Ana realises she needs to sort herself out...
Pete knew the moment he saw Ana's face that something had gone wrong in her strange little world. He watched her bang down hard on the seat opposite him and he wondered if he should have been more responsible with her, maybe taken more of a parental role in her life rather than a brotherly one. That would never have worked he told himself, she was a peer not a child and god this girl was difficult to control. Pete had learnt that along the way and given in to allow her to make her own mistakes. Pete met Ana one summer in L.A at some parties and after a few conversations and sharing a smoke together they swapped numbers. It was only a matter of a few months before Pete found out she had been lying to him, she wasn't 21 years old and she didn't live happily with her wonderful family. She was only 17 years old and she lived in foster care.
Pete easily forgave her the lies because it made sense to him that she would want to hide the truth. He admired her for still being so feisty after some of the shit she had been through. It hadn't been a conscious decision to adopt Ana but they took her in one night after she had been in a fight with her latest foster parent, a large man with a tendency to lash out. There she was sleeping on the studio couch and there she stayed. Pete had tried to encourage her to get into her photography more so she would have something productive to do while the band was working or touring. Unfortunately she lacked the confidence or the self belief to really put her mind to anything productive and she was slowly getting worse.
Ryan was sat at one table, discussing the tour with Spencer and Patrick while at the table opposite Ana was sat with her Cosmopolitan in one hand and her rolled up dollar bill in the other. Ryan was watching her mainly because he couldn't help himself but also because he was trying so hard to understand her somehow. He had noted that the shape of the glass made her fingers look elegant and the colour of the Cosmopolitan reflected in her complexion but all this was before he had noted the dollar bill in her other hand. Ana placed her glass on the table licking the sugar from her lips and fingers before placing the dollar bill to her left nostril and snorting her third line of cocaine. Ryan watched with a huge sense of disappointment and it reminded him of everything he didn't want from being in a band and everything he didn't want from a girl.
Ana was revelling in the attention as she swung her hips from side to side, a smile spread across her face and a constant giggle escaping her mouth. It was her idea of a perfect night out the chance to get high, to dance, to flirt and to laugh. She danced her way across the venue stopping to touch people and to tell them they were beautiful. Ana loved to feel the rush in her blood, the rush of the chemicals which made her so happy. Everything was just perfect when she felt that sensation creeping up her spine, that feeling that something absolutely amazing was just about to happen. Pete swung the doors open for her seeing that look in her eyes knowing there wouldn't be a trace of the real Ana at any point that night. Pete was hardly a saint he liked to indulge himself when the fancy took him but he had some control, Ana didn't appear to anymore.
Ana was working the room to her advantage, she was good at knowing who would be of use to her and who wouldn't. It was a skill she had required when she was younger and with some practise she had refined it well. When her eyes landed on Ryan her instinct was to approach him, talk to him, be honest with him but her head told her that would put her in a vulnerable position and that wouldn't do. She could see in his face that she repulsed him on so many levels and it felt a little too much like looking in the mirror. Brendon appeared beside her with a handsome smile and a steady, confident stance. This observation led Ana to consider her options for the evening and as she looked Brendon up and down she wondered if he would turn her down in the heat of the moment.
"You have an amazing stage presence." Ana told Brendon.
"Thank you." He replied.
"It's quite exciting the way the audience responds to you." She then said confused when he looked back at her like she had just spat on him. "What?"
"Please tell me you're joking." Brendon suggested.
"Joking?" Ana said. "Why would I be joking?" Brendon let out a long sigh like it was going to be a huge effort for him to explain this to her.
"Whatever don't worry about it." He went to walk away but Ana stopped him. Brendon's eyes dropped to her hand on his arm and then he looked up at her. "So is this the bit where you say something about me being really hot?" he asked her in a tired tone of voice. Ana was pissed off when she realised Brendon wasn't going to be quite so easy to play with after all.
"Why do you have to make things difficult?" she asked him.
"Why do you have to get out of your mind on drugs to have a good time?" he replied.
"Do I look out of my mind?" Ana still wasn't sure whether to give up on him or not.
"You act it sometimes." Brendon smiled at her.
"God I'm just trying to..."
"I know what you're trying to do." He told her. "You think we're all idiots don't you?"
"Me?" she looked shocked as she held her hand to her chest. Brendon laughed at her theatrics. "It's you guys that think I'm the idiot." She gasped.
"Nobody thinks you're an idiot." Brendon insisted. "Well." He smiled at her. Ana stood staring up at him trying to find a different approach but he was resolute that he understood what was happening and she knew he was right.
"I thought we got on alright you and me." He then said to her.
"So why do this? Why try and mess with me?"
"Mess with you how?" Ana kept the pretence.
"You didn't get what you wanted from Ryan so you're looking at me now thinking maybe I might be the easier option." She hadn't realised he was quite so perceptive and it made her wonder if maybe that meant Ryan saw through her too. "See it makes me wonder if you even know what is was you wanted from Ryan in the first place." Ana was starting to feel quite exposed having Brendon digging around in her mind and she didn't like it.
"Ok listen you don't need to over react here." Ana then said trying to laugh the conversation away. "So you don't want me either. Big deal, you don't need to psycho-analyse me."
"Why not just be my friend?" She shrugged her shoulders at him defeated. "Why not just ask for a hug because you feel shit instead of trying to get laid?"
"I take it back." She then told him. "I do think you're idiots." He laughed again.
"Just because we don't get all fucked up on alcohol and drugs and have orgies with complete strangers doesn't mean we're naÃ¯ve, doesn't mean we don't know it goes on." She raised her eye brows at him like she knew better. "You have this weird idea of how you think it's all supposed to be but did you ever think that maybe you're wrong?"
"No." she walked away from Brendon on the verge of tears feeling anxious at the thought of her mind being so easily dissected. That was the only thing she had always held on to the idea that her insecurities were secret and therefore she could pretend she was something she wasn't. The fact that Brendon was right made her feel like the idiot, the fact that this nice, polite young man from Vegas was now giving her advice made her feel sick. It had been so much better when she felt superior to them, when she felt like she had the edge.
Ryan saw the fire exit door slam behind her and he looked over to Brendon.
"That's a seriously confused young lady." Brendon told him. Ryan nodded still looking in her direction. "Why don't you go check on her?" his friend suggested relieving Ryan of the decision and making him feel like it was his duty to.
"Yeah I should." He said. Ryan pushed the bar down on the fire exit doors seeing Ana sat on the steps outside her arms around her knees.
"You ok?" Ryan asked her as he perched himself beside her.
"Do you have a cigarette?" Ana asked him.
"No." he replied. She accepted the fact and continued to stare at the side of the tour bus parked across the car park.
"I'm fine thanks. Are you ok?"
"Yeah I'm good." Ryan started fiddling with the loose laces on his trainers. It was silent for a few moments. "Did Brendon upset you?" Ryan finally asked her.
"Oh ok." He replied. Again it was silent for a while but Ana appreciated Ryan's determination.
"I think I might go back to L.A." Ana then said.
"Really?" Ryan was disappointed. "You miss your family?" he asked her. She nodded. Ryan liked the idea of her returning to the warmth of her mother and father and being loved back into shape. He didn't want her to go but he knew it was more important she was happy and he didn't see happy in this girl.
"Brendon's right you know." She then told him. "I think I got it all wrong in my head."
"Got what wrong?"
"Just stuff." She replied not giving him any more of an insight than that. Ana wasn't planning on going back to L.A at all she was planning on going to New York to try and find her dad. "I have some things I should sort out really before it's too late."
"Right." Ryan was slightly lost for what to say because he didn't know what she was talking about. They sat a while longer and made some small talk until people started leaving the venue. "We better get on the bus before they leave without us." Ryan smiled.
"Cool yeah." Ana walked with Ryan over to the bus deciding she needed to get away from that environment before she turned into the drunk and disturbed woman that was her mother.
Pete was shaking his head at Ryan as he carefully rolled himself a reefer, Ryan watched him run his tongue the length of the rolling paper and then his finger to seal it.
"Let me get this straight." Pete began as he lit the reefer inhaled on it and then turned to Ryan and Brendon. "You." He pointed to Ryan. "Drove her to the fucking airport?"
"Yeah." Ryan said starting to wonder why Pete was being so aggressive towards him. "I took the rental car." He added. Surely Pete would have been grateful that Ryan was taking care of her.
"About an hour ago." Ryan replied.
"Fuck it." Pete moaned inhaling again but this time deeper as though it required more of a lung full for him to work all this out. "Oh well." He then added.
"I don't understand." Ryan said. "She said she was going home for a while."
"Home?" Pete repeated Ryan's words. "She doesn't have a home." He said realising it wasn't fair to get mad at Ryan, what did Ryan know? Ana wouldn't have told him anything about herself, she never did. Besides Ana was a law unto herself there would have been no stopping her even if Pete had have found out what she was planning.
"In L.A?" Ryan almost asked rather than said and Pete felt bad for him, he looked a little worried. "Doesn't her family live in L.A?"
"What family?" Pete asked him. "There is no family, we're the family."
Ryan sat quietly and started to see the bigger picture with this girl. He could understand now why she was so guarded and he felt stupid for not realising the difficult and hostile faÃ§ade was just that, a faÃ§ade. She was constantly making more and more sense in his mind as time went by and as things developed between them.
"Look its ok, it isn't your fault." Pete assured the boys.
"I think it might have been my fault though." Brendon then spoke. "I was the one telling her to sort herself out."
"But you were right." Pete told him. "Ana actually needs some time alone I think."
"Where do you think she'll go?" Brendon asked. Pete offered the reefer which was turned down immediately.
"Hmmm not sure." Pete pulled a face as he thought but he could see the boys looked worried. "Listen it's fine the only way she can pay for anything is by credit card and guess who's account that's on?" he smiled and Ryan seemed to relax.
"So can you track her by where she uses the card?" Pete nodded. "Wow, that's cool."
"We can get all minority report on her arse." Brendon laughed. Ryan smiled at the idea of tracking Ana across the country following her motel receipts
"She better not spend too much money though, I'll kill her." Pete finally added.