Stage fright and lost hope.
I can't begin to tell you how sorry I am that I've taken so long to update this :(
School's been rough the past few weeks and my depression has been getting out of hand lately.
That's bad for me, but good for this story,
Seeing as the whole plot revolves around depression haha.
I'm gonna try my best to update more consistently, promise.
"Hey Frankie, you alright in there?"
The voice seeping through the open cracks of the door leading to the rest room is muffled by the loud, background noise of the bar not too far behind. I can just barely make out the words, but I already know it's Pete. I was by the bar with him not 5 minutes earlier, enjoying a nonalcoholic beverage. Everything had been going great up until Dewees came up to us and said we were up next.
Needless to say, I had to run to the nearest restroom before I threw up in front of everyone at the bar and made an idiot out of myself. The nerves weren't coming from a lack of faith in our performance, no, the guys all sound great. This past week has gone almost too perfectly to be true. After Pete and I left the music store that day, we took a bus over to Dewees' house and he introduced me to everyone. James and I got along great right from the start, so much that he asked if I wanted to move in as his new room mate. I'm not one to make friends so easily, but so far, Pete and Dewees seem to actually like me.
Gabe on the other hand, I'm not so sure about. He put on a nice face at first, but we didn't click as easily as the rest of the band and I did. I hope I can gain his friendship soon though, because I really like this band. Hell, I'd like any band that would welcome me with open arms like these guys have.
You'd think my excitement would give me enough of an adrenaline rush to chase off the nerves, but I've never had such luck. Instead of keeping cool, calm, and collective, I'm leaning against a rusty bathroom sink, trying to get my stomach to stop doing back flips long enough to respond to my bassist.
"Y-yeah. Fine. Just give me a minute."
Pete most definitely heard me, but he still chooses to jiggle the lock of the door until it gives in and lets in a cool rush of air into the clammy restroom as the door swings open. The air feels good on my sweaty face, but I really don't want Pete to see me like this. He's going to think I can't handle it, and I can, I know I can. This is all I've dreamt about ever since I was old enough to walk.
I watch Pete's reflection in the mirror as he approaches my turned back. His grin is perfectly in place as usual, it's like nothing gets to this guy. I wish I could have a dose of his confidence to get myself together before we get on stage. He stops once he's mere inches from my body, and leans over my shoulder so his face is right next to mine, staring at the reflection of my eyes in the mirror.
"You don't look fine. What's up?"
I turn around so I can speak to Pete properly, expecting him to back off a bit, but he doesn't. He's so close I can feel his hot breath on my face. That throws me off for a second until I shrug it off and blame it on Pete's strange behavior.
"Nothing, just a little nervous I guess."
"A little nervous? Dude, you look like you're about to get pushed off the edge of the Empire State building."
I duck my head, trying to cover my now pink cheeks with my long fringe. I suddenly regret shaving the sides of my head so short, because this is definitely not working. Pete takes a step closer as he laughs deeply. He's so close at this point that I have to crane my neck upwards in order to look into his eyes. They're filled with amusement and mischief.
"Hey, don't worry, you'll do great. We all get stage fright before going on. You've just gotta find ways to deal with it."
For some reason, I find it hard to believe that the over confident, social butterfly standing before me ever feels any form of stage fright, but who can blame me? Pete Wentz just isn't that kind of person. Regardless, I'm curious to see how he "gets through it".
"How do you deal with it?"
"I find ways to distract myself."
I look around the restroom we're currently standing in, all white walls and musty mirrors. Not many distractions other than the ignorant writings on the bathroom stalls.
"That's no help. It's not like I have any distractions at the moment."
Pete grins even wider at my response, as if he knew exactly what I was going to say beforehand. He closes in on whatever personal space I had left until we're chest to chest, nose to nose.
"Maybe I could give you one."
Before I can ask what that distraction might be, he shows me. All of a sudden his lips are on mine and all I can think is what the fuck? I thought Pete and I were just friends. He's been so friendly towards me these last few days. Giving me a place to stay, bringing me into his group of friends, showing me around, letting me play with his band…
I mentally face palm when I realize how much Pete has been flirting with me. I always thought that was just part of his personality, but he doesn't act that way around Dewees or Gabe. My first instinct is to push him off, because I definitely don't like Pete like that, but then I stop myself once I get to thinking about how he'll react.
Maybe he'll get pissed off and tell me I can't perform any night. Dewees has been friends with Pete for years, so he'll be on his side and maybe even throw me out of his apartment. And then what? I'll be back to where I started: scared and alone. So, despite my better judgement, I stay frozen to the spot, neither pushing Pete away or kissing back. I kind of just stand there and let Pete kiss me, his hands on my waist, until there's a knock on the restroom door.
"Pete? Frank? You guys in there?"
It's not until Pete hears Dewees' voice that he breaks the kiss. He doesn't move back, but at least I can actually breathe now. When Pete opens his mouth again to reply, he sounds so fucking calm, as if nothing just happened.
"Yeah, we'll be right out."
"Hurry your asses up, we're on in five."
Pete finally lets go of my waist and gives me some room to think, and continue to freak out. Only this time it's for a completely different reason. Pete starts to head out the door and I follow close behind, in a daze.
Pete says it in the most flirtatious way possible, meaning it as a joke. Apparently he's oblivious to the chaotic inner turmoil going on within me.
And that's not a lie. I've gotten over my stage fright for the most part now that I have a whole new set of worries plaguing my mind.
I don't know how long I've been sitting out here, chain smoking myself through a pack of cigarettes, but I don't particularly care. It's pretty cold out tonight, the breeze blowing through my too-long hair, making the black strands drape across my pale face. The sun is beginning to set and the hangover from last night is still making me miserable. My head has refused to seize it's painful throbbing and I haven't been able to keep down any food all day.
I've never been a huge fan of cold weather, but I needed an escape from Bert and his friends. Jeph and Quinn are pretty cool guys, but they all seem to never burn out. Five nights of nonstop partying and it's like it doesn't even affect them at all. I've been drinking myself past the point of recalling the finer details of each night, but I know they've been partying just as hard as I have, if not more.
So, here I am, sitting on the curb of the street leading to Bert's apartment wallowing in my sorrows as usual. It's not long until I hear footsteps leading in my direction, followed by upbeat, and off key, whistling. Bert.
He sits down beside me without a word and takes the cigarette I have held weakly between fingers to take a lungful of the cancer stick for himself. I wave off his hand when he tries handing it back and take a new one from my almost empty carton instead. Bert's been so surprisingly generous, letting me crash on his couch, that the least I can do is supply cigarettes and booze with what little money I have. Not that we're home a whole lot, but it's still cool of him to give me a place to stay.
I take out my lighter and light up the fresh cigarette before inhaling as deep as I can, savoring the head rush and hot smoke filling my lungs. It feels so good I flutter my eyes closed and groan in the back of my throat. I hear Bert chuckling next to me as he exhales.
"Watching you enjoy a cig is like watching porn."
I roll my eyes at Bert's joke, but laugh nonetheless. That's one of the reasons I chose to stick around Bert. He might be more than slightly strange and completely unstable, but he's got a good heart and he's one of the only people who have managed to make me smile since I've fallen into this depression. Just Bert and…Frank.
I physically wince at just thinking of Frank's name. Bert takes notice and shoots me a sideways glance but doesn't question it.
I still can't get over what a fool I must have made of myself in front of Frank that night I was with him. Leave it to me to scare away a boy that good looking, that innocent, that perfect. I guess that's just it, I'm too imperfect to exist alongside Frank. He was better off walking out of my life like he did before he dwelled in too deep inside my fucked up mind and fucked up life. A suicidal freak on some pointless search of a last meaningful dose of excitement in life.
The cigarette in my hand has suddenly lost my interest. I stub it out on the sidewalk and bury my face in my hands in an attempt to get myself together before I breakdown in front of Bert. That's a new level of embarrassment I know each of us would like to avoid.
"What's on your mind?"
It's a simple question, meant to be answered with a simple response. I'm not about to spill my insignificant emotions on Bert when I only just met him, so I settle on a vague statement.
"Why do you sound so upset? Sucking isn't always a bad thing."
Bert winks, trying to lighten up my mood with another one of his jokes. I still laugh, but this time it sounds hollow and pained. Bert must notice because his laughter dies down and he turns to me, features serious, which is very unusual for Bert.
"But yeah, you're right, life's a bitch. You've just gotta learn to be a bigger bitch and not let Life win."
Oh, Bert and his riddles. This one kinda makes sense though. Bert's being surprisingly…deep.
"That's not always so simple."
I know I sound like a decrepit old lady with the level of bitterness I'm displaying right now, but fuck it. I'm allowed to be bitter when life's kicked me in the ass as many times as it has. Not to say that I have it worse than anyone else in the world. I know there's kids dying of hunger in third world countries and families living under communist control, but sometimes I wish I could trade spots with one of those people. As selfish as that sounds, I'd rather be starving or deprived of freedom than having to life another day inside my head.
I've lost all hope in life, and that's a dangerous thing. Because once you've lost hope, everything else comes crashing down. I have no drive, no aspirations. I don't even know how I managed to drag myself out of bed, or Bert's couch I guess, this morning.
Bert digs a hand into the front pocket of his washed out jeans and closes his fist around whatever he was searching for.
"Sometimes it is."
Bert reaches out and drops three chalky white pills into my limp hand that is resting on my thigh, palm up. He gets up and begins to make his way back home, calling to me over his shoulder that the guys are planning on leaving in 15 minutes so I should hurry up. I watch his retreating back until he steps out of the vicinity of the dim, yellow pool of light coming from the street lamp.
I focus my attention back on the narcotics in my hand. My last source of happiness. My last source of hope.
I miss the days when I didn't need drugs or alcohol to make me feel at ease. My favorite comic books and Mikey's timid smile were all I needed to get me through the day.
I've heard that dwelling on the past isn't healthy, so I choose to swallow the pills in hand instead and focus on how they take affect for the next few minutes. Before long, I'm feeling more like myself again, or rather the me that I have become, and get up, ready to take on another long night of partying.
Rates & Reviews are greatly appreciated :)