“I wanna meet her…” I heard a voice whining from some other where in the apartment as I plucked at my cello, carefully tuning the stings after the jolting plane flight.
“She’s probably still asleep,” my cousin defended, obviously attempting to halt the approaching intruder.
I wandered from my bathroom over to where my clothing was still contained in the battered duffel bag. One red sock… One purple sock… Trust me to move across the country as only bring odd socks.
“Great, I’ll wake her up,” the other man insisted.
I slipped my underwear on, and continued rummaging as the pair progressed down the hall, opting for a pleated back skirt and a white peasant shirt which almost covered it. Odd knee high socks and black converse; no one ever said I was normal. I was already back in the bathroom applying eyeliner by the time they reached my door.
“Knock, knock?” The unfamiliar voice almost squealed through the wood.
“Who’s there?” I called jovially back.
“Brendon Uri from Panic at the Disco,” he all but giggled.
“I warn you,” I called sarcastically, heading to the door. “I might just go fan girl on your ass.”
“You’re up,” Ryan commented, surprised as I opened the door.
“It’s after ten,” I pointed out the obvious. “I know I’m not a morning person, but I did crash at like, nine thirty last night. Twelve hours sleep is my record for the past decade… Hi, I’m the infamous Blair.”
“And I’m the famous Brendon,” the man offered shaking my offered hand happily as I laughed.
“Conceited much?” I questioned, raising an eyebrow.
“He tries,” Ryan replied, smirking. “Starbucks?”
“Sure, I take it you’re cooking skills are on par with mine?”
“If you can burn water,” Brendon giggled, leading the way out of the apartment. “It’s his key to being such a skinny bastard.”
I laughed again, following the two band mates from the apartment and out to street level. “Well I’m instantly lost,” I commented, looking at the bustling area which was foreign to the suburbia which dominated my childhood memories.
“Don’t worry,” Brendon commented lightly. “I’m sure Ry won’t let you out of his sight long enough for you to get lost.”
“As long as she doesn’t mind a lot of Starbucks,” he replied, poking his tongue out at his friend.
“Ah addictions,” I sighed mockingly. “They plague us all.”
For Ryan and I my comment had more bitterness than Brendon would understand.
As the trio finally settled into a booth towards the rear of the busy Starbucks, Ryan mulled over his thoughts while his band mate giggled with Blair. The girl was as much a concern as a blessing –damaged goods, he thought, knowing her past wasn’t as glossy as the magazines she deserved to grace.
“Skinny double mocha, hazel chip java, grande frappacino?” Blair repeated Brendon’s order questioningly, attempting to wrap her mind and tongue around the mile of specifications. Brendon nodded. “That makes no sense!”
“Brenny makes no sense,” Ryan quipped, bringing himself back to reality. “It an issue the band faces daily.”
“Hey,” the man faked hurt dismally, pouting his bottom lip. “I do to make sense. Ask any girl under the age of fourteen.”
“Gee, that’s not exactly a great recommendation,” Blair replied grinning. “That’s like saying ‘sure, I’m not crazy. Ask my long term psychiatrist!’”
Ryan laughed, while Blair sipped on her coffee with bemused satisfaction and Brendon giggle like a child. “So is this what rock stars do all day?” The girl finally questioned after a moment of silence.
“Yep -the life of the over privileged,” Brendon sighed with a grin, winning an elbow from Ryan.
“We’re on a break right now,” Ryan informed, sipping at his latte. “I cancelled some of our promotional stuff to give you a chance to settle in, but we’ll be back on the road by the end of next week.”
“Where?” Blair asked, seeming unsure of herself.
“Uh, around the States and Europe,” he told the girl.
“Yeah, we’re going to see how many countries we can corrupt you in!” Brendon grinned, receiving his order from the waitress.
Blair giggled, her eyes brightening at the prospect of travel. God, Ryan thought, one day and I feel old.
“Don’t people in Europe not speak English?” She asked; it was a logical question.
“We like to think of ourselves as teachers,” Ryan joked, joining the light conversation. Now was not a time to brood. “Most of them kinda know it though.”
“Done!” Brendon announced, slamming down an already empty coffee cup smugly.
“God,” the girl responded. “Caffeine is like a major enterprise around this place.”
“So are clothing, musical instruments, and banana cake,” Brendon announced. “Speaking of which, let’s hold the sight seeing I want to shop.”
“I could do with some shoes,” Ryan contemplated, sipping the dregs of his coffee.
“Yeah, and Blair needs socks,” Brendon added, pointing to her mismatched socks whilst nodding convincingly.
“Hey, they have pairs,” she defended. “Somewhere…”
“Fine, shopping it is,” the guitarist announced.
“I don’t know…” I announced, as Brendon held the pair of short black shorts against my hips. “I was more in the market for socks.”
“Yeah, but they’re nice and men’s clothes are so dull,” he argued, while Ryan appeared with a dress and some other assorted clothes slung across his arm.
“Do I have to refuse you too?” I questioned, pointing at my guardian.
“No,” he grinned waving the clothes. “You smile, accept the fact that you moved in with a stylish sort of guy, befriended a fashionable rock star, and thank us in love and the occasional home cooked meal.”
“You guys are horrible.”
“God, she hasn’t even met Jon yet,” Brendon commented, giving both the men a chuckle.
“Or Pete,” Ryan added smiling. “He’ll enjoy that encounter.
“Okay, time to stop talking about her like she’s not here,” I interjected, holding my hands up in defeat. “If you insist on squandering money on clothing what kind of girl is to object?”
“Good girl,” my ‘befriended rock star’ congratulated, patting my back and heading toward the register of the small store. The clerk honestly looked stunned, her eyes snapping around the store in search of aid.
Sighing I followed the pair, rolling my eyes at both them and the girl behind the counter. What has my world come to, I wondered silently, when the estranged cousin I hadn’t seen in years had become my guardian in the wake of my mother’s death. The thought stung a little; honestly my sole coping mechanism had been to ignore the harsh reality for the moment.
“Wakey sleepy-head,” a voice hummed into my ear and I almost jumped from my skin. “You’re such a space cadet.”
“Huh?” I questioned incoherently.
“I said ‘you’re such a space cadet’ and that it’s time to leave the pretty store now,” Brendon confirmed in a mock patronising tone.
“You didn’t say the second bit,” I argued, following him back onto the street.
“Well if you were listening you shouldn’t have ‘huh-ed’ at me, should’ve you?” He grinned, giggling as Ryan rolled his eyes from the side walk.