Six: Ready

“Did you enjoy yourself?” Tina asks me as we leave the show. My face is, for once, flushed, and my hair’s a sweaty tangle. I’ve been jumping and screaming all night because I can’t sing along to My Chemical Romance’s music – I don’t know any of it. Did I enjoy myself? I think. Well, I was as close to being happy as I’ve ever been in days, weeks, months...years.

“Yes,” I answer her.

“Do you want to meet them?”

It takes me a moment to realise who she’s on about. “Yes...” I agree slowly.

“Good.” Tina smiles at me, a big, real grin. “They’ve wanted to see you for...months.”

I just smile at her.

“Give me a few minutes,” Tina promises me and walks off. I don’t bother to see where she’s going, I just lean against a wall, trying to make myself look normal.

Suddenly, there’s a loud noise, a few yells, a lot of excited exclaims from the mass of fans still hovering in the building’s lobby as a short guy that I recognise as being one of the guitarists from the band comes running through them all, holding onto a teddy bear.

“Frank-Fucking-Iero, give me that bear right now!” another voice yells over the commotion, and a tall guy with an afro appears. The other guitarist?

“Never!” the short guy yells with a fake-evil chuckle and continues to run. He looks over his shoulder and sees that the guy with the afro is catching up with him and a look of panic flashes across his face. “Oh, shit,” he mutters, and he sees me and pushes the bear into my arms. “I’m off!” he says and runs through the doors.

I stare at the bear, then look up at everyone who is staring at me. I feel a blush creeping up my face, my stomach tugs; I’m not ready for this. I’m not ready.

I drop the bear to the floor and back away, only turning around to run out of the doors. I feel the tears falling out of my eyes and down my face.

Outside, a roar goes up – they obviously think I’m one of the band – but it dies down when they see me, a crying girl with pale skin and black hair. One of the band is signing things nearby and he turns to stare at me as well.

“You OK?” he asks, handing the CD back to its owner and walking over to me.

“No,” I answer, my voice barely a whisper. “I’m not.”

Tina comes out of the doors, panic on her face. “C’mon Layla...” she says softly, grabbing my shoulders and propelling me back into the building.

I don’t even want to do that.

“You can meet the band,” she whispers into my ear.

That is no comfort. I don’t even want to anymore...

I just want to go home. I want to go away. I don’t want to be here.

Why can’t anyone see that?

I pull away from Tina's grip and run. I don't know where I'm heading but I don't stop to even consider that.