Worry Rock

Red Flags and Long Nights

I am beyond fucking confused. After Joey left me there, I just waited a few minutes and returned to the living room with everybody like everything was normal. They were all too busy watching Mick, our love struck puppy, and Ashlynn, our crazed ferret, make fools of themselves to realize that I wasn't laughing as much as usual. Fifteen minutes later, I snuck off, going into my room and burying my head into the pillow to cry. Yes, that's right, cry. I really don't understand why though. It just doesn't make sense.
A knock on the door. I do not want to talk right now.
"Hey, Charlie, are you okay?"
Boom. "I'm fine," I say, wiping my eyes and trying to control my voice.
The door knob turns, and I lay on my stomach on my bed, facing the opposite direction. I don't like when people catch me breaking down.
I hear the door open, then close, and my friend's weight being lowered onto my bed. I close my eyes to hide any possible redness from the crying.
I feel calloused but gentle fingers touching my hair, running through it soothingly. A whimper escapes me, and I bury my face in my arms as he continues to stroke my hair. A few tears start coming from my eyes, wetting my arms as I cry.
"Shh," he soothes, and I look up at him. He moves his rough hand to my face, wiping away the salty water from the spots it takes up on my shining cheeks. "What happened with Joey?"
"I don't want to talk about it," I say, sitting up.
"Charlie, just tell me," he says, a comforting arm around my shoulder.
"I - I told him I don't love him," I confess. "I don't know why I'm so upset now."
"Because you know you hurt him," Boom says, and I look up in surprise. "Let's just say I know the feeling, alright?" At my inquisitive look, he sighs. "My ex. I really thought I loved her. I was so whipped. But then she found somebody better and just moved on."
"Oh, Boom," I say sympathetically, pulling him into a hug, which he returns.
"I guess I always wished she cared like you do though. I know she wasn't sorry. So if it makes you feel any better, at least Joey knows you care about him."
"It doesn't. Sorry."
"I figured you'd be stubborn," he says. "I even told you about one of the many mistakes in my past, and that didn't work. Now, do I have to tell you my life story, or are you doing alright for the moment?"
"Life story," I say with a grin.
"Yeah, you're fine," he smirks, wiping the remaining wetness from my face.
"What was her name?" I ask, curiosity getting the better of me.
"Sara," he answers with an amused smile. "Come on, kiddo." He stands, leading me back to the door.
"Would you rather me call you Carlie?"
"Would you rather me call you James?"
He winces. "Not fair."
"So fair," I say as we descend the stairs.

---Jakob's POV---

"Hey, Jen," I say, kissing my beautiful girlfriend.
"Hi, Jake," she says, frowning a little.
"What's wrong, babe?" I hope I didn't do anything wrong.
"You said you'd be home earlier tonight, Jakey. So we'd get to spend some time together."
The eyes. Oh, she's using the eyes. I can't take that. "I'm sorry, babe. Really. But I was with Charlie, and I just-"
"Lost track of time?" she finishes, raising an eyebrow. Ever since I accidentally almost stood her up that one time, she gets a bit emotional at my being late, ever.
"Yeah," I say uncomfortably. "Look, I'll make it up to you, alright? How about I come home early tomorrow?" She looks at me dubiously. "I'm serious. Well, I don't know how early, because Charlie told me she has a song she wants to show me that she wants some input on, and that could take a while, but-"
"Okay, I get it, Jake. Just come home earlier, alright? I know you've been back from tour for a couple of weeks now, but I still miss you."
I smile as she melts my heart. She always knows exactly what to say to get to me. I lean in, letting our lips touch for a moment before looking into her gorgeous blue eyes. "I've missed you too, babe. I love you."
She smiles, taking me by the collar and pulling me closer to her. I close my eyes as she kisses me again. When they're opened again, I see that look in hers. You know, the look. That patented fuck-me look she has. She smirks, not letting go of my collar as she starts walking backwards towards the bedroom. "I don't think our bed has really been quite tested out yet," she whispers, not knowing how much she's stringing me along as I follow her like a lost puppy. I can't take it anymore. I grab her by the waist, pulling her against me tightly. A perfect fit. We kiss again, this time deeper. She pulls away though, winking and then running off into the bedroom. I grin, chasing after her. As I run into the room, I feel her jump onto me, pushing me to the bed. She straddles my waist, leaning down and unbuttoning my shirt, but pushing my hand away as I reach up to hers. I feel her hand running slowly down my chest, and my breath catches.
God, I love her.


"You had sex last night."
"Wow," I laugh. "How did you know?"
"Please, Jake, I've known you since forever. I know things. Like, when you're sad but don't want to show it, you don't like to meet anyone's eyes. And when you have a really good secret, you tap your fingers a lot. And when you've written something you really like, you bite your lip and stare off into space and mouth the words to yourself while thinking nobody notices. When you've had sex, you're smiling like Ashlynn in the middle of a Green Day group hug." I laugh at the thought, knowing I must be smiling pretty damn wide to merit that description.
"Yeah, well since you are so all-knowing, you got it right. Tell me about this new song you've been working on."
"It's about Joey," Charlie admits, averting her eyes. Ah, the Joey problem returns.
"What about him?"
She looks extremely uncomfortable now. "Jake, I think - I think I might love him."
At the moment, my reaction is a mixture of shock, happiness, doubt, and general confusion. "Wha-"
The door opens. Damn, I'm being interrupted a lot lately. "Hey, guys," says Boom as he walks into the studio.
"Don't say anything," Charlie mouths to me as she turns and cheerily greets our frontman. You know, I never realized how much she masks her feelings before. Moments ago, she was so serious, but suddenly, she's changed to having a casual conversation with Boom about shoes. I thought I always noticed when something was bothering her. I'm pretty sure I usually do. But maybe she hides more from me than I think.
A while into practice - after the twins have arrived, of course - Charlie discreetly hands me a piece of notebook paper, the edges ripped and many scratch marks and arrows drawn. She sits next to me and starts to play Red, humming along to the new tune she thought of. Good old Red. See, this is what feels right. This is how it has always been. Me and Charlie, with nothing but a page of lyrics and an old guitar. I like it this way.

My little ray of sunshine,
My daily drop of rain.
My best friend,
Not ex-friend
That flame.

The fire that fuels me
Water cooling me down
My best friend
Not ex-friend
Don't frown.

I'll love you forever
If not in your way
My best friend.
Not ex-friend.
Please stay.

"Please, for me, just stay," adds Charlie in a whisper at the end, looking down sadly to the beat up guitar in her arms.
I'm silent for a moment as I glance up to where Mick is making goo-goo eyes to Rene by his drum set and Warren and Boom are sitting there talking and holding their own guitars. I look back to my best friend, who is nervously strumming her fingers on the strings of the old Fender Stratocaster.
"What do you think?" she asks timidly, glancing up to me.
"Perfect," I say honestly. "Are you going to tell him?"
"No." I'm about to retaliate when she holds her hand up to stop me. "I know what you're gonna say, so just stop. Don't say it. I'm not even sure about this. I couldn't stand to hurt him again."
"So you just hurt yourself?"
"I'm not. I want to be sure."
"Your cautiousness amazes me. This is the girl who, without a second thought, slammed a sledge hammer into the wall between our bedrooms thinking it would be cool to have them connected and who told me we'd figure out what to say to my parents later. Now here you are, stalling and over-analyzing everything. What happened?"
"This is different, Jake," she says. "Why is it that you, the one who was freaking out the whole time I was doing that, is now totally giving your heart to someone you met a year and a half ago?"
"Because I'm smart enough to actually trust someone when I fall in love."
She looks away from me. "Yeah, I've done that too, but then someone always ends up getting hurt. I can't take that anymore."
"Charlie? Carlie, are you crying?" I ask in concern, putting a hand on her shoulder.
She looks back to me, wiping the few tears from her eyes. "Could be," she admits. "Jake, I'm tired of being hurt and confused. I'm tired of making everyone else hurt and confused. I just want it to all to end. I want it to be simple again. I don't want this anymore." A few more tears escape, and I pull her into a hug.
"Shh. I know, Charlie. I know."


I'm late. Again. She's going to kill me.
"Jenny?" I say tentatively, walking through the door. I hear a door open, then slam shut and see my girlfriend walking from the hall.
"You're late," she says in that accusing tone.
"I'm sorry," I say sincerely. "But I told you I had to work on some stuff and-"
"You said you'd be home early."
"Charlie wrote something, Jen. It was really big. We were working on it so much, and then we just got tons of other ideas from that, and I still came home earlier than we wanted to."
"So I'm supposed to think that you made some big sacrifice by deciding to be with me from 11:30 at night instead of 3:00 in the morning? Oh, thanks a lot."
"I don't see why you're making such a big deal of this. I try, okay? You know that. This is my job, Jenny, and you knew that when you agreed to go out with me."
"Oh. I see. It's your job. What about my job, Jakob? I've lost my job for you. Actually, I've lost two. Why? Because I skip work to come to your damn award shows and concerts. Because I'm always late because you can't get your ass out of bed early enough to drive me like you promise to. Because while I'm there, you come and bring those obnoxious friends of yours to destroy everything!"
"Hey!" She's finally gotten me mad now. "Never talk about my friends that way again!"
"Or what?" she asks venomously.
I decide to avoid that question. "Jen, what the hell is your problem? What do you want me to do here?"
"I want you to at least try to put as much into this relationship as I have!"
"And how the hell do I do that?"
"You figure it out, asshole!" With that, she stalks off back down the hall. Moments later, I hear a door slam shut and the water running in the bathroom. I sigh, running my hand through my hair. Now, isn't this little arrangement perfect?
I tentatively walk down the hall and knock lightly on the bathroom door, which I already know is locked. "Jenny?" No answer. "Jen, I'm sorry, okay? I just- I really don't know what to say."
"Just get the couch ready, Jakob, because that's where you're sleeping tonight!"

*The Next Morning*

"Hey, babe." No answer. "I made coffee." She doesn't look at me but busies herself with making a slice of toast. "God, Jenny, I said I'm sorry. What else can I really say? You know I'm bad at that stuff."
"There's nothing you can say, Jakob. Just let me cool down."
"You've had all night to cool down, Jen. Please. Look, I'm not going into the studio today, okay? I'm taking the day off. I want to be with you."
"I don't want you to try to be with me just because you think I'll be mad at you if you don't."
"That's not why I want to be with you. I want to be with you because it upsets you when I'm not, and I never want to hurt you, Jen. I love you." She turns around, looking at me without hostility for the first time since yesterday morning. She sighs.
"Alright, Jakob. What are we doing today?"
I grin. "Anything you want."
"Fly to Tokyo?"
"I'll book some plane tickets right now. Just say when and how long." I really would, too. At this point, I'd do anything for her.
She smiles, coming up to me and kissing me gently. "Forget Tokyo. Let's start with that nice cup of coffee you made, and we'll see what happens from there. Alright?"
"Sounds good to me," I say, offering her a steaming hot mug of coffee, which she accepts with another of her beautiful smiles.

*Later That Evening*

---Warren's POV---

I am fucking bored. Everybody is gone. Mick is at the most boring he's ever been. He keeps flirting with Rene. Boom is being a businessman or something, because when he's not supervising over the construction at home, he's talking to the bossman about publicity and stuff like that for the band. Jakob is busy buttering up his girlfriend so she'll stop freaking out on him for hanging out with us. Those weren't his exact words, but that's what I see him as doing. I don't see what her problem is. I mean, we had him first. And Charlie? Charlie picked today of all days to be a girl and go shopping with Ashtray. So I'm alone and bored out of my mind.
I need to get drunk.
"I'm going out!" I announce to the current inhabitants of the room, meaning Boom, my brother, and his 'friend.' Boom's too busy on the phone with Billie to really care, so he just nods to me and keeps talking. At least Mick notices.
"Gonna go grab a few drinks."
"By yourself?" asks Rene. I can kinda see why he likes her. I mean, she is kind of pretty.
"Yeah, unless you're coming with me."
"Sure," Mick says.
"I don't want to go."
"Alright. Then I'll stay with you." Damn you, cupid. I almost had him.
"Fine, I'll go alone then."
"Are you sure, man?" asks Mick.
"Yes, I'm sure. Bye."


The deafening, repetitive sound of club music pounds in my ears as I make my way to the bar. I lost count of how many girls I've danced with at this point.
"Hey," I say to the girl next to me, with her short blonde hair and her rectangular glasses after I order my drink.
"Now, I have to ask. What is a pretty girl like you doing out of bed at this hour?"
"Drinking," she says, indicating the glass in her hand.
"Wow, that's insightful." She laughs. "What's your name?"

*The Next Morning*

---Jakob's POV---

It's all good with Jenny now. Thank god for that. I can't stand her being mad at me. I snuggle closer to her in the bed, kissing the back of her perfect neck as we lay there. She stirs a bit, but keeps her eyes closed and leans into me more.
"Good morning, beautiful," I whisper into her ear and feel her sigh.
"Same to you, gorgeous."
"I love you."
She turns around so that we're facing each other and gives me a peck on the lips. "I love you too, babe."
The phone rings. Dammit. I sigh, rolling over to pick it up from the nightstand. "Yeah?"
"Jake! Is Warren over there?"
"Boom? No, why? What happened?"
"He left here around seven last night, and he never came home. It's not like him to stay out the entire night. Usually, he comes home by at least three. We just wanted to make sure he was alright."
"He's not here."
A sigh. "I'll go and call Charlie."
"Alright. I'll come right over."
"Okay, see you in a while."
"Bye." I hang up the phone, sighing.
"Right over where, baby? What's happening?"
"Warren's missing in action. Gotta go find him. Do you still need a ride to work today?"
"No, I'll be alright. You go find your friend."
I kiss her on the cheek. "Thanks, baby."
I get up, throwing on a t-shirt and some jeans over my boxers, along with my socks and shoes. I decide my hair doesn't need any messing with today and grab my keys, heading for my car.

When I get to Boom's, I see Warren's car pulling up to the driveway. Oh, good.
"Hey! War, you okay? What happened?"
"I'm fine," he snaps, slamming the door. I look him over. His clothes look like the were put on in a rush, his hair tangled and knotted. He keeps reaching his hand up to try running his fingers through it, plowing through knots on the way. He's also not wearing his favorite watch.
"What happened to your watch? Warren, where were you?"
"I lost it, okay? I'll just buy another one." He opens the door to the house and walks in, facing the same questions from Boom while Mick sits to the side in annoyance. I see Rene standing uncomfortably off in the kitchen and decide to go to her.
"It's been tense with Mick and Boom all morning, ever since they realized Warren wasn't in the house. They tried calling, but he wouldn't pick up."
Neither of us take our eyes off of the scene unfolding in front of us as Warren stalks off towards the bathroom to take a shower and Boom sighs, scratching his head.
"They were worried about him," she says.
"I can tell."
"I guess Warren doesn't usually do this then?"
"He never has."
At that moment, in walks Charlie, looking a bit more composed than myself. "Okay, what happened?"