As was common for Shade, once he got over his recent, perpetual dour mood—his divorce was to blame—he was happy to join in on their fun and play along. He laughed as a second strand of lights was used to secure him to the chair around the waist. He was in danger of hyperventilating with laughter when Kelly found some sparkly tinsel in the sack and wrapped it around his neck several times.
“Now you have no choice but to be in the Christmas spirit,” Owen said. “No more bah humbug out of you.”
Chuckling at the spectacle the coolest member of the band made trussed up like an abomination of a Christmas tree, Adam added to the festivities by strumming Christmas carols on his guitar. “On the first day of Christmas my buddies gave to me, decorations on a Shade tree.”
“Shut up,” Shade yelled, but he was snickering too intermittently for anyone to take him seriously.
Kelly found a gaudy tree topper in the sack. Before he could add it to their tree, Gabe snatched the tinsel-trimmed star out of Kelly’s hand and set it on the pinnacle of their Shade tree. Gabe wrapped the light cord under Shade’s chin and then around the star to hold it somewhat upright atop Shade’s head. Apparently, Gabe had given up on reading his The Physics of Fucking and Friction book or whatever it was called. None of them could resist messing with Shade. He worked so hard at being cool onstage and in public. Sometimes they had to remind him that he could still act like a kid and have some stupid fun when there wasn’t anyone important watching.
Gabe found a package of blue glass bulbs in Owen’s sack of Christmas cheer and dangled them from the strand of lights near Shade’s crotch.
“You did not just give me blue balls, Force,” Shade said with the deep, commanding voice that made their road crew scramble for their lives.
Adam added to his song, “On the second day of Christmas my buddies gave to me, two blue balls and decorations on a Shade tree.”
“I will give you blue balls when I punch you in them,” Shade said.
“You shouldn’t threaten people when you can’t fight back,” Adam said.
“Plug him in,” Owen said, hoping Shade and Adam didn’t actually get into more than a pissing contest.
Kelly located the power cord and plugged it into the outlet behind his chair. Gabe plugged the star into the end of one of the light strands.
When the multicolored lights began to flash and cast brilliant specks of lights all over their tattooed, buffed-out, sunglasses-wearing lead singer, they all burst out laughing. Owen grabbed his cellphone out of his pocket. “Okay, this is going on Facebook.”
“Don’t you dare,” Shade said, his smile fading and mouth opening in exasperation.
Oh, Owen dared. He even gave the candid picture a caption—All Dressed for Christmas with No Place to Go.
“Hey, guys?” their driver, Tex, called from the front of the bus. “We’re going to have to pull over soon. The snow is coming down so heavily I can’t see the road. We better park until it lets up or a snowplow blows through.”
Snow! Oh yes. A perfect addition to Shade’s festive attire.
“Sweet,” Owen said, grinning at Kelly who quickly caught on to his newest nefarious plan.
“Shade tied down,” Kelly said.
“Plus snow,” Owen said.
“Equals projectile fun,” Gabe said.
“You guys wouldn’t fucking dare,” Shade said, trying to lean out of the chair, but finding that while he’d been tethered mostly by complacency at first, he now had no choice but to stay put.
Owen grinned and straightened his Santa hat. “Wouldn’t we?”
Lindsey squinted at the dark road ahead. The wipers scraped rhythmically across her field of vision to keep the thick snow at bay, but she was fixated on the glowing red taillights of her favorite band’s tour bus. Storm or no storm, she wasn’t giving up now. It had been a stroke of luck that Sole Regret’s bus had turned out in front of her car as she pulled out of the auditorium after the benefit concert. Instead of taking the proper road toward home, she had continued following them eastward out of town, through the wilderness and up into the mountains. It was pitch black out here in the middle of nowhere and what had started out as a few flurries was now becoming a blizzard.
“It’s getting really bad out,” Vanessa said from the passenger seat. “We should have gone home instead of following their bus. The farther we go, the worse this shit gets. Can you even see the road?”
“Yeah, I’m used to driving in the snow. And they have to stop sometime,” Lindsey said. “I want to meet them and thank them for helping out the Carlisle family.”