Sequel: If Only Until Morning

Pictures on Silence

Chapter 7

"But you have to meet them. They're really nice guys."

"When did you meet these boys? How do you know they aren't serial killers?" Mackenzie 'reasoned' as she mixed boxed macaroni for Danielle.

I grimaced at the orange mass and kept myself from rolling my eyes. "They're one of the most popular rock bands today," I informed her whilst keeping my arms crossed. "I think people would know if they were out murdering people."

"When did you meet them?" she repeated.

I sighed and leaned against the kitchen table. "Friday at lunch."

"And you think that two days is enough to know someone?"

"Which is why you have to come to lunch," I finished, trying to hide that I was more than a little annoyed. "To see that I won't end up dead or left for dead post-rape in an alley in SoCal."

"I still don't know if I like the idea," Dad said, coming into the kitchen. "You wouldn't be staying in hotels every night, you know. You'd be staying with a bunch of teenage boys in a van, and teenage boys are dumb and hormone-driven."

I smirked but frowned a second later. "Dad, you know Sean; the band make sure nothing happened to me."

"It isn't Sean[/]i in the band I'm worried about."

As I stifled laughter, the doorbell rang and I bolted to answer before Danielle did, which resulted in me sliding on the rug into the door. Grumbling at the pain in my hip from the knob, I opened the door and smiled at the four guys on my doormat.

"Did you run into the door?" Spencer asked, trying to keep from laughing.

I smiled sarcastically. "Yeah, laugh it up." I shooed Danielle away, but she was persistent in seeing to whom I was talking. "Danielle, move please." Moving her with my hip, I let Jon, Spencer, Ryan, and Brendon into the entryway. "So this is my house," I pointed out. "Did you have any trouble finding it?"

"Only around here," Jon said. "It's a tree maze on a giant hill."

"Are you wearing make-up?" Danielle asked snottily.

I frowned from her to Ryan to Spencer to Brendon. I bit my lip; Brendon's eyes were lined in black and I didn't know how my parents would react to it. Brendon smiled at Danielle. "Yes, actually. Your name's Danielle?"

"Dani," she corrected sweetly, having decided that he was cute. I rolled my eyes. My half-sister hit on guys more than I did, though that isn't hard.

"Yeah. Guys, this is my half-sister Danielle," I introduced blandly. "Danielle, these are some friends of mine. Dad, Mackenzie, are you ready to go?"

"Where are you going?" Danielle asked. "Can I come?"

"Not this time, sweetiepie," Mackenzie said, coming out into the entryway to get her purse. "We're going to lunch and having a grown-up talk." Ugh. Grown up talk.

"Then why does Angie get to go?!" I glared at Panic! when they snickered.

"How about we go to Dallas'?" I suggested digressively. "I can drive the guys, or just go and give directions if one of you wanted to drive."

"There isn't room in the rental car," Ryan said. "It was cramped enough getting up here."
"Okay," Dad said, "So, Angie, you take Mackenzie's car?"

"And we'll make introductions when we get there," I finished, opening the front door again and letting the guys out. "See you in a bit." I shut the door behind me and exhaled. So far so good, I thought positively.

"Sorry about the lack of leg-room," I apologised as Jon, Brendon, and Ryan climbed out of the back; Spencer had won rock-paper-scissors, thus riding shotgun. "I hate this car, but at least it runs... most of the time."

We walked into the restaurant and slid into the round booth where my parents already sat. Everyone introduced themselves- my dad as Pat, though the four musicians refused to call him anything but Mr. Callaghan, which left a little awkwardness when they realised they didn't know my last name. I smiled nervously and doodled on the placemat.

The waitress came around and took drink orders: forty points for Panic! explaining when she offered something from the bar that they all were too young to drink. I leaned my elbow on the table as stared out the window whilst everyone searched through their menus. Next to me, Ryan asked if I already had decided. I smiled at him and suggested the shrimp and fries.

After our drinks came and we gave our orders, an awkward silence settled. I looked between the guys on one side of me to my parents on the other. Well, this bodes wonderfully, I thought sarcastically.

"So you boys are a band," Mackenzie said, breaking the silence. I bit my tongue; I didn't need or care about anything but Dad's approval. But how many times had I said that very piece of information? At least twelve in the past three hours. "What sort of music do you play?"

"It's a mix of rock and dance music," Ryan answered. "We do a lot of theatrics onstage. A bit of cabaret, too."

"Neat." I shut my eyes and sipped my iced tea. "How long have you been together?"

"Well, Panic! At the Disco started three years ago-ish, but our old bassist quit just after the album came out and Jon replaced him." Jon smiled and nodded. Another silence came, but my father ended it this time.

"Well, on to business. Why should I let my sixteen year-old daughter tour the coast with seven teenage boys for two weeks?"

"Well, if it helps any, I'm twenty," Jon said jokingly. But Dad was serious. I sent Jon a smile that said, 'Thanks for trying.' "Um." He cleared his throat. "She won't be unsupervised. There're always people around no matter what."

"And we're all very responsible," Spencer put in. "We'll treat her like one of our own and make sure she isn't mauled by fans."

Dad still looked unconvinced as our food came. I didn't touch my BLT. "I promise that I won't do anything stupid," I said honestly. "You know I won't." He nodded and took a bite out of his French Dip. With a quiet sigh, I picked up a fry and ate it.

We ate without speaking much, though many glances were exchanged. At one point, Ryan tapped my leg under the table and placed a note in my hand. I discreetly looked down at it and suppressed a smile. "I think we're doing well," it read, "He hasn't choked any of us yet! <3 Brendon" I caught his eye and we both cracked up.

"What're you laughing about?" Mackenzie asked.

I shook my head and ate another fry. "Nothing, nothing." Her mouth tightened.

We finished most of our food, making mostly idle talk. When the check came, Jon grabbed it before anyone could move and insisted that the four of them pay for the meal. "Not to sound arrogant," Spencer said, "But what are rock stars for?"

Dad actually chuckled at that. The point score up to this time, as I saw it, was about 198 out of 225. Dad hadn't said anything about Brendon's eyeliner, which meant he either hadn't noticed or didn't care, so I split even for that.

"Your daughter's really talented, Brendon said after the silence through which we walked outside. I blushed into my hair and searched for my keys to hide it. "And I think I speak for everyone involved when I say that we'd be incredibly lucky to have her."

I looked up from my shoes to my father. He was looking at the guys, and his eyes turned on me.

"This is bigger than me," I said in a softly desperate tone. "Bigger than any of us. This is an opportunity to do what I've always wanted to do; it's more important to me than anything. How many chances like that do you get in a lifetime? If I don't do this now, I might never." Dad mulled it over in his head. "Please."

Dad sighed. "Alright." A grin broke my face; I was so happy I could almost sing. "But I want to hear from you every day." I nodded vigorously and hugged him. Dad turned on the guys. "Take care of her, or you'll have me to answer to." The guys all nodded quickly, and I smirked; intimidation ran in the family.

I skipped with Brendon through the parking lot to the car. I couldn't stop smiling and they were all smiling too. "Crap," I laughed as I drove out of the lot.

"What?" all four members of Panic! asked.

"Now I have to go shopping tomorrow," I groaned.

They laughed. "You've got to be the only girl who'd be annoyed by that," Spencer said.

"Oh well," I shrugged, smiling. "I'll just have to call Aromi and make plans when I get home." I grinned into the rear view mirror at Ryan, Brendon, and Spencer. "Thanks so much for this. You have no idea how much I love you guys right now."

"I might have some idea," Brendon said suggestively. I rolled my eyes and laughed. At least he didn't say it in front of my dad.