some alone time...and slurpees
“Are you sure you don’t know anyone who’d want to be in the band?” Joe asked as he and Izzie flopped down on a bench in the park.
“Everybody I know who’s into our kind of music is already in either your band or my band.” She slurped on her milkshake. “And don’t try to kidnap my band.”
“This sucks.” he sighed. “I’m bored. What are you doing the rest of the day?”
“I don’t know, hanging out.” She shrugged, handing him the milkshake cup. He took a sip and handed it back. “My album came out today.” She added quietly.
“Holy fuck! You’re right! We should go buy it.” He jumped up from the bench.
“I already did, at 6am right when Target opened.”
“Well I haven’t gotten it yet. Let’s go. Where’s the closest store?”
“There’s a Borders a couple blocks down here.” She pointed in the direction and started walking casually.
“Hurry up!” Joe grabbed her arm and started running, dragging her along. “We don’t want them to run out.”
“They’re not going to run out. Nobody’s probably even heard of it.”
“Hey, Buzznet!” Steve, Taylor and Kyle shouted at the same time, holding their camera phone up and waving.
“We just wanted to say hi, and check in from tour.” Kyle continued.
“It’s been really hot out, so we’re glad you’ve all been coming out to the shows.” Taylor grinned.
“Our album comes out in a couple days, so make sure you go out and get it.” Steve said. “Hey, wait…someone’s missing.”
“Yeah. Where’s Izzie?” Taylor looked around, acting confused.
“I think I saw her up front.” Kyle, holding the phone, led them up towards the front of the bus. They all circled around Izzie, sitting on the couch reading a magazine.
“How’s it going?” Taylor clapped his hand down on her shoulder with a loud smack.
“AH! DON’T TOUCH ME!” she flinched away, throwing her magazine at him as they all started laughing. Kyle turned the phone towards Steve.
“This has been a public service announcement to always wear your sun block!” Steve winked at the camera.
They were on their way to play two nights in Chicago, with a day off in between. It was like a cruel joke making them play their hometown in the middle of the tour. They had just enough time to say hi to their friends, have their moms do their laundry and eat a well-balanced meal or two before they had to leave again. Izzie had gotten a wicked sunburn the day before. They had gone to an outdoor mall, followed by a meet and greet and radio station performance, all out in the hot sun, and her bright red back was now punishing her for it. The band had been really busy the last couple weeks and were glad to go home for a couple days. They’d run into a rough patch the last few months since they’d finished recording the album. First Steve broke his thumb and couldn’t play, then Izzie got the flu, when she was just getting over it, she gave it to Kyle. Then they had a communal nervous breakdown from all the constant work and stress they’d been under the last five years and decided they wanted to be normal, irresponsible 22 year-olds for a while. They cancelled a bunch of events and went on Spring Break. Their manager was not happy, and now with less than a week before the album came he was pushing them on every magazine, talk show, radio station and press opportunity available. They had just finished a phone interview with some British magazine, so everyone was still crowded on Izzie and Taylor’s bus. They were starting to think it was pointless having two busses, except for sleeping, they were all either on one or the other. Sometimes they even slept over, most of the time there was a completely empty bus driving down the highway.
They skidded to a stop inside the doors to the bookstore. A couple people turned to look at them funny when Joe burst through the door dragging Izzie, who was trying desperately to inspect the front of her shirt as they ran. “I think you made me spill my milkshake.” She mumbled, looking over the front of her outfit. “I can’t find it though.”
“Where’s the music section?”
“Over in that corner.” She pointed to the far corner. Joe jogged over, pulling her along. He ran through the small entrance and began searching furiously.
“L, where’s L? It’s not here.”
“That’s the rap section, Joe.”
“Oh, right. I found it!” he turned around to another rack and held up a copy of the CD. “This is so cool! I’m buying it.”
“I thought that was the point. Do I want this Green Day CD?” she held it up. “I think I already have it.” She squinted at the cover. She moved down the row and picked up a copy of her own CD as Joe wandered off to the other side of the rack. She looked at the picture on the cover, imitating the scowl that Pete had said made her look like she had a “wicked ‘tude. Or gas.” “I look weird.” She sighed, chewing on her milkshake straw.
“Have you heard this one?” Joe held up a CD from the next row down.
“What is it? I can’t see that far.” She walked over to where he was standing.
“Neurosis. They’re this sort of punk-ish metal band. They’re pretty good.” He shrugged as he put the CD back.
“Are you guys talking about Neurosis?” a voice said from behind them.
The long train of busses pulled into a truck stop to gas up. The bands all filed off and inside the building for some much needed snacks and tacky truck stop souvenirs. Izzie was strolling down one aisle trying to decide what kind of chips she wanted when she noticed the top of a head moving parallel to her in the next aisle. She stopped and took a step the other way, and so did they. She grabbed a bag of Doritos and turned the corner. “What are you-”
“Shh…” Pete pulled her into the aisle that was filled with windshield wipers and engine oil. He placed his hands on her hips, pulling her toward him and kissed her sweetly.
“Not here.” She pulled away. “What if someone sees us?”
“Because Andy’s suddenly going to have a wild desire for an ice scraper.” He pulled one off the shelf.
“It’s right next to the chip aisle.”
“Why do we have to sneak around like this? It sucks.” He pouted.
“Because if the guys knew I had this sudden change of heart, they’d start lecturing me about bad decision making and jumping to conclusions and thinking with my crotch instead of my brain.” She laughed at the last part.
“I thought guys were the only ones who did that”
“Besides, we’ll be home in a few hours. We can hang out there all we want.” Pete groaned as she headed off down the aisle towards the checkout.
“They have slurpees!” Joe ran past with his arms full of junk food as Izzie stood in line with Steve.
“Sweet!” she ran after him. They both returned with plastic cups the size of buckets.
“Slurpees rock.” Izzie grinned as she gulped her blue beverage.
“That they do.” Joe nodded.
Everyone got their food and made their way back to the busses. Taylor jogged over and slung his arm around Izzie’s neck. “Funyun?” he held the bag in front of her face.
“Maybe later.” She made a face, pushing it away.
“So, we’re all going back to Steve and Kyle’s bus to play video games. You in?”
“Um…I think I’ll just stay and chill. Maybe work on a couple songs.”
“Whatev.” They parted ways and climbed on different busses. Izzie pulled out her phone and sent a quick text message before sitting down on the couch and flipping on the TV. Moments later, Pete jumped onto the bus, holding his phone in his hand.
“Are they really gone?” he panted as the bus pulled out.
“They’re all off playing video games. Why are you out of breath?”
“I ran here.” He slid onto the couch next to her, attacking her lips. She gave a little sigh and opened her mouth when he ran his tongue along her lip. He brought his hand up to her neck, brushing against her shoulder. She jumped slightly as he pulled away. “What’s wrong? Did I do something? Did I bite you?” he instantly looked nervous.
“Sunburn.” She gasped, fanning her sore shoulder. He gingerly placed his hand on it and grimaced.
“Holy crap. I can feel the heat through your shirt. You should put some ice on it or something.” He pulled her up off the couch, leading her towards the back of the bus. She pulled open the tiny freezer on the way.
“We have ice CREAM?” she scrunched up her nose.
“That’ll work.” He shrugged.
She grabbed the ice cream and a spoon before guiding him to the bedroom in the back and closing the automatic door. “So I take it, this is your room.” He sat down on the bed, surveying the room. There were clothes and strewn everywhere and a giant makeup case in the corner.
“They let me have it because I’m a girl. And I’m messy.” She kicked a pair of underpants under the bed.
“You’re not THAT messy. You just have too much crap for a tiny little room.”
“EXACTLY! So what do I do with the ice cream?” She handed over the carton.
“Lie down and take off your shirt.” He motioned to the bed.
“Excuse me?” she raised her eyebrows.
“On your stomach. If you put the cold container against the burn, it’ll feel much better.”
“But why do I have to be topless?” she crossed her arms protectively across her chest.
“Because, when it starts melting, I don’t want you to get ice cream all over you. That looks like a new shirt.”
“Ok.” She shrugged, slipping the shirt over her head, revealing a blue and green striped bra.
“Woo-hoo” he whistled. “No wonder Joe talks about them all the time.”
“Shut up, you’ve seen them before. If I have to take my shirt off, I think you should too.” She crawled up the bed and lied down on her stomach. Her arms, shoulders and back were a fluorescent red. Pete pulled his shirt off and set the ice cream in the middle of her back, causing her to sigh. “It feels better already.” She said as he laid down next to her.
“So what do we do now?”
“I don’t know, this was your idea.” She mumbled into the pillow.
“We could just…talk. I don’t even know what you’ve been up to since 2003. Except what I read in People.” He lightly traced the outline of the tattoo along her spine with the tips of his fingers.
“Most of that wasn’t true. I never went out with Adam Brody.” She pointed the spoon in the air for emphasis.
“What’s with this?” he took the spoon and placed in on the table next to him.
“I don’t want to waste my ice cream. When it starts getting all melty, I fully intend on eating it.”
“Sounds good. So, what’s new with you?”
“Hmm…My dad got married again.”
“Really? What is this, 7?
“4, actually. He never married all of my brothers’ moms. She’s kind of snobby, but she has a son who’s pretty cool. ANOTHER brother. But his name’ Jeff, he’s 19. He supposedly just finished his freshman year at NYU, but he’s been really shady with telling anyone his final grades or anything, and I’ve gotten a few questionable emails from a couple different people recently. So I think he may have dropped out and become Metro Station’s guitar tech.”
“They opened for us last summer, and Jeff came along for a couple weeks and got to be pretty good friends with them. I’m pretty sure I saw him in a video some girl posted on YouTube last week.”
“That sounds very suspicious.” His hand started moving south towards her butt.
“That tickles.” She slapped it away, giggling.
The busses all pulled off the highway at the exit for Wilmette and went their separate ways to drop everyone off at their houses. “So, what are you going to do on your two days at home?” Izzie asked, sitting on the bed in her bra and jeans. She took a bite of half melted ice cream, and it dripped down her chest.
“Huh?” Pete mumbled, in a daze as he watched her wipe the ice cream from between her breasts.
“I said, what are you planning on doing at home?” she passed him the ice cream container.
“I don’t know…” he said, still in a daze.
“Do you want to touch them?” she sighed, scooting closer and picking up her tee shirt. His hand flew to her chest, squeezing lightly as he grinned like a little kid on Christmas.
“Now I know why Joe talks about this so much.” He frowned. “Are you still going to let Joe touch your boobs now that we’re…”
“Now that we’re what?”
“I don’t know. What are we?”
“I don’t know.”
“We’re like we used to be, but we make out.”
“We made out back then sometimes.”
“Oh yeah.” He smirked. “Let’s not label anything just yet.”
“So are you?”
“If he wants to, why not?”
“I don’t like it.”
“It’s just what we do.” She shrugged. “We get stoned and feel each other up. Just like when I was drunk and you were horny, and there wasn’t anything better to do, I’d let you shove your tongue down my throat.”
Yeah, but now when you let me kiss you, you’re not drunk and…well, I’m still horny. But so long as he doesn’t try anything.”
“He’s never tried anything. I think because he knows that I could beat him up. It’s strictly over the clothes.” She laughed.
“I need to put my shirt back on.” She pointed down at his hand and out the window. They were about a block away from their houses. He blushed and pulled his hand away.
Izzie turned around to come face to face with a guy about her height with thick black glasses.
“Uh, yeah. You know them?” Izzie leaned against the CD bin and smiled at him. He grinned shyly.
“Yeah, totally. A lot of people haven’t heard of them, but I really like them. They’re pretty cool, and really original. You know?”
“Yeah, sure.” Joe gave Izzie a sideways glance.
“Hey, weren’t you in that band that played Brian Choi’s party a few months ago?” Izzie pointed at him, recognizing where she knew him from.
“Yeah, I’m Patrick.” He stuck his hand out.
“Izzie. This is Joe. Whatever happened to you guys?”
“We broke up a couple weeks after that. Are you the Izzie that’s always hanging out with Pete Wentz?”
“Yeah, that’s me.” She rolled her eyes. “Actually, Pete and Joe are starting a new band, and they’re looking for people if you’re interested. I’ll let you guys talk.” She clapped Joe on the shoulder and ran off to the other side of the music section. She wandered around for a few minutes. This kid sure was enthusiastic, and it seemed like Joe was starting to come around. He wasn’t looking at him like he was a freak, and was getting into the conversation. She stopped in front of a shelf labeled Staff Picks. “Hey, what’d you say your name was again?” she called out across the room.
“Um, Patrick. Why?”
“Just wondering.” She looked down the shelf until she saw his name under a copy of Best of Bowie with the simple description of ‘Best. Album. Ever.’ She tossed the Bowie CD out onto a rack of show tunes and stuck her CD in the slot. She growled at her angry face glaring back and walked away calmly.
Izzie hopped off the bus, carrying one of her smaller bags, followed by Pete who was holding her dog. “Why are there so many cars at your house?” he nodded over at four cars, all with rental car stickers, parked on the street in front of her house.
“Oh, god. I think my brothers are here.” She groaned.
“All of them?” she nodded.
“It’s like the Army Reserve. One weekend a month and two weeks a year, they try to all get together at someone’s house. Apparently this month it’s mine.” She took Optimus Prime’s leash as Pete placed him on the ground. He began jumping and yipping, tugging on his leash to go home.
“So then, you’re probably going to be busy?” he looked a little sad.
“I can probably ditch them for a couple hours, just say I have stuff to do. Or after the show tomorrow night, I could say I’m going to a party or something.”
“Good.” He smiled.
“Peter!” Mrs. Wentz stuck her head out the door to their house. “Patrick just called and said he has Hemmingway and your stuff at his house, he can bring them by sound check. I made lunch before you have to go to the venue. Hello Izzie.” She retreated into the house.
“Hi, Mrs. Wentz.” She waved.
“So I’ll call you later?” he rolled his eyes and glanced over at Izzie, as she let go of the leash and OP zipped to the door barking.
“Yeah.” She kissed his cheek before following the dog.
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