I knew then and there that I had no choice but to face the music and come to terms with myself and the fact that I was holding on to something that’ll never be.
“We’re in Ontario bitchesss!” Pete yelled a bit more louder than necessary. I shook my head at my obnoxious, yet lovable friend. I looked around the very large skyscrapers and clear blue sky, unable to deny that it was a beautiful place, especially seeing for myself finally. Joe, Andy, and Pat were chatting amongst themselves while Pete was…well, being Pete. Honda Civic Tour was up and running perfectly this time around, especially since Fall Out Boy was headlining. I had yet again joined the band when they asked me to come with them on tour, something I can never say no to anymore. After all, what kind of fool would I be to give up an opportunity to tour the world with one of the most biggest bands right now; who just so happened to be my best friends?
A laugh interrupts a day dream, but it was a laugh in particular. I sneakily veer my eyes to my right and know immediately who the laugh belongs to. From what I’m able to see, I can’t help but stare at Patrick and admire the way his eyes lit up when he was talking about something he really cared for. I didn’t know a person could love Bingo so much, but that’s Patrick for you, one of the reasons I love him. Yes, I said love him. There’s no point in denying it anymore, I think the ship has sailed long ago. It might be cliché to say I was in love with my best friend, and even I admit it’s a bit cheesy, but I guess you really can’t help it sometimes. Besides, I think it was pretty harmless, I’m more than certain what I felt for my friend was unrequited.
“Hey Em, you all right?” Patrick asks me and I have to quickly gain my composure back, praying to god he hadn’t caught me staring at him, it wouldn’t be the first time.
“Huh? Yeah, I’m fine.” I gave a nod.
“You sure you?” he pressed on, his eyebrows furrowing slightly which made me swoon even more. No matter what Patrick always cared about anything or anyone, even though he may not see it most of the time, he was such a lovely person through and through.
“Yeah I’m good Pat, just getting up caught with all the lights and sounds.” I laughed it off. Patrick smiled back and dropped it, turning back to his conversation with the guys while I let out a soft sigh to myself and focused on the beauty of Ontario. But even Ontario wasn’t enough to keep my heart from tearing slowly but surely.
“Thank you Ontario you’ve been great!” Patrick yelled into the microphone, the crowd going wild as the band finished their last song, This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race, off their new album Infinity On High. I was happy HCT was helping them get the album the recognition it deserved. The band had really come together on this one, especially Patrick’s lyrics. As usual, I stand off to the side of the stage watching up close and personal as the band plays their set. Sometimes it’s still a bit surreal that I’m here with them, they had grown so much in the last couple years. The bands say their final goodbyes to the crowd and run off the stage, Andy being kind of enough to throw one of his drum sticks into the large crowd, I’m sure one bone would be broken over the fight for it.
I whine and cringe when I feel Pete hug me, his sweat being felt through his hoodie, I almost gagged.
“Damn it Pete, I told you stop doing that! You sweaty pig!” I yelled at him while he smiled his million dollar smile, breaking into hysterics.
“Aww come on Emerie, you know you love it. You love all this sweaty sexiness.” he smirked as I scoffed and pushed him away from me.
“Your fans may love that, but I don’t.” I laughed. The rest of the guys had now joined us and the smell of sweat only increased. If these guys weren’t my best friends, I would’ve ran away as far as I could, or douse them each in Febreze.
“Hey Em, you enjoy the show?” Andy asked patting his wet forehead with a towel.
“Duh, of course. I think you gave several people orgasms from rocking out so much.”
“What we can say, it’s a gift.” Pete shrugged. “A damn good one at that.”
“Hell yeah!” Joe piped in.
“Well Em, you want to come and a grab to eat with us before we head back to the bus.” Patrick had now spoken, even with flustered rosy cheeks and strawberry blonde hair sticking to the sides of his face, he still looked adorable.
“Yeah for sure. I’m hungry.” I answered with a nod, Patrick smiled back and motioned me to follow them back to the dressing room where they got cleaned up. When they did, we walked to the closest burger joint from the venue and ordered a late dinner. It was times like these where it still seemed like the band wasn’t famous. We were just friends hanging out like we used to when were younger. Perverted jokes and all, it gave me the peace of mind that no matter how famous the band got, they were still my friends at the end of the day.
“Dude, did you see that chick who flashed us? Fucking 10 man!” Joe exclaimed holding up both his hands while I shook my head.
“Leave it you to spot a pair of boobs in a crowd of thousands.” I teased.
“Nipples are not that hard to miss.” Joe pointed out popping two fries into his mouth.
“You’re such a pervert Joseph.” Patrick laughed, his phone vibrating on the table while he reached for it with enthusiastic hands. He began to type back with quick fingers, a small smile spreading across his face while I looked down at my own hands, a small churning feeling in my stomach had started. Before I could make it obvious, I excused myself to the bathroom before the guys could say anything. I nimbly walked to the bathroom and sighed while leaning my hands on the counter. A frown formed as I stared at myself in the mirror’s reflection, shaking my head at how foolish I am to be thinking about him this way.
“You have to let it go.” I whispered to myself. He didn’t care for me in that way, in his eyes we were just best friends, the way it should be. I had to realize this sooner or later, but as if my mind enjoyed inflicting torture upon me, it wouldn’t let me let go.
“Stupid.” I mumbled once more before washing the mustard scent off my hands and drying them quickly. I coughed and got my composure together once more before heading back out to the table, determined to keep myself together. When I opened the door, I gasped in surprise as Pete stood there, an expectant look on his face.
“What?” I asked confused while he only raised his eyebrow at me.
“You know what.” he replied, his tone unusually soft.
“What the hell are you talking about Pete?”
“Don’t play dumb Emerie, I’m not as stupid as I look. I know how you feel about Patrick.” My body froze and I felt as if I had been caught doing something illegal. My stomach churned even further and I could only stare back at Pete in shock.
“Feelings for Patrick, Pete it‘s not that easy-”
“Deny it all you want to Em. But if I were you, I’d tell him before it’s too late.” was all he said before giving me one last expectant look and heading back to the table while I remained stuck in my spot like an idiot. How could he know about that? I asked myself this all the way back to the table where I forced to put on yet another smile, all the while avoiding Pete and knowing stares. I couldn’t let him get to me, but I knew deep that I couldn’t avoid the inevitable forever.
When the guys finished eating, we headed back to the bus where I scampered quickly into the extra bunk the guys let me use when I came with them on tour. Usually I hated such a small cramped space, but at the moment, it was only the place I felt safe. I couldn’t handle being around the guys right now, especially Pete and Patrick. Pete’s words were still replaying in my head even though I wanted nothing more to forget about it. I didn’t know what Pete expected me to do, I couldn’t tell Patrick because things were much more complicated than that. Not to mention it was obvious Patrick didn’t like me in that way. If I told him how I felt, I would destroy our friendship and that is the last thing I want to do right now.
Before I could stop it, a couple tears fall down my face, while I wipe them away in annoyance. Why did I have to feel this way, why couldn’t I just move on? I sigh to myself as I put my head in my hands, I knew why. I shake my head and straighten myself out before turning on my stomach burying my face into my face into the pillow.
I love him.
“Em, Emerie, wake up.” I heard someone whisper into my ear while I groaned, I had to be dreaming.
“Em, wake up.” The voice voice repeated once more and the feel of hands shaking my side, forced me to open my eyes with a loud gasp, especially when I saw Patrick standing over me, his index finger lying vertically against his lips as he shushed me.
“Pat, what is it?” I whispered groggily.
“I want you to come with me somewhere, I want to show you something.” he explained while I sat up slightly, noticing the bus was completely dark still, which meant it was still late.
“Go where? What time is it?” I whined.
“Just come, it’s a surprise. It’s almost 5.”
“Five in the morning? Pat that means I’ve only been sleeping for four hours, do I really have to go-”
“Please Em? Come on, I promise it’s worth it.” Patrick begged while he clasped his hands together in a plea. “Pleaseeee?” he trailed off.
“Fine.” I groaned as I sat up. “Let me get changed.” I grumbled.
“Don’t worry about it, come on.” he replied taking my hand and pulling me out of the bus. I squinted my eyes and rubbed the sleep away from them.
“Really Pat?” I whispered in annoyance while he just smiled and began to lead me wherever the hell we were going. When we walked off the bus, I could tell the sun was almost about to rise. The sky was becoming a slight baby blue over the horizon, a cold gust of air hitting me while I shivered. Thank god I fell asleep with my hoodie on or I’d be pissed off at Patrick than I already was. I followed Patrick as we walked along the sidewalk, I could tell there was a lake or some sort by where the bus was parked, but trees had overshadowed most of it. I was becoming more confused as we kept walking, but finally Patrick had stopped and turned me.
“Close your eyes.”
“Close my eyes? What the hell is going on Patrick!” I shouted softly.
“I told you it was a surprise. Just close your damn eyes Em, relax.” I sighed and reluctantly did as I was told. Even though they were closed, I felt Patrick’s hands clasp around my eyes, determined for me not to see.
“Don’t worry, I got you.” he told me while pushing me forward so we walked a couple more steps before stopping once more.
“Okay, on three, open your eyes.” he instructed. “1...2...3.” he counted and I opened my eyes to find a sea of blackness. It took me a second to realize what it was I was supposed to be looking at, and when I did, a gasp escaped my lips. Over by the horizon a swirl of neon colors shined in the sky. They seemed to be floating in the air and the colors of purple, green, and blue had me hypnotized.
“Oh my god.” I whispered at the sight. Never in my 21 years of life had I ever got to experience an aurora borealis. It was on my bucket list, but I wasn’t sure if I’d have the time while we were here in Ontario. I stared at in awe at the way it floated in the sky, such vibrant colors.
“I told you it was worth it.” Patrick smiled. “I knew how much you wanted to see the lights.” he explained.
“Patrick this is amazing, I can’t believe I’m actually seeing one.” I whispered before turning my gaze to Patrick and smiling. “Thank you.”
“You’re very welcome.” he replied. The both of us stood there shivering, but the sight before us was well worth it. The borealis mixed with the star sprinkled sky in such harmony, it almost didn’t seem real. We stood there in silence before I noticed Patrick on his feet.
“I’m going to ask her to marry me.” he suddenly said as I looked back at him. “I just feel like it’s right between Elisa and I.” he added. I didn’t know what to say to him because really I was speechless. I felt my heart and stomach harden while I tried to say something back.
“That’s umm…that’s great Patrick.” I whispered.
“I know it seems soon, but three years isn’t bad right? I don’t know…I just…feel like it’s meant to be you know?” he reasoned. I remained silent and just nodded, because no, I didn’t know. I felt a bit sick but I held it down, I twisted my hands together to keep myself from falling apart. There was a part of me that wanted to tell him no, that it was a mistake, but was it really? If my best friend was happy, which he seemed, who would I be to try and ruin that. I looked back at the shiny colors in an attempt to compose my thoughts. And even though my heart was now fully breaking, I knew now more than ever, Patrick needed my support and I needed to play the role I was meant to, the best friend role.
“If that’s how you feel Patrick, then that’s how you feel. That’s wonderful, I’m sure she’ll say yes.” I whispered with a half smile. Patrick looked back at me with an enthusiastic expression and nodded.
“Thank you Em. You know I’m sorry to spring this on you, it’s just…well, you’re the only one I can really talk to about things like these. I mean, after all we’ve been through with the band and our personal issues, you’ve still stuck around. Whether we’re famous or not, you’re still our friend and still have our backs. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.” he told me sincerely. It didn’t soften the blow, not at all, but I still took his words in stride, happy I counted for something at least.
“Of course Pat, you’re my best friend.” I replied genuinely.
“You’re my best friend too Em.” he smiled and pulled me into a hug. I hesitantly hugged him back, a mixture of emotions bubbling in my stomach. He let me go a moment later and turned back to the lights, but keeping his arm around my shoulder. I carefully looked to my left so he couldn’t see the stray tears falling down my face. I was glad for the darkness that surrounded us so he couldn’t see my heart shattering piece by piece on the ground.
I knew then and there that I had no choice but to face the music and come to terms with myself and the fact that I was holding on to something that’ll never be. It absolutely killed me, but I couldn’t do anything about it. I would be there for my friend, just as he was there for me. And even if I loved him mercilessly, I’d still be here.
Because maybe one day if I was lucky…he’d love me back too.