Categories > Celebrities > The Used > Why Don't You Just Drop Dead, McCracken?

Chapter 8

by cretingirl 2 reviews

In which the old addage proves true, when it's your party you CAN cry if you want to.

Category: The Used - Rating: R - Genres: Drama,Humor,Romance - Published: 2009-12-13 - Updated: 2009-12-14 - 1658 words

After the band finished playing another couple of songs and Bert bowed to raucous applause (which I’m sure he fucking loved), I got wrangled into playing hostess and giving them the unabridged tour of the loft. Payton and Adam’s shared room was being used as the unofficial coat room and even though most of the clothing on the floor was the guests’ coats it was still pretty obvious that is was a “boy” room. Jeph and Quinn were getting a kick out of monkeying around on Adam and Payton’s bunk bed so I left them to their own devices and continued onto Amy and Waldo’s room with only Dan and Bert in tow.

Despite the presence of Waldo in their shared room(which could only be confirmed by the faint odor of “boy funk” in the room, some beat up combat boots, and a drum kit in one corner), Amy had somehow managed to turn the room into a shrine to MTV. The walls were covered with posters and Hot Topic bags littered the room. I winced as I looked at the giant poster of The Used that adorned one wall and prayed that Dan and Bert wouldn’t notice it. Apparently God hated me that night. Bert gasped dramatically and pointed out the poster while Dan turned an alarming shade of green.

“Don’t worry,” I quickly said stepping over and stretching my arms to try to cover up as much of the poster as was possible for me. “Amy listens to every band until she finds one she likes and then she clings to it for dear life for a couple of months before discarding it. She’s perfectly harmless. I promise.”

I spun Dan around so he couldn’t look at the poster anymore and steered him in the direction of Waldo’s drum kit instead. I knew playing around with my bass always helped me feel better.

“Harmless?” Bert said waggling his eyebrows as me.

I shrugged at him as Dan tapped on the bass pedal a couple of times. “Mostly harmless.”

“Ah, I see,” he said rubbing his hands together. “Where’s your room?”

“Ugh,” I thought as I rolled my eyes and led Bert through the crowd to my room on the other side of the loft. “I always get stuck with the weird one.”

I opened the door and motioned to Bert to look around, which he did. Very thoroughly, even taking the time to make the old “red room” joke from The Shining about my choice in paint colors. He perused my records and touched my knick-knacks and I made a mental note to disinfect everything as soon as I got the chance.

“I’m going to get a beer,” I said quickly trying to distract Bert from going through an old photo album I had sitting beside my bed. “So…” I motioned with my head to give him the hint that he couldn’t be in there without me supervising.

“Right,” he said with a start. “I should check on Jeph and Quinn anyway before they destroy that bunk bed.”

Somehow I couldn’t picture Bert being the voice of reason in that conversation.

“Well, enjoy the party,” I said a little too enthusiastically while giving him thumbs up and slipping away through the crowd.
In New York, it’s hard to find a place to call your own. There always seems to be someone there wanting to hang out, needing a lunch buddy, complaining about something. It’s a non-stop noise fest and it sometimes makes me miss living on an army base, though I can’t honestly say I remember much of those days. Luckily, I found a spot on the roof of my building that juts out at an odd angle and if you sit in just the right spot no one can see you and all you can see is the NYC skyline. It still takes my breath away. So that’s where I went on my birthday. To talk to a ghost.

“I miss you, Paul,” I whispered even though I knew no one was listening. “It’s not fair that I keep getting older and I keep blowing out those stupid candles knowing the only thing I have to wish for will never come true. I don’t want you to be gone anymore. I was fine, well, maybe not fine, but coping. So I was coping, but now with this record thing, I don’t know. It makes me remember all the big dreams you had for us that I have to do all by myself now. Sometimes…I hate you. And other times it hurts so much that it feels like my lungs have collapsed. So babe, I know you’re thinking it wherever you are. Happy birthday to me.”

I downed the last of the beer that I had brought up to the roof with me so that when I went back downstairs I could tell everyone who asked that my eyes were red from drinking and not from crying. But what did I have to be ashamed of? It’s MY fucking birthday and I’d cry if I want to. I looked down at Billy, who was asleep in my lap, and contemplated the easiest way to get to my feet without waking him up. Then I heard the door to the roof open and I decided to hold my ground so I wouldn’t give away my secret spot. Of course, Billy picked that exact moment to wake up and trot his furry brown self over to the new and potentially food-bearing person.

I heard a manly chuckle issue from whoever my friendly dog was probably molesting. Billy barked happily as I heard footsteps approach and I cursed quietly under my breath figuring it was probably Adam or Waldo trying and failing to sneak up on me. I hoped and prayed that whoever it was wouldn’t find me, then remembering that I am and atheist, I settled with hoping they wouldn’t find me.

“You know,” I heard a man’s voice say. “You would probably be able to hide better if you weren’t wearing a bright green shirt.”

I let out a groan and stood up just in enough time to see Billy desperately trying to snatch a pizza crust out of Quinn’s hand that was dangling down by his side. Quinn waved a beer in my direction and I accepted it with a salute.

“So what are you doing hiding from your own party anyway?” He asked as Billy succeeded in relieving him of his pizza crust.

“I don’t really like big crowds of people,” I said as he raised his eyebrows skeptically at me. “Well, more like I don’t like big crowds of my own friends. It just feels like they talk about the same old tired dramas all the time.”

“Yea,” Quinn said with a sigh and a swig of beer. “I can understand that.”

We stood in companionable silence for a bit just drinking and looking at the lights of New York City before Quinn spoke up again.

“He likes you, you know.”

“Who?” I asked sincerely confused.

“Never mind,” he muttered. “You better get back to the party.”
“Yea,” I said picking up Billy and heading for the door, a bit confused by the whole exchange. “Thanks for the beer.”

“Anytime,” he replied winking at me conspiratorially and turning back to gaze at the skyline.

I took a steadying swig of beer and began the decent back to the loft. I was meandering towards my door when it opened and a familiar head poked out.

“Heeey!” My longtime friend, Jordan called out to me with laughter in his green eyes as he pulled the door to the loft shut behind him and came out into the hallway.

Jordan and I had been friends since about the sixth grade when I finally got to stay in one school for an extended amount of time and he had been the most supportive when Paul died. Probably because a year before the accident his high school sweetheart had suddenly ran off with her female art teacher the day after he proposed to her. Jordan was chubby and awkward in middle school and I was short and awkward. We bonded over our strangeness even before I met Paul and some of my friends had commented that they were surprised that Jordan and I hadn’t ended up together instead. I never told these friends that Jordan had also ended up being the only other person I had ever slept with besides Paul. That was need to know information. We had an arrangement though. He was too distrustful of women after the fiasco with his girlfriend and three years later I still wasn’t over Paul. Together we helped each other ease the pain of loneliness. Don’t get me wrong. I liked Jordan. He had that whole indie-rocker bearded and aloof thing going on, but I could never see myself being in a relationship with him. Things seemed to work much better on the whole friends-with-benefits level.

“I was just about to go looking for you,” he said with a smile.

“Don’t I feel special,” I said as he took Billy out of my arms and replaced my half empty beer with a full one.

“Well,” he said leading me to the door of the loft. “You HAVE just joined the ranks of the decrepit, the senile, and the aged. I saw it as my personal responsibility to see that you make it back home without breaking a hip.”

“Why, thank you young man!” I exclaimed giving him a pinch on the cheek and pushing him back into the loft. “I do suddenly feel the need for a walker too, now that you mention it.”
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