Beat

2 years 6 months 1 day

Here we sit, alone and silent at the back of the music store. All four goons are at the front, preoccupied with another. It's almost nine in the morning and this has been going on all night. Josh is pissed because he can't get any sleep. Marcus, on the other hand, seems to be asleep; it's really hard to tell what's going on with him because of his face coverings. The showdown has quieted down, though, and I'm recounting the number of CDs on the rack. Four hundred seventy five...four hundred seventy six...

"So how'd you get those bruises?" Josh asks bluntly. It's totally silent now, but the gunmen remain at their posts, in case shooting decides to burst out.
Four hundred seventy seven...four hundred seventy eight...four hundred seventy nine...yep the same as the last time: four hundred eighty.
"Lynn?" he knows I'm avoiding the question, but I don't say anything, I just start to try and unravel the carpet again.
"Hello?"
I feel tears stinging at my eyes and before I can stop them, they're rolling down my face, "Hey, are you alright? Loaded question?" I almost smile at the worry in his voice, how a person whom I had only known for a few hours, could show more concern than I had known my whole life. I shake my head.
"Then what's wrong?"
"Nothing," I lie, "I, uh, fell into the banister at my house. I tripped over one of my brother's shoes. He's always leaving them around, you know," I want to literally kick myself. It's the worst lie I've ever told, and it sounds worse because I'm rambling, "and I wasn't paying too close attention, because I was reading and walking at the same time--"
"No you weren't." the words came from Marcus this time.
I turn around and give him a weak smile, "What are you talking about?"
He lifts his sunglasses and looks me straight in the eye, "You didn't fall down the stairs. Bruises like that," he points at my eye, "don't come from accidents."
I huff out a big puff of air.
"So I got in a fight, ok?" I say truthfully.
"Sweet," Josh says like any guy his age would, Billie just rolls his eyes and places his sunglasses back over them, "Was it with a guy or another girl?!" Josh prods.
I give him a look before taking suit from Marcus and pulling my hood over my head. If I can't sleep for real, at least I can pretend to.
A loud crash comes from the front of the store that makes all three of us jump. "Everybody get down!" we hear an official voice yell from the direction the crash came. I look over at Josh and Marcus and they're both following orders. I do the same. Loud gunshots and sounds of scuffling echo from the front of the store, and in five minutes it's all over.
Josh and I are sitting on the back of an ambulance. We have those big charcoal-colored disaster blankets wrapped around us.
"Well that was fun," Josh says, he looks humorously at the store and laughs, "I am so fired."
We both look at the storefront and we have to laugh at his comment because it's completely destroyed. There's no glass left in the windows. There are bullet holes everywhere, not to mention half the equipment inside is shot to hell.
No one else laughs, just us. Everyone else seems grumpy and tired, makes sense.
I guess its like learning how to read. There are those that are swept away into an alternate universe, to witness an important event in the lives of the fictional characters they live through... others just see words on a page.

So after three hours of going through pairs of cops and giving statements and having our fingerprints taken (which I don't see the point in when they have the guys right there), I am sitting here in the police station, waiting for my "parents" to come pick me up. Marcus is an adult so he can leave on his own, and Josh's are out of town, so he's pretty much in the same predicament I am. Marcus got our phone numbers and promised to keep in touch before dashing out in an attempt to dodge the press.
"You think he actually will?" Josh asks me, we've been here now for about two hours these cops still aren't getting the hint.
I shake my head, "No, I mean, come on. He's Marcus Banner, he'll be too preoccupied with keeping the press off his front lawn these next couple months."
Josh leans back in his chair and crosses his legs at the knees, "Good point."
"Miss Loeman?" I look up at a man in a police uniform, "Your brother is here to take you home."
"Shit," I mutter under my breath.
"I'll call you later," Josh calls to me as I get up and leave. I just wave my hand in response. I am literally shaking by the time I see Danny standing in the front way of the police station. The officer at my side turns to leave, "Have a nice night."
"Yeah right," I mumble under my breath. It's almost six, on a friday. I know Danny's pissed because the bar is calling his name.
"I got you out, now go away," Danny says walking back to his car.
"But Danny, where the hell am I supposed to go?"
He looks at me with a gleam of anger in his eye, "Find a homeless shelter."
He gets into the car and drives off. I mentally flip him off as his car retreats down the road.
Taking a deep breath and realizing, I'm probably lucky; I resolve that he'll cool off later and decide to go for a walk in the meantime. I check my wallet and figure I have enough for dinner.
What a glorious day this is for me.

"lightning strikes,
open your eyes,
troubled skies,
behind your lies"

The lyrics come over the radio at a local diner. I find it a bit ironic that just a few hours ago, I was sitting next to the man whose voice is ringing in my ears now. It's after dark now and I suppose Danny's had enough time to wind down, if he's not still out, so I decide to go home. I almost laugh at that word: "home" it's not like I honestly have one, but I have nowhere else to go.
Making my way down the street, I take my time; I'm in no hurry to get back.
The lyrics to Stray Tape's song are blaring in my mind for some reason. Good walking song, I suppose.

Danny has the door locked, and the one thing I forgot to take with me when I left the house yesterday was my house key, damn him. I make my way around the back and climb the tree in the back yard. Its times like these that make me glad the neighbors don't have dogs. I kick out the screen to my open window like I've done so many times before and slide in off the branch. Easy as butter.
I slide out of my shoes and my jacket and plop down onto my bed for some much-needed sleep. My muscles and bones make popping and cracking noises as I stretch out on my stomach, I tuck my arms underneath my pillow like I do every night and let myself drift off.

My cell phone wakes me up, I look over at my clock to find its green digital read-out to be 4:00, and judging that it's still dark out, I'm guessing it's AM.
"Hello?" I mumble into the phone.
"What are you wearing?"
"What?" I sit up in my bed and rub the sleep out of my eyes.
"Are you alone?"
"Who is this?!" I say sharply into the phone. I hear a familiar voice in the background, "What the hell? Joe gimme the damn phone!"
I hear the sound of the phone being wrestled from one person to another. "Hey, sorry about that. I swear; you leave Joe alone in a room for five minutes… so how's it goin?"
"Uh ok I guess." I smile at the wall, Snoopy Joe, Marcus' drummer just called me from his phone.
"That's good, so'd you have dinner?"
"Marc, it's four in the morning."
"I know, but since Joe woke you up, I thought I'd make the best of it."
I let out a big sigh, "Well its five hours too early to make the best out of anything."
He laughs, "That's almost true, well I'll call you in five hours then."
"Good night," I say before pressing the END button on my phone.

2 years 6 months 1 day