I had only ever heard Fox sing at the Haven—in the bedroom with me, when we were messing about with my music. In the shower, though I don’t think he realised he was doing it, washing himself off after our session. I knew he had a lovely voice, I understood he was very talented. I even accepted he had a professional career with it.
But seeing him on stage was a whole new world.
He’d told me Merry had the best voice—the guy on the keyboards—and that was true. He took a lot of the vocals. The other guitarist, Graham, also sang backup, though not very well. But to me, it was Fox who commanded the stage. He looked small, behind his guitar, so obviously concentrated on playing the song, and not so much on the crowd. Graham played to the audience enough for all of them, strutting about the stage, leering at the fans, laughing, exaggerating his playing.
But Fox was a small but shining oasis of joy. It spilled out of him like water from a fountain. Maybe I was biased—I couldn’t take my eyes off him at the best of times—but he was walking charisma. So sweet, so sexy, so in love with it all. I could see why he was the one the fans went after.
I could tell which songs were his, though no one announced it. There was something about the switch of key, the way the words blended yet were never lost in the melody. The deceptive simplicity. The band segued into a track I knew well. After Next Time, it was my favourite, though Jaden had informed me it wasn’t a big hit. But London Lads was a cheeky, upbeat number with fast-moving, quick-witted lyrics that I particularly liked.
Yet suddenly, Fox froze. From one second to the next, his hand stilled on his guitar and his mouth opened as if he was struggling to suck in more breath.
Graham and Merry glanced at each other, and I could clearly see their alarm. Graham broke into a repeat of the last chorus, and Merry raised his volume. I wasn’t sure the audience even noticed, they just kept singing along. But as it wasn’t one of the more popular songs, the swell of words was half-hearted. Any second now. they’d notice that Fox wasn’t singing or playing.
“Fox!” That was Vince, calling urgently from the wings. I could hardly hear him over the crowd, so God knew if Fox would, so close to the music. Then I caught Vince’s eye: he was staring at me, nodding fiercely.
What the hell did that mean?