Worry Rock

Shut Up

---Charlie's POV---

Okay, so they call me at 9:00 in the morning, freaking out because Warren has been gone for fucking fourteen hours and asking me if I've seen him. Is it really that big a deal? I mean, damn, couldn't they have waited at least two hours to start worrying about him? I'd rather be sleeping.
Okay, so maybe I'm a little bitter because Joey's moving out today, but leave me alone. I've had a rough couple of weeks.
"Okay, what happened?" I ask after taking my own sweet time getting dressed and driving over to Boom's place.
"Warren had a one night stand," Boom says, shrugging and then heading to the kitchen, where I see Jake and Rene standing together.
"And you woke me up for that?" I ask and go sit down on the couch next to Mick and lean on him in exhaustion. "Morning, Mickey."
"Hey," he says. "Why are you so unphased by this?"
"What? It's not like it's his first."
"Huh?" he says, perking up and looking over at me.
"Yeah. He's had a few before. He just usually remembers to come home between the time when you pass out drunk and when you wake up with a hangover," I inform them.
"How do you know these things?" asks Jake as he comes over to us.
"He told me."
"Why does he tell you this stuff and not me? I'm his brother!"
"Because I'm some kind of natural psychologist or something."
"Well, you give some kind of therapy, we know that," says Mick suggestively. I shove him playfully.
"Shut up."

Okay, so maybe I've already mentioned this, but Joey's moving out today. Not only that, but he has a job. I know, it's bizarre, right? A job. Joey! Billie keeps looking at him with this proud expression on his face, like he's so happy to have a son whose career is actually stable and who owns his own house. Billie says he always wanted to know what it was like to be like that. He says, every 'stable' job he's ever had was shit. An amazing band, record label, and clothing line apparently don't count.
Anyhow, I bet you're wondering what Joey's new job is. Well, he's a newspaper photographer. Yes, I do understand the irony there. But according to him, he can start writing articles, and if they're good enough, they'll be put into the paper under his pen name, which is yet to be decided. If he does well enough, he gets his own column and can take his own pictures as well.
But for now, he is just a lowly, practically amateur photographer. Just how I like him.
"Hey, Char," I hear and look over to see the very person occupying my thoughts.
"Hi, Joey," I say with a forced smile. "How's it going?"
"Alright." That liar. If he were alright, his fingers wouldn't be twitching that way. If he were alright, his smile wouldn't seem so forced, as if he were being made to have his lips curve through some excruciating pain. He wouldn't be so afraid to look me in the eyes. "Are you going to come help me move?"
Now, before I tell you my answer to this particular question, I'd like to note that I am not, in fact, lying. I'm not avoiding him. "Sorry, Joey. Ash and I are doing legal stuff today. Maybe we'll come back later?"
I can see the disappointment in his eyes and feel my own heart wretch. "You can do that stuff tomorrow, right? It's not meeting with the realtors or anything, is it?"
"No," I say, thinking quickly. "But I wanted to get this done as soon as possible. I'd rather not be stuck here without you or Jake for a long period of time."
"It takes a while to get to buy a house. One day won't make much of a difference."
"We're renting a flat not far from here. We can move in by next week. The sooner this crap is done, the sooner we get in."
"Oh," he says, still looking disappointed.
"But you can manage without me, right? You have Billie and Adie, plus Jake, Boom, and the twins. You'll do okay."
"I guess. Well, I'll see you later, Carlie." I look up at him. "Charlie," he corrects. He touches my hand lightly, just for a moment, his eyes betraying a look of - what is it? Regret? Sadness? A hint of lingering love? Whatever it is, it makes me weak inside from some feeling of shame and longing gripping me. He turns away, going back to where Billie is with the keys.
"Bye, Char!" says Billie cheerfully after a moment of talking with Joey.
"See ya, Bill! Bye, Joey." The latter sends me a weak smile, following his father out of the house. I sigh. Maybe I am avoiding him just a little.


Legal crap is all done. We're moving in in a week. But it's only 12:00. Damn.
"Whatcha wanna do?" asks my friend, as cheerful as ever.
"I dunno. What do you want to do?"
"Stalk God?"
"You know him, Ash, you don't have to stalk him anymore."
"The Dirnt?"
"You know him too, or have you forgotten?"
"Fuck no! How about Chris Cheney? I haven't met him yet."
"He's in Australia taking a three week break to be with his wife and kids. Leave him alone."
"Well, let's go to Australia, then!"
"Okay, okay. How about the mall?"
"Better. Let's go." We both grab our stuff and within 20 minutes are walking around in the aforementioned place. Ashlynn seems to know where she wants to go, so I'm letting her take the lead as I casually chew the piece of spearmint gum in my mouth.
Hot Topic. I should've guessed. It would be either this, Spencer's, or Sam Goody. I follow her in and absently start looking at the CD rack wondering if there's anything good there I don't have.
"Oh my god!" I look over to see Ash holding a shirt in her hands, looking at it as if she just found the lost treasure of Jean Lafitte.
"What?" I ask, coming over and looking at it.
"It's a Green Day shirt that I don't have! I need it!"
I raise an eyebrow to her. "Ashlynn, you know them now. You don't need to keep obsessing over them."
"But I don't have it yet!" She hugs the shirt, as if I'm going to try to take it away from her.
"You know you can get it for free?"
"But... I want it now..."
I sigh. "Fine, but just stop freaking out about it." I grin at her. She's cute when she gets into Green Day mode, even if it is a little creepy.
"Yay! Hey, look, there's a Worry Rock shirt! Can I get that too?"
What am I, her mother? "No! No, you can not buy that. No."
"Why not? Come on, I'd be promoting a friend's band. You get publicity."
"Ever occurred to you that I like to remain just a little bit anonymous?"
"Come on, you're the most talented guitarist I know, and you're in a band with an amazing bassist and drummer, plus you got Boom's great voice and Warren's randomness. Do you really think you'll be able to remain anonymous that long?"
"It's worked so far," I say with a grin. "Look, if you want a Worry Rock shirt, I'll get it for you, savvy?"
"Okay," she says, putting the garment back on the pile. I grin.
"Hey," I hear and turn my head to see a couple standing there, a guy and a girl. The guy says, "Aren't you Charlie Spencer?"
"Yeah. That's me," I chuckle, smiling warmly to him.
"My girlfriend loves you," he smiles, gesturing to the girl holding his hand and looking nervous.
I laugh. "It's a good thing I'm single then. Hey, sexy." She girns at me, and the guy laughs. "Wow. Apparently, you have no problem with this."
"You're a cool guy." I turn to the girl.
"Hey, I'm Lily," she says. "Can I have your autograph?"
I smile. I love fans. Really, I do. Yeah, I know I was just saying how I like to be anonymous, but that doesn't make me love the fans any less. "Sure. You got a Sharpie or something?"
We end up taking one from the counter, and I sign a shirt for her as she begins to boost my self esteem by informing me of my amazing guitar skills and how I am her idol.
"See, that's what I told her, but she didn't believe me!" Ash tells Lily as she mentions me being the best female guitarist on the face of this earth.
"I'm not all that great. Do you play?"
"Yeah, but I'm not very good."
"You will be. I can tell." I hand her the shirt and pen. "It was nice meeting you."
"You too!" I grin, waving to her and her boyfriend as Ash and I start walking off to browse some more.
"See? I told you you were awesome."
I give her an annoyed, yet somewhat amused look, muttering a weak "Shut up," and continuing to look through the CDs.


Okay, so a few hours and a couple of shopping bags later, where does everyone in the mall always end up? The food court. For us, this happens to mean Taco Bell.
"So," starts my friend. "Have you ever read slash?"
"Wow, that was random," I laugh, taking a sip of my drink.
"Yup. Have you?"
"I wanna know," she answers with a shrug, taking a bite out of her chicken quesadilla.
"Yeah, a little," I admit. "But NOT Green Day slash, so don't even ask, because I know you read it. Don't even talk about it."
"I can't help it. It's so damn hot."
"No! No, do not even start! No!"
"Bike is my favorite. That's Billie/Mike."
"Shut up, no! I do not want to hear your demented fantasy of my practical dad and his best friend screwing. Shut up!"
"Mike is usually on top, but Billie gets to dominate sometimes too."
"I'm going to be sick."
"What? It's hot."
"They're forty-fucking-four years old, Ashlynn!"
"So? Older people need some love too."
"Ew. I can't listen to this anymore." I grab my own few bags and start walking off, only to hear Ash coming behind me with her own stuff.
"They like the kinky stuff too. Like, I read this one where Billie had this whip and-"
I let out a small yell, starting to run. Good thing I haven't bought much.
"Oh, come on! You know you like the masochistic every now and then! It's perfectly natural!" she yells, running after me.
"La la la la la! I can't hear you!"
"How about Billie and Chris Cheney? That is fuckin hot!"
"No! Ew! Nope! Not listening!" I feel the eyes of about every person in the mall staring at us as she chases me. My cheeks turn bright red, and after a couple of minutes, I decide that's enough running for today and collapse onto a bench. I sit there for a few minutes, catching my breath. I lost Ash a little while back. I think I got a lot more athletic from that tour. Still, I take a few deep breaths, steadying my panicking lungs to counteract the disease that's plagued me for my entire life.
I feel a weight on the bench next to me. "Okay, so you don't want to talk about slash..."
"Damn right I don't."
"Do you want to talk about Joey?"
"I think I'd rather the torture."
"Why? Do you enjoy the thought of Bike?"
"Ew, no. Shut up."
"Well you said you would rather the torture."
"I don't care. Can we talk about a nicer subject, please?"
"Joey's nice, how about him?"
"Why do you want to talk about Joey so badly?"
"I dunno. Why don't you?"
"I just don't, okay?" With that, I stand with my bags and start walking away, ready to leave the building.
"Why are you avoiding him?" Ash asks, following me.
"I'm not avoiding him. I'm avoiding the subject of him. There's a difference."
"Well then why did you tell him you couldn't go help him move into his new place today? You know we could've postponed paperwork, and after we finished, you still decided to come here instead of there."
I stop and look at her. "Who told you I said that?"
"Jakob called me." I groan in annoyance and start walking again. Damn that boy. "So now that we're done, we can go to see if they need any more help, huh?"
"Why do you want to go so bad? They'll be fine."
"One year ago, before all this shit happened, what would you do? Help one of the best friends you've ever had, who you've known since birth, or blow him off to be tortured by my slash talk? You can't break up with a guy, tell him you don't love him and want to be just friends again, and then start avoiding him. Friends don't do that."
"Do you love him?" she asks after a few minutes.
"If I loved him, I'd tell him," I say quietly as I lean on the car outside in the parking lot.
Ash sighs. "Fine. Come on, let's go help your friend move into his new house."


"Hey, Charlie!" beams my friend.
"Hello, Joe. How much have you gotten done today?" I ask him as cheerily as I can manage.
"All the furniture's in, but... well, how about you see for yourself?"
"Okay," I laugh. Ashlynn's already run into the house now, eager to see Jakob and the rest. I have a feeling it's mostly Jakob she wants to see.
Joey takes my hand, and I ignore the lurching feeling in my stomach as he leads me into his new house.
It looks nice from the outside, at least.
Inside, it's a jumble of furniture and boxes, with barely any room to walk, and with a few cans of paint up against the wall. Billie, Mick, Warren, Boom, Rene, and now Ashtray, are sitting with those paint cans, laughing and talking with Jakob, who has a pen and is writing something on the wall.
"Q!" yells Mick.
"You already said Q, you dumbass," answers Jake.
"Oh... how about P?"
Joe and I come up to see Jakob drawing a short line inbetween the legs of a crudely drawn hangman stick figure. Apparently, it is definitely a hangman. The category is She Wants Revenge.
"I Don't Wanna Fall In Love," I say, taking one look at it. Everybody looks up at me strangely, and Jake grins.
"Yup," he says, filling in the letters. "See, you people are pathetic."
"Oh, it's a song?" says Warren. "I was thinking it was going to be about my ex girlfriend or something." We all burst out laughing, the general population of the room knowing he's talking about the one he never really liked and blew off all the time just to see when she finally cracked. Cruel, yes, but damn was it funny. None of us really liked that chick...
"Hey," says Mick. "You made his dick too small."
"No, I didn't, Mickey. This is you," Jake replies and draws some crude spikes sticking up from the stick man's head.
Mick takes the pen from him, extending the line between the stick man's legs. "Now it is," he grins.
"You look like you have a third leg," laughs Rene with the rest of us.
"I might as well," smirks Mick, giving her a suggestive look. She pushes him playfully.
"I wanna draw!" I say. I run over to them, kneeling down and grabbing the pen from Mick. I think for a moment and then jump up, going over to a different section of the wall. I decide to draw this eye Joey taught me to draw back a few years ago. He was obsessed with it. He drew it all the time, insisting he never had it right. I eventually got him to teach me, and now this eye is the thing I draw best.
"Woah, I didn't know you could draw that well," remarks Boom.
I grin at the compliment. "Joey taught me," I tell him, writing the name "Charlie" underneath it in big, loopy letters. "It's nothing without the shading right though..."
"Yeah, and you made the pupil too big," says Joey, our little perfectionist, coming over and taking the pen from me and drawing his own version of the eye next to mine, the other way around so that they look like they're part of the same face.
"Oh, well excuse me for not being a perfect artist like you."
He grins, scrawling the name "Joey" beneath the eye he drew. I'll admit, it does look better than mine. But then he's the one who had obsessed about it so much. He could draw it better than me with his eyes closed.
"Charlie, draw me a doggy!" says Mick, hugging my leg. I laugh, taking the pen back from Joey and sketch a dog on the wall.
"What the fuck is that?" remarks Warren. "It looks like a horse with paws and a tail."
"It's a dog!"
"It's a mutated dog!"
"Shut up," I say with an embarrassed smile.
"Aww, I'm naming him Raphael. Like the teenage mutant ninja turtle." Mick pets the spot on the wall where I drew the poor deformed dog.
"You're an ass..."
"You love my ass."
"I love your brother's ass." I wink jokingly to Warren.
"Serves ya right."
"But you gave me a mutated dog."
"Here, I'll fix him," says Joe, leaning down and making a few adjustments to the dog. Damn.
"Hey, it actually looks like a dog now!" Mick jumps up, hugging Joey. "Now I don't have to name him after a mutated turtle!"
"Shut up," I say in mock annoyance.
We joke around like that for a while longer, barely getting any other work done. I really thought it would be a bit more awkward for me around Joey, but he's doing well at acting like nothing ever happened. Except for those looks he gives me every now and then, the ones that make my stomach churn like the sea in a hurricane. It's something I think I've felt before, and it scares the shit out of me.
I don't love Joey... I don't.