The Great Perhaps


“Road trip?” Mike echoed, his eyebrows furrowing. “Little Nessa is gonna go on a road trip?”

I giggled at his reaction to my announcement while dragging a few french fries through the puddle of ketchup I had created on my plate. “It’s not that shocking,” I insisted before popping the fries into my mouth.

Mike and his older brother, Vic, exchanged a look before bursting out into laughter. Other patrons of the restaurant zeroed in on them, murmuring and shooting them dirty looks.

I slid down in the booth in an attempt to avoid their gazes. “Could you two please keep it down?” I hissed at the brothers. “People are staring.”

My comment brought another boisterous laugh out of Mike. “Your observation skills are on point, Ness. People are always staring at us when we hang out. I think it may have something to do with the fact that I’m covered in tattoos,” he said after catching his breath.

I was no dummy. I had noticed the stares and occasional dirty looks Mike received because of his many tattoos. It annoyed me to no end that some people could get so upset over something that, honestly, had no effect on them or their lives. But this time, Mike’s tattoos weren’t the blame for all of the disgusted stares being directed at our table.

“This time, it has something to do with the fact that you two are laughing like a pair of hyenas. Please stop.”

Mike rolled his eyes, but did quiet his laughing.

“So you’re really going to do this?” Vic asked me, moving the conversation along before an argument broke out between Mike and I. “You’re not really the spontaneous road trip kind of girl.”

I understood why my friends were so surprised by my announcement. Like Vic pointed out, I wasn’t the type of person to embark on an adventure without knowing the ending of it. But I was trying to make an effort to change that, for my dad, and I didn’t appreciate the skepticism I was being faced with.

“I am aware of that, Victor,” I snapped with more anger in my tone than I had meant to give off.

Mike’s eyebrows shot up as he let out a whistle, which he followed with a mumbled “damn.” Vic held his hands up in the air as a sign of surrender while forcing out a nervous chuckle.

“I’m sorry,” I mumbled, ducking my head to avoid Vic’s eyes. “It’s just that... Well, I’m doing this for my dad and I don’t want to mess it up. With people doubting me, it’s going to be more difficult to actually go through with it. I’m already freaking out about it enough without you two laughing at me and telling me that I’m not the type of person to do this.”

I lifted my head in time to see the guilty looks exchanged between the brothers.

“I’m sorry too, Nessa,” Mike said, shooting me a small smile. “I wasn’t laughing at you to be mean. I just thought that it was funny that-”

“Mike,” Vic cut in, gaining the attention of his brother. He made a slicing motion with his hand across his neck and shook his head quickly.

Once again, Mike rolled his eyes and shut up.

I giggled at the exchange. As an only child, I had always wished that I could have had a sibling to grow up with, but since that never happened, the next best thing was witnessing how Vic and Mike interacted with each other. For the most part, the two were amicable toward each other, and that was always nice to be around, but I enjoyed seeing the rare occasion when they would bicker with each other over something silly. It was very entertaining to see Vic scold his younger, but bigger brother and then watch as Mike rolled his eyes and sulked over it.

“I’m assuming that you haven’t changed too much, and have started planning this road trip,” Vic said, turning his attention back to me. “Where are you going to go?”

I bit down on my bottom lip to contain the huge grin that was threatening to overtake my face. After a lot of thought about where this important trip should take place, it became obvious where I would find my Great Perhaps.

“I’m heading over to the east coast,” I announced, finally allowing a smile to spread across my face. “I loved it so much when I was there for college, so I figured I should go back. I want to spend a majority of my time in New York City and Philadelphia. They were my favorite cities, even though I didn’t get to see all that much of them. I figured I’d go back and see more of them.”

Mike nodded, showing his approval in the location choice. “That’s really cool, Nessa. I’m happy for you that you get to do this,” he said sincerely.

“I am too,” Vic agreed.

He had a smile on his face as he said this, but I could see that it didn’t reach his eyes. When Vic smiled sincerely, his eyes had a certain sparkle to them.

I reached across the table to place my hand over Vic’s. “You’re not telling me

I considered Vic my best friend. I had Ashlynn back in New York that I considered my best friend, but Vic was my number one, primo, top-rate, very best friend. I liked to think that he viewed me the same way, but even if he didn’t, there was a special and undeniable connection between us. He knew my almost every thought and I knew his. And right now, it was very obvious to me that he was hiding something from me.

“Don’t worry about it, V,” Vic mumbled while he flipped his hand over to lace his fingers through me.

“No, I will worry about it until you tell me what’s bothering you.”

Vic rolled his eyes to stare up at the ceiling of the restaurant. It was quiet between the three of us for a long moment until the silence was broken by a loud sigh heaved by Vic as he lowered his eyes to meet mine.

“I don’t want you going on this trip alone,” he admitted.

I was taken aback by his confession. I didn’t understand why he wouldn’t want me to go seek my own Great Perhaps by myself. It seemed like something that would make sense to go after alone.

“Why not?” I asked, staring at him through narrowed eyes. “It’s only logical to seek my Great Perhaps by myself, don’t you think?”

“But what if your Great Perhaps doesn’t involve just you? What if you need a friend to help you find it?”

“Who are you suggesting that I bring with me?”

We met eyes in a fierce stare-off. We held contact for a few tense minutes before Vic broke away to glance down at the tabletop of our corner booth.

When he lifted his gaze back up to mine, he squeezed my hand gently. “Me.”

From beside him, Mike choked on his iced tea and spit the gulp he had just taken back out onto the table. When he noticed both Vic and I staring at him like he was a lunatic, he blushed and muttered an apology.

“I could come up with a list of reasons why you shouldn’t come with me on this trip. An extremely important number one would be Pierce the Veil,” I said. “You can’t just run away for a month, especially not with some girl. It will make you look so bad to the fans. They’ll think you’re shirking your responsibilities to the band for some crazy romantic rendezvous.”

“Let them think that,” Vic said.

“Wouldn’t you like that?” Mike muttered under his breath, earning himself a glare from his older brother.

“As much as I would like you to be able to come with me, I just don’t see how it would be possible,” I said, returning Vic’s gentle hand squeeze from before. “The band comes before my road trip.”

“V, I can do both,” Vic insisted, almost pleadingly. “I just don’t want you to have to go through this alone. Who knows what could happen to you.”

“Jesus Christ,” Mike swore under his breath while shaking his head like a disappointed parent. “I think I’m going to be sick.”

“Shut up, Michael,” Vic snapped, turning to glare at him. “If you say anything more, I swear to God-”

“No, Mike, actually, could you please explain to him why going with me would be a bad idea?” I asked.

Mike shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t see why it would be a bad idea. I think he could actually use the break from all of the band business. We all could.”

“Thank you, bro.” Vic’s glare transformed into a huge grin within a split second. He turned his attention back to me. “I could get some writing done while we’re away. It’s good to experience a change of pace sometimes; it’ll get the creative juices flowing.”

“He’s right. Some of the...sights can give him inspiration,” Mike said, giving his brother a smug look.

“Don’t make me regret thanking you,” Vic hissed.

I looked between the two a few times before shaking my head. “I don’t even want to know what you two are talking about. Vic, I don’t think it’s good for you to come with me on this trip. You have band responsibilities to take care of.”

“And I told you that I can take care of them while I’m with you,” Vic insisted, his voice rising. “Just let me come with you, V.”

The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much I would enjoy having company during the long hours on the road. And if I could pick anyone to be in my company, it would have to be Vic.

Though, if I had to be truthful, it was the puppy dog pout that Vic was pulling that gave me the extra push.

“You promise that you’ll do lots of writing and keep in touch with the rest of the boys while we’re away?” I asked, to which Vic replied to with an enthusiastic nod. “Okay... You can come with me.”

A huge grin overtook Vic’s face as he exclaimed, “Awesome! We’re gonna have so much fun, V. We can make-”

“I wonder how Jackson’s going to feel about this,” Mike mumbled under his breath before he snickered.

If looks could kill, Mike would be as dead as a doorknob.

“Michael, shut the hell up,” Vic seethed.

Mike held his hands up in mock surrender, shrugging his shoulders flippantly. “I’m just saying.”

“Well stop saying.” Vic rolled his eyes. “Do I seriously have to give you the talk about how a guy and a girl can be just friends?”

“No, but you might want to give it to Jackson, Nessa’s boyfriend.”

I cleared my throat while distractedly playing with the straw in my glass of Sprite. “Ex-boyfriend, actually. I broke up with him.”

Both of the Fuentes brother stared at me through wide eyes. Mike’s mouth actually hung open, while Vic had a look on his face that I couldn’t quite decipher.

“You finally got rid of him?” Mike asked, making no attempt to hide his excitement. “I’ve been looking forward to this moment for a while now. Did he cry?”

Vic snorted at his younger brother’s question.

“No, he didn’t,” I said, holding back a laugh. “He was fairly calm about it. It was kind of a mutual decision.”

“Are you okay?” Vic asked me, squeezing my hand. “I mean, do you need to, like, talk about it or anything?”

Vic was always so sweet toward me, but there was something about the way that he was looking at me while holding my hand so carefully that made me blush and duck my head down sheepishly.

“I think I’m going to throw up everywhere,” Mike announced, interrupting the moment between Vic and I. “You two are making me feel nauseous.”

Vic glared at Mike for what seemed like the millionth time since they had all sat down for lunch, while I chuckled at their banter.

“You’re so annoying sometimes!” Vic whined, reaching out his free hand to flick Mike’s muscular bicep. “You give me headaches. Did you know that? You tease me and then I get headaches!”

“It’s all done out of love, big bro,” Mike said while flicking Vic back. “Remember that.”

I watched on with a smile on my face as the two continued to playfully argue. All the while, I couldn’t get the look on Vic’s face when I had announced that I broke up with Jackson out of my mind.
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Vanessa's Outfit

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