Fool Me Once


The rest of the day dragged on. I spent most of my time zoning out of lessons and trying to avoid Gen, which made me feel guilty, but I couldn’t tell a person I just met that she figured out who my dad was.

I then went straight home. Mum tried to greet me but I ignored her and immediately went to my room.

I decided to look up Panic! At the Disco. More specifically I decided to look up Brendon Urie, the lead singer – and my father. It was insane. He looked way less dorky now. He had tattoos on his left arm, I couldn’t even tell what most of them were because of the angles the picture was taken. He wore glasses sometimes from what I could see. How could my mum not tell him the truth? He didn’t seem like a bad guy. What if he was a bad guy though, and this nice guy thing is just a façade?

Why wouldn’t mum tell me the truth though? Why did she have to lie to me for so long? Whatever the case, I was determined to find out. But I couldn’t ask mum. She’s already so against the idea. I’d have to find out on my own.

Mum knocked on my door. I rolled my eyes and called for her to come in.

“Hey, sweetie. Is something wrong?” She asked.

“No.” I said shortly.

“Are you sure?” She pressed.

“Yep.” I popped the p.

“Okay. Well, Keith and I are going out to dinner. We were wondering if you wanted to join us?” She asked.

“No thanks.” I said. Especially not with Keith. How come she didn’t know that by now?

Mum smiled at me sadly, but soon she and Keith left the house. Which gave me an idea. There were still a few boxes left unpacked until we got the key for the attic. My birth certificate goes in the attic, it always has. But if it’s not been unpacked, it could be in one of those boxes, which could give me definite proof he’s my dad. Not that I had many doubts in my mind. I just needed something. Some sort of proof.

I left my room, seeing Keith reverse the car out of the drive from the window. Once they left, I went rummaging through the boxes. There was loads of old photos of me, my mum, and even Gran in one box. Then I went on to the next, more pictures. Even some of Brendon and my mother together. If I didn’t find my certificate soon I’d still be pretty sure. In fact, just for good measure, I took a photograph of Brendon with his arm around my mum’s shoulders. I then went on to the third and final box.

There it was in black and white. My father was Brendon Boyd Urie. I decided to think about that later. I taped the boxes back up and took that photo and my birth certificate and put it in my box in my room. Then I had time to let this thing sink in. It’s not like I had this burning desire to meet my father, but I had a curiosity nonetheless.

Ugh! This is so ridiculous. I’m never gonna be able to meet the guy. Even if I did, what would I say? “Oh, hey there. I’m the daughter you didn’t know about. Shocking, huh?!” That was almost as insane as whatever this feeling was. I was snapped out of spiralling by Gen calling me.

“Hey, are you okay? You were pretty MIA today.” She said.

“Oh, hey. Yeah I’m fine. Sorry I was just a bit grumpy. Time of the month.” I lied.

“Oh, I totally get it. I’ve been there.” She said.

“You busy?” I asked.

“No, why?” She said. I was so tempted to tell her. I was desperate to get this off my chest. But I didn’t know if I could.

“I’m just out of sorts. I need a friend.” I said.

“Where do you live? I’ll be right there.” She told me. Once I gave her my address she managed to make her way here within five minutes. We head straight to my room.

“What’s wrong, Ali?” She asked. I smiled sadly and shook my head.

“I don’t really know.” I answered. I guess that was true. I don’t know what I’m complaining about. I’ve basically come halfway to fulfilling my childhood dream of seeing my dad. But what if it’s a mistake?

“Well something’s bothering you, but I totally get it if you don’t want to talk about it. So, I’ve got something that might cheer you up.” She said, taking something out of her pockets.

“What’s this?” I asked, taking it.

“VIP backstage passes to the Panic! At the Disco on Saturday.” She said. I almost started tearing up.

“What? I couldn’t-“ I started.

“Look, you’ve been a better friend to me these past two days than most people have been my entire life. Instead of asking for favours as soon as you saw my house and found out what I can do, you’ve been one of the only people not to. In fact, instead of doing any of that, you actually kind of backed off a bit. I get that you were sad, but I’ve got a good vibe about you, Ali.” She interrupted.

I just gave her a hug in response. She genuinely needed it as much as I did. I started tearing up. When she pulled away she noticed my tears.

“I didn’t realise that meant so much to you.” She said.

“You don’t understand what you’ve done for me. It’s this incredible thing that I can never repay you for.” I explained.

“Come on, it’s just backstage passes.” She waved off my comment like I didn’t really mean it. But I did. That’s why I decided to tell her.

“So, you know how we’re doing Panic! At the Disco for our group performance?” I asked.

“Obviously!” She said excitedly. I took the box out of my wardrobe.

“Well, I genuinely hadn’t heard of them until then.” I said.

“Hold up; first you didn’t know them, then you’re a superfan, and now you don’t know them again?” She asked.

“Kind of. Except I’ve learned a lot since then. My mum asked me what we did at school on the first day, and I told her we were doing a Panic! song. Anyway, she sort of tensed up. I don’t know how to describe it. Anyway, you know how I told you about my dad?” I asked.

“Sure.” She answered.

“Well, my gran gave me a picture from when I was about 5.” I said. She then gasped.

“Is that the photo of Brendon?” She asked. I nodded my head.

“When I was in the library, I was looking at who that man might be. I’d never seen him before or after I got that photo. Then you asked how I got that photo of Brendon.” I said.

“Oh my god.” She gasped. “This is because of me?” She asked. I shook my head.

“It’s okay. I needed to know.” I said. I opened the box. “I found these when I went snooping after school.” I said. I showed her my birth certificate and the other photo.

“What do you want to do?” She asked, getting misty eyed with me.

“I don’t know. I mean, on the one hand I want to tell him. I feel like he deserves to know who I am. My mum didn’t tell him.” I said. She nodded her head.

“But on the other hand?” She asked.

“What if he hates me?” I asked shrugging. I started crying all over again. We heard jingles in the lock and so I put everything in the box and hid it back in my wardrobe.

“Hey honey, I’m back… oh, hello.” She said, greeting Gen.

“Why are you back so soon?” I asked.

“Keith forgot his wallet. Who’s this?” Mum asked.

“Hi, I’m Gen.” She greeted.

“Have you two been crying? What’s the matter?” She asked.

“We’re rehearsing for a play, okay?” I said, trying to get her to leave.

“Okay. Well, we’ll be back in an hour or so.” She said. Once she left, Gen and I got thoroughly into the details of what we’d do backstage for Saturday.

When it finally came around, I told mum that I was sleeping over at Gen’s, and we got ready. I put on a shirt Gen let me borrow. It was a Hey Look Ma, I Made It shirt. Seemed kind of ironic considering the circumstances. I tied the bottom of it in a knot, put on some ripped denim shorts, a skinny white belt, and some knee-high boots. I put my hair into half-up half-down space buns. I then did some dramatic makeup.

“Do I look okay?” I asked. I never get so fussy about my looks.

“Calm down. You’ll smudge your mascara. It’s still a little wet.” She said. I nodded my head and started fanning my eyes. “But yes, you look awesome.” She said. I smiled at her. “Shit!”

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“I forgot that I invited Caleb as well. He’s going in separately, but he just texted me saying he’s having problems getting in. Is it okay if he comes with? I’ll make sure he’s not there when you announce the news.” She said.

“Yeah, that’s fine.” I said. I didn’t actually know whether it would be fine. I barely know the guy. All I know is that he’s got these gorgeous blue eyes that I’d hate to see looking at me weird.

“Cool. Okay, we’ve gotta go.” She said. I nodded my head. I put my phone in my mini backpack and we made our way to the venue. Gen’s mum’s friend hooked us up with giving us a lift. Once we got to the venue we bumped into Caleb at the gates.

“Hey guys.” He said when he saw us.

“Hey Caleb.” Gen said.

“Ma’am, this door is for VIP’s only.” The bodyguard said. She held up three backstage passes. “My apologies.” He said, letting us in.

“Cool, I’m gonna grab a drink. You two want anything?” Caleb asked.

“No thanks.” I said.

“Actually, can you get us two bottles of water.” Gen said. She turned to look at me. “You’re gonna need it.”

“Two waters coming up.” Caleb said, turning to get the drinks.

“So, how do you two know each other?” I asked.

“Oh, Caleb and I are cousins. He actually threw up on me once. It wasn’t pretty.” She smiled. I giggled.

“Oh god. Was that in kindergarten too?” I asked. She started giggling too.

“No, actually. It was a couple of years ago. We went to our first house party, he got sloppy drunk after a couple of beers and they didn’t agree with him.” She said.

“Oh god.” I laughed.

“Yeah. Thankfully he’s gotten a lot better at handling his booze, so I don’t see any of that happening tonight.” She said.

We went to a designated room for us. We were allowed at the side of the stage once the concert actually begun. Then afterwards, Brendon would come in here to greet us.

“Okay, what’s your favourite Panic! song?” Caleb asked me.

“Come on, she doesn’t need an interrogation.” Gen told him.

“Um, probably Northern Downpour.” I answered. I listened to a lot of their songs since I found out the news.

“Good choice.” He said.

“What about you guys?” I asked.

“The Overpass.” They both answered at the same time, making me smile.

“Okay guys, the show’s starting.” One of the crew said. We made our way to the side of the stage. I was shaking like a leaf. Gen hugged me to keep me calm. There was cheering beyond what I could comprehend. I’ve never been to a concert as big as this.

He started singing. His vocals were insanely good, which made me emotional. What if Brendon knew? What if mum told him? Would he have sung me to sleep? Maybe he’d sing me a lullaby or one of his own songs? Maybe he would’ve been there for me to watch me grow up. Maybe he would’ve tutored me in the art of singing. I don’t know. Just to think of all these things I missed sucks. During one of his slow songs tears began rolling down my cheeks.

“You’ll be okay. I’ll be with you the whole time.” Gen whispered to me, squeezing my shoulder in support. Thank god my mascara was waterproof.

As the concert went on, I got more and more nervous.

“What’s up, Ali? You okay?” Caleb asked, noticing how shaky I was.

“Yeah. I’m good.” I lied.

“Thank you guys for coming. I really appreciate it. My fans mean the world to me. You’re like my family.” He said, which made me cry. I am your family, Brendon.

“And a family always sticks together.” He said. “So that brings me on to my last song.”

“When the world gets too heavy put it on my back…” He lulled with his acoustic guitar.

When the song finished, we were corralled back to our room. In the mirror, I noticed my eyes were slightly red and swollen. God. I’m gonna be such a mess when he sees me.

“Okay, so he’s just gonna do the encore and then you’ll meet him and the musicians of the band.” The tour manager said. We sat down and I tapped my fingers on the armrest nervously.

“You okay, kid?” The manager asked.

“She’s fine, just a little nervous.” Gen answered.

“It’s okay, trust me. These guys are easy to get along with.” He said. What if I ruin it?

The manager soon left and we were on our own.

“Um, Caleb. Would it be okay if you left the room for a bit while Ali meets Brendon? I think the less people there are the less nervous she’ll be.” Gen said.

“Come on, dude. I’m too comfortable.” Caleb complained.

“Gen, it’s fine. Word will get around anyway. I’m sure it will.” I said.

“What the hell are you two talking about?” Caleb asked. But before either of us could answer, Brendon walked in, followed by his bandmates. I smiled nervously, but mainly I was just focussed on him. His features. Do I resemble him at all?

“Hey guys. How are ya?” Brendon asked.

“Good.” Gen said, clearing her throat.

“What are your names?” One of the band members – I still wasn’t sure who – asked.

“I’m Caleb. This is my cousin, Gen.” Caleb introduced. “And this is Zalika. Ali if you know what’s good for you.”

Brendon shifted slightly at the mention of my name.

“I love that name.” He said genuinely.

“Really?” I asked. He nodded his head.

“Of course.” He said, seemingly back to the way he was.

“So we loved your set.” Gen said, trying to get the conversation rolling. They smiled at this.

“Yeah. It was awesome. We missed the encore though cause we had to go back here. What’d you sing?” Caleb asked.

“Victorious.” Brendon smiled. “I just feel like it’s a great song to end on, ya know?”

“Absolutely.” Gen said. It’s like she was waiting on me to say something. I just didn’t think I could.

“Do you guys want us to sign anything?” The bass player asked. Gen and Caleb immediately got albums out of Gen’s bag. I just sat there awkwardly. They all signed their albums, and then Brendon looked at me.

“What about you, Ali?” He asked. He said my name and I began crying.

“I don’t think I have anything you can sign.” I stuttered.

“What’s up, sweetheart?” He asked in a caring way. I didn’t know if I could do it at all.

“Ali, you can do this.” Gen said. Apart from Gen and I, everyone in the room was super confused.

“Is something going on?” The drummer asked. I shook my head.

“No. It’s just, I didn’t see it happening like this. And now it’s happening and I never thought it would.” I said vaguely.

“Zalika, what’s up? It’s like I said on stage. We’re all family here.” Brendon said, kneeling in front of me.

“More than you realise.” I sniffed.

“Come on, Ali. You’ve gotta tell him.” Gen said, encouraging me.

“Tell me what?” Brendon asked. I took a deep breath in and out, getting ready to answer. This was gonna be the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do.
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