"Alex, get up! You've tried every excuse in the book. You're going to school!" I roll my eyes and hit the "on" button on the top of my stereo it drown out any further orders, and roll out of bed. I tap my foot to the beat of Dashboard Confessional, my all time favourite band, as I toss my outfit for the day on my bed. After I'm dressed and my hair is straightened, I drop my iPod into my jacket pocket and stomp downstairs; making as much noise as I possibly can in the process.
"Damn it Alex." Mom snarls. "I just got your sister back to sleep." I flash her a bright grin and reach for my lunch on lying on the counter. "And would it kill you to leave the fishnet out of your wardrobe for one week?"
"It may." I tell her cheekily. "See you after school." I wave and jet out the door, starting my daily walk to the local high school.
I slip my earphones in as I enter the ugly brick building, successfully drowning out any annoying noise. I wave to several people I've met in the past four months in the hallway on my way to first block. I take my assigned seat in the lab table farthest back in the room, moving my choppily cut hair to block my electric blue ear buds.
I don't bother looking up from my notebook when I feel someone sit down next to me, already knowing my silent lab partner, Erik has arrived. He'd been my partner for the past week, only showing his existence by passing lab sheets to me for my copying pleasure. Since he's here, I know my music time is over, so I push my iPod back into my pocket.
"Morning Erik." Unsurprisingly, it's not him who speaks.
"Don't bother Alex. He's such a creep." A girl named Sabrina tells me. The "creep" in question just shrugs off his jacket, obviously used to this treatment. "And what the hell is a Dashboard Confessional?" pleased with herself, Sabrina faces forward, leaving me to stare freely at Eriks' shirt. As I'd expected, the band is sporting the bands name, and it's even signed by the band.
"Is there a reason you're staring at me?" the question evokes three thoughts in this order: What the fuck! Erik spoke! And why am I staring?
"I just like that band is all." I cough nervously and advert my gaze. Neither of us say a word during the remainder of the period, and at the bell we gather our respective supplies and leave.
At lunch, I wander around the closed campus, and stumble on Erik, sitting in a hidden alcove. He seems to be listening to something judging by his fingers drumming on his bent knees. I stand and watch him, toying with my elbow length, fishnet arm warmers until the lunch bell rings, then slink away from my shadowy hiding place.
The following week, on Monday, I trudge into chem, mouthing the words to Screaming Infidelities and plop down on one of the gray metal barstools. When Erik shows up, I ignore him until he taps me on the shoulder. I turn to him, expecting a snide comment, but instead he flashes me a pair of concert tickets. My eyes widen, seeing the pieces of paper giving access to a Dashboard Confessional concert. He sticks them in his pocket and withdraws a pair of plastic covered VIP backstage passes. By this point I'm practically drooling but use every ounce of self-control not to rip the items from his hands.
Fifteen minutes into class, a piece of paper, surprisingly not a lab sheet, is slid over to me, and I glare at the note. "Why do you always wear fishnet?" he wrote. I jot down my answer with a gel pen.
"It's a wardrobe kink of mine." I slide the paper back on top of his book.
"Love to hear more. Find me at lunch." I crumple the paper in my fist and shove the wad in my jacket pocket.
During lunch I buy a hoagie and a pop from the snack line and casually stroll over to the alcove where I assume Erik will be sitting. Sure enough, the stoic teen is sitting in a perfect "Emo corner" pose, and doesn't move when I sit next to him. I rip my sandwich in half, offering him one end, smirking when he accepts it before tearing into my half.
"Fishnets eh?" I nod, licking my mustard smeared fingertips.
"Yup, I may have a slight kink for them. That's what my mom says anyway."
"Sadly, I understand completely. Can I have some of that?" he gestures at my MTN Dew with a sleeve covered hand. I pass him the half empty bottle.
"Want to tell me how you managed to get backstage passes and tickets to the sold out Dashboard concert."
"My uncle knows a guy," he shrugs. "Now I want to know why you're willing to talk to school outcast."
"Two reasons. You're the only other person here who knows who Dashboard is, and you understand the elusive fishnet kink."
"So you like me because I'm a pervert who has an odd music choice?"
"In a sense, yes." I begin to flick pebbles at the opposing wall. "Does that bother you?'
"Naw, I'm okay with it. Does that hint that you'd adore going to the concert with me?"
"Hell yes!" I smile. "When is it?"
"This Saturday." He says, stiffening when I hug him. "Personal space." He snarls and I back away.
Thank you so much!"
"No, thank you. Now my uncle won't be trying to set me up with someone since I already have a date." I blush crimson at the word "date". We sit and discuss soft rock bands until end bell, at which point we have to separate.
"Mom!" guess what?" I yell that afternoon.
"What Alex?" mom sighs. I find her in the kitchen feeding Elaine some green goop.
"I was asked out!" I make a funny face at my two year old sister, making her giggle.
"That's wonderful. When?"
"Oh..." her smile falls. "Alex, you can't go. Your father and I are going out."
"Mom!" I cry. "Erik is hot and it's a Dashboard Confessional concert. Please mom!"
"Alex, you have to watch Elaine. I'm sorry."
"What if I find someone to replace me?" I try as a last ditch effort.
"Very well Alex. I agree if you find a reliable person by Friday." She hums.
By lunch the next day, I've exhausted all my chances at finding a babysitter. "I can't go with you Saturday." I tell him as I slide down the wall next to him.
"Why not?" he watches me through half-lidded eyes as I toy with my fishnet, waiting for an answer.
"I have to babysit my sister since I can't find someone to do it for me." I take off one arm warmer ands tie it around my wrist.
"Oh..." he falls silent, thinking for a moment. "Do you have any extra copies of a Dashboard CD lying around?"
"Of course." I scoff. "My family never remembers what CD's a have. Why?"
"I can get the kid of my uncle's boss to sit for an autograph CD. It may also make up for the loss of the concert ticket."
"Okay, set it up. I'll bring an extra copy of Swiss Army Romance." I agree. "I can't wait till Saturday!"
"This is A.J.'s cell. I'll be home by midnight." I hand my parents a scrap of paper and start off to the car waiting for me in the street.
"You have everything?" Erik asks. I show him the CD and nod.
"So ready." He drives away from my house and cranks up the radio once we're down the block. I hum quietly to the songs playing, nodding my head to the pulsing drumbeats. Meanwhile, Erik is head banging wildly, screaming the lyrics in a terrible off-key soprano, and driving at seventy miles per hour in order to get us to the concert early enough to meet the band.
We park a couple blocks away from the arena, and walk to the band entrance, gaining ability by flashing our VIP passes. "I'm so excited." I squeak "I'm getting to meet Dashboard Confessional!" Erik lays a hand on my arm.
"Dude, chill. I doubt the band will appreciate fangirling." He wraps his hand around mine as we're led down a hall.
We get to meet Chris, John Scott, and Mike, and they're more then happy to sign my shirt and the CD for A.J. Erik and I get to stay and hang out with the band up until thirteen minutes before the concert begins, at which time we take our places in the mosh pit. Several minutes before the show starts, the arena is packed, and more people are shoving their way in.
The cheering is so loud when the band starts, that I can't even hear the beginning of the first set. The noise would have usually bothered me had I not been screaming and jumping along with the rest of the crowd. The cheers die down as they get further into the song and Erik and I start singing the lyrics with most of the mosh.
During the last song, "Hands Down", Erik surprises me by pressing his lips to mine. After the shock fades, I kiss back, allowing his tongue to explore my mouth. We stood making out until the concert ends and we shove through the throngs of people and make it to Erik's car. He stops off at McDonald's and we eat Big Mac's at one of the formatica tables
"You never did tell me the kink factor you understood about fishnet arm warmers." I say nonchalantly.
"What's not kinky about them? You can use them as bondage gear, sex toys..." he keeps the list going as we dump our trays and go back out to the car.
"You really do understand, don't you?" I giggle. He parks in front of my house and we engage in one more make out session before I go inside, hand A.J. the CD, and send her out so Erik can take her home. I watch the taillights of his car disappear around the corner before crawling into my bed. Right before I drifted off to sleep, I have the urge to sing to no one.
"Hands down this is the best day I can ever remember, always remember..." I trail off and close my eyes, falling asleep still feeling Eriks' lips on my own.