You can feel it coming, but there’s no way to stop it. You don’t have time to run to a bathroom. You have to throw up. Right the hell now.
You look around frantically for a bag, a bucket, or anything else that could hold what is about to come out of your mouth. There’s nothing - just Jimmy and Rowan, a bunch of backstage people, wires and instruments and flashing machines. Where would be best? A corner? A drawer? Someone’s hands? Your own hands?
Jimmy gives you an odd look.
Oh God, Jimmy’s going to see this.
Well, to be fair, it’s not the first time Jimmy’s seen you throw up. Or second. Or third.
You choose a corner and run to it. You drop to your knees, and then you can’t hold it in anymore - you’re throwing up on the floor. Through the sound of your own throat expelling vomit, you hear the gasps of the backstage crew. It is not your proudest moment.
When you’re done, you’re shaking a little bit, your eyes wet. But then there’s a hand on your back, rubbing soothingly. Then there’s another hand, patting you gently. You glance back, wiping your mouth.
Jimmy and Rowan are there with you.
Rowan immediately turns around and starts directing people away. “Okay! Nothing to see here, people! We’re on in how long?” He gestures to a flustered stagehand, who stammers that we’re on in one minute.
“You okay?” asks Jimmy. There is genuine concern in his eyes.
You nod. You really do feel a bit better after letting it all out. “Yeah. I’m okay.”
A stagehand appears with a tissue, which Jimmy promptly grabs and starts patting at your lips with it. Of all the things about Jimmy that make your heart race, you did not expect him patting vomit off your lips to be one of them.
It makes you laugh. Which makes Jimmy laugh too.
“Sorry for being like this,” you say.
“We all put up with each other’s shit,” says Jimmy. “It’s kind of part of the whole friendship thing.”
“I need to… sort myself out,” you say.
“I relate,” says Jimmy. “But we can talk about it later. We’ve kind of got to play a song.”
He turns from you and you follow him towards where the backstage ends and the stage begins. Just ahead of you, he and Rowan are silhouetted by the stage lights. You never want this to end - Jimmy and Rowan leading you on, making you want to do better. Be better.
Maybe, one day, you will.