Pete's jealous side kicks in
“We were trying to impress those French chicks.” Taylor shrugged as he, Steve and Kyle filed into the bathroom at the venue.
“But none of you have skateboarded since you were 14, why would you try to grind down an entire flight of stairs?” Izzie shouted, pausing briefly before following them.
“It’s no big deal.” Steve laughed, turning his back to her and unzipping.
“It IS a big deal! Kyle broke his thumb! It’s only the first day of tour.” Izzie whined.
“I’ll be fine. They said it’d be healed in six to eight weeks.” Kyle scoffed.
“Yeah, but we need someone to play drums tonight. You can’t play with one hand.”
“We’ll find a session guy or something. Why are you upset about it?” Taylor asked, washing his hands.
“I talked to Pete’s dad. Our contract isn’t finalized yet. We have to be careful or Bob can still change his mind and drop us.” She whispered as Patrick pushed the door open. He froze and poked his head out the door before coming back in with a confused look on his face.
“Hommes means dudes, right?” He scrunched his nose.
“Yeah, you’re good.” Izzie waved him in.
“It’ll be fine.” Kyle clapped his good hand on her shoulder.
“Eew, did you wash that?” she grimaced.
“We’ll find someone, it’ll be fine.” Steve shrugged.
“Andy or Nate could probably fill in if you want. ” Patrick suggested, weaving his way through the people into the bathroom.
“Nate?” Izzie spun her head to look at him.
“Yeah, Cobra Starship is here too. They just flew in this morning. Why?” Patrick asked.
“That’s perfect! He was out drum tech before Gabe stole him.” Steve laughed.
“I’ll go talk to him.” Kyle jogged out the door.
“Well. Being in the guys bathroom is getting kind of weird, so I’m going to go…not be here anymore.” Izzie followed after him.
Izzie shuddered as she walked down the hallway. Boys are gross, and their bathrooms are even grosser. She turned a corner and bumped straight into someone, or rather their stomach. She tilted her head up and was met by Gabe grinning down at her. He wrapped his arms around her waist, lifting her up in the air. “Short Stack’s here!” he shouted, shaking her around.
“I’m not THAT short! I grew half an inch.” She giggled as he deposited her on the ground.
“You keep telling yourself that.” He laughed. Victoria stuck her head out the dressing room door.
“Oh thank god you’re here. This tour’s not going to be as much of a sausage fest as the last one was.” She sighed, spotting Izzie.
“Happy to be of service.” Izzie shrugged, making both girls laugh.
“We heard about the thumb.” Victoria nodded. “That sucks.”
“Yeah, boys are idiots.”
“Hey!” Gabe scowled.
“I think Nate’s real excited though. He’s telling everyone about how it’ll be like the ‘old days’.” Victoria said, using finger quotes.
“Hey, any news about your manager?” Gabe asked.
“Nothing new.” Izzie sighed.
“They’ll find him. I never did like that guy, he was always pushing you guys to play way too much in some seedy places that you were way too young to be.” He shook his head.
“We were young and naive.” Izzie shrugged.
“I’ve heard that one before.” Gabe smirked.
“It was one time! I was 17 and you got me drunk! What did you expect?” Izzie laughed.
“Hey, we’re about to hit up catering. You want to come?” Victoria asked.
“No, I’ve got some stuff I’ve got to do. We partying later?”
“Don’t you know it?” he laughed, ruffling her hair.
“Stop it, I’m not that short.” She smoothed her hair down.
“Oh, Iz?” he called as she turned to leave. “It was twice. And the second time you were sober.”
“I know.” She blushed.
“Why do we have to join the soccer team?” Izzie scrunched up her face, scowling as she stepped in a mud puddle.
“Because my mom says it’ll look good on college applications.” Hilary, Pete’s sister, grumbled.
“But I’m not going to college.”
“If I have to, they you do too. And Pete’s teaching us, you’d probably be here anyway.”
“True.” Izzie shrugged.
“Ok, mom says I have to teach you how to play soccer.” Pete sighed, coming into the backyard.
“Tryouts are next week.” Hilary nodded.
“I better not break a nail, I had to mix three different colors to make this.” Izzie held up her hands, showing off her strange blue and green tie-dyeish fingernails.
“So basically, the biggest rule is that you can’t touch the ball with your hands.” He dropped the soccer ball on the ground as Izzie snorted. “Except the goalie, he can pick it up and do whatever he wants with it.” Izzie giggled. “What?” he squinted his eyes at Izzie.
“Soccer’s dirty.” She giggled, making Hilary crack up laughing.
“You know, I have better things I could be doing.”
“Ok, sorry. You can kick the balls but not hold the balls. Got it. Now teach me.” Izzie, stopped laughing. He explained the basic rules and the different positions before having them spread out in front of the garage.
Pete had been searching for Izzie for almost an hour. Everywhere in the venue he went, people said she had just left a few minutes ago. He was considering just giving up. “Hey, you haven’t seen Izzie have you?” He asked Alex as he past him in the hallway.
“Yeah, I think she’s in your guy’s dressing room.”
“Thanks.” He turned the corner and pushed the door open when he heard laughing coming from the other side. Izzie and Andy were sitting on the couch in the otherwise deserted room. They instantly slid to opposite ends when they spotted Pete and Izzie quickly hid something behind her back, her eyes widening. It was the third time Pete had noticed them hanging out alone since they’d gotten here. Pete saw red and stormed across the room, pulling Andy up off the couch by his shirt. “What the fuck are you doing?!” he growled in Andy’s face.
“Whoa, take it easy.” Andy put his hands up in defense.
“Take it easy? I thought you were my friend!”
“What the fuck is the matter with you?” Andy tried pushing him off.
“What’s going on in here?” He glared at Izzie, not letting go of Andy’s shirt.
“Nothing!” She stood up, confused, trying to hide a large item behind her back.
“We weren’t doing anything. Calm down.” Andy nervously croaked out.
“Are you fucking my girlfriend?!” Pete narrowed his eyes.
“What?” Andy scoffed.
“Pete!” Izzie squealed.
“I thought you were my friend…and I thought you changed.” Pete turned to Izzie.
“Maybe you should just tell him. It’s not a big deal.” Andy peered over Pete’s shoulder.
“Tell me what?”
“I thought you trusted me.” Izzie glared, throwing a large book at his head and storming out the door. Pete bent and picked it up from where it had fallen, reading the cover.
The American Guide to Getting Your GED
“I was helping her study.” Andy said, straightening his shirt. “You really need to stop jumping to conclusions.”
Izzie trudged into the catering area, flopping down at the long table occupied by Cobra Starship and the rest of her band. “You ok?” Steve looked at her sideways.
“I’m fine. Are you going to eat that?”
“Uh…go ahead.” Alex said as she slid a half eaten plate of fries out from in front of him.
“What’s wrong? You always eat like that when you’re upset.” Kyle asked.
“Pete’s a dick.” She mumbled, shoving a fry in her mouth.
“What did he do now? I’ll kick his ass if he hurt my little short stack.” Gabe glared, wrapping an arm around her neck.
“He just…” she sighed. “He always assumes the worst in everybody. And it pisses me off.”
“Come on. We’re going to go for a walk.” Taylor said, standing and pulling her up by the arm. “We’ll be back in a few.” He called over his shoulder as he dragged her out into the parking lot. “Ok, so what happened?” They sat down under a tree in a quieter area behind the venue. Izzie proceeded to tell the entire sequence of events. “Iz, that’s Pete. You’ve known him long enough…we’ve ALL known him long enough to know that’s just how he is.” He shook his head.
“But just on top of everything else, I cracked. This band’s falling apart.” She sniffed, resting her forehead on her knees.
“It’s not falling apart. Kyle’s hand will get better, and Nate’s pretty good.” He rubbed her back, comfortingly.
“I don’t know what I’d do if the band broke up. You guys are my family.”
“We’re going to be together forever. We’ll be the next fucking Rolling Stones. We’ll be in wheelchairs rocking out.”
“No we won’t, because we’re never going to get old.” Izzie giggled, slightly.
“And besides, we all live with your grandmother. It would get really awkward if we broke up. We’d have to build walls down there, and who’d get the TV?” Taylor grinned, making Izzie fully laugh. “There you go. I knew it was in there somewhere! Don’t worry about Pete, he probably has a reason for being a douche bag. He’ll apologize eventually.”
“Ok.” She stood up, wiping the dirt off her butt. “My test is tomorrow, will you come with me?”
“Sure. Where do we have to go?”
“Just a conference room in the hotel. They’re sending some test person from a military base to give it to me.”
“The garage wall will be the goal, I’m going to try to score and you two block me.” The girls stared blankly. Pete kicked the ball and Hilary shrieked, putting her arms up in front of her face. It bounced off her arm and hit Izzie in the head.
“Ow, I don’t like soccer.” Hilary shook out her hand as Izzie rubbed her head.
“I’ll kick it lighter next time.” Pete said, retrieving the ball. “This time, I’ll dribble towards you, and you try to take the ball from me and pass to each other.”
“That’s complicated.” Izzie raised her eyebrows.
“We can do it.” Hilary shrugged.
Izzie hadn’t spoken to Pete throughout the show and the limo ride back to the hotel. She wasn’t avoiding him, but she wasn’t going to forgive him until he apologized. And he hadn’t made the effort yet. She was in her room, lying on the bed in her pajamas watching TV when she heard a soft knock on the door. She didn’t say anything but it slowly creaked open a moment later anyway. He crept in almost shamefully and placed her book on the bed. “I though you’d graduated.”
“That’s what I wanted people to think.” She said flatly, her eyes not leaving the screen.
“But you were doing those online classes, what happened?” he sat on the end of the bed.
“I couldn’t do calculus. Taylor and Steve were already graduated by the time we started recording heavily and Kyle just breezed through his work. I had trouble, and we started getting invited to parties. I had a lot better things to do than get extra help with math. So I just stopped doing the classes. Eventually my grandparents noticed when they never mailed my diploma, but the label said I graduated. They didn’t want it to affect our image.” She shrugged, staring at her hands.
“But why get your diploma now?”
“With all this stuff that’s going on, I thought I needed something to fall back on.”
“But why ask Andy to help you?”
“Why are you asking so many questions?” Her eyes snapped up, squinting at him.
“I just don’t understand why you didn’t tell me. You know EVERYTHING about me.”
“Because Andy’s the smartest person I know. And I was afraid of what you’d think of me.”
“I wouldn’t think any different of you.” He scooted closer.
“Yes you would, I know you. You’re always talking about politics and orphans and saving the world. I couldn’t even make it through high school. Why would you want to be with someone as dumb as me?” She sniffled. He wrapped his arms around her shoulders, pulling her head into his chest as he felt tears dampen his shirt.
“Iz, you’ve done more with your life than most people twice your age. You don’t need a piece of paper to tell you how smart you are. You’re probably smarter than me.”
“Thanks, but you’re full of shit.” She giggled, sniffling.
“Come on, now. Stop crying and let’s watch a movie. They have Transformers with subtitles or Pirates of the Caribbean with really bad dubbing.”
“I can’t, my test is in the morning. I have to go to be up really early.” She unwrapped herself from his arms.
“Oh, then I’ll let you go to sleep.” He slid off the bed as she lied down, getting comfortable. He switched off the light next to the bed and turned to leave.
“Wait.” She grabbed his wrist. “You can stay if you want.” She whispered.
“Do you want me to?”
“Yeah.” He stripped down to his boxers, crawling under the blankets next to her. She placed her head on his chest as he wrapped his arms around her. “You’re comfy.” She sighed.
“I’m sorry I freaked out. I was worried you’d changed your mind about me.”
“I would never do that.”
“So…you’re friends with Gabe, huh?” He raised his eyebrows.
“I helped him put the band together, and then he stole our drum tech. He’s one of my best friends.”
“You’re just going to have to accept that I hang out with most of your friends behind your back. Now go to sleep.” She yawned.
Suddenly, Izzie ran forward, stole the ball, switched directions, dodged around him and kicked it into the wall.
“Where did that come from?” Hilary gasped.
“Seriously!” Pete grinned.
“I have four brothers, and one of them’s British. I’ve been doing this since I could walk.”
“You never told me that.” Pete laughed.
“You never asked. Can I go home now?” Izzie yawned.
Pete woke up in the morning to an empty bed. He gathered his clothes and snuck back down the hall to his own room. He quickly got dressed and made his way to the elevator. It opened on the second floor where all the conference rooms were and Pete stepped out. There was a sign for a medical seminar pointing down the hall and a couple men in business suits with brief cases shouting in French into cell phones. He spotted a kid with their hood pulled over their head slumped against the wall at one end of the hall and headed over. He lightly kicked the shoe and Taylor jolted awake. “Is it over?” he looked around, bleary. “Oh, hey Pete.”
“Thought I’d wait with you for moral support.” Pete plopped down on the floor next to Taylor.
“Cool. Sorry if I fall asleep. I’ve been here since 8, and I’ve got a massive hangover.”
“No problem.” He pulled his Sidekick out of his pocket to check his email as Taylor slid his sunglasses over his eyes, resting his head against the wall.
Izzie opened the door to the conference room three and a half hours after she went in. “We’ll have your results in about a week. They’ll be sent to whichever hotel you’ll be in.” The tester smiled.
“Thank you.” Izzie nodded, cracking her neck and stretching out her shoulders. She stepped into the hallway to be confronted by 12 eager faces. Everyone from all three bands were camped out in the hallway waiting for her.
“Did you pass?” Joe hopped up from his spot.
“Of course she did, she’s wearing our lucky purple hoodie.” Gabe scoffed.
“I won’t know until next week.” She laughed. “How did you guys even know I was here?”
“Kyle told us.” Victoria nodded in his direction.
“I did not!” He called out.
“Kyle told Nate. Nate told Gabe, who told everyone else.” Taylor said.
“Can’t keep your mouth shut.” She scoffed, scowling at Gabe.
“Well don’t tell me something that’s supposed to be kept a secret.”
Hope you liked it!
A/N: For anyone who may not know, if you're not from America. The GED is for if you didn't finish high school, sort of a comprehension test to get the equivalent of a diploma. To prove that you do know the stuff. Just in case you didn't know.