Status: complete.

Follow My Heart


It’s midnight when I get back to the apartment, but Luke is still awake, waiting for me, bless his heart.

He pounces on me the moment I walk through the door. “Seth!” he cries, leaping up from his spot on the sinking couch and switching off the TV. “How did it go?!” he asks excitedly.

Maybe I’m just tired, but when I look at him now, almost bouncing on the balls of his feet in pure happiness for me, his glasses perched delicately on the bridge of his nose, I wonder for the millionth time why he’s still single.

I lean in for a hug and let out a groan filled with exhaustion, disappointment, and most of all, frustration. “Horrible,” I say, my words muffled by his shoulder, and he reaches up to pet my hair comfortingly. “He barely even looked at me.”

“Aww.” We move to sit back on the couch. He curls his pajama pant-clad legs under him, still resting one hand on my shoulder. “Want some tea?” he offers kindly. I shake my head, and without prompting launch into a report of what happened at Cloud.

“First off, he clearly didn’t want to talk to me when Freddy introduced us,” I begin.

“Why do you say that?”

“He barely even looked at me,” I repeat. “He just stood there next to Trevor, staring behind me, not talking . . .”

“Maybe he was just shy?” Luke suggests, and I snort in response.

“You’ve seen the videos,” I sigh, laying down and curling up into a ball on the couch. “No way that dude is shy. You know how he is onstage . . . running around, shaking his ass, taking his clothes off . . .”

“But maybe . . . I dunno, Seth . . . Maybe he’s just doing that stuff for the fans, you know? After all, he barely even speaks during the shows, right? Usually Joel does all the talking.”

He has a point there. Zeke didn’t utter a word all throughout the concert, just hanging around near the drums whenever Joel, the guitarist, felt like interacting with the crowd.

Then I bury my face in a pillow and moan again, lamenting my sorrows to the fabric. Luke pets my back, though I sense he’s more amused than sympathetic at this point. “It’s okay, Sethy,” he murmurs. “Who needs some lame singer, anyway? You could have anyone, if you wanted.”

“Anyone except Zeke Rutherford,” I whine into the pillow. “He’s too busy getting it on with Joel.”

He pauses in his petting. “What?”

I lift my face up momentarily. “He was doing the stage-gay thing with stupid Joel. Kissed him right on the lips in front of anyone.”

“But he does that all the time, right?”

“It doesn’t matter!” I curl myself into a tighter ball, and now the real emotions are streaming through my consciousness. Amazement at having met my idol and crush; awe at having witnessed him singing his heart out onstage; raging jealousy at the way it looked when Zeke’s lips met Joel’s . . . Hurt that it wasn’t me kissing Zeke, bringing my hands up to cup his face, our breathing mingling, bringing our mouths together in a passionate dance . . .

“Are you gonna be okay?” Luke asks now, and I can sense the real worry in his voice.

I don’t answer, just hug the pillow to my chest and will the tears in my eyes not to spill over for the second time that evening.


I’m woken up the next morning by the vibration of my phone on my bedside table. It’s a text from Freddy. Where were you last night? Everyone went to Fussy’s afterwards.

The band, too?

Yeah. We got a private table.

I resist the urge to throw my phone across the room and go back to sleep, or at least lie awake under the covers feeling sorry for myself.

Great. They had a get-together afterwards. A fucking celebration, and I could have joined them. I could imagine it now, sitting at a private booth at one of the local famed-yet-sketchy restaurants, Fussy’s, seated too close and yet not close enough to Zeke. Ordering just a drink because I don’t want him to judge me based on my food choices, and maybe we’d all split an appetizer, and our hands would touch while we both reached for the same plate of French fries but it wouldn’t be awkward at all, and then maybe I would bump his foot with mine under the table, and he’d be fighting to hide a smile as he sipped Coke with a straw . . .

I text Freddy back. Sorry, I went home early. How was Fussy’s?

While I wait for his response I let my thoughts wander to dirtier places. Continuing my imaginary scenario of the group at the restaurant the night before, I allow myself to visualize Zeke leaning in next to me, so close his breath tickling my ear, and asking if I want to get out of there. I would say yes, of course, and we’d go back to the hotel in my car. When we get to the room he would immediately pull me into a kiss, and we would make our way across the room, our tongues tangled together as we fall back on the bed. He would let me undress him, running my hands along his tattoos as I go, and he’d whisper that he has a secret tattoo and all I have to do is find it . . .

Before I even get to the good part of my fantasy, I feel a vibration on my chest where the phone rests.

Zeke asked about you.

I sit up straight, going suddenly numb. I stare at the words on the screen of my iPhone like they’re in a foreign language.

And then it’s all I can do not to squeal out loud. My heart pounds and I can’t keep the grin off my face if my life depended on it. My thumbs can’t type fast enough as I reply, What did he say??

The next thirty seconds are agony as I wait. Then, Just asked where you were.

Sure, maybe not my ideal question, (That would be “Is your brother single?” or even “Is he gay?”) but it was pertinent enough to make my heart leap in my chest. I fling off the covers and throw open the door of my room.

Luke is still asleep when I pounce on his bed, causing the other end of the mattress to spring up in response. Luke sits up and looks around wildly, squinting in the absence of his glasses. “What is it? What’s going on?” he asks, half-yawning.

“Look!” I demand, shoving my phone in his face. He reaches for his glasses on the table and places them clumsily on his face. Taking my phone in his hand, he quickly reads the conversation between my brother and me.

Luke is the only one I know who, after being woken up so violently at seven in the morning on a Saturday, could be so happy for me about an issue he has nothing to do with.

“That’s so great, Seth!” he cheers, a genuine smile on his face. He throws himself on me in a half-hug, one arm still clutching my phone at his side. I wrap my arms around him and plant a kiss on his forehead.

“It is!” I reply, taking back my iPhone and reading the conversation again.

In the silence that follows, I quickly realize that this doesn’t mean much, after all. I mean, it still isn’t like I’m ever going to see Zeke again, right?

Just because he asked where I was doesn’t mean he’s into me, or that it would up our chances of . . . well, doing anything.

I frown slightly and text Freddy quickly. Are they still in town?

I think so. They said they’d be sticking around for a few days. They’re not on an official tour yet.

I clench my teeth. It’s becoming overwhelming; just like that, I actually have a chance. All I have to do was find the hotel they’re staying at . . .

“What’s he saying?” asks Luke excitedly.

“The, uh . . . Automatic is going to be in town for a few days.”

“What?! That’s awesome! You could, like, totally find them! Does Freddy know where they’re staying?”

My thumbs pound the touchscreen perhaps a little too hard. “I dunno . . .”

The text a few seconds later confirms that he doesn’t.

I sigh, letting my phone drop to my lap. No reason why he should, anyway. Although he could probably call the manager and ask . . . No. I’m not that desperate, however much I may seem like it.

I leave Luke to get properly woken up and dressed soon afterwards, and take my time in the shower, trying to decide what to do today. I could go down to the venue and hang out with Freddy, although I know the only reason I want to is to wring more information out of him about Automatic. No, I should spend my time in a healthier manner. Maybe go shopping; heaven knows I need new sheets, as I’ve had to have Luke’s mom mend my current ones two times in the last month. Yes, I could run down to Target and grab some sheets, and now that I think about it we need replacements for the old bath towels, too. Before long I come up with a lengthy shopping list, though it still isn’t enough to completely keep my current problems off my mind.

When I leave the bathroom, nothing but a towel wrapped around my waist to cover myself, the first thing I see is Luke in the kitchen, quickly spreading cream cheese on a bagel and putting his coffee in a travel mug. And he’s wearing a tie.

“Going somewhere?” I question, frowning.

He turns around, looking a little stressed. “Avery just called. I guess his secretary’s out sick again,” he says through a mouthful of bagel.

My frown deepens. “So you’re doing him another ‘favor’, are you?”

He sighs. “Don’t start, Seth. I need to be on this guy’s good side if I ever—”

“You don’t even get paid, Luke!”

“—if I ever want to get a real job on the paper,” he finishes softly. “Please, I need this internship, Seth. Just let it go, all right?”

I look down at my feet guiltily. “Sorry I took the shower.”

“It’s fine, I understand.” He sighs again. “I’m already late. See you later.” He touches my shoulder briefly before he leaves, the door closing with a final, lonely click.

Well. There goes my shopping buddy.

I get dressed in my room with the door open, throwing on a pair of jeans and a band T-shirt, muttering about how my life sucks and how nobody loves me and I’ll be all alone for the rest of my life.
♠ ♠ ♠
Sorry this one was a bit boring, but we got introduced to a new character so yay. Anyway, comments are appreciated. Love you :)