As Van and I play the beginning of the song, West yells into the mic, “Brisbane, have you figured out what the fuck I want yet?” He jerks his thumb at us and adds, “These two won’t play anymore of the song until I get what I want.”

He’s playing with them, a huge, cocky grin on his face, loving every minute. West is the ultimate performer; his soul would shrivel if he couldn’t perform any longer.

The crowd are going wild, screaming out their suggestions, until, finally, he enlightens them. Squatting on his haunches at the edge of the stage, he shares, “You all know why we’re here tonight, right?” When they nod, he continues, “We’re here to raise money for cancer research so I want all of you to help me with that. We’ve got a donation page set up on our website and here’s the thing… there’s just over fourteen thousand of you here tonight so if everyone donates a buck, that’s some serious coin, yeah?” He holds the mic out encouraging them to yell out their agreement, which they do. Bringing the mic back, he says, “Okay, who’s gonna get their phone out first and make a donation? Show me your phones, people!” He stands back up and begins working the stage, jogging from one end to the other, holding his hand out to touch the fans that hold their hands up.

Van and I continue playing, and Nate joins us up front and begins playing, too. West has the crowd pumped and I see people everywhere on their phone. I’m hopeful they’re donating, although I realise many are probably just on social media. However, West pulls his phone out and checks our site and gives us the thumbs up with a huge grin. We’ve got a live tracker on the donation page so he can see the money coming in.

He turns to the crowd and gives them a fist pump. “Fuck yeah, Brisbane, you fucking rock!”

Hunter kicks in on the drums and Van lets loose on another solo. And then we play our new song for the audience, and they love it. After that, we play our last song and say goodnight to the crowd who we’ve worked into a frenzy. West kept track of the donations and we raised just over ten grand, so we leave the stage, psyched about that.

The sweat is dripping from me as I pass my guitar to one of the roadies when I head backstage. Presley’s waiting for me with a huge smile on her face. “You kicked ass,” she declares, and I see the desire in her eyes.

Resisting the urge to pull her close, I lean in and murmur in her ear, “Did that turn you on, baby?”

Her face is flushed and her breathing has picked up pace. She runs her hand through her hair and nods. “Hell yes,” she says in the breathy tone she uses when I’m about to fuck her, and hell if that doesn’t cause my dick to harden. “We should do this every night.”

I fucking love the way she says ‘we’, and I can’t stop myself any longer; I push her up against the closest wall and grind my cock against her while slipping a hand up her shirt to find her breast. People rush past us, the beat of the music from the band currently playing surrounds us, and the roar of the audience flows through all of that, but we’re locked in our own bubble. My mind is completely focused on Presley and the pleasure she’s giving me as her hand rubs against my dick, and I kiss her deeply.

When I end the kiss, I rub my thumb over her swollen lips. Catching her gaze, I say, “We could do this every night if you come on tour with the band.”

She holds my gaze while silently processing what I’ve said. I silently hope she says yes.

And then my phone rings, changing everything

“Hi Mum,” I say as I answer it, still keeping my gaze locked to Presley’s, loving the way she’s started biting her lip.

“Jett.” Mum’s voice is off, and I’m instantly alert. “Tell me you’re in Brisbane,” she continues, her voice cracking on her last word.

I grip the phone harder as my heart starts beating faster in my chest.

My mother never gets worked up about stuff. She doesn’t panic or worry until it’s absolutely necessary.

I can hear it in her voice.

Presley stills and her expression turns serious as she watches me take this call. She places her hand on my arm and I vaguely realise her touch doesn’t calm me like it usually does.

The noise surrounding me is suddenly claustrophobic and I push away from Presley and take a step back.

I need to get out of here.

“It’s your sister.” My mother says the words I never wanted to ever hear again and my legs almost give way.

The crowd is too much.

I need to fucking get out of here.

“What?” I demand as I pull at the top of my t-shirt, urgently needing it off my skin.

I start walking towards the exit, desperately in need of fresh air and less noise.

She begins to cry and I know exactly what she’s called to tell me.

Fury blows through me like a fucking tornado and I want to explode from the anger.

“Mum, say it.” I try to force the words from her lips, not wanting to hear them, but needing to hear them in case I’m imagining the wrong words.

“She’s in the hospital,” she starts, and a sob tears through the phone. And then she says the one word I fucking hate the most in this world. The one word I want to obliterate from the English fucking language. “Her cancer is back.”

“Fuck!” I roar and turn and punch the wall.