I peeked out from the bedroom down the hallway, listening intently. Bill was sitting on the couch, leafing through the newspaper. Something I could easily distract him from. I walked from the bedroom to the living room quietly. Once I was behind the couch I leaned down a bit and started rubbing his shoulders. He chuckled.
“What do you want?” He asked in a singsong voice. I shrugged and bit my lip.
“Well, now that Evie’s back, I was thinking, we should get started on wedding things.” I sighed, giving a little extra into his neck rub.
“Okay, well, what were you thinking?” He asked, taking my arm and pulling me over the couch and onto his lap. I moved my hair away from my face.
“Colors my dear, colors.” I said dramatically.
“Mmhmm, what do you want? Purple and black?” I smiled.
“You can read me like a book, can’t you?” I giggled as he tickled me. It had been a week since Evie came back. She was going to be able to leave the hospital in one more week, but we still had to be careful with her. I was still planning that little party. It was going to be a mix of an engagement/welcome home party.
“I love you.” He whispered to me. He leaned down to kiss me, and I couldn’t help but smile into it. As hard as it was, we put losing the baby behind us. Even though we were sad, we decided that being sad wasn’t worth it, and wasn’t going to change anything.
“We need to go see Evie.” I said, giving him a quick kiss and jumping up from his lap. I smoothed over my hair and grabbed the plate of cookies I had baked for her. Bill put his arm around my shoulder and we went to the hospital. We waved to the nurse at the desk, who had grown familiar with us and the entire group. The only person we didn’t allow in was Pete. Even Jon had come to see Evie. After the baby, I couldn’t hate him. It felt wrong to hate anyone…except Pete. The guys learned the story from when I was in, but kept Jon in the band.
We were about to go in when I heard a voice and stopped Bill and myself just outside the door. One of the voices was Evie, of course, the other, smooth and low…Brendon! Evie sounded like she was about to pass out. OH MY GOSH! She just said she loved Brendon!
“I love you too.” I heard Brendon whisper. I heard the sound of the bed shifting and pulled Bill back down the hall and around a corner and watched Brendon leave, with a tiny smile on his face. I looked up at Bill and he smiled down at me. They were so cute!
“She sounded like she was asleep, should we come back later?” I asked him.
“We should leave the cookies, so she knows we were here.” Bill answered. I gave him a quick peck on the lips before darting down the hall to her room. I heard him laugh and follow after me. I crept into Evie’s room while she slept and smiled. She looked adorable when she slept. No wonder Brendon liked her so much. Then again, she’s my best friend, I’m biased!
“Write her a note.” Bill suggested as he sat in the chair next to her bed.
“You do it. I like watching you write with that left hand of yours.” I laughed.
“I’ve got that lefty curse!” He joked. “That’d make a good lyric.” He scribbled it down and stuffed the paper in his pocket, then wrote Evie a cute note, which I signed with a heart and a kiss. He took my hand and we left the hospital, deciding to take a walk around town. We walked hand in hand down the street, along the shops. We passed by the jewelry store, and I stopped to look at the necklaces.
“I think Brendon should get that one for Evie.” I said, pointing to it. Bill smiled.
“Why, because it’s a heart that’s engraved with the word love?” He asked.
“Well, yes, and because it’s a locket.” I said. “She could put a picture of him in there, and a picture of us, or some random hobo she knew or whatever. She can’t remember a lot of her past, so let’s give her something so that she can start a new one.” Bill wrapped his arms around me and hugged me tight.
“That’s really sweet. Here.” He pulled out his phone and took a picture of the locket and sent it to Brendon. He leaned down and kissed me as the bell above the door rang, and Mike, Michael, Sisky, and The Butcher came out.
“Oh uh, hey guys!” Butcher said, a bit loudly. “What’re you doing here?”
“Just looking around.” I answered. “I’m gonna get Brendon to buy Evie that locket in the window.” They smiled.
“Awesome! That’s really great.” Mike said, smiling.
“What are you guys up to?” Bill asked, eyeing them suspiciously. “You’re all smiling; your hands are behind your back like you’re hiding something….you’re up to something, aren’t you?”
“N-no! Not at all!” Michael said. “We can’t go into a jewelry store and look around?”
“Well, yeah, but who’s watching the shop?” I asked.
“Patrick’s turn.” Sisky said. “Well, we’d best be off! See you later! Holly, we need to practice!”
“Kay!” They scurried off and we watched them confused.
“Practice? For what?” Bill asked, looking at me.
“You’ll see!” I smiled. I kissed him and we kept walking. After a while, we decided to head back to the hospital to see Evie if she was awake.
“Hey!” She said brightly as we came in.
“Hey you!” I said, coming and sitting on the side of her bed, while Bill took the chair.
“Thank you for the cookies!” She giggled, biting into one. “They’re delicious!”
“You’re welcome sweetie.” I smiled. “So, you and Brenny huh?” I asked. She blushed.
“Well, I don’t know.”
“Oh come on! You told him you loved him and he said it back! How much more blatantly obvious is it that you two are meant to be?!” I asked, waving my arms for emphasis. She laughed a bit.
“You heard that?” She asked.
“When do you think we dropped of the cookies?” I said sarcastically. We laughed. “Oh Bill, wouldn’t they make a cute couple?”
“Yeah, they would. We’d have some competition there, Hollz.” He said jokingly. I pouted.
“Okay well, I’ll take losing that title for the sake her and Bren get together.” I said. “Do you know when he’s coming in again?”
“Not for sure, no.” She told me. “But he brought me brown rice and tuna. And a bunch of junk food. He’s really sweet.”
“Awe! So cute!” I gushed. “Ugh! I hope he kisses you soon! It’s going to be amazing! Trust me.” I smiled at her, and when she looked down at her hands blushing, I shot a wink to Bill. He smiled, remembering our first kiss. Totally magical, all thanks to Evie. She had convinced Patrick to set up the little gazebo we have out in our big backyard with twinkle lights, and told Bill to take me out there. It was like, our third date, and I was getting a bit disappointed, because he hadn’t kissed me yet, and I had little experience, so I wasn’t going to make the first move. We had gone to a movie, and came back, and instead of walking me to my door, he opened the gate to my backyard and pulled me along. I was in awe of Evie and her hard work when I saw the gazebo all light up. Bill handed me a rose and took me into the gazebo, and a soft guitar started playing, and I looked up to see Patrick smiling, his amp facing out his open window, and Evie in the back of him, smiling. I blushed as Bill took my waist and pulled me closer started swaying along with the music. He leaned his forehead against mine and smiled, and told me how beautiful he thought I was and all the things he liked about me, and then he kissed me, gently, but passionately. I’d never forget that kiss. After that, I knew I owed Evie big time.
“You’re planning something, I can see it!” Evie said. I snapped out of the memory and smiled.
“Perhaps I am, and perhaps I’m not!” I joked, jumping off her bed and grabbing a cookie taking a bite of it and tossing the rest to Bill. “You won’t know until it happens!” I said dramatically, throwing my arms out. My phone started buzzing. I looked at it and read the text from Sisky. “I’ve got to go. But I promise that I’ll be back with vengeance!” I proclaimed, whilst jumping on Bill’s back, making Evie laugh, and leaving the room. We went out to the parking lot and hopped into his car, and he dropped me off at Mike’s.
“Why am I leaving you here all alone with four boys?” He asked me.
“Because you trust me, and you love me, and it’s all a surprise for you!” I said, kissing him. “I promise, nothing’s going on. I’m too madly in love with you, and none of the guys would do that to you.”
“I know. I can’t help but be protective of you, you know that. Especially after Jon.”
“I know.” I kissed him again. “Now, I have to go, I’ll call you to pick me up later.” I got out of the car and ran into the garage, where the boys had set up.
“Hey guys!” I said. They turned and smiled.
“Hey Holly!” They smiled at me.
“Okay, so I’m only going to ask this once, but what were you guys doing today? The four of you at a jewelry store is highly suspicious.” I eyed them all.
“We were picking out a present for my mom.” Sisky said. “It’s her birthday in a few weeks, and I wanted them to help me.”
“Fine, I’ll believe that…for now.” I said. “Let’s get started, kay?” I walked up to Bill’s microphone and smiled as they began the song. We practiced a few times and then decided to go play some Rock Band….yeah, we’re easily distracted, and we’ve been practicing for weeks. The song was for both Evie and William. They’d know what parts were dedicated to them. After a few more hours, I decided to call Bill. He was over in seconds, and I hugged the guys goodbye and left. We went back to his apartment, where we chilled on the bed as the TV in his room lit the dark.
“So, did you find out why they were all at the jewelry store?” He asked, looking at our hands as he played with them.
“They said it was for Sisky’s mom. Her birthday is a few weeks away.” I answered, pulling his hand up to my lips and kissing the back of it. “I feel like such a crappy girlfriend.”
“Why?” He asked me curiously.
“Well, it’s been weeks, and we haven’t, well you know, since before I lost the baby.” I couldn’t make eye contact. I felt Bill reach over and pull my chin up to look in his eyes.
“Holly, you’re not a crappy girlfriend. I mean, yes, I’m a guy, I do crave sex, but baby, I love you so much. I understand you need time. Whenever you’re ready.” He told me, smiling and kissing me.
“I’m ready!” I pounced on him.
It was the day of the party for Evie’s homecoming. Brendon had asked her to go and she smiled and said of course! I was so happy I started planning their first kiss! I had everyone dress up for this party. I loaned Evie one of my dresses, and she looked gorgeous in it. The guys had discretely set up the drum set and amps in my backyard on a makeshift dancefloor, thanks to Patrick. My black and gold cocktail dress was shining and I was confident as fuck!
“You almost ready?” Michael asked me.
“I’m ready. You?”
“We’re all ready.” He said. Patrick’s getting Bill, there’s something we want to tell him first.” A few seconds later, Bill was standing next to me and the others were gathered around us.
“Okay, so I lied to you.” Sisky said. “My mom’s birthday isn’t next week, and we were in the store, because we wanted to do something nice for you two.” I knit my eyebrows in confusion, as did Bill. The Butcher brought out a small black velvet box. He handed it to Bill, who opened it. In it was a glittering diamond ring. I gasped, just staring at it.
“It’s an engagement ring. Holly didn’t have one yet, and we decided to pool all our money in to get it. Consider it an early wedding gift.” Michael explained. Bill and I were still staring at the ring in the box.
“Well?” Mike asked.
“It’s gorgeous.” I breathed.
“Well, what are you waiting for?! Butcher asked. “Slip it on that pretty little finger! It’s the right size; we took one of your old rings.” He said, pulling out one of my old rhinestone rings. Bill nodded, finally snapping out of his daze, got down on bended knee and smiled.
“Well, now I can do this properly, now can’t I?” He asked. He took the ring out of the box, which Michael held for him as he took my left hand and held the ring at the tip of my ring finger. “Holly Marie Stumph, I love you so much. Will you marry me?”
“YES!” He slid the ring on and stood up and wrapped his arms around my waist and kissed me, picking me off the ground so he wouldn’t have to bend down. The guys clapped and I blushed.
“Hey Bill, go back into the party and bring everyone out here.” Mike said, pushing him back towards the house. “It’s a surprise, so just do it.”
“Okay, okay!” He laughed as Mike kept pushing him. He ran back into the house and we all went on the makeshift stage. The crowd was a bit bigger than I would’ve expected, but I was okay. Performing ran in my family!
“Okay, guys, hi, I’m Holly. This isn’t my band behind me, its acutally my fiancée’s. Yes, yes, I said fiancée. It’s new, yeah. Anywho, this is a surprise for him and my best friend ever Evie. The song is called My Heart, and it’s by my good friends in Paramore, and I want to dedicate it to them. They’ll know what parts of the song are for them.” I laughed and turned around and counted with the guys. They started the song and I turned back to the microphone.
“I am finding out that maybe I was wrong. That I’ve fallen down, and I can’t do this alone. Stay with me. This is what I need, please? Sing us a song, and we’ll sing it back to you! We could sing our all, but what would it be without you? Oh. I am nothing more. And it’s been so long, since I’ve heard a sound. The sound of my only heart. This time I will be listening!” I saw as Bill and Evie moved towards the front with cell phones (her's courtesy of Ryan) and started a wave, smiling up at me. “Sing us a song, and we’ll sing it back to you! We could sing our all, but what would it be without you?” The next part I locked eyes will Bill. “This heart, it beats, beats for only you. This heart, it beats, beats for only you. Ohhh!” Sisky helped with the screamo in the background. “This heart! It beats! Beats for only you! My heart is yours! This heart! It beats! Beats for only you! My heart is yours! This heart! It beats! Beats for only you! This heart is yours! This heart! It beats! Beats for only you! My heart, my heart is yours! My heart is yours! My heart is yours! Ohhhh. My heart is..."
I ended the song and did and bow with the guys as everyone clapped and cheered. Then I ran offstage and hugged Evie carefully, and then jumped onto Bill in a hug/kiss. He kissed back passionately.
“Did you guys like it?” I asked the two of them once I let go of Bill.
“YES!” Evie said. “That was so sweet! I love ya Hollz!” She hugged me, and I saw Brendon checking her out from afar. I smiled and whispered in Bill’s ear quickly. The people were drifting back into the house, but Brendon was waiting for Evie. Bill sped everyone up and I went over to Brendon and took his hand, then took Evie’s and led them into the gazebo.
“What are you doing?” Brendon asked.
“You’ll see.” I said. “If you’re smart, you’ll know what to do.” I whispered before winking and walking away as Bill switched on the twinkle lights. Then we ran to the side of the house, hidden by darkness to observe. Michael was also playing a key role in this operation. He began softly playing a random melodic tune and kept hidden from the couple. I gripped Bill’s hand as Brendon gently pulled Evie closer and she had put her arms around his neck. They looked like a couple of high school kids at a dance. Words were spoken I couldn’t hear, but I knew Evie would tell me them later. We watched as Brendon smiled down at her moved closer…
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