"Come on, guys," Bruce said, after a few minutes of sitting in silence and staring alternately at each other and out the windows at the snow falling around them. "Let's see if there's anything we can do."
Patti couldn't help the snort of laughter she gave, but Bruce just grinned at her as he headed outside and proceeded to peer thoughtfully at the bus. Then, as far as she could ascertain from her vantage point inside, Clarence and Danny coordinated a surprise snowball attack, and pretty soon Steve was running off the bus to join them, followed in short order by Garry, who seemed to be pretty good at sneaking up on everyone.
She and Nils were happy enough inside the bus for awhile, but there were only so many rounds of Crazy Eights you could play, and when the glances he kept throwing out the window finally went on long enough that they stopped being glances and became stares, she snapped her fingers to get his attention back.
"Go play with them, Nils," she said, and the little whoop of excitement he gave as he ran outside was almost as adorable as the fact that he'd been determined to keep her company. After he was gone, she stole the blanket from the bunk where he'd been sitting and wrapped it around herself. She'd been the only one who thought to bring a book, apparently.
(Except for Max, but she didn't think editing Conan O'Brien's List Of Grievances Against Stephen Colbert for grammar really counted. And Soozie, but she and Steve were, unless Patti was very much mistaken, currently on top of the bus with a stockpile of snowballs. That would explain the cries of "death from above, you sonsabitches," at any rate.)
Cell phone reception didn't get any better as the day wore on. Patti suspected, however, that Bruce had just forgotten to plug their phones in to charge, a suspicion which was confirmed when she went to check the time on hers and discovered that the battery was dead.
She thought about pointing out that they were only a few miles from the hotel they'd stayed at last night, but a glance from Bruce at one point was enough: this must've been that "team-building exercise" he'd gotten it into his head to do after too much TV.
Night fell, Bruce eventually stopped pretending he could possibly identify whatever was wrong with the bus, and they all wore themselves out and came back inside.
"The wet clothes probably aren't gonna do us any good." Steve began. The shroud of quiet that had settled over the bus was broken by the resounding crack of Patti slapping him. "What the fuck, Patti? All I said was -- "
"You didn't need to say anything more," Patti said.
Of course, she woke up on the floor. Bruce was still curled up next to her, one arm draped over her waist, but unless she was very much mistaken, that was Soozie's arm draped over his waist from the other side, that was Clarence curled up around Soozie, and it was definitely Steve with his head on Patti's thigh.
Bruce beamed about what a success it had been later, when they finally got back to the hotel. Patti was finishing her second mimosa and didn't have the heart anymore to point out that most nights on the bus ended the same way.
Anyway, he'd spotted movement on the balcony next to theirs, and next thing she knew, the snowball fight was continuing. Patti made herself another mimosa and contemplated locking him out, but ultimately decided against it. He'd only break something trying to get over to the other balcony -- by the sound of it, Clarence's -- instead.
PIANIST HOSPITALIZED FOR HYPOTHERMIA AFTER BEING DISCOVERED IN EMPTY STUDIO
"We just left him off the phone chain," say bandmates