Braelyn woke up late the next morning. The first thing she noticed was the bus not moving. The second thing was the startling fact that the blanket she was wrapped in was not her own. She poked her head out of the curtains and ascertained that she was in Mikey’s bunk. As she got out of the bunk she felt the bus move forward. She walked to the front of the bus. Bob, Mikey, Topher, and Ray were sitting at the booth.
“Good morning,” she said smiling and walking over.
“Morning,” said Topher. “We got you a Starbucks and we’re gonna be at the hotel soon.”
“Thanks.” She grabbed the drink he indicated.
“We got the poster mock ups,” Ray said turning his computer towards her. “We like them, what do you think?”
Braelyn looked at the poster. They used the picture of her that she really liked at the bottom of the poster and the typical one of the boys at the top. In the middle of it was the picture of her in the middle of the scowling band, laughing, and the picture of them all holding her. Around the edges were a couple of the candid shots.
“This looks awesome.” She smiled and then asked, “What do we have to do today?”
“Nothing until sound checks at five,” Topher replied. “You guys have all day to do whatever your little hearts desire.”
“Beach!” Braelyn said, looking hopefully at the others.
“Definitely. I want to go surfing,” Ray answered her, Mikey nodding, agreeing.
“Yay!” They continued to talk excitedly about the day ahead. Mikey and Ray promised to teach her to surf. Within a few minutes they had reached the hotel. Topher went to go check in and Bob went to wake Frank and Gerard. Braelyn went to go repack her duffle for the next two nights so she didn’t have to drag everything off the bus.
They lugged themselves and their luggage into the hotel where they followed Topher into an elevator.
“So we have two four room suites. You can fight it out among yourselves, but if you don’t figure it out by the time we get to the floor, I’m picking.”
“I call Braelyn,” Frankie yelled. In a more normal voice he said, “We’re picking teams right? And obviously I’m a captain.”
“Fine. I’m second captain,” said Gerard. “And I pick…Ray.”
“Booo.” Frankie thought for a second. “Mikey.”
“Bob. Sorry, Topher, I guess you’re the last one picked.” Gerard ruffled Topher’s hair.
“I kind of expected it.”
“How do we decide who gets Topher?” Frank asked.
“Rock, Paper, Scissors? Best two of three, winner gets Topher?”
They did battle as the elevator kept rising. Gerard was victorious just as the doors opened. Frank, Braelyn, and Mikey left the others and walked down the hall after they all agreed to leave for the beach in a half an hour. Frank keyed open the door.
“Wow,” Braelyn breathed. They had walked into a living room with a kitchen attached. There was a giant sofa and a huge television. Frank immediately ran to claim the master suite citing his status as ‘Team Captain.’ That left three rooms for Mikey and Braelyn to choose from.
As Braelyn walked into a room she had decided was hers, she heard Frank shout, “This is so cool!” She smiled and set her stuff down and looked around the room. There was a king size bed and a flat screened television on the wall across from it. There was a desk and a sliding door to a balcony with a crazy ridiculous view of the ocean. She ran out onto it.
“It’s crazy, huh?” Mikey’s voice said from not too far from her.
She looked over and saw him leaning against the railing of his balcony which connected to hers. “It’s beautiful.”
Frank shouted again through the suite, “Hurry up! I want to go to the beach!!!”
Braelyn turned around and headed back into her room. She changed into her bikini and threw on a pair of denim shorts and a tank top. After finding her flip flops and sliding them on she hollered, “Frankie, I’m ready. Come get me when it’s time to go!”
She collapsed on to her bed. It was amazingly comfortable. She was dozing when someone knocked on her door. She called “Come in.”
“Frank says it’s time to go.” It was Mikey at her door.
Braelyn had not moved. She was still laying there, eyes closed. “But my bed is so comfortable.”
“Let’s go.” He walked over to her and held out his hand.
Braelyn sighed and cracked open an eye. “Fine.” She reached out and grabbed his hand. He pulled her up and out of bed. She let go of his hand as she grabbed her sunglasses and then they left the room. When they reached the front of the suite Braelyn started giggling at Frank who was standing there, hands on his hips, in only his swim trunks, white zinc oxide on his nose like a lifeguard, sunglasses, and a towel tied around his neck like a cape.
“You are such a winner,” she told Frank between giggles.
“You’re jealous because you’re not as bad ass as me.”
“Where’d you get the beach towel?” Mikey asked.
“Top drawer of my dresser.” Braelyn and Mikey went back to their rooms to retrieve their towels. When they reappeared, Frank was pouting. “Finally.”
“Come on, superhero, quit whining, let’s go,” Braelyn said, linking her arm through his and walking out the door. They met up with the others outside the elevator. Downstairs they went and through the hotel lobby and onto the beach. There was a surf shop hut there where people could rent beach chairs, floats, umbrellas, and surfboards. Mikey, Ray, and Braelyn stopped there while the others went to find a spot on the beach.
Mikey and Ray rented two surfboards and they quickly found the others. Frank was bouncing up and down impatiently. As soon as Braelyn had put her stuff down he grabbed her hand and drug her into the ocean. Everyone else followed, Mikey and Ray with their surfboards.
“You coming out with us?” Ray asked.
“Sure!” Mikey and Ray started paddling out to the next sand bar and Braelyn swam out with them. The waves were pretty big, but once they were out on the sand bar, even Braelyn, who was the shortest, could stand with the water at her waist, only having to jump the largest waves. Mikey and Ray both took a couple of turns riding a few good waves, then Mikey hopped off his board and handed the leash to Braelyn.
“You’re turn.” He and Ray walked her through paddling and popping up. “Alright. Ready?”
She was on her stomach on the board. “Let’s do it.”
“Ok, kid,” Ray said, scanning the water behind him. “Here’s a good one. Start paddling…Now!”
He and Mikey gave her a little push as she started to paddle. She managed to get in the right place on the break. Ray shouted at her to stand up. And she did. For two seconds. She quickly lost her balance and wiped out. She resurfaced quickly, laughing. She climbed back onto the board and paddled back to Mikey and Ray. They spent the next hour or so teaching her and by the end she was able to stand and stay standing. She even figured out how to carve a bit. But the tide was changing. They paddled back in. At their towels, Braelyn lay down to bake in the sun. Frank had coerced Gerard into building an epic sand castle.
Around three they decided they were hungry and that it was time to go back and eat and get ready to go to the venue. As soon as they ordered room service from the suite, Braelyn raced Mikey to the bathroom and won. This shower was much more comfortable than the one she took the night before. After a quick shower, she slipped on some athletic shorts and a tank top before she blew her hair dry. She then went to eat her food. Once she finished she still had an hour left before they had to leave. Back in her room she picked out what she wanted to wear at the performance that night (dark blue denim shorts and a belted vest, if you wanted to know) and got together her make up and stuff that she would need. She had decided to wear her athletic shorts to sound check and change for the performance on the bus so she could take a nap now. She fell into the luxurious bed and was almost instantly asleep.
It was Frank who woke her up this time by bouncing on her bed. “Wake up sleepy head!”
Braelyn pulled a pillow over her head. “You’re mean.”
“Yup. It’s time to go. Team Frankie is gonna be first. If you stay in bed any longer, we’ll lose. And I’ll be sad. You don’t want me to be sad, right?”
Braelyn sighed and crawled out of bed. “Only because I love you.”
He grinned wickedly at her. In a sing song voice he said, “I love you too!”
Braelyn picked up the stuff she had previously set out and then they went to collect Mikey who was waiting patiently on the couch. They reached the elevator at the same time as Gerard, Bob, Ray, and Topher who were chanting “Team Gerard.” Fortunately, or unfortunately, when they all got there, the elevator doors were just closing.
Frank looked at Gerard, who was looking back at him. Frank yelled “IT’S A RACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
He turned and grabbed Braelyn and Mikey, who had barely any time to digest what was going on, and ran down the hall. The others ran in the opposite direction.
“Where are we going?” Braelyn shouted, falling into her stride next to the boys.
“Stairs,” Frank panted.
They saw the sign for the stairwell up ahead. They burst through the door. Braelyn pulled
ahead of the others as she bounded down the stairs, Mikey and Frank close behind. Five flights left. Four, three, two, one. They burst into the lobby, Gerard and the others nowhere in sight. They continued sprinting out of the lobby to the bus. They clambered on.
Braelyn was the only one who wasn’t breathing very hard. She asked Steve if the others had come yet. He shook his head no. Frank said, “Look!”
Gerard and the others had exploded out of the front doors running for the bus. Braelyn said quickly, “Don’t tell them we’re here!”
She pulled Frank and Mikey to the back of the bus. There were two bunks that had the curtains pulled. Bob’s and Braelyn’s. Braelyn hissed, “Hide!”
Frank launched himself in to Bob’s bunk while Braelyn scrambled into Mikey’s. Mikey stood in the aisle. Braelyn heard the sounds of Bob opening the door. She whispered, “Mikey, hurry.”
He climbed in and they pulled the curtain as they heard Ray shout, “NUMBER ONE!”
They continued to celebrate for a few minutes. When they hadn’t seen Team Frankie in a while, Braelyn and Mikey heard Gerard say, laughing, “We should leave them.”
“That’s mean,” Bob said.
“If we don’t go now, we’ll be late, besides Steve will come back to get them,” Gerard replied.
There were sounds of agreement and after a few moments, the bus began to move. Topher walked into the back of the bus to get something from his bunk. Team Frankie held their breath. It was when Topher left the bunkroom that Braelyn and Mikey realized how close they were to each other. The bunks, after all, weren’t very big. Mikey turned red and Braelyn blushed too, decisively looking away. After a few minutes of moving, Braelyn nudged Mikey.
“Let’s go out,” she whispered, “Be quiet.”
Mikey nodded. He moved pretty quickly. He got Frank out of Bob’s bunk. With Braelyn leading the way, they pushed through the curtains.
“I can’t believe you guys would leave us like that!” Braelyn said accusingly.
Team Gerard all jumped about three feet in the air. “Where did you come from?!”
“Team Frankie, for the win,” Frank shouted, victoriously.
“Seriously though, leaving us? That’s fucked up,” Mikey interjected.
“We were gonna come back and get you,” Ray defended.
“How did you beat us? I’m way faster then you two,” Bob said, indicating to Mikey and Frank.
“This girl is fast,” Frank said. “We had to keep up with her.”
They continued to bicker and tease one another, but the drive wasn’t very far. Once they had parked at the venue, Braelyn had to hustle off the bus to get to sound check because they were very nearly late. She finished her sound check and passed by the boys on her way back to the bus. She still had lots of time until the show, but she decided to take advantage of the empty bus. She changed and did her makeup. She was just about to fix her hair when the boys got back on the bus to get themselves ready.
She pulled her hair up into a high loose ponytail as Frank came up to her. “Can you do my makeup tonight? I’m feeling a bit wild and crazy today.”
Braelyn laughed. “What did you have in mind?”
“Let me change. I’ll be right back.”
Braelyn went to go get her makeup kit and she sat back at the booth. Frank was there momentarily. “So what do you want me to do?”
“I really just want a big pink star on my face.”
Braelyn giggled, “Really?” He nodded. “Ok.” She sat on the back of the booth bench and sat him on the table in front of her. She used her eyeliner to outline the star over his right eye. Then she lined his eye so when she put the pink on, it wouldn’t look like his eye was infected. All of her shadows were crème based, and she had an awesome shade of pink that Frank loved. She used it to color in the star. She lined his other eye too. She held up a mirror. “There. How’s that?”
“Awesome! Thanks Brae!”
She smiled at the nickname. “I have sparkles if you want them.”
“Is that even a question?”
She took out her loose glitter and used a brush to apply it. “All done.”
“Will you match me, pleaseeeeeee?”
Braelyn shook her head. “The giant pink star on my face isn’t exactly my style.”
“Do a smaller one?”
She sighed, “Fine. Hold my mirror.”
He did. Luckily the tank top under her vest was pink, so it matched. She drew a little star on the outside corner of her left eye. As soon as she finished coloring it in, she put the glitter on over it.
“Perfect,” Frank said.
“Anyone else want a pink star?” Braelyn asked the bus. Of course, they all did. Mikey had her do his on the back of his right hand. Gerard also opted for the over the eye look, but without the glitter and on the opposite eye. Bob got a small one like Braelyn. And Ray had two small ones, one on the outside of his right eye and one on his left cheek. Topher, ever the good sport, also got one on his hand. Braelyn ended up adding a second star to the outside of her left eye so she had two there.
“People are going to be so confused,” Gerard said. “Usually stuff like this has some sort of meaning.”
“Just tell people that pink makes you feel pretty,” Braelyn teased.
“Braelyn,” Topher said, checking his watch, “It’s time to go.”
A/N: Another chapter! Yay? Leave me a review and tell me about your feelings ;)