Sequel: If Only Until Morning

Pictures on Silence

Chapter 53

Giddy is not a word often used to describe me. Neither is cannibalistic, but that's another thing entirely. So it came as somewhat of a shock to the guys when my phone rang and I flitted about like a canary on speed before and while answering it.

Short of tying me to a chair and force-feeding me sodium penathol, the guys tried all their usual (and unusual) ways of getting me to talk. Eventually though, it grew less amusing and then I just told them about the show. For a second they all looked at each other. Then grins crossed Matt's and Jesse's faces.


I rolled my eyes as they continued singing and dancing around me in circles. Sean was laughing too hard to say anything, but I luckily had composure for the four of us. "You guys are so immature," I said condescendingly. Then I shrieked as Jesse grabbed and began tickling me.

Boys are mean.

When I told Aromi the good news (at Jesse's direction)--honestly, I don't why everyone cared so damn much; so I kissed a guy; woo-freaking-hoo-- he squealed excitedly and invited everyone over for celebratory hanging out. He even promised that his boyfriend Charlie would be there, which came as somewhat of a surprise.

"Not to sound like your mothers, but be on your best behaviour," I advised, looking around at the guys. The five of us--the band and Anthony-- stood outside Matt's car, staring up at the house.

You'd think that with how Aromi is, the lot of us would have met him officially by now. Somehow he always seemed to be away working whenever all of us were over. Suspicious? Considering Charlie, not at all.

"Charlie's family is very...traditional." To say the least. "And they don't know about Aero and Charlie, so don't say anything about it and don't do anything...stupid." Shooting Matt a pointed look and avoiding Anthonys glare, I strode with poise towards the front door. The guys soon followed.

The door swung open a few seconds after I rang the bell and a giant suited man took us all by surprise. I think I heard all four of the guys around swallow hard. I have to admit, this guy was just a bit intimidating. Had to be about six foot seven.

"Can I help you?" he asked in a deep, gruff voice. "If you're selling something, I suggest you leave the property very quickly."

"Sergio." I guess it's not a good sign for your confidence when the freaking huge guy in front of you looks like hes about to wet himself. As if the guys weren't freaked out enough.

Behind the mountain appeared Aromi's boyfriend Charlie with a very serious look on his face. His head twitched sideways and the mountain made himself scarce. After watching him go, Charlie turned back to us and a smile slid across his chiseled features. "Bonjourno, principessa," he greeted me, holding out his arms.

Smiling, I walked to him and we exchanged kisses. He asked me, in Italian, how I was and said I looked lovely. I shot a glance at Sean, Matt, Jesse, and Anthony still standing stock still outside the door. "I think you scared them," I whispered loudly, grinning.

Charlie laughed and welcomed us in, apologizing for Sergio. "You know Papa," he said meaningfully as he led us through the foyer. "Always making sure we're all safe and secure."

We went up the stairs to the second floor, past the ballroom, and into a smaller room with couches and a 64-inch flatscreen that we normally used for band meetings when we didn't go up to Matt's. Aromi grinned widely and put down his drink to stand up. "Hello, band!" he hailed excitedly, "And strange boy I've never seen before."

So for a few hours, we seven sat around like we usually did and had our own brand of fun. Only Charlie got an important call and had to take it, leaving Aero very pouty and attention-demanding. And Anthony hated me the same, if not more, for moving in on his man. He'd misheard about the Chicago adventure apparently.

I'm surrounded by divas.

After a while, the guys got hungry so we ordered up a couple pizzas, and when the driver called Aero's cell to say he was outside, he buzzed him in. "I'll bring em up to the dining room down the hall," he said, struggling to remove himself from the cushy couch.

Sitting on the floor, I rolled my eyes. "I'll get them," I declared, rolling to my feet.

"I'll help," Anthony insisted, jumping up. I shot him a suspicious look as he walked past me out the door. When I glanced at Matt, he shrugged and returned to laughing at Aromi, still trying to get up.

I watched Anthony from the corner of my eye as we walked silently through the house. There was something I didn't like about his expression. I didn't trust this guy. As not-very-Jesuit as it was, I took pleasure in his jumpiness when I greeted a group of Charlie's... family... as we went to the front door.

The pizza guy handed Anthony the pile of boxes and started down the steps. I called out, "Don't you need to be paid?" He shook his head, saying it was all taken care of. Then he smiled nervously and dashed off to his car. I stared out after him for a moment before shaking my head. I don't think I should ask.

"You want some help with those?" I offered Anthony as we walked. I figured that he wouldn't be able to hate me if I was really nice to him.

"You just like taking everything away from me, don't you?" he spat.

Okay, there goes that theory.

"I was trying to be polite." Maybe snapping at him isn't the best idea, but it's a self-defence mechanism to be sarcastic. I can't help it if he's psycho.

Anthony huffed and stomped up the stairs. "Shut up, whore."

I couldn't help but laugh. "Oh, that's original. Just throw in a your mom and we've regressed to the fourth grade." I really must have had a death wish.

He whipped his head around, eyes flaring. "If you weren't so fucking dumb, you'd see that you're just a bitter old hag who can't pick up her own guys so she hits on other people's."

"First of all, you're older than I am, moron, and second of all, how am I a whore if I can't pick up guys? Your rationale makes no sense."

We went to the dining room and Anthony slammed the boxes on the table. With a truly frightening look of his face, he took a few steps towards me. "I told you to stay away from him," he hissed, glaring viciously. I stood my ground, though I really wanted to get any blunt or sharp object out of the room. Or at least grab one to protect myself. "But you didn't fucking listen, did you? What? You got fat in your ears, blubbergut?"

My eyes narrowed dangerously. "What did you just say?" I demanded, voice icily quiet.

Anthony laughed condescendingly and continued, "Guess I was right then. Do you know what happened to the last person who got between my guy and me? Do you?!" he shouted in my face. I shut my eyes, involuntarily shying away. "I sent him to the fucking hospital with two broken ribs and half his teeth in a plastic cup! You think I'm afraid to do it to you?! Just because you barely qualify as female?!"

"Yes, you goddamn coward!" I yelled back. Where the hell is this coming from? I wondered as I retorted. "You're all talk and no action! But more than that, you're fucking unhinged! You should be locked away with all the other whacked-out fruitloops! I don't know what Jesse sees in you, but it's certainly not--"

And then the asshole bitch-slapped me. He hit me so hard I stumbled into the table and hit a chair going down. More than likely put his whole body into it. But what surprised me more was the massive crash I heard a second or two afterwards.

Cringing at the pain in my side, I turned my head to see Charlie, Sean, and Anthony all in a pile of the floor, Charlie and Sean just beating the ever-loving crap out of him. Matt, Aromi, and Jesse stood in the doorway, looking shocked. Shocked and livid, but mostly shocked.

Not for long, though, because we all realised, probably at the same second, that if we left them there for too long, we'd end up with a big big mess dead body on our hands. Everyone rushed towards the pile; Matt and Jesse dragging away Sean, and Aromi and I barely holding back Charlie. Anthony lay curled up in a ball, shaking and bleeding.

"You don't ever lay a hand on a lady like that!" Sean shouted, kicking at him as his band mates pulled him back.

"You get the fuck out of this house, and if I ever see you again, you won't live to regret it!" Charlie bellowed. Anthony scrambled up and bolted out the door. Charlie and Sean calmed down enough for us to let them go and then we heard the front door slam.

I looked around at all of them apprehensively, but my eyes settled on Jesse. He had his lower lip between his teeth and his eyes shut, shaking his head and taking deep breaths. I put a hand on his arm, and he pulled me into a hug. "I'm so sorry," he mumbled, arms tightening. A whimper escaped my throat, my eyes watering, and he quickly let go.

I winced, gingerly touching my ribs. "I think I need some ice," I garbled painfully. Aero rushed out the door and returned quickly with an ice pack. They all crowded around and basically carried me to a chair and sat me down.

"Back off, guys," I laughed after a moment. "I'm getting claustrophobic here." Everyone eased. Jokes meant almost normal, and normal meant less angry boys. And less angry boys meant more happy females. I think I deserve that selfish whim. "Oh yeah, the food's here."

"Thirsty?" Charlie asked kindly, a hand on my shoulder. "I'll get you a nice cold drink."

Soon we settled into eating pizza and hanging out again, half the group on the floor for some reason. Seems like the floor is always where the cool kids are. Normally I'd join them, but Sean ordered me to sit in a seat, just in case the ribs were more messed up than we thought.

"Who'd'a thought Sean would be the one beating the shit out of him?" Jesse laughed before taking another bite of his slice. "Got a mean right cross, there, man. Where'd you learn that?"

Sean shrugged. "You pick t'ings up," was his only reply.

Charlie planted a kiss on the top of my head. "I'll go get Silvio to look at your ribs, principessa."

"What's with everyone calling you princess all the time?" Matt asked around a mouthful of olive and mushroom. "I mean, Bill, Charlie... Should we all be groveling at your feet?"

I laughed and pushed his shoulder back with my foot. "I've already got you wrapped around my legs like ballet slippers, what else do I need?"

Everyone laughed. Aromi frowned thoughtfully for a moment as asked, "Isn't the phrase wrapped around my finger?"

"Yes, darling," I replied, smiling, "But you obviously didn't see that picture in the photo shoot during tour. These guys do not know the meaning of personal space."

As our sugar and natural highs began to dwindle, I picked up a guitar and sat against the couch, the guys sprawled around on the floor and furniture. Silvio said luckily I hadn't cracked anything, but I had some deep tissue bruises that I should probably have looked at again; he wrapped my middle tightly with bandages, just in case.

Insta-corset anyone?

Playing a few random snippets for a few minutes, I stared at my hands and started playing what moved me. After a moment I recognised the song and smiled ironically. "~You do something to me... that I can't explain~," I sang softly. "~So would I be out of line if I said... I miss you...~"

I continued playing the Incubus song for a few minutes, vaguely knowing everyone was listening, until I sighed and gently set down the guitar beside me. The guys all looked at me questioningly; I glanced at the floor beside me and curled up on it, shutting my eyes.

A moment later, a hand stroked my hair. "If you miss him so much, why don't you just go see him?" Matt posed, stroking my ear before returning to my hair.

"Shut up, Mattie," I muttered weakly. I didn't want to hear reason right then; I didn't want anything.

"He's got a point, sweetheart," Aero noted kindly. I opened one eye to see him kneeling with his head on the floor next to mine. When he smiled blithely, I snorted and allowed a small smile before shutting my eyes.

However much I wanted to keep feeling sorry for myself, I got to thinking. Why didn't I go see Ryan? It wasn't like I didn't have the money for a plane ticket now, what with the band getting popular. And he most likely wouldn't object to me staying at his house. Of course, there was the whole PG-13 rating of my life to be considered.

Eyes still shut, I reached into my pocket and dialled a number from memory. Aero asked what I was doing as it rang. "Hey, Bren?" I asked when it picked up. "You're back in Vegas, right? Want to help me with a cunning plan?"