Chasing Stars

Chapter 23

"So do you like it?" Ray asked looking at me. I returned a confused look.

"You're school Rylynn. We were just talking about your school," Gerard interjected, knowing full well I had no been paying attention.

"Right school…" I stated. "No I hate it," I said bluntly.

"Not even one class?" Jamia asked. I shock my head.

"It's a waste of time and resources," I muttered standing hard to my answer.

"I think you need to enroll her in a 'stay in school' program Gee," Frank said with a chuckle.

"Or just an online GED school," I suggested turning and batting my eyes. Clearly I had spent way to much time around Bandit.

"No," He said as if it where that simple.

"You are a very head-strong person," I said in an irritated voice. Everyone chuckled.

"And you're not?" he replied.

"I am but that's different, I'm fifteen you're…ancient," I stated having no idea how old he actually was.

"Thanks Rylynn ancient that is such a nice age," Gerard retorted. I smirked at him. Everyone chuckled.

"So Rylynn, do you miss New Jersey?" Frank asked. I glanced down at my water for a moment before replying.

"Yeah sometimes. I miss the weather there and my friends," I muttered.

"Did you ever go to a concert called Wallamania? I guess it's this huge thing that got started a few years ago that all the kids are talking about. One of the bands that I managed was really wanting to perform there," Frank asked.

"Umm yeah," I said looking down again trying not to give anything away. This was the concert that Derek was talking about. This was the concert that I helped start. I had preformed at everyone. "Yeah I ah, I know of it. What band do you manage?" I asked trying to change the subject.

"Uproaring Earth, it's a metal band," Frank said. I let out a big laugh.

"Yeah I know who they are. Can Josh actually stay on stage long enough to finish a set?" I asked through more laughter. Gerard and Mikey both gave me a sideways look.

"Yeah he did have a problem with that for a while. How do you know them, they're a bit older than you," Frank asked.

"We used to play at The Vaun together. I remember one of their shows, Josh got so scared of the crowd he stepped off the back of the stage and broke his ankle. But that was when he was still with Eyes Wide. I can't believe that he is still preforming," I said with a smile on my face. Everyone was giving me a confused look.

"Playing where?" Mikey asked after a moment. I turned and looked at him for a moment.

"The Vaun, down on Mickleson Drive," I said not picking up on what was happening.

"Yeah we know the place. What where you playing?" Gerard asked sounding way to curious.

"What was I what?" I asked confused at what they where all talking about.

"You said you knew from when you used to play at The Vaun. What were you playing?" Gerard asked with more clarity. I instantly dropped the smile and sat back in my chair.

"Ah nothing. So Frank what other bands do you manage?" I quickly asked attempting to change the topic.

"No I think we all what to know what you where playing that involved you being at The Vaun," he replied. My eyes darted to my lap. I felt Gerard's hand touch the top of my head and turn it towards him.

"Out with it," he said with a smirk.

"I was in a band for a little while it's not a big deal," I stated feeling my checks go beet red. The guys exchanged looks and then turned back to me. Even Lindsey had her eyes on me.

"What did you play?" Mikey finally asked.

"It doesn't matter, stop looking at me," I said defensively.

"Stop with your secretes," Gerard said from next to me.

"Will you all drop it if I tell you?" I asked folding my arms. Everyone nodded except for Gerard. I rolled my eyes. "I used to play guitar and I sucked at it," I stated. Everyone lend back except Gerard who was thinking of something.

"You don't have a guitar," Gerard stated. The moment the words left his mouth everyone lend forward again on the table.

"You're right I don't. That's because the day my mother was buried, I shattered it on my bedroom floor," my eyes where locked with his. He wasn't giving in and neither was I. "Drop the subject," I stated and stood up. Gerard's hand grabbed mine. I looked at him and sighed. "I'm just going to grab something else to drink. I'll be right back, stop acting like I'm going to ignite on fire," I said standing up and walking towards the house. I walked into the kitchen and sat down. I placed my face in my hands, just wishing today would go away. I'm not sure how long I was sitting there but when I felt a hand touch my back, I quickly sat up and turned toward the person.

"He didn't mean to bring it up, none of us did," Mikey said. I nodded and stood up.

"I'm fine really," I said opening the refrigerator. I grabbed some tea and slammed the door.

"Clearly," Mikey stated. I turned and shoot him a glare. "Rylynn he is trying more than you realize. You need to give him some slack." I took a few steps forward and put a nice smile on.

"I will, right after he ships me back off to New Jersey. That's what you want right?" I asked staring him dead in the eye.

"Rylynn," an upset Gerard said with a firm voice. I quickly turned my attention to him. "We already talk about that, twice I believe. It's time you drop it." I looked down at my feet and pulled at my sleeves. "Got it?" he asked.

"Yeah," I muttered.

"Now apologize to your uncle," Gerard stated. He left me no room to wiggle out of this one.

"I'm sorry," I practically whispered.

"What was that?" Gerard said leaning forward.

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that to you," I stated. Mikey nodded at me.

"Take your drink and go outside," Gerard instructed me. I began to walk away.

"Don't look at me like that, I didn't tell her anything. She heard you," I overheard Gerard saying to Mikey. I walked back onto the deck to see that both my chair and Mikey's was taken by small children. I shock my head and sat where Gerard had been sitting. The conversation had changed to Lindsey's art work and Jamia's clothing line. I listened to the adults chatter. After a few moments, Gerard and Mikey came back out with tons of grillable items. Gerard set what he was carrying down and began to lay the food on the already hot grill. Mikey helped him and then took his beer and sat near Ray. Once Gerard had this set he walked over to the table and set down his coke in front of me. I went to move but his hand came to my shoulder.

"You're fine," he muttered picking up his pack of cigarettes from the table and walking away from the table again. This time, Frank followed him. They stood at the far end of the deck smoking. I shot Gerard a glare that he instantly saw since they where facing the table. He put his hands out in a 'what now?' expression, followed by him waving me to come over. I stood up and walked over to the two men.

"What's wrong now?" he asked exhaling away from me.

"Nothing," I stated and turned to walk away.

"Hang on, I just got a mean look from you," he added grabbing my sweatshirt.

"There was no look," I said simply.

"You are as bad of a lier as your dad," Frank said with a smile. Gerard made a gesture towards Frank's comment.

"Those are going to kill you," I stated pointing at the cigarette in his hand.

"Might. They might kill me," he defended. I looked at his pack that was sitting on the railing. I quickly picked it up and took a few steps away from him, turning around. My name was being said but I ignored it. Without him seeing, I yanked one out along with his liter.

"So I can do it to right?" I asked turning back around and placing the cigarette in between my lips.

"Rylynn don't," he said in a tired manner.

"Wow, definitely your kid," Frank said with a chuckle. I lit the cigarette and tossed the pack back at him. He just stared at me. Frank looked between myself and Gerard. "Rylynn, you're walking a thin line." I glanced at Frank as I exhaled.

"How come you can smoke so well?" Gerard asked looking at me from head to toe. Just then Ray walked up and gave a questioning look at me while pulling out his own pack.

"Well… you know… The Vaun and all…" I stated allowing him to think the worst. I was pushing his buttons and knew that I was. It didn't matter to me though. I just wanted to make sure that he stopped smoking.

"She likes to pretend she's tough shit," Gerard informed the two men. They both smiled resulting in me rolling my eyes.

"Just like Sam huh," Ray said with a smile. I instantly turned toward Ray.

"You knew my mom?" I asked confused. I knew Gerard and her dated for some time but I thought it was over long before the band formed.

"Yeah I went to elementary school with her. We lost touch after your parents split," he said exhaling.

"You grew up in the same area?" I asked intrigued by this information.

"Yeah actually right around the corner from where she grew up. My dad still lives there," Ray added.

"Wait your related to that Mr. Toro?" I asked. "He used to give me candy everytime I was over at my grandma's house."

"Sounds like my Dad. Actually now that you mention it I vaguely remember seeing a little girl over there. That was years ago," Ray stated. I was starring at Ray completely perplexed.

"I don't get it," I muttered placing the cigarette in between my lips again. "If she lived next to you, how did she know him?" I indicated Gerard.

"We all went to the same high school," Gerard stated throwing his cigarette in the can and reaching forward to grab my sweatshirt. I stepped forward as he continued to pull me towards him.

"I thought you knew Mom before that," I stated. I was now standing right in front of him. He left one hand sitting in my pocket to keep me close by. Gerard let out a sigh.

"Our Mom's knew each other," Gerard added. Before I could push the subject again Gerard grabbed the cigarette in my hand and held it up. "I never want to see you doing this again. Ever. Understood?" Gerard asked.

"Maybe you should stop then," I attempted to justify.

"I'm the adult here, not you," he replied. I rolled my eyes.

"Fine, but my point still stands," I said. He nodded his head and put the cigarette out.

"I really don't like the fact that you went to The Vaun," he added. I smiled and stepped to the side of him. He wrapped his arm around my shoulder.

"Neither did Mom," I laughter. "In fact she freaked out and tried to ground me the first time she found out I had gone there."

"How well did that work?" Gerard asked.

"I bought a plane ticket not long after," I chuckled.

"God Rylynn," Gerard stated pushing his hair back out of his face.

"Wait I'm sorry, you bought a plane ticket?" Ray asked.

"I tried to run away from my mom at one point. I didn't get far," I stated looking down. Part of me did feel guilty for attempting to leave, even more so now that she wasn't here. It's odd how I tried for so long to get to Gerard and now that I'm here, all I want to do is go back.

"Yeah why don't you tell the guys what you did yesterday while I go flip the food?" Gerard asked.

"I'd rather not," I said shacking my head and hoping he wouldn't push the issue.

"Well think of this as part of your punishment. Besides the more times you say it might make it sink in, what a bad call it was." Gerard began to walk away and I saw both the guys waiting for me to explain.

"How about you guys just act really disappointed and we don't have to really recall everything," I suggested. They both shock their heads.

"Oh no, tell the story," Frank said.

"I kinda may have not gone to school yesterday… totally not a big deal," I said.

"You skipped?" Ray asked. I nodded my response.

"Told ya Gerard needs to get you in a stay in school program," Frank said. Ray leaned over and discarded his cigarette.

"There has to be more," Ray stated. They both starred at me. I sighed in defeat.

"I walked downtown," I started.

"You did what? By yourself?" Ray asked.

"Yeah by myself and I got arrested."

"Wow," they both responded.

"You know you could have seriously gotten hurt or kidnapped," Frank added stating the exact scenario that everyone replied with.

"Yes I know," I said rolling my eyes. I really wasn't in the mood for another lecture. It seemed like they where all going to head to the same end result of 'irresponsible and dangerous'.

"Did you learn your lesson" Ray asked.

"Yeah," I said annoyed.

"Good don't ever forget it," Ray stated.

"You probably had Gerard terrified," Frank said stepping away from the rail. Ray and I followed as he walked back towards the table.

"More like angry, I don't think that terrified or worry even crossed his mind," I muttered only to gain a disapproving look from Frank and Ray. We reached the table where everyone was sitting. The only seats left belonging to Ray and Frank.

"Did you tell them the best part?" Gerard asked as I walked towards him.

"No," I said in a shy manner. Gerard slide his chair back and reached out towards me. I stepped forward not really knowing what he wanted. He grabbed my hip when I got close enough and guided me down to his lap.

"Oh come on tell them," He said dropping his hand on the arm rest beside me. I leaned on the table and looked back at him.

"Are you serious?" I asked him. He nodded taking a drink of his soda. "Come on, don't make me," I said soft enough that only Gerard and Lindsey could hear.

"Are you talking about what I think you're talking about?" Lindsey asked.

"Yeah. Part of the her punishment," Gerard said setting his soda down. I groaned.

"I ran from the cops," I said quickly just getting it over with. Mikey spit his beer and Bandit stopped playing to see what the fuss was.

"You did what?" Frank asked raising his eyebrows. I felt my face go red.

"I'm sorry is there a back story to this?" Jamia asked.

"Why don't you fill them all in Ry," Gerard said. I retold the story for the second time that day.

"And so I tried to run away from the officer," I ended. I looked down at my hands and then finally up again. Mikey caught my eye right before he stood up and walked away slamming the door.

"Rylynn, you aren't supposed to run from the cops. Daddy, is she a criminal?" Bandit asked.

"Are you a criminal Rylynn?" Ray asked with a smirk.

"No, I'm just a stupid kid who didn't think," I said.

"And that kids is why you should stay in school," Gerard said with a smile to the young children.

"I like school," Miles exclaimed with a big smile.

"That's good. Rylynn go check on Mikey. I've got to check the food," Gerard said. I groaned and stood up, walking towards the door. He wasn't in the sitting room or in the kitchen. I finally found him on the front porch. I opened the door and joined him.

"I'm supposed to check on you," I said leaning on the rail. He exhaled his cigarette and locked eyes with me.

"Are you out of your fucking mind?" he screamed at me.

"About checking on you? Gerard told me to," I said defensively.

"No!" he yelled and then put his cigarette out. "Do you realize what could have happened to you?" I was shocked since when was Mikey concerned with me at all? He didn't give a flying fuck about me. He wanted me back in New Jersey and away from Gerard. Before I could answer or respond he through me over his shoulder and began walking me to his car.

"Let me go," I yelled frustrated attempting to get free. He opened his back door and through me in the car followed by himself.

"That's how easy it is," he stated in an upset voice.

"Why the fuck do you care huh?" I screamed at him.

"You're my fucking niece that's why I care," he yelled back. "Rylynn that isn't a town you should be just walking through. it isn't safe."

"Yeah, I got that thanks," I stated. We both huffed and leaned back against the leather seats. He turned and looked at me.

"Don't ever do that again," he asked.

"Yeah I wont. I'm pretty sure Gerard's never going to forget about it." I swallowed hard prior to continuing, debating if I should confide in him at all. "He looked like he was gonna kill me."

"He was probably worried," Mikey said.

"I'm pretty sure that was not the look of worried. More like he was debating on getting ride of me," I stated looking at my hands.

"Listen Rylynn," Mikey stated taking a deep breath, "I shouldn't have said what I did the other day. I didn't mean that he should be apart of your life."

"You don't need to justify it," I stated quickly.

"No I do, Gerard wants to help you but it's hard when all you do is shut down. He's worried about you, Mom is worried about you, shit I'm fucking worried about you. We are all so worried that I think we are blocking you from getting through this. I think we are hindering your process." Mikey was right. They kept waiting for the other shoe to drop with me. The next big fail. I was fucked up and I knew that but it didn't mean I wanted to leave. "Hey," Mikey said gaining my attention. "Don't think on it. In fact let's go back inside." I nodded and followed him inside. By the time we reached the deck, Lindsey and Jamia had all the kids arranged at their own table. I took my seat next to Gerard as we began to fill our plates.
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Sorry for the wait.