Bonus Track

"Come on, Jeanine, it's almost on!" April leaned towards the television and turned the volume up a little louder than necessary, snuggling down into the blanket that she had wrapped around her shoulders. She shifted when her friend, Jeanine, came skidding to a stop by the edge of the couch; some of the popcorn fell loose of the bowl that was almost toppled sideways in Jeanine's hands.

"I love this song so much!" Jeanine exclaimed, claiming a seat next to April on the couch and snagging the loose end of the blanket so that they could share it. She placed the popcorn bowl down between them and dug in, throwing a handful into her mouth. "Do you think they'll admit that they're dating?"

"Shhh!" April made the motion with her fingers and the shushing sound with her lips as the opening credits for the show came on, and she pushed the volume up even louder.

"Turn it down!" She could hear her older brother yelling from some other part of the house, but she ignored him completely, eyes glued to the screen as music began to play and clips of video footage were shown.

Jeanine and April glanced at each other, eyes gleaming, and both squealed, as the first shots of the band were revealed.

"Oh my God. Bone is so hot I want to rip his face off and stitch it to my face!" Jeanine yelled excitedly, shoving another hand full of popcorn into her mouth.

April giggled and curled her lips up in surprise. "You are such a freak! Oh my God." But both girls quieted down as the interviewer started speaking.

"I'm sitting here with The Mixed Bad," he nodded towards the group sitting across from him on the long sofa of the set, and smiled. "Jeremy, Bone, Pace, DC, and Care. What's up, guys."

April and Jeanine sighed in unison as every member was introduced and the camera swung between their faces.

"First, let me ask: how's the tour going?" The interviewer continued.

"Awesome. I mean, I really don't think we can even believe that we're really here. Headlining our first tour. It's so surreal." Pace, the drummer, offered a tight smile as she answered the question, her elbow tickling into Bone, the bass guitarist, as she spoke.

"Almost three years ago, we were playing in DC's basement and trying to ween Care of her stage-fright. So, yeah, it's surreal." Bone chuckled, a deep and throaty sound that made both girls squirm where they were sitting and glance at each other conspiratorially.

"With your voice, I honestly can't believe you're shy," the interviewer laughed, directing his comment towards Care—the lead singer—and both girls scoffed at his statement.

"God, it's like Basic didn't do even a little bit of research about the band before he interviewed them. I'm so sick of his show sometimes." April rolled her eyes. "Everybody knows Care Moore is an introvert. She doesn't even talk during the interviews. What an idiot."

"Oh my God, did you see that clip of them on Note Dive where Care turns so red that she looks like a strawberry?" Jeanine giggled, burrowing into the blanket as their eyes locked back onto the tv screen to listen in again.

April groaned. "Ugh. I think Care said something. I'm gonna have to Youtube this later to catch it."

"But look how close she and DC are sitting though," Jeanine piped in, unconcerned. "I mean, their arms are practically making out. And is his pinky on top of her thumb?!"

April groaned again, and squinted at the television. "It totally is!"

"We've got the new music video for your single, Thee, and we're ready to do a world premiere. Are you guys excited?" Basic pumped, and both girls jumped in their seats as if he could see them. "All right. Here it is."

And then the screen cut away to the music video and April jumped up from the couch to go sit directly in front of the tv. A second later, Jeanine had moved the popcorn bowl and joined her.

The single was a love song, the first for The Mixed Bad since their band's debut, and the video consisted of random couples in black and white scenes as the pop-rock music played in the background. None of the couples' faces were shown, leaving the viewer to wonder who they were even seeing, which prompted April and Jeanine to launch into a heated debate about whether Care and DC took a role as any of the couples.

"But that was totally DC's tattoo in that one part!" April screamed, all excitement, her face flushed with joy. "I'm going to have to watch it on YouTube, like, a million times!"

"There is, like, no way Care would let him feel her up in a music video." Jeanine refuted. "It might be him, but it's definitely not her."

April scoffed. "It's not someone else. Have you seen the way he looks at her?"

"I know…" Which seemed to take the sails out of Jeanine's argument. She settled with, "But still." Then turned her attention back to the screen.

"So tell me about the album," Basic commanded. "I noticed the song is titled Thee, but the album is titled The with only one 'e'."

"That's really Bone's fault," Jeremy answered, which caused both girls to sigh in unison as they listened and watched. "We had a pretty heavy debate about 'Thee' with the extra 'e' or not." Jeremy shrugged. "At the time that we started writing the songs for the album, Bone had been deep into The O.C., and putting 'the' in front of everything he talked about."

Pace groaned and elbowed Bone again before dropping her head against his shoulder with a smile. "Yeah. So, you'll notice every song on the album starts with 'The'… The Meaning, The Shark, The Nightmare, The Mask…" She twirled her finger, indicating a continuation motion.

Basic laughed, as if in shared camaraderie, and nodded his head. "Got it. So tell me about this single, then. Tell me about Thee."

"Well first it was called 'Anchors' and then, for a little while, I think 'Weight Management'?" DC piped up. April and Jeanine both squealed again, their eyes stuck on the lead guitarist as he spoke. "I kept trying to find the right lyrics for it." He shrugged. "Nothing really fit what I was trying to say, not for a long time. There was just one line that never changed: 'I looked at anchors like handcuffs to port, but your hand in my hand is just gravity at work.' Care said she liked that line the best."

"She's totally blushing," Jeanine squeaked, pointing at the tv. "Look at her!"

April sighed. "They're definitely doing it."

Jeanine sighed back. "Definitely."

Author's Note: Well, that's all she wrote! I stayed up late tonight just to re-read/edit these last few chapters for you guys, so I hope I didn't miss anything too awful and glaringly obvious. I sincerely want to thank any and every one who came back to see this to the end with me. I appreciate you so, so much. Hopefully, I did it some justice. And a special thank you to CupcakeLoony for the song/artist rec, that's a pretty awesome idea of Care's voice. Honestly, her voice has changed quite a few times for me over the years so I really couldn't even tell you what I imagine she sounds like anymore. But I did enjoy that song, and I could see that. Thanks! Also know that I read each and every one of you guys' reviews (I always have) and they usually make my day, no matter what they say. So thank you for that. I'm sort of sad to put this one to rest - but after all these years! I'm ready.

Thank you guys again for journeying with me.