‘You do not look old, Maria!’
‘Oh, please! You’re such a sweetie Ivy. I know you’re only trying to be kind, but let’s face the facts – I qualify for a subway pass, my face is heading south, and the other day on the bus a man stood up and offered me his seat! Can you imagine it, Ivy?! The shame!’ Miserably, Maria took a sip of her chai latte. Ivy stared at her in disbelief.
‘Maria… What on earth were you doing on a bus?!’
‘Oh hush you! Way to miss the bigger picture!’
Ivy grinned as her old friend sighed and tossed her curled hair back dramatically. Despite her years Maria was still taking great pride in her appearance; her greying roots were hidden by a red scarf and she was dressed stylishly yet suitably for her age. She still looked good, and she knew it!
‘Oh Ivy. Where did the years go, hey? Seems like only yesterday we were young and carefree, going to gigs in Sunset Valley and pulling rockstars!’
‘I think you’ll remember that I was the one who pulled the rockstar Maria, you just followed me to Bridgeport,’ Ivy teased. ‘And let’s be fair, we’ve not done too badly for ourselves! I’ve got Ethan and the kids, all the time I need to garden, and this place isn’t exactly a cesspit. You’ve got that gorgeous penthouse over the river, private hottub, own record company…’ After Maria had relocated to the city she’d set up her own record label with her inheritance from her father, bringing a couple of the bands she’d managed in the Valley with her. Her projects had gone from strength to strength until she was able to step back from managing altogether and live the life of luxury she’d always dreamt of!
‘True, true. Shame I never found that special someone though…’
‘Maria! You wouldn’t want to be tied down and you know it,’ Ivy gently chastised. ‘Besides, there’s still time! Leon’s over to watch the interview with us later, you could always spark that up again,’ she winked.
‘Please! Leon’s a sweetie, but it would never have worked out. Chalk and cheese, we were, plus the timing wasn’t great after the Amelia thing!’ Leon and Maria had dated for a couple of years following Ivy and Ethan’s wedding, but the relationship had fizzled out. No hard feelings, no grudges, just a lack of chemistry. ‘At this rate I’m thinking that moving into a retirement home would be a good idea, I quite like the idea of being waited on hand and foot, and I may meet Mr. Right in there!’ Both Maria and Ivy creased up into giggles before falling into a companiable silence.
‘Seriously though. I am happy with my life. I’ve got everything I’d ever wanted,’ Maria said contemplatively, nodding to herself. ‘I just wish my Dad was still here to see everything. And your parents.’
Ivy nodded in agreement, a smile creeping across her face. ‘I know. I wish I’d got the chance to meet your Dad properly, before he died. I’d only just found my parents then, hadn’t I?’
‘Yeah… I still can’t believe that happened, you know, the way it did! You took pity on a little boy who turned out to be your little brother!’
‘I know! Such a miracle,’ Ivy beamed. The memory of it still warmed her heart. About to say something else, Ivy was interrupted by bellowing laughter erupting from the living room. ‘Honestly, what are they like! How long until the interview starts?’
‘Half an hour or so,’ Maria said as she checked her phone. ‘We’ll leave them to it until we’re called!’
‘Oh gnomes, I can’t believe some of the stuff we wore for our first tour! Do you remember that one change you had, Leon, the slashed up shirt and jeans? You had more holes than material!’ Andy laughed as Leon rolled his eyes.
‘You can laugh all you want, but the ladies loved me in that get up! I seem to remember getting the loudest screams on just about every date on that tour,’ he preened before bursting into laughter with his friends. ‘Besides, you can’t talk! Do you not remember your phase of multi-coloured trousers, Andy? Or your lime green trainers, Ethan?’
‘Fair play, fair play! We’ve all had some shockers. Good times though, lads,’ Ethan beamed. ‘Wouldn’t change anything!’
‘Not even those off the shoulder t-shirts?’ Andy teased.
‘Or that time you decided to throw your guitar in the air and forgot to catch it?’ Leon snickered as Ethan shoved him.
‘You know what I mean! And no, I wouldn’t change those things as a matter of fact. Not one moment, good or bad. I’ve had the time of my life with my two best friends, why would I want to go back and do anything differently?’
‘Aw, mate. Deep!’ Andy’s face broke out into a huge grin, tears welling up in his eyes.
‘Oh do stop Ethan, you’ll make Andy cry! This is going to be hard enough to watch without having him bawling his eyes out,’ Leon said through a forced chuckle, trying to subtly wipe away his own tears without his friends seeing.
‘It’s not like it’s all over forever, Leon,’ Andy reasoned, decided to not comment on Leon’s tears. ‘It never will be.’
‘It’s a pretty huge landmark for El Tigre though. I never imagined us ever stopping recording,’ Ethan said sadly. ‘I never thought about it ending…’
‘But that’s just it! We haven’t stopped! We’re just taking an indefinite hiatus. We might go back, if the material’s right or for charity or something, we might even carry on touring after a few years, but we always said that we’d never release music just for the sake of it. Everything has to come to an end at some point, and we all agreed that now just… Well, it feels right.’ Leon looked from Ethan to Andy for confirmation of what he just said.
‘You’re right. I’m not disagreeing or anything, just saying… All those years ago when we first got signed up and started recording our first album, it just felt like we could go forever. You never like to think about anything ending!’ Ethan sighed. ‘This is the right decision, though. I’d rather go out in a blaze of glory than have all our fans get sick of us!’
Leon laughed. ‘I think I’d break out the costumes from El Tigre Hit The Jungle again before I let that happen!’
The three men burst out laughing as they pictured themselves prancing about in the costumes from long ago as the soap opera came to an end on the television. Wow, what an explosive marriage that turned out to be for Jeff and Alison! Find out who survives next Tuesday at seven thirty. Coming up next we’ve got the final ever interview with El Tigre as they close the door on their illustratious career, followed by a retrospective of their decades in the music industry. It’s the end of the El Tigre era, folks!
‘Ivy! Maria! Get through here, it’s on soon!’ Ethan called as Andy gave Leon a sideways glance.
‘Don’t comment please, Andy,’ Leon interrupted before Andy had even opened his mouth. ‘We’ve discussed this already. It’s not happening.’
‘Oh do be quiet Andy! Leon and I are in the past, and that’s where we’ll stay. We’re just friends. Hiya, Leon,’ Maria smiled as she settled down next to Andy. Ivy snuggled up to her husband as the talk show began.
‘Hello and welcome to Talky Sim, with me Elliot Brindle. Tonight my guests are Rosemary Byrd, here to talk about her new role in the big summer blockbuster Behind The Eyes, and El Tigre, who are with me for their final interview to explain their decision to leave the recording studio behind once and for all. Is this truly the end for our favourite rockers?’
As the actress came out for her interview, Andy went to get the audience some drinks and Leon and Maria began catching up. Ivy gently squeezed Ethan’s knee.
‘Me? I’m always okay.’
‘You know what I mean! I know how much El Tigre means to you. What with this ending and Dylan moving away all coming so close together…’
‘I’m fine, Ivy. Everything has to move on, everything has to end at some point. I can handle that! As long as Dylan’s okay, Robbie’s happy, my boys are here and I’ve still got you, I’m totally fine.’
‘Did you just call Andy and Leon boys? Ethan, I’ve got some bad news for you!’
‘Shut up, Ivy!’