This is the new story we’re gonna be putting up. I wrote it for fun, so i’ll put it up for fun. The title of the story is a bit random. i couldn’t think of a proper one because i haven’t finished the story yet but it does have a little to do with the story. I wrote this around exams and well, in exam times all anyone involved wants to do is stay in another world, in another life. So that’s where the title comes from. But the story, well, it’s sort of random specially for me because i’m not a rock-type of person but i’m surrounded by so many friends who are in to rock music. So that’s kind of why its themed around a rock band. So, anyway, i’ll stop writin’ “deeper meanings” so you can enjoy the story…
Blood. The Damnation Tour.
That’s what the huge poster outside the Warehouse read. Below the title was a darkened shot of four guys, all dressed in black and in different poses all relating to depression and gothic stuff. Beside them, almost in the shadows, barely notable, was the brand new member of Blood, April Martinez. This was the super famous rock band the rock part of society (mostly teens and young adults) were obsessed over. They were coming to New Zealand tomorrow, straight here to Aucklan`. This was their final destination in the six month world tour they were on. People were excited about what this could mean, especially because this was the second time in two years they were in New Zealand.
Me, on the other hand couldn’t care less about who they were or what they were doing here. The rock types (which included my best friend Leah) have been going on about this for the last few months. So it wasn’t a surprise that i find myself knowing each one like the back of my land. Blood fan or not, I was stuck knowing all this.
Sighing at the sign, I continued on my trip to the Warehouse. As if on cue, my phone also went off. The caller ID indicated it was my best friend, Leah.
“Hey, Riley”, she said. From her voice, I knew she was in some sort of trouble. Again.
“What’s happened now?” I asked.
“Nothing”, she said in a way that a lot had happened.
“Don’t try to lie to me”.
There was a pause.
“Okay, fine. I got in to something…”
I sighed. “What now? Leah, don’t you think it’s about time – ”
“See? This is why I didn’t want to tell you!” She protested, all things forgotten.
“So, what happened?”
“Tyson asked me out to a party and I said yes”.
I almost groaned and cut the line. This was the millionth time we were going to argue about this.
“I’ve already -” I started but didn’t get to finish.
“Yeah, but i really like him, Riley!” She actually had the guts to sound doubtful about what she claimed.
“Leah, he’s in probation for drug use”, I reminded her.
“That was a lie!”
“That’s what he tells the girls he wants to impress”. I sighed. Can she get any thicker? “I bet you, he still uses drugs”.
“Oh, stop lecturing me on this. I like Tyson and I will go out with him”.
<span style=”color: #000000;”~She sounded defiant. Maybe I’ll take it up later when she was feeling less sure of her plans.
“So, is that why you called me?” I asked, making sure I showed her the exasperation i felt through my tone.
“Oh, well, there’s something else”. I could tell another problem was looming in the horizon. “Well, you know the Blood concert?”
“Well, I kind of told Tyson that we could go to the concert together”. !3C/span>
“But you only have – “
I stopped in mid-sentence. Honestly, Leah can be such an a**hole sometimes. Erase that, she was an a**hole all the time.
“I’m so sorry, Riley. But you don’t even like Blood and Tyson really likes Blood”, she explained. “So wouldn’t it be fair if he used this ticket?”
“If I had been in love with Blood and you had done this to me, I would’ve killed you”, I said. “But you’re right, it’s more fair if you take him there”. I couldn’t help but add some poison in to him.
“Oh, you’re the best Riley!”
I shook my head to myself and cut the line. Praises like that was not going to soften me up with the bigger problem. If she thought i was going to forget the going-out-with-Tyson thing that soon, she had another thought coming.
I walked in to Warehouse, a store that sells practically anything you need and right now I desperately needed a pair of sneakers. So I headed toward the shoes section. But before I reached the shoes section, some idiot walking past me knocked on to me. If it weren’t for an appliances shelf, I would have been on the floor flat on my back. The stranger had dropped something and was picking it up. I watched as he bent down, grabbed the fallen object and straightened up with impressive swiftness.
I was about to step around him when his face came in to view out of the shadow cast by his thick hoodie. But I instantly recognized his face. Dumbstruck, I stared.
He winced like I had stabbed him.
“Oh sh**”, he muttered.
I continued to stare. It was all there, Al Sullivan in the flesh. Dark blonde hair that grew to his shoulders, green eyes, lean figure, familiar handsome face…This was the actual Al Sullivan, lyricist and guitarist of Blood, standing in the middle of Warehouse instead of being in an aeroplane that was coming from America and reach New Zealand tomorrow.
When I snapped out of my trance, I found myself being led in to one of the empty aisles of the Warehouse.
“Okay, no shouting, nothing. Don’t tell anyone you saw us here, okay?” Al ordered.
Then he stopped and turned to face me, in quite an intimidating way.
He pressed something in to my hand. “I’ll give you this in exchange for your silence”.
I looked down at the soft objects occupying my hands. They were 3 tickets for the Blood concert. Included with the tickets were backstage passes.
“Oh…thanks”, I said, quite overwhelmed with his attitude.
“Don’t thank me, you -“
“Al!” We both turned around to the direction of the voice.
Another wave of surprise came over me in the form of April Martinez. She was Dino Elliot’s girlfriend. Dino was the drummer for Blood. No one was quite sure if she was officially part of Blood but she sang with them in their last album.
“What are you doing?” she demanded. Then, she noticed me and flicked a horrified glare toward me. “Oh, sh**”.
I looked from Al to April. They obviously didn’t want anyone to know they were here. Their disguises (both in hoodies and April had even adorned herself with pink sunglasses) assured me of this realization.
“I’m taking care of this”, Al said. He turned to me. “Okay, kid. I’ll give you these tickets and in exchange you can’t tell anyone we are here, okay?” He said it roughly like if I don’t listen to him, he’ll make my life hell. In other words, he seemed to mean this like a threat.
Well, that attitude just annoyed me. I frowned up at him. “I’m not a kid. I’m 18”.
He looked at me like he couldn’t care less, which was probably the simple truth. Still, he should have some respect even if I did look like a kid to him. What does he think he is, the king of the world, just because he was a famous artist?
“Sorry, sorry. Just take the tickets and don’t tell anyone”, he said, not sounding sorry at all.
I glared at him with open hostility. Basically he was pissing me off. That attitude, the natural assumption that I was a fan of his like he thought everyone must like his precious band, and the clear thought that he could buy me with petty tickets I obviously didn’t have a use for; all this just annoyed me.
I grabbed his had and slapped the tickets back in to his palm.
“I don’t want your precious tickets”, I said, not taking my eyes off him.
Then I walked away. And didn’t look back. It felt good to walk away from a guy like that. I was never the one to intimidiate easily and his fame was not going to change that.
“Hey! Wait!” April called.
I stopped and turned to see her rushing toward me. After all, she wasn’t the one that had annoyed me so it was fair that I listened to her.
“Ignore Al”, she said, smiling. “He’s a born star. He thinks like a natural star so he’ll think he can just bribe anyone with tickets. He’s naive like that”. She rolled her eyes. “It would be so cool if you don’t tell anyone that you saw us. We don’t want the media getting hold of this information”.
April sure was much smarter than Al when it came to surviving in the real world.
“Yeah, don’t worry about it”, I assured with a smile. To be honest they didn’t have to worry about this anyway. I was not in to revelations.
She smiled appreciatively and walked back to Al, who was examining shoes on the shelves at the far corner of the aisle were at. I walked off in the opposite direction, relieved that I didn’t have to deal with the famous types again, hopefully never again. I wondered how April dealt with the Al kinds herself. And her boyfriend was one of them. Imagine that. Must be torture.
* * *
Somehow they made it seem like April and Al came with the rest of Blood. Al and April were at the airport at the Arrivals part when they all arrived. As Blood was quite popular (okay, more than quite popular) in New Zealand, their arrival was broadcasted on the main channels in the evening after their arrival. So, the whole of the next day, I was forced to sit with Leah on her leather couch and oggle at the TV. First they showed songs by Blood, then the actual arrival. The only part I watched was them coming out of the arrival section. Despite Al’s attitude problem, I felt sorry for them as I watched journalists practically jumping on to them when they came through. Then, I got bored when the journalists started to shoot questions about their stayand they started answering. So I picked up this art type magazine lying around in Leah’s lounge and flicked through it in the hope of real entertainment.
“Man, Dino is so hot”, Leah sighed, for the millionth time that evening. Once I asked her why she liked Dino most from the band and she told me she had a thing for his bad boy reputation. Yeah, she was mental. “Why did that b**** had to go for him?”
I was half way through skimming an article about Mona Lisa’s smile. I felt like writing to the editor. It’s about time they stop trying to unleash whatever’s behind that smile.
“How did she get in range with them?” Leah asked, or wailed, I should say. “She was just a fan, like everyone else who love Blood. But she gets to be the lucky one. Not only does she get to sing with them but go out with one of them”.
“It’s called talent, not luck”, I answered, yawning. Mona Lisa sure knew how to bore you out.
“Yeah, talent to wrap Dino eround her stinky little finger”, she said, bitterly.
“Stop being so b****y, Leah”, I said straight out.
She rounded on me like I had falsely accused her of murder and demanded, “When did you start siding with April? When did you start calling me a b**** over April?”
I rolled my eyes and turned over the current page to a page notifying the district winner to an art competition. Some rich girl had won.
Leah turned back to the screen. I gave up on the magazine and glanced over at the TV too. Al Sullivan was talking to a journalist. Idiot.
It was about time I took a break from this bore. So, I left Leah to her mourning and excitement (a combination only she knew how to work) and I went to the bathroom.In front of the bathroom mirror I had a real surprise. I looked as if a tornado had gone over me. This was what happened when your best friend drags you out of bed way before ten in the morning of a day in the summer holidays and makes you watch a bunch of guys (and a girl) that make music that kills your eardrums come in to country. But I have to be glad this year’s reaction wasn’t as bad as when they had come last year. Last year, Leah had dragged me to the airport on the day Blood arrived and all we had seen were sweaty backs of jouralists and other crazy fans.
When I had corrected myself as far as I could, I got a Riley that had less of a messy hair but that look of being hit by a tornado still lingered. Really, it’s funny how my hair is the only one part of me that can be straightened out so easily right then because that was usually the hardest part of my feature. One of the most famous things about Blood was their heriditary. Each of them had a mixed nationality. Like Blood, I was mixed. However, unlike them, my mixture started way back. It started with my grandma, who was full Sri Lankan, when she married an American man. So when my mum was born, she turned out to me a half-half. Then, my mum married my dad who was Greek. And I turned out to be this wierd combination, a super new mixed race. My kind could go so far. Anyway, so my looks are all mixed up. I had curly/wavy hair; my hair is kind of curly but the bottom half actually looks more wavy than curly. Weird or what? Then, there was my skin. My skin was flawless (not to brag or anything but that’s what everyone tells me) and had that tone of golden, light olive complexion that Greek people inherited. That probably came from my dad. He left when I was five but I have a couple of photos of him, so I knew what he looked like. I had dark brown chocolate eyes and what my mum used to call, a pronounced nose, probably another result from the genetic pools I belonged to. Another vital thing about my looks that humours me was that people say that I have this dark beauty (I know, cheesy or what?). They mostly say it to not sound mean when they talk about my very pretty and charismatic best friend, Leah.
Other than the mixed look, I was just an average teenager, out of high school, trying to work out what I should do in college (which I’ve decided I’ll start next semester, not the coming one).
When I walked back in to the lounge, I found Leah jumping up and down, grinning at Blood on TV, playing one of their hit songs (songs that Leah had listened to a million times already).
“Leah, I’m going home”, I stated.
She stopped me and looked at me quizically. “Aren’t you going to hang around to see Pete?”
Pete was my ex-boyfriend and Leah’s dear (not) older brother.
I made a face, disgusted by the thought of doing such a thing. “What makes you think I want to do that?”
She sighed. “Riley, that happened six months ago”.
“So?” I demanded, vexed she dared say such a thing. “Does time make what he did right?”
“Riley…at least hang around and talk to him about this. This is the first time he’s visiting after he left for America”, she said gravely. “Besides, you don’t know his side of the story”.
“Leah, we dated for a year and a half”, I said to her, matching her austerity. “Then, he leaves for college and just avoids me in every possible way he could. The most raw and heartless break up would’ve been better than just avoiding me”.
“Exactly, Riley. You dated for so long, had such a good relationship. You can’t just let it all go without properly knowing what’s going on”. I could not believe my so-called best friend is saying this. “Talk to him when he gets here. Mum and Dad are gone to pick him up from the airport. They’ll be here in about ten minutes”.
I scowled at her. She was stupid if she thought I was going to give in that easily.
“Hell no, Leah. I’m not running after that moron”.
“Stop it, Leah. It’s done. We are over. There’s nothing to be said between us”.
I marched out right then, without another word.
* * *
Annoyingly, Blood hired the top half of the Starbucks I worked in to hang out. Blood couldn’t exactly walk in to a cafe and drink coffee and do what they liked in public. So, they hired the upstairs of Starbucks and appointed guards at every staircase so no one could come up. The excitement would probably fade away but at this time, everyone wanted to see Blood. The paparazzi was out and about worse than ever; they obviously wanted the dish on what Blood was planning. Anyone would be interested when a rock band that obviously belonged in the glam life of LA or New York City would constantly visit our quiet country. In any case, I didn’t want close connections with these people. The ordeal with Al Sullivan was enough for me to learn a lesson.
Apparently I was running on bad luck because the second I had finished that thought the manager came up to me with Blood’s order and probably a whole lot of autographs by the look on her face. My co-worker desperately wanted to serve but she was overwhelmed with so many orders that for me to tend to them would be ridiculous. So, I was selected to deliver Blood’s coffees and mud cakes. I tried not to mind much despite my earlier thoughts but it really bugged me that they were treated like royalty. Then again, they couldn’t exactly walk down and get their food like normal people would.
The bodyguards had to accompany me to the stairs. The place was that full and the paparazzi were trying to sneak around, trying to reach their goal (Blood). They obviously wanted some new gossip fast, as the Dino and April line was getting a bit old now.
Upstairs was surprisingly quieter and more peaceful. The mad chatter and the squeals from below hadn’t completely vanished but they were muffled. Then, I heard happy laughter from the band, sitting around the table opposite to the staircase. I took a deep breath and examined the object (or objects, I shall say) before moving in to the mission.
There was April sitting next to Dino Elliot. In every poster I’ve seen him in, he was always frowning. But here he was smiling and watching April as she said something. Then, there was Marco and Xenon, who I’ve always thought were a seriously snobby and, well, serious blokes. But that opinion changed right there and then as I watched them thumb-wrestling together and arguing how many times you can go “toilet” in one game. Between the big boys sat Al, scribbling something in a notebook. It occurred to me that these guys were just as normal as me, Leah and the whole of the young generation.
I walked toward them, a bit nervous. Sure I wasn’t a fan but still, they looked intimidating.
“Err…excuse me?” I asked, holding out the tray of food and coffees. “Here’s your coffee”.
They all looked up, stopping all thumb-wrestles and writings. My situation became very awkward. Worst of all, I caught Al’s gaze. He looked half curious, half annoyed. But the feeling of superiority due to the street smarts I knew he lacked, gave me confidence.
“Well, enjoy”, I said with a smile and turned to go.
“Hey! You’re that girl!” April exclaimed, out of the random. I turned back around to see her grin. “Man, you practically saved our lives. If you had told the paparazzi…” she drifted off shaking her head.
“I told you I wouldn’t”, I said in a deadpan voice, glancing sideways at Al with a smirk. He scowled back.
“Yeah. We were here for some business stuff we had to do”, she said it with ease but I saw a lie in the statement. “Thank you, by the way, for not telling anyone”.
I shrugged. “It was no big deal”.
It was becoming so much easier for nonchalance with these guys.
“I was so sure she was going to blurt it out”, Al said, or rather muttered very loudly in a chipped tone.
I snickered openly at him. “Not everyone’s a loud hysterical fan of yours’”.
He stared back, hostility running between us. “What do you mean?”
Bad comeback. “I meant exactly what I said genius”.
Marco and Xenon burst out laughing (their thumb-wrestling mania had stopped).
“So, you’re not a fan of Blood?” Dino asked, frowning.
The way he said it kind of chilled me. He said it like not being a fan of Blood was illegal and if I didn’t change my ways, I’ll pay for it. Basically, he said it like a threat.
“Not really. I like your songs and all but I’m not a hard core fan”, I said. “No offence”. That was an addition to placate any hard feelings because Dino didn’t give out a very friendly aura.
“You know what? You should come over to this barbeque we are holding in a couple of days”, April suggested. “The party’s only for close members”.
“Uh…” I looked around all of them, unsure if I should agree. Agreeing would seriously go against my wishes to stay away from the starry types.
“It’s just a thank you gift”, she said.
“But that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to bring any annoying fan friends”, Al added in.
Oh, great. How did he know I had a crazy fan best friend waiting to grab such an opportunity?
“Oh, that’s real chivalry”, I couldn’t help but retort right to his face. “Giving conditions to people you invite”.
He scowled. “We just don’t want every minute of our lives dominated by fans”.
“Tough luck. You should’ve seen that coming when you decided to try out for fame. No point complaining, it’s not going to stop now, is it?”
He gave me a very vile look. I didn’t stand there looking stupid, I glared back just as evilly.
“You know what?” Marco put in, chuckling with amusement. “I like you already. You can diss Al. He’s always been the witty one no one can argue with”.
“I agree with you, dude”, Xenon said.
Al rolled his eyes. “Just because some pathetic b**** tries to impress us with words, it doesn’t mean she’s so likeable”.
Rage blinded me. Well, that was being a bit dramatic but rage still did overcome me. This guy was so…I didn’t have a word for him; nothing matched the hostility he showed. I narrowed my eyes at him, hoping my kohl rimmed glare would have a lasting affect (in a bad way) on him.
“You’re such a ba*****”, I simply said.
He smirked. “People resort to swearing when losing in a verbal fight”.
“Well, some people also resort to swearing when they want to show the anger other’s ignited. If you were smart, you’d know what’s really making me swear in this situation”.
There was laughter all around. Al looked away, scowling. Look who’s lost the verbal battle he thought he was winning.
“Funny”, April said. “Anyway, just ignore Al. What’s your name, by the way?”
“Oh, I’m Riley”.
“Are you in high school?”
I shook my head. “Just graduated”.
“Oh, so you’re off to college?”
April gave me a curious look. “Why a maybe?”
“I’m not sure what to do in college”, I explained. “So, I haven’t applied yet”.
“So, are you applying for next semester?” Her eyes lighted up.
She laughed. “I’m planning to go to college next semester when everything’s settled. Maybe we could go together”.
“Aren’t you already in college?” Now, I was curious.
She shook her head looking a little wistful like she missed being at school. Who could miss being at school?
“Nah, I was way too busy with music for university”.
“Wow. You had a long while away from school”.
She chuckled again. “Yeah, all my friends are way ahead in college, even my twin brother, which is saying something. And I still haven’t started”.
“That must kind of suck”.
Right then, we were graciously interrupted by the manager ascending the stairs. She looked angry. Uh-oh.
“Riley? Why are you still here?” she demanded when she reached us. She turned to Blood and smiled tightly. “I hope she’s not…bothering you”.
I gulped, expecting Al to give her a long novel about how much I was disturbing them. But before I could say much April sliced in to the conversation.
“Of course she’s not interrupting”, she assured. “Actually, she’s becoming a bit of a friend. How about you let her off her shift for today?”
The manager’s eyebrows knitted together like she was suspicious of the situation unraveling before her eyes. I didn’t understand why she was like this. Only moments ago I’d seen her all blushed and on a high because she had seen Blood.
“I can’t do that, miss”, she said, darting a stern look my way.
“Of course you can. I’ll cover up any payments”, she said. “And call up another worker to cover her duty”.
“All right, then”, she said reluctantly. I saw a hint of green in her eyes. Wow, even 30 year olds were getting hard core about Blood. Only one thing would keep her from letting go of that jealousy. “That could work”.
Money was involved after all, I almost finished for her.
* * *