Status: In progress.

Chemistry is Kerosene


"Dil, is it really necessary to have all these stuffed animals and pillows on your bed?" Twenty two year old Alex Gaskarth asked of the nineteen year old blonde.

Dylan Sparks sighed, walking further into what she expected to be her empty bedroom. "What are you doing here, Alex?" she asked, hanging her sweater up on the hook on the inside of her perfectly organized closet.

He sat up a little straighter, toying with the stuffed Mickey Mouse that ended up in his lap. "I'm here because you, my dear, are in a bit of a funk."

Dylan rolled her eyes, taking off her shoes and lining them up neatly in the shoe cubby she had in the corner of her room. "What makes you think I'm in a funk?"

Alex smirked. "I'm your best friend, dude. I know these things."

Dylan rolled her eyes and sat
on the edge of her bed. "You just know? Or you got a call from Matt who heard from my sister that I finally told my parents that I wasn't planning on going back to school this semester?"

Alex bit his lip the way Dylan came to find that he did when he was actually thinking before he spoke. She figured it was something he probably should have done more often.

"I actually found out from Jack," he said and Dylan sighed louder than earlier. "I guess Matt wanted to send him to have this intervention with you but he's out with his mom and sister, so he called me all in a panic. And well," he paused to give her an exaggerated smirk, "here I am."

"I don't need an intervention."

Alex nodded. "No. Maybe not. But I do think you need to talk. So, scoot your cute, little booty up here and spill your guts," Alex said, tapping the empty space of the bed next to him, moving a few pillows and stuffed animals towards the foot of her bed to make room.

Dylan sighed again but did as she was told and moved herself so she was sitting next to Alex, leaning against the headboard of her bed.

Alex shifted a little to match her position, pulling a stuffed Winnie the Pooh from underneath him as he did so. "Seriously, Dil, with all these guys in here there isn't enough room in this bed for the both of us."

"Well, unlike your rather long list of ladies in waiting, I'd prefer to not have room for you in my bed," Dylan said, very matter of fact.

"Ouch, Dylan. Very ouch." Alex said, glancing over to the girl next to him with a very hurt expression on his face.

Dylan finally cracked the smile Alex was waiting for and even let out what may have been a giggle.

"Shut up," she groaned, trying to fake annoyance and shoving Alex gently with her shoulder.

"So, for real. What's up?" he asked, getting unusually serious for Alex.

Dylan shrugged. "I'm not hiding any major secret. I'm not on drugs or pregnant or anything."

"Dude, if you were pregnant, I'd probably find the guy who knocked you up and rip his dick off and feed it to Baz and Peyton."

Dylan shook her head. "Well, I'm not pregnant so such a vulgar image in my head is not necessary."

"So, let's figure out your problem and start from the beginning then..." Alex suggested.

"Okay," she nodded. "When I was six years old, this family moved into the house next to mine. They had a son around my age and even though I thought he was kind of weird and talked like the kids from Peter Pan, my mother forced me to be friends with him because he didn't have any. And then-"

"That's not the beginning I was referring to, smart ass." Alex interrupted.

"Well, maybe you should be more specific next time," Dylan smirked.

"Come on, Dil. Don't make me the only serious one in this conversation."

"Fine," she sighed, fidgeting nervously with her hands in her lap.

It was something Alex knew she did whenever she was being forced to talk about something or do something that she didn't want to.

"I went up to school last week to register for classes for this coming semester and I was listening to other kids in the office talk about their majors and internships that they had lined up for themselves and I realized I have no idea what I want to do. I still haven't declared a major. I'm running out of classes to take because I've done most of my liberal arts classes my first two semesters." She paused for a second and looked up from her hands.

She was surprised to see that she still hadn't lost Alex's attention. It was as if he was hanging on her every word.

"I freaked out. I didn't want to waste more money and more of my time taking bullshit classes just to say I'm in college. So I thought about it and talked it over with my sister and decided I needed to take some time off from school."

"What did your parents say?" Alex asked.

"They were disappointed but they were also understanding. They were especially happy that I came to them about the situation. Unlike my cousin who had my aunt and uncle working two jobs each to pay her tuition and she wasn't even going to class anymore."

Alex nodded. "So any plans now?"

She shrugged. "My parents told me if I wasn't going to school that I needed to get a full time job. And a real world job in an office or something. Not a cashier at American Eagle like I was up until that evil witch set me up to get fired."

Alex nodded slowly. "Did you ever think that might be a part of your funk?"

"What? Getting fired from a crappy retail store job?"

Alex tilted his head to the side and gave a knowing glance to Dylan.

"I'm talking about getting fired from a crappy retail job that you got hired by your best friend who was the assistant manager of the store who then stole from the store and set you up to take the blame for it and stopped being your friend shortly after?"

Dylan scoffed. "Absolutely not. That bitch is dead to me."

"Okay then," Alex said with a chuckle. "There's always option two..."

"And option two is?" Dylan asked carefully, eyebrow raised.

"This funk may have started around the time you and Jack broke up."

Dylan laughed. "I am not in any funk over Jack. That's just silly."

"Are you sure?" Alex asked, the serious look was still in his eye.

"Alex, Jack and I were never meant to be together. We work so much better as friends. Best friends. I'm totally okay with that."

"Dating for over a year is a long time for two people who aren't meant to be together to date." Alex pointed out.

"I don't know what you want me to say to that. But I promise you whatever funk you think I'm in has nothing to do with Jack."

"So what is it then?" Alex frowned. "You're not yourself Dil. We're worried."

Dylan sighed again - by now having lost track of the number of times she had done so. "I don't see myself having any kind of future."

"That's just crazy, Dylan. Of course you have a future."

"Let me rephrase that... I don't see myself having a successful future. I have no idea what I want to do with my life. Meanwhile, I'm surrounded by people who are certain of what they want to do and they're good at it. And it kind of makes me feel bad about myself."

Alex frowned a little more as he had to figure he was one of the friends that made her feel bad.

"Dil, there's gotta be something you're interested in that could turn into a career."

She shrugged. "If you can think of something, be my guest. I got nothing."

"What about dance? You used to take all those dance classes when we were younger."

Dylan laughed. "I was terrible. I was the worst in every class."

"Oh come on, you weren't so bad. You had to be good. Why else would me and the guys sit for three hours through the whole recital just to watch you dance for a minute and a half?"

Dylan smiled a little. "Because you're all wonderful friends. But you're forgetting the point where they always put me in the back row, despite being short. And the teacher always made me stand on the end of the line a bit further away from the girl next to me because I was so clumsy, I would bang into the other girls."

Alex chuckled. "Yeah. You are quite the klutz."

Dylan nodded. "I am well aware of that fact."

"What about teaching?" Alex asked. "You're always good with kids."

Dylan shrugged. "I don't think I have the confidence to be a good teacher. I don't like talking in front of people."

"You can't stand up in front of a room of five year olds and teach them the ABC's?"

"Nope," she shrugged.

"You can always go back to t-shirt designing." Alex suggested.

Dylan rolled her eyes. "Alex..."

"Come on, Dil. You used to help design our earlier merch all the time."

"That's doesn't mean I was any good. It just means you guys have poor taste."

Alex turned his body to face her completely. "No, Dylan. You were good. You just let some asshole who told you otherwise get the best of you and you gave up."

Dylan pinched the bridge of her nose, feeling the pressure of a stress headache coming on quickly. "I don't think I want to talk about all this anymore right now, okay?"

"That's fine," Alex muttered, turning around and leaning back against the pillows. "We don't have to decide something now. We have time to figure it out."

"What time? You never have time. You're always leaving. Or getting ready to leave."


"To be honest, I'm kind of jealous. I wish I had the option to just pack up my shit and jet across the country - the whole world even -and leave my troubles behind."

Alex smiled at her sadly. "Sure, I love touring. But it's not always easy to leave home, yanno? There are some people we miss."

"Yeah, Alex. I know how much you miss your mom and your dogs."

"I miss you too, loser," Alex laughed, kicking Dylan lightly in the shin.

"Yeah. I bet you do," she rolled her eyes.

"Dylan, I think I just came up with a pretty brilliant plan," Alex gasped excitedly.

"Yeah? What's that?"

"Come on the road with us."

Dylan laughed. "Oh yeah, sure. That's the perfect lifestyle for me."

"Dylan, I'm totally serious. I mean think about it. You'll get out of this damn town. You'll be able to travel and get some real world experience. And your sister is already coming."

I raised my eyebrow. "Emily is not going on tour. She's got school."

Alex shook his head. "The last class she needs for graduation credit turned into an on-line only class. Matt convinced her to do it from the road."

Dylan scoffed. "Like she'd really needed convincing."

"Exactly. Come on. You have to come. It won't be the same without you, pickle."

Dylan snapped her eyes up to Alex at the use of the lame nickname he had given her so many years ago. From the age she was old enough to understand a Dill Pickle, she would flip out if someone called her that.

Alex was the only one to get away with it. She let him believe it bugged her but deep down she fucking loved it when he used it. She would never admit that to him though.

"My parents told me I needed to get a job if I wasn't in school."

"I can take care of that. If you haven't noticed All Time Low is all about hiring their friends," Alex explained excitedly.

"What would I do? Be your personal assistant?" Dylan mocked him.

"I was actually thinking more of a personal assistant for Matt but for me would be infinitely better."

Dylan laughed. "What would I even do as your personal assistant? Interview the potential hoes for the Alex Gaskarth hoe train?"

Alex rolled his eyes. "Yanno, that's like the second or third time you made a wise crack about me being a hoe."

"Actually, it's a crack at the girls you like being hoes," Dylan corrected.

"Well, knock it off. It's not nice."

"Are you implying that these girls and yourself are not hoes?"


Dylan laughed. "Okay," she said, reaching across Alex's waist and slipping her hand into his pocket and pulling out his cell phone.

"What the hell are you doing?" he asked trying to snatch the phone back but Dylan was too quick.

"Hmm..." she hummed to herself as she navigated through the phone to Alex's contacts. "Who's Anna Big Boobs? Or Danielle NYC hookup? How about Kelly hot and Kelly hotter?"

Alex chuckled nervously. "Dylan, most of those girls are in my contacts since we started touring..."

"Yeah? I specifically remember you having a Sidekick back then. And then a Blackberry. When transferring data, you didn't think to leave them behind?"

"The store does it automatically. I can't pick a choose who moves over and who doesn't." he argued.

"Delete them now," Dylan encouraged.

"No," Alex laughed, reaching for his phone again but Dylan moved it out of his reach again too quickly. "I don't know which of those numbers I might need later on... You know, work related stuff..."

Dylan laughed. "Right. I bet Stripper Sarah is a real important industry contact."

"Okay, enough!" Alex gasped, quickly grabbing his phone from her and shoving it back in his. pocket. "We are done here."

"Okay," Dylan giggled. " Oh hey, by the way, how are things with Elisa?"

Alex rolled his eyes again. "It's so totally not worth talking about."

"On the contrary, I actually think it's totally something worth talking about."

"It's the same old bullshit like every time. Things are great when I'm home. And then before I leave she gets all crazy about me not being home and she accuses me of going to cheat on her and before I know it we're fighting while I'm on the road and-"

"You cheat on her?"

"That's not what I was going to say," Alex said through gritted teeth.

"But I'm right?" Dylan pushed.

"Sort of. Usually by the time I'm with someone else, she's already pulled the lets take a break card."

Dylan shook her head. "You have quite the dysfunctional relationship."

"I'm we aware of that. But don't think you're going to change the subject. We're supposed to be talking about you and your funk."

"I'm not in a funk," Dylan huffed.

"Whatever. But really. You should come on the road with us. I think it can be really good for you."

"I don't know, Alex."

"What's stopping you? There's nothing here for you at this point. You're coming. You have no choice."

Dylan laughed at Alex persistence. "Hypothetically speaking that I did agree and came, what would I do? Really?"

Alex thought for a second before he answered. "Vinny is always bitching that he needs help at the merch table. You would probably be most useful helping him."

"You want me to help sell t-shirts and hoodies?"

Alex nodded. "As long and you can add and subtract for change, I think you can handle it."

Dylan nodded. "Okay."

Alex sat up straight and looked at her excitedly. "Okay? Like okay you'll come?"

Dylan was quiet for a moment while she really thought about Alex's proposal.

He was right. With most of her closest friends, and apparently her sister, leaving for the next few months, there really wasn't anything holding her back in Baltimore. She really had nothing keeping her here.

She cracked a smile. "Were you ever really going to give me a choice?"

A huge smile spread across Alex's face as he lunged forward and wrapped Dylan in a tight hug.

"You're making the right choice. I promise. It's going to be so good for you!"

Dylan felt herself smiling a little bit wider when Alex let her go and she saw on his face how excited he was.

"Are you sure Matt is even going to want to hire me? Will the guys be okay with another person on the bus?"

Alex laughed. "Okay, first of all, you of all people have Matt so wrapped around your little finger, he wouldn't dare ever tell you no. And second, the other guys will be so pumped to have you on the road, they won't care that it might be a little bit more cramped this time around."

"Are you sure?"

Alex nodded, his position changing so he was sitting back against the pillows again. "One hundred percent sure."

Dylan smiled and rested her head on Alex's chest. It wasn't until that moment that she realized how exhausting her day had really been.

"Well, then it's official, I guess. I'm coming on tour."

Alex wrapped his arm around her tiny body and held her a little bit tighter. "I can't wait," he said as his best friend drifted off to sleep in his arms, unaware of the roller coaster ride of a lifetime she just jumped on.
♠ ♠ ♠

You may recognize this story. It was up. But then I took it down and started over. Hopefully you like this. It will flip focus between ATL & TSS, so hope you guys like both.

Please comment and let me know what you think. :-)