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Vanilla Dream

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Earth

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Earth is a part of Vanilla Dream.

5 Characters Here

Keiran Gregory [2] Kay, singer, bassist and pretty much anything else you need.
Stefan Volz [1] There no limits as to how far you can go and what you can do.
Kennedy "Kenzi" Phelps [1] Nothing can hold me back. Not death, not life, nothing.
Charlotte "Char" McKenzie [0] Hold me close and don't let go 'cause I don't know what I'd do if you left me.
Taggart Broderick [0] Who cares? Just do what feels good and deal with the rest later.

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As they had assembled, Stef reckoned over as to how they all looked as a group together. It was probably odd, a little strange, and probably crazy to unfamiliar eyes. On the other hand, they were Vanilla Dream, so to those who were fans would probably scream out in glee or some other shocked or happy expression. It'd be amusing, to see their expressions.

In fact, Stef wondered over how the manager would react to this. He already knew that Tag wanted defy all authority when it was absolutely called for, Kenzi liked to make things much more interesting, and Kay and Char went along with it for their own special reasons. He had a small, creeping suspicion that a) he'd not care, or b) he'd throw a fit or some other entertaining reaction. He was obviously rooting for b, or course. It'd be a good laugh. As long as their manager didn't yell, or begin arguing with the group, it'd be fine, would it not? He was nonchalantly and silently thinking this over as they all fitted into the elevator, which Stef personally thought was a death trap waiting to happen, but he didn't say anything about it really.

He had eyed the cane that Kenzi had taken along with him, thinking curiously as to why he brought it along -- probably just for show. It wasn't something to be too bothered with, Stef thought. Their singer wasn't hurt, nor did it clash with his outfit, so it wasn't much use to be thinking about it too much. But it always caught his attention, and had him staring at the cane for a good few seconds. He didn't really understand why.

So he kept up his smile, not saying a word, having no reason to do so as he was a generally quiet person at these times of day. He listened in on the others' small conversations, keeping an eye open and the other to become deaf as he thought about life in a philosophical manner and various other things. One hand held onto the black strap that was connected to his guitar, the other straightening out a wrinkle or two in his clothes, waiting for the elevator to reach their designated floor and ground, so they'd be on their way.

He was itching to strum at the strings of his guitar, sing some notes in that pitchy, drop dead awful voice of his (as he had been told. Frankly, Stef didn't see the problem) and maybe get a little moment of shut eye in the vehicle that was picking them up. One could never get too much sleep, yeah? His eyes were wide open though. His mind was probably just getting tired of all this thinking.

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Kay was the last to join the group in the elevator, adding his bizarre costume to the collection. With a steep V-neck and only the right sleeve his black and purple shirt complemented the others perfectly. It wasn't so extreme to draw attention away from the other members of the band, which was Kay liked it. Let his friends get the spotlight, after all. They deserved it, his part was in the background and he was comfortable there. The backing singer was, well, a background singer and a bass hardly stood out most of the time. He managed to maneuver his way the the back of the elevator, where he stood patiently waiting for the descend to end.

He looked at his friends' backs, smiling at their company. Subconsciously he looked over their costumes, checking to see if they had everything in order. He doubted there would be any mistakes, the group of them had a decent amount of experience with setting themselves up. As he expected, from behind the costumes looked perfect, maybe a crease or wrinkle here and there but those were small details. He shifted slightly and flattened a ridge of fabric on Stef's back. Smiling, like he always did around his friends. Once he stepped outside however he wouldn't hold onto his smile for long. It just made him feel even more uncomfortable around strangers and no doubt there will be people around, maybe even fans. He didn't like it though, when he wasn't smiling he just looked dark and unsettling, with or without makeup. He wasn't wearing makeup at the moment. Kenzi had said they'd be doing that at the interview.

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#, as written by aesir
As they moved down the hall towards the elevators, Tag's gaze was caught by movement outside the window. Across the street from their building, a handful of young adults were walking down the sidewalk, chatting amicably and laughing amongst themselves. For a moment, Tag had to wonder what it would be like to be one of them - to have a 'normal' life not full of interviews and concerts and crazy schedules. But that notion only lasted a moment. While it was true the fame could get irritating sometimes, he had his friends, and he liked the popularity. Plus, it gave him free reign to be a complete nutjob in public, and how could you put a price on that?

Almost as if illustrating his point, Char cuddled up to him in his usual endearing way.

"I'm excited," he told Tag, knowing that the man could already tell.

Grinning down at the small keyboardist, Tag gave the boy's arm a playful little tug. "No kidding! The costume looks good, by the way, kid. Nice idea with this thing." He tugged at the veil the younger boy had added as he spoke to indicate what he meant. "I wonder what kind of crazy questions they're gonna ask us this time, huh? Never with the normal stuff." He smirked, recalling some of the other weird situations they had gotten themselves into on similar television shows. The TV hosts seemed to enjoy asking strange dares and questions of them, knowing they rarely turned down a challenge.

Seeing Kenzi slip into the elevator ahead of him, Tag stepped forward and held his free arm in front of the door to let Char and the others pile in.

"Well, this'll be fun! You guys ready to piss off the manager?"

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Grinning down at the small keyboardist, Tag gave the boy's arm a playful little tug. "No kidding! The costume looks good, by the way, kid. Nice idea with this thing." He tugged at the veil the younger boy had added as he spoke to indicate what he meant.

Char giggled happily, bouncing on the balls of his feet but not releasing Tag's arm. He got a little clingy when he was excited, but the other members were already used to that. They had made him that way, after all. Before he met them the poor boy had been afraid of everything that moved.
Not so much anymore.

"I wonder what kind of crazy questions they're gonna ask us this time, huh? Never with the normal stuff." He smirked, recalling some of the other weird situations they had gotten themselves into on similar television shows. The TV hosts seemed to enjoy asking strange dares and questions of them, knowing they rarely turned down a challenge.

"I can't even imagine," Kenzi laughed at Tag's question. That response, alone, was somewhat terrifying. Something that even Kenzi could not imagine had to be wild to the point of insanity, which meant a hell of a lot of fun for the band. It was a good thing that Vanilla Dream lacked one of the standard qualities of most human beings.

Shame.

"Well, this'll be fun! You guys ready to piss off the manager?"

"Hell yes!" Kenzi grinned, tossing his half-bleached hair out of his eyes. Again. Many people had asked why he kept it so long if it just irritated him. His response was always the same - 'Who says it annoys me?' Just because he threw it around all the time did not mean he hated his hair being so long. All that meant was that it was fun to throw it around.

It did not take long for the elevator to reach ground level, and when it opened there were already cameras waiting for them. Kenzi gave a laugh of pleasant surprise. Of course, trust their manager to send cameras in for the unveiling of their new costumes. The man didn't like it when they revealed their costumes to the public before the cameras saw them. He raised his cane, tapping it against his brow in greeting, as though he were tipping a hat that wasn't there.

"Morning, everyone~" he called, knowing full well that his fans would soon see this footage. "How're you today?"
And then he brushed out of the elevators, by the cameras, and led the way towards the street.

Char, for his part, gave a little squeak when he saw the cameras and hid behind Stef's back, so that both Tag and Kay were also blocking him from view. He reached out and tangled his fingers in Stef's shirt, for security. He preferred cameras at a distance, just as he preferred fans at a distance. No matter how much the band helped him, he would always be frightened. It was simply the price of a childhood like his.

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Stef had opened his eyes as soon as he felt their elevator reach to their designated floor and his trademark smile made way easily to his face, what would happen next came along expected. His eyes looked over the outfit yet again, overseeing all wrinkles to be gone, and to make sure that the pieces of cloth that made up his outfit were all balanced properly to give him the appearance that satisfied him.

Once the elevator doors opened, brighter lights than the ones in this death trap had already begun to peek through the doors, and it not fazing him. Cameras had been anticipating their arrival already, and brought his amusement.

The sudden flashes of cameras had become familiar to him by now, and it was rather nostalgic by now. In the beginnings of their career, it had caught him off guard, and made him lose his smile, instead replaced with a scowl or a blank look. To this day, it rather irritated him to see older photos of him seeming rather bitter, which completely didn't go along with his earlier outfits. But now, with a high strut and easy going walk feeling naturally used to the attention given by the cameras, he didn't have to worry really about bad photos that he didn't like to be seen by all. Nowadays, he was pretty sure that with their ever growing popularity, the new ones would flush out the bad ones.

He had followed through as Kenzi walked through by the cameras, heading towards the doors that would lead out to the streets outside. He was a foot out of the elevator, better known to him as 'that poorly color-coordinated death trap', when he felt a figure have his fingers slip in and tangling themselves into his shirt, Stef turned slightly to see who the intruder was. His smile had dropped slightly, an almost evil glare on his face, but it immediately disappeared when he recognized who it was. As the situations would sometimes call for, it would happen. Char had not been yet used to all of this he supposed, and his smile came back, his head tilted up as if in a reassuring manner.

It disappointed him only slightly to see their beloved keyboardist in this state after previously being in such a bouncy, happy mood just moments previous inside the elevator. But Stef always tried to help, it 'being futile' was something that he wasn't going to accept.

Stefan fell back slightly behind Key and Tag who were in front, and seeing as Char was already hidden from view, he tried to at least convince Char to show off just how amazing his outfit was to the world. Just a few shots was all they needed, and that was all that Char would need to do.

"Char," he said softly, everlasting patience reappeared from many years of tolerance with an extremely stubborn Abigail. "It'll be merely a few minutes, a few shots. M'kay?" Stef stopped himself from reaching out to caress the shorter's hair.

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Kay wasn't all smiles when he stepped into the bright sunlight after the artificially lit elevator. His features had lost the grin he usually wore when with the others. It was replaced instead by something that wasn't either a smile or a scowl. Of course the expressionless Keiran was the one seen by the public and half added to the whole image of the band. Without a smile there was something just dark and brooding about his features. It was just a natural tendency, enhanced slightly by the clothes that he wore. He was therefore the dark and somewhat mysterious background member of the band. He kinda liked that. He got little attention for himself and was an addition to the whole thing. So he went along with it, not breaking as much as a smirk as he nodded into the cameras and followed Kenzi's lead.

Kay knew that his friends all had the reason for being part of Vanilla Dream. Personally his were simple. He enjoyed muisc, always had done since his dad started teaching him guitar, bass, keyboard and any other instrument that the music teacher had available. The second and more pressuring reason was he had been there since that start, with his friends and wanted to see it all the way through for them. He loved the guys and would do pretty much anything to help them achieve their dreams. His own aspirations didn't really come into the picture. With that in mind he made sure he was the one to open the car door for the others. Letting them get whichever leather seats they wanted before he squeezed in.

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#, as written by aesir
While riding the elevator downwards, the image of those four 'normal' teenagers came unbidden to Tag's mind again. For some reason, he couldn't shake the feeling of nostalgia that had stirred within him at the sight of them. His life certainly had never quite been that 'after-school special' - now more than ever! He certainly liked where his life was and where it was headed, but there was a small part of him that wondered what it would have been like. Was he even capable of living a life like that? Was it too late? If, hypothetically, he ran away from it all now, could he ever go back?

*Ding!* As if in answer to his question, the elevator arrived at the lobby and the doors slid open. Immediately they were accosted by the small crowd of TV personnel awaiting their departure. All of the previous thoughts quickly evaporated from his mind, and Tag's thoughtful stare was replaced by a wolfish grin. Like Kenzi, he loved the cameras. It was free publicity! It could only help the band; even if someone caught a picture of him sneezing and the stupid face he was making traveled all over the internet - that just meant more people knew who he was.

Pushing forward after Kenzi, Tag waved to the crowd, knowing as well as their leader did that this stuff would eventually make it onto Youtube. He grinned, winked, and groped groped his way through the journalists, answering shouted questions over his shoulder with typically flippant or callous remarks. One time as he did so, he caught something out of the corner of his eye that annoyed him. A particularly aggressive reporter was attempting to get a statement out of Char, and no one else had yet noticed him. Since the boy usually avoided answering such questions - especially on his own - it was a coveted thing to get 'exclusive' material from the poor kid. Most in the business, however, knew that pressuring Char was a major faux pas, for the reason that immediately followed.

With a grim scowl on his face, Tag turned around and brushed rather rudely past a few people. The quick journalists already saw what was about to transpire, and several cameras were already on him. Tag counted on that. Reaching the pushy reporter, the tall bassist grabbed him by the collar and pulled the guy towards him until they were face-to-face, inches apart. He let the scowl he wore bore into the poor man for a moment, then mumbled something he knew only the two of them (and possibly Char) would hear, "Leave. Him. Alone." Darting forward, he planted a large, ripe kiss on the stunned man's lips, making it last well past comfort levels until the reporter forcibly pushed him off. The man staggered backwards as Tag finally released him, but the bassist was already grinning at the cameras. He found the nearest one and winked directly into it, "That one's for you." With that, he took Char's hand gently and lead him behind the others into the awaiting van.

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Char started to respond to Stef. The man’s words gave him confidence – if Stef was with him he could probably handle showing himself to the crowd. But he didn’t get the chance. One of the reporters were firmer than the others, more eager to reach the reclusive keyboardist of Vanilla Dream. He forced his way through his peers, bursting into Char’s space and separating him from Stef’s protection. Char gave a little squeak at the assault, cringing away from the reporter.

Kenzi caught onto the noise, turning as Tag approached him to watch through suddenly frigid blue eyes as their keyboardist was accosted. He would have gone back to help himself… but Tag was well ahead of him. The young man had more fire than Kenzi – who had always been considered a bit of a pacifist – did.

Tag went after the reporter, as Kenzi had expected he would. He could see the fear in Char’s eyes at the violent – and rather lusty – manner in which Tag dealt with the reporter. But Char would not stay frightened for long. He trusted the members of Vanilla Dream, and when Tag seized his hand and pulled him back up alongside the others, the boy was already relaxing, his grasp on Tag’s hand tightening with determination not to be separated again.

“Gently, Tag,” Kenzi chided him gently, smiling his usual crafty, secretive smile. “Annoying though they may be, we need the publicity.” He leaned around Tag to gaze at Char. “Are you alright?”

Char nodded slightly, flushing. Kenzi nodded back.
“The manager is waiting,” he reminded them, hitching his cane up and turning back to face the reporters that crowded the path ahead of them. He raised the cane, resting it against his shoulder. In a way, a gentle threat. There was a reason that reporters never got too rough with Kenzi. He seemed pretty, playful, gentle on the surface, but he was also tough. He had never lashed out at a reporter, but they seemed to know that he would if he had to.

Moving calmly, he pushed his way on through the little crowd of reporters, characteristically answering no question. He always let himself be seen, but questions were for interviews. He never answered them otherwise. He stopped, holding the door open for his fellow members. On the road outside, their limousine waited, with an angry-looking manager in the back seat. Char pulled on Tag’s hand, making him move faster towards the safety of the sleek white car.

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Stef had let out a small sigh in relief when he noticed that Char had calmed himself down a bit, but his smile had dropped from when a persistent reporter separated Char from him, and he could've let out a snarl through the glare of his averted eyes. But Tag had already made his move before he could get to the offending one, already forcing his way to remove his hold on Char, and as Stef watched on with an almost wry smile, Tag had already attracted attention away by placing his lips against the reporter's after what seemed to be much more serious confrontation. He had to admit, that his respect for the guy increased for just a little bit perhaps. He couldn't help the thought that came, that this little event was going to be everywhere, exploding up on the internet and at the notifications of all fans and likewise; he thought about the possibilities of mixed reactions from people who obviously wasn't there. But his mind reverted back to the more important situation at hand. It wasn't time to space out.

Stef had followed after as Char was pulled away by Tag, in lead of Kenzi and Kay. His eyes steadily aware of the cameras around them all, his presence much more intimidating, silently ignoring all remarks and uproar, nonchalantly glaring at anyone who dared attempted to try something funny like the fool earlier. His face was blank and hardened, obviously a little more than pissed that some people were as ignorant as they may be.

Their exit was in style, and he didn't bother to hold the door for the reporters, several who exited and continued to press on in vain. He eyed the manager who was already in their pick up vehicle, amusingly to Stef, who appeared to be fuming. The guitarist was too, but he was sure that the man had different reasons to be cross. He seated himself as he gone in while he mumbled a thanks to Kay who held the door for them, and he glared out through the windows. But Stef settled down after a few moments, and let his facial expression soften, a small smile barely visible on his face.

He had a feeling that the manager had more than a few words about that just occurred. He clenched his fists in silent frustration, although there may be something like this happening every now and then rarely, it didn't always sit well with him at all.

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#, as written by aesir
Surely, he didn't care one inch about what 'other people' thought, but Tag was a it more sensitive to the needs of his fellow band-mates.

“Gently, Tag,” Kenzi chided him gently, smiling his usual crafty, secretive smile. “Annoying though they may be, we need the publicity.”

His eyebrows rose, furrowing slightly as worry creased his brow. "Publicity? What, you don't think that video - and our name - isn't going to make it to front page of Youtube within an hour? But... yeah." He glanced down to the boy still clutching his hand, to one of the very few people in existence to whom he would utter his next words. " 'm Sorry, Char. You okay?" He affectionately tousled the boy's hair again as he was tugged along towards the van, climbing in soon after. He didn't make the connection - or didn't care - that the cameras were still rolling, however. The quick but clearly emotional exchange between them would make it onto the longer video clips, exhibiting a part of the bond between them which stole a bit of the 'edge' from his actions, but replaced it with empathy. Tag was human, after all! Imagine that!

As soon as he saw their manager, a large smirk splayed widely over his features. "Oi, glad you could have seen that one in person, pops!" Teasing the poor man with his devil-may-care grin was quite a lot of fun, but as much as the two of them butted heads, there was more to the relationship between the two of them. Tag did have a morsel of respect for him - loathe as he was to admit it, and the few times it had been necessary to lay down 'the law', as it were, Tag had unexpectedly heeded that judgment. Didn't mean he couldn't give the guy seventeen kinds of shit in the meantime, however.

Tag made extra sure to give the reporters a good look at his middle finger before the door closed. The notion to moon the cameras fluttered into his mind, but in the time it would take him to wrest off his complicated costume pants, the car would have long pulled away from the curb. Shame, too. He had a nice arse!

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(OOC:The manager's name is now John Hanning... and Kenzi's starting to scare me, sort of...)

Char clung tightly to Tag until they reached the limousine, though he was significantly comforted by the tousle of his hair, and by the apology. There really was no apology necessary - he was grateful to Tag for protecting him. He just wished he wouldn't hurt his own reputation by doing it...
He scrambled across the seat to the spot in the middle, where he liked sitting most. That way he was tucked in between the others, protected both by their bodies and the darkened windows. That was where he usually preferred to sit - he even liked to be at the center during interviews, because even though that was logically where the audience would be looking, it gave him an illusion of security.

Kenzi slid in and sat at the far edge, crossing his legs delicately and leaning against the window with his cane propped up in front of his knees. He crossed his hands lightly on the cane's head, smiling back at the others. This was his stage-persona - pleasantly, and almost hauntingly, calm. Unruffled, impossible to control, impossible to guess what he was doing next. He was pretty much the same off the stage, he was just a little... less huggy. More arrogant. Leaderlike.
Then again, it could be argued that he never really changed... that it was impossible to tell which personality was his real one, and when he was secretly acting. Maybe that was what made him so frightening to some people. It was certainly how he had won their chance at fame. He had practically intimidated that talent scout into watching them...

"You were not supposed to come out in costume," John told Kenzi coldly from his place in shotgun. Kenzi just gave him a calm, broad smile, teeth and all.

"When have we ever done what we were supposed to do?" he asked almost sweetly.

John rolled his eyes and turned his irritated glare on Tag.
"And you," he growled. "Making a show of yourself. Pretty soon the company is going to want you dropped."

Char's eyes widened, frightened by the idea of the company trying to split the band up.

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His smile was beginning to strain even more, as he could sense that the atmosphere wasn't something that he liked what-so-ever. The arm propped on the side of the door by the window, his head leaning onto his hand was steady, his eyes appearing in almost disinterest over the conversation being held. His facial expression was wiped clean, a blank look on his face, as the aura of the car was starting to become unbearable to the guitarist, making him want to squirm a bit, to move and crack his fingers to ensure that his blood was still running. But silently and still, he held his jaw tight, and glanced over to their manager. Stef didn't flinch when the man spoke, despite how cold and dark it seemed.
He forced the smile back onto his face as if to reassure himself that this was going to be quite alright, and this almost scandalous event was something to enjoy, though, the dark sternness coming their manager made it harder to keep it up.

"You were not supposed to come out in costume," John told Kenzi coldly from his place in shotgun. Kenzi just gave him a calm, broad smile, teeth and all.

"When have we ever done what we were supposed to do?" he asked almost sweetly.

John rolled his eyes and turned his irritated glare on Tag.
"And you," he growled. "Making a show of yourself. Pretty soon the company is going to want you dropped."


He put his vision on the manager, and then to their band's drumist. The two may have not been the greatest of friends, and he may have only found a little bit more of respect for the guy, but Stef tensed up immediately at the mere mention of a possibility of the group having to split their members and the band up. He loosened his hold on his fists, and let his gaze be downcast. Their manager had good intentions in mind for the company, but he still could never possibly understand just how close they all were, he mused.

(OOC: Not a very good one; tried to stretch it out to meet the 300 word requirement. ._.)

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Unlike Tag, Keiran didn't offer any of the press a parting gift, although he wasn't keen to remain, specially with usual ignorance and arrogance. He riled at having to watch events unfold from afar. Except he was stuck further ahead, with a mass of press between him and the poor Char. As the hubbub following the drummer's rather spontaneous action ignited Kay could only wish that the memory of the kiss would screw the reporter's life, serving him right for forcing himself on the timid Char. As the band piled into the transport he took little notes of certain things brought to the surface. One such things was Stefan's taunt features and accusing glare. It worried Kay as he settled in. Every now and then looking in Stef's direction to check things didn't grow from bad to worse. He made sure he got a word in before they set off "seatbelts guys." He cautioned, clicking his own in as an example.

He mostly didn't involve himself in the conversation. When it came to the half serious feuds between his friends and John he decided to really stay out of it. Not that anything would really spark off. As much as they tormented the manager there was respect both ways. Without him Vanilla Dream wouldn't be what it is today, he didn't quite give them the big shot but he kept them up there. They were musicians and so that was where their skills lay, not so much organsing. On the other hand, John gets plenty of money off them, plus he enjoyed what he does and their music. At least, that was what Kay assumed, why else would he put up with everything?
Although he wasn't getting involved and allowed himself a smirk at both Kenzi's and Tag's antics. After all, they were still having fun winding the man up. Plus, they were away from the press and general view so he allowed himself a smile.

John rolled his eyes and turned his irritated glare on Tag.
"And you," he growled. "Making a show of yourself. Pretty soon the company is going to want you dropped."

The smile was knocked away as the manager continued his accusations, this time against Tag. He sat forward, this now involved him, without Taggart this wouldn't be Vanilla Dream. Without Char or Stef it wouldn't be either and without Kenzi it specially wouldn't be. Tag was Kay's friend, he was all their friend. It wouldn't do anyone any good to drop him.
"Well, you'll have a hard getting any performances without a drummer I must say." He quipped in lightly.

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#, as written by aesir
Probably the least worried in the limo about Hanning's idle threats, Tag almost laughed aloud at the mention of splitting them up. The 'company' could disapprove of him all they wanted - it wouldn't change anything. If they got rid of him, the other four would soon follow, he knew. He shrugged wordlessly at John's words his grin not faltering for a moment. What did occur to him, however, was the nearly palpable feeling in the car that had suddenly descended. He could see the unease upon the faces of his friends at the mere mention of such a ludicrous sentiment. And though he wouldn't admit it, his friends' reactions did reach him emotionally. It was nice to know they had his back. Though he didn't address it verbally, he did place a hand on Kay's knee, a silent gesture of appreciation. The support was unneeded in his eyes, but it was nice to have it all the same.

Tag didn't really want to drag the conversation out, however, so he dropped the topic and let his gaze roam out the window while his mind wandered briefly. He thought about the television taping they were headed to today. He didn't remember much about the summation they'd been given earlier - he never paid attention to such things - but what he did remember seemed as though today would be a fun day. This show in particular seemed to enjoy capturing 'exclusives' of the bands they interviewed; anything new, exciting, or unprecedented made for big news in their eyes. Tag's gaze drifted towards Kenzi as he wondered what they'd get put up to this time. A small chill ran down Tag's spine as he watched their guitarist sitting there smirking. Something about that dapper grin unnerved him more than he cared to admit. Personally, he preferred the warmth Kenzi naturally exuded when they were offstage, but he definitely understood the appeal of adopting a 'stage persona' - he did much of the same thing, except his own persona just happened to be an extension of his normal behaviour.

"Anyway, pops." He returned his attention to Hanning, "What the crap is the name of the show we're doing today? I can never remember."

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Kenzi maintained his idle smile, even as the mood in the limousine turned black. The Manager's words barely seemed to affect him. He knew as well as the rest of them that wherever Tag went, they would all go too. There was no way Kenzi would stick around without one of his oldest and most trusted friends.
And besides, Vanilla Dream had been the company's first investment, as a company which had just sprouted when Vanilla Dream was seeking publicity. Vanilla Dream was the only reason that the company was well-known now.

They could not afford to lose Vanilla Dream.

"Anyway, pops." He returned his attention to Hanning, "What the crap is the name of the show we're doing today? I can never remember."

John gave Tag a scathing look... but his secret affection for the boy was not so secret. He could never not answer Tag's questions.
"It's called Colorful Nights," he told the band icily. "It's a variety show, so I have no idea what they'll ask you or want you to do. But you need to be careful. If you start saying the wrong things you could lose popularity. You're still too young to risk that."

"We're always careful, John," Kenzi told him, and when John turned to meet the lead singer's eyes, a shudder ran down his spine. Kenzi's stage persona - which may or may not have been his real personality - carried eyes that showed nothing. Nothing at all. A frigid smirk that did not translate in the slightest to his blue eyes... it was that sort of expression that drove his fans up the walls with excitement, and made John wish he weren't their manager, in spite of how much he usually loved it. He just wished Kenzi wouldn't put on that face so long before each show...

Char was an entirely different matter from Kenzi. He sat with the others, and now that the reporters were left far behind he was starting to recover from his own timidness, bouncing slightly in his seat in his excitement. Even the thought of being interviewed did not frighten him all that much. As long as the screaming crowd was kept far away from him, and there were no reporters putting him on the spot... he was nervous, but he was able to speak. To enjoy himself.

"When is our next show?" he asked John eagerly, calling the manager away from his near staring contest with the odd expression of Kenzi.

"A week from now, you will fly out to start your European tour," John answered, giving his head a brisk shake. "The company has been generous with you. They are allowing you to draw up an initial plan for the songs and costumes, but they reserve the right to change things."

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Stef had begun to release his tension as the atmosphere, with his own emotions going along with its flow, inside the car was diminishing. He let his limbs better know as his arms relax a bit, his hands shifting, one to support his head and leaning weight against the side of their vehicle, the other folded rather neatly across his lap, eyes glancing towards the windows. As the car continued to move, he watched the fast motion as they passed by their surroundings, letting the images seep in, darting slowly to find something interesting. Being the easily bored and short-attention spanned person he was, his hands shook in a more antsy and anxious manner, in contrast to the violent shaking from before, his smile becoming a thin line as his eyes dulled with the lack of enthusiasm he usually felt.

The guitarist allowed his mind to drift into a small reverie, settling on a thought that this was perhaps his own way of coping with the situation. Throughout his attention wandering musings, he left a part of himself kept in reality, to at least keep a latch onto conversation that may or not eventually catch his attention. It did in fact, as he tore his eyes away from the tinted glass, listening to the sudden question in which their previously distressed keyboardist had proposed to their manager Hanning, and upon the answer that was given, a spark could been what described his sudden intake back into the car's reality, the sight outside now left forgotten.

Reserving the right to change things.. the statement intrigued him, but the fact they were going on tour soon made a light struck of excitement rush through his veins, leaving the stray thought behind to be later picked up and polished. Given the fact he was generally a collected person, he probably would've been bouncing around a bit like Char was, well at least, that's how his mind set felt. The smile naturally came back, in a less stoic and forced manner, much more easygoing than before. Few outfit designs came to mind, but retreated as well, as new thoughts came forward.

"I'm sure that the doubts in the back of your mind that we may go crazy like we do as usual are beginning to surface, despite the look on your face, John." He stated, observing the small movements in the man's facial expression, not at all noticing the fact that the sudden count of words outnumbered his very few from earlier this morning. It could be described as creepy, how he suddenly spoke to most strangers. But there were certainly none of the kind in here.

"Perhaps we could make this as painless for everyone else as possible?" Stef let an amused smile come through. Not that it was at all painful for the rest of their group, he added into his rapidly moving train of thought. The sugar from earlier was probably kicking in some more by now. It tended to do that to him, making his nerves in a confusing, tied and knotted mess that most didn't really know to untangle until it wore off.

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Once it was settled that there wasn't going to be any drama in the deal concerning Taggart's expression of vengeance Kay settled back. He returned his previous state, listening but not getting involved. Thats how he always did it, ready to step in if anyone needed help but mostly hanging around the background. The group had done a few variety shows before and although Kay was certain Tag would do something crazy as usual he was confident that the others would be more restrained. Specially Kenzi, Kay respected the young man as more then a friends, he knew what he was doing and should be able to handle most of whatever was thrown at the group. Char and Stef were pretty controlled too. If Charlotte wasn't chucked into a crowd that is. Kay didn't mind the interviews either, it helped boost the bands popularity and that's what mattered. If any light was pushed onto him he could always uplift one of the others.

However, the news of the upcoming tour excited Kay, like it did with the others. Kay could see it in their faces, the excitement of either performing or maybe organizing the whole deal. For the bassist personally he was just keen on being reminded of it. He wasn't so much into the costumes, he interceded a bit with his prefence but mostly left that up to whoever was dealing with their clothing. The whole idea of being on stage, performing his best in front of thousands and making his band shine was exhilarating. As a little side encouragement he was keen on the idea of picking their own playlist. Maybe this time he could slip in some of the songs with solos, get the others some spotlight. He glanced over at Stef as the guitarist spoke, smirking as the man seemed to enjoy himself.
"Whether or not the have the right to change things, do you really think the company would actually be successful?" Kay added, glancing at Tag knowingly "I can count the number of times we've done things exactly as wanted on my fingers. Anyway, a few new songs or costumes wouldn't be painful would they?" He asked rhetorically, knowing he wouldn't actively go too far. He keep his grin on, thinking about the idea of new songs, he enjoying writing as much as he did playing and both those pass times were further improved by involving his friends.

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John gave a small, hopeless sigh.
"I would love to have you keep things as painless as possible," the man grumbled, "but I have known you boys far too long. You will make me suffer as much as you possibly can, just because you're bored."

"You've got that right," Kenzi murmured with his usual unpredictability. When he went into his stage-persona, no one could tell exactly what he would do - there had been equal chance that he would defend John or cut him down. This time, he had chosen the latter. And then, as quickly as he had cut John down, he moved onto a new topic of conversation. The unpredictable leader, at it again. "We're almost there."

"How can you tell?" Char asked curiously, leaning over and peering through the limousine windows... only to squeak and drop back against the seat, pressing up against Tag and Kay. There were crowds outside. Huge crowds of fans and reporters and cameras watching as the limousine rolled by. At least, they looked huge to Char, who was wary of anyone he did not know very well. In all honesty they were small crowds compared to those that gathered to see the band actually perform - a television studio could only fit so many fans - but it was more than enough to make traumatized little Char's heart pound with fear of being touched.

Kenzi looked around at the boy, reaching across to pat his knee.
"It's alright," he told Char, not dropping the half-smile which made it almost impossible for him to actually be reassuring. "We won't let them get to you again?"

And even as he said it, the limousine rolled up alongside the studio. Kenzi did not even wait for the brakes to sound - he opened the door and stepped out of the moving car, letting it roll several inches past him as he straightened his clothing and ran his fingers through his half-bleached hair. Immediately, he turned his smile-less eyes and smirking face on the cameras, lifting his chin in an arrogant pose for them. That was part of his job as their fearless lead singer.
Draw the attention of the cameras until the others had a chance to get out and be ready for pictures as well.

Within the car, Char reached up and tangled his fingers fearfully in Tag's shirt. They all knew he wouldn't let go until he was safely inside the building, and possibly not even then.

"Let's go, boys," Kenzi called, flicking his hair and moving to catch up with the car, beckoning for them to join them. "The host is waiting."

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He could only let out an airy laugh to escape from his throat at John's helpless sigh and comment. The man made it seem more much sadistic than it should! (Though, he wouldn't blame him much.)

When Kenzi had pointed out that they had finally arrived to their destination, Stef's eyes lit up and glanced toward the dark windows, his anticipation had been nipping at his mentality since they had gotten inside the car. His attention wavered when he heard a squeak coming from Char, a small, sympathetic and knowing smile was shot towards him to reassure the younger even if he wasn't looking, before changed to the undefinable and almost mechanical(however as warm as it can) one as Stef turned back, scanning over the crowd outside. He'd probably wouldn't be able to control himself another foolish being attempted to go after their keyboardist again, but he made sure to restraint himself from doing anything too reckless - after all, one scandalous scenario was probably enough for John, much his amusement's disappointment. (However mutually exclusive as it could.)

Nevertheless, Stef kept up the smile as he followed after Kenzi, who had gotten out first as their fearless leader, stray thoughts now disregarded. The screaming of fans, both male or female alike, to the multitudinous amount of cameras and the occasional flash of a camera caught his attention at once, the smile widening. The attention from the crowds whenever they would appear somewhere, whether on stage or off, had always either pleased him or annoyed him, depending the mood of the band, he supposed. One hand gripped on the strap of the guitar on his back, the other holding the door briefly for the next to appear from the darkness inside the limousine, before moving forward to trail after their singer.

For several moments, he thought of this variety show that they were doing, and its host. 'This'll certainly become amusing.' He had to brace himself for any oddities of course, and looked forward to it. Ah, if the show was live, Abigail could be able to see it straight away if the nurses allowed it. It further excited him, and seemed much more cheerier than what he had appeared before, as brooding and almost sulky.

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#, as written by aesir
None of Hanning's warnings took any hold in Tag's mind - he was busy staring out the window, in a particular pensive mood today. There was some brief conversation in the car that he didn't pay attention to, and soon enough he saw them pull into the studio where their show was being taped. Not long after, he saw the crowd milling about outside, awaiting their arrival. Not much of a crowd, really, but it'd do. There were a few cute girls in there, too. He hoped he'd see some of them inside, too - maybe even take one or two home with him.

Tag moved to follow Kenzi out the door - once the limo had come to a stop, anyway - but soon felt something grab at him. He almost jumped, but realized who it was. He ran his fingers through the keyboardist's hair again, knowing the gesture could help reassure him, "Just stay close to me, okay, Char? I've got ya."

Pulling the boy with him, the tall bassist exited the limo and stood slowly, allowing Char to climb out and get his balance before moving. He had his arm curled lazily around the other boy's waist, and his relaxed, nearly lethargic posture made Char's clinging look like casual affection to all but the keenest observer. He shot a wolfish, promissory grin at the reporters waiting to yell at them, and a few of them shrank back, having already witnessed his earlier little show. Success! His little stunt was already gaining publicity. No publicity is bad publicity, indeed!

Moving slow enough to Char walk comfortably with him, he came to stand beside Kenzi, putting his free hand on the singer's shoulder. "Would you like to take point, O Glorious Leader?" Tag usually referred to Kenzi 'formally' as such when he was wearing his performance mask. Part of it was because the guy was a bit creepy like this and it set him on edge, but truthfully, Tag wasn't much of a leader, himself. As loud, abrasive, and extroverted as he was, he really didn't like to take responsibility for other people. Well, maybe except Char. The kid needed someone looking after him, and for whatever reason, Tag was pretty happy to do that. He glanced down to make sure the boy was doing okay, and briefly squeezed the arm about his waist in a gesture of comforting support.

Like Kay, Tag didn't really act all that differently in front of the cameras. Sure, he pulled a stunt here or there to get the fans talking, but other than that he saw no reason to put on a show for whoever was watching. That was another reason he was glad he wasn't their leader; let Kenzi take the spotlight, and he could do whatever the hell he wanted. Today would not be the first day there would be photos of him being protective or affectionate towards their keyboardist. There had been rumours floating around, of course, but their good fans knew that Char was terribly shy. Not that it mattered, really. Being there for his band members was a lot more important than worrying about what compromising-looking shot some paparazzi might take.

He glanced over his shoulder to make sure Stef and Kay were following, offering his hand to either of them if they wanted it while they climbed out of the limo. Once everyone was out, he made sure to follow Kenzi closely, as he knew Char would want to get to the relative safety of indoors and away from the crowds as soon as possible.

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Kenzi smirked slightly, glancing at Tag in amusement - or so it seemed. It was impossible to read his deep blue eyes.
"Yes, I would," he answered, flicking back his hair and setting his cane to the ground. Swinging it lightly with each step, ignoring the snap of cameras all around him, Kenzi turned and lead the way towards the auditorium where the interviews would take place. His heart picked up with excitement that did not show across his face as more than a sparkle in his eye - he knew that inside there would be an audience, already seated and waiting for them, which made this crowd of reporters look like a child's birthday party.

The longer he stood out in the open, tucked in at Tag's side and watching the reporters, the more Char seemed to relax. He walked along behind Kenzi, a small smile growing slowly across his face. Time. All it took was time, and a gentler crowd than the one they had seen that morning. Char always managed to warm up to the public.

The band passed easily through the doors, and at the entrance they were met by attendants, who swept them on down the hall to the doors leading through to the backstage. Time passed in a whirl for Kenzi, who never spoke much right before a performance. He sat perfectly still in his chair at his mirror, waiting as the stylist applied a delicate layer of make-up - smoothing his skin, lining his eyes, shadowing them and curling the lashes. A great deal of emphasis went into those chilly blue eyes, for he had been told many times that they were his best feature.

Char, in the meantime, could not seem to sit still. He spun around and around out of his chair - the reporters were out of sight, out of mind, and he was alone with his friends, excited about the crazy show they were about to do. He did not know what sort of questions would be asked, what sort of tasks would be set to them - it was called a "variety show" for a reason - but he knew that he was looking forwards to it. Which made it nearly impossible for his stylist to work with him.

As Kenzi's stylist moved on from his face to giving his hair a little more spike, flaring it around his face just a tad so it looked more alive, he glanced over at the youngest member of the band.
"Sit still, Char," he murmured, laughing quietly. Char looked around and fell still - he loved Kenzi, trusted him, but when he got like this he could be a little bit intimidating. The instant Char settled, his stylist pounced and began painting his pale, narrow-features to perfection. "Everyone ready for whatever they might throw at us out there?" Kenzi called to the rest of the band. "This is the show where they take requests and questions from the fans, so keep in mind there's no telling what our tasks will be."

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Making sure that Kay was behind them and wasn't being mauled by a bunch of insanely obsessive fans (seeing as you couldn't be too careful these days.. ) He followed closely, as their bassist was still all in one piece and living; Stef looked at the building in a dazed, sort of intricate interest. When they had passed through the doors without much trouble, his eyes was locked on their new surroundings, carefully analyzing the room that they'd be in after make-up crew did their wonders.

Stef sat still in his chair, smiling widely as the stylist was trying to give a touch up on his appearance. Carefully swinging his guitar case on the side of his chair to hang, he took a book off the counter - some sci-fi novel that someone had left. Looking through it, he skimmed lightly. However, it was a silent battle between the stylist and him, his eyes would stop his rapid eye dance on the pages and would look up, as he'd lessen the smile and look on in a facial expression similar to distaste when the stylist would try to do something that he absolutely knew would completely clash with his outfit. When they finally met common-ground, Stefan allowed him to work away at his face, occasionally looking at just what he was doing, sharp eyes watching even with his constant still figure on the chair, with only his hands turning the page.

As the book's content began to bore him, he looked up towards the rest of the gang, closing the book and placing it back on the counter. He absorbed the atmosphere in, feeling a sense of anticipation. The stylist had left his face in light make up - focusing on the smaller details and contours of his face that brought out a more overall frighteningly stronger sense of friendliness that his smile brought. This also meant that when his smile dropped, his serious look had a stronger effect. These results weren't all that bad - he deemed it acceptable.

"Everyone ready for whatever they might throw at us out there?" Kenzi called to the rest of the band. "This is the show where they take requests and questions from the fans, so keep in mind there's no telling what our tasks will be."

His attention was brought up towards Kenzi, carefully watching their leader, as whenever the singer was brought into this serious mode, he found it quite chilling and fascinating. Despite the coldness and almost empty-like nature that this part of Kenzi's personality brought, he couldn't help but call out back in a playful, happy manner, holding his hand up in salutation. "Aye-aye, sir."

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Kay was the last to exit the limo, briefly thanking the driver before straightening and facing yet more crowds and press. He returned once again to his broody mask. It was something so dissimilar to the comfortable, jovial person he was in private. He was the last of the group but didn't hang too far back, if he was a bit too far behind he would draw attention as the others passed. He didn't want to do that, even if it didn't detract from his friends he wasn't eager for the press. He certainly didn't want to feel too alone with the crowd so close by. True they were being kept back but he was too close to too many strangers to like it. He also wanted to keep and eye on the others if any press of fans broke through the blockade to accost one of them. Char was under the watchful protection of Tag, treated more like a tiger then a man by the press who backed away at the drummer's presence. It gave Keiran a reason to grin, yet no one in public would get that out of him. He remained stoic and impassive as the gauntlet was passed and they escaped from the crowd.

This was the worse part of the experience for Keiran, more so then with the crowded walk or even up on stage. He was alright with those, able to deal with them as the rest of the band required. When he was young he got dragged into plenty of performances. The worst part was he was closely involved with strangers, which was what it was like when he was taken to get make up done. If it wasn't for the proximity of his fellows he wouldn't even let the artists get near him. So as his attending lady went about her business, affixing his hair to get the most out of the purple slash and turning his already dark features into a almost kiss-like feature, he sat bolt upright and still. True he wanted to make it as easy for her to get her job done but neither was he comfortable. After she was done and moved on he took time to check if he suited. She had done her job well, and he certainly didn't detract from the others. With his make up on most people weren't comfortable around him. Which suited him fine, those who cared enough wouldn't be put off but his haunting glances. He managed to avoid quite a bit of unwanted attention that way, able to push the spotlight to one of the others more deserving of it.

"Everyone ready for whatever they might throw at us out there?" Kenzi called to the rest of the band. "This is the show where they take requests and questions from the fans, so keep in mind there's no telling what our tasks will be."
Keiran nodded in response, not particular vocal in is confirmation, there were still people around for him to act comfortable. "Yes, we can manage it." He was confident in his words. If he couldn't manage it alone the ensemble of them could, they would back each other up as needed, just like always.

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Kenzi nodded quietly. "Good," he murmured. “Now let’s get going. They’ll want us on stage.” He reached over to where he had left his cane, picking it up and setting it out ahead of him, walking along accompanied by the soft click of both his heels and the end of the slender black stick. He tossed back his half-bleached bangs, not glancing around to see whether the others would follow. He was their leader. He knew they would.
In his stage presence, there was not a glimpse of uncertainty.

Char smiled nervously and reached out, tugging on Tag’s and Kay’s arms. “Let’s go?” he whispered, nodding after Kenzi. He pulled on Stef, too, as he stepped out ahead of the three older boys and drew them on after Kenzi. He couldn’t go out alone, but if they waited for too much time Kenzi would be out on stage alone. He knew Kenzi wouldn’t mind it but…
Well, it just didn’t seem right.

And so, hooking his arms around Tag’s and ignoring the quivering of fear that ran through him, Char coaxed the others out towards the stage.

Stepping into view at the head of their arrow formation, Kenzi was met with the blasting screams of fans, and he knew that the host must just have announced them. He knew by the man’s startled look that he hadn’t expected them on stage just yet – after all, no one had come back to get them – but Kenzi had always enjoyed doing things that were not expected of him. Half the fun of being famous was surprising people, breaking the rules, and getting away with it. He strode across the stage to greet the host… Jeremy Springer, that was his name.

“Hello,” he murmured, smirking quietly and holding out one hand, still holding his cane in the other. “Thank you for having us.”
If ever a murmured thanks had sounded insincere, it was now.

“A-ah, yes,” Springer answered, taking Kenzi’s gloved hand and shaking it firmly. “The pleasure is mine. You are Kenzi?”

“I am,” Kenzi agreed, glancing back to meet the eyes of Stef, Kay, and Tag, each in turn. Char, tucked in at Tag’s side, did not receive acknowledgement. But in his case that was not cruel – he simply avoided calling attention to the timid little creature by ignoring him. It was Kenzi’s way of taking care of their youngest member, while maintaining the arrogant air of his stage persona.

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He took the strap that was the case of holding his instrument, (whether it would appear slightly silly to cling onto his guitar despite his status as a guitarist, it didn't really bother him. He seldom trusted anyone a stranger as a presence with one of their members alone - why shouldn't he be paranoid about his musical 'weapon' as well?) Standing and already moving his feet as Kenzi and company began towards the stage to make their being here known, pulled along with Kay and Tag by Char, Kenzi leading the bunch of them without faltering for any single moment.

Char was still in that process of developing immunities to his fear, he noted if it hadn't been obvious in the times that the fear resurfaced to the situation every now and then, and although he knew that it would be a long while until Char could be completely comfortable in front of a large group of a crowd though he wouldn't have minded if Char never got over it as long everyone else was still around to help support the smaller, he still slightly worried. He glanced towards Char, smiled and almost muttering, in a low tone of understanding, "it'll be alright."

Several thoughts danced across the almost rapidly moving gears of his mind. Ah, perhaps questions on what happened earlier would be brought up? He mused over this again as to whether their fearless leader would completely skip over it to have it be left in the dark or smoothly skim through it with that stage presence he held, and found it somewhat troubling to not be able to know what to expect, after all, Kenzi was completely and utterly unpredictable throughout in the years he had known the singer.

As the sudden explosive-like amounts of dramatic screaming meeting his ears as they walked out, he looked at the crowd, his usual publicly-known smile firmly in place and slightly widely than the one previous backstage, and became quite pleased with the amount of people. He glanced towards Char though in concern before turning to look at their host as their group followed after the lead, across the stage to meet with the man. Stef found it quite humorous to put their host in a slightly dumbfounded state already. Though, seeing as Kenzi was the way that he was in the way that attracted the members together, situations often resulted like this, if not expected.

Catching the way their leader glanced towards them in acknowledgement, he let out a small and barely to be heard, airy laugh from his nostrils, relaxing a bit. That stage persona's presence of Kenzi's never did let his expectations and hunger for the interesting down. He hooked a thumb in where he could in his outfit, and slouched slightly as far as his pride to appear in an acceptable fashion could allow, which was very little. Stef shifted his eyes towards their host, and recognized him from nostalgic boredom quests, usually when his fingers were sore, and nothing around that caught his attention, with only the telly around to become his entertainment. Remembering names of people he barely knew was rather troublesome as he wasn't very good at it.