Worry Rock

"I Think My Dad's At A Disadvantage."

Well, the whole "roomies" thing unfortunately didn't work out. Nobody wanted to give up a bedroom for me, and I really like having my own space. Soooo, Jake said we could ask if I could stay at his place. But Billie... Well, Billie wanted to know why I have a black eye. So that's why we're at my dad's house again now, Jake and I watching our fathers exchange harsh words at the top of their lungs. We're sitting on the sofa as if it's a movie and not reacting a lot. Not a lot, anyways.

"You have no right!"

"She's my daughter! I can do whatever I want to her!"

"You HIT her, you son of a bitch! She has a black eye!"

"It's hardly anything! She can take it, she's a tough girl!"

And here's where Billie's fist connects with my father's chin. Hard. Ouch. My dad is stunned for a moment, but comes back with a punch to Billie Joe's stomach. Billie jumps back so that Dad's fist barely touches him and then begins to throw countless punches which make my father stumble backwards.

"Good one," says Jake, and I nod, my arms crossed. We're both smiling a little bit. I mean, hey, we're not the ones getting our asses kicked. And seeing as my dad's about half a foot taller than Billie, it's pretty entertaining.

"I think my dad's at a disadvantage," I say nonchalantly, as if commenting on the weather. We both laughed then, and I said, "Hey, you want to help me get my stuff?"

"Okay," he says with a shrug, and we step around our fighting parents to walk into my old bedroom. I grab Red, with a couple of guitar picks, and Jake starts taking down my many many many many posters on the wall, knowing I'd want to keep those. Red's my red Fender Strat guitar... Yeah, I'm a dork. I don't really have much else that I can't get from Billie. Actually, I don't have much. I grab some pictures from my desk, but realize they're ones of Harvey and myself and stare at them sadly for a moment; I miss Harvey.

Jake looks over at me and walks closer to take the pictures from my hand. When he sees who they're of, he gives me the look. You know the look, right? Yeah, well, he gave it to me. And then he rips up all the photos, letting them fall to the floor like confetti. I don't look away from him, except for when I heard a loud yell from outside. Then, I flick my head over towards the door but look back at Jake. He shakes his head. "Forget him, Carlie." We continue to take my posters and pictures until Billie walks into the room. His lip is bleeding, and he looks generally disheveled.

"Come on. Let's go."

We grab my posters, pictures, and guitar, my only possessions worth saving, and follow Billie out of the room. Dad is leaning against the sofa looking defeated. "Carlie," he says to me, holding his hand out. I take it, thinking how Billie may have overreacted slightly. "Carlie, don't leave."

"I'm going, Dad," I say softly. Oh, Dad, I really do love you. I'm so sorry. I'm sorry, Daddy. That's what I want to say right now.

"No, Carlie, please stay. Please. I'll never hit you again. I'll let you stay in your band. I'll give you whatever you want. Just don't leave."

A tear comes to my eye, but I wipe it away quickly. "No. I'm going to live with Billie. Bye, Dad." I let go of his hand, turning around to see Billie starting to walk out of the room. I guess he had stayed to make sure dad behaved himself. Jake is standing there, giving me a small smile. That smile really says a lot. He's proud of me.

He pats my arm before turning back to the door. I follow him out with one last glance towards my dad. I see him there on the floor, defeated, and a tear rolling down his cheek. I turn away feeling guilty and go back to get into the back seat of Billie's white Ford Fairlane next to Jake before we drive off.

At the house, we get out, and Jake leads me with my stuff to an extra bedroom while Billie just walks away to cool off. I sit on my new bed and stare at my lap.

"What's wrong?" asks Jake.

"Isn't it obvious?"

Jake sits next to me. "Not totally. You have so many reasons for being upset lately, I don't know which one is bugging you now."

I close my eyes for a moment, reopening them and then telling him, "I shouldn't have left Dad there."

---Jake's POV---

Aw, man, she's tearing up now. I hope all this shit ends soon, because I really hate seeing her cry. I put my arm around her, saying, "Carlie, he'll be fine. He's manipulating you because he knows you love him. You can't give in. He's just trying to keep you close to him. After a while, he'll realize you won't come and just leave you alone. And when he talks to you, he'll act just like he used to. He didn't change, and he never will."

She closes her eyes and leans her head on my shoulder, and I know she's really feeling horrible right now. We just sit there for a moment, and the silence and stillness makes me a little uncomfortable. "Come on," I say standing and pulling her up with me.

"Where are we going?" she whines.

"I dunno." She follows me out, and I'm happy I got her out before she actually started crying. I look down the hallway, wondering where I want to go when I see Joey, my nineteen-year-old brother majoring in art at Berkeley, coming out of the living room and walking down the hall.

"Joey! I thought you were at school today!"

---Joey's POV---

I smile at Jake saying, "I was! Why? Getting used to not having me around, little bro?"

"Yeah, go back!" says Jake with a grin.

Then I see Carlie standing behind him. She's really pretty, you know. Even with a black eye. I wonder how that happened? Oh, well. I'll probably find out later. I can still see her brown eyes which seem to always reveal how deeply she feels, like portals into her heart and mind. Don't ask me how I know these things or why I word them this way; I just do. I'm an artist. "Hey, Charlie," I say with a smile.

"Hi, Joey," she replies. She seems to have something on her mind.

"Heard you're moving in." Mom told me that.

"Yup," she says, and I finally see her smile a little. That's much better.

"Cool," I say. "Well, I'm gonna go see Aubrey now." That's my girlfriend. She's a really great girl. Blonde hair, blue eyes type. And just very sweet. It's sort of refreshing after all the assholes and such I have to put up with on a daily basis. Cough, cough.

"What, sick of us already?" asks Jake pulling a puppy-dog pout. Stupid Jake. I can't help but laugh a little.

"Well, I was here a while ago, but Mom was the only one here with me. Where was everyone?"

"You tell him, Jake," says Carlie after a moment, those deep, feeling eyes showing some sort of emotional pain. She seems really upset now. Maybe I shouldn't have asked. She walks away into the bedroom she came out of, closing the door behind her.

"I'm sorry," I say, but I'm not quite sure to who. Or is it whom? Whatever. I guess Jake, since he's the only one here with me now. I look at him. "What happened?"

Jake takes a deep breath, then says quietly, "Her dad. He hit her again."

"What?! Oh, I am going to fucking kill him."

Jake laughs. "Too late. Dad got to him first. We went over there, and Dad beat the shit out of him. We grabbed some of her stuff and left. But she's really upset about leaving him now."

Darn it. I would have loved to kick that dickhead's ass. But she's upset about it now. So I guess I'll restrain myself. I hear the sound of a guitar playing from inside the room. "Oh," I say so very eloquently.

"You should talk to her," says Jake to me. I look at him like he's crazy.

"Why me? You're her best friend."

He shifts uncomfortably. "Yeah, but I'm not good at talking. All I can do is sit there and hold her while she cries. But I can't keep her from crying. You're better at talking than I am."

Well, he's right, actually. I am better at talking than him. I guess I was always the more vocal one... Even though he's the one in the band. Darn. "Fine," I tell him. He walks off to the living room, and I open the door to Carlie's room. She's sitting on the bed playing something on the guitar. Don't ask me what, but it sounds pretty sad. I come sit next to her, and she stops playing. Wow, she looks upset. It really kills me to see her like this.

"Hey," she says.

"Hi." I really don't know what I should say, so we sit there silently for a moment as I think about it. So much for being a good talker. I wonder what she's thinking right now.

"Well?" she asks looking at me.

"Well what?"

"Well, are you going to say something?"

"I just did."

"Are you going to say something useful?"

I smile. "How do you know that wasn't useful?"

"Because it didn't help my mood at all," she says. But I can see her lips curving a bit at the tips anyways. The beginning of a smile.

"Sure it didn't."

"It didn't."


"Joey!" she says and whacks me over the head with a pillow.


She sticks her tongue out at me and hits me again. "Oh, it's war now." I grab another pillow, and before you know it, we're in a flurry of cushiony war.

Carlie lets out a high-pitched scream as I hit her on her side with my pillow, and I see Jake at the door with his arms folded. He has a small smile on his face. "Good job talking, Joey," he says.

"Thank you very much, bro!" I reply.

---Carlie's POV---

Yeah, I knew Jake sent Joey to talk to me. I guess cuz he already tried. Jake jumps to the side as I run out of the room with my pillow in hand. I hear Joey running after me. But then suddenly I'm on the floor. Huh? I look up.

"Oh, sorry, Adrienne," I say to the woman sitting on the floor in front of me. I guess I knocked her down too.

"That's okay, Carlie," she says. Jake comes over to help his mom up while Joey pulls me up. "What are you doing?" she asks, eyeing the pillows in Joey's and my hands.

"Um, just playing," he says. I grin a bit.

"Okay," says Adrienne, shrugging. She walks on as if nothing happened. I love Adrienne. She's so cool, and she's the closest thing to a mom I've ever had. In fact, Billie's closer to a dad to me than my own dad is. I think my brother, Connor, is the only of my immediate family who I'm actually close to, but he moved to New Orleans to study law at Loyola University, and I haven't talked to him for a month. So that leaves the Armstrong family.

All of us burst out laughing, and we walk together to the living room, flopping down on the sofa. We stay there quietly for a while before Jake pipes up, "I'm bored!"

"So give us something to talk about," I say.

"I don't know!" he says.

"Chickens," I hear and look over to Joey on my right. "What? It's something to talk about."

I smile. "I like chickens."

"I know, I like chickens too," says Joey.

"I like chicken nugget meals at McDonald's."

I laugh, saying, "Jake, you only get those for the toys."

"Yeah, well, they're really fun toys."

"And they contribute to your collection," adds Joey.

"Oh yeah, your collection! I forgot about that!" Yeah, Jake has a collection of McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, and whatever-other-fast-food-place-that-gives-out-toys toys in his room. They take up a couple of shelves, all set out neatly, and I think Jake actually plays with them on occasion.

"How dare you forget my collection? I think their feelings are hurt now. Go apologize to them, Charlie."

"I can't. I'm stuck to the sofa."

Jake smiles and stands up, walking over from the other sofa. "What?" I ask cautiously. He just grins more and grabs my ankles, pulling. "Ah!" I yell, grabbing the back of the sofa in alarm as he starts pulling harder. After a moment of that, I feel Joey's fingers on my stomach, tickling me. I let out a surprised shriek and let go to the sofa, falling to the floor with a thump. "Ow. My butt hurts!"

"Hey, look at that, Charlie, you're off the sofa!" exclaims Jake as if I was a baby who had just taken my first step.

I wrinkle my nose at him and stand up off the floor, rubbing my now sore behind. "What's going on?" I hear and turn to see Billie.

"Charlie was stuck to the sofa. We saved her," provides Jake simply.

"Yeah. If it weren't for us, she would never have been able to get up!"

"Oh. Okay, then," says Billie. "Good job."

"Thanks, Dad," they both say with smiles. I hit both of them on the head, one for each hand. "Ow! Hey!"

I smile. "What?" And then I get a push from both sides, first from Jake, then Joey, making me stumble each way. "Billie, they're picking on me!" I whine like a little girl tattling on her brothers.

"Okay," he says, walking off. Darn you, Billie Joe! Jake and Joey laugh, and Billie turns around. "I just thought of something, Charlie. Your dad said he'd let you stay in your band. You never told me you're in a band!" He's grinning quite widely now. And no, I never did tell him. Neither did Jake. Why? Well, we didn't want to just automatically get famous and loved only because Jake is Billie Joe Armstrong the Almighty Punk God's son. Guess the secret's out now.

"Yeah. Well, I am," I say smiling a little.

"What's it called? Come on, tell me!" he says. I swear, Billie's like a five-year-old sometimes.

"It's called Worry Rock," I say, blushing a little. He chuckles, and I continue, "I'm the lead guitarist."

"Cool. I should've guessed that. Who else is in it?" Wow, he sounds so eager.

"Well, Mick's the drummer."


"Boom sings and plays back-up guitar. Warren plays whatever we tell him to."

"And who's the bassist?" asks Billie.

"I am," says Jake after taking a deep breath.

"You are!? Why didn't you two tell me about this before? I'd want to know that!"

"Because they didn't want to get famous just because you're Jake's dad," supplies Joey.

"You knew too?"

"Yeah. Mom even knew."

"Damn. Well, let's go!" he said walking towards the door.

"Go where?" I ask, all of us following him.

"I wanna hear your band!" he says with a smile.

Oh, man.