Sequel: If Only Until Morning

Pictures on Silence

Chapter 3

“Split even?”

“No way, I only have enough cash for what I ate.”

“Don’t worry. I can spot you.”

We doled out money for the bill and waited for the waiter to come back with the change. Andy looked at his watch. “Shit! The movie starts in seven minutes!”

“Why are you worried?” I asked, picking up my bag as everyone scrambled around, pushing each other out of the booth. “There’re two cars and five people.”

“Wait, you’re not coming?” Summer asked as we passed the host. I shook my head.

“Aww, c’mon!” Matt, Andy, Summer, and Amanda whined, going through the door. “It’ll be awesome. Jesse’s already there!”

“Be that as it may-” I never got to finish my explanation, since I crashed sideways into someone. “Oh, I’m so sorry!” And as it turns out, it was Mr. Patrick Stump and his party of musicians again. “Hello again.”

“Hi!” Brendon greeted enthusiastically. “Imagine running into you here.”

“Literally,” Patrick said, rubbing his side. He lifted my elbow and pointed at it. “Instruments of death.”

I grinned. “Sorry about that. Again.”

“’Sokay,” Pete Wentz excused, opening the door for me. “You gave us plenty of entertainment during lunch.”

“Did we really,” I said, rolling my eyes. “I told them we were too loud.”

“Nah,” Patrick said, waving his hand at me.

I put on my oversized black sunglasses (which looked oh-so-mod on me) just before getting outside. “So what brings you all out to this neck of the woods? Still on tour?”

“Yeah, but today’s our day off,” Brendon informed me. “Pat and Pete just flew in to hang out.”

“Oh cool. You guys doing anything fun?”

“All of us are going to see a show in San Francisco,” Ryan said, nodding. I smiled at him, nodding too. You know that nod… yeah. “Some bands are playing at… where was it?”

“Slim’s,” Pete finished. My smile widened and I felt my cheeks heat a little out of nerves. Panic! At The Disco is watching the band tonight? Well, now I have reason to be nervous.

“Yeah,” Brendon said. “So we went to lunch, but Jon and Spence were being lazy, so they stayed in the hotel.” We walked into the sunlight and even with sunglasses, I squinted a bit. “Holy crap you’re pale!”

I laughed a little along with them. Yeah, I thought, but didn’t say, Like a corpse.From behind me, a horn honked and so appeared everyone but Sean piled in Matt’s car, all hanging out of the windows, waving and shouting. I laughed and waved as they rolled by. “See your sexy ass later, babe!” Matt called before exiting the parking lot.

“Yeah whatever, man!” I yelled back. I know he heard me, because my voice carries forever and echoes like nobody’s business. It’s pretty rad. Smiling, I turned back to the four really famous people before me. “I should get going. Nice to meet you all; hope you have a good time at the show.”

“Always good to meet nice people,” Ryan said. I smiled at him again (Can you blame me?) and started towards my car. Technically it was my step-mom’s car, and I hated it, but it had wheels, a working engine, and a decent stereo, so I couldn’t complain. Plus I didn’t pay for the gas, which was awesome seeing as I didn’t have a real job.

“Hey!” Brendon called after me. “What’s your name?” The other three laughed; after all that, they hadn’t even gotten my name.

I turned my head back and called, “Angie!” Then I got in the car and exited the lot, watching the four guys until I turned onto the busy street and sighed. Turning on my iPod, which blasted Franz Ferdinand through the speakers, I muttered, “Now to get home and take a fucking nap.”

And I did. Well, I tried, but the adrenaline alone kept me awake, not to mention the mere thought of genuine, established musicians listening to the band play made me nervous as hell.

So I played the entire set list twice, changed clothes four times, and packed up all the stuff I needed before the doorbell rang at 5. I dragged my amp, bass, guitar, and all the other crap to the door and opened it, only to be attack by a hug. “Hello to you, too, sweetheart,” I laughed, pushing myself straight from the wall.

I should explain. Aromi Giovanni Tropher manages our band. The first time I met him, I could have died from the disappointment: you see, Aero is, no joke, the hottest male to ever grace the earth: six foot two, deep blue eyes, brown hair, smooth olive skin, and muscles you could bounce a quarter off of. And he proves my theory that most more-than-reasonably attractive guys are either gay, too short, twenty-five, or taken. Aero’s the first and last.

“I’m so excited for tonight!” he exclaimed, picking up my amp and guitar case. I swung my bass- technically my brother’s- onto my back and gathered up all the other stuff. “You guys are going to blow everyone out of the water.”

“Yeah, maybe,” I laughed, following him to his convertible. We put the amp, cords, and guitar in the trunk, and I held the bass in the front seat; if anything happened to that thing, Tyrnan would have my head.

With speakers blasting, Aero drove carefully down the hill that my house sits on and took off onto the freeway. He kept trying to convince me that everything would go perfectly and I would sound like an angel and blah blah blah, when “Time To Dance” came on.

“That reminds me!” I shouted over the roar, “Take a bloody guess who was at The Boulevard!”

“Who? Charlie?”

I rolled my eyes. Aero’s cute, but a little slow. “No, not your lover boy! Your obsession!”

He thought for a second. “Holy fuck! Brendon Urie was at lunch with you?!” See? A little slow. Aromi has the major hots for Brendon Urie. Each person has a “get out of relationship free” card, and for him, it was the oh-so adorable singer of Panic! At The Disco. I didn’t tell him Aero would be there that night, because he probably would have crashed the car and killed us both. And that wouldn’t have been good for the band.

We drove through the city, talking and pointing out every attractive guy we saw and rating him. Hey, I was single and chilling with my gay friend, what else were we going to do?

Aromi parked his ‘Vette out back and we set about unpacking my equipment. “I still can’t believe you got us a gig here,” I announced, pulling out my baby out of the back. Just then a black-and-blue-haired emo kid in super tight pants tried to get in the backstage door and the bouncer told him to go wait around in front.

Aromi and I paused to watch him slink off, very disappointed, out of view and looked at each other. “Points for the hair,” he complimented.

“But he loses most of them for going commando in girlpants,” I finished and shuddered. We laughed and carried the stuff in, flashing our passes at the bouncer. After putting it gently down backstage, I traversed the long hall to the general club, past the bathrooms and into the big room.

The guys were for some reason lounging up in the balcony. They all cheered when we entered, making the people setting up for their shift and gig look up, and I took a sarcastic bow before heading up there, greeting my brother’s friend who worked there as I passed.

“You know, I could see down your shirt from up here,” Matt pointed out, grinning, as I walked up.

I looked down, covering myself, and glared at him when I remembered I was wearing a t-shirt. “Shut up, Manwhore,” I ordered lightly, leaning against the rail. “How was the movie?”

“Eh,” Sean said, wavering his hand, “The original was more entertaining; this one’s bloody awful for laughing purposes.”

“It’s all for you, Damian!” we quoted in a yell and burst out laughing. Jesse ran a hand through his peroxide-blonde hair, making it stick out at weird angles; I snorted and rolled my eyes. “What did you do instead?”

I shrugged. “Went home. Practiced a bit. Speaking of, are we doing the new song?”

“Only if you can make that last line believable,” Matt said, wiggling his eyebrows at me.

I raised one of mine at him. “You know I can.” Matt gave me his ‘convince the pants off of girls’ smile, and I scoffed. We sat around upstairs until the call came that they were going to open to doors in a few minutes, so we all ran like crazy downstairs and backstage… where we sat around for a while more, waiting for the first bands to start.

At the last second, Aero and Jesse begged me to go make sure the light cues were right, and I was the only one who could go because “The crowd won’t recogise you.” Yeah, hundreds of people would not recognise of a kick-ass rock band’s newest member who has really long red hair, corpse-pale skin and about a million freckles, is as tall as most guys, and-- most-importantly-- was featured in the cover shot for the LP. The logic of these guys, seriously.

So I got their frickin’ reassurance that everything would go effortlessly, reminding myself to steal some of their water later, and walked the long hall backstage when two guys came out of the bathroom.