Sequel: If Only Until Morning

Pictures on Silence

Chapter 16

I found Brendon in his bunk, listening to his iPod. I leaned against the side at shoulder height and stared at him, but it took him a minute or two to notice me. When he turned his head, I mouthed, "I'm sorry."

He pulled out one headphone and asked, "For what?"

"For acting like a right bitch. I shouldn't have blown up at you."

Brendon waved it away. "'Sall good." I took the bud from his hand and stuck my lower lip out. He grinned. "Okay, okay. I forgive you." I gave him a big smile. "So where'd you go?"

"Oh, you know," I said mysteriously, raising my eyebrows. "Around." He made an interested face. Ryan entered at that moment and paused when we both looked at him. I looked at Brendon, who looked at me, and we both laughed.

"Obviously I missed something," Ryan said, taking off his coat.

So Brendon turned onto his side and wiggled his eyebrows at me. When I tilted my head at him, he looked pointedly over my shoulder to where Ryan had just sat down on his bunk. I jerked my head towards the front of the bus questioningly. Brendon nodded.

I shook my head and laughed. "No, of course not!"

"What?" Ryan asked.

I spun around with a smile. "Nothing." I spun back and silently asked Brendon if he was crazy. He rolled his eyes. I frowned at him and in reply he made kissy faces at me. "Well, that answers my question. You're obviously insane."

"Who's insane?" Matt asked, walking in. "What are they talking about?"

"I don't know," Ryan whined. "They're not actually saying anything."

"It is immaterial, I assure you," I said sweetly. I jabbed Brendon. "Isn't it, Bren?"

"Oooww. Yeah, sure." He stuck out his lower lip. "You hurt my arm." I rolled my eyes and stood on tiptoe to kiss it. "Awesome!"

A few minutes later, my cell rang and I went outside to answer it. "Hi, Dad."

"Angie, why did I get a call from six different boys pleading to let you stay on tour?" my dad asked.

I looked up at the window and four faces disappeared from sight. I rolled my eyes. "Did they explain it to you?"

"Sean did. The others kind of babbled." I chuckled. "Do you want to stay?"

"Very much so," I answered, pacing. "I know I'll probably get lonely in a few days, but I want to stay."

Dad sighed on the other end of the phone. "Okay. If it's really important to you, you can stay."

"Thank you, Dad," I said gratefully. "I won't get into trouble. The guys have been really great to me."

"Have you stayed in a hotel yet?" he asked.

"Yeah, last night. It was really cold for some reason, but I had Jesse to keep me warm."

"You and Jesse--"

"Daddy, Jesse has a boyfriend," I explained, rolling my eyes. Well, technically, Jesse liked girls as well, but Dad didn't have to worry about that.

"Okay. Just checking. Wear a sweatshirt next time. I'll pick you up from the airport in a week."

"Wait, wait," I stopped him. "Airport?"

"Yeah, one of them said he'd buy you a plane ticket. Brendon, I think. Pay for it all themselves too. Very generous. Be sure to thank them."

Blinking in confusion, I said, "Okay, Dad, I will. Love you. See you next week." I hung up the phone and turned around. This time, seven faces peered down at me. Grinning I threw up the horns and laughed as they all gave each other high-fives.

We played another show that night, and I made sure everyone had decked themselves out to the nines. With rock and eyeliner for all. The guys about killed themselves laughing when they saw that Ryan and I were wearing basically the same thing, vest, tie, and all.

We looked at each other; crikey, even the make-up was similar. I shrugged indifferently. "Eh, he looks better in it than I do." That caused a barrage of denials. Believe me, I wasn't just fishing for compliments; you obviously haven't met me if you think that.

The eight of us spent the post-show time fooling around, throwing things at each other, and generally having a party. We basically had the going-away party we would have scheduled on less short notice. Eventually we got to playing truth or dare, because every social event seems to end that way. Learning from prior games, this time I had my camera. Matt the amateur filmmaker also filmed our antics; he had filmed almost everything we'd done on tour.

"Angie," Spencer said a while into it. "Truth or dare?"

"Truth. I'm a wuss." That got a laugh.

"Okay, um, what's something you can do that no one knows you can do?"

I laughed. "Random." I bit my lip in thought and slowly smiled. "Don't laugh. I can drop it like it's hot."

"Seriously?" Brendon asked with a grin. "Do it!" I shook my head vehemently.

"Come on, you can't say that and not deliver," Jesse stated. "Do it. You're among friends." Well, soon all seven of them were chanting, "Do it! Do it!" so I stood up, moved into the aisle, and proceeded to do it. They whistled and clapped, and I sat back down, face burning. Matt wouldn't let me live that down.

"Okay, now one of you's about to get it," I said with an evil grin. "Just which one?" I wiggled my eyebrows at Brendon, then at Sean, then at Jon. Lips curved into a smirk and eyes on Spencer, I asked, "Ryan, truth or dare?"

This took him aback, obviously thinking he was off scott-free. "Huh? Oh, uh, dare."

I thought for half a second. "Take off your shirt, go outside, and run around the bus twice singing 'I'm Stacey the Violet Hamster!' at the top of your lungs," I rattled off.

A moment of silence passed before everyone burst into laughter. Ryan groaned good-naturedly and stood up. When he yanked his shirt over his head, I couldn't help myself and snapped a picture. He went outside and we all knelt on the couches to watch. I laughed so hard my sides hurt.

"I didn't think you'd actually do it," I gasped when he came back in.

"You did that just to get him to take his shirt off, didn't you?" Matt laughed.

I put on an innocent face. "No... not just for that."

The next day we continued up to Seattle. We got to the venue with an hour or two to spare, most of which I spent singing and dancing with the guys in our dressing room. The technical crew had to send someone down to tell us to shut up because apparently they could hear us in the sound booth. I told them to turn the monitors down and switched on The White Stripes.

I gulped water from the bottle someone offstage tossed me and set it down on the stage floor. "This is actually our last night on tour," Sean announced to the crowd. Some people booed and made other protesting noises. "I know, I know, it's terrible and all tha'. We're sorry we don't get t'see the rest of your lovely state." People cheered for themselves.

"Pen's staying with Panic! for another week though," Matt put in. Someone cat-called and I winked in that direction; more hooted and whistled. "I don't want to know what's going to go on in that bus."

I playfully glared at him from the mic. "Can't be any worse than what I heard from your room the other night," I quipped. Girls screamed. Matt stood up and blew kisses; girls swooned and I rolled my eyes. Such a whore.

"This one's new," Jesse told the crowd. "We actually just finished it on Thursday. We call it 'Line of Reason'." Matt counted off and we barrelled on into the song. As my fingers naturally moved across the fret board, I fell into my habit of shutting my eyes while I sang.

"~What is it that keeps you here?
I'd really die to know.
Is it your hallucination of grandeur
That you'll one day be happy?
Or your guilt of others misery
At your suicide thats similar
To my own?

"~I never said you had to
But I appreciate the attempt.
Just one last time
I promise it'd be the last.

"~If you had just $3000, you said,
I'd never see you again.
That'd make me sad, I told you.
Your cold reply: How sweet.
I only have my music
and my selfish pursuit for truth
or beauty
I can find in others words.

"~I never said you had to
But I appreciate the attempt.
Just one last time
I promise it'd be the last.~"

I swung into the bridge and my whole body moved with the beat. Jesse and Sean flawlessly executed their battling guitar solos. Lost in the moment, I jumped up on Matt's bass drum and played up there; he winked at me and in return I formed a kiss at him before jumping off and going back to the mic for the repeat of the chorus.

Breathing heavily, I licked my lips and stared out into the dark audience: cheers, shouts, fists up in the air, idiots crowd-surfing... this might be the last time the four of us did this. In a daze, I put down my bass for the next song and wandered back to the drum set.

Sundance handed me a pair of drumsticks, but held onto them when I grasped them. "Let's make this a good one, Ange," he said, quiet under the crowd. I blinked at him in surprise; Matt never called me anything related to my real name. He kissed my jaw just below my left ear and stuck his top hat on my head before leaving me for the microphone. Heat rose in my face.

I sat down as he yelled, "What the fuck's up, Seattle!" The crowd roared. "I know what you're thinking: Drummer at the mic? What the fuck? But this'll be sick, I swear." He nodded to all of us and simply said, "This is our last song," before we started up.

I will say one thing for him: Matt can scream like no one I've ever met.

The four of us stood together at the front of the stage, before the screaming sea, and bowed gratefully to our audience. We answered our brothers and sisters in rock by throwing our fists into the air.

Once offstage, we stopped and peered back. "Jesus, they want more?" Jesse marvelled, wiping sweat from his forehead.

Sean grinned. "Then let's give 'em a damn encore."

I leaned against the back door, watching the familiar dirty van start up and begin to move. Three hands waved out the windows, and I waved back as they pulled out of the lot.

Sitting down on the couch in the quiet dressing room, I looked at the carpet. I miss them already, I thought sadly. Sounds drifted back from the stage, persuading me to get up and traverse to the larger dressing room. A few assistants and other tour lackeys milled about, greeting me as I walked in. I waved back and stretched out on an empty couch to wait

The door opened swiftly, bringing with it the noise of a Panic! At the Disco concert and waking me from sleep I didn't know I participated in. I drowsily turned my head enough to witness the four enter and returned my head to its comfortable position.

"Angie," Brendon sang happily, sitting on my legs. I made a face and kept my eyes shut.

"Angiepants!" Spencer yelled, also sitting on me.

I coughed and stuck my tongue out. "Spencer, Brendon, all due respect, but get your fat butts off me this instant."

They gasped, and I opened one eye with a smirk. "Well, I never!" Brendon exclaimed in a snooty tone. "Come on, Spencer. I can see we're not wanted by this lazy couch-whore!"

"Love you too, Brendon," I called as they stomped off. Brendon formed a heart with his hands, accompanied by a cheesy smile.

Maybe this wouldn't be so bad.
♠ ♠ ♠
"Line Of Reason" (c) Me.