Sequel: If Only Until Morning

Pictures on Silence

Chapter 49

Despite what one might think, my day bore no resemblance to cherries or peaches or any other happy fruit used for the description of days. In fact, eggs were a better metaphor; the sucking thereof, as a matter of fact. Not only was I stuck at school for another two hours though I didn't have class, but I had a non-solo in the choral concert that night. So boredom was promised.

On top of that, Biancathe lucky bitch had faked sick at the suggestion of her mother so she could skip school and the show and drive down to San Jose to see Panic! At The Disco.

I could have choked her with her own hair. But enough about our dysfunctional relationship.

In case you're wondering, no, I didn't sign the band up with Decay Dance; Aero and I decided it'd be best to get a label we allrespected could agree on in person. That wouldn't stop the guys from trying to convince me, though. The rest of our Chicago vacation was excellent, though; aside frombeing annoyed by hanging out with Bill and Pete, I ran into Beth again and we hung out; we exchanged screen names, as well.

Still, my new friend and lack of label didn't make my two-day grounding any better. I think it was that short and loose because Dad approved of me having the makings of a career. Or my grandma talked him into it. Who knows.

After calling my brother to plead him to pick me up and take me home, I fell into a brooding daze and stared off into space for some unknown amount of time. All I know is Mary and Andy were yelling in my face that my phone was vibrating.

"Hi, Bren," I greeted, relaxing against the wall. "How's San Josie?"

"Meh, it's alright," he replied. "Hey, I was wondering earlier: where do you eat lunch?"

I sat up, narrowing my eyes suspiciously and ignoring the fact that everyone was now listening.Nosey bastards. "Why?" I covered the receiver and whispered to Kyra to run and see if four guys were standing near the elevator.

"I dunno. Random stream of consciousness, and I thought I'd ask. Where is it in relation to the main building? It's shaped like an H, right?"

"Yep." Kyra jogged back into view, bobbing her pigtails. I leapt to my feet and ran around the back of the school. "Like, from the elevator? With the big mural?"

"Uh..." Brendon paused. "Yeah."

I sprinted up the high-numbered side of the first floor and slid to a halt next to the guy's bathroom. Peeking around the corner, I grinned. Sure enough, Spencer, Jon, Ryan, and Brendon with his cell to his ear stood in the long hallway, white December light making them stand out even more amongst the passing students. I bit my lip, eyes on the back of Ryan's head.

"Angie...? Are you still listening?"

"Well, if you're looking at the elevator--" Bren turned, soon followed by the other three, "There's usually a big block of people off to the left."

"Off to the left?" They all turned, giving me my opportunity. Silently laughing at the show, I stealthily sneaked down the hall. "Then where?"

"Hold on, Bren," I said, "I'm losing signal." I snapped my phone shut and ducked into the alcove of the girls' bathroom. Brendon looked at the others and shrugged, saying something and rolling his eyes. Once they turned again, I crept up behind them until my face was inches away from being on Spencer's and Brendon's shoulders. "Boo!"

All four of them jumped, spinning. "Angie!" Spence and Bren shouted, flinging their arms around me. I laughed at them laughing and gave them hugs in return. Jon grinned when they let me go. "Oh my god!" he cried melodramatically, throwing his arms out and running in slow motion.

I met him in the middle and spun us around, grinning. "Holy shit! You have a beard! You're so old-looking!" Jon stuck his tongue out at me. "Shut up, it looks good."

My smile grew more shy, though inside I felt like dancing, when I set eyes on Ryan, standing with his hands in his pockets. He smiled at me from beneath his hat, shading the stubble that graced his face. Huuh... heeee... pretty! I thought densely, an amorous smile pulling my lips upward.

"Hello, Georgie-boy," I greeted, grinning.

Ryan rolled his eyes. "Hello, Rhiannon," he mocked, grinning. I almost tripped over my own feet rushing to hug him. With my eyes shut, I breathed in. Wiry but protective arms around me, I felt... safe.

I didn't realise that we still held our embrace until Spencer coughed emphatically and Jon and Brendon cracked up. Ryan and I edged away from each other; I kept my eyes off him in hopes we wouldn't see my pink cheeks.

"What the hell are you doing here?" I demanded, changing the subject and putting my hand on my hips. "Aren't you supposed to be down south doing a show?"

"Well, yeah," Jon drawled, waving a hand, "But we would rather see you."

"So we got a cab and drove up to save--" Spencer continued until Brendon elbowed him with a pointed look.

I gasped and hastened to him. "Spencer James Smith! What did you do to your head?"

The guys all laughed; Spencer grinned sheepishly. "I cut it... myself. Mistake number one."

I ran a hand through it, screwing it up. I shot him a grin. "Hell, I would have done it for you, if only you'd've asked." I heaved a sigh. "I wish I could see the show tonight. But instead I have a stupid sense of propriety."

They exchanged secret looks and grinned. I looked between them suspiciously; I never trusted that look, and rightly so, seeing as I often had it. "That's why we're here," Ryan said.

"We're not leaving without you," Jon said, taking my arm. "You work too hard; you deserve a night off."

They started to drag me out the front doors. "But guys!" I protested, digging my feet in. "I have a show..."

"And you have three more!" Brendon argued, pulling my wrist. "We're only here today until who-knows-when!"

"But...!" They looked at me expectantly. After a minute of looking at them, all their smiling hopeful faces, I sighed. "I need to convince my parents." They did little celebratory dances. A smile flashed across my face. "Upstairs we go!"

As we climbed to the second floor, the guys commented on my rather surprisingly preppy clothes: long-sleeved green polo, trendy brown cargo pants, matching brown cashmere scarf, and pink-and-gold plaid Converse. "Prep school," I reminded them, "Means dress code."

I pressed a finger to my lips and stopped them outside my stepmother's classroom. I straightened my hair and strolled in. "Hey, Mackenzie," I said, leaning against her desk.

"Hi, Angie, what's up?" she replied, incredibly chipper. Guh. Fake.

"Since I don't have third period today and Aiv won't pick me up, I was wondering if I could take the car and go home?" I smiled questioningly. "I have to drive myself later anyway."

"Sure," Mackenzie consented after a moment.

I grinned, celebrating inside. "Thanks. I'll probably go hang out with Bianca after I drop off my stuff. Bye!" I quickly got out of the room before she could set restrictions and rushed the guys off the floor.

They fired off a barrage of questions, but I bit down on my lower lip and refused to say anything. Back on the first floor, I ran outside and let out a yawp. I danced around the guys, singing. Ryan twirled me around, smiling.

I stopped short, realising something with a gasp. "I have to get my bag," I stated. "And I can't leave you guys here to get mauled should anyone recognise you, but I can't exactly bring you to the student centre, because my friends would maul you."

Brendon looked at Jon, who looked at Spencer, who looked back at Bren, and they all grinned at Ryan. Forcefully, they pushed him into me, sending us both stumbling into the wall. We stared each other from an inch away, eyes wide. He smiled sheepishly at me, face flushed, and pushed himself off me and the wall. No! a voice in my head griped, Come back! I like you there!

"You go with her, Ry," Jon suggested. "We'll stay here, incognito."

I rolled my eyes and pulled Ryan by the gloved hand. "C'mon. I'll protect you from the scary fangirls."

As we walked, I kept my eyes down, though the temptation to just stare at the gorgeousness beside me was incredible. "I think you look really nice," he said suddenly. I looked up, met his eye, and we both looked away. "I mean... Don't let what Brendon said bother you. You look great."

My inner girly-girl swooned. He's such a gentleman. "Thanks," I said softly. I scrabbled for something to reply with. "You look really... mature." He pulled at his sleeves. "It doesn't detract from your boyish good looks like one might think."

Ryan smiled over at me, and I reciprocated nervously. Shit, did I just say that? Luckily, we reached the glass doors to the back of the student centre. I tugged down Ryan's hat lower onto his forehead and swapped my scarf for his gloves. "Why do we always play dress up like this?" he chuckled.

"Because we're that cool," I said, smiling. "Now come on and try not to look so famous."

He rolled his eyes. "I'll try."

I strolled calmly around to the middle alcove, where my friends were hanging out, talking loudly, and eating. I waved as I picked up my bag. "I'm off, guys," I announced. As usual, nobody listened. They did, however, take notice of the sophisticatedly dressed twenty-year-old standing close, watching me.

"Dude, Angie!" Allen called from the other side of the bench. "Is that your boyfriend?" Two or three of them hooted and laughed.

I rolled my eyes at Ryan, who shrugged, smiling. "Ryan's only my most favouritest person ever!" I squealed sarcastically, slipping my arms around him. I stuck out my tongue at them and smirked. "See ya, guys."

I made a face at Ryan outside, at which he smiled supportively. We walked back to the rest of the band. "You handled that very gracefully," Ryan complimented. "That girl with the glasses was kind of scaring me; she looked like she wanted to eat me." He shuddered, making megiggle laugh.

I don't giggle. I laugh attractively.