Sequel: If Only Until Morning

Pictures on Silence

Chapter 21


Everyone seemed in a much better mood after Angie joined our card game. While she wasn't the best at poker, she played Deuces pretty well.

Just before we arrived at the venue, a suspicious grin grew on Angie's face. "I don't like that look," Spencer decided, looking at her sceptically.

"You know what I would like to do?" she asked rhetorically. "I think I would like to watch your show tonight. From the audience." Her pretty, sneaky smile showed straight white teeth.

"Should be okay," Brendon said with a shrug. "You've got a pass, after all."

Angie jumped up as we stopped. "Sweet. I'mma go help set up the merch table. Be back in a while!" Then she skipped out, grinning.

"What a weird girl," Jon said, looking after her.

As I gathered up some stuff from my bunk, I noticed a thick notebook on the floor. Picking it up, I saw that the inside cover read, "Property of R.A. Callaghan. A fate worse than death befalls those who read unauthorised."

"Hey, what's that?" Brendon asked, walking over.

"Don't know. Something of Angie's."

Brendon grinned mischievously. "Well, how's about we take a look?" I pointed to the warning. "Oh, come on, what could she really do?"

I looked at him pointedly. "Considering how physical she got with Matt, I'm thinking she could do something pretty evil."

He rolled his eyes and took the notebook, flipping open to a random page. "See? It's just her lyric-book." I stood back hesitantly; this probably was more private than her diary. As Brendon read, his eyes widened. "Wow. This is really deep."

"We really shouldn't be looking at this," I grumbled, looking back and forth to the curtain.

"No, listen to this: 'Sitting at a table of a place I do not want to be/ my only escape is solemn silence and the back of a sugar packet/ I scribble down my sorrows on this lonesome New Year's Eve/ I cut out a tiny heart and rip it to pieces/ Like thousands every day.' Her imagery is amazing. It's like sitting there with her."

Fascinated but reluctant, I moved closer to read over Brendon's shoulder as he flipped through the pages. I bury myself in poetry and music/ aware and ignoring all the presences around./ Like art could save a wretch like me. I lost the rest as Brendon flipped another page. Don't make me promises for love/ Because promises are like hearts:/ Made to be broken.

I held my hand down on one page to read a paragraph that jumped out at me. I find myself in love with every passing face/ They stay in my mind for days and weeks/ No names, no gorey details/ Just people beautiful in every details.

"This stuff is amazing," Brendon revelled, grinning. "No wonder their music is so great."

"Her undertone has so much sadness though," I mumbled. I shook my head. "She wrote all these herself?"

"Hey, let's see what's she's written recently." He flipped through all the pages until a blank one appeared. I leaned in to make out the sharp, tiny letters. Her voice rang out clear in my head, speaking the words as I read them:

And I'll just roll my eyes and laugh
When deep down all I want is for you to love me.
If it makes you sick to be so sad,
Why are you shocked that I'm sick to see you smile?
I won't sell my soul for any material prize,
But I'd gladly give up my lifelong dream
For one perfect moment with you.

Brendon and I looked at each other. "Sounds like Angie's got a thing for someone," he said, shutting the notebook and tossing it on her bed. "More than just a thing. Question is, who, though?"

"Let's just go get ready," I sighed. "I don't want to see what happens when she realises someone read her notebook."

"Hello, all," Angie greeted, walking into the dressing room. Many of the crew greeted her, as well as the guys and the backup dancers. She waved to Lucent Dossier, who was talking animatedly with Spencer. She leaned her arms on the back of my chair and rested her chin on my shoulder. "You should let me do your makeup sometime," she said, watching me.

"I'm sure we'd both like that," I answered. She grinned and straightened, and I laughed at her shirt. "Is that true?"

Angie rolled her eyes at it. "It was a present from someone who thought it'd be funny. I'm wearing it now to fit in with your fans." She adjusted her camera and played with the end of her braid. "Speaking of which, I should get going if I want to be crushed against the barrier." She started off but paused and grinned back at me. "But yes, Ryan, I am a sucker for guys in eyeliner."

I laughed as Brendon stepped in front of her, grinning widely.

That night, the crowd was hotter than the dry desert air. Just after "Time To Dance", I scanned the front of the crowd and spotted Angie stuck between two groups of screaming girls. Pale-faced and gazing interestedly at the decorated ceiling, she seemed slightly out of place. Her eyes turned to me and a smile crossed her lips. Angie pointed her camera at me and I blew her a kiss; she reappeared from behind the lens laughing.

Now how is it, I wondered to myself as I tuned my E string, That someone who seems so happy and well-adjusted can write songs so painful and cynical? Is that smile real?

She still hadn't shown up backstage after more than half an hour of waiting. "Maybe she went to the bus," Spencer suggested.

"No, she'd definitely come back here first," Brendon argued.

"Well, there are people waiting outside for us to show up and sign shit," Jon said, rising. "So if she's not at the bus, one of us can come back and find her."

I smiled for the camera and thanked the girls for their... uh, support. Keeping one eye on Jon and the other on the crowd, I stayed a safe distance from the crowd in case one of them got particularly vehement. Up ahead, a pale, green-nailed hand appeared out of the masses and soon a head of fiery hair followed.

"Ohmigawd!" someone squealed when I arrived at the hand. "I, like, totally love you! Will you sign this for me?" I nodded and signed the fans enlarged photo of me-- Okay, a little weird-- before turning to Angie; half her hair was out of her braid and her face glowed with a sheen, but she looked ecstatic.

"They wouldn't let me backstage," she explained before I even opened my mouth. "Please tell me, do I look like some deranged, obsessive fan?" I looked down at her shirt and nodded. Angie rolled her eyes. "Yeah, whatever, Slim. Security should know I'm not."

"Do you know him?" the girl next to her asked jealously.

Angie looked at her a moment before that evil grin appeared. "Oh yes," she said suggestively. "We know each other very well." She looked at me and bit her lip to keep from laughing, but I could easily see that the girl thought... well, it was kind of obvious what she thought.

I signalled to Zack, our bodyguard, who came with Jon. "How'd you like the show?"

"It was completely rad!" Angie heaved a happy sigh. "But I want to go back to the bus now. Lack of oxygen makes me shleepy." Jon nudged Zack and he lifted Angie over the barrier. "Eep!" she squeaked, midair. Feet firmly on the ground, Angie slipped her arm through mine and we started towards the bus.

"What was that back there?" Brendon asked, waiting outside the bus.

"Oh, just terrorising some fangirls and generally causing a ruckus," Angie replied lightly.

"Could you describe this ruckus?"

Something occurred to me as I walked up the stairs into the bus, and it kept bothering me as I lay in my bunk. That girl more likely than not has access to a computer, which means she could start yet another huge rumour. It was all in good fun, but Angie's new to the game of public life, even more than we are. Great, the last thing I need is another site dedicated to my girlfriends and acquaintances.