Sequel: If Only Until Morning

Pictures on Silence

Chapter 22

After waking up about seven times during the night, I finally opened my eyes to a pleasant but surprising sound. Taking a blanket with me, I padded out to a window and squinted. A grin slowly spread across my face.

"This doesn't make any sense at all," Spencer said from the couch. "We're in the middle of the desert in June, and it's raining."

"Pouring," Ryan corrected, sitting down with his laptop. "And because it turned our main way out of town into mud, we're stuck here until it lets up."

I clapped my hands excitedly. "I love rain."

Borrowing Brendon's laptop while he played guitar, I sat on the floor of the main section. I logged into AIM and opened a web browser; I never actually checked who was online unless I wanted someone specific, in which case I'd probably call them. After a second, a window popped up. Glancing at it, I smiled.

mattxATTACK1605: guten tag, fraulein
PenelopeDreadful: hey dork
mattxATTACK1605: ='[ that hurts babe

I rolled my eyes and checked my email. Twenty-eight. Eleven of them were from my friends wondering where the hell I'd disappeared to. Did I mention that I picked up and left without telling anyone? Oops. As I began checking all my usual webcomics, Matt messaged me again.

mattxATTACK1605: have you checked our whoersapce recently?
mattxATTACK1605: *whorespace
PenelopeDreadful: you know i never do
mattxATTACK1605: do it! your eyes'll fall out
PenelopeDreadful: what, did you pull a pete wentz? please tell me you didn't
mattxATTACK1605: you know you'd love that
PenelopeDreadful: keep it in your pants matthew. fine, i'll check it

So I tore myself away from the sexy indie boy on the comic and opened a new browser window and went on MySpace. To tell the truth, I had to think for a few minutes about what the password was.
Making random faces at the cursor, I drummed my fingers on the keyboard. Wow, my nail polish is really chipped, I noticed idly. I should do something about that. They're a good length now, too. Oh hey, I remember now. I tapped in the passcode on waited for it to load.

PenelopeDreadful: Holy crap, that's a lot of comments and messages
mattxATTACK1605: i know, seriously.
mattxATTACK1605: okay, I'm not technically supposed to tell you, but Aromi's gotten like 7 offers from record companies for the band
PenelopeDreadful: shit, seriously? guess we should finish up the album, huh?
mattxATTACK1605: lol yeah. we probbaly coud mix the tracks and finnish everything before you get back
PenelopeDreadful: okay first, you suck at typing, and second, no fucking way. we need to redo the vocals on those two songs
mattxATTACK1605: no we don't. i told you before, it sounded wicked awesome. and dont hate on my shmexy typing lol
mattxATTACK1605: oh that reminds me: Live105 waants us on Soundcheck when you get back

I emitted an excited, high-pitched noise that made Jon clap his hands over his ears. I smiled apologetically and went bright red when Brendon called from the other room, "Can you please have noisy sex some other time?" Laughing, Jon ruffled my hair as he went by and I scrunched my face up and smoothed it down.

PenelopeDreadful: I'm so glad you weren't here for that jsut now. That's so fucking awesome, Matt!
mattxATTACK1605: what? whatd I miss?
PenelopeDreadful: nothing
mattxATTACK1605: =[
PenelopeDreadful: cry me a river, babycakes
mattxATTACK1605: okay, maybe i will! maybe I'll just go find a dark corner
PenelopeDreadful: lol

Eventually, after much webcomic-reading, demanding details of band stuff, and updating my blog with the latest hilarity, I returned Brendon's computer to him and did other things. But writing songs, working on sketches, and taking the occasional picture on the bus can only entertain me for a few hours. And I have a long attention span.

"I'm bored!" I exclaimed, throwing myself on the couch next to Ryan, who had returned to his computer.

He smiled and shook his head. "Why don't you find something to do?" he suggested reasonably.

"I've done everything except read, and I'm too antsy to read Palahniuk right now, which is the only thing I have left."

Ryan looked up in interest. "You like Chuck Palahniuk?"

I sat sideways and leaned on him. "One of my favourites. I liked Invisible Monsters a lot. Kind of weird, but I dig weird." As he returned his attention to the computer, I tried to pick out any pictures on the ceiling, but could only make out Mary Todd Lincoln and a bunch of obscure, squiggly things.

"Ryan, I'm bored!" I repeated loudly.

"What is everyone else doing? It's been kind of quiet except for the rain."

Sitting up properly, I turned around and gazed out the window. "Spencer's talking to Haley, Jon's talking to his girlfriend, Mike's talking to his girlfriend, and Brendon's talking to that girl he claims he doesn't like, but everyone knows that's bullshit."

"Well, you don't have to worry about that with me," Ryan said, "Because I don't have a girlfriend." Leaning on my elbow, I diverted my eyes to him, intently reading fan postings on their site. I easily picked up on the subtle bitterness in his voice, though someone else might not have. He pressed too hard on the keys for me to not notice. I'd figured his last break-up had been messy and he still hurt about it. Poor Ryan.

Getting an idea, I sat up straight. "Come play in the rain with me," I insisted.

Ryan looked at me sideways for a moment. While my voice might have had a toe over on demanding, I made my expression innocuously suppliant. Yeah, I know I'm strange, but at least I'm strange with a large vocabulary.

"Why?" he asked, cracking a smile.

"Because," I answered, getting up and taking the computer from his lap. I pulled him up and led him by the hand.

"Why?" Ryan repeated, pulling back to shut the laptop. "We'll get wet."

"That's the point, genius." I jumped out the door and landed in a puddle, making a huge splash. Laughing, I twirled around. Ryan stood on the last step, watching me. "Come on, Slim. It's fun."

"Fun for a little kid. We're both practically adults."

"Didn't you learn anything from Peter Pan?" I pulled him out into the rain. "Just because we're adults doesn't mean we have to grow up." I kicked water from a puddle up at him, and he jumped, splattering me in retaliation.

We got into a get-the-other-person-wet contest, shouting and chasing each other around. We sang loudly and danced around. Waltzing and polkaing in the rain is so much fun, even if I had to teach Ryan how to polka. And then we ran around like crazy people some more.

"Aah! No!" I begged, trying to stop him from tickling me.

"Oh, is someone ticklish?" Ryan asked, grinning and maneuvering.

Laughing so hard I could barely breathe, I tried to escape. "No! Please!" I tried to tickle him in retaliation, but my arms were too weak. "I give! I give!" Still laughing, he stopped and gave me a very wet hug. I turned us around in a circle.

I pulled away and laughed: his hair was plastered to his face, completely covering his eyes. "Where'd you go?" he asked, looking around. Giggling, I moved his hair aside and waved. "Aha. Hello there." We both laughed.

"I think it's time we go inside," I said, shaking my hair out of my face.

"Yeah, your lips are turning blue," Ryan agreed, walking with me back inside.

"Really? Cool! Let's take a picture!" I ran to my bunk and grabbed my camera, ignoring both Spencer and Brendon asking why I was wet.

With one arm around Ryan's shoulder, I held up my camera. "MySpace shot!" I puckered my lips and narrowed my eyes.

"Look sad," he ordered, taking the camera. The camera flashed on us and we laughed at each other's faces.

I took the camera. "Smile!" I leaned my head against his and smiled. "Okay, one more. You do this one." Ryan took the camera and when he counted, I pressed his cheek to my lips. He grinned questioningly at me, and I shrugged, smiling.

Two other flashes went off and we both looked at Jon, Brendon, and Spencer. "Aww, look at the cute little kids," Spencer teased. I rolled my eyes at Ryan, who rubbed the back of his head and grinned.

"That still doesn't answer my question," Brendon said. "Why the fuck are you guys wet?!"

"Okay, guys, let's get this show on the road," our busdriver called. "We should get to Palm Springs just on time."