Worry Rock

At The Gilman

"So, I haven't seen you around here before," said a boy sitting next to me at the bar, grinning. After we all went into the Gilman, our group kind of broke apart. Ramona went off on her own, and Stella, Mick, Warren, and Boom headed off to listen to whatever band they have playing. And as for Jake and me, we went straight for the booze! Well, Jake did, and I followed him, since I have no objection to it either. Yeah, we're underage, and Billie would likely have a fit and act all dad-ish (to both of us), but every now and then, I think we have a right to get some alcohol into our bodies. Correct? Correct. But now this guy's was talking to me. I don't know who he is, but he's decent looking. Brown eyes, brown hair. And probably a lot taller than me. Decent.
"Maybe you weren't looking," I say returning the smile.
"Trust me, I was."
"Looking for me?"
"No. Just looking for someone as good looking as you."
"Um... I'm flattered?"
He smiles. "You should be."
"Well, I guess I am."
"What's your name?"
"Carlie," I answer. He doesn't need to know my nickname quite yet. He must first earn that right.
"I'm Matt," he says.
"Well, um, nice to meet you."
"Likewise," he says, still eyeing me.
This makes me feel strange. "Stop staring at me," I say, squirming a little under his gaze and looking into my lap.
"Sorry," he says, looking down but then back up to talk to me. "So, um, come here often?"
"Not really," I tell him. It's true... I don't come here often. Actually, I don't come here ever. And I probably shouldn't be here now.
"You really aren't helping the conversation much."
"Well you're the one who wants to talk. Bring up something to talk about." I look back at him.
"Tell me about yourself."
"Such a big subject."
"Okay," he says slowly. "How old are you?"
"Sixteen. Seventeen next month. You?"
"Eighteen. Um, what kind of music do you like?"
I shrug. "Punk. Rock. Stuff like that. Too bad this world's taste in music is going down the drain though. I mean, pop and rap are becoming way too popular. Nobody listens to the good stuff anymore."
"Hey, that's the most I've heard you say all night!"
"Shut up."
"Okay... so, you say you like punk."
"Yes. And what do you like, one with many questions?"
He laughs at that and says, "Rock... Mostly metal and stuff." He shrugs.
I nod. "That's cool."
"Yeah." He paused. "So, do you have a boyfriend?"
I stopped, turning my eyes down into my drink. "That's not a very good subject for me." Really, it's not. I still miss Harvey. I mean, this Matt guy's nice and all, but I'm not sure if I'm ready for anything.
"Please? Just a yes, or a no. Do you have a boyfriend?"
Should I tell him? I could always pretend one of the guys is my boyfriend to get him to stop hitting on me... so why do I say what I say next? "No."
He smiles. "Really? But you're so pretty!" I look at him, and he blushes a little. Okay, I have to admit. That was kind of cute. "So, um, would you like to go out with me sometime?"
"Um... It's really not a good time for me right now. I just got out of a relationship and everything, it was really bad. I can't do it."
"Oh." He looks really disappointed. "But can we at least be friends?"
I can't help but smile a little. "That's not something you hear very often from a guy who just got turned down. I like that. Yes, we can be friends."
He brightens up a lot at that. "Cool. Can I, um, have your number?"
"Sorry, buddy, I don't really like to give my number to guys I've just met."
"Aw, please? I'll give you my number!"
"That's fine, but you'll just have to wait for mine."
"Fine. You'd better call me."
"Yes, sir," I say, handing him my cell. After a moment of fiddling around with it, he hands it back.
"You got my number. I got to go now, though. I'm sorry."
"Tell you later."
"Fine. I'll call you."
"Okay. Bye," he says, and swiftly leans in to kiss my cheek before running off. Okay, so yeah, I told him I wouldn't go out with him and we'd be friends. But that was kind of cute. Still, I feel some kind of guilt in the pit of my stomach. I think it's still not registering that Harvey and I are not together anymore, and my brain is getting confused.
I turn around and notice that Jake wandered off, so I decide to do the same. Standing, I walk off into the crowd to see where everyone is. Soon, I've found Stella, Boom, Mick, and Warren all standing around talking. The band that was playing just ran off the stage.
Stella's the first to notice me. "Ooh, whom'd you meet?" she says. The guys all turn to smile and me.
"What are you talking about?" I say in denial, but I'm still smiling a little.
"Well, you're blushing like crazy," explains Boom.
"At least tell me his name," says Stella. As if she'll stop asking at the name.
I sigh. "His name's Matt," I say avoiding eye contact.
"Ooh, Charlie's in love," teases Mick.
"Shut up, I just met him!"
"Well, is he cute?" Stella asks.
The guys seem already tired of the conversation and turn away to continue their own. I think I heard one of them say in an exasperated way, "Girls."
"I heard that!" They lower their voices, and I just roll my eyes and turn back to Stella.
"So, is he cute?"
I laugh and am about to answer (which probably would have just ended up being only a shrug anyways), when I hear coming loudly through the speakers, "CARLIE!" Looking up to the stage where a new band is about to play, there I see Matt, standing up on the stool behind a drum set with a microphone in hand. Oh, my god. I hear Mick, Warren, and Boom all laughing hysterically at me, and a few strangers giggling at Matt. Stella, after a moment of surprise, joined the guys laughing, and I cover my face, sure that it's becoming the exact same shade as a fire truck. "I guess you know why I had to leave now, don't cha!" The members of the band are laughing at Matt now, too. But more of the kind of laugh that says, "Typical." He's smiling widely and looking around at everyone in the room. "This song's for you, girl!" With that, he sat down and put his mic onto a stand, starting to pound on his drums while the other members joined in.
"Shut up," I mutter to my friends, who have laughed themselves to tears (except for Boom, who's calmed to a smile now). "It was sweet."
"Awww," says Warren, still chucking a little, "Our little Charlie's in love."
"I just met him!"
"Ah, love at first sight," sighs Mick, putting his hands on my shoulders from behind and leans his chin on my left one.
I look over to him, and he smiles his evil little smile before I tell him with a straight face, "Get off of me." I guess I was scary-looking, because he automatically stops touching me and walks back over to the guys. I take a deep breath. Okay, if Matt and I were going out for a little bit, that would've been adorable and so sweet. But we just met, so it's kind of creepy. "So, Stella, is he cute?"
She laughs a little more. "I really don't know what to say!"
The song ends, and we hear over the speakers, "And you'd better not forget to call me!" Oh, great. Because I could've just forgotten him. But no, now my friends know!
"You hear that, Charlie? You'd better call him!" teases Warren.
I look at my watch; how long will this torture last?

2 weeks later

I am still being tortured. They won't quit nagging me, dammit! But I will not give in! I don't want to call that boy... I mean, sure, he's a nice guy and all, but really. Maybe it'll all just end.
"You should call Matt," says Stella to me over the phone. I'm sitting on the sofa at Boom's house, and Warren is chasing Mick around the sofa in circles for stealing his sandwich. Jake and Boom are simply sitting there petting Demon and watching TV with an occasional comment on whatever show is on. And Jazz is next to me, listening in on my conversation.
"I'm not going to call him," I say in annoyance. I've had to deal with this for two weeks!
"Come on, Charlie. He obviously likes you. Just because your last boyfriend was a dick-head doesn't mean this guy is," reasons Stella.
She just had to say it, didn't she? Jake must see my frown, because he looks over at me, concerned. I just shake it off and say, "It's not just Asshole, okay? I don't really like Matt that way."
"Charlie," whines Jazz.
"And it kind of scares me that he actually dedicated a song to me within ten minutes of meeting him. Don't you think that's just a little fast? And it's as if the music doesn't even matter." Trust me. The music matters. Dedicating a song to someone should mean that they in some way feel very strongly about that person of group of people. Hate, love, whatever it is. But the point is, the music always matters.
"Oh come on, you know it's cute. He likes you!" says Jazz.
"Doesn't mean I like him." I'm getting tired of this so-called "girl talk." It's disgusting. I would much rather hang out with guys all day and not talk about relationship issues. Not my own, at least. I guess this is what happens when you're raised by your dad with only an older brother and are best friends with mostly guys.
"Charlie, give the boy a chance," I hear Stella's voice say through the phone.
"Hold on, someone's beeping in." I switch over to the other line and say, "Hello?"
"Hey, Carlie. Look, can you come over?" Joey. And he's using the sad voice. I hate the sad voice.
"Yeah, what's wrong?"
"I'll tell you in a minute. Just come."
"Alright. Bye."
Joey hangs up the phone, and I say to Stella, "Hey. Got to go."
"Not sure yet. Joey's got a problem. Talk to you later."
"Bye." I hang up.
"What?" he says, startled out of his TV-watching daze.
"Drive me to the house. It's time for your brother's psychological check-up."
"Right." So the two of us say goodbye to everyone in the house (much to Jazz's distaste for being left alone with them) and hop into the car.
Now may be a good time to mention that I am pretty much the Armstrong family psychiatrist. Yes, for all of them. Joey and Jake have various issues, which they always seem to come to me for. And ever since I was little, I've even helped out Billie and Adie.


They were fighting again. I was sitting in the kitchen, swinging my little six-year-old legs off the counter and licking my cherry Popsicle, waiting to see who would come to rant to me this time.
I saw Adie storm through the door looking angry. "That man!" She started ranting about some kind of problem with Billie and I sighed.
"Adie, stop it!" She looked at me. "You love him, don't you?"
She paused for a second before saying, "Yes, but -"
"And you want him to be happy, don't you?"
"Yes, Carlie, I want him to be happy."
"So why are you mad at him?"
"He's been moody lately. And he doesn't pay attention to me. And he's going on tour soon. So he'll be leaving again and I don't even feel like he loves me."
"Of course he loves you! He married you, and you're going to be together forever now! He's just worried about the album."
"How do you know that?"
"He told me."
I sighed. "I'll talk to him." Adie gave me a weak smile before I jumped down off the counter with my Popsicle in my hand and walk into the other room, where Billie was sitting on the sofa looking upset. "Billie, you got to go say sorry."
"Why?" He kept looking down.
"Because Adie thinks you don't love her! You do love her, don't you?"
"Of course I love her!" he said looking up at me. "I'm just nervous, you know."
"Tell her that," I said. "She's sad."
"She doesn't want to talk to me," he said unhappily.
"Yeah, she does! She wants you to come and talk to her, cuz she's sad." He looked down into his lap, and I sighed again. "Go and talk to her!" He smiled a little and stood up, walking into the kitchen. My Popsicle was gone by the time they came out, and then they were holding hands.

End Flashback

Whoa, I had a flashback! Cool. But anyways, do you get my point? Ever since I was little, I have been solving the problems of the Armstrong clan. I guess I'm just the chosen one or something.
We're at the house now, and Jake and I hop out of his car. He heads straight for his bedroom when we go in, but I go into Joey's. This room is pretty different from mine. Because instead of band posters, it's covered with artwork and photography. I think most of it's by Joey himself. Speaking of which, he's laying on the bed, flat on his back with his hands clasped on his chest and staring up at the ceiling.
I close the door and walk over, laying on my side next to him. "What's wrong?"
"Aubrey dumped me."
"What? Why?"
We both sit up, and I'm looking at him, concerned. "I don't know. She didn't give much of a reason. More like she just said she didn't really love me and thought we should see other people."
"She used that stupid line?" She hurt Joey, and she used one of the stupidest, oldest lines in the book. What book, I don't know, but it was some book and that line was way back in there.
He chuckles nervously. "Yeah."
I put my arms around his waist and squeeze him tightly, and he puts his arms around me and his face in my hair. "Don't worry about her. She's not good enough for you anyways." It's only after I say that that I realize what I said. It's the same thing Jakob told me. Wow. Maybe he was right. Maybe I should just forget about Harvey. That's a hard thing, though. I mean, I really, really liked him. Maybe loved him. I guess he just didn't feel the same about me.
"But you know what's bothering me even more than that?" he says uneasily.
"What?" I ask, hoping there's no more bad news.
"Well," he starts looking uncomfortable. "I'm not even that upset about it. I mean, I should be, shouldn't I? She was perfect. Pretty, smart, sweet. So why am I okay with her leaving me?"
Well, that could have been worse. I smile. "I guess she's just not the right girl for you. You don't love her."
"But I should, right? I mean, is there something wrong with me? I should love her."
"There's never a 'should' in love. Because when you're in love, a lot of things that 'should' be aren't. Same when you're not. You can't choose that, Joey. Just be happy that you don't have to deal with being hurt from it. There's nothing wrong with you." Except maybe for the fact that you're upset about not being upset, but let's not mention that one.
He nods. "I guess you're right."
"I am right," I say with a smile. "Now be happy!" I command, "Doctor's orders."
"Okay. I'll be happy." He smiles at me.
Now I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.