"You're so lucky to have me as a big brother."
I rolled my eyes and continued shoveling chocolate chip ice cream in my mouth while MTV blasted through the surround sound system my dad finally installed earlier this summer.
"Well," he prodded, as he flopped down at the end of the couch near my bare feet. "Aren't you in the least interested why you're so lucky to have me?"
"Mmm," I mumbled, mouth still full of that sweet, sugary greatness that is called chocolate chip ice cream. I swallowed carefully to avoid a brain freeze. "Do tell, dear brother, for I've been trying to figure that out for years."
"Watch it, or I won't be so wonderful," he threatened.
I tore my eyes from the TV long enough to raise a brow. That usually worked on him, though I have no clue why. It's not like it was 'The Look' that only my mother could give that would chill your bones and make you nearly wet your pants. However, when I raised a brow at my brother, it worked in nearly the same way. He'd stop his mindless babbling and get on with the story.
"Pete backed out on me for tomorrow night. And I figured since you had nothing planned on your last free weekend home, not to mention I feel a little sorry for you, that I'd take you with me."
I licked the final traces of ice cream from my spoon and stared curiously at him. "I have no idea what you're going on about but there is absolutely no need whatsoever to feel sympathetic toward me."
"It's the Friday of the last weekend you have at home until the parents ship you off to that stuck up boarding school you attend and what are you doing? Sitting around eating ice cream and watching TV."
I sat up slowly and slid my empty bowl on the coffee table. "First of all, my school is NOT a stuck up boarding school. You graduated from there last year, might I remind you. Second, I CHOOSE to stay home the last weekend before school starts." I nearly added a "so there" at the end of my sentence but held it back instead. I was about to start my senior year of high school, after all. Time to stop with the immaturity.
He waved my words away as if they were nothing more than pesky insects. "Do you want to argue about your school and your pathetic last weekend plans or would you like to hear where I've decided to take you tomorrow night?"
I studied my older brother carefully. Although we bickered like this constantly, we were actually pretty close. Seth was 13 months older than me, almost to the day. He looked so much like me that quite a few people assumed us to be twins. He was tall, standing just over six feet with dark blonde, messy hair and green eyes flecked with brown. I'm the shorter, female carbon copy of him, only I'm five foot four, and my hair is not messy, but fairly long. We both have dimples in each cheek but I was cursed with a spattering of freckles over my nose and under my eyes. He's lean and built, he plays soccer nearly all the time, while I'm kinda curvy and not quite so built, if you know what I mean. He's a heart breaker while I'm more on the shy side.
"Where are you taking me tomorrow night," I asked with an exasperated sigh.
He grinned and pulled a thin envelope out of his back pocket. He tossed it to me and folded his hands behind his head. I opened the flap and yanked the contents out. My eyes widened momentarily.
"How did you manage this? I mean, really? Who'd you have to kill?" He smirked at my blabbering but it didn't stop me. I paused and put a fist to my hip. "Why didn't you tell me you had these and what do you mean Pete backed out? I shoulda been your first choice!"
He leaned forward to yank the envelope out of my hands. "They were Pete's originally. He invited me. And by the way, didn't you just say yesterday that these guys were a bunch of hopped up Neanderthals who probably trash hotel rooms and ravish young girls for kicks?"
"It doesn't mean I hate their music!"
He laughed. "You are such a hypocrite!"
I sat forward and glared at him. Maybe he had a point but I'd never admit that to him. "Yeah well, I love baseball even though I think most athletes are over-paid, pea brained jocks."
"See what I mean? Hypocrite." He shook his head at me.
"You know I'm right," I mumbled, pouting.
He shrugged. "Sometimes. So are you going or what?"
"Of course," I exclaimed. I mean, come on! Of course I'm going.
He grinned his evil little grin. "Good. I figured we'd get a room and just stay the night there and drive home in the morning."
I groaned. I shoulda known this was coming. "For safety reasons, I assume," I asked sarcastically.
He flashed his infamous shit-eating grin. "Naturally!"
"So tell me, dear Isabella, am I or am I not, your favorite brother," Seth grinned as we made our way to our front row seats. When I say front row, I mean in the balcony and not front row as in right in front of the stage. I mean, I know Seth is good, but he's not that good. Still, the seats were pretty awesome.
"Let's forgo the clichéd 'you're my only brother' and just say, yeah, Seth, you are my favorite brother."
He rolled his eyes and handed me two concert t-shirts he'd just purchased. "Hold these. I'm going to get us some drinks"
I nodded and sat back in my seat to people watch. Can't help it, it's a hobby of mine. My room mate at school, Annie, says it's kinda freaky but I don't care. After all, it has been quite useful in the past. If I hadn't been so observant of those around me, no one would have known Dean Gold spiked the fruit punch at the fall mixer last year and everyone would have gotten drunk. Ok, bad example. No one cared who actually spiked it as apparently, everyone wanted to get drunk and act like idiots.
I watched the females line up the front row, all properly primped and primed and actually believing that one of the guys from the band might choose them for his bride. Or his fuck buddy. Take your pick. I don't think the girls up front cared which either.
I sat forward to get a better look at one particular woman in the front. And by 'woman' I mean full fledged, has three kids at home with the hubby, woman. Ewww! And by the size of her nearly totally exposed chest, I'd say she's still breast feeding. Didn't she watch MTV and notice that the guys were on the young side? I didn't read their bios or Google them or anything but it's not hard to see that they're all in their early twenties. Talk about desperate housewives!
"Quit gawking jealously at the girls in the front row and drink your beer," Seth ordered, handing me a plastic cup full of foamy alcoholic no-no.
"How did you get this? You're only nineteen," I hissed at him, quietly. I mean, I didn't want someone to overhear and figure out we're minors consuming alcoholic beverages.
He just grinned and punched me lightly on the shoulder, causing some foam to slop out of my cup and all over my hand. "I don't look nineteen. No one even carded me."
"You're lucky we're staying in this hotel," I told him warningly. Not like he noticed because the house lights went out and the opening band strutted out on stage. They were pretty decent. I watched their one and only video on MTV many times. Many, many times. It was a decent song even if severely over played.
I watched as some of the bimbos in the front row hopped up and down in hopes of attracting attention. I snorted as I imagined the mommy up there jumping up and down like a lunatic. She'd certainly give herself a black eye.
Soon, though not soon enough, they finished up and the roadies converged on stage to take their equipment out and bring in Controlled Environment's. The trollop's up front went into a lustful frenzy, begging for guitar picks, drum sticks, locks of chest hair, whatever the stage guys would give them. I rolled my eyes and turned to my brother. He was on his fourth beer while I still hadn't finished my first. Did I mention that I don't drink very often? He was engaged in conversation with a guy sitting next to him. Seth could be blindfolded in front of a firing squad and before they could shoot, he'd make lifelong buddies out of all of them. He made friends very easily.
An electric tingle shot through my body as the house lights went down again. Yeah, kinda corny, I know, but I love music. Especially live music. Especially if it's done very well and Controlled Environment did music very well. They hadn't been around long but it didn't seem to matter. Their first album went platinum and their second was well on its way.
The band came out on stage and burst into their first song. Did I say they were good? They were awesome! And ok, they were a little bit cute. Not a single one of them were Orlando Bloom or Johnny Depp hot, but they weren't hard on the eyes. Jake Johnson, the lead singer, had black, and I mean jet black, hair gelled into some kind of organized mess. In his videos, his eyes always appeared to be piercing blue. I mean, so blue, you kept looking for the telltale signs of colored contacts. He was lean but had a little bit of a build to him. Like he tried to work out when he had time but he wasn't as muscular as one of those over-paid jocks (who, for the most part, have nice bodies) I mentioned before.
Nick Collins, who played the drums, was probably the best looking. He wore his bleached blond hair short and spiky, had sweet green eyes and looked like a jock, body wise I mean.
The other two guys, Matt Wenslow and Ronnie Stone, were tall, skinny with the trademark messy brown hair. They weren't overly attractive but standing on stage, guitars in hand, they were hot. Just ask the tramps in the front row.
Jake paraded around on the stage in torn jeans, white t-shirt and a leather jacket. Leather jacket! Can you believe it? Typical bad boy image if you're like, oh I dunno, James Dean maybe. But they were labeled the bad boy band. Tabloids followed their tour bus like groupies, drooling over every stop they made. They were rumored to have totally trashed an entire floor of some posh hotel in Boise, Idaho. I didn't know they even had posh hotels in Idaho.
Some of their lyrics didn't help this bad boy image either. Don't get me wrong, they didn't throw the f-word around in their songs just because it's America and they have Freedom of Speech. No, they used explicit words tastefully. Well, as tastefully as possible when using explicit words. See, that's one of the reasons I loved this band. Not only was the music superb but the lyrics were remarkably clever. Jake and Nick did all of the writing so of course they were pegged as the tragic, angry young men taking out their miserable childhoods in their music. Did they actually have miserable childhoods? I didn't know. Were they angry? They seemed to be having a blast on stage.
Seth and I screamed, clapped, stomped our feet, etc with the rest of the crowd until the band finished up after a second encore. The house lights came on and blinded us all momentarily. I grabbed Seth's arm so as not to get trampled or molested in the huge mass of people trying to move to the nearest exit. Except most of the sluts who were still in the front row, now joined by other sluts since you no longer needed a ticket to get near the stage, trying to get the stage hands to throw them something, anything, but preferably Jake's boxers.
Seth grabbed my hand and pulled me after him, interrupting my skank watching. "Let's go, Bella. We're partying in our rooms tonight."
"Oh, joy," I muttered sarcastically.
I pushed past some long, greasy haired guy standing in the doorway of our connecting rooms and thanked God once again that I hadn't brought any valuables with me. Seth insisted that I keep the adjoining door open so there'd be more room for all his new friends to party.
"At least no front row hussies to contend with," I muttered darkly as some gorgeous blonde girl groped my brother shamelessly in the corner of his room.
My stomach rumbled loudly and I sighed. Room service didn't sound too promising right now, especially with twenty some extra people in our rooms. I slipped through the people with stealth I didn't know I possessed (or maybe they were all too drunk to notice), found Seth's keys on top of the TV and crept out the door.
I shivered a bit as a breeze blew across my exposed arms. Stupid Seth had all those idiots follow us up to our room and I didn't get to change out of the halter I was wearing. And, I hadn't thought to grab a jacket. Even though it was late August, night time could get pretty chilly. I just shrugged and unlocked my brother's car. I headed down the main strip to where I knew there were a whole slew of fast food joints. The problem was, what should I poison my body with tonight? Some people were addicted to crack, some to booze, me, it's junk food.
Deciding that a Whopper with all it's messy goodness and a large fry were in order, I turned into Burger King and got in line for the drive-thru. Looking through the windows at the huge crowd inside, I realized I made the best choice. I pulled up to the speaker and placed my order, verified it on the screen like a good customer, and pulled forward behind the next car so I could pay. I kept the window down since, you know, I'd have to roll it back down again anyway and I didn't want to burn out the power window motor thing. I mean, if that's possible. I wasn't sure. Anyway, I left the window open and leaned over to play with the radio. I turned it down low while glaring at the car two ahead of me waiting at the window. Obviously, he must have ordered a Whopper, no ketchup, no mustard, no onions, no lettuce, add 2 and a half slices of cheese. See where I'm going here? He orders a 'special' item therefore disrupting the whole fast-food-drive-thru natural balance.
I huffed in impatience and leaned over once again to play with the radio when a loud bang startled me. I looked up to see a guy dressed in dark jeans, dark hoodie with the hood pulled over a baseball cap run out of the back door of the Burger King. He sprinted past the dumpster, looking over his shoulder, and ran up to my car. MY CAR! The first ever Burger King burglar is wanting to use MY CAR (ok so it's actually Seth's car) as his escape vehicle? Before I could hit the power lock button, briefly wondering why the doors weren't already locked, the burglar raced around the hood of my car, opened the passenger side door and jumped in.
"Drive," he ordered, panting for breath. "Damnit woman, DRIVE!"
I glared at him. "I didn't get my food yet."
He growled impatiently. I mean, actually GROWLED. What the hell? And then I heard before I saw a line of girls rushing around to the back of the restaurant, desperately scanning the vicinity for signs of…..something.
"Please," my burglar-turned-carjacker pleaded. "Get me out of here and I'll buy you whatever the hell you want."
"What did you do in there," I asked, not really bothered by the desperation in his voice.
He slouched down in the seat. "Get me out of here before they see me!"
"But if you're a burglar, I'll get a reward for turning you in," I reasoned, not really grasping the entire ridiculous situation.
He sighed and by the sound of that sigh, I knew he was nearing the end of his rope. Seth used that same sigh on me all the time. He pulled down the hood and removed his baseball cap. I took one look at him, two at the scene in the Burger King drive thru line, and punched the gas pedal as hard as I could.
My burglar/carjacker sank back in relief. "Thanks."
I stared in shock at the road in front of me, my tired, hungry brain not quite functioning properly and I could only think of one thing to say.
"You owe me a Whopper."