut my mouth with my hand.
Tegan and Sara looked annoyed. The heat and the fangirls were really getting to them. And they’d just gotten here.
I remembered something I’d read once about Sara having a possible tattoo on her lower back, and leaned over in my chair to get a better look at her backside. She must have felt my eyes on her, somehow, through the crowd, because she snapped around so that she was front-facing and glared at me. I almost tipped my chair over attempting to recover, my cheeks flushed. Mark spit out his scotch laughing.
“Shut up,” I growled.
“That was awesome,” he snorted.
Seconds later, a little boy who had come up the stairs with Tegan and Sara burst through the mob and ran toward us. He looked terrified – like he wanted to crawl under our table.
“Hey,” I said gently. “Are you OK?”
He shook his head and pouted. “I want my mum.”
I eyed Tegan and Sara. “Were you with them?”
“They’re my cousins,” he nodded.
Suddenly I made the connection. Of course. They’d tweeted about it earlier, that they were excited to bring their 5-year-old cousin with them to this festival. (I wasn’t sure how they’d managed to convince the kid’s parents; it was a very adult event, but there was a waterpark, and what kid doesn’t love waterparks?).
“I’ll protect you from that crowd,” I said. The poor kid was shaking. “Want to sit in my lap?”
He didn’t need a second invitation. In seconds he was burying his face in my shoulder.
“It’s OK,” I soothed him, rubbing small circles on his back. Mark looked at us sympathetically. After about five minutes the kid calmed down.
“So do you like Tegan and Sara?” I asked. “I mean, their music?”
The kid rolled his eyes. He’d probably been asked this at least 100x a day.
“Not really,” he said.
“What?!” I exclaimed in mock horror. “But it’s so awesome! Everything is awesome...” I started singing, bouncing my leg.
He laughed and hid his face behind little hands. “That one’s OK.”
“Still, it must be pretty cool to be at a show with them right now,” I said. “You get to go backstage and hang out with the tour managers…”
He made a face. “Yeah, I guess…”
I looked up and noticed the crowd had dissipated. It was quieter. Tegan was strolling toward us with a margarita in one hand. OMG. OMG. OMG!!
“I see you met my cousin,” she said. My heart leaped into my throat. I was afraid for a moment that she would accuse me of kidnapping or something, but she clearly thought it was cute.
“Yeah, he’s delightful,” I said with a smile.
The kid hopped off my lap and ran over to Tegan, throwing his arms around her. “Let’s go backstage now, TeeTee.”
Tegan looked at me and we both laughed. She was beautiful. I tried not to stare at her body – her smile alone was enough to light up the whole rooftop. My tongue stuck stupidly to the roof of my mouth.
“Thanks for looking after him,” she said sincerely. “He gets freaked out by crowds. It’s his first time on tour with us.”
“No problem,” I said casually, taking a sip of my mojito. (I’d managed to play it cool. Good.)
“Hey,” she said suddenly, checking her phone and whipping her head around. “Have you seen Sara? We’re supposed to be on in 5, and I can’t find her anywhere. She just disappeared.”
“She’s probably off somewhere drinking rum and reading a book,” I said.
“What?” Panic flooded Tegan’s eyes.
“No! I’m just kidding,” I laughed, sobering up. “No, I really haven’t seen her. She’s probably backstage already, have you checked there?”
“No, but you’re probably right,” she said, agitated. She didn’t look convinced. “Walk with me, OK?”
I exchanged a brief conversation with Mark through our eyes:
Holy shit!! Can you believe this is happening?!
No I can’t…OMG.
I’m wondering if she’s going to go out on stage in that bikini…
I don’t know, but I sure hope so!
“Sure thing,” I said to Tegan, standing up and flashing her a smile. We made our way down from the rooftop and began weaving our way around the outer edge of the waterpark toward the back of the main stage. The kid held her hand and had to run a little to keep up.
“Hey, I’m sure she’ll be back there getting ready, OK?” I shouted over the noise. “And if she’s not, I’ll be your backup!”
Tegan laughed a little, then looked at me. “Wait, would you really?” She paused. “Can you even sing?”
“I know all of your songs, and all of Sara’s parts,” I assured her, with more confidence than I felt.
She started singing:
Something’s so sick about this / My misery’s so addictive
And I sang under her:
Sick about this, so addictive
She stopped and stared at me, grinning. “Perfect. Sold.”
At that moment, a loud beeping interrupted us and I found myself pulled out of my body into a dark room, in a bed.
Fuck you, alarm. Fuck you. 😂