Jon knew he'd been made after the first song. Suddenly, the crowd around the stage was growing bigger with every note he played, and he had no idea how he was going to get out of there without getting mobbed.
Something else all those big stadium gigs had—security staff. Here he had Lucy with her fiddle bow, a guy with a pair of drumsticks and a feverish Jason in a neon beanie standing in front of the stage nodding out of time to the music. Great.
Still, the buzz of playing for a live crowd again was winning out over any concerns about safety. And an audience where their faces weren't obscured by massive stage lights until there seemed to just be a sea of moving blobs in front of him. Here at Wishcliffe, on this tiny stage, he could see every expression that crossed the faces of those listening to him, almost. The grins as the recognised a song, the joy as they bounced and sang along, spilling cider as they moved with the music. And the widened mouths and eyes as they realised who was playing it.
But the biggest reason for the excitement humming through his veins had nothing to do with the crowd in front of him. And it was only partly even to do with the sheer joy of playing long-loved and remembered songs again.
Mostly it had to do with Lucy.
Lucy, whose voice was still as pure as it always had been, who still lost herself in the music when she played her fiddle in between verses, whose hair still flashed bright under the lights as she swung it around, unable to stay still while the music played.
His best friend—who he'd left behind to seek fame and fortune in America.
One song merged into another, but the energy on the stage never dropped for a second. The guys Lucy had put together to play with her were good—better than good, really. They kept up with every change in tempo or feel that he or Lucy threw into the mix, even when they merged from a traditional tune into an improvised ditty they used to play together when they were really showing off. He'd been worried that she might have forgotten it, but she never missed a beat either.
His heart was pumping double speed by the time they finished the last song on Lucy's scrawled set list, and he could see the drummer behind him sweating buckets as he hit the last cymbal crash. The crowd cheered and clapped and stamped their feet and Jon realised—this was what he'd been missing. This was why that next album just wouldn't come. He'd been missing this.
He glanced over at a beaming Lucy, so gorgeous in the stage lights, and kicked away the thought that performing like this wasn't the only thing he'd missed.
Even when she leant in, her hair tickling his neck as she yelled in his ear over the noise of the crowd. "Now we just need to get you out of here without getting mobbed!"
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