+Rock 'n' Roll ruined my Life+
Chapter 1: The Bet
The sound my phone made, alerting me that I had received a text splintered the blissful silence around me. I rolled lazily in bed, yawning my head off. Who the hell would have texted me at this hour in the morning! My alarm hadn't even went off yet! Grumbling under my breath, I reached over to my bedside table and searched for my phone and my pair of glasses. I put on the thick framed glasses and barely seeing what I was doing, I opened the text.
It was a text from Jade, my best friend. Even in my drowsy, sleepy state I couldn't help but feel white hot anger for that loser. I never liked him, I knew there was something wrong with that guy. First of all he was a player and I believed he cheated constantly on her while they were still together. Secondly, Jade was the most beautiful girl in school. Everybody wanted to be her friend, and when it came to guys every single one of them wished she could be their girlfriend. She had platinum blond wavy hair and piercing blue eyes. Next to her I was plain with my dark chocolate coloured hair and glasses which completely hid my nice sky blue eyes. I wondered everyday why she hung out with me in the first place. Biting my lip to stop myself from complaining against the cold which instantly attacked my delicate skin I sat upright and abandoned the warm haven which were my sheets. I put my feet on the carpeted ground and took my first step, but of course I hadn't noticed the amplifier wire still attached to my guitar. I tripped on the wire and made my baby fall off it's stand. I was too preoccupied with saving my baby, so I was quick enough to save her, but I couldn't say the same for my face. I groaned in pain as my chin hit the floor. At least the carpet took most of the fall yet it still hurt.
"Shit!" I hissed as I steadied my guitar and rubbed my throbbing chin. Once again, my phone rang. I picked it up.
"Alex! Where the hell are you! We have homeroom in ten minutes." Jade's voice said through the phone.
"Oh Jade, I'm sorry about Nate. I was about to text you but I just woke up." I said guiltily as I ran downstairs to start the espresso machine. I seriously needed the caffeine today.
"Don't worry. I'm over him especially now that I found out how many times he cheated on me. He's yesterday's news. I've kicked him to the curb to start a fresh page. No need to feel sad for such a d0bag. More importantly were you up all night playing again?" Jade said knowingly. It was just like me to do something like that.
"You know, I've known you for four years yet I only heard you play twice, and it was because I sneaked up on you on my way to your room. You're really good, you should be in a band." she said, probably for the billionth time or so since I met her. You see, I have a severe phobia of crowds. I hate it when people stare at me, judge me, and believed me I've been judged and humiliated a lot in my life. I just freeze as somebody tied me tightly without any chance of escape. Music was my only escape and so I promised myself I'd never ever perform for anybody if their intention is to judge me.
"Now's not the time, Jade." I said as I held the phone between my cheek and shoulder and tried to put on my jeans. "Fine. But hurry up. I can't spend my b-day without my BFF in the whole wide world, can I?" I chuckled.
"No you cannot. Now I must really go." We bid our goodbyes and hung up. I brushed my hair and my teeth in three minutes and twisted my hair in a bun. Then I forgot that I hadn't changed my top and was still in my soft cotton shirt. I unbuttoned it and put on a fitted black shirt and a dark blue baggy cardigan. I grabbed my bad and sung it over my shoulder and literally ran to my car. Thankfully it was only a five minute ride to my school at a normal speed limit. So I drove like a maniac over five miles per hour over the speed limit.
I arrived just as the janitor was about to close the doors. I give him my best pleading look and thankfully he opened the doors so that I could slip in just in time. One minute till the bell rang and I was screwed. I all but ran through the corridors pleading that I'd make it. I'd never even gotten a tardy and I didn't want to start any time soon. I made it in class just as the bell rang, breathless but at least in time. Our Spanish teacher, Mrs. Gonzales, who probably regretted getting up in the morning everyday glared at me so I instantly lowered my gaze.
I slipped in my seat next to the window and next to Jade who gave me an impresses look.
Homeroom passed swiftly, but unfortunately classes dragged on forever. I thought I was going to get mummified by the time it was lunch time.
Jade grabbed me by the arm and rushed me to the cafeteria. People shouted "Happy Birthday!" constantly from every given direction and she responded with many heartfelt "Thank you"s. People ignored me as usual so I had absolutely nothing to complain about. Once we arrived we settled at our usual table.
"So, today I turned eighteen. Where are we going to celebrate?" she asked me. I grinned at her. "Do you remember telling me you wanted to go to the sold-out Chasing Shadow's concert tonight?" I hinted at her. Her smile grew and stretched from ear to ear.
"Not only did I do it but I got you two backstage passes too! You'll be able to talk the band." I said, knowing how much she loved that band.
"Ohmigod! Ohmigod! Ohmigod! Alex, I can't believe it! You're the best friend anyone could ever wish for! How the hell did you manage to get your hands on those! They must have cost a fortune!" she said. I grimaced, remembering the way I had managed to get the tickets.
"Do you remember my cousin Brandon?" I asked her. She nodded so I continued. "Brandon was a close friend of Seth, Zach and Ian, the members of Chasing Shadows before they became famous. He made me do horrible, demeaning things to get those tickets." I shuddered.
"Then what did he make you do?" she asked with wide eyes. "Well, Brandon has been a self-confessed player since high school and collage didn't change that. It only made it worse. He's trying to come up with new ways how to impress girls so he made me bake him heart shaped cookies, write him a love letter and pack everything including a bra in a box and send it to him. And before you start shouting incest, he's planning to tell this girl I'm his girlfriend and open the box in front of her and then two weeks from today I have to send him a break up letter so that she'll see him acting demoralized and he'll show her the letter, so she'll pity him and chances are he gets laid." I said with disapproving disgust. I wasn't proud to say I was part of the plot but I really wanted to get Jade the tickets. She really loved the band, or rather the band members. They had all the girls in the country putty at their feet right now. And who wouldn't be? They were possibly the cutest guys in the country.
"Wow. That's what I call an evil genius." Jade stated and I totally agreed with her. If Brandon focused on his studies half as much as he focused on his schemes to woo girls I bet he'd become the 21st century Einstein.
"So, who are you taking with you?" I asked her.
"You, silly!" she said to me. I stared wide eyed at her. "No way, you know crowded places are not my scene, Jade."
"Oh come on! You can't let me go to a concert alone Alex!"
"You can take Selene or maybe even one of the guys." I suggested. She shook her head. "Aw! But I wanted to go with my best friend. You love rock bands, Alex. I even heard you hum a Chasing Shadows song before. Please! You can't say no to me on my birthday right?" she gave me the puppy dog eyes.
I groaned at her. "Fine." she cheered. "Beware Jade. Brandon also used that excuse to get me to do it." I said solemnly. She laughed with me as she denied it. Soon her other friends joined us and I quieted down. Lunched passed too and so did the rest of classes. It was Friday night so I seriously wasn't in the mood to do anything other than watch a Harry Potter marathon and go to bed late at night and wake up at noon on Saturday but since I promised I couldn't back down. I bid my adieu to Jade and left. I didn't feel in the mood to cook anything so I stopped at the McDonald's drive through. I ordered and headed home, occasionally eating a fry as I drove. Just as I was about to park in our driveway my phone started ringing. I picked up my bag and my meal and answered the phone, it was Brandon video chatting with me on Skype. I settled on the kitchen table as I answered.
"Yo yo yo, what up, cuz?" he asked me using a very fake gangster accent.
"Not much." I answered honestly as I munched happily on my chips.
"Really? How did your friend and her boyfriend take it when you gave them the tickets?" he asked me.
"Oh, little change of plans. Jade broke up with her loser ex and forced me to go with her." He frowned. "Forced? Do you know how many girls would kill to take your place?"
"Yeah, but I don't like crowds." I answered and I mindlessly chewed on my burger.
"You never got over-" I cut him off sharply. "Don't mention that."
"Never even thought of it. You know, Alex, sometimes I hate myself for not trying to help you with this problem of yours. You're crazy talented and yet you hide in that house of yours."
"What I do is my business." I snapped. "Sorry, I'm a little snappy."
"No problem, I understand you girls get that time of the month. But anyways it's actually going to be really cool seeing you there. I bet you've never been to a real after party. They guys are going to love this. Innocent minds to corrupt. I'll warn you they're a hell load lot of fun but they're shameless flirts."He was smirking big time, or maybe that was just his normal expression, he used it so often it was hard to tell. I had grown used to Brandon's sense of humour or else I'd probably need to hire someone to slap him when I wasn't around to do so.
"Wow, Brandon, as my cousin one would think you'd act protective over me but no, you want to corrupt me. What kind of cousin are you?"
"The kind you'll thank when he teaches you how to live and have fun." He smiled at me and I made a certain gesture involving my middle finger. I heard he conductor's voice say something intelligible from across the line.
"Hey, got to go, we've arrived, I'll have to find a hotel and contact the guys." He wondered out loud.
"Hey, if you want you can stay with me. Mum and Dad are working abroad again so I'll have the house to myself." I noticed a bitter tone in my voice. I was well aware that what my parents called 'working' it really meant going back to their lovers. The flame between them had long been blown out, so I being the only remainder of their old love for each other was sometimes treted as a nuisance. Sure, I had pretty much the whole house to myself, I had the opportunity to dress up in the best clothes designed by the best designers in the world, but what could all that mean when I had no one to share it with. Of course there was Jade but other than her and unfortunately enough, Brandon I didn't really open up.
"Really?" he asked me as if I was his savior. I nodded. "I love you, cuz!"
"You too, honey bee." I said and winked at him. He stared a me as if I had gone mental. "Honey bee?"
"Goodbye Brandon." and with that I cut the line. Two hours later I heard a knock on the door. I opened it, expecting to find Jade, when instead Brandon and three guys were at my door. Not just any three random guys, they were the famous Chasing Shadows.
I was a little taken a back. Not many open their front doors one fine day and find the three guys everybody has a crush on. "Alex, baby didn't anyone each you not to open the door before demanding who is it? What if I had been a crazy rapist or something." Brandon asked, humour colouring his voice.
"I was expecting Jade. And call me crazy but if it was a crazy rapist or something and I asked who is it, I don't think he'd say, "I'm a rapist, honey open up."
"Touche. Well, can we come in?" he asked me.
"Well, if you guys aren't crazy rapists or something then sure, be my guests," I said as I stepped away from the door.
"So, Brandon, aren't you going to introduce us?" Seth, the leading singer and guitarist said in an almost musical voice. His eyes bore into mine, making it simply impossible for me to look away. His eyes were a beautiful sapphire blue and he had jet black hair that constantly fell in his eyes. He was tall, no, compared to me he was a giant.
"Guys, this is Alexis, she's my cousin and she plays the guitar really well actually." I wanted to kill Brandon. How could he tell them that! Barely no one knew and suddenly these guys come and he tells them everything. I took back what I said earlier. Brandon wasn't just an an evil genius, he was a fat-mouthed asshole.
"Oh really?" Seth said with a suggestive voice. Yet I couldn't pick up at what he was hinting at.
"That's cool! Brandon you never told us your cousin was a guitarist." Zack, the bassist said. Zack with his brown hair with blond highlights and milk chocolate eyes was probably the cutest, and had chubby cheeks that just begged to be pinched.
"So, are you in a band?" Ian the drummer asked me. Ian was the eldest of the three and had ah usky voice. He was nineteen just like Brandon. He had very light brown hair, almost sandy and golden eyes.
"Unm... no I only play for myself." I rambled. "Well that's no fun. You must show us what you can do! I hope you're better than Brandon because he's a disaster when it comes to music." Zack teased him. Brandon playfully punched Zach in the arm.
"At least I could get a girl. Before you were famous you couldn't even ask one out." Brandon retorted.
"Oh please! As if you did any better than I did." Zach defended himself.
"Brandon if you consider tricking girls into your web as a valid as asking a girl out then I'm ashamed to say we share DNA." I said as I lead them to the kitchen.
"Brandon I have a feeling that I'm really going to like your cousin. I'm Zach." he said as he extended his hand to me.
"Alexis." I answered shyly and shook his hand.
"Nice to meet you, Alexis." He bowed down and kissed my hand softly. I didn't know if I felt more uncomfortable than flattered. All I know is that I just stood there awkwardly.
"You're already trying to flirt with her?" Ian interjected. Thanks to him Zach stopped kissing my hand. "I'm Ian."
"Alexis." I said and smiled a tense smile at him. He flashed me back a brilliant grin which showed his perfectly straight white teeth. Somebody spent a lot of time at the dentist's, alright.
I expected Seth to make his move to introduce himself but he never did. When Zach pointed it out, all he said was, "It would be completely pointless. She already knows who I am." he answered. How rude! I may not like attention but I can't stand air heads.
"And why would I know who you guys are?" I asked him, putting up the best innocent and clueless facade I could put up. All three guys stopped dead on their tracks while Brandon gave me a knowing smirk that didn't betray anything. He and I used to make a pretty awesome team when it came to fooling people. Just by looking at each other we would pass an invisible signal to each other. We used to worry our parents that we'd turn into evil villains or something. But as we grew older, we both took different paths. So seeing that look in his eye brought a sense of long lost nostalgia of my childhood.
"You're kidding, right?" Ian asked me with a bewildered look in his eyes.
"Why would I kid about that?" I asked him sounding hundred percent sincere.
"You must have been living under a rock for the past six months then. Haven't you heard of Chasing Shadows?" Seth asked me surprise written all over his perfect chiseled features.
"Maybe, I'm not sure." I said and bit my thumb to appear deep in thought.
"Brandon I think your cousin was in a coma for the last few months." Zach whispered. Brandon chuckled. "Face it guys, you're clearly not that big of a deal as you thought you were." They all frowned at that. I couldn't take it anymore. I almost burst out laughing at their expressions.
"That or maybe I'm just messing with you. Of course I know who you are. You're actually a pretty good band."
"Pretty good? That's all we get?" Zach asked me. How could I disappoint such a cute face?
"Actually I know quite a few of your songs." I answered. He grinned a boyish grin at me.
"And I bet she can play some of them too." Brandon butted in. I gave him my best death glare. "Really? Why don't you show us?" Seth all but outright challenge me. I wanted to prove to him that I could play as good as he could but I couldn't. I would never be able to play in front of him.
"I already said I don't play in front of people. And anyway why the hell are you guys here, anyway?" I asked them.
"Well, Brandon here needed a ride and we still have quite a few hours before we have to go back to rehearse." Ian answered.
"So you're going to spend your time here?" I asked them bluntly.
"Yeah, we want to catch up with Brandon and perhaps his lovely cousin." he said, wagging his eyebrows at the last part. "It's been almost two months seems we've seen him. We've been on tour for quite some time. Why? Do you want us to go?" Zach asked me. "You can stay as long as you want for all I care. Brandon, you can take the guest room in front of my room. Don't rack anything or you clean it up. I have to start doing some homework since Jade has ruined my time table for the weekend. "You weren't kidding? You're really coming to the concert?" Brandon asked me. I nodded unenthusiastically.
"You don't sound so happy about it." Ian stated grimly. "Don't take it personally. She hates crowds and anything involving fun. You can imagine, her parents have been away for three weeks and she's never even thrown a party." Brandon explained to the shocked boys. He suddenly got a very alarming expression. An expression which only promised a hell load of chaos, I knew from the past
"Oh, no. You are sonot inviting sweaty, unreasonable collage students to get drunk and grind in my living room and have coitus in every possible room in the house." I said to them, just as they were about to start huddling up to plan.
"Coitus? Really? You're seventeen, Alexis, you're too young to become menopausal." Brandon sold me wittily which made the three rockers chuckle. "Just loosen up. You get all pretty and leave everything to us." Ian told me. I sighed. I had clearly made a mistake inviting Brandon over.
"Hey guys, I'm going to get my stuff up in my room. Be right back." Brandon said. I supposed the guys followed him so I just went in the kitchen and threw out the remains of my meal. I noticed my little espresso cup in the sink so I removed my cardigan and rolled up my sleeves. I hear somebody wolf whistle so I snapped my head in the direction it came from. "Damn! Nice rack! Why would you bother hiding yourself beneath that god awful cardigan. It's at least two sizes bigger than it should be." Seth said. I glared at him. "Maybe to stop pervs like you from looking at me." I said as I rinsed off the glass and as quickly as possible dried to cup and my hands and put on my cardigan.
"Pity." I hear him mumble as his gaze still lingered on my chest area. A few moments of uncomfortable silence passed as we our gazes locked in a staring contest. I broke away quickly so I could just imagine his victorious smirk spread on his face.
"Make me coffee." he ordered. I stared at him once more. Was this guy for real?
"Do you seriously expect I'd do anything for you with the way you asked me. Ask kinder and maybe I'll rethink about it." I scoffed. The nerve of him! He could have been the president for all I cared, It was wrong to treat people this way.
"I'd love a cup of coffee please , dear hostess if you don't mind." he said, his voice dry with sarcasm.
"Yes, and I'd love to go to sleep tonight in peace and not with loud music blasting the house but we don't always get what we want. You have hands, go do it yourself." I answered, reaching for my back pack to start doing my homework.
"Fine. But I do have to say, Alexis this is the most innovative way any girl has ever tried to impress me. They try to act indifferent but fail miserably, but you... you really seem to be indifferent that I am the lead singer of Chasing Shadows." he said as he went over to the fridge and pulled out a carton of milk.
"Wait, so you really think all of this is an act? You're telling me that you'd rather be treated like a celebrity, with everybody obliging to your every single command than be a normal person?
"I never said that, but I seriously think-" the sound of my guitar echoed throughout the house. "My baby!" I muttered under my breath as quickly ran upstairs leaving Seth alone in the kitchen. He abandoned his craving coffee and followed me. His long legs caught up to mine almost instantly. I ripped open the door to my room and was about to start shouting at Brandon for bringing guests in my room when I saw that that they were checking out a video I had recorded of me playing the guitar. I was a cover of a song of theirs, Break your heart.
"Is this... is this really you?" Ian asked in awe. I nodded shyly and ran up to Brandon. I smacked him upside the head. "Who the hell told you guys that you can go in my room?" Nobody took notice of me.
"Woah, do you realise how good this is? You need to get discouvered Alex. You can't let a talent like yours get wasted." Zach said to me. His face brightened. "I know! Play with us, just one song. I'm sure Ben, our manager would allow that, especially when he hears how good you are. What do you think?"
I shook my head frantically. "NO! No way! I don't do crowds. I don't want to be judged and I don't even want to go to the concert in the first place." I was stubborn. This was not something I could discuss. It was written in stone.
"I told you guys she would never agree. What do you think Seth? You haven't said anything yet?" Brandon said. Everybody looked at the guy in question.
"Well, it's not a bad idea and it's obvious she can play really good. But she's way too timid to be able to perform.
"Am not!" I muttered even though it was totally true. She wouldn't take the challenge."She's much too gutless."
"Seth, don't try to challenge me to do this. I won't fall to the pressure." The four guys looked at me all looking as if their ego was questioned.
"Guys, I bet you we can break her." Ian said determinately.
I scoffed. "You wish."
"Sound's like a challenge to me." Seth said, his eyes never leaving mine. I shivered under his attentive gaze and looked away.
"Alex, get ready cause rock and roll is about to ruin life as you know it." Zach said, sealing the bet. I wished the guys good luck - they obviously didn't know me well enough or they'd know I was unreasonably stubborn – I knew they'd need it.
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