"I don't want you guys to leave. You just got here." I whined as I watched my brother throw a few shirts into his duffle bag.
"It sucks, but we gotta go back to California to record some more songs. You know that." I sighed, clearly defeated. "Here, would you take this down to the van?" He handed me his toiletries bag.
"Sure." I slung the strap over my shoulder and headed to the awaiting vehicle that would whisk them off to the airport. Patrick was standing guard, having already placed his luggage in the back.
"Aw cheer up. We'll be back soon." He gave me a quick hug and ruffled my mess of curly red hair. Over the month or so that I've been living with the guys, I've come to realize what a great person Patrick was. I just assumed he was one of Joe's dumb friends. But in actuality, he wasn't so bad.
"I know. I'm gonna be so lonely without you two. Late night movies just won't be the same." He laughed.
"Yeah. And who are we gonna to write on when they fall asleep half way through?" I gave him a playful shove. His green eyes settled on something in the distance before they shifted back to me. "I think I'm gonna check on Joe to see if he needs some help." He nodded his chin toward where his eyes had focused on. I turned to see Pete walking up, holding a small bouquet of pink tulips. A frown crept across my face.
"Hi." He mumbled, looking down at the concrete sidewalk.
"Hi." I mimicked his tone and crossed my arms over my chest. This ought to be interesting.
"Listen, I...uh, I'm an asshole, OK?" Finally, the boy was making some sense. And it only took him four weeks.
"I'm aware. Continue." He grinned sheepishly and kicked a stray pebble down the path.
"I know it's not much. I know it won't undo what I said or did, but I thought they would be a step in the right direction." He stretched out his arm, offering the flowers. I smiled slightly before accepting them. Their sweet aroma wrapped itself around my senses, consuming them. "Nothing says 'I fucked up' quite like tulips."
"I thought that was roses." I said, casually running my fingers over the velvety petals.
"Roses are so clichÃ©, even for a guy like me." I wouldn't be so sure.
"This doesn't fix anything. You know that, right?" He nodded slowly.
"I wouldn't expect anything less from you."
"Lo?" I looked up from the fascinating article entitled "How to Not Get Pregnant" compliments of Seventeen magazine. The concept in itself was laughable, but I just couldn't resist reading the drivel strewn across the delicate pages. Morbid curiosity getting the best of me once again.
"Yeah, Carmen?" The heavy set blond grinned, indicating there was something I didn't know, but was on the verge of being enlightened of.
"Mrs. Parish is here. I washed her hair, but she requested you to cut it." I sighed and plopped my sorry excuse for journalism down on a counter. Mrs. Parish was a regular who would faithfully patron our shop every week or so to have something done. Nails manicured, hair trimmed or styled, eyebrows waxed and whatnot. She was a plump older woman with distinguished gray hair and make up slathered across her wilted, lathered face. Her thin lips remained in a permanent, lipstick-smothered sneer. Nothing positive or even remotely polite escaped her puckered trap, yet she always asked for me. The only thing that made her bearable was her amazing ability to leave an unbelievable and undeserved tip.
"I'll be right out, Carm." Reluctantly, I threw on an apron along with my happy face and headed into the main area. There were eight stations, four lined up against a wall on opposite sides of the room. Every station had a giant mirror, brushes, hairdryers, curling and flatirons and was stocked with several types of hair spray and gel. Each post was labeled with our names at the top of the mirror. Mrs. Parish's round body was already squeezed into my black leather chair.
"Hello, Mrs. Parish." I said, keeping it simple. I learned never to greet her with a 'good morning' or else I'd be met with a 'what's so good about it?' There was by no means a correct response to that...believe me, I've tried.
"Hello, Lola." Her raspy voice vibrated through my ears, making me involuntarily cringe. She narrowed her eyes at me. "Something wrong?"
"No. It's just cold in here, I guess." I remarked as I blanketed her with a cape to shield her from hair clippings.
"Are you kidding? I'm roasting in here," Droplets of sweat were beginning to form around her temples. "You know what you're problem is?" No, but I'm sure you're gonna tell me. "You have no blood. You're a twig." I frowned. Maybe compared to your fat ass.
Without a word, I grabbed a clean comb and ran it through her tresses to remove any snags or knots.
Am I more than you bargained for yet?
I've been dying to tell you anything you want to hear
Cause that's just who I am this week
Lie in the grass, next to the mauso-
I froze, widening my eyes at the sound of Patrick's voice floating through the room. My head jerked toward the source of the melody; a small, battery operated, portable radio in the corner of the room.
"Oh. My. God." I whispered, clasping my hand over my mouth.
"What the hell's a matter with you?" My client growled, clearly not amused with my behavior.
"Just give me a minute." I hurried over to the radio, grabbed it and took it into the break room. With ease, I pulled my cell phone from my pocket and dialed that familiar number.
"Hello?" My brother answered after a few rings.
"Joseph fucking Trohman. Listen to this." I held my phone to the speaker, letting the song glide from the radio to the mouthpiece.
"Did you hear that?" I asked, feeling the excitement pulse through me.
"So? I can play the CD too. You're not the only special person to get a copy before it's released."
"No, numb nuts, it's on the fucking radio. Your song is on the god damn radio!" He was silent. "Joe?"
"Are you fucking serious?!?!" His voice became muffled, but still audible. "You guys, Lola says we're on the fucking RADIO!" Through the earpiece, I could hear their cheers and screams. A huge smile spread across my face. This was what my brother wanted...and he was finally getting it.
The boys dropped their record, unleashing mass hysteria. MTV played the video staring Antler Boy in heavy rotation while radio stations couldn't seem to get enough of their catchy pop confection. Magazines wanted to interview them, Warped Tour begged them to join the bill, girls dreamed to be their baby's mommas. It made Joe a little uncomfortable in some aspects, but Pete seemed to shine. He basked in the media glow, soaking it all in, much to the relief of the others. While fame made them awkward and uneasy, it appeared to suit Pete just fine.
I was elated for my brother, but at the same time, I missed him. I knew it was all for the best though. He was living his dream and I couldn't be prouder.
The deep orange sun was beginning to set over the horizon as I pulled my car into the driveway of the house I grew up in. Living in Joe and Patrick's apartment proved to be quite lonely without them...and frankly, it freaked me out. So, with my tail between my legs, I returned home to the safe haven my parents created for me.
A soft breeze washed over my lightly clad body. The days were getting longer and exponentially warmer, signaling the onset of summer. After a long day of work, all I wanted to do was relax in the bathtub and let the soothing hot water wash away my stress.
"Lola!" I heard my father bellow just as I walked through the front door.
"What?" I asked as I poked my head into the living room where he was stationed in his old, beat up, La-Z boy.
"Phone." He held up the cordless. I took it from him.
"Hello?" The line was silent, except for heavy breathing from the other end. "Who is this?"
"Do you like scary movies?" I rolled my eyes and placed my free hand on my hip.
"What do you want, Joe?" His chuckle reverberated through the earpiece.
"Can't a guy check up on his beautiful baby sister?" I sighed and sat on the armrest of my father's recliner.
"What do you want, Joe?" I repeated as I patted my dad on his graying head of hair. He absent-mindedly swatted at my hand.
"Miss Lo-Lee, could you find it in your heart to do your only brother a favor?" I continued to harass my father by playfully pinching at his chubby cheeks. His round belly quaked as he laughed and pushed my hands away.
"Knock it off, loser." He giggled.
"Are you listening, Lola?" I let out a snicker as my dad pushed me off his armrest.
"Yeah, yeah. What's the favor?"
"Ya know our merch guy, Nate?" I nodded, focusing on my attention on my mauled nails.
"Well, he got mono, so he won't be able to merch for us when we go on Warped this summer." I shrugged and plopped down on the nearby couch.
"So, we need someone to run merch with Dirty and Tyler," I arched an eyebrow, not caring for where this conversation was going. "so I was wondering if you'd-"
"Offer my condolences for your merch shortage? Consider it done."
"Not quite. It would mean a lot to me and the rest of the guys if you'd help run our merch table." Should I even try to weasel my way out of this? I mean I could offer up all kinds of totally plausible reasons as to why I cannot and should not go, but would it matter?
"OK," I said simply. "When are we leaving?" I asked with a smirk upon my face. My brother remained silent for a bit.
"'OK. When are we leaving?' That's it? No struggle? No argument?" I shook my head and switched the phone to the other ear.
"You just take the fun out of everything, don't you?" He huffed. What kind of little sister would I be if I didn't?