The silence was deafening as the quartet left the stage. With shoulders squared and eyes straight ahead, they steadily made their way to their dressing room. They neither looked nor spoke to each other, so deeply were they in their own thoughts.
Dawn entered the dressing room first. Running a hand through her dampened braids, she quietly went behind her curtained off section. She removed Nikolas' jacket and hung it on the rack with her street clothes. Forcing her mind to remain vacant, she sat down on the velvet cushioned stool and rested her back against the wall.
Jordan, Lucky and Sly followed Dawn into the room. Sly kicked the door closed and moved to the mini-fridge and grabbed a bottle of ice cold Evian water. Looking at his band mates, he asked, "You guys want one?"
When they shook their heads in reply, Sly closed the fridge and plopped into one of the chairs which faced the make-up mirror.
Jordan grabbed a towel and wiped his face and the back of his neck. He took his drumsticks from his back pocket and placed them on the counter. Staring sightlessly at himself in the mirror, he opened his drumsticks case and carefully placed his drumsticks inside the case. The case closed with a click.
Lucky slowly ran his hand over his guitar case. His fingers traced every decal that Lizzie had placed on the outside of the case before his fingers moved lowered and popped the latch open. After he set his guitar inside, he closed the case and propped it in the corner. He too grabbed a towel and began to wipe his face and hair as he lowered himself onto the floor.
The endless humming from the overhead fluorescent lights provided the only noise in the deathly quiet room until the static from the intercom speaker chimed in and was followed by a thunderous roar of cheers and applause.
The three young men moved from their positions and stood in front of the intercom, listening in stunned silence.
Dawn rushed from behind the corner and quietly asked, "Is that for us?"
Sly place a finger to his lips and said, "Ssh."
Dawn moved closer to them and stood beside Lucky. Her eyes were also glued to the speaker.
"Pipe down!" came Jasper Jacks' voice over the loudspeaker. "There will be no encores tonight! DJLS have left the stage and no matter how you scream and shout for them, we still have two more other bands for your auditory pleasure."
"That's for us," Sly said, quietly.
"You guys know what this means, right?" Dawn said, unable to keep the excitement from her voice as she clutched Lucky's arm.
"Yeah!" Jordan said, his eyes bright.
In unison, DJLS screamed, "We didn't go out like suckers!!"
They hugged each other and laughed as the realization that the crowd loved them overcame them.
Gina laughed as she watched Tommy scream and shout with the crowd. He needed this, she thought. She didn’t remember ever seeing him so animated before and her only wish was that it would last.
"Gina, get up!" Tommy laughed, as he pulled Gina from her seat.
"I'm up!" Gina shouted about the roar of the crowd. If she noticed that Tommy still held her hand, she didn't allow herself to react to it. Instead, she felt herself becoming more caught up in the moment as they, and the rest of the crowd refused to be placated by Jax's words.
"Can you guys believe this?" Lizzie screamed as she ran to join her cousin and her friend. She linked her arm through Tommy's and began to jump up and down.
"It's incredible!" Tommy shouted.
"They won't stop screaming. They have to hear it backstage, don't you think?" Lizzie shouted back in reply.
"Lizzie, where have you been?" Gina screamed, leaning past Tommy.
"I'll tell you later! Where's Nikolas? Let's all go backstage!" Lizzie suggested, tugging on Tommy's arm.
Tommy immediately sobered. Looking down at her, he said, "Nikolas went back there a while ago. Besides, Gina and I can't. I have to go back to the hospital."
"But, Tommy, just a few minutes more! Don’t you want to congratulate them?" Lizzie asked.
"Later. I have to go see my mom. I told her that I'd come back as soon as I saw DJLS perform. I can't go back on my word."
"Okay," Lizzie said with a smile, as she removed her arm from Tommy's.
"Lizzie, wait. Tell them I said congratulations," Tommy said.
"I will," she smiled.
"Do you have a ride home? I can come back and get you," Gina offered.
"I'll be fine. I'll be with Lucky," Lizzie said. She waved at them and disappeared into the crowd.
"I'm sorry that we're leaving now. You know, if you want, you can stay. I can find my way to the hospital. You don't have to drive me," Tommy said, as he and Gina left their table and headed for the exit.
"I know you can find your way, but that's not necessary. I said I'd drive you and I want to drive you," Gina said.
"Thanks, Gi-" Tommy began, but was interrupted when the crowd jostled them and forced them to separate.
Tommy's eyes frantically searched the crowd until he saw the shimmer of Gina's dress. He pushed himself through the crowd until he reached her. He grabbed her hand and held it tightly as they left the club.
"What were you saying before?" Gina asked when they walked out into the peacefulness of the night.
"Huh?" Tommy asked, his mind was a million miles away as the pleasant sensation of holding Gina's hand caused him to block everything else out.
"I said… Never mind," Gina said with a laugh. She smiled at him and when he smiled back her, she felt a sense of peace and comfort that she never thought she'd feel again.
"You guys were a hit!" Lizzie shouted as she bounced into DJLS' dressing room. She ran straight for Lucky and hugged him tightly.
"So, they were really digging us out there, huh?" Sly asked, his blue eyes shining with happiness.
"Were?" Lizzie asked. "Not were! ARE!! They haven't stopped digging you!"
"Do you think this means we won?" Jordan asked.
"Think it?" Lizzie asked, moving to stand in front of Jordan. "I know it!! The other two bands are just a formality. You guys have it in the bag."
"How can you be so sure?" Dawn asked, moving to sit on the counter. Suddenly, she felt light-headed, but she didn't want the others to know. This was an important moment for all of them. Much too important for the attention to be shifted to her flu-bug.
"Well…" Lizzie said, which a huge grin on her face.
Lucky placed his hands on her shoulders and growled, "Come on, Elizabeth. Spill it."
"Yeah, Liz, no holding out on us," Sly added.
"Well, you know the poster I did of you guys?" Lizzie asked. When they all nodded, she continued. "Quite a few people have expressed an interest in it, well actually in the artist, me, and you won't believe who asked me to do one."
"Liz…" Dawn said, warningly.
"The Jasper Jacks! He asked me to do a painting of him and Brenda Barrett! Isn't that great!" Lizzie said, practically bouncing up and down.
"Yeah, that's great, Liz, but what does that have to do with us?" Sly asked, shoving his hands in his pocket to keep from shaking the information from her.
"Well, after we worked out the details, he moved away to talk to some people and I overheard him say that you guys were the greatest band he had ever heard or seen and that you were a done deal," she finished with a triumphant smile on her face.
"Are you sure?" Dawn asked, "Hey, do you know where Nickie is? He said he was coming backstage."
"Yeah, I'm sure! Tommy said that Nikolas left to come back here. You haven't seen him?" Lizzie asked.
"Not since before," Dawn said with a slight frown. The queasiness had come back and she wanted another visit from Dr. Cassadine to make it better.
"I'm sure he's on his way," Lizzie reassured her. She moved away from Lucky to sit beside Dawn on the counter. She could see the strain in Dawn's eyes and asked, "Are you okay? Want me to go look for him?"
Dawn mouth turned up in a faint smile and she nodded. The sooner Nikolas returned to "whisk her away from the madness" the better she would feel, she thought as she rubbed her queasy stomach.