Pete walked down the hotel hallway sipping his coffee. He loved America’s arrogant mass-consumerism and needless export, that you could get Starbucks even in France. He walked up to a door and pulled two key cards out of his pocket. “Oops.” He flipped them both over, trying to tell the difference. He slid one in the door and nothing happened. He tried the other and the door clicked open. He entered the darkened room silently, approaching the sleeping form sprawled across the bed. He placed his cup on the table and crawled across the bed, lying down on top of the blankets. He wrapped his arm around the sleeping form, kissing the exposed shoulder and eliciting a groan.”
“Go away, I’m sleeping.” Izzie mumbled.
“Why can’t we just stay in the same room?” Pete snuggled into her.
“Because that’s like moving in together, but in a hotel. I’m not ready for that advancement in our relationship. I gave you my key.”
“I guess that’s something. Now, come on. Get up.” He stood up, tugging on her arm.
“What’s the hurry? And when have you ever been awake before me?”
“Joe woke me up two hours ago to ask if his outfit matched. And I’m on my second Starbucks.”
“But it’s our day off, we don’t have anywhere to be.”
“I want to take you to the Eiffel Tower.”
“I’ve seen the Eiffel Tower.”
“But not with me.”
“You’re not going to leave me alone until I get up, are you?”
“Fine.” She sighed, tossing the blankets off of her. “I’m going to take a shower.”
“Need any help?” he grinned. She turned around and scowled at him. “I’ll take that as a no.”
Pete was sitting on the bed, watching an episode of Friends in French when the bathroom door opened. “You ready?” He asked turning his head, as Izzie stepped out wrapped in a towel.
“I forgot my clothes.” She crouched on the floor next to where he was sitting and pulled a few items out of her suitcase.
“You know…we don’t have to go. We could just stay here if you want and make our own fun.” He smirked, fingering the edge of her towel.
“No. You woke me up to go see the Eiffel Tower, now we’re GOING to see the Eiffel Tower!”
“Can I at least watch you get dressed?”
“That would be counter-productive.” She retreated into the bathroom, closing the door most of the way. Pete craned his neck trying to see through the crack in the door. The door swung open and Izzie emerged wearing a denim mini skirt, pink and white striped leggings and a green baby doll tank top that tied in a bow in the back. “What are you doing?” she gave him a look as he almost fell off the bed.
“Uh, nothing.” He blushed, standing up.
“Is it cold out? Should I bring a hoodie?” She asked, pulling on her black Converse.
“I don’t know, maybe a little.” He shrugged.
“Here hold this.” She pulled her shirt over her head and handed it to him, revealing a purple lace bra. She bent down and grabbed a white v-neck tee shirt from her bag. She put it on, taking the shirt from Pete and layered it on top. “That’ll be warmer.” She walked over to the door, pausing as she opened it. “Are you coming?” she giggled, snapping Pete out of his daze.
“Oh, uh…yeah.” He jogged out the door after her.
“So, tell me again why I have to drive you guys all the way to the recording studio.” Izzie sighed, as Patrick climbed in her car outside of his high school.
“Because Patrick doesn’t have a car and my dad took away my license.” Joe said.
“Right, and Pete’s too damn lazy to come get you. He better pay my gas money.” She started pulling away from the curb, but slammed on the brakes. “Get down!” she pushed his head into the dashboard as she ducked down. Patrick slammed into the back of his seat, knocking his glasses off.
“What’s wrong?” Joe shrieked, looking around if they ran over somebody or something.
“I went out with that guy once and never returned his calls.” Izzie pointed at a preppy guy walking across the parking lot with a group of girls following him.
“But he’s like one of the most popular guys here.” Patrick looked at her in awe.
“She was homecoming queen two years in a row.” Joe nodded towards her.
“Yeah, which makes me wonder why I hang out with you? I am WAY too cool to be seen with you.” she laughed, sarcastically. She checked that the coast was clear and sat up. “I hate this school. Why can’t you go to school with me and Joe?”
“Because then I would have to move into your school district.” Patrick stated, bluntly.
“Minor technicality.” Joe shrugged.
“You’re right. So…I don’t know if you guys would like some reading material for the drive.” She held up a couple copies of AP magazine with her face on the cover and the title ‘100 Bands You Need to Know for 2003’
“Awesome! It’s out already?” Joe grabbed it, staring at the cover as Patrick calmly flipped through the pages.
“It came out this morning. We went and bought all the copies they had at the CD store before school.”
“Awesome. Can we stop to get food first?” Joe rubbed his growling stomach.
“Just don’t spill anything on my magazine.” She glared as he dropped it on the floor.
“I don’t really think ice cream is a very healthy breakfast.” Pete laughed as they walked down the sidewalk.
“I was hungry. And it’s 11:15, it’s practically lunch.” Izzie shrugged.
“Exactly. Do you want a bite?” she held her spoon up to his mouth. He held her hand steady as he ate the dripping bite of ice cream then leaned down to kiss her.
“Mm, delicious.” He smiled.
“Ugh, you guys look like a Hallmark card.” Kyle groaned, walking out of a store with Joe.
“I think I’m going to barf.” Joe made gagging sounds.
“You’re just jealous.” Izzie picked her foot up, kicking him jokingly in the butt.
“So, what are you guys doing?” Pete asked, wrapping his arm around Izzie’s waist.
“I don’t know, hang out. There’s a pool in the hotel.” Joe shrugged.
“The hot girl at the front desk said she’d show us around too.” Kyle nodded.
“Yeah! She said she had friends too.” Joe said, excitedly.
“Ok, that’s fabulous.” Izzie raised her eyebrows. “Do you guys want the rest of this? I didn’t do anything to it.” she held the ice cream dish out.
“Awesome!” Kyle grabbed it, taking a big bite.
“See you guys later.” Joe called, turning down the street.
“Don’t do anything we wouldn’t do.” Kyle mumbled with his mouth full.
“I’m still hungry.” Izzie pouted, placing her hand on her stomach.
“You just gave away your ice cream.”
“It’s only 11:15! Ice cream is a bad breakfast.”
“Let’s go find a real restaurant.”
“Remember, don’t eat anything that will mess up your voice, or the producers will kick your ass.” Izzie said as they waited in line at a fast food restaurant a couple blocks from the school. They all placed their orders and grabbed their food, sitting down. A couple kids whispered to each other and stared as they walked past.
“How can you eat like that all the time, and still be so skinny?” Patrick asked, glancing between her large fries and her non-existent butt as she slid into the booth next to him.
“I’m a freak of nature.” She shrugged, shoving a couple fries into her mouth.
“You totally just sounded like a girl.” Joe laughed, flicking his straw wrapper in Patrick’s face.
“Oh my god, that’s Ashley Sullivan.” Patrick gasped, staring at the door.
“Who’s Ashley Sullivan?” Izzie craned her neck to see who he was looking at.
“Ooh, Patrick’s got a girlfriend!” Joe sang.
“I do not.” He blushed. “I’ve never even talked to her.”
“Ooh, Patrick’s got a crush.” Joe corrected himself.
“Who is she?” Izzie asked, kicking Joe under the table.
“She sits behind me in Physics class. I’ve had a crush on her since 8th grade.” Ashley sat down at a table with a few girls who began whispering and pointing in their direction.
“Oh, god. They heard you.” Patrick sunk down in his chair, glaring at Joe.
“And you’ve never talked to her?” Izzie’s eyes widened.
“She’s way out of my league, and I’d be too nervous. One time, sophomore year I let her borrow my calculator and was too shy to ask for it back. I had to go buy a new one.”
“That’s ridiculous.” They watched her and one of the other girls stand up and head their way.
“Now they’re coming over here!” Patrick panicked, as Joe just shoved food in his mouth. Izzie planted her lips on Patrick’s.
“Can I have a Caesar salad and an iced tea?” Izzie looked up at the waitress.
“I’ll have the same.” Pete said, handing her their menus. Izzie slipped on her oversized rhinestone sunglasses and smiled across the table at Pete.
“I like them.” He grinned at the glasses that filled half her face.
“Thanks. They make me look like a bug.” She giggled as a girl around 8 or 10, wearing a Lloyd Dobler tee shirt, cautiously approached the table with her mother.
“Excuse me.” The mother asked in a British accent, smiling politely. “Are you Pete from Fall Out Boy?”
“Yes I am.” Pete flashed his trademark smile as the panic stricken girl stood frozen to her spot. “What’s your name?” he leaned down to her level.
“Becky Bingham.” The girl whispered, staring at the ground.
“I’m sorry, she’s shy. We’re here for the show tomorrow and she wanted to come meet you.”
“She steals all of her older sister’s CDs.” The woman chuckled.
“I do not!” Becky glared at her.
“It sounds like you’re from England. This is a long way to come for a concert.” Pete said, looking at Becky.
“My dad’s on a business trip, he brought us with him. It’s my birthday present.”
“That’s a great birthday present. I wish my parents would do something like that for me when I was your age.” Pete raised his eyebrows.
“We’re going to the concert in London too.” Becky grinned.
“Wow.” Izzie smiled.
“Does you sister get to come also?” Pete asked.
“No, she’s at boarding school. She took my dad’s car without asking and drove it into a ditch.” Becky shook her head, smiling.
“You like Lloyd Dobler too?” Pete pointed at her shirt. Becky nodded, looking at the ground again. “Who do you like better, Fall Out Boy or Lloyd Dobler?”
“I like them both. But Izzie Page is my hero.” Becky said.
“Yeah?” Pete glanced over at Izzie, who discretely shook her head.
“I want to be just like her when I grow up!”
“She’s pretty great.” Pete grinned. “You know, I think you kind of look like her.”
“Really?” Becky blushed.
“Why don’t you ask him to sign that and let them have their privacy?” The mother smiled, apologetically to Izzie. She gave a little wave like it was no problem.
“Sure.” Pete took the sheet Becky held out. It was a postcard of Notre Dame cathedral.
“Where are your seats for tomorrow?” Izzie casually asked the mother. She dug in her purse and pulled out the tickets in an envelope.
“F 46 and 47.”
“Wow, those are pretty good.” Izzie nodded.
“Here you go.” Pete handed the postcard back.
“Thanks.” Becky grinned.
“Thank you. Have fun at the concert.” Pete waved as she and her mother went back to sit at their table.
“That was really nice of you.” Izzie smiled, taking Pete’s hand across the table.
“I can’t believe she didn’t recognize you. She loves you.”
“People don’t usually recognize me when I’m not dressed like a slut. Especially with blonde hair. I guess it’s kind of fortunate.”
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
“I’ve got it all under control.” She smiled as their food arrived.
Izzie planted her lips on Patrick’s, and without breaking contact, craned her neck to see Ashley raising her eyebrows in surprise. She pulled away, smiling.
“What are you doing?!” Patrick whispered. Joe just stared at them with his mouth open and a fry dangling from his hand, frozen in midair.
“Just play along.” She grinned, giggling as Ashley stopped at their table. “Hi.”
“Um, hi. You’re that girl from that band, aren’t you?” Ashley smiled, nervously.
“Yeah, I am.” Izzie nodded.
“Can I get your autograph? I love your song that’s on the radio.” She held out a piece of ripped notebook paper.
“No problem. This is my friend Patrick.” Izzie pointed back to where he was silently hyperventilating.
“You’re in my science class. It’s Patrick, right?”
“Uh…yeah.” He croaked out. Joe was still looking between him and Izzie, utterly perplexed.
“You know Izzie Page?” she glanced back at Izzie, signing the paper.
“Oh, yeah. We go way back. Patrick’s actually in a band. They’re recording their album now.” Izzie handed the paper back.
“Really? What instrument do you play?” Ashley flipped her hair over her shoulder.
“I sing. And I play guitar.” He said quietly.
“He’s the lead singer. They’re going to be huge. He’s SO talented, in more than one way if you know what I mean.” Izzie winked at Ashley, who giggled.
“So, Patrick, maybe you could tutor me in physics some time.” Ashley grinned and walked away, wiggling her hips.
“What just happened?” Patrick’s eyes widened.
“What was that?” Joe pointed between the two of them.
“You’ve seen this.” Izzie pulled the magazine out of her bag. “The popular girls just saw you making out with the chick in a magazine. Tomorrow, you’ll be the most popular kid in school. And, you just got a date with Ashley Sullivan.” Izzie grinned. “Come on, we’re going to be late.”
“How come that never works for me? I’ve eaten lunch with you for the past five years.” Joe grumbled.
“Can I ask you something?” Pete mumbled, kissing Izzie’s neck as they stood at the top of the Eiffel Tower.
“Um…ok?” she glanced up at him nervously.
“How come growing up, even when I wasn’t home…even when you didn’t want to be in the same room as me, were you always hanging around our house?”
“Did you not want me there?”
“No. I was just curious. It’s something I’ve been wondering for a while.”
“I don’t know. I was friends with you and your brother and sister.”
“You were friends with a lot of people.” She sighed.
“My mom killed herself, and my dad abandoned me. I saw my brothers maybe twice a year, if I was lucky. My grandparents felt bad for me, so they bought me everything and let me do whatever I wanted. You were a real family. Looking back on it, I was looking for anyone to give me boundaries. Your family had rules, no one ever told me no except them. You guys were like the family I always wished I had.”
“Aw, that’s adorable.” He laughed, sarcastically.
“Hey! You asked.” She hit him in the shoulder. “Don’t make fun of me. I’m emotionally stunted.”
“Emotionally stunted. And I have abandonment issues. It’s what my therapist told me.”
“When did you go to therapy?”
“After the event. With me…and you…and the phone call.”
“Yes, I’m familiar with the event.” Pete nodded, not wanting to bring it up again.
“I got depressed and stopped eating. My brothers made me go to therapy. I think they thought I was anorexic.”
“I’m sorry.” He cast his eyes down to the ground far below them.
“You have nothing to be sorry about.”
“Yes I do, that was all my fault. I fucked up.”
“So did I. Let’s not think about it anymore. It’s in the past.” She laced her hand in his.
“So, what do you want to do now?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never had an entire day off on tour before.” She sighed.
“Yeah. If we didn’t have a show, we had some interview or appearance or taping or something. Mike would have us doing the stupidest crap. Probably because it made him a lot of money.” She scoffed. “In the past three years, I think I’ve had about five days off, that we didn’t have to do anything.”
“Well, Bob’s not like that. You’ll have a lot more free time.”
“I think I want to start a side business.”
“I don’t know. Not a clothing line or anything. Everyone has a clothing line. Maybe makeup, or accessories. People always say they like my jewelry I wear.”
“That sounds like a good idea.” Pete nodded.
“I’ve also always wanted to write a book.”
“You could do that. What kind of book.”
“I don’t know.” She groaned.
“Maybe something you know about.”
“I don’t know about anything. Except music.”
“Write a book about music.”
“Well…they’re always writing lies about the band and especially me in the media. They have been my entire life. Maybe I could write; not a memoir, because you have to be old to write a memoir, but the truth.”
“That’s a good idea. You could write it on the road, then when you get back to the states look into starting an accessory line. I know a couple people I could introduce you to.”
“But the truth is boring.” She sighed.
“Your life is NOT boring.” He laughed, leaning in to kiss her just as her cell phone rang.
“Hold on a second.” She pulled away, flipping her phone open. “Yeah?...What?!...How?...I’m on my way…I don’t know, I’ll get a cab.” She snapped the phone closed. “We’ve got to go, they’re taking Kyle to the hospital.”
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