loose lips sink ships.
This chapter is dedicated to:
They're just amazing like that.
15: t o p o f t h e w o r l d / b o t t o m o f t h e b o t t l e
"This photographer is kind of... eccentric." Trick said. "I think we're gonna be at this shoot for awhile."
"Awhile as in a few hours or awhile as in all day?"
"All day," he replied. "And there’s also an interview we need to do."
"Alright." I sighed.
"But hey, since we're not there, it gives you some time to hang out with Vicky."
"She's... occupied," I said, glancing over at her and Jon as they made out.
"Well you'll find something to do. There are paintball guns and fireworks on the bus."
I laughed. "That's true."
"Well I've gotta go. Photo man is getting snippy. See you later."
"'Kay, bye. Tell Andy I love him."
I slipped my phone back into my pocket and went through my options.
Vicky was already hanging out/making out with Jon.
Brendon, Ryan and Nate were in town getting tattoos.
Spencer was getting his hair cut.
Ryland, Alex and Dirty were having a video game tournament.
Before I could complete my thought, I felt myself being thrown over someone's shoulder.
Speak of the devil...
"Where are you taking me?" I asked as he carried me off the bus.
"A place far, far away!"
"Could you be a little more specific?"
"Gotta pick up a friend from the airport," he said. "And I'm bringing you along to keep me company."
He borrowed one of the roadie's cars and we headed off to O'Hare International.
"Are you going to tell me who this 'friend' is?" I asked, strapping on my seatbelt.
"That, my dear, is a surprise."
"C'mon Gabe. Please?"
"Nope. You're just gonna have to wait."
An hour later, we found ourselves standing in front of a terminal as people poured out.
"See him yet?" Gabe asked.
"How am I supposed to know if I've seen him if I don't know who 'he' is?"
"Oh, you'll know."
I rolled my eyes and continued scanning the crowd. Behind a mother pushing a stroller, I saw a familiar face. He spotted us and headed our way.
"Saporta," he said, pulling him into a half-hug. "It's been too long, man."
"I know! It's been like, 4 months!" Gabe joked, patting his back. After pulling away, the visitor shifted his attention to me.
"Sophie!" He smiled, pulling me into a full-blown bear hug.
"Hey, Bill," I managed to squeak out. For such a skinny guy, he was surprisingly strong.
With a silly grin, he spun me around then set me down next to Gabe.
I pulled my clunky luggage along the cracked pavement and followed Sophie and Gabe as they maneuvered through the crowded parking lot.
“Where did you guys park?” It seemed like we’d passed the same white Escalade more than once.
“Um,” he said, looking at his hand. “Pupie squiggle 7?”
“Huh?” I said, wondering if that was some sort of Gabe-speak that I wasn’t familiar with.
“Lemme see that,” Sophie said, grabbing his hand.
She skewed her mouth to the side, trying to decipher what was written on his palm.
“The ink must’ve smeared because my hands got sweaty.”
“Why are they sweaty?” she asked.
“You make me nervous.”
She looked up from his hand and chuckled.
“You’re such a dork…” she said, tilting his palm forward. “Wait, I think I figured it out-- purple 27.”
“I think that’s on the other side of the parking lot,” I said, remembering a purple column that we’d passed.
“So we passed it?” Gabe asked.
“Yeah, I think so.”
We headed back in the direction we came, and surely enough, we found the car.
Gabe pulled out his keys and with a beep! beep! unlocked the doors. After opening the passenger’s side for Sophie, he popped the trunk and helped me with my bags.
"So how was your flight?" Gabe asked, slipping into the driver's side.
I crawled into the backseat and sighed.
"It was a plane ride from LAX to O'Hare..."
"Hey, Bill, you okay?" Sophie asked, turning back. I slumped against the window and sighed.
"Kinda tired..." I mumbled against the glass.
"Gabe, I think we should go back to the buses instead of the movies," she said, concerned. "Beckett looks like he's gonna pass out."
"No, no. I'm fine," I said sitting up.
"Soap's right," he said, glancing at me through the rear view mirror. "Transformers can wait."
"Guys it's not like I'm dying--" I said, but Gabe had already pulled out of the theater parking lot.
As we got onto the FOB bus, I noticed that it was empty.
"Where is everyone?" I asked.
"I guess they're still at the photo shoot," Sophie replied, setting her purse down.
"Think they'd mind if I crashed on the couch?"
"Nah." She cleared some stuff off the cushions and directed me to lie down.
Just as I closed my eyes, I felt a huge weight on my chest. Looking down, I saw Hemmy sitting there, panting.
"Aw, Hem. Don't violate the boy while he sleeps," Gabe joked.
"Haha, since when did you get so big?" I asked. The English bulldog just stared up at me and sneezed in response.
"So what are your plans for today?" I asked, absentmindedly playing with Hemmy’s ears.
"Iono, just hang around the bus and whatnot," Sophie replied, taking a seat across from me.
"You guys should still go to the movies," I yawned, resting my hands behind my head.
"But everyone else is still out,” she commented. “You'll be here alone.”
"I won't be alone. Hem's here to keep me company."
He barked at mention of his name.
"Anyways, all I'm gonna do is get my beauty rest. I don't need a babysitter for that."
"Go," I said. "Watch Optimus Prime kick decepticon ass."
"William!" Pete squealed as he got onto the bus.
"Hey guys!" I said, quickly sitting up.
"What brings you to the FOB tour?" Dirty asked.
"I couldn't miss out on a family reunion in Chicago."
"How'd you get here?" Patrick asked.
"Gabe and Sophie picked me up."
"So where'd they go?" Joe asked.
"We were planning to see Transformers today, but I was kinda jet lagged from the flight. I must’ve looked like crap because Gabe took one look at me through the rear view mirror and decided that we should come here instead of the theater. I felt kind of guilty because they seemed really eager to watch the movie, so I told them to go to without me.”
“Speaking of Gabe and Soap, when did they start dating?” I asked.
Once the words left my mouth, their expressions turned from happy to a mixture of confusion and nervousness.
“They’re not dating,” Andy said, in a somewhat angry tone. “Sophie’s my girlfriend.”
We’ve got a big, big mess on our hands tonight...
It was about 2:00 AM when Gabe and I got back from our really late movie/dinner.
"Have fun today?" he asked, walking me to the bus.
"Of course. You, my friend, are a walking ball of fun."
"Well, it's pretty late, so I guess we'll hang out tomorrow... Thanks again for everything."
"No problem, Soap." He pulled he into a hug and kissed my cheek. "Good night."
He walked off towards his bus and I pulled out my keys. As I opened the door and stepped inside, I was greeted by six very worried faces.
"Jesus, Sophia!" Andy said. Use of my real name was an indication that I was in big trouble. "Where have you been?"
"Trick said you guys would be at the photo shoot all day, so I went out with Gabe."
"Didn't you get any of our calls?! We were really worried that something happened to you."
"Calls? What are you talking about?" I pulled out my cell phone and saw that the battery was dead. "...Shit, I must‘ve forgotten to charge it."
"We were calling Gabe too, but it went straight to voicemail."
"We went to the movies, he probably forgot to take it off silent after we left... What's this all about, Andy? Did something happen while I was gone?"
"I don't know. Why don't you tell me?" he spat, sarcasm dripping from every word.
"What?" I asked, taken aback by the tone of his voice.
"Are you messing around with Gabe?"
"What are you talking about?" Looking into his eyes, all I saw was resentment staring back at me.
"What do you think I'm talking about, Sophie?!" he said, raising his voice. "You spend all your free time with the guy when you're supposed to be my girlfriend!"
"Have you completely lost your mind?!” I said, matching his volume. “Gabe and I are just friends!"
"When was the last time that we went on a date?"
I opened my mouth to yell something back at him, but the words never came. Closing my mouth, I sighed through my nose and directed my eyes to the ground.
"Exactly,” he said, matter-of-factly. “And when was the last time you spent the whole fucking day with Gabe? Oh wait, you just got back from one."
"God!” I said, seething as he stared me down. “Relationships work two ways, Andy! When was the last time you volunteered to spend time with me? Just yesterday I asked if you wanted to visit Millennium Park and you blew me off to play drums with Spencer!"
"You know what? This is getting ridiculous! You have to choose: it's either me or Gabe, because I can't take it anymore. I have to jump through fucking hoops for a second of your attention nowadays."
"You're the one being ridiculous!" I yelled, taking a step forward. "I'm not gonna choose between you and one of my best friends!"
An angry silence filled the space between us, and I noticed that I was actually shaking.
"...Then I think we should break up," he said.
"You know what? That's the most intelligent thing you've said all night. I'm outta here."
I turned on my heel and stormed off the bus, slamming the door behind me.
But there's a light on in Chicago and I--
"Hello?" I sleepily said, picking up my phone.
"Vicky, it's Patrick."
"Oh, hey, what's up?" I asked, pulling myself into sitting position.
"Um, is Soap by any chance on your bus?” Concern was apparent in his voice.
"No. Why?" I asked, somewhat worried.
"She got into a huge fight with Andy then ran off. We thought she just needed to blow off some steam, but she's been gone for more than an hour and nobody knows where she went."
"Have you tried calling her cell?"
"Yeah, but it isn't any help. The battery died."
"Shit..." I said, getting out of my bunk.
"Do you have any idea of where she would have gone?"
"Yeah, I think so... I'll go check it out now."
"I’ll come with."
"Trick, I think it's best that you stay put. If she got in a fight with Andy, I doubt that she will appreciate male company."
"Alright," he said, skeptically. "But call me if you find her."
"Don't worry, I will."
I flipped my phone shut and pulled on a pair jeans laying on the floor. After slipping a hoodie over my head, I was out the door.
After driving around for 20 minutes, I found the place I was looking for.
The Lion's Den
“Do you ever miss home when you’re on tour with the guys?” I asked as my eyes landed on a Polaroid of my family that was taped to the wall.
“Of course,” Sophie replied, taking a seat next to me. “Especially after Chicago shows-- being so close to home then having to get on the road again-- but the guys make an effort to stop by The Lion‘s Den before we leave the city.”
“The Lion’s Den?”
“It‘s this club where we used to hang out... That place was pretty much a second home to me.”
I parked in front of the small, brick building and prayed that my memory of that conversation hadn‘t betrayed me.
Luckily, God was on my side. As soon as I walked in, I spotted her slumped over at the bar.
"Oh, hey Vicky Nicky Licky," she slurred, lifting her head. "Haha, that rhymed!"
Wow. She's really plastered.
"...Anywaaaaays, what's up, buttercup?" she asked.
"I'm here to take you back to the bus."
"Nuh-uh. Nooooo way," she said, shaking her head. "I'm having a lot of fun with my new boyfriend, Daniel Jackson." She raised her glass then pressed it to her lips.
"You mean Jack Daniels?"
"Yep, that‘s his name!" she slammed her glass onto the counter, causing it to shatter. "Oh, whoopsie daisy!"
The bartender sighed, then cleaned up the mess. Soap giggled and pointed to the shards of glass as they were pushed into a garbage can. "See, that's me and Andy. We're broken now..."
Once the remnants of her glass were gone, she crossed her arms onto the counter and rested her head. "We're broken..."
"What are you talking about?" I asked. Trick said that they got into a fight, nothing about breaking up.
"When she got back to the bus, Andy was really pissed off that she was out with Gabe all night," the bartender explained. "He felt like Sophie was spending too much time with him, so he told her that she had to choose between the two of them. She didn't wanna choose between her boyfriend and her one of her best friends. Frustrated, Andy said that they should break up, and that's what they did."
"Yeah, what he said," Sophie slurred.
"Poor kid, I haven't seen her this broken up over something since her grandma died..."
The bartender gave Soap’s shoulder a comforting squeeze.
"How long have you known Sophie?" I asked.
"Since her first fake ID..." he laughed. Sophie nodded.
"It said my name was Millicent Hayes... and I was from Hawaii..."
"How much does she owe?" I asked.
"Don't worry about it. Break up drinks are on the house. Sophie's one of my favorite customers anyways."
"Thanks, Jimmy!" Sophie said, lifting her head from the counter.
"C'mon, Soap. I'm taking you to the Cobra bus." She groaned, but nonetheless got up. I wrapped an arm around her waist and guided her toward the exit.
"Just a little further," I said as we got outside. I somehow managed to unlock the door, and got her into the passenger's seat. After securing her seatbelt, I closed the door and dialed Patrick’s number.
"It's Vicky. I found Soap."
"Is she alright?" he asked, somewhat frantic.
"She'll have a hangover from hell tomorrow, but other than that, I think she'll be fine."
"Okay, thanks, Vicky. We really owe you one."
"Don't worry about it."
"Vickyyyy," Sophie mumbled, tapping against the glass.
"Well, she's getting restless right now, so I'll get back to you later."
"Okay, thanks again."
Is the relationship between Soap and Gabe really platonic as they say?
Review and you just might find out.