Note: I don't know the name of the new tour manager, so I just used the name of their regular manager, Michael Lippman. As soon as I find out, I'll edit the story. Like you care...but..just in case any of you were wondering...

The girl couldn't help but smile as she listened to the group talk. Even though they tried to keep their voices down, she could still make out most of their conversation.

She was impressed by her own ability to cry so easily. It was surprisingly easy for her. She had practiced plenty of times before.

She had also rehearsed the story she concocted countless times. She was going for maximum pity, and it had worked.

Everything was going as planned.

When she saw that the band was wrapping up their little discussion, she once again scrunched up her to face to make herself look helpless.

"Hey," Rob said gently, moving towards her. She gave a calculated sniff and looked up at him.

"Yeah?" she said in a scratchy voice.

"Would you like to...come with us for tonight? You know, have a good meal and a warm place to sleep..." he trailed off.

Her eyes lit up temporarily. Then she let herself sag a little and she asked suspiciously, "You're not gonna tell on me, are you? 'Cause I am not going back to a foster home. Ever."

Rob shook his head empathetically. "No. We just don't want anything to happen to you."

The girl snorted. "You're too late for that."

Rob's eyes dropped to the ground.

"But..." the girl started. "So you mean it? You'll take me with you?"

Rob snapped his head back up. "Yeah, yeah we will. You can crash with us. It'll be like a party."

The girl gave a small smile. "That..that would be great. You guys are the best!" she exclaimed happily, squeezing her arms around Rob. "Thank you so much," she whispered hoarsely.

"No problem," Rob said back, stroking her head. "Come on. We have no reason to stay any longer."

The girl followed the group a little ways behind the arena. "Where are we going?" "To the bus," Rob replied. "We're gonna go to the hotel."

"Cool...I get to see your bus?" the girl asked excitedly. "Wow. I feel special."

Rob laughed. "Well, you should," he said. "We're the coolest band out there."

The girl laughed in reply. The group had reached the bus, and the others had already gone in. Only Rob and the girl were still outside.

"Hey, I don't even know you're name," Rob said.

"I'm Cassandra," the girl said simply. "Cassie for short."

"Cassandra's a pretty name," Rob said truthfully.

"Thanks," she said, blushing.

I can't believe this is happening, she thought as she stepped on the bus. It's only a matter of time now.

I will never stop until you're mine
I can wait forever till the end of time
'Cause my heart is in your hands
Don't you understand
I'll never stop


Rob followed Cassie onto the bus. Michael, their manager, gave Rob a curious look as Cassie stood there, sorely out of place in her dirt-stained clothes and face.

"Rob?" he inquired, shooting her a look.

"Hey, uhh..." Adam began, looking at Cassie. Since he had gone in the bus first, he hadn't caught her name.

"Cassie," she said to Adam.

Adam nodded. "Right. Anyway, why don't you come to the back room and hang with us?" he suggested, seeing the situation forming. She smiled and followed Adam to the back of the bus, but not before turning and glancing back at Rob, who was now sitting across Mike on the couch.

Once the pair was alone, Rob decided to speak first. "Mike, I know what you're thinking, and--"

"Who is she, Rob?" Mike asked, rubbing the side of his head.

"Look, she was there, and she was crying...she's homeless Mike. A runaway. She's had a hard life, man. I thought she could stay the night with us, and we'd give her some money or something and let her on her way."

"You can't be serious," Mike said slowly.

"Mike, you weren't there. I couldn't just leave her there. I couldn't. Just let her stay with us tonight. Just tonight. No one will know. And if anyone does happen to ask, we'll just say that she's...she's Becca's cousin or something," Rob pleaded.

Mike sighed. "And how does Rebecca feel about this?"

Rob paused. Rebecca, his girlfriend of a year and half, had decided to wait in the bus after the concert. She hadn't been feeling well and needed to rest. Because of that...well, she was completely clueless about the whole situation.

"Shit, she doesn't know," Rob breathed. "She's in the back room right now."

As if on cue, Rebecca appeared out of the back room and stood before Rob.

"Rob..sweetie...I think you have some explaining to do," she said, flopping on the couch next to Rob.

"Um...hi honey," Rob began. "How are you feeling?"

"Nuh-uh. You're not changing the subject on me," she said. "Explain."

Rob sighed. "Okay, here's the thing. Her name is Cassandra, and we're her favorite band. She's homeless. She's gone through a shitload. We're just gonna let her stay with us for a night, and give her some money and let her go on her way."

Rebecca nodded slowly. "And where exactly is she going to stay tonight?"

" room...?" Rob asked gingerly.

Rebecca closed her eyes. "Rob, you really could have maybe talked to me about this beforehand."

"I know baby, I'm sorry. I just couldn't let her stay out there," Rob said, stroking the side of her face.

"Well, what will happen to her after we leave? She'll be in the same position she was in before tonight," Rebecca stated.

"We're gonna give her some money. You know, so that she could maybe buy some new clothes, get a job somewhere.." Rob said quietly. He started playing with a loose thread on his shirt. If anyone in the world could intimidate him, it was Rebecca.

"Lord, Rob! For all we know she could be some crack addict and use that money for a few snuffs," Rebecca said in a loud whisper. "How much money are you giving her?"

Rob shrugged. "I dunno...five hundred maybe?"

Rebecca groaned and closed her eyes. Then she said quietly, "It's just for tonight, right?"

Rob broke out into a smile. "Yeah baby. Tonight, and that's it."

"Fine," Rebecca conceded. "She'll stay in our room. I don't think she likes me though..."

"Really? What makes you think that?" Rob asked.

"When Adam introduced us, she gave me the most hateful look. It was only for a gave me chills. Maybe I'm overreacting...but I really didn't get a good feeling."

"I'm sure it was nothing," Rob assured her. "She's a really sweet girl."

Rebecca shrugged uncomfortably. "I wish I could believe that."

Rob leaned over and gave her a warm hug. "You know I'd protect you from anything, even if it was a non-intimidating young girl, right?"

Rebecca laughed and kissed Rob on the cheek. "Yeah. You're so sweet like that."

"You know you love me," he laughed. He loved the way she teased him like that, and the way she always knew what to say to make him feel better. She was the most important person in his life. He loved the way she loved him.

"I do," she said, squeezing his hand. "I really do."


Cassie sat in the background, silently fuming. Her plan had taken a serious and unexpected detour. She couldn't believe that Rob had a girlfriend. How could he do that to her?

No, no, it's not Rob's fault, she consoled herself. I mean, really. Rob is perfect. It's that bitch's fault. Yeah...

Cassie collected her thoughts and her composure. She had to remain calm. Her plan could still work. She was just going to need to...change it around a little bit. No biggie.

Cassie decided to make small talk with Adam and Kyle and pump them for info. She didn't know where Brian and Paul went, so she decided to break the ice with that.

"Where did Brian and Paul go?" she asked, pretending to look around like she would find them in the small back room.

"Oh, I guess they decided to take a short nap before we get the hotel," Kyle shrugged. "Or they're up in front with Rob and Becca."

Cassie nodded. Then she slowly choked out, "She seems nice."

"Becca?" Adam asked. "Yeah, she's great. She's really turned Rob around this past year."

"So they must be pretty serious, huh?" Cassie casually asked.

Adam's eyes widened for a second. "Oh yeah. I wouldn't be surprised if they get engaged soon. She's exactly what Rob needs."

"Wow," was all Cassie could muster. " you all have girlfriends?"

Kyle and Adam exchanged a brief glance. "Um, well yeah. Well, Paul's 'in-transition' as he puts it, but we all have our own things going on."

"Oh...that's...nice," Cassie said lamely. Then, to change the subject, she held her stomach and declared, "I'm sorta hungry. Is there anything to eat on the bus?"

Adam sprang up. "Oh geez, of course you're hungry. Um...there may be crackers or something...I'll go look." And with that, he was gone.

She was alone with Kyle. She knew he had been the most against her staying with them, so she thought it'd be good to make amends now. "I can't thank you guys enough for doing this. It means a lot to me."

Kyle smiled uncomfortably. "It's nothing, really."

"Oh, but it is," she gushed. Flatter him, she told herself. "I mean, I bought your video and used to watch it all the time. You are all so talented. Especially you."

She notice with satisfaction that Kyle's face had turned a slight shade of pink. "We all have our own talents," he said quietly.

"But're just...amazing," she said grandly. "You're a great musician and I respect you so much for what you do."

Ah-ha. She had hit his weak spot. She saw his face start glowing with pride. "Thank you," he said seriously. "Sometimes I get caught up in all of this, but it's hearing that sort of thing that reminds me why I'm doing this in the first place."

"I mean it too," she added for extra security. Kyle was just about to respond when Adam bounded back into the room, holding up a package of crackers and a bag of chips with a triumphant grin on his face.

"I come bearing food!" he exclaimed, opening the chips and passing them off to Cassandra. "Here you are, my fair lady," he said with a flourish.

Cassie laughed. "Thank you, my knight in shining armor." She took the chips and started eating.

"I'm sorry we don't have any drinks. Well, we do, but it's all beer. And I don't want to be responsible for getting you drunk. I don't think Rob would find that funny."

Adam plopped on the seat next to Cassie and flipped on the TV. "South Park's on I think," he mused as he flipped the channels.

Adam didn't get a chance to find out, because the bus reached the hotel a few minutes later. However, he did have the joy of waking up Brian and Paul. Once everyone was conscious, the group stepped off of the bus and into the hotel lobby. Cassie stayed in the back of the group behind Rob and Rebecca. It gave her a chance to glare at Rebecca without her knowing.

After the room keys were given out, everyone headed for the elevator. And being the crazy bunch they were, everyone decided to cram into one elevator. All seven of them, plus one bodyguard.

"If we get stuck in here, I'm gonna sneeze on all of you and make everyone sick," Rebecca threatened, coughing slightly. Rob put a protective arm around her waist as an automatic reaction. She smiled up at him.

Cassie caught this whole exchange from her corner, and she gritted her teeth. She hated her. Oh, did she hate her. But she wasn't going to let her get in the way of what she wanted. Even if Rob did love Rebecca, she'd make him see the error of his ways.

Tonight, she assured herself. Tonight.

How could I ever
When my heart is in your hands
And I know
Baby there is no turning back


Rob opened the door to the hotel room he, Rebecca, and now Cassie would be sharing. He stepped in and took a look around.

"Well hey, they gave us two beds," he said. "Now I don't have to sleep on the floor."

He threw his stuff next to one of the beds and flopped onto it. "Are they still doing room service?"

"I'm sure they'd make an exception for you Rob," Rebecca pointed out.

"Oh...well I don't want to inconvenience anyone," Rob said slowly. "But I did promise Cassie a warm meal..."

"Oh no, don't worry about it," Cassie said. "I ate some chips before."

"Is that all you had?" Rob asked her.

", yes," Cassie said. "But I'm fine. I don't want to wake anyone up."

"No, you know what, they'll deal. I'm sure whoever it is won't mind a big tip," Rob said, reaching for the phone. "I'm not letting you go hungry." Rob looked at the card next to the phone and punched in some numbers.

"Yes, I would like to order some room service," he said into the phone. He paused to listen, then cupped his hand over the receiver. "What do you want, Cassie?"

" they have spaghetti?" she asked, playing with her hair.

"Do you guys have spaghetti?" he asked the person on the other end. Then he nodded. "Good. Give me a plate of that, and..." he looked at Rebecca. "You want anything?"

Rebecca shook her head. "Nah, I had a big dinner before the concert."

Rob nodded. "Yeah and give me a salad with Italian dressing, three glasses of milk, and a big piece of chocolate cake. You do have cake, right? Alright then. We're in room...uh...341. Great, thanks so much. Bye." Rob hung up the phone. "They said about fifteen minutes."

"Thank you Rob," Cassie said in a small voice.

"Aw, it's nothing honey," Rob cooed.

The trio waited patiently for the food to arrive and amused themselves by flipping through the channels of the TV.

"Hey, South Park's on...oh,'s over," Rob muttered as he changed the channel.

"Damn, what a loss," Rebecca commented sarcastically. Needless to say, she didn't like South Park.

Rob shot her a sideways glance and continued flipping channels. "Well...I guess we'll settle for the news," he said, dropping the remote next to him.

"After the commercial break, the continuing report on a missing girl," came the voice from the TV. Rob watched with some curious interest as a woman, identified as Sharon Killyack, 'Mother of Missing Girl,' came on the screen.

"She's a good girl, but she just needs some psychiatric help. That's why it's so important to find her," the mother said, wiping a tear away.

"Huh, that's really too bad," Rob said, turning towards Rebecca, who looked back at him and nodded her agreement. While he spoke, a picture of the girl flashed across the screen. But because neither he nor Rebecca saw it, they didn't know that the missing girl in Detroit was actually Cassandra.