Finally, the L.A. show. A turning point for our characters. And why's everyone so darn jumpy?
“I think…out of everyone here, Ryan would look the best in drag.” Jon nodded, not breaking his gaze from the TV and the marathon Guitar Hero tournament taking place in the back lounge of the bus.
“But Bren’s got girl hips. He’s said so himself.” Ryan pointed out.
“But you’re so skinny.” Brendon said, furiously pressing buttons on his plastic guitar.
“What does Haley think?” Spencer asked and they all turned around to look at Haley camped out in the corner surrounded by drawings and computers and piles of crumpled paper. She put her sketchpad down and looked each guy over.
“Spencer has nice eyebrows.” She shrugged, going back to her work. Jon threw his arms up in victory.
“OH! Who would make a horrible girl!” he yelled.
“Hey, guys…” Haley trailed off, tapping computer keys while leaning over the side of the couch to the scanner underneath.
“Yeeesssss?” Brendon sang, returning to the game.
“So…when I turn my scanner on, it shows the last image scanned in. In the preview window. And no one is supposed to enter my duct tape bubble, right?”
“That sounds dirty.” Jon smirked.
“We all agreed on that, it was your idea.” She pointed at a tape line cutting off one corner of the couch where all her stuff was piled.
“Your point it?” Ryan mumbled, hypnotized by the game. Haley turned her laptop around, putting on an angry face.
“WHOSE ASS IS THIS?!” she pointed at the picture, trying not to laugh. The guys all started giggling.
“It’s mine! I did it!” Brendon waved his hand in the air. “But it was Spencer’s idea.”
“And I set it as your background picture, and you need a password to change it. WHICH you’ll never guess.” Jon smiled, proud of himself.
“Ugh, you people are ridiculous. I’m going to bed. Don’t scan any more body parts, or I’ll put them on the internet.” She wagged a finger at them, stacking all her things neatly on the couch, only to have the bus hit a bump and everything fall off.
“Ooh, this one slid over the line. Jackpot!” Brendon said as she left the room.
“Don’t even think about it!” she shouted, climbing into her bunk.
It was a couple days after the scanner incident and Haley was lying in her bunk staring at the ceiling, unable to sleep. She opened the little curtain half way to let in some fresh air. “Can’t sleep either?” she heard someone whisper. She looked across the aisle and saw Ryan in the bunk across from her reading a book in the dim glow of the tiny light in the ceiling of the bunk.
“The bunk makes me kind of claustrophobic.” She sighed.
“Yeah, I know. I usually just sleep with the curtain open, and hope no one turns on the light. It can kind of feel like a coffin in here.” He glanced around at the walls of the bunk.
“Thanks a lot. That’s all I’m going to think about now!” she giggled. “And someone’s snoring.”
“I think it’s Jon.” Ryan smiled.
“Of course it is.” Haley said sarcastically. “How can you even see that? It’s so dark in here.” she motioned to the book.
“I don’t know, I get used to the light.” He shrugged.
“I would get the worst headache.” She shook her head. Just then, her cell phone buzzed and she instantly reached to the shelf above her head and flipped it open, only to see the low battery signal blinking. “Fuck, just the battery…” she mumbled.
“Thought it was Pete?” Ryan asked.
“Yeah, I haven’t talked to him since yesterday morning. I’m starting to miss him.”
“Well you’ll get to see him in L.A. in a few days.”
“Three days, nine hours and twenty-seven minutes. Not that I’m counting or anything.” She shrugged, blushing slightly.
“Well there you go.” Ryan laughed.
“SHUT UP! I’m sleeping.” someone grumbled from above them.
“Hey, do you know the password to get that picture off my computer?” Haley whispered, nodding towards the lounge where her stuff was. He shook his head.
“Sorry, they won’t tell me because they know I’d wind up telling you. I’m horrible at keeping secrets.”
“It’s cool. It’s just not the kind of thing you really want to come face to face with first thing in the morning when I’m checking my email.” They both chuckled. They were silent for a few moments.
“You know…” Ryan trailed off and Haley turned to look at him, yawning. “If you ever need someone to talk to, I know what you’re going through. My dad was an alcoholic. So, I’m there if you need me.”
“Thanks, Ryan. That means a lot.” She smiled and shut the curtain of her bunk, finally falling asleep.
It was the night of the L.A. show, and the band was being extra prissy and high-maintenance. Brendon hadn’t stopped giggling all day, and Haley couldn’t figure out why. And to top it all off, they were running about an hour late because the guys had insisted on going to Disneyland so they could ride Splash Mountain. “Hey guys, I brought everyone Power Bars. Unless you hurry WAY up, you’re not going to have time to eat anything before the show.” She said, rolling the rack of costumes into Panic’s dressing room and handing out snack bars.
“Haley, can you help fix my hair? It’s sticking up in the back and won’t go right.” Brendon whined as Jon started rummaging through the clothes rack, knocking stuff off in every direction.
“Guys, try to keep the stuff on the hangers. I just ironed them.” she scolded.
“I can’t find my pants.” Jon mumbled.
“They’re on the end. On the hanger labeled Jon.” She pointed out, taking the flat iron from Brendon.
“It’s sticking up because it got all Splash Mountain-ed and then you put a hat on.” She began attacking it with the iron.
“Ow, don’t pull…”
“When you’re done could you help with my makeup. I changed my mind half way through and now it sucks.” Ryan pouted, staring at his reflection in the mirror.
“Yeah, sure.” She glanced over to where he was sitting. “What?...ow!” she leaned over, peering out the door and accidentally clamped her finger in the flat iron.
“What happened?” Jon asked, looking around cluelessly.
“I could have sworn I just saw my brother walk by.” Haley shook her head. “Ok, I fixed it. Get dressed and warm up and you might have time to eat.” She pushed Brendon towards the clothes.
“My turn. Fix me!” Ryan sat up and held his makeup out.
“Has anyone seen Pete? He was supposed to be here by now.” Haley asked, dipping a tissue in, what she hoped was a glass of water, and wiping some extra swirly designs off Ryan’s cheek.
“I don’t know, he’s probably in their dressing room or something.” Jon shrugged, so far the only one ready to go onstage.
“Dressing room?” she asked, confused.
“Yeah, they’re playing a short set before us to try out some new material. Didn’t anyone tell you?” Spencer said, finally starting to get ready.
“And some other surprises.” Brendon wiggled his eyebrows, mumbling with half a Power Bar in his mouth.
“Oh, cool.” She shrugged, finishing up Ryan’s face. “There, you had too much going on on this side, and not enough on that side. So I evened it out a little.”
“Awesome, thanks.” He hugged her, causing everyone else to run over and join in.
“Ok, now you’re freaking me out.” She laughed, trying to wiggle her way out of their grips.
“We’re just happy to finally be in L.A.” Jon grinned.
“AH! Group hug!” she heard someone yell as Sisky, the Butcher and William ran in the room and jumped on the pile, followed by Mike and Michael. Haley finally pried herself away.
“What are you guys doing here?!” she smiled, hugging her brother tightly, and then Sisky when he started pouting.
“We were in town, so we came to see the show.” Bill smiled.
“Yeah…we wanted to…no one told us to come…nothing special is going on, if that’s what you’re asking.” Sisky rambled.
“Dude!” The Butcher smacked him in the arm.
“Ok…” she gave them a look. “Well, I’ll talk to you guys later, we should all hang out after the show. I’m going to go find Pete.” She waved walking out the door and saw some tech or someone she didn’t recognize looking at a clipboard. “Hey, do you know where Fall Out Boy’s dressing room is?”
“End of the hall, turn left. First door on the right.” The guy said without even looking up.
“Thanks.” She jogged down the hall and saw Joe and Andy exiting one of the rooms. “Hey, guys! Is Pete in there?” she pointed at the door.
“Hey, how’s it going?” Andy smiled politely.
“Hi, HALEY. Yeah, Pete’s in there. GO ON IN, HALEY!” Joe shouted, emphasizing her name.
Right. Weird.” She muttered, opening the door to catch a glimpse of Pete hastily shoving something small and black into his bag and standing up.
“Hey, Baby.” He smiled nervously, stepping over to her and pecking her lips.
“I’ve been gone almost a month, and that’s all I get?” she grabbed his shirt and attacked his mouth. Just as he started to get into it and his hands went to her hips, she pushed him away. “Is there another girl in here?” she scowled.
“What? No!” he shook his head with a terrified look on his face.
“Then why is everyone acting so fucking bizarre today? And why didn’t you tell me you were playing?”
“I don’t know, I guess I forgot. I’m just nervous about the new songs. What if no one likes them?” he wrapped his arms tightly around her waist.
“Aw, Baby. Of course they’ll like them.” she ran a hand through his hair, kissing him sweetly. “Do you want to see the bus? No one’s there right now.” she smiled.
“Yes, I very much want to see the empty bus.” He glared at Patrick, who had just wandered into the room humming. She tried to turn around towards the door but couldn’t move in his grip.
“Hm?” he mumbled, nuzzling her neck.
“You’re going to have to let me go. I can’t walk.” She giggled.
“So, this is the bus.” Haley dragged Pete into the bus, hopping over a pile of clothes. “Sorry it’s so dirty, laundry day is tomorrow so it’s starting to pile up.”
“I’m used to it.” He smiled, pulling her towards him.
“Wait! I want to show you my bunk.” She pulled away and headed towards the back and pulling open the curtain to one of the bunks. “This is mine, they gave me the good one since I’m a girl.”
“Cool.” Pete said flatly.
“I think it is cool. I’ve never had a bunk before it’s like being at summer camp. And there’s my picture of you.” She pointed at a photo taped to one of the walls. “Jon’s above me and Brendon’s below me, Ryan’s right across here and Spencer’s up there.”
“Ryan’s said you guys have been talking a lot.” Pete snaked his arm around her waist and guided her into the back lounge.
“Yeah, he’s really cool. He understands what I’m going through, and he doesn’t judge me. Some people can start sounding like the AA manual.” Haley shook her head.
“Ok, what’s with the tape?” he pointed at the line circling one corner of the couch.
“Oh, that’s my office. No one is allowed across the line.” She said, plopping down on the couch and pulling Pete down next to her.
“Why is that?”
“There was a slight incident where someone spilled root beer on my sketches, I still haven’t gotten any names on that one. And there was a situation with my scanner.” She opened her laptop.
“Whose ass is that?” Pete laughed.
“Brendon’s. They won’t tell me the password to change the picture.” Haley giggled, not able to hold it in any longer.
“You have the cutest laugh.” Pete smiled, leaning in and capturing her lips. She wrapped her arms around his neck, deepening the kiss as he laid her down on the couch.
“Hey, guys…Oh, shit! Sorry.” Charlie, Fall Out Boy’s security guy, came into the room and immediately turned around, so as not to see anything he would regret.
“What do you want?” Pete mumbled into Haley’s mouth.
“Uh, you’re on in 15, if you need to warm up or anything.” Charlie said, still staring at the wall. Pete sighed, as Haley climbed out from under him.
“Come on, I want to hear the new songs. We can finish this later.” Haley said, pulling him up off the couch.
“What are all these pictures?” Charlie asked, looking at all the pages ripped out of magazines and printed off the internet that were taped to the wall.
“These are all the people who’ve been talking about Haley.” She smiled, pointing at a few separated from the group. “This is our ad in Vogue, and a mention in an article about what’s hot for next season. This is a whole article about doing the wardrobe for the tour. These,” she pointed at the rest of the wall. “are the tabloids. These ones are all about me and Bill, and why didn’t I tell anyone I had a brother. It’s big scandal. And then supposedly I’m sleeping with each member of the band, including the cello player, and Zack and the bus driver, and this 14 year-old fan in Texas.” She pointed at one blurry picture of her hugging some girl outside a venue. “The fans love me though. I printed out everything they’ve been saying on the message boards, both Panic’s, the Academy’s and yours. They made a fan club.” she held up a stack of printed message board comments. “And Perez thinks I’m adorable. I’m his new obsession.”
“There’s no pictures of you with me?” Pete pouted, scanning over the wall.
“There’s a couple of us at Starbucks, and one of us coming out of a club. But you’re entirely too elusive.”
“Huh…” Pete and Charlie stood, transfixed by the wall.
“Ok, guys. Let’s go, you don’t want to be late.” Haley tried pushing them out the door.
“Is your hand on Spencer’s crotch?” Charlie pointed at one of the pictures.
“What?!” Pete shoved him out of the way to get a better look.
“No, it’s just the way I was standing, and the angle they took the picture at. Everybody thinks that.” The guys gave the picture one last critical look before following her out of the bus.
“I want you to watch our set from the side of the stage.” Pete said, taking hold of Haley’s hand as the members of Fall Out Boy headed to the stage.
“Yeah, I was planning to.” She smiled.
“But I want to be able to see your reactions to the songs, so don’t wander off somewhere.”
“I won’t. I’ll stay right here.” She leaned against a big equipment crate just off stage.
“Perfect. Shit!” he froze and turned to Charlie. “I forgot it, it’s in my bag. Could you go get it for me?”
“What is it? I’ll get it.” she stood up.
“NO!” Pete shouted, taking Haley aback. “Sorry, he can get it. It’s fine. I love you.”
“I love you too.” She smiled.
“No, really. I’ve never felt this way about anyone before.” He kissed her sweetly before grabbing his bass and running on stage. Fall Out Boy were playing four songs, and about half way through the second, the guys from the Academy Is came and all sat down next to her, followed closely by the Panic guys.
“Shouldn’t you guys be getting ready?” she whispered as they crowded around her crate.
“We wanted to watch. Uh, hear…the new songs…” Brendon stammered.
“SHH! Pay attention.” Sisky bounced as the song ended and Pete started talking.
“So…this past year, we made a new friend. And if the message boards are any signifier, you’ve embraced her and made her one of your own. She’s been on tour with these guys, who were so nice to let us come do this tonight. So if she could come out here…” he looked off towards Haley.
“What’s he doing?” she looked around confused, as someone pushed her towards the stage. Pete handed his bass off to the tech, who she saw pass him the same black thing she caught him shoving in his bag. He quickly shoved it in his pocket before he dragged her out to the middle of the stage. The crowd cheered, and she gave a small wave while nervously straightening her hair. “What are you doing?” she hissed at Pete, who just smiled back as Joe started playing a melody quietly that sounded an awful lot like the Nightmare Before Christmas.
“This is Haley Beckett, our friend William’s sister, if you aren’t familiar.” He said to the crowd before turning to look into Haley’s eyes and adjusting the microphone so it was between their faces. He began speaking as Patrick started softly singing the song from the end of the Nightmare Before Christmas.
My dearest friend
if you don’t mind,
“Haley, I know we haven’t known each other that long.”
I’d like to join you
by your side.
“And you’ve had a shitty year.” He chuckled, nervously.
Where we can gaze
into the stars.
“But I want to make the next year better, and the one after that, and all of them.”
And sit together,
now and forever.
“I never want you to hurt again.” He took her hands in his and kneeled down.
For it is plain as anyone can see,
we’re simply meant to be.
“Will you marry me?” The music trailed off and the audience stood in silence.
“Are you serious?” her voice wavered.
“As a fucking heart attack, Baby. I love you.” He smiled up at her, fear and hope written all over his face.
“Yes.” She squeaked out as the tears started pouring down her face. Pete jumped up and embraced her, his lips crashing down onto hers as the crowd burst into a thunder of applause. Everyone from the side of the stage ran on stage, as well as Patrick, Joe and Andy, and tackled the two cheering. After a few minutes, they regained order and got back in their positions to play their last song.
“Wait, I almost forgot.” Pete grabbed Haley’s arm as she followed everyone off stage. He took a small black box out of his pocket and pulled out a diamond ring. He slipped it on her finger, kissing her again. “Do you like it?”
“It’s huge.” She held her hand up to look at it closer, sniffling.
“That’s what she said.” He wiggled his eyebrows, smirking and wiped a tear off her cheek. “I never want to make you cry.” He smiled.
“This is the first time I’ve been this happy in a long time.” She sniffed, pushing him back towards the stage. “Go finish your set.” She turned around to come face-to-face with nine faces, grinning like idiots. “Did you all know about this?” she placed her hands on her hips.
“So, this isn’t a new song, but we thought it sort of fit…” Pete said to the crowd.
“We helped plan it.” The Butcher nodded.
“Yeah, and this dumbass almost let it slip, like, every ten minutes.” Spencer smacked Brendon in the back of the head.
“I’m almost as bad at keeping secrets as Ryan.” He shrugged.
“Congratulations, sis.” Bill stood up and hugged her tightly.
“Thanks. Now scoot over.” She smiled, hopping up onto the crate with everyone else to watch the final song.
Me and you
Setting in a honeymoon
Pete looked over and winked at Haley.
If I woke up next to you
If I woke up next to you...