Sequel: If Only Until Morning

Pictures on Silence

Chapter 44

School was going smoothly, though that's not what occupied most of my thoughts. After rushing through homework and projects and getting acceptable grades by my standards--go ahead; ask how high those are-- I devoted all of my love and attention to musicianship, which included various shows around the area every weekend, interviews at radio stations, and generally keeping the fans happy.

Of course... maybe all my love and attention wasn't devoted to that... Maybe, just maybe, I spent a lot of my free time looking for new interviews and performances from a certain band out of Vegas. And maybe I bought every magazine I could find/afford that featured said band. Maybe.

"Have you seen the latest Spin?" Bianca asked excitedly during English one day. Our teacher had assigned us to read the next chapter of In Our Time while she corrected out essays. Needless to say, the room was a madhouse.

I shook my head. "No, I don't have a subscription," I replied. "Why? Is Beckett or some other flippy-hair weirdo that Amanda adores whoring up the cover again?" No, I didn't tell my other friends I had met him; they'd probably just make fun of me and call me emo more.

"No! Better!" She slammed her overflowing bag on the desk, scrambled around in it, pushed it to the floor again, and shoved a pile of papers in my face. But not just any pile of papers-- oh, no. It was the pre-release copy of October's Spin Magazine. And guess who stared out from the front.

"Oh... my... god..." I breathed, staring at the cover. Jon peeking out at the camera from beneath his hair, Spencer sporting magenta and pink makeup very debonairly, Ryan with one eye covered in black being his usual shy sexy self, Brendon staring adoringly up at his guitarist and lyricist.

Bianca squealed. "I know! The whole article is amazing! Look!" She tore it out of my hands and flipped to the middle of the magazine. She plonked it open on my desk and started reading aloud, but I didn't hear a word. I was too busy being mesmerised by Ryan's gorgeous brown eyes.

"Eew, he's funny-looking. Is he wearing make-up? Like, what a queer."

Both our heads snapped up at our other tablemates. Almost everyone thought that Amy Williams and Annie White were sisters, due to the fact that they had almost the exact same towheaded-blonde hair and unnaturally-blue eyes and they never went anywhere without each other. In a few years, they would probably be living in some huge house in Marin, the housewives of some big-shot businessmen. And they already dressed like it. Fake pearls and all.

"What did you just say?" Bianca hissed, poising her hands on the desk to get up.

Amy flipped her hair over her shoulder. "Any guy who wears that much make-up has got to be hiding the fact, though it's, like, so obvious, that he's gay." I schooled my features so that no emotion at all showed.

"Like, he's not even attractive," Annie added, rolling her eyes. "It's, like, trendy now or whatever for guys to wear eyeliner, but, like, you shouldn't if you're not incredibly cute."

I gripped Bianca's shoulder to keep her from leaping over the desk and clawing their colour-contacted eyes out. I shook my head at her and shot the pair a stony glance. "Well, aren't we the informed ones? Since you're oh so up on the latest trends," I said with mock sincerity, "Why don't you tell me how you two can be so damn intolerant of peoples decisions? This is San Francisco, after all. Everyone knows that being gay's just a trend in this city. Right?"

I spoke and glared at them with such venom that their eyes widened in horror and their mouths fell open in shock. "And for your information," I continued matter-of-factly, "I happen to know him very well and I can tell you that he sure as hell can't stand ignorant slags like you making comments about things you know fuck-all about."

They gasped at my use of profanity and practically ran out of the room when the bell rang not seconds after I finished. My upper lip curled as I stared after them. "Cagne," I whispered.

Beside me, Bianca whined, tugging at my hand. "Penelope, your nails are digging into my arm!" I quickly let her go and packed up my things. "Jesus Christ, I'm going to have a bruise. Shit, I think I might be bleeding."

"Sorry, B," I muttered as we walked out to recess.

"A little protective, aren't we?"

I looked up at the sky. "Nobody talks about my Ryan that way and gets away with it." For a moment we merely walked. Then I realised how possessive that sounded-- I didn't want to give myself away-- so I grinned back down at her. "The right of mocking him is reserved for the rest of the band and me alone."

She laughed. "And, oh, do you abuse it."


I strummed randomly at my guitar, out of my mind with boredom. I was avoiding the phone, knowing that Emilie was probably calling every few seconds and leaving a message asking where the heck I was and why I wasn't answering. I just didn't want to talk to her.

Jon leaned into the game room and informed me they were stopping. So I gently put my guitar back and followed him out, sliding on black sunglasses as we went. Brendon had gone into the gas station for the bathroom, and Spencer joined us in patronising the small supermarket nearby.

I stood before a wall of snacks, staring at everything and trying to puzzle out what the hell I was going to eat, when Spencer came running around the corner and crashed into me. "Whoops," he stated, grinning. "Sorry, man. Look at this."

He held up a magazine, which I quickly tore out of his hands. Staring at me on the cover was the four members of Penny Dreadful, decked out in styles I immediately pinned on Angie's taste. I gazed at her picture, smiling slightly like she knew something and wouldn't tell because torturing you was more fun. Her own little Mona Lisa.Better than the original.

"Where'd you get this?" I asked, flipping through it. The inside featured an article about the band and another hilarious picture with Matt, Jesse, and Sean hanging onto to Angie dotingly. I smiled slightly.

Spencer jerked his head and I followed him to the small rack of magazines, where Jon stood laughing at a copy of Bop, which apparently featured us. I scanned the magazines for another issue of... I glanced at the one in my hand: Indie Beat.

"Look, it's Angie again," Jon pointed out, having abandoned the teenie-bopper zine. Spence picked up the issue of Seventeen in the front and, sure enough, one again Angie's gorgeous face graced the cover.

"Damn, she's attractive," he said. "Ooo, an interview!"

The three of us crowded around the magazine to read Angie's interview over each others shoulders. When I was about halfway through the second page, somebody nearby laughed loudly. Jon, Spencer, and I all looked up.

Brendon stood a few yards away with his camera, laughing his skinny little ass off. (I'm not exactly one to talk, am I?) "What the fuck are you guys doing?" he asked, still laughing. "Looking for beauty tips?" I rolled my eyes and chucked it at him, successfully hitting him in the face and shutting him up. "Ow, muthafucka. Wanna go?"

"Look at the cover, stupid." He glared and picked up the magazine. Within seconds, his face brightened with a wide grin. Mouth in an 'oh', he flipped it open and walked away, reading.

"Hey!" Jon exclaimed, going after him, "We were reading that!"

I laughed and started to go after them, but stopped and turned back to the magazine rack. With a furtive glance around, I snatched up another copy to join the other in my hand and, as an afterthought, a couple copies of random not-girly magazines.

The cashier, a bored-looking teenager snapping her gum, rung up my food and stared at the two magazines hidden amongst the others. She shot me a weird look, which I combated with a charming smile. She rolled her eyes, blew a bubble, and rung them up. "Twenty-three forty-one," she said flatly.

I handed her the appropriate cash and watched her bag up my purchases. The cashier handed me the plastic bag. "Enjoy your magazines," she said sarcastically, rolling her eyes.

"They're for a friend of mine," I explained, only half lying.

"Whatever floats your boat, sir." I rolled my eyes and followed the guys back to the bus.

"Jeez, what a bitch," Brendon said once we stepped on the bus.

"Seriously," Jon agreed.

"What did Angie say the Italian word for bitch was?" I pondered aloud. They all shrugged. I snapped my fingers. "Cagna, there we go." The three of them looked at each other and snickered. "What?"

Spencer clasped his hands together and fluttered his eyes at Brendon. "Oh, Angie! Teach me more of that sexy Italian so I have some other excuse to constantly talk about you!"

Brendon laughed and twirled his imaginary long hair. "Of course, Ryan. I'd be elated to, since you're so obviously in love with me. You want my pants, too? They'd look unaccountably brilliant on you!"

By this time, all of them were laughing so hard that they fell over. I helped, naturally.