"Two Bud Lights for table six," I told Jesse and he handed me two bottles. I walked over and set them down before returning to the bar.

I kept glancing back at the door behind me, hoping Brian and Michelle would walk in. Every time I wasn't staring at the door, I was waiting to hear the bell to ring, signaling someone walking in. By eleven, none of the guys had showed. It was strange to me, seeing as they had been in here every night since I've started working.

After taking a few appetizers around the bar, I finally had time for my last break of the night. I went towards the back, but stopped when I heard the bell above the door. I turned around in time to catch Michelle's eye. She waved excitedly at me and I grinned. I ignored Jesse's warning looks and walked over. To my surprise, she engulfed me in a hug, "How's work?" She asked and I shrugged.

"Same as usual," She smiled, "Where's Brian and the guys?" I questioned.

"Oh, they're at the studio," She informed me.

"Studio?" I wondered and she nodded.

"Yeah, they're in a band remember? Avenged Sevenfold," I made an 'O' shape on my lips and nodded.

"Never heard of them," I shrugged and she smiled.

"I'll take you down to the studio some time. Brian would just love that," I'm not sure why, but when she said this I felt a pulling on my heart. I felt that Michelle and Brian cared, even though we had known each other for a few short weeks.

"That sounds cool. Can I get you guys anything before my break?" I asked the table and Michelle put a hand on my shoulder.

"Go take your break, Sweetie," She gave me a warm smile, "We'll order from Matt or Jason," She assured me and I walked towards the back door.

I was sitting outside for a while, shivering in the chilly night when the door opened behind me. I half expected it to be Jesse, but he sound of heels told me otherwise. I recognized the petite blonde as she sat down on the curb next to me. I admired her suede boots and teal coat. I glanced over at Val, taking in her beauty. She seemed so sad, depressed even. I felt pity for everything she had gone through, "Cold tonight," She said in a soft voice and I nodded, "How late do you work tonight?" She questioned and I shrugged.

"Until we close," I answered and she nodded.

"I'm really sorry about Matt," She started, "He hasn't been the same lately."

"Zacky told me a few things about him," I confessed and she nodded.

"Zacky's been Matt's closest friend these past few years," She sighed, "Him and Brian used to be so close..." She trailed off, as if remembering things from the past.

"They seem close now," I said and she shrugged.

"They used to be inseparable. They were like brothers, you know?" She looked up, "When Vanessa was taken, they started drifting apart. Matt had too many problems with himself and Brian couldn't handle it. He was having his own personal demons, and it was too much. They drifted and Matt turned to Zacky."

"I'm sorry about what happened," I said and she nodded.

"Thank you. I know this is a lot for you to take in. Especially when everyone is putting you at the center of it."

"I know you know I'm not Vanessa, but I'm not sure Matt is completely convinced," I said cautiously and she shook her head.

"He's not," She paused, "He talks about you, you know," Sighing, she continued, "He brings you up on most occasions, telling everyone how much you look like me and how you remind him of his little girl."

"I don't know what to say," How could Matt truly believe I was his daughter?

"You don't have to say anything, Dear. He has hope that she's alive, and I believe so too, but he just wants to make things right again. He cries a lot, and he's been crying more because he thinks you don't love him anymore."

"Do you think if I talked to him, he would see that I'm not Vanessa?" I asked and she shrugged.

"It's hard to say, Van. Matt's been through this roller coaster of emotions, and I don't think now is the time for you two to talk. In time, he'll realize that you're simply not her."

"I can't imagine what it's like..." I whispered.

"No, you can't and I hope you never have to go through what I went through."

With that, Val put a hand on my shoulder, giving me an assuring smile before standing up and walking back into the bar. I sighed as the sound of her heeled boots drifted away towards the loud music inside.

Later that night, Jesse chose not to speak to me again. He had seen me converse with Michelle, and I was sure that he knew that I had eaten lunch with them as well. When we arrived home, he simply told me to start packing because our place would be ready by tomorrow night.

I grabbed a stack of boxes and placed different items in each. Jesse and I worked in silence, not acknowledging each other as we placed our boxes near the door. It was nearly three A.M. when we were finished. I changed into a pair of pajamas as Jesse did the same. I was passing by him to head to the living room where I planned to sleep on the couch when he stopped me, placing his hand around my forearm, "Van," He whispered and I looked up at him. I had never seen Jesse like this. He was so strong and bold, now he looked tired and sad. His eyes didn't hold the light I had always seen and his smile was now a solid frown etched on his face, "Don't leave me." I sighed and nodded. Jesse pulled me into his arms, resting his head on mine as I leaned against his chest, listening to his heart beat.

"I'm sorry, Jess," I said quietly but he shushed me.

"I'm being a jerk. I just don't want to lose you."

"You keep saying that, Jesse and I don't understand. What could take me away from you?" I asked and he shook his head.

"Nothing you need to know of right now," He said before getting under the covers. I did the same, sighing as I rested my head on his shoulder, slowly drifting to sleep.

The next morning I woke to find Jesse gone. Walking outside, I found Jason and Matt in the kitchen, along with Zacky, "Jesse's getting stuff ready at the apartment all day. He left some money for you on the counter," Jason pointed to a piece of paper with a stash of four hundreds.

"You better hurry up and get ready," Zacky smirked and I furrowed my eyebrows.

"Why? I don't have any plans," As if on cue, the door opened and Michelle and Gena rushed inside.

"Girl, you're not ready?" Gena asked and I looked at her confused.

"We're going shopping today, then we're going to the studio so you can hear the guys' music," Michelle informed me and I still looked at her confused, "Jesse already knows, Sweetie."

With that, I nodded and rushed to my room to change. Michelle and Gena were dressed trendy yet comfy, and I hoped to dress somewhat like them as well. I wanted to be like them so much, to be tall and beautiful. To act somewhat like a girl. I had been with Jesse for so long, it was hard to get a hold of clothes that weren't jeans and a tee-shirt.

I found a pair of jean shorts and a cute tank top. I slipped on a pair of sandals and grabbed my purse before brushing my hair and teeth, making sure I looked decent. At least I had four hundred to spend on new clothes that I seriously needed.

Once we reached the car, I realized Leana and Val were waiting for us. The three of us climbed into Leana's white truck, with me in the middle. I smiled at Michelle before noticing Lacey wasn't there, "Where's Lacey?" I asked.

"At the studio with Johnny. She didn't feel like shopping today," Leanna shrugged and I nodded.

I noticed we wouldn't be shopping in Huntington when we jumped onto the freeway. We were heading somewhere else, and by the looks of the signs, we were going to Santa Ana. I had only been to Santa Ana three times in my life, all of being deals with Jesse. I hadn't known the area very well, and I didn't think there was any shopping places within the city. At least not places I could picture these girls shopping at.

Boy was I wrong.

With one look around, I had found somewhere I could spend the whole day at. South Coast Plaza had taken me by surprise. With a mall and surrounding shopping centers, I was floored. Every top name in the fashion industry was there. Armani, Chanel, Express, H&M, Fendi, Gucci. It had stores of designers I had never even heard of.

I was in such a daze, I didn't think as the girls dragged me into different stores, urging me to try on different styles of shirts and pants. I stuck with Michelle for the most part, because I felt the most comfortable around her.

After touring the most expensive stores, we stopped to look around some others that I would like, and could afford. I was in heaven, to say the least. I had four of the most fashionable girls I had ever met at my side. They helped me find the best styles for me, and soon I was walking around with as many bags as them.

I didn't want to spend all of my money, so I made sure to leave a hundred and fifty to give back to Jesse, "Anywhere else you want to go?" Michelle asked and I shook my head.

"I think I'm okay," I laughed and motioned to my several bags. She smiled.

"A girl can never have too many clothes," She told me and I laughed.

After loading everything into the trunk, we were heading back to Huntington so I could hear Avenged Sevenfold. I hadn't the slightest idea of what they would sound like. I assumed it was rock, as all of the guys were loaded with tattoos and piercings, "So who does what in the band?" I asked.

"Brian and Zacky play guitar, Johnny plays bass, Jimmy is on the drums, and Matt sings," Michelle informed me and I nodded.

"Do you guys see them in the studio often?" I questioned.

"Not really. But when I told Brian I wanted to take you, he insisted it be as soon as possible. He was so excited this morning," She beamed and I laughed. Hearing Michelle say this made me feel special, and loved by someone other than Jesse.

We pulled up to a brick building and rushed inside. The guys were all sitting around, a pad of paper in the middle of them. There were laptops, guitars, and crumpled pieces of paper everywhere. I could see the booth where vocals were recorded and all of the buttons amazed me. I had never seen anything like it, "Van, you made it!" Brian jumped up and shocked me by wrapping his large arms around me, almost lifting me off the ground, "Let's play a song for you to get started," He turned to the guys, "What should we play?"

"I think you guys should play 'Scream'. That's the song I helped with," Val smiled and I nodded.

"I don't care," I laughed and they nodded. Matt stepped into the booth, hooking the microphone cords up to the speakers as Zacky and Brian tuned their guitars. Jimmy played a few fills on the drum-set as Johnny played a few licks on his bass. Brian gave a thumbs up to Michelle and she nodded, pressing a button on one of the mixers and a scream rang throughout the room. I stiffened, sweat starting to form on my palms as my breathing quickened. It couldn't be right. It couldn't be possible. But it was, everything was real and I was experiencing it.

It was the scream from my nightmares.
♠ ♠ ♠
language: maltese

yes... south coast plaza does exist and i think of it as my second home ;) i could live there if my parents ever lost me at a mall. if any of you ever come down to socal for a visit, you should take a shopping spree here :)

another update. ohhh the suspense! more to come soon :)

i'm holding off on my other story, as i'm not sure if i want to go through with it or not, mainly because melophobia is so uncommon (but not unheard of). i'm thinking of some other stories that i want to write, but right now everything is up in the air. so my focus will be this one until further notice :)

btw, i would just like to inform everyone that i succeeded in making the best macaroni and cheese EVER!!! nothing does it like kraft mac&cheese :)