Sequel: If Only Until Morning

Pictures on Silence

Chapter 6

If it has never happened to you, let me be the first to inform you that awakening to your extremely annoying ringtone- only in existence until you can find a good one- right above your head, is quite possibly the worst way of waking up. Especially on a Saturday.

Which is what happened to me.

Growling indistinctly at it, I swatted around on the bookshelf above me until I found the little wanker and collapsed back into bed. Not even bothering to check the caller id, I answered.

"What?" I am not a morning person.

"Ange, y'are not going t'believe this."

"Sean?" I rubbed my eyes and glanced at the clock across the room. "It's eight-fucking-fifteen on a Saturday morning after a show. What the hell d'you want?"

Sean laughed on the other end. "Sorry, love. I know it's early, but I have the most brilliant news for you. You are going to go mad." I grunted, eyes closed. "Are you listening?"

"Yes, I'm listening, you bloody pillock." I have a tendency to affect Sean's accent and vernacular when in conversation with him; he doesn't mind. It happens to me with anyone with an accent.

"Alright, no need to swear so much, please." I snorted. "You know what? I think maybe I won't tell you yet. Just be ready by half eleven and warm up your voice."

"You called me on a Saturday morning with news not to tell me?" I demanded sleepily. I ran over in my head what he'd said. "And why do I need to warm up?"

"Just do it," Sean said. "Don't ask so many questions. Jesse and I'll come pick you up, alright?"

"Yeah, okay. Bye, Butch Cassidy." Then I hung up the phone but was too awake to go back to bed. So I swung my feet to the floor, stretched, and shuffled to the shower. "Stupid boys and their stupid secrets."

After waking myself up in the shower, I got dressed, grabbed a waffle out of the freezer, and sat up on the kitchen counter. My mom was working on her computer.

"Morning, Angie," she greeted, typing. The waffle muffled my reply. "Who was that on the phone?"

"Sean," I said after swallowing. "He had some big news but won't tell me what it is. Apparently it's something fantastic and I'm going to flip out." I rolled my eyes and tore at my waffle.

"Maybe he's getting married," Mom joked.

I scoffed. "To what? An ostrich?" We both laughed. "Something band-related, I reckon, since Jesse's coming as well." I shrugged and jumped off the counter. "They're coming at half past eleven, so I should probably walk up to Dad's in a bit and find something decent to wear."

"You never know who you're going to meet, right?" Mom turned her head, smiling. I smiled at the floor. "No wonder you came home dancing. I still think you should have given one of them your number."

I laughed and walked through the living room. "Oh yeah," I called back, "Just give my number out to random rock stars like some crazy deluded fangirl."

Later, I packed all my stuff into my messenger bag, humming "Camisado" to myself. I kept thinking, Maybe I should have. Not that any of them would call me. That'd be ridiculous. My friends would probably go crazy and murder me. I laughed aloud at the mental image of Amanda, Mary, Bianca, and Aromi attacking me for my phone whenever it rang.

I supposed that it was kind of weird that my mom lived down the hill from my dad, but it made the trip convenient for me, so I wasn't about to complain. Although, it was a big hill. Slamming the front door, I acknowledged my brothers, who were watching 'Mystery Science Theatre 300' on DVD in the front room, and went up the stairs to my room.

There came a knock on the door, and it opened before I had time to say anything. "Angie, I thought I told you to empty the dishwasher," Mackenzie said, poking her head in.

I stopped, wearing a neutral expression. "No, you didn't."

My stepmother entered the room and put her hands on her hips. "Yes, I did. I remember distinctly telling you last night."

"I... left before you came home," I pointed out cautiously. "Aero picked me up at five."

"I still don't like you hanging out with him. Him and those other boys." I sighed and said nothing, staring at my floor. I couldn't look at her when she did this. "Just empty the dishwasher like I told you."

I clenched my teeth and pursed my lips at the ceiling once she shut the door. "I am not a number," I quoted in a whisper. "I am a free man."

With that, I unpacked my things and, after throwing a few select clothes on the bed-- which took about half an hour-- I crossed to the front of the house and stopped next to my dad, seated at the computer.

"Dad, can I go out with Sean and Jesse at 11:30?" I asked politely.

"I don't see why it should be a problem," he replied. "Call if you're not going to be home for dinner." I thanked him and returned to my haven, mentally growling when I heard my stepmother asking him about it.

Since it was cold-- cold in the SF area during the summer? Who'd'a thunk it?-- I put on my off-white thermal shirt underneath my Nirvana t-shirt and went out to the front room to wait.

"Where're you going?" Aibhlin asked when I started to lace up my Chucks.

"Out with Sean and Jesse."

"Hopefully somewhere to get me new bass strings," Tyrnan added.

I rolled my eyes. "Tyrnan, you never changed them. Of course one of them broke. Don't be such a curmudgeon."

We sat around, watching and laughing, until the doorbell rang. I walked to the door, but my half-sister Danielle ran from her room and opened it before me. I glared at the top her head. "Hi, Sean," she drawled sweetly, smiling.

Sean ruffled her hair, causing Jesse and I to roll our eyes. "Bye, everybody!" I called into the house. Mackenzie said something, but I shut the door quickly behind me and dragged the two to Jesse's van.

"Where are we going?" I asked forcefully once we got in.

Jesse looked back at Sean. "You didn't tell her?" he asked, surprised. Sean smirked.

"Tell me what!" I insisted as Jesse started down the street.

"It's supposed to be a surprise, Trill," Sean said, not looking at me. "So don't tell her."

"But you told me and Matt at least..."

I spun around to stare at Sean. "You told Manwhore but not me?" Sean beamed at me, and I pouted desperately at him. "Tell me!"

"Did you warm up?" he asked.

I shook my head. "Don't change the sub-"

"Then we'll have to do it now. Trill, the music if you would!" Trill cranked the speakers, a mix CD pouring out, drowning out my questions and demands about where we were going. The ride continued thusly, with all of us singing loudly our favourite bands and me asking where we were going between verses and songs.

I squinted up through my fingers into the bright sky, barely visible between the tall buildings. I wished I had my sunglasses; my eyes were extremely light sensitive. "Why are we downtown, Butch Cassidy?" I asked, twirling around. I love being downtown.

"Because, Penelope," Matt said, appearing from nowhere and putting his arm around my shoulder, "We are about to meet some very important people."

"Oh?" I shrugged his arm off and followed the others inside a building. "And what important people are these, Manwhore?"

"Eleventh floor," the woman at the desk informed them as Matt and I walked up. She looked at me and sneered at my clothes. I raised an eyebrow at her. You got a problem, sugar? Seeing this exchange, Jesse put his arm around me and I snuggled into his shoulder, smiling maliciously at her jealous expression as we walked towards the elevator. I blew her a kiss and winked as the elevator doors closed and laughed, shoving my hands into my pockets.

The guys stepped in front of me on the tenth floor. I frowned curiously at all of them. As the door opened, Sean whispered, "Don't faint." I followed them out, giving him a weird look. Why would I faint?

The office we entered had a huge glass window overlooking the area. Entrance by the view, I wandered over, completely ignoring the other people in the room; my friends and family said I had an artist's mind, looking at the world differently than anyone else and seeing something beautiful in everything. And everyone.

"Good to see she recognises us," I heard from behind me, followed by snickers.

I turned and grinned. Panic! At the Disco sat in four of the eight chair in front of the desk. "Hello there," I said, walking over. "What're you doing here?"

"No idea," Spencer said cheerfully. "Our tour manager just told us to come up before the show."

"I know." Aromi grinned at me from the door; he stood next to some dude in a casual suit. The guy sat down behind the desk and asked that we sit. I did, nervously.

The suit smiled. "You're probably wondering what you're doing here. Well, for those of you who don't know, I'm George Lobowski, Panic's manager for the California tour, and last night I received a telephone call from one Peter Wentz of 'Decay Dance' Records on behalf of a local band's manager."

Shivers running through me, I glanced at the guys: awed anticipation of his next words. I glanced at Panic!: grinning at each other; they knew something. I licked my lips and kept listening.

"Well, Pete told me about you four and sent up a CD, insisting that I listen to it." Lobowski folded his hands and smiled. "I loved it. I made some calls and talked to some people..." I swallowed. "And I know it's a bit sudden..." Oh my god, I'm going to strangle this guy, I thought when he paused again. "But we want Penny Dreadful to open for the rest of the tour starting Tuesday."

I think that's my pulse you hear stopping.

Everyone in the room started talking at once, excited as hell, congratulatory, disbelieving. I sat in my chair, motionlessly staring with wide eyes into my lap. I couldn't have heard him right.

"You want us to do what with whom?" I asked quietly, beneath the noise of the guys.

Lobowski smiled. "We want you to tour the Pacific with Panic! At the Disco for the next two weeks," he repeated.

"That's what I thought you said."

The guys finally noticed my reaction. "What's wrong?" Brendon asked.

I shook my head. "My parents will never let me away without supervision for two weeks."

"Wait," Jon said, holding up his hands. "How old are you?"

"Sixteen," I answered, looking back at him.

"You're joking!" Lobowski exclaimed. "I thought you were at least twenty!"

"So did I!" Brendon put in, shocked.

"What if she got parental consent?" Aero suggested suddenly. He came over to my chair and muttered in my ear, "What about your mom?" My eyes widened. I hadn't thought of that. Mom would definitely approve. "Call her."

I think everyone who had a phone held his out to me. Shaking, I pulled out my own, scrolled to her name, and pressed call. The room was dead silent. "Hello?"

"Hi, Mom," I said nervously.

"Hey, sweetie. What's up?"

"You know that thing Sean called me at 8:15 to tell me about but didn't?" I glared back at Butch Cassidy, who smiled innocently. "Well, I'm at it right now, and I have a question for you."

"Sure. Go ahead."

"Um..." I swallowed. "Hypothetically if the band was asked to tour for two weeks starting Tuesday, would you let me go?" I finished sweetly.

There was a pause on the line. I looked around anxiously. "Mom?"

I held the phone arms length from my ear at the incredible squeal that it emitted. Everyone else laughed. "Guess that's our answer," Trill said.

"Oh my god, Angie, I'm so proud of you!" Mom cried. "We have so much to do! So much to prepare for! Oh god, your father is going to have a cow!"

I sighed, smiling weakly. "I know, Mom. I'll call you later, okay?"

"Okay, sweetie. Love you."

"Love you too," I said. "Ciao." I hung up the phone and nodded awkwardly. "So yeah."

"Fabulous," Lobowski said, pulling out some forms. "Now all each of you needs to do is fill out this form to bring with you on Tuesday Penny Dreadful each took one. And you, miss, need to sing for us."

I stopped. "Beg pardon?"

"Well, you weren't featured on the CD, and I don't want to have a disappointment to my name." He picked up a small boom box from the floor and set it on his desk. "Are you familiar with your band mates' old material?"

"Of course she is," Aromi interjected indignantly, rifling around in his cargo pants. "But maybe she should sing something... else..." He looked to me, frowning cutely, and turned to the guys. Jesse lazily took a CD out of his pocket and held it up. Aero clapped thrice and put in the player. "You'll totally love this one. She almost made me cry when I first heard her sing it, it's so gorgeous."

I struggled to speak. "I can't sing now," I stuttered. "I get nervous when I can see my audience; I always know when they don't like me."

"Here," Ryan said. He took off his hat and put it on my head. "Magic hat." I smiled. "Now wow us like you did last night."

A few snickered, myself included. "That sounds so dirty," I laughed. Then everyone laughed.

"I didn't mean it like that," Ryan clarified, pressing play and pulling the hat over my eyes.
I swallowed as the intro played and took a few deep breaths. Even inside the hat-- Oh my god, I'm wearing Ryan Ross's hat-- I still knew they were all there, so I shut my eyes and imagined I was sitting in my brother Aibhlin's car. "~Hello... I've waited here for you... Everlong...~"

"Well, that settles it," Lobowski said when I finished, peeking from beneath the brim of the hat. "I think we're done here." Everyone talked a bit more, shook hands, and nine out of ten walked to the elevator.

My face felt like I'd set it on fire.

"Why are you so embarrassed?" Brendon asked as we squished into the cubicle. "You sounded great."

"No, I didn't," I muttered, awkwardly taking off Ryan's hat, which I just realised I was still wearing.

"Darling, don't be self-deprecating," Sean said. "We all heard you."

"Whatever. I still have to convince my dad and Mackenzie to let me go on tour." I passed a hand over my face. "God, this is going to be impossible."

"Would it help if we met them?" Spencer suggested.

"We don't have time now," Jon said, looking at his watch. "We have to be at the venue in two hours."

"Not enough time." We all thought of a solution as the elevator descended.

Ryan looked at me around Matt. "What if we took them to lunch tomorrow? You know, show them how trust-worthy and capable we are?"

"Trust-worthy, yes," I said. "Capable... I think that's what they're afraid of." I exited the elevator and heard them chuckle and follow me after a moment.

I took a Sharpie from my pocket and found a scrap of paper, on which I wrote my address and directions. I stuffed it in Brendon's hand. "Half past twelve good for you guys?" I asked, looking at each of them. They exchanged glances and nodded. "Rad. See you lot tomorrow then."

Walking between Jesse and Sean out to the car, I heard Spencer ask, "Did she just say 'rad'?"