Worry Rock

Play My Troubles Away

"Carlie!" He plasters a fake smile on his face and comes over as if he's going to hug me. I step back looking angrily at him, and I bet it shows that I'm hurt, too. Dang. Boom grabs him by the arm, yanking him back, while Jake holds onto my forearm gently, pulling me so I'm partly behind him.

"Stay away from her, you asshole! Get out! You're not coming back, either!" yells Boom. He yells loud too. Hence the name. I think his real name is John or something like that, but everybody calls him Boom.

Harvey looks like he's going to fight back, but Boom says, "Now!" and that was that.

"I'll come back for my stuff later."

"Don't bother."

God, I'm glad Boom ain't mad at me. That would suck. But he's sticking up for me! He's kicking someone out of his band for me! Wow. And Boom's really serious about his band. Cool.

Harvey stops by me and says, "Hey, Carlie, I'm real sorry. Think you can forgive me?" He looks sincere... but he's not. I know he's not. I guess that's why I just burst out crying again.

This crying thing is getting old.

"Get out!" I hear both Jake and Boom yell. That's weird. Jake never yells.

I hear footsteps and realize that Boom, Jake, and I aren't alone in here. My best girl-friend, Jazz (short for Jasmine; also, she can play the trumpet. Yeah, weird, huh?) came running up to hug me tightly. "Oh, Carlie, I'm so sorry! Harvey was always a jerk! Are you okay?"

I'm glad I'm not wearing makeup now. I'd look even worse. I push her off of me and wipe my eyes. "I'm fine," I lie. I am NOT fine. Just to clear that up. I'm really not.

Boom silently hands me Harvey's guitar and grabs his own. He still looks really angry as he wordlessly begins to play a particularly loud, hard song he wrote and Jake and I take our places as well, Jake at his bass and me with my new guitar. And we played for hours without talking. Boom sang and sometimes screamed, but otherwise we played. It helped take my mind off Asshole, as I've now resolved to call him. Hannah will be called The Whore.

And just so you know, we do have a drummer.

Finally, when Jazz had fallen asleep watching us with my black kitten, (who I had left over here last time because Boom begged me to - he loves that cat.) Demon. Seriously, Demon is going to be the coolest cat ever, hanging out with all my friends and listening to our punk rock music all the time. And he always falls asleep when we're at our best.

So anyways, we stopped. My fingers are numb from playing song after song for hours on end. And by some unspoken consent, we all stopped at once to flop onto the worn old sofas, falling asleep.


I wake up around lunch the next day to an obnoxiously ringing cell phone in my pocket. Wearily, I take it out and say a tired, "Hello?"

"Carlie! What are you doing? Where are you? I tried to call you last night! Why didn't you pick up?" Dad. I knew it.

"Dad, I was busy. Playing with the guys. I'm in the band now."

I hear him sigh on the other line. "Carlie, you know how I feel about that. You have plenty of better things to do with your time than waste your life in that band."

"It's not wasting my time, Dad. Can we talk about this later?"

"No, we're talking about it now."

"Well I won't even remember since you just woke me up. So when I come home, we'll talk. Bye, Dad."

And then I hung up on him. And turned off my phone. I'm just not in the mood now.

So here's how we're all positioned. Jazz got most of the big sofa since she fell asleep first. So she's laying out on it straight, except for that her feet somehow are laying over the armrest. I have the other armrest and am curled up against it. Jake is between us and leaning on me, and Boom got the little sofa - often called a loveseat. Looks like he's pretty unloved right now. All alone. That's how I feel. I get up, leaving Jake to slump down on the sofa, groaning a little. ("Huh?")

I stretch and pull up a stool to sit down, grabbing my guitar again. I start to play a soft song and wonder in my head where it's coming from. Hey. I'm writing my first song. I can tell it's going to be a sad song by the melody. Well, I guess bad break-ups are the universal inspiration.

I play for a few minutes, winging it, not really knowing what I'm doing. Finally, I think, An end should go here. And bam, just like that, I end it. Wow...talk about inspiration. I look up to see that everyone is watching me. They look sleepy but interested.

"That was really good," yawns Jake with a stretch. I give a small, embarrassed smile.

"Yeah," says Boom. "Now write words to it."

And so I did. I wrote my song. I even have the original paper with all the scratching out and re-writing on it. At the end, I'm proud of myself. I wrote a song! I wrote a song. I just can't say that enough. I don't care what Dad thinks now. I'm staying in this band. It's official.

"You should have gotten her sooner," said Jazz. "She's way better than Harvey." I smile again. I love this! I love playing in this band! Because in it, I can forget everything and just play.

Everybody's having lunch now. We're starving after playing and not eating, except for Jazz, who had eaten while we played. But she ate something too. Even I was hungry. After all, I hadn't kept anything down for over a day. So I grabbed a much-needed can of ravioli and ate it cold out of the can while everyone else had something along those lines. Mick and Warren came over, too, twins. Mick has his brown hair cut short but put up in green liberty spikes, while Warren's is brown and down to his shoulders. Other than that, they look exactly alike with their chiseled faces and brown eyes. Even their personalities are pretty close. When they're together, they're both insanely funny and pretty coordinated. But if you got one alone, you'd really understand that Warren is the more artistic one. Poetic, even. He's like the Jason Freese of our band. Very flexible. So we put him in all the time on whatever instrument we need him to play, and he's not bad. Usually another guitar though. But Mick? Well, Mick's always crazy. Not surprising since he's the drummer. The two weren't here yesterday because they were off visiting family in California. But otherwise, they live here with Boom. They grab a bag of chips and we all talk together happily, in our own world for a while.

And then I heard a familiar honk outside. Great... Dad's come for me. In his girlfriend's car. I hate that woman. "Oh, no."

"Pretend you didn't hear it," suggested Jake.

Yeah, I can do that.

We hear more honks and then the door is violently opened to reveal my angry father, his face beet red, looking around the room and finally spotting me sitting between Jake and Mick and said, "Come. Now. We're going home."

I look down angrily into my can of ravioli. "Why don't you go by yourself? You obviously don't care."

His face hardened more, if that's possible. "Get in the car, Carlie." These poor people in here. They have no escape since Dad's blocking the doorway, so they have to just sit here awkwardly and wait for it to be over.

"You want to talk to me? Talk to me now. Right here. Because I'm not coming."

Mick, Warren, (who's sitting on the loveseat with Boom) and Boom are staring up at my dad and me in interest, while Jazz seems really interested in her fingers and Jake is staring into his cup of Ramen noodles as if it held the answer to all our problems. And me, I'm staring straight into the eyes of my angry father and fearlessly telling him no. Wow.

"Carlie, I'm your father, and I'm telling you to come home now."

"Dad, I'm your daughter, and I'm telling you I don't want to. I've suffered a lot lately, and I don't need your shit right now."

"Carlie, you don't know the meaning of being upset - "

"Why? Because I wasn't old enough to care when mom died?" That struck a nerve. Mom got in a car wreck when she was pregnant with me. They couldn't save her, but they managed to get me out in time. And then Dad named me Carlie, even though he said he hated the name, because she had loved it.

Dad started walking towards me quickly, and I stood to meet him. His hand was raised, and it landed hard on my face. Ouch! I think I actually let out a hurt yelp when he hit me. I fell back onto the sofa, too. No, actually, I fell on top of Jake.

"Hey!" Boom yelled, standing up. The dynamic duo, as I always call them, stood as well. Jazz looked up, finally, and Jake had thrust his cup out of the way when I fell.

Jazz took the cup, and he said, "Are you okay?"

No, not really. This is the worst few days of my life. And it's taking a lot for me not to put my hand up against my pained face. But I can't tell him that, can I? "I'm fine." I stand back up, and this time, Jake stands with me.

"Get out! Right now! get out, or I'm calling the police! This is my house, and now you're trespassing! Out!" Boom. He's had to kick so many people out of here for me lately.

Note to Self: Thank Boom.

"I'm coming back for you later," he says to me and walks out of the room, no doubt making a note to himself to hire a good lawyer.

I collapse onto the sofa, covering my face, and tears roll out of my eyes. More crying. Jake puts an arm around my shoulders, holding me, and Boom told Jazz to go get some ice. Warren sat on the sofa, putting a comforting hand on my back, and Mick was standing up with one on my shoulder, squeezing it. Boom walks over, grabbing a bandaged wrist and looking at me in disappointment. Boom's what you might call our leader. The daddy of the group. He's the oldest at nineteen years old, the tallest at 6'3, and he has the leadership quality that could've made him the president if he hadn't decided to drop out of school. That's why this is his band.

"I thought you stopped cutting, Carlie," says Boom to me sadly.

"I did," I said truthfully. I haven't cut in over a year. That's when he found out and made me promise to stop.

Jake wiped my eyes for me as Boom grabbed my chin with a sigh and thrust it up so that he could look at my face.

"You look like shit," said Mick. Everybody yelled at him to shut up.

"Bad news. You're going to have a black eye. Good news. That means we can sue him." Jazz came back with ice in a rag, and Boom put it on my eye, making me wince. But I hold it up anyways.

"I don't want to sue him," I say quietly.

"What?" says everybody.

"We're going to forget this ever happened." My message is clear. I don't want anyone to know.

"Car, we have to. How many times has your dad hit you like this?"

"None. This is the first." My free eye is focused down into my lap in shame.

"That's enough lying, Carlie." I look at Jake. No way. Everyone else is looking at him, too. He sighed. "Her dad has hit her about seven times in the last five years."

"Jake, you said you wouldn't tell anyone!"

"Well, they deserve to know."

And now I'm crying again. I throw down the rag and stalk out of the band-house. Yes, stalk. I don't want to talk to anybody right now.

I'm sitting on a bench on the side of the band-house now, hugging myself and crying. I really hope Jake leaves me alone right now. He's most likely to run after me when I'm upset. I hear the door open and then shut and footsteps walking towards me. "Go away," I sob. There's a shadow in front of me. Hey, I know those combat boots. I look up to see Boom holding the guitar out to me.

"I thought you might need a pick-me-up." I can't help but smile a little. Boom moved here a few years ago, and we instantly understood each other at a pretty deep level. Which is weird for me. But he knows music. His philosophy is that it can solve all problems. And I am totally behind him on that.

"Thanks, Boom." I take the guitar and start strumming the first song that comes to mind, I Want To Be Alone. He gets it immediately and sings along while I play. Boom really does have a nice voice. And it makes me want to cry. But I don't, because this guitar is my best friend right now. It's comforting me like no one else can. I finish the song and look up to see everyone watching us. I look back down. "We're not telling anyone."

"Okay, Charlie, here's the compromise. We won't tell anyone unless we end up in court. Got it?" That was Mick.

"Deal," I say. A pause of awkward silence. "So what am I going to do now?"

"You can stay here," offered Boom. "You practically live here anyway."

I nodded. "Thanks again. For everything." I looked around at everybody when I said that.

In return, I get a bunch of "No problem" s and "Any time" s and "We've got your back" s and all that kinda sappy stuff.

"So are you staying with us?" asked Mick.

"Yeah, I think I will."

So here come Mick and Warren, running up to hug me, saying, "Roomies!" I have to laugh.

"Well, what are we doing sitting out here? My vampiric complexion is in danger! Come on." Warren. We all laugh; everyone jokes about how pale that boy is.

And so we go back into the band-house... so that I can play all my troubles away.