The day of the audition I really started to doubt not the band but myself it became even worse as I headed to my locker just after the school bell went indicating that yet again I was late, I was in such a hurry I never looked where I was going.
“Watch it!” Someone shouted at me as I looked up, Shit this was all I needed.
“Leto you freak look what you fucking made me do!” Adam said as he looked at his now empty coke can that was lying amongst his books on the floor. The little voice inside my head started chanting shit over and over again. I knew I should just get my act together and run but I just seemed to be rooted to the spot. Adam was the biggest meanest kid on the football team hell no the whole dam school, and here I was just gawking at him when I needed to run.
“What you got to say for yourself freak? Don’t just stand there fucking looking at me, do you know how long it took me to finish off that fucking assignment for history class that you just ruined?”
I wanted to scream at dream me and tell him to apologise and them high tail it out there, but I was as transfixed as young me was. But I knew what was coming.
“I’m sorry!” I finally stuttered out, but it was too late for any of that now.
“You’re sorry….You’re fucking sorry that don’t cut it kid.” And before I had chance to react Adam picked me up and slammed me into the lockers. The instant my back came into contact with the cold hard metal my breath left me, I could see stars where I had hit my head and the world began to swim before my eyes. As Adam let go of me I started to slide down the lockers towards the floor and I prayed to what ever gods that would listen, that it would be the end of it. But I of all people should have known better then to believe that.
“Get the fuck up freak, I haven’t finished with out yet. I said get the fuck up Leto! Are you deaf as well as dumb?” I don’t know where the strength came from but I managed to drag myself off the ground, I should have just stayed there. I was barely on my feet when Adams fist came in contact with my jaw with enough force to knock me straight back down.
“Get up Leto, I said get up freak.” Adam kept shouting at me as he kicked what ever part of my body his foot came into contact with. All I could do was curl up in a ball and try and protect myself as best as I could, but I was losing that battle. I wanted to scream out and beg him to stop but the breath I had been fighting for since I was slammed into the locker wasn’t quick to return. And even if I did shout you wouldn’t be able to hear me over the chants of all the other kids that had left their home rooms to see what was going on, I had all but given up hope of getting out of this alive when I heard a familiar voice shout.
“What’s going on? And who the fuck is that on the floor?” Oh god Shannon help me please I prayed silently to myself.
“Get the fuck off him Adam!”
“And what are you going to do about it if I don’t?” Oh god this was all I needed now Shannon was going to get his ass kicked.
“I may not be as big as you Adam, but if you don’t get the fuck off my brother now I will kick your fucking ass or die trying. You don’t scare me you know you’re nothing but a bully. And do you know what happens to bullies? They all get what they deserve one day. And guess what Adam today is that day!” I couldn’t believe what Shannon had said or how he had become so brave but I was grateful.
“What the hell is going on here? Everyone get back to your classes. Not you Adam you get to my office now.” Just as I thought things couldn’t get worse.
“And you Shannon get that waste of space brother of yours to the nurse before he messes up the whole school!” I didn’t even realise I was bleeding until Mr Hutchins mentioned it. Waste of space huh I bet that’s what the whole school is thinking but to hear it from a teacher……..
“Shannon, is that all I am?” I asked as we reached the nurses office.
“What Jar?” I could feel a lump in my throat and I knew what was coming.
“What Mr Hutchins said?” As I stopped Shannon and slumped to the floor as the tears began to make trails down my face.
“What the fuck Jared, I can’t believe that you would even listen to a thing that prick would say. He’s probably only worried that you face hurt his star football player’s hand.”
“Well then you tell me what I am here for then. Is it just to be some bullies punch bag? Or just cause trouble everywhere I go? Or is it to hurt the people I love? You could have really gotten hurt back there Shannon, and for what? To protect some worthless piece of shit that you just happen to be related to?” I managed to say through the sobs that where racking through my already painful chest.
“Don’t ever let me hear you say that again Jared! You are not worthless; you are the most talented person I have ever known. You are kind and loyal and everyone that has been bothered to get to know you loves you. And I am honoured to call you my brother; I just wish I was half the person you are.” He said as he wrapped his arms around me and held me as I cried, and I swore to myself this would be the last time I would ever let anyone make me cry. Shannon just held me and let me get it all out of my system before we walked into the nurse’s office.
“Oh Jared honey not again?” Nurse Betty said as we walked into her office for the fourth time this month. Over my years in this school I had become close to the nurse, let’s face it I had spent more time with her then anyone else in this place.
“Not that beautiful face again, how many times is this going to happen before they do something about it?” She had been saying this same thing since the second time it had happened. She had even been to the principle with me on more then a few occasions and she also saw that it only made things worse in the long run. I would go and report it and be back in her office at the end of the day.
“Here’s some ice for your face sweetheart, Now can I have a look at those ribs?” The last thing I wanted to do was show her all the damage that had been done again and for her to call my parents. I knew all hell would break loose, at first it had been all sympathy from them. But now it was why didn’t you stick up for yourself boy? Do you want to go through life as someone’s punch bag? I had heard this so much that I wanted to scream at them ‘I’m your fucking son help me please’ But what good would that do other then get me grounded for raising my voice at them. I was dragged out of my depressing thoughts by the bell and the guys crashing through the door.
“Oh my god Jared my poor baby!” Jet screamed as she ran to me and wrapped her arms around me tightly.
“Juliet please unhand my patient this instant he’s already hurt enough.” And although Nurse Betty was smiling Jet knew to take her seriously.
“Does this hurt Jared?” She asked as she gingerly touched my already bruising ribs and back. The only answer I could give her was a sharp intake of breath because I knew if I opened my mouth I would break the promise I had made to myself, and cry.
“I think I should call your parents to take you to the hospital because I can’t be certain nothing is broken.” I needed to stop asking myself this for the sake of my own sanity and safety but could this day get any worse.
“No you can’t nurse Betty please. I promise I will be careful and if it gets too much I will come straight back here. But we are auditioning to play at the prom.” I was shocked when Jet spoke up.
“Oh no we are not, you need to see a doctor that’s more important then the stupid prom, you’re more important!” I could not believe those words where coming from her lips. She had been the one to push me into this and now she wanted me to back out. Like hell that was going to happen now after all I had been through today already. And just liked that I was filled with such determination we were going to do this and we would do it well. We were going to play this dam prom if I had to die trying all those that had doubted me where going to see a new me. There would be no more loser Leto to be there door mat or punching bag. I would show them all! Standing up rather gingerly I faced the guys.
“Jet I do not need a doctor and we are going to do this, I need to do this. We are going to walk in there and show them what we do and do you know what? We are going to rock their fucking world. There will be no more loser Leto and his posse after today I can promise you that, all of you!”
As we walked out of nurse Betty’s room I had to fight to keep the confidence I had mustered from somewhere from running back there screaming. I felt stronger at this moment and more determined then ever to prove to everyone that I was worth something and having my friends with me just made me feel better.
“Hey Jar do you know who Jet is going to the prom with?”
“Duh yeah us you douche, Shannon you can be so dumb sometimes.” I told him trying my hardest not to laugh.
“No Jared I mean like a date, I know you have feelings for her so don’t try and deny it bro. And I happen to know she feels the same, I think you should ask her!” What how did he know I thought I had kept my secret so well. And she couldn’t like me could she? What was to like I was a nobody and she was my everything.
“I can’t do that bro it would just complicate things and ruin our friendship. Plus what would be the point she is going away to university and we are leaving for LA when we graduate, long distance never works.”
“I am not telling you to ask her to marry you for gods sake Jared its one date, and you may not think it but proms are for girls Jet is a girl its one day she is meant to remember for the rest of her life. Don’t you want to be the guy she remembers spending it with. Just think about it bro because if you don’t I think you will regret it for the rest of your life.” Well that gave me something else to think about way to go bro. I thought to myself as we walked into the auditions.
When we climbed onto the stage my nerves came back tenfold. I was already struggling to breathe with my injured ribs and now the nerves and the weight of my guitar made things even more difficult.
“Isn’t that that Leto kid? I hear Mr Brown the head teacher ask Miss Roberts the music teacher.
“Yeah I think it is I never thought I would see him here trying out. What’s the name of your band guys?” She asked with an encouraging smile.
“From Yesterday Miss Roberts and we will be playing the U2 song with or without you.”
“Go ahead guys and good luck you’re our last band so make it rock.” I had always liked her.
As the music started I found my self getting lost in the notes and the lyrics and before I knew it the song was over and I was left with the teachers giving a very loud round of applause and mouths that they could catch flies with.
“Miss Roberts you never told me they were that good and god can that Leto boy sing. Why didn’t you tell me we had such talent in this school?”
“I didn’t know sir that’s the first time I have ever heard him sing. He is such a quiet boy in my class. Right guys give us five minutes to make our decision and we will get back to you.” For the fist time in years I felt totally relaxed and it was up to the other guys to worry, I was on such a high and so full of confidence. There was only one thing I needed to do to make this moment more perfect.
“Jet can I talk to you a minute alone please?”
“Yeah sure Jar.” As we got up to walk away from prying ears Shannon winked at me and I knew he had an idea of what I was about to do.
“Jet I don’t know how to ask you this, I have never done anything like this before but………”
“But what Jar just spit it out; you know you can ask me anything!”
“Would you like to go to the prom with me?” I all but blurted out well I guess nobody could accuse me of dragging it out.
“Erm duh I already am you douche. We are all going together remember? Oh do you mean like a date?”
“Yeah Jet but don’t feel like you have to if you would rather go with someone else, it’s totally cool with me.” It wouldn’t be though, I had been in love with Jet since I was 15 and we had been friends forever. It would kill me for her to turn me down now.
“I thought you would never ask Jared, I have been waiting three years for this. Do you really think I would turn you down now?” She said as she wrapped her arms around me and places a gentle kiss on my lips, my first kiss.
“Yes Jared I would love to go with you.” That gave me two days to sort out a tux I bet all the good ones will be gone.
“Right everyone can you gather around here while we announce the results. Miss Roberts and myself have decided to have to bands play this year so you all get to enjoy your prom, And they will be the rhymes and from yesterday well done all of you we did not know we had so much talent in this school and we are proud of you all.” What a perfect end to a shitty day, my bands playing the prom and I am going with the girl of my dreams.