Good evening Darren, this is Kayleigh and I'm contacting you in hopes that you are available this Saturday for a wedding? He usually needed more time. More notice, longer than a week to prepare to do a wedding. His brain was a checklist, boxes that needed to be ticked off neatly as he did the appropriate task. Playlists, song cues, those songs that he was not allowed to play under any circumstance or risk painful dismemberment from the bride. It was a process, preparing for an event that was going to be the most important day for someone. But at the same time, he was still the new(ish) kid in town, so would he really turn down something just because he was going to be a little stressed for time? No. Of course not. There was a diner near his house. Near enough, anyway, that he could feel good about going and eating pancakes at 2 AM and not feel ridiculous for having driven for far too long in order to do so. He sat with his phone and a binder, a pen in hand and a cup of coffee that was refilled as quickly as he could empty it. The waitress knew him, recognized him from nights after work when he couldn't sleep. When he was tired but buzzing. When the desire to drink, to find a Percocet and chase it with whiskey, made his skin itch. Because he was sober. But sometimes he resented his own sobriety. It was hard not to. Hard to stand in a club that reeked of cheap beer and bad decisions, spin music that he hated more often than not, and not want to drink. And only the memories of back then kept him from accepting an offered shot from a pretty girl who had to be freezing in the scraps of fabric they had her wear. It took handful of syrup-flavoured nights in a vinyl booth, copying down songs from a Facebook chat with the to-be-married couple and looking up lyrics to the strange music he'd never heard of. At home, he made playlists, checked and double checked the schedule for the reception, and weeded through bad live versions of good songs to find the exact right one. It was a process. He was tired. But the thought of being part of something special to someone he'd never met was enough to keep him going. And coffee. More coffee than a human being should probably consume. Saturday came, and Darren had help lugging his equipment into the reception venue. The usual smell of flowers and cleaning product, the sound of the employees talking over the clink of glasses being set out, filled his head and he remembered the first wedding he worked with Drew. He found his spot and started unpacking. And he ran through that checklist again, making neat ticks in each box with the pen in his mind. Sound board, speakers, laptop. All here. Make sure all the cables are in the bag. Good. Make sure nothing got jostled in the drive over. Check the levels. Run a test song to see how it sounds. Tick. See your ex-boyfriend in a flash of swishy hair and too-tall-and-handsome-for-his-own-good. Che- He knew Hudson was in Greenville. Of course he did. They'd discussed it, however brief, on the town social media group. How he'd seen him from behind and convinced himself that he was wrong. There was no way to convince himself this time, though. Because there he was, with a checklist of his own, wearing some kind of earpiece and speaking to a hassled looking woman in an apron. He was smiling crookedly, had his weight shifted to one leg, the other bent casually across the first, and his hair was falling into his eyes in that way it always did. Darren wanted to brush it out of his eyes, and he felt itchy for a drink. To compensate, he played Kid Rock and turned the bass up a touch, holding his headphones over one ear and trying not to feel dizzy. Because now was not the time. Today was a day for someone else. For several someones. His own feelings couldn't get in the way. And besides, he probably wouldn't even have to talk to him, for whatever reason he was even here. "Darren?" Oh well. A man can dream.