Patrons looked up confused, but all of the waitstaff and bartenders dropped what they were doing to come greet her. Braelyn had worked her way through hugs with half of the people before Tom and Marissa appeared from the back. Braelyn broke away from the waitresses and ran to across the room to them.
“Tom! Marissa!” She exclaimed, as she fell into their open arms. After a few minutes of reunion, Braelyn pulled away and said, “You already know Mikey and Frankie. This is my new friend, Chelsea. She writes for Friends or Enemies dot com.”
Chelsea stepped forward after Marissa hugged both boys and Tom shook their hands. She shook hands with both Marissa and Tom. Then Tom had to go take care of the alcohol shipment and Marissa whisked them off to a table so she could feed them. She brought them cheese fries and nachos. They chatted with her for a half an hour before Braelyn said they had to get going and that they would she them later at the show. It took them another fifteen minutes to leave because Braelyn had to hug everyone goodbye.
In the car, Mikey asked, “Where next?”
Braelyn checked the time as she pulled out of the parking lot. “The school. It’s about fifteen minutes up the road. We should get there as band starts.”
“Don’t judge me for my dorkiness!” Braelyn defended. They bickered good naturedly for a few minutes then Braelyn talked about her high school. Soon they were there. Braelyn led them into the front office so they could sign in. Braelyn greeted the woman behind the desk, “Hi Mrs. Honey!”
“Well, hi there Braelyn!” Mrs. Honey’s southern accent was heavy. “What can I do for y’all today?”
“We’re supposed to go visit the band for last period. Mr. Charles knows.”
“Alright, y’all fill out the sign in sheet and nametag and y’all can go on back.”
“Thanks Mrs. Honey.” They all signed in. As they all stuck nametags on themselves, the bell rung.
They were on their way into the now crowded hall when Mikey put a hand on her shoulder to stop Braelyn in the lead. “Do you think it’s the smartest choice for us to go out there right now?”
“What do you mean?” Braelyn asked.
“Mikey’s right,” Frank pointed out. “You’ve seen how fans get…”
“Oh sweetheart. These kids have no idea who you are. Well a majority of them don’t. The kids you have to worry about are the kids in the room we’re going to,” Braelyn laughed. “This is the land of George Strait and Dixie Chicks. They’re not exactly scene kids. It’ll be fine.”
“Ok…” Mikey hedged.
“Trust me.” Braelyn led them out. She was right. They only person who got attention was her. They waved hi and some stopped to talk. It was mostly about the football team and how other things in the school were going, not about Braelyn and the fact that she was on tour. They had only made it halfway to the band room when the halls began to clear and the bell rung again.
“They don’t know,” Chelsea said in amazement.
“Some of them do. But that’s not really important to them,” Braelyn said smiling. “We’re a small town. Football and the sorghum crop are the important things here. How you are matters more than what you’re doing.” She stopped outside a door and peered through the window. “We’re here.” She opened the door and the others followed her into the room.
The band was in the middle of playing. The door they entered was behind the ensemble, so the kids didn’t notice their arrival, but the man on the podium smiled and nodded when Braelyn waved to him. The song ended. The man spoke. “So, band. I have a fun surprise for you all.” An excited murmur went around the room. He held up a hand for silence. “We have a special guest today. She’s a professional musician, currently on her first nationwide tour. She’s an alumnus of the program and one of our marching instructors. Ms. Braelyn, do you want to come say hi?”
“Braelyn’s here?” Someone asked. The students began to look around the room.
Braelyn stopped to hug a few people on her way to the front of the room. “Hey Band.”
“Hey Ms. Braelyn,” the room responded enthusiastically.
“It’s been months since I’ve seen y’all. I hear y’all did well at contest.” The kids cheered. “Well I just wanted to stop by and say hi before you guys get out for the summer. Mr. Charles is right when he said I’m on tour right now. Anyone know who I’m on tour with?” Hands went into the air. “Becky?”
A little girl in a Smashing Pumpkins sweatshirt that was way too big for her answered in an awed voice, “My Chemical Romance.”
Another jolt of excitement went around the room. “Yup. Who knows My Chemical Romance?” About half the band raised their hands. “Well I brought some of my friends with me today, and I thought I’d introduce you.” To the three still standing in the back of the room she said, “Y’all want to come up?” They started walking forward. “The girl with the video camera is Chelsea. She does interviews and stuff for Friends or Enemies. I like her.” Chelsea gave a wave. “This is Mikey Way,” Braelyn announced reaching out for his hand and pulling him next to her. “He plays bass for MCR.”
“Hey everyone,” Mikey said, also waving.
“And I’m Frank Iero!” Frank shouted, bounding to Braelyn’s other side and putting an arm around her. “I play guitar and Brae likes me best.”
Braelyn smiled and to the band, she stage whispered, “He wishes.”
“Hey,” Frank said pretending to be hurt.
Braelyn ignored him. “Is anyone coming to the show tonight?” About ten hands went up.
“Awesome!” Frank said. He turned to Braelyn, “You know what they should do?” Braelyn shook her head. “They should make Team Frankie signs!”
Braelyn laughed, “That’d be funny.”
“Team Frankie?” One of the kids asked.
Mikey shook his head grinning while Frank explained the rivalry and promised anyone who brought a ‘Team Frankie’ sign backstage access after the show. After they had calmed down from that enticement, Frank asked, “Now who wants me to sign stuff?”
Pandemonium ensued. Even the kids who didn’t know MCR wanted autographs from Frank and Mikey. They were equally as excited to talk to Braelyn. The bell rung at four signaling the end of the school day. Frank was still entertaining children with Mikey while Braelyn talked to Mr. Charles and Chelsea filmed.
“Hey Brae,” Chelsea said after a while. “It’s four thirty, when do we have to go to make sound check?”
“Pretty soon.” To Mr. Charles she said, “We have to go.”
He nodded and hugged her goodbye. Mikey and Chelsea were trying to get Frank to wrap it up. He insisted on hugging all the kids that were still there before they left. Finally they made it back to the car.
“Four forty-five. We’ll be golden,” Braelyn said as they pulled onto the main road.
A/N: Return of Team Frankie. yayyy. Lol. Thanks, as always, to Izzy and Abbie. Enjoy! And go review! hearts, Corri