The sky was blue, the sun was shining, and rock and roll was blaring out of the windows of the Kitten Soup tour bus. Philadelphian fans had gathered around the bus to celebrate the kickoff day. The band would soon be heading over to Pittsburgh for the first show on the First Helping Tour, leaving behind many of the fans who had accumulated on the same city block as their studio. Their loyal 'hometown' fans, a huge screaming mass composed mainly of teenage girls, were all on the sidewalk, waving and cheering as the band loaded up the bus with their instruments and belongings. Traffic on the street was almost nonexistent, and the band's managers Les and Ash Ming, who woke up far better prepared than the band members themselves, were waiting impatiently for the band to get a move on.
Down the street, beyond the bustle of the crowd, someone was staring through tired eyes from her doorstep at the gigantic blob of fangirls pulsating spastically around the four men. Solace Oakley couldn't go a day without hearing something about Kitten Soup. She had been living just down the street from their studio in a dinky apartment she could hardly afford for the last six months. She worked part-time as a waitress at the cafe that sat right between the apartment complex she lived in and Kitten Soup's recording studio. She was sitting behind the railing on the apartment complex's doorstep, hair pulled back, and work apron and reading glasses on. She watched as one of the famous band members threw their things into the trunk of the bus. Her co-workers constantly insisted she turn on the radio to get a decent earful of Soup, but she always refused, saying she had no time to get interested in anything but her career in the culinary arts. Strangely, though, she couldn't help but feel curious about them as she surveyed the commotion down the street. She stood up, intent on getting lost in the crowd. Before she made it to the edge of the fangirl horde, however, a hand reached out of the tour bus window. Several of the girls shrieked and gathered closer, jumping up, trying to grab it. Solace sighed. "Maybe they're worth it." Solace's voice was small and worn from calling out orders at the café. She pulled a pencil out from her ponytail and scratched her head with it. "Maybe not..."
Less than a month earlier, the band crawled out of their studio-hole and came to the café. At the time, Solace was in the kitchen, making shortbread, and nobody alerted her to the presence of such famous persons. This caused her to ponder about how she'd never gotten a day off. She crinkled her nose at the crowd of fangirls, then reached into her pocket. She deserved a break at least once a year. She pulled out her cell phone and called up the Caprice Café. "Yes, Mr. Ferguson? Hi. It's Solace." She bit her pinky and listened to her superior's words. "Yeah. I can see it from here. Yeah. What?!" She covered her other ear; the fangirls' obnoxious volume was disrupting the call. "Can you repeat that? The crowd's kinda loud; I can barely hear you over it."
Solace's eyes darted towards the ground and she tapped her dainty feet on the sidewalk as the message, crystal clear now, settled in her mind. 'I won a free ticket to their Pittsburgh show. I gotta take care of the cafe, but you can have it if you want. Take the week off.'
"Ferguson, you can't be serious!" She paced towards a No Parking sign, then back towards the apartment building. Her eyes grew large with a sort of glee. "What? When?" She looked over at the mailbox on the street corner and reached into her opposite pocket and grabbed her key. "Really!? That's hardcore!" She paused and looked around, as her excitement embarrassed her a little, but she gathered herself back up. "Thanks!"
She rushed down the street and practically tore open her mailbox, reached in and pulled out a waggly piece of paper: The ticket to the Kitten Soup Pittsburgh show.
She screamed and jumped up and down, flailing the ticket around in the air joyously. Her teachers at the culinary arts school wouldn't care if she missed a day or two of class.
She was going to the show in Pittsburgh.