I've been MIA.
But... look! It's CHAPTER 7!
[I get to choose classes tomorrow.]
[Sarah and I made the best meal ever]
[I am losing my voice from screaming to One Direction's new album(which is amazing)]
Everything worked out almost perfectly for the next few months. Sam’s temper had finally calmed down along the lines of jealousy, the boys were starting to really play; they started opening for bands that weren’t exactly famous, but were up and coming. Everything was just… smooth. Anna and her half-sister started going to therapy for their ‘issues’ and Brian was finally coming to terms that Sam and I couldn’t be broken up. All of this time, he had never liked that we were together. He expected for me to have my heart broken already and he expected that he’d have to team up with Anna and Collin to take him down. But no, Sam and I were going strong.
He was there when I graduated in the top ten of my class. He was there when I fell in my heels and twisted my ankle, staying with me while it heeled as we watched movie after movie after movie. He even agreed to go to prom with me, because he never went to his. He looked gorgeous in his tux; though he swore he would never wear it again.
Our summer was going to be absolutely sun filled and fun, because we (The Debate, Kendall, Brian and I) were going on a road trip for the band. They were trying to get gigs around the west coast and mid-west region to ‘broaden their horizons’ (to make more money, there were only so many places we could play for around New England) and Brian was in college for management, so he agreed to help out the boys. My mom was weary of letting me go, because she still wasn’t too keen on Sam, but my dad really liked Sam and had started not being such a drunk, so he convinced her to let me go.
Before we could leave though, Sam wanted to get his first tattoo. We had been talking about getting them for a while, because we were serious about where we were going in the long run of our relationship. We had been talking lately about our future and we were right on track with each other and he was glad I was going on their “tour” with them. I think even if my parents would have said no, he would have made me go anyway, no matter how much trouble I could have gotten in.
* * *
“Are you sure you want to do this?” I asked Sam as we walked into the tattoo parlor in South Boston. There was a whole bunch of people getting their lips and cartilage pierced.
He smirked hopefully at me, “You sure you don’t want to get your belly button pierced?”
I just stared at him and patted him on the shoulder. “Nice try babe, not gonna happen.”
“A guy can dream, can’t he?”
“Sam?” a skinny guy with a few tattoos called. Sam stepped forward and squeezed my hand so I would come along with them. I shook my head slowly, “I don’t want to see you get tattooed!”
He pouted at me, giving me his puppy dog eyes that he knew I couldn’t resist. “Okay, okay,” he kissed my cheek and led me to where the job was to be done. He only winced a few times while it was being worked on, and I watched as the needle was pressed into his skin. He kept squeezing my hand, but I think it was more or less because I was feeling queasy and not because it hurt. He could see I was getting a little green, and even though I looked excellent in emeralds, this color green was not attractive. “You okay?” he asked. I just nodded and swallowed, trying not to look like I was lying. “I’ll buy you a coffee after this,” he said. I nodded again, and just prayed that it would be over soon.
After it was finished, we paid the guy and he told us how to take care of it so it would look the best. Sam walked funny down the street with his right arm over his head the whole way, holding my hand with the other. “You okay?” I asked.
“It hurts like a motherfucking bitch.” He replied.
“Well, it’ll look good when it’s all healed.” I assured him. He opened the door for me at starbucks, and I got my afternoon cup and we sat down. He needed a haircut, because it was staring to get even more unruly compared to normal, but he liked it that way. He thought it made him look more “drummer-like”. Sometimes I think my boyfriend is delusional; most of the time I’m right. I didn’t mind the hair, because it made him look a little older and like he was really part of a band. Plus, it gave me more to tug on when we hooked up.
While I was drinking, Sam kept staring at me. I’d be looking around the place because we fell into a routine where just being around each other was enough to make us happy. We never had to say anything, and we had this whole silent language thing going on. But today I could feel his cinnamon eyes staring into me, so I turned to face him again and asked, “What’s wrong?” thinking I had a foam moustache or something while he shook his head. “Absolutely nothing. I just think you’re beautiful.”
I nodded at him like he was insane, because he was and said, “Okay,” really slowly. Then I thought about his tattoo and how excited I was to see it all finished; I had helped pick it out, and we thought it was perfect for him and for us, because the statement was so true. He got it on his right side of his torso, from a few inches under his armpit to right above where he wears his pants, and it read “If love is not madness, it is not love,” it was a quote from Pedro Calderon de la Barca, the Spanish playwright. And we thought that because he’s so temperamental about everything and it just… works for us, even with the fighting, that it would fit him perfectly.
“What are you thinking for yours?” he asked.
“I don’t know yet. Maybe my hip, maybe my wrist.”
“Mmm, I’d like your hip…”
“Of course you would. You’d like to be the only one who could find it.”
“I’m a guy; of course I’d enjoy finding it…”
I just shook my head as he beamed at me, raising his eyebrows. “Come on,” he said, getting up and putting his good arm around my shoulder. “I have an idea, let’s go home.” I shook my head and sat back down.
“Unfortunately for you, you can’t have any skin to skin contact for a few days.”
Whenever we say ‘let’s go home’ we pretty much just mean the apartment. I was there all the time, especially with school out. But I’m not allowed to spend the night more than twice a week and I had to be home by ten a.m. Sunday mornings because we now did things as a ‘family’. Dad had stopped drinking so much, and he and my mom were going to a marriage counselor, so I had to go along with it so he wouldn’t relapse. But Sam’s bed was more comfortable than my own and I liked his company much more than my mother’s, even though all we did was sleep and talk and kiss; sleep and talk and kiss; it was a good routine for all of us, especially since I blatantly told my mother Sam and I weren’t even at risk of having a baby. He really wanted to be good for once and not rush like he did the other *gulp* four times. Whatever, I was over it.
“That’s okay; we’ve got to get this thing all cleaned, right?”
“We can pick up a redbox and just chill.”
We made our way home and I helped clean his tattoo like the guy said. I was pretty grossed out though, because there was so much… puss everywhere. “How will you even get a tattoo?” he asked. “You get so queasy…”
“I’ll be fine.”
He chuckled lightly, “Whatever you say.”
We sat down on the couch and watched Inception, and I still couldn’t understand it, even though we’d watched it about eight thousand times. At one point Sam got up, grabbed something from the kitchen, and came back. I was lying down in his lap and I felt his hand creeping towards the waistband of my shorts. “What are you doing?” I smacked his hand away. He tried again, holding his other hand behind his back, keeping something from me. “Nothing,” he said.
“Liar! You’re up to something. Keep your hands away!”
But now it was a battle. He slid his hands right to the waistband and tugged for a second. “Brooke, just trust me okay?”
“Tell me what you’re going to do!”
I mean, seriously, he was trying to put his hands in my pants, how could I trust him?
“It’s a surprise. Nothing bad, just please… shut your eyes.”
“You like not knowing what’s coming. Just shut your eyes.”
I gave in, closing them. “If you go an inch lower, I swear, I will never talk to you again.”I felt him get up and hover over me, feeling his breath against my lips. “Liar.” He whispered, kissing me once; making me want more. But he kneeled down beside me and found where he wanted to be. I felt something cold on my hip, and when it was finished, he lowered himself over me and kissed me once more. “Open.” He said. I found where he had just been and saw that Sam had drawn his own tattoo there. It said, “Sam wuz here,” with an arrow pointing to it. I “I like it,” I stated. To which he replied, “Good,” like he always did.
* * *
“Brooke, you had better call me.” Mom said to me as she hugged me goodbye. “You have a cell phone. Use it.”
“I know mom, I know.”
“And please… don’t come home with a baby.”
“Mom, it’s only a few weeks. Don’t worry about it.”
“And you have your card?” Recently, mom had given me a prepaid card with five hundred and seventy-six dollars on it for the road. This would help cover hotel rooms, food, and anything I wanted to buy along the way.
“Yes mom, I have everything.”
She hugged me like a mother and smiled. “Keep your sister updated too; we don’t want her having a heart attack and losing the baby.”
“Mom,” I rested my hand on her shoulder and assured her. “I know, I have everything under control.”
“Okay. Bye baby.”
I rolled my eyes and headed towards the car, where Sam was planted on the hood. He slid off and met me with a deep kiss, taking my stuff and then throwing it in the back seat. “You ready?” he asked impatiently.
“Yeah, what’s wrong though?”
“Nothing, just a little short on time. We gotta go like now.”
“Okay, put your foot on the gas then.”
He nodded and squealed his tires as he headed for the highway.
* * *
By the time we got to New York, it was 12 and we were running late. Traffic was horrendous and Sam was getting a little angry. Alright, so he got a lot angry. His favorite word was fuck! And his favorite finger was the middle one, but this was something I was used to. Sam had no issue expressing frustration, irritation, or flat out anger. Today he was impatient and angry, so I hit the mother load. “Get the fuck out of my way!” Sam shouted at the car in front of us. He beeped several times and I tried to talk calmly, “Sam, we’re going to make it.”
“Not if this guy doesn’t get out of my fucking way.” He spat. More beeps.
“He can’t go anywhere either. Sam, we’re fine.”
Brian called me just then. He sounded a little rushed. “Where are you?”
“We’re stuck in traffic.”
“Um, okay… are you close? We’ve got sound check.”
“I don’t know where we are to be honest.”
I heard Charlie yell in the distance, “Give the phone to me.” And Brian did because the accent filled my ears. “Tell me you’re almost here.”
“Um… we’re almost here.”
“Really?” he sounded hopeful. I popped that bubble.
“No. I don’t know where the hell we are.”
“Brooke, I need you to get the hell over here. We’ve got soundcheck and we can’t do it without Sam.”
“I know but…”
“Find a fucking parking lot and get over here.”
“Okay! We’re coming!” I slammed my phone shut. Sam was still honking away. “Jeeze, I think they think we’re sitting here just making out or something.”
“Not even that would make me less irritated right now. Get the FUCK OUT OF MY WAY!”
For some reason, I started laughing. Sam looked over at me and I was laughing hysterically. Even though he was extremely frustrated, when he spoke there was a humor in his own voice. “What the hell is so funny?”
I could barely speak.
“I said, what is so funny?”
“You. This. Everything.”
“Sam. Look at where we are.”
“And where are we going?”
“To Rock House Anthem.”
“To do what?”
“Play a show?!” he wasn’t quite getting where I was going with this.
“No. Yes, but no. We’re in New York, going to play a show that starts a tour. A tour! That’s huge. And we’re here, stuck in traffic, yes. But how much time do you think we’ll be able to spend with each other on the tour? I’m not an idiot, Sam. I know you have responsibilities to the band that don’t involve hanging out with me.”
He frowned. “Wait. You don’t think you’ll be with me?”
“Well, I’ll be with you. But you’ve got to sign stuff and take pictures. You’re in a band that people actually like. You’re kind of popular. And absolutely unable to resist.” I leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.
“I want you with me.”
“Don’t worry about me. I’ll be with you.”
He kept my gaze and looked at me seriously. “You’re right,” his eyes softened and he nuzzled into me. “So, so, right. Sorry, babe.”
“Pump in the tunes. There’s a Parking Lot a few blocks from here according to my phone, so we should get there in who the hell cares when. We’ll walk to the Club. Your drums are already there. Let me call Brian, kay?”
“Sounds like a plan.”
I dialed and he answered right away. “Are you here already?”
“No. We’re going to a Parking lot a few blocks away and we’ll walk as quickly as we can. We’re not the only people on this tour, tell the next people to go in front of us.”
“Brian. You don’t have a choice. We’re not there.”
He groaned. “Fine.”
I put the phone down. “Music.”
He plugged in my iPod. William Beckett’s ‘Walk the Talk’ EP carried us through the traffic.
Eventually we did get there. We parked in the lot and got our ticket (We were making Charlie pay), took each other’s hands and headed to the club. Of course we had to stop for a starbucks. It was my afternoon pick-me-up. I was a girl in need.
As soon as we got there, Sam was whisked away to his drum kit. Brian was too busy to yell at me for stopping for coffee when we were on a schedule, but Kendall came over and sat down on the chair. “You finally made it.”
“I know. Traffic was terrible.”
“Yet you stopped for coffee.”
“Kendall…” I shook my head.
“I’m just messing with you. I don’t care what you stopped for. Sex, buying a puppy, buying a bone for that puppy…” she smirked. “Sorry. You still are unaware of the inside joke about bones and puppies…”
“Do I even want to know?”
“No. It’s sick. Your boyfriend has a sick mind.”
Brian was yelling something at the guys to test their instruments. I had just noticed that there were a lot of people just hanging out inside this club. The tanned legs jumped up beside me. “Oh! Come meet everyone.”
“Well, yeah, we’re gonna be with these kids for the next three weeks, we might as well get to know them.”
“Hey guys!” she yelled, dragging me over to them.
“Hey Kendall.” One guy with long blonde hair waved. He looked like a typical pop-rock band member. “Who’s this?” he nodded in my direction.
“Oh! Guys, this is my friend Brooke.”
“Hey Brooke,” all the guys nodded. Yes, they all nodded. So I did the same. “Hey.”
“Where you from?”
“Cool. We’re from San Diego. The Nodders.”
“Is that your band’s name?”
They all, well, they all nodded.
Long Blonde spoke. “I’m Drake. That’s Paul, Pete, and Carter.” He nodded over at the guys in the circle with him. They all had visible tattoos and were dressed in typical band garb: skinny jeans. Teeshirt. “What band are you in?” the one named Pete asked. He was a bright ginger. Very Ed Sheeran.
“Oh, she’s not in a band, Pete,” Kendall shook her hair casually. “She’s like me, with The Debate. And don’t get any ideas, she’s got a boyfriend.” She eyed him. She leaned in and nudged me, “Pete is the resident whore. I’ve been with them one afternoon and he likes girls that walk.”
“Alright. So, stay clear of Pete. Got it.”
“A boyfriend? Damn, Kendall. Don’t you want to introduce me to someone interesting..?”
“Thanks,” I stood awkwardly.
“She interesting. “ Kendall defended. “Just not your type.”
“All girls are my type.” He smiled.
“Even the taken?” I asked.
He winked. “Even those.”
“Don’t flirt too hard, Pete. The Boyfriend’s coming this way. And the last guy that flirted with her got his nose broken.”
Pete laughed, not knowing that she was completely serious. Sam wrapped his arms around my waist from behind and kissed my cheek all smiley. “You done already?” I asked.
He rolled his eyes. “They weren’t even ready for me. They made us walk all that fucking way for a technical problem. They can’t get Derek’s guitar to plug in right.” He looked at The Nodders.
“Sammy, you punch pretty hard, right?” Kendall laughed.
“See?” She gave Pete attitude.
“I’m Sam,” they all introduced themselves. In the background we heard Derek’s guitar. “SAM!” Charlie yelled. “Let’s go!”
So off he went, crunching his face into a smile and pecking me, then picking up hid drums and drumming away.
It turned out that the lineup of this tour was amazing. Of course, from the North East was The Debate, the West Coast was The Nodders, from the South East was Alex Cubed, from the South West was Handle Me With Care, and from the Mid-West was The Hopeless Romantics. All of the bands were voted into the tour and all had a distinctive Alternative Rock sound. After the show, the guys signed autographs and took pictures with their new fans. Kendall, Brian, and I stayed behind with the other band’s people and tore down everything. Eventually we all went out to meet each other. We were hungry. Shows did that.
* * *
Right away, I found out who my friends were on the tour. The guys from The Nodders were pretty cool, but Pete got a little creepy. He literally hit on everything with legs. Sam didn’t like him too much, so when he simply looked at me and said, “Stay away from him.” I didn’t see it as anything except him protecting me from a tool. The guys from Alex Cubed were pretty into themselves. They were all named Alex (big surprise) and they all had fangirls that were irritating and followed them around. Handle Me with Care was a band of heartbroken smoldering guys with a terrible track record with women according to their set lists. Then, finally, the Hopeless Romantics was a set of dimply brothers from Minnesota. They had a softer acoustic edge than their touring counterparts and sweet voices that made all the girls swoon. Out of everyone else we had met, those boys and I had a connection. Right off the bat we got along and I could be myself around them. Nick was only three months older than me, and was practically made out of apple pie. He had the innocent glow of youth oozing out of him, making him absolutely adorable. His brother Matt was nineteen and equally as sweet, but he was more carefree.
When it came to going out after the Philly show, the ‘Drunkards’ aka Scott, Charlie, Derek, all The Nodders, Kendall, two of the Alex’s, and Justin and Joe from Handle Me with Care wanted to go out and party. Brian wasn’t a part of this group, but he had noses on keeping an eye on Kendall. They had quickly become best friends since Brian started ‘managing’ the boys and were each other’s better halves. The ‘Norms’ aka me, Sam, Sean, Alex J, Flynn from HMWC, Nick, and Matt decided to have a quiet night in.
We all put in money for pizza and piled into the joint rooms. None of us were really hard drinkers, so we just chilled in front of the tv and got to know each other. I learned about the girls that were stalking Alex Cubed, Gantry and Mackenzie, and how they’d been crazy fans since the beginning. “Hmm,” Sam thought. “We don’t have any fans like that.”
“You’re right.” Sean agreed. Sean was so quiet that sometimes he could be quite invisible. He normally had his iPad out and practiced new intros or chord structures on the keyboard app. Tonight he was actually sitting with us.
I looked at both of them with my eyebrows crinkled. “…Thanks.”
“Oh, no, you don’t count.” Sam waved me off.
“Um, excuse me?”
“I mean, yeah, you’re a fan, but you’re my girlfriend so it doesn’t count.”
“Really, Brooke, you practically live with us. You’re not a fan of the band. You’re a part of the band.”
“Oh…” I felt slightly flattered. “What about Kendall?”
Sean shrugged. “Well we’ve known her for a while and she’s also a part of the family. Same with Brian. We mean fan fans.”
“Oh, yeah, sure…”
“But we do love you.”
“You’d better. But, you obviously have fans... otherwise you wouldn’t have even been on the tour…”
“Hm. She’s a smarty,” Matt smiled.
“Right? Brains and beauty. I’m a lucky man.” Sam kissed my cheek.
We popped in a movie and hung out for the night until everyone fell asleep right where they were sitting. Earlier, we had agreed that The Drunkards would stay in their own room to not disturb the designated drivers of traveling day. I slept pretty good up and until I woke up to hear Alex and Flynn snoring on the floor next to me. I stretched up on the bed, seeing the bed being still made and Sam and I lying on top of it. Sean was sleeping with his feet by Sam’s face and hogging up half the bed. The clock next to me read 5:30, which meant I slept a decent amount, but I was a little irritated that I couldn’t sleep longer.
My first instinct was that I needed coffee, so I quietly tiptoed around all the boys passed out on the floor and outside and looked at my options. It was dark out still, but there wasn’t much life around the motel. No Dunkin Donuts, no starbucks, nothing. So I found Sam’s impala and sat on it until the sun started to rise, slipping in my headphones and letting This Providence take me into the morning.
I heard the shifting of gravel next to me and turned to see Nick coming towards the car. I took off my headphones and watched him stretch up. “Good morning,” he yawned.
“Have you been out here long?”
I nodded. “Probably. What time is it?”
“Yeah, once I wake up I’m up, so I’ve been out here for a while.”
“Mind if I sit?” I scooched over and he hopped up on the hood with me. “So, hi.”
“You look exhausted.”
“That bad?” I laughed.
“Not bad, just… tired.”
“I’ll look a little bit livelier with coffee in my system.”
“You have a caffeine thing?”
“Morning, afternoon, night. It’s an addiction.”
“I’m like that with cocoa.”
I looked at the curly brunette with the sweet blue eyes. “Of course you like cocoa.”
“Is that a bad thing?”
“No, it’s just very you, Nick.”
He frowned. “Is that bad? Matt’s always making fun of me for it, but he loves cocoa too. It must be a Minnesota thing.”
“Well, in the winter we’re playing in the snow, shoveling snow, or playing hockey… so it’s generally pretty chilly.”
“And you need cocoa to warm you up.”
“I just need coffee in general.”
“Good to know. When you’re unhappy, I’ll just bring you coffee.”
“You already know the key to my friendship and you’ve been with me for about three days.”
He just sat with me all smiles while we watched the daily bustle start to pick up outside the motel. “There you are!” Sam called, coming over. He eyed Nick suspiciously. “Whatchya doing?”
“Just sitting. I woke up too early again.”
He turned to Nick. “This poor girl can’t fall back asleep after she wakes up, especially when it starts getting light out.”
“This guy can sleep anywhere, especially when there’s a… nope, he can sleep anywhere. I hate him.” He leaned over and smooched me once, nuzzling into my nose. “But then he’s all sweet and I love him again.” He leaned back with a big smile on his face.
“You’re a smart girl. Speaking of, want to get some coffee, babe?”
“Yeeeesss!” I practically growled. I turned to Nick, “Want to come along?”
He shook his head, “Nah. Thanks though. I’m going to go annoy Matt. He loves when I do that in the morning.”
“What, he’s not a morning person?” Sam asked.
“Absolutely not. It’ll be hilarious.”
He hopped off the hood and waved. “Happy caffeine.”
“Happy brotherly annoyance.”
When we got in the car and started off in search of my morning fix, Sam had his hand on my knee but was quiet. He was focused on the road. No music, no words. Just him being focused. It was weird. We found a starbucks a few blocks away and bought my venti Americano with no room for cream. Sam just got an iced tea, and I picked up a hot chocolate for Nick. When I told Sam who the cocoa was for, he got all uptight. “You’re not starting the jealousy thing with Nick, right?”
“Why would I?” he asked, sounding annoyed. “I mean, you just met the guy and you’re already bringing him drinks. Why would I be jealous of that?”
I rolled my eyes. “Oh my god, you’ve got to be joking.”
“Brooke. Do I sound like I’m joking? I don’t like it.”
“He’s like a little puppy, Sam. He’s my friend. He’s like the Collin of the tour. When you guys aren’t around, who am I supposed to hang out with? He’s a nice guy; harmless, I swear. Not a dangerous bone in his body.” I held up his cup. “He loves cocoa.”
“Well, why were you out so early with him?”
“Couldn’t sleep. He woke up early. Just casually talking. You’ve got nothing to worry about.”
He wrinkled his nose. “Well… okay. Fine.”
* * *
One night, Sam and I were just hanging out in our motel room while everyone had gone out to dinner. For some reason I wasn’t feeling well, so Sam opted to stay back and take care of me. To prepare he brought a box of Joe and borrowed Charlie’s guitar. Even though he didn’t play guitar in The Debate, he still played really well. Sometimes when they were writing songs and he couldn’t dictate what he was thinking, he just grabbed a guitar and played it for the guys. Concept-wise, he and Charlie came up with the ideas. Sean liked to create cohesive chord progressions, and Derek and Scott just went along with it, adding different things for different sounds.
Tonight he sat on Kendall and Brian’s bed –that’s who we shared a room with (Sean, Derek, and Scott shared the adjoining room) - and strummed lightly.
I was all bundled up in Sam’s hoodie and sweatpants because it was freezing in the room. It was too hot for Sam so we had the air conditioning on (It was July, I couldn’t blame him) but I was so cold and stuffy. I had my cup of coffee in my hands and sipped every few seconds, just listening to him strum. He looked at me and chuckled. “What?” I asked, curious.
He played a chord and sang, My dear darling, a cup in her hand. She’s my favorite girl, she’s my biggest fan. She follows us around in our silly band. She’s perfect.
She puts up with all my jealousy, my foul mouth, and fucking everything that I do wrong she thinks is right. She deserves this.
A cup every morning, a cup every night. I’ll buy her a latte just to treat her right. Her caffeine fixation is almost as addictive as she is to me. Coffee is her kryptonite, she is my guiding light, I’d be in the dark without her by my side.
I just smiled at him. “Did you just make that up?”
He put the guitar down and crawled over to me, wrapping me in his arms. “Not as amazing as you.”
“You’ll get sick, babe.”
“I don’t care. What have I said before? Your germs are my germs?”
“It still remains the nastiest quote ever. But okay…” We just cuddled for a while and he reached over into his jeans for the sharpie he always carried with him. He looked from my eyes to the sweats I was wearing. “Can I draw another tattoo?”
“My hip is your hip.” I laughed.
“We’re conjoined. That’s a little weird, babe.”
“Just draw it, damnit.”
He laughed as he lowered the waistband and wrote the word Germ Infested on my skin. “Nice…”
“And let me know when this one fades. I’ve got loads of ideas, kay?”
“Alright,” he reached up to me and kissed me once.
He looked at me seriously. “And make sure, no, promise me that no one else ever sees these besides me. You are mine. Mine, mine, mine. You are deliciously and miraculously all mine.” He started lifting up the hoodie and my tee underneath to kiss my stomach. “Mine.”
I returned his serious gaze. “I promise I am all yours. Yours, yours, deliciously and miraculously yours.” He kissed me a little more and nodded. “Deliciously mine, alright.”