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When Hail Storm came to New York the first time, Chance was only thirteen years old. The year before, heâ€™d been stuck in the hospital, waiting to die. His parents were extremely protective of him ever since heâ€™d got his second chance at life. Although it annoyed the hell out of him, he understood. What he didnâ€™t understand was why his father was so against anything that specifically had to do with Hail Storm. Chance had saved all his allowance for six months to purchase a ticket to their show. He did odd jobs and had even secretly skipped his lunch on occasion. When the box office opened, Chance got there early in the morning before school, knowing heâ€™d find himself at the back of a long line because people had been camping out all night waiting for tickets. He racked his brain in order to come up with a good excuse for missing his morning classes.
He purchased the cheapest ticket. It was way up in the rafters but it didnâ€™t matter. Heâ€™d be in the same room with them. He was still so damn excited he couldnâ€™t concentrate on anything except that damn ticket. As for his dad, he figured if he bought the ticket heâ€™d have to let him go.
He was wrong.
His father said no, and Chance knew by the way he said it, he really meant it. He even cancelled his shift at the hospital that night so that he could take Chance to a movie instead. Chance knew it was his way of making sure he didnâ€™t sneak out and go to the show despite his fatherâ€™s objections.
Chance was miserable. He even cried bitter tears and refused to go to the movie. He locked himself in his room, hating his father and vowing never to forgive him. His mother tried talking to his father before she left for work that night. She told him some of Chanceâ€™s other friends were going with their parents and he could get a ride there and back. "Itâ€™s perfectly safe," she said. "Why wonâ€™t you let him go?"
His father wouldnâ€™t budge. Even his mother found it hard to explain. Chance knew she felt sorry for him but that didnâ€™t make him feel any better. His heroes were in the same city and he even had a ticket to the show, yet he couldnâ€™t go. It was too cruel.
Jackson and Pete couldnâ€™t go, either, but that was because their parents werenâ€™t doctors, and they had no money to fork over for tickets. Chance would have given his ticket to one of them but he knew it wasnâ€™t fair to choose one over the other, so instead the ticket sat on his bureau, unused. Chanceâ€™s two best friends stood together outside the stadium, watching the limo speed into the underground parking lot. Pete called him on his cell phone to tell him about it.
It was wacky and bizarre, yet really wonderful in its own way. Chance never expected that their performance at a school talent contest would lead to hundreds of people wandering around in a field somewhere dressed up like members of Hail Storm. Still, none of them had been to a Hail Storm concert. Circumstances had always seemed to work against them.
No one could have guessed that an amateurish video, shot in a dimly lit high school auditorium, would capture the imagination of a host of Hail Storm fans, prompting them to come together in a farmerâ€™s field outside New York. Shortly after the video became popular, they were interviewed by all the local media. "Weâ€™re celebrities," Jackson exclaimed. "Iâ€™ve got girls crawling all over the place."
Jackson was bisexual. Heâ€™d experimented but he leaned more towards girls. Pete and Chance were into guys. They jokingly told Jackson he could have their share of the female groupies. His response was, "You can have all the guys...except I want the ones who look like Danson Storm."
They were all really excited that Friday afternoon when they headed out of town in a minivan borrowed from Peteâ€™s older brother. They were all talking in bursts about the comments on the Internet site, while Hail Stormâ€™s latest CD blared in the background.
"Do you think the television people will be there?" Pete asked, following Jacksonâ€™s directions as Jackson traced his finger along the map.
"I imagine," Chance replied. "I wouldnâ€™t mind seeing that cute DJ again."
"He was hot," Pete said.
Jackson laughed. "You guysâ€”sex, sex, sex."
"Right," Chance scoffed. "What about you with that receptionist from the television station?"
Pete was laughing as Jackson protested.
Suddenly they began to hit traffic and they had to slow their speed. So far the trip had taken around two hours, and they were almost there. As they turned up a dirt road towards the site, they were awestruck to see the number of people who were already tramping through the field. Pete looked for a parking space and pulled the minivan to the side of the road when he found an opening. "Guess weâ€™ll park here. Weâ€™ll have to haul the stuff down by hand."
Jackson got out and showed the other two his biceps. "No sweat."
Chance rolled his eyes.