Sequel: If Only Until Morning

Pictures on Silence

Chapter 46

Leaning back in my chair, situated in the corner of the stage in the empty venue, I reviewed the page in my lap. Chewing on my pen, I reread the words and hummed to myself. Shit, I need a line. When what? What's something he and I share? How can I make it not obvious?

"Your mom caught us eating ice cream in your room at three in the morning." I started and tilted my head back at Jesse, standing behind me and reading over my shoulder. He pointed at the line paper. "And you should put this part at the end. Maybe repeated." I stared wide-eyed at him, though he only smiled amiably. "You're writing Ryan a song, right? Got a melody?"

"It's that one we just perfected," I said softly, looking back down. "But I wanted something just for us..." Biting my lip, I scribbled down the line Trill suggested and stared at it. After a moment, my hand moved across the page. "Because... I hate for her... to not want me around her baby..." I quietly sang the line and continued writing.

Jesse still watching, I finished the song and slammed my pen down. "How fast can you memorise lyrics, Trill?" I demanded, getting up and reaching a hand towards my hair.

He slapped my hand down and gave me a hilariously stern look. He'd slaved over a hot flat iron for the better part of two hours. "You're better at it than I am, Pen," he replied, glancing over the lyrics. "Why? You want to do it tonight?"

I dug my booted toe into the floor. "Maybe," I muttered, looking away. Yes, I want to play my song about the guy I like.

"Okay." He took a few steps, still reading, but turned back. "You know Matt got Geoff to film us tonight, right?" I nodded slowly, my stomach churning. I did not need a video up on Youtube of me looking like a whale performing a song divulging my feelings for a certain guitarist. Spencer said they'd all been watching clips fans put up. "I'll change some words around so it seems like Sean wrote it about a girl."

Did I mention Jesse is my hero?

Though the venue was admittedly pretty small, the crowd was certainly entertaining enough to make up for it. Most of them were dressed up, which had everyone sort of wired for some reason. I liked being able to wander the crowd and talk to people like I wasn't one of the people they came to see. I even ran into a group of my friends from school.

Wouldn't they be surprised.

During the band before us's set, I slipped away from my friends and slunk backstage to start getting everything ready. The band slapped me five as they came on stage, and the drummer was so kind as to help me up the stairs when the MC introduced us.

"Challo," I greeted in a heavy Eastern European accent. I smiled behind my white mask, which matched the ones the guys wore. Jack White used to introduce his band this way. "Ve are Penny Dreadvul, and you lahve uz. And ve lahve you vor loving uz. But ve don't lahve you." Some people laughed and cheered. My smile widened. "Zis is 'Your New Favourite Song'."

I can be such a whore when I'm on stage. It's strange how performing can do that to someone. Despite Halloween, I got to pretend to be someone else. Someone who had enough confidence to shoot flirtatious looks at all the cute guys near the front. Someone who didn't worrying about what her body looked like under the hot lights and in the camera lens. Someone I loved.

I calmed down a bit-- though usually the band called it me sobering up-- when it came time in the set for our new song. We shuffled around positions on the stage, Butch Cassidy on keyboard and backup, Trill on lead guitar and vocals, me nervously fingering my bass.

"This is the first time we've played this song live," Jesse informed the crowd as he tuned his guitar, "And I didn't write it, so I need the lyrics, in case I forget some." He pulled out a folded sheet of paper on which he'd copied the song. Using amazing wit and skills, Jesse shoved the paper into the mic stand so it would stand up and still not block his face. I snickered and flicked a stray piece of hair over my shoulder.

Matt counted off, then he and Sean started the song. Jesse strummed lightly and soon I joined in, feeling mighty sick. As the music built, I said a little prayer that I wouldn't hurl. Jesse took a deep breath and sang softly; while he didn't have the greatest voice in the world, Trill could sing emo-pop pretty well. Which admittedly is what it was. Hormones, man.

"~You've got your airplane
And I've got the plain air of here
You're gone and I've gone insane
Oh when will you reappear?
I'm just some new kid
Who can't get his mind off of you
And I know that it's stupid.~"

I smiled to myself, singing the real lyrics I wrote in my head.

"~Cause you've got Hawaii
And I've gotten no letters from you
I should stop whining
Cause it's only been a day or two...
I don't know what you did
But you got me to fall for you
I know it's stupid

"~Your family's rad and I
Wish that they were here today
But they're thousands and thousands of miles away
I felt so bad when your mom
Caught us eating ice cream in your
Room at three in the morning
'Cause I'd hate for her
To not want me around her daughter
Cause my heart stops every time

"~You've got Polaroid
And you even know how to rhyme
I'd be overjoyed
If we could just hang out sometime
I don't know what you did
But you got me to fall for you
And I know that it's stupid~"

During the verse, I thought about the pictures Ryan and I took on that rainy day in the desert. The complete silliness of it all made me laugh softly. Oh, the things we do to the ones we love when were bored. At least I taught him to polka.God, I miss him.

"~Your drawing's rad and I
Put in on my wall and I made
Sure it wouldn't fall cause if it did
My straw wrapper might tear~"

I smile reminiscently, fingers traipsing over the frets mechanically. When we played the show in New York, when we were eating in that diner in the middle of the night, Ryan drew all over his napkin and gave it to me when I laughed so hard at his little cartoon that I fell over. While we waited for the bill, I took the paper from my straw and somehow made a little heart out of it. Ryan thought it was cool, so I gave it to him and made myself a crappier one.

"~And there would be no knot and I would
Feel like I'd been shot right through the heart
And I'd fall apart but I'd remember how
My heart stops every time

"~You are so special
I just hope that we can be friends
I'll wait forever
But I guess that it all depends
On you and yours
So come on and dance with me
Cause you are so special
"~I hope that this makes you smile
And you might stay that way for a while~"

By this point I was so into the song and all the things it made me think of that the room got all blurry and I had to blink hard to make it clear.

"~Cause you deserve every grin that you get
And you'll get em a lot from me
Uh ho, uh ho

"~You are so special
I just hope that we can be friends
I'll wait forever
But I guess that it all depends
On you and yours
So come on and dance with me
Cause you are so special

"~And my heart stops every time~" Sean, Jesse, and I finished in harmony. The crowd exploded into cheers, and I just laughed until tears spilled out of my eyes and dribbled along the inside of my mask. Jesse sent me a supportive smile before he went to switch guitars.

And it was then I realised that I hadn't denied it when he asked if it was about Ryan. Standing still amidst the semi-chaos of the room, I decided something. No more cowardice.

Slowly, I reached my hand up and dragged the tie from my hair, making it fall everywhere. Next I untied the bow in the satin ribbon holding on my mask and set it down gently on an amp.

I smiled out at the crowd. "Hey, everybody," I said softly. "Guess what." Shouts of 'what?!' and 'chicken butt!' and 'Holy shit, that's Angie!' came as my response. A laugh pealed from my lips. "No, not that. I was going to say..."I'm in love. "I love this one. So you'd better fucking dance."

Maybe another day.

Go easy on me. I'm new at this sort of thing.
♠ ♠ ♠
"Two Weeks In Hawaii" (c) Hellogoodbye