I'm With the Band

Chapter twelve

Ceri's POV

It was strange. After The Date (the name I gave for the thing that Phoenix and I did on Sunday) I was feeling pretty light on my feet.

I was tempted to deny my light-feeted-ness and say that I had one-upped him was why, but I'm not one to lie to myself. I know I'm not anywhere near "loving" him, he intrigues me. I've seen him with so many girls clinging to his every word (I wouldn't be surprised if they were clinging to any of his body parts they could find… dirty thoughts are welcome), but it seems like he's not into the attention like he should be… I don't know.

I just like mysteries. What can you do?

The end of The Date, after exchanging numbers with Dex and her older brother, we – meaning Phoenix and I – headed back to my house in relative silence… except for a few pretty awesome jabs at each other. He walked me to the door and surprisingly only gave me a kiss on my cheek.

A kiss on the cheek. Seriously? All this freakin' sexual tension and he kisses me on my cheek. My cheek… jerk.

Yeah it's been three days since The Date. I'm still on cloud nine. This isn't like me at all. I've actually found myself walking around the house singing. Me. Cerise Wilson, Independent girl extraordinaire, singing?! I can't sing. I seriously can't. I can tell you who is going to be huge in the industry, but I can't sing to save my life. Nope. Can't do it.

Anyways, early Wednesday morning found me in the music room trying to create a song – possibly for Roy G. Biv. I've been waking up early for these past three days, so I've decided to come here to try and push out some good songs for some future star in the making.

I hadn't found the right lyrics for the song yet, but the composition was coming along extremely well. Every so often, after playing a part over and over a few times, a new rewrite of the melody would hit me. I'd go over it a couple more times to make sure it sounded right and then jot it down on my music sheet.

I was completely immersed in my music, that I was startled when I felt a puff of warm air on the side of my neck. I let out a loud shriek and banged my hands on the delicate piano keys that let out the most horrible sound ever made. I then lost my balance and nearly toppled off the back of the piano bench. However, my back didn't meet the cold hard floor like I was suspecting. Instead, I fell onto a wall of living, breathing muscles and laughter.

Three guess on who it is.

"Very graceful, Mia Cara," Phoenix chuckled deeply. I glared half-heartedly up at his beautiful grinning face.

"Yeah, well, I can't always keep eyes on the lookout at the back of my skull," I growled mockingly.

His arms wrapped comfortably around my waist as he leaned over my shoulder to take a peek at what I was working on. Instantly, I slapped my hands over the paper to keep roaming eyes away.

Phoenix scoffed disapprovingly and heavily placed his chin on top of my messy blond head. "C'mon, Mia Cara," he whined pitifully. "I wanna see what you were so caught up on! I had been calling your name over a couple minutes while you were playing and humming away, yet you were completely oblivious."

He pulled slightly away to be able to look at me better with a thoughtful look on his face. "You're pretty good." He told me.

I turned my head slightly to be able to look him in the eye with confusion. "Pretty good at what?" I questioned him curiously.

One of his eyebrows twitched along with one side of his mouth as if he were trying to hold in his laughter. The jerk was actually amused with me! Oh, that little swear word…

"Singing," he said simply before adding, "Singing and playing piano, actually, but mostly singing. You're voice really suits you."

"Are you tone deaf or something?" I blurted with disbelief. "I don't know what you heard, but I can't sing!"

Now, his eyebrow had quirked with poorly veiled amusement at my expense. "You can tell if someone's a superstar by their voice, yet you don't believe that you have something special yourself?" he mused aloud, but he went silent for a couple seconds and, surprisingly, turned serious. "Who told you that you couldn't sing?"

I froze. I had been wondering when my good mood would end and, lo and behold, I felt it slip away from my grasp. Never thought it would be this easy…

I abruptly stood – breaking away from Phoenix's hold – and hurriedly gathered up my things that I had strewn haphazardly around me.

I felt like I was on auto drive, but I was able to notice Phoenix's confused stare. However, I couldn't deal with the questioning gaze and stuttered out a vague excuse and hurried out of the music room. I couldn't fault Phoenix for his questions, but I couldn't answer them – not now at least… maybe I'd never be able to tell him. I couldn't even handle thinking about it right now.

Who told you that you couldn't sing? Who told you that you couldn't sing? Who told you that you couldn't sing? Who told you – NO!

I can't think about that. I can't. I can't go back down that dark lane right now. I don't want to go back to feeling like that. I just can't.

I shakily ran my fingers through my hair as I took long strides to my locker. Stay strong. Stay. Strong. Breath, Ceri. Inhale… exhale… okay… I think I'm good.

"Penny for your thoughts?" Gael's playful voice broke through my thoughts as a heavy arm draped across my shoulders. And I was caught off guard again.

"GAH! What is with you guys and sneaking up on me?!" I cried out angrily as I stopped abruptly in the middle of the almost deserted school hallway.

Gael jerked to a stop along side me and reeled back in shock at my outburst before bursting out laughing – at my expense, naturally. I forgave him anyways. You would too if you saw his adorable, puppy-dog face. It's just not possible to be mad at him. I dare you to try. It's one of the hardest things to do – no joke.

"What's got your panties in a twist this morning?" he teased good-naturedly. I groaned and leaned my head heavily against his broad shoulder.

"Nothing, nothing," I sighed heavily. "I just finally came down from 'cloud nine' is all."

He observed me quietly for a couple seconds. "Phoenix messed up." He stated.

I rubbed my hand tiredly down my face. I was finally beginning to feel tired. I had too many mornings of waking up early and – as you know – I can't function without my sleep. It always seems to catch up to me. I'm actually surprised that it hadn't happened earlier.

"No," I sighed. "He just asked something that freaked me out, is all."

Gael nodded his head in understanding. "Too personal too soon?"

We were finally at my locker and I pulled out from under Gael's arm to be able to open my locker door.

I gave a mirthless chuckle as I wrenched open the locker door. "You could say that," I replied as I began rummaging through my locker. Darn thing was too cluttered for its own good… completely not my fault. I swear.

"It's your mother isn't it?" I whipped around in shock at his dead-on guess, but he plowed on to ward off my angry tirade that he knew would be coming. "You don't have to explain anything to me, Ceri-bear," he amended soothingly. "I understand that there are some things that you need to keep to yourself. Believe me, Ceri," he placed his hands on my shoulders and leaned down so he was eye level with me (darn his tall-ness), "I understand."

I slowly let out a shaky breath that I hadn't known I'd been holding and gave him a weak, yet genuine, smile, before nodding my head.

A bright smile appeared instantly on his face as he pulled me into a big, spine-cracking, bear hug and picked me up off the floor. I let out a strangled laugh and patted him lightly on his back as he finally set me down.

In my ear, he whispered, "If you need to talk, I'm here, okay?"

With a parting grin, Gael strode off down the hallway to his first class, leaving me alone to my thoughts. I was feeling lighter already and was happy for the encouragement.

I gathered my things from my locker and slammed my locker door shut only to reveal the Queen B herself. Hanna if you don't remember. You probably don't since she's very forgettable. And you can tell her I said that. That'll surely put her thong in a painful twist. Heheh… man I can be so mean sometimes.

Anyways, her blond hair was as fake as ever (I could actually see the frayed ends from her bleaching it so many times), her tan was as fake and as blotchy as ever – basically she was as fake as ever. Man I hate her.

The previous feeling I had had before was immediately replaced with indifference at her steely glare. I fully believe that her eyes were fake too… probably contacts.

"May I help you?" I asked her with disinterest. Her glare deepened, but it wasn't intimidating at all. I know what intimidating. I stood in front of my mirror every single day to be able to practice my glare. I have perfected that little bugger over the years and have used it constantly on people who deserved it. This little girl had nothing on me.

"I want you to stay away from them." She demanded in an extremely vague way. I turned fully towards her and leaned my shoulder against my closed locker casually. I then raised my eyebrow in bemusement.

"Okay, Hon. You are going to have to go into more details about these "Them" that you're screeching on about." I commented coolly.

"I want you to stay away from Landon and his friends!" she blurted angrily. I could only blink as she ranted on. "They shouldn't have to stoop down to your pathetic level! You aren't rich like everyone else! You don't deserve to be here! You don't deserve their attention!"

Her face was starting to turn red with her rising temper and, I admit, that it was very amusing. Hanna stepped closer to me and stood to her full height to try and look more intimidating. Unfortunately, she only managed to look constipated. Poor girl and his constipated ways…

"I don't like you," she hissed. I only blinked back at her.

"It's not some secret that you hate me, Hanna," I deadpanned, "But I'm still not going to obey your orders. Get over it already."

"I want you out of my school." She hissed. "If you don't leave by the time winter break comes, I will personally escort you off school property myself. Do not mess with me, Wilson. I am not someone who plays nicely with others. I. Do. Not. Share."

With that, she stormed off in raging hissy fit. I didn't feel threatened by her. I knew that whatever she did to me wouldn't change my mind in the slightest, but I couldn't help but feel that something was going to happen. Whatever it was, it wasn't going to be pretty, but, for now, I wasn't going to worry about it.