Sequel: If Only Until Morning

Pictures on Silence

Chapter 45

I could only think of how much I wanted to be out touring. Every day that passed I looked at the calendar and sighed, fantasising about what venue we'd play that night, if only I were out of high school. Why did you curse me with this ridiculous code of honour and priorities?! Why, God, why?!

No, call me a liar. I thought about touring, how fucking annoying Physics was... and Ryan. My heart leapt every time my cell phone played my ring tone for him, and I often found myself waking up from a daydream with the bell ringing to signal the end of class.

Panic! still kept in touch, but not every day. They emailed me very few days, telling me about Europe, whining about how much they missed me. Our phone conversations lasted several hours sometimes, and my parents gave me a talking to about the phone bills. My brothers jokingly plotted how they would beat four different guys; they decided they'd have to get some of their friends to help in the end, I think.

Silly brothers. They wouldn't need friends. The two of them could take those skinny boys easily, despite my memory of them wrestling on the tour bus that one time.

Why must I love such skinny, easily broken boys?

As for the band, we were far from inoperative. Penny Dreadful played shows almost every weekend around California, and a few times we flew out of state to play some bigger shows. Festivals. Imagine, four small-town kids playing sold-out stadiums. Okay, two small-town kids, Mister English, and Matt, whatever.

By the time Halloween rolled around, my head was so frantically scrolling through all the thoughts I had that I felt like I was going to have a mental and emotional breakdown. When I wasn't working on homework (and sometimes when I was), I dealt with band stuff, updating our website, checking up on sales, and running offers through Aromi. And when I wasn't doing that--many times I blew off homework altogether to multitask on life things-- I fretted and daydreamt about Ryan.

How does one have a relationship with someone so far away and constantly on the move? Why would he even want to have a relationship with someone like me?

Shut up, Angie. You're acting your age.

Penny Dreadful was scheduled to headline a show on Halloween at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco with a bunch of semi-big local bands. Luckily my teachers decided to go easy on us that day, making us promise we wouldn't be hung over the next day, so I had hours to get my costume ready.

Most of that time was spent thinking about Ryan. Christ, but I had it bad for the guy. For two months I kept my lips zipped about who occupied so much of my idleness--because fuck knows Aromi and the guys noticed-- but now I had to tell someone. But whom could I trust with such sensitive, highly secret information?

Already dressed up in my dark grey knee-length coat with double-rows of buttons, I paced the span of my room (which admittedly wasn't that long) with my phone in hand for fifteen minutes before forcing myself to sit on the bed. I stared at my right hand in my lap as the phone rang.

"Guess what, Penelope![/i" Brendon exclaimed in mock excitement. "We get to be on a plane all day today! Yay!" He gagged, which made me laugh, more confident about my decision.

"Think of it this way, Brendoni, you can catch up on sleep." He grumbled indistinguishably. "But, uh... I called to ask your advice about something."

"Oh?" Eeek! He's intrigued! Panic mode engaged! "Do tell."

Shit. Abort mission! "Um..." Too late now. Lie! "You know my friend Bianca?"

"Yeah, I think you've talked about her before."

I leaned back against the wall. "Well, we met this guy at a party. JD. We've gotten to be pretty good friends, and the other day, he told me that he's absolutely crazy about her, but he doesn't know how she feels about him. Everyone keeps poking fun at both of them, saying how the'yre madly in love with each other--" My friends are so full of shit, "But since I'm her best friend, JD wants to clear with me that it's all cool. And I don't really know what to do." I paused, licking my lips. "What do you think?"

I swear to God, if he doesn't fall for this...

Brendon remained quiet for a minute. "
What do I think?" he repeated, sounding mildly amused.

"Yeah, how would you feel in my position? Would you approve?" I shut my eyes, praying.

My eyes popped open again when he laughed. "So how long have you had a thing for Ryan, Ange?"

Shit shit shit!

I laughed convincingly. See, I knew acting would come in handy. "What? No, I'm serious about Bianca and JD. Would you approve of your best friend going out with a friend you've only known for a few months?"

"Yes, I approve of you liking Ryan," Brendon said, still with a smile in his voice. "I totally knew you'd admit it sooner or later. So when are you going to tell him?"

Drawing a blank, I frantically made something up. I laughed condescendingly. "You are a crazy one, Brendon Boyd. Oh, that's my mom on the other line. Call me when you land, okay? Ciao!"

I quickly snapped the phone shut. "Dammit!" I smacked myself in the forehead repeatedly. "Stupid, stupid, stupid!"


A dial tone rang on the other end, so I hung up, smirking. "Oh, silly Penelope," I laughed, tucking my phone into my pocket. "So sweet and shy. Perfect for him."

After three hours of waiting in the airport, we finally boarded the plane and relaxed in our seats: Ryan next to me, Jon behind him, Spencer behind me. A while into the flight, when I was watching "Garden State" for the third time, Ryan turned and tapped my shoulder. I looked up and smiled.

"I need to ask you something," he said in a low voice. This day is going interestingly, I thought to myself, nodding him on. Ry looked around, licking his lips, and leaned in. "What do you think about Emilie?"

I stared at him for a second before shrugging. I couldn't tell him that she drove all of us crazy and that she wasn't a good match for him; he was happy with her. Tch. Always settles for less. "She's alright."

"No, I mean, really. Do you think we're good as a couple?"

"I don't know, man," I responded, waving a hand. "I guess. You like her and that's all that matters, right? Who cares what I think?"

Ryan nodded broodingly, looking at the book in his lap that he'd been pretending to read. I returned to the movie, but I kept glancing at him, not moving. I rolled my eyes and shifted to look at him. "What's wrong with you and Emilie?"

He shrugged. "It isn't so much Emilie but... I--" Ryan glanced up at me, wincing, and I just smiled blithely, waiting for it. "Fuck, Bren, don't grin like that."

"You like someone else!" I sing-songed, smirking. He shushed me with a nudge, looking around again. "C'mon, Ry, tell me who the lucky girl is." Yeah, I was gonna make him say it.

He ran a long-fingered hand through his hair and sighed. "I don't even know if I really like her like that. Everything is sort of screwed up right now."

"Well... what do you like about her?"

Ryan sat back and looked at the ceiling of the plane. Have I mentioned I hate planes? I don't know why Ryan likes them so much. Planes and airports in general. It's crazy. "I like her smile," he decided after a moment. "I like how she dresses how she wants and she doesn't give a fuck what other people think. He smiled up at the ceiling. I like how she finds even the dumbest jokes that only us guys would laugh at funny. I like how compassionate and caring she is. I love how shes so talented, but almost modest." His eyes shut, but he kept talking.

"I love the way she can't take a compliment; she gets all flustered. I love the way she's so comfortable and lets everyone sleep on her. I love how sweet and innocent she is, but also not afraid to swear and speak her mind. I love the way she smells. It drives me crazy. I love the way her eyes light up when she laughs. I love her laugh. I love knowing that I make her laugh. Hell, I even love the way she cracks all her joints when she wakes up."

I smirked conclusively. Just as I suspected, I thought triumphantly. Ryan heaved another sigh and returned to reality. He shook his head at the hands in his lap. "You're way past liking her, man," I told him. He shot me a quick glance and looked away. "So... tell me her name."

His lips moved, but no sound came out. "Sorry, I can't read lips."

"Ramjeh," he grumbled, hiding behind his hair.

"Who?" I asked sweetly.

"Angie, okay?!" Ryan shouted, throwing his hands up. "It's Angie! I'm in love with Rhiannon Angela Penelope Callaghan, alright?!" He fell into his seat. "God... Fucking clueless."

Jon's and Spencer's heads popped up above our seats. Both of them were grinning like Cheshire cats. "Are you really?" Spencer teased. Ryan glanced up at them and covered his eyes, muttering something that sounded like "God damn it".

"So when's the wedding, Ry?" Jon asked, putting his elbows over the seat. "Can I be the best man?"

"Hey, fuck you, Jon," I said seriously, turning around. They all looked at me, two surprised and the other thankful. My solemnity melted into a grin. "I get to be the best man."

"Dude, they would have the cutest kids!"

"Aww, little beanpole kids with crazy-cool hair running around singing and shredding on guitar!"

"Forget guitar! They'd all be like one-man bands!"

"Geniuses, too. Just a family of really good-looking child prodigies!"

"You guys seem to be forgetting a major factor in all of this!" Ryan exclaimed, turning around and glaring at us. We stared back, confused. He shook his head like it was obvious. "Emilie?"

Jon, Spencer, and I looked at each other. "Should we tell him?" I asked.

"I think so," Jon advised solemnly.

Ryan looked around at us, confused at our sudden sobriety. Spence cleared his throat and smiled down at him. "Please. From the bottom of our hearts. Break up with her. For the love of God." He leaned towards him. "The girl is a nutcase. Everyone will be happier. You, me, Bden, Jonno, Ange, Emilie-- well, maybe not Emilie, but definitely you and Penelope."

Ryan turned forward and stared at the seat in front of him. We all waited with baited breath-- how romantic-- for him to make a move or say something. After a minute or two, he looked around at us. "I'm slightly offended," he said with mock indignance. "I'm dating an annoying ho and you guys didn't call me on it."

I rolled my eyes. "Dear God, what were we thinking?" Ryan laughed and settled into his seat with his book open, smiling slightly. I winked at Jon and Spencer, who, still grinning, sat back down. Took them long enough.