After the infamous pictures leak out onto the internet, Peter goes into a break down. Everyone looks to Quinlan to bring him out of it, but she's not sure it should be her job anymore.
"Quin, are you online?" Her best friend, Karoline, asked her. Her voice was hurried with what sounded like both concern and excitement, but the haze of sleep was still over Quinlan's mind, and it didn't really register.
"I'm in bed, Kar. No, I'm not. I was up all night, on the phone."
"Do you know, then?"
"Go online. Go to the live journal 'oh no they didn't' and you'll see what I'm talking about."
"More tabloid crap? I'm not interested."
"You'll be interested. Trust me. Just go."
"Fine, fine." Quinlan pulled herself out of the bed and turned on her computer. The monitor flickered on and she signed herself in. She yawned as she typed in the letters of the URL, not too concerned with what she'd find. It wasn't unusual for her boyfriend, Peter Wentz, to be in the thoughts of all the little internet people. His band had a large following of preteen girls, all of which wanted to have a thousand of his children.
"Are you there?" Karoline's voice questioned.
"If you don't get rid of that dial up, I'm going to - "
"Holy shit!" Quinlan yelled, slamming her hand on the computer desk.
"I knew you'd be interested." Karoline said and Quinlan could hear the smirk in her voice.
"Shut up. This is not funny." She snapped, looking at the pictures. There, in front of her, were naked pictures of Pete. They left nothing to the imagination, but why should they? They were meant for her. Only her. Not millions of other people.
"I think it's hilarious. I told you something like this would happen. Quin, I told you. He's so skeevy."
"He is not. Shut up. He sent these to me. I don't know what they're doing here, but..."
"Maybe, he was so impressed with himself that he put them up himself."
"You don't even know what you're talking about. I can't do this right now. Good bye." She hung up the phone and threw it on her bed. She stared at the pictures, trying to think of some way to remedy this. They were on a public site. She didn't do it. He didn't do it. Peter would freak out when he saw it. She just knew it. She knew him well enough to know that this wasn't something he was going to be able to laugh off. This was bad.
'Where are you?' She texted Pete's phone, her stomach in knots. She kept her phone on her as she went to make some coffee. In the time it took to brew and it took for her to drink, he still had not texted her back. Nor, did he call. She knew he always had his phone on him, so there was no chance that he didn't get it. He just wasn't answering.
She cursed out her phone, needing to take some anger out on something. She contemplated calling Karoline back. What with the way she was speaking to her, she could do with taking it all out on her. Karoline was a great friend, but she was never fond of Pete. Quinlan was almost grateful for that. It meant that she wasn't blinded by the rock star image Pete had, but it bothered her because she dismissed him as just another guy when he was really so much more. It sounded corny and all to say, but he was an amazing person. Karoline just didn't want to see it.
Quinlan decided against it, though, knowing that it would never end well. Either that, or she wouldn't respond well and it'd only be more frustrating. You could never count on her to get really angry when you wanted her to or stay calm when you wanted her to. Quinlan shook her head, deciding to stop thinking about Karoline. It wasn't a day for Karoline. She obviously wasn't getting a text back, so she had to find out what was going on.
Going through her contact list, she tried to figure out who would know best where Pete was and what was going on. You'd think you'd be able to ask his girlfriend, but of course not. They could never keep things normal for a second. Hell, they met each other in the hospital when he had attempted to kill himself, way of overdose. She had been in there for a much less dramatic reason - tonsillectomy. Conversation was just booming with her not able to speak. But, her little chalk board made him happy when she'd write him messages from across the room. Conversation really wasn't all that difficult.
She was snapped from her thoughts when her phone started vibrating in her hand. She looked at the caller ID and saw Patrick's name show up.
"Patrick, hello?" She said, realizing how desperate she must have sounded. A moment too late.
"Quinlan, are you busy?" He asked her, sounding concerned.
"No. Do you know where Pete is?"
"He's holed himself up in his room. He won't talk to anyone. We wanted to know if you'd come try to talk to him."
"I tried texting him, but I didn't get an answer."
"Yeah, he doesn't have his phone. He wants nothing to do with it. He keeps saying that he's quitting the band and all this other stuff..." He trailed off and she heard him sigh, "It's obvious he doesn't want to talk to us. Could you come give it a try?"
"Of course. Listen, I'm going to get dressed and come over, okay? I'll be there in about a half hour."
"Alright, thanks. Talk to you soon. Bye."
"Bye." She said, but she heard the line go dead.
Never in her life did it take her such little time to get dressed and she was out the door in under five minutes. She had her hair pulled back, not bothering to take a shower and look presentable. He was probably going to talk to her through a door, anyway. It wasn't like this would be their first 'through a door' conversation. Whenever he was embarrassed about something, or just couldn't face the world, he would talk to her through a door. It was oddly commonplace for them.
She cursed herself for not having gone on tour with them. She went every other time, but wanted to take this tour off, letting him do his own thing while she did hers. Because of that, he constantly sent her pictures. Some were a bit more risque than others, but none of them were really anything so out in the open as this. Why couldn't the internet feens have leaked some pictures of him making stupid faces in front of a Dairy Queen in the middle of nowhere?
"Quinlan! Come in." Andy said hurriedly, at her passenger side window as soon as she pulled up.
"I'm coming. I'm coming. I swear." She shook her head and got out of the car, walking into the house. The house seemed oddly empty, but she knew there were people deeper inside. She heard Pete's voice yelling something that was barely intelligible. Desperate voices came from Joe and Patrick and she could barely tell the two apart as they meshed together to say one thing: Just come out.
"Quin's here, Pete." Patrick said loudly, banging on the door. Peter fell quiet for a moment, before starting up again.
"Why did you guys bring her over here? I can't face her. What the hell is the matter with you?!" He yelled, slamming his fist into the door. The group stepped back a bit, afraid the door might give way and break.
"Pete, are you alright?" Quinlan asked, walking up to the door and pressing her ear to it. She could hear him mumbling to himself, but couldn't tell what he was saying.
"No, not at all." He said harshly, and she frowned. The voice was coming from further down the door, so she sat down, to be on the same level as him. Joe, Patrick, and Andy looked to her and she nodded at them, silently telling them it was alright to leave.
"Let's get some lunch, or something." Patrick suggested quietly, and the others agreed. They walked down the stairs and Quinlan sighed when she heard the door close. It was just her and him and she preferred it that way.
"Pete, talk to me. Please." She said, just wanting to make sure he was still able to talk to her.
"What's there to say? I sent you pictures and now they're on the Internet for thousands of people to see. No," He said, contradicting himself immediately, "Millions of people. Do you even know what that's like? Millions of people are looking at those pictures thinking god knows what. What am I supposed to say or do about this?"
"It was wrong of whoever leaked the pictures, but it's not your fault. The pictures were your private property and it was a complete lack of respect for you and your band for them to put them up."
"What band? Screw the band. I'm not in a band. I'm staying here for the rest of my life. I'll get some dumb ass minimum wage job and spend the rest of my life as a nobody."
"That's not what you want. You're not fooling me."
"I'm not trying to fool you, Quin. I don't want that. But, I don't want this attention. No one hacks the sidekick of a Taco Bell cashier. This is screwed up, babe."
"I know it is, but you can't stay in there forever. And, you can't let them get you down. I sound like some kind of stupid motivational tape, but it's true. If you stay here, you're just letting them get to you."
"They've gotten to me. That's obvious. I'm not doing this, anymore. I'm not being in the spotlight anymore. I can't do this."
"You can. You know you can, Pete. You're better than this. I know it and you should, too."
"This is disgusting. I hate this. Who would put those pictures up there? I know you didn't and god knows, I didn't. I think it might have been Chris."
"You think? I don't know, sweetie. Chris is pretty messed up, at times, but do you really believe he'd do this?"
"I don't know what to believe. I thought I was in this band with good music, playing to a bunch of good kids, and where am I, now? I'm in my bedroom because someone posted those pictures of me. What are all the good kids going to think of me, now?"
"They're going to think that you've got a life outside the band, you know? That you do have a girlfriend and that you haven't seen her in a while."
"That's no excuse."
"It's not an excuse. It's the truth. Why don't you just tell them that?"
"We've discussed this. I have no interest in dragging you into the tabloids with me. If I go down, I go down alone. I'm not taking you down with me. That wouldn't be right."
"But, it would help to straighten things out. Explain some things to your fans."
"No!" He yelled, suddenly angry again, "No fans! I can't have fans if I'm not in a band and I'm not. I'm Pete Wentz, everyday guy. That's all."
"You're not just an everyday guy. You're Pete Wentz, amazing bass player and amazing guy. You could never be anything everyday."
"You don't understand." He said loudly and she could hear the voice getting higher, so she stood up, "If there were pictures of you all over the Internet, you'd be ashamed, too."
"You want me to post pictures of myself? They'll go right alongside yours, sweetheart, and we'll be the nude couple of '06."
"Shut up, that's stupid."
"Pete, what do you want me to say? You're giving up on everything. You're giving up on the guys, on the band, on your dreams...next thing I know, you'll be giving up on me."
"Yeah, well, maybe you'd like that, huh? You're so quick to tell me what I should do and how I should be feeling. You think you have me all figured out, don't you?" He asked, and she was silent. He barked, "Don't you?!"
"Peter, shut up! You know what? I had no problem with this and all I was concerned about was how you felt. I was upset. Not because a million preteen girls saw your penis, but because I knew you would be upset that a million preteen girls saw your penis. Throughout this whole relationship, all it's been about is you. And, I can't do it."
"What are you saying?"
"That's it, Peter. I can't do this. Just like you can't be in the band and you can't be in the spot light, I can't be your girlfriend. You're giving up and so am I."
"Now? Now, is when you choose to do this? Because of these pictures?"
"Have you listened to anything I just said? This is not even close to being about the pictures. It's about me finally realizing that I am a part of this relationship, too. And, I can't be your therapist when you won't be mine. I can't, anymore. I did it for a very long time because I knew you needed me and-"
"I don't need you!"
"Then, that makes it that much easier. Good bye." Quinlan had to almost pull herself away from the door. She couldn't bare the thought of this being the last time she spoke to him, but there was no way she could keep putting herself out there for him, anymore. Throughout the relationship, she realized, it had never been about her. And, he was an amazing guy because he was. He just was never an amazing boyfriend.
"Where are you going?" Patrick asked, walking up to her, with Joe and Andy behind him.
"How is he?" Andy asked.
"Not good. Neither one of us are. But, I have to go. We're...we're not together anymore." Quinlan said, frowning and swallowing hard on the lump in her throat.
"Because of the pictures?" Patrick frowned.
"No, not at all. They were for me. Why should I be angry about that? It's...other stuff. I don't want to lose you guys, though it may be selfish to ask, but - "
"We can be your friend and Pete's." Joe nodded, smiling slightly, and the other two guys followed suit. She hugged them, grateful for an eternity.
Quinlan left after that, getting in her car and driving. She wasn't driving towards her house, nor was she driving towards Karoline's. She was just driving. She felt incredibly free. Yes, that was exactly the word she was looking for. She was no longer bogged down by the insecurities and drama of her boyfriend and, although she felt a little guilty about just leaving him when he was like this, but there was no better time than the present. She knew she had to start living for herself, instead of living for him.
She still loved him, of course, but it was time to find someone who loved her back. Someone who could be for her what she was for him. This life was just over the horizon and she'd drive forever to get to it if that's what it took. It may not be a straight path, but it was a path she needed to take, more than she needed anything in her life. Finally, things made sense. She'd spent years with him, and it seemed to be good until now. She frowned, thinking of the wasted years, which could have been much more fulfilling. But, that's how it works. C'est la Vie.