Where All The Boys Of Summer Go [fun.fic]

When Anna Duncan and her band, goodlife, sign up for a celebrity band camp, they never expected to even be accepted, let alone be paired up with fun., which both Anna and don’t-ask-don’t-tell guitarist Park Chang are obsessed with. They get on well with their mentor band, and love just might be in the air.

But things go wrong pretty quickly. Both Jack and Nate develop crushes on Anna, Park isn’t sure how to tell Andrew how he feels—until the entire camp somehow finds out about his sexual orientation, and rival band Dakota Lights has a knack for stealing goodlife’s instruments and equipment, especially after bassist Devin Clark gets into a relationship with said band’s lead singer, Casey Snowden. With only a month before the final concert, can goodlife and fun. manage to work past all the drama?

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1. Monday, July 1: Good Life

We brought so much stuff to camp, my dad had to rent a van to fit all of it. There's my guitars (one electric and one electroacoustic), my Vox amp (seriously, that thing is sexy), Park's guitar and amp, Devin's bass and big-ass Fender amp, and Tony's drum kit which is so huge it even has a rack, not to mention all of our luggage, which we each have in separate footlockers. We followed behind in Park's Jetta.

The cabins here are awesome. There's a room for our band, a room for our counselor, a clean, modern bathroom, and a room just for practicing. Dad and Tony have already started to move our instruments into the practice room. I see Devin struggling with his footlocker, so I go over to him. "Need some help?" 

"Sure." He puts it down, gasping. Honestly, he's the weakest person I've ever met.  I grab one of the side handles and he grabs the other. We lift and carry it up the steps into Cabin Six.

"Excited?" I say.

"I'm just surprised we got in." And rightfully so. Out of thousands of bands in America, only eight were selected for this intensive band camp. It'll go for the entire month of July, culminating in a concert open to our families. Popular bands gave up a month of their lives to come mentor us, and if we ever decide to apply to a recording company or music school, this camp will look nice on the application. We're also supposed to do normal camp things such as hiking, swimming, archery, etc., but the main part of camp is working with our mentor band on our music.

Our counselor is lounging on his bed, reading a Playboy. I decide not to point out that it's probably illegal to have that in the presence of minors, even though we're hardly minors. (Everyone in goodlife is seventeen except for me. I'll be seventeen on the 12th.) The counselor is one of those guys who everyone in the universe finds hot and I just can’t figure out why. “What are your names?” he asks, setting down the Playboy.

“Devin Clark,” Devin says.

“Anna Duncan,” I say. We continue into the bunkroom.

Devin points to a bunk bed that’s right next to the window. “I want the bottom,” he says.

“I’ll take the top. Can you help me with my stuff?”

“Sure thing.” We head back to the van. I spot my bright red footlocker under Park’s green one.

“Park!” I yell into the cabin.

“Yeah?” comes the reply.

“Do you want us to bring in your stuff?”

“Sure. I want a top bunk, okay?”

We bring in Park’s footlocker and slide it under the other bunk bed, then we go back for mine, putting it next to Devin’s. “Thanks for the help, bro,” Devin says. (See, I'm so much like one of the guys, they call me “bro.”)

“No problem.” I pat him on the back and fish my bed sheets and duvet out of my trunk. Once the duvet has been tucked under the mattress, Park comes into the room.

I point to the other bunk bed. “That’s yours.”

Tony comes in after him. “You get the bottom bunk,” Park says.”

“Better go get my stuff.” Tony leaves again.

Ten minutes pass, and everyone is just about settled. Playboy comes into the bunkroom. “You guys all settled in?”

We nod our collective heads.

“Kay. My name is Dave, and I will be your counselor. From now until the end of the month, this is how your day will go. Wake up call at seven. Breakfast in the dining hall from 7:30 to 8. You will work with your mentor band until lunch at 12:30. At 1, you will swim for an hour. From 2 to 5, you will do various camp activities. 5 to 6 is Free Time. At 6 is dinner, and after dinner we do night activities, culminating in a campfire at nine. We return to cabins at 9:45 and lights out is at 10. Any questions?”

“Who’s our mentor band?” I ask.

“You’ll find out when they get here any minute now.” Dave looks like he wants to go back to his Playboy. “Any other questions?”

Silence.

“Well, I'm going in here now.” Dave goes back into his room.

Park inches closer to me on his bed. “He’s hot,” he whispers.

I wrinkle my nose. “No.”

“You just haven’t seen the world with the eyes of a gay guy.” He looks up at the ceiling, a fangirl smile on his face. “I wonder what he looks like shirtl-”

I put a hand over his mouth. “ENOUGH.”

“I wonder who our mentor band is,” Devin says from below me.

“With my luck, it’s going to be One Direction,” Tony mutters.

“I don’t think so,” I say. “They know we do alternative rock. They’re not going to put us with British poppies.”

Park is taken aback. “British poppies? Louis is, like, my husband!” He’s serious. And seriously insane.

Suddenly, there’s a knock at the cabin door. “Come in,” Dave says, not looking up from his Playboy. Park’s jaw drops as they walk into the room, and his eyes don’t come off them as they introduce themselves. “We’re fun. and you’re our mentee band,” Nate Ruess says. “What do you call yourselves?”

Park and I are unable to speak, so Devin does it for us. “We’re goodlife. All lowercase. One word. Above me are two of your biggest fans.”

Nate looks at us and nods. I share an excited glance with Park. “What are your names?”

“Devin,” Devin says.

“Tony,” Tony grumbles.

“Park,” Park says, his jaw still slack.

“Anna,” I say, trying not to sound like a fangirl.

“Well.” He claps his hands together. “Let’s hear you play.”

In the practice room, I plug my electric into the amp and place it in my guitar stand for when I’ll have to play a solo later in the song. I could play rhythm guitar, but I'm not coordinated enough to be able to sing and do fancy strum patterns at the same time, so I stick to soloing. It works out well, because Park can’t solo to save his life.

“We’re going to be playing ‘The Brightside’ by We Shot the Moon,” Park announces.

“Never heard of them,” Jack says blankly.

“Of course you haven’t. One, two, three, four.”

 

I'm just fine, I'll be looking on the bright side

(You got me looking)

(You got me looking)

I lost my fear because fear is never living

(You got me looking)

(You got me looking)

All these promises were made

 

Hey I'm living full stride

I will get this right tonight

(Oh oh oh)

Hey there’s movement in me that runs very deep inside

(Oh oh oh)

 

I watch as fun. watches us intently. This is my dream, has been my dream since I first heard “We Are Young” at a school dance.

 

My old man told me life is just beginning

(You got me looking)

(You got me looking)

I climb these stairs but they always leave me empty

(You got me looking)

(You got me looking)

All these promises were made

 

Hey I'm living full stride

I will get this right tonight

(Oh oh oh)

Hey there's movement in me that runs very deep inside

(Oh oh oh)

Hey (hey!) my feet found the beat they dance through the street tonight

(Oh oh oh)

Hey (hey!) there's movement in me that runs very deep inside

 

I'll I'll run to you (ill run to you)

 

When we get to the solo, I pick up my guitar and play. I get so much into it, I barely notice the solo ending.

 

Hey (hey!) I'm living full stride I will get this right tonight

(Oh oh oh)

Hey (hey!) there's movement in me that runs very deep inside

(Oh oh oh)

 

Hey I'm living full stride I will get this right tonight

(The brightside there's always a brightside always the right side)

Hey there's movement in me that runs very deep inside

(My old man said life is beginning life is for living)

 

I'm just fine I'll be looking on the Brightside

 

Park sings the last line, and we’re done.

Jack applauds robustly. “Nice. Very nice. I like the solo.” He winks at me, and I feel a blush creep onto my face.

“Very good,” Nate agrees. “Do you have any original songs?”

“No,” Park admits.

“We can help you with that. You guys have to have some originals if you want to be legit. But for now, we should go eat dinner.”

Park looks at his watch. “It can’t be six already.”

“You’re right,” Andrew says. “It’s 5:54.”

I set my guitar back in its stand and shut off the amp. “All right! I'm hungry!”

Jack stands up. “So am I.”

Dave enters the room, his Playboy tucked under his arm. “You guys ready to eat? I’ll walk you to the dining hall.”

“You’re not allowed to have that,” Andrew says, indicating the Playboy. I knew it.

Dave ignores him. “Ready when you are.”

Two minutes later, we head out the door. I'm walking solo when suddenly I hear footsteps coming up behind me. “Hey, Anna, can I walk with you?” Nate asks.

“Sure thing.” Keep calm and don’t fangirl.

“So where’d you get the name goodlife?”

“From the OneRepublic song. That song’s my life motto, especially the second verse.”

Nate nods. “Do you cover that song?”

“Yeah. Park lets me sing the second verse and the ending, since I live by those words.” I pause. “We thought for sure we would get put with OneRepublic, since our music is similar to theirs.”

“Not really. Yours is less electronic.” A few seconds pass before he says, “We liked your audition video. ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ sounds great as a rock song.”

I grin. “Thanks. We also do a rock cover of ‘22.’”

“I’d like to hear that. Maybe tomorrow. We’re doing Getting To Know Everyone activities.”

“Tomorrow?”

“No, after dinner. Did I forget to say that? My bad.” He laughs nervously.

We enter the dining hall. There are little round tables with signs on them. I find the one that says “goodlife” and point everyone over to the table.

I stop Dave. “Where’s the restroom?”

He points to a corner where, sure enough, there are two doors, one marked with a girl and one with a boy. “Over there.”

I lock myself in a stall, do my business, and get our. I stop after washing my hands to clean my glasses and fix the plain black barrette in my hair. This is when a girl comes in.

“Hey,” she says, washing her hands at the sink next to me.

“Hi,” I say, not taking my eyes off the mirror.

“Like your glasses. Black looks good on gingers.”

“Thanks.”

“My name’s Casey, by the way. Casey Snowden.”

“Anna Duncan.” I clip the barrette shut and lean against the sink, looking at Casey.

“What band are you from?”

“goodlife. You?”

“You’re the people working with fun., aren’t you?”

I nod.

“I'm from Dakota Lights, by the way. Lead singer and keyboardist.”

“I'm a lead singer too. I also do solo guitar. Who are you working with?”

“OneRepublic. It’s pretty cool so far. Say, where’d you get the name goodlife from?”

“The OneRepublic song. We were almost certain we’d get put with them. Where’d you get Dakota Lights from? Do you live in North or South Dakota?”

“No, I live in New York. I just thought it sounded cool.” She laughs.

“City or state?”

“Technically both.” She pauses and shrugs. “City.”

My eyebrows go up. “Really? What borough?”

“Staten Island. Why?”

“That’s so creepy. I'm from Staten Island too.”

“That is creepy. Hey, should we go eat now?”

I put my glasses back on. “Good idea.” I step in front of Casey and push the door open.

As I walk back to my table with Casey, I notice her staring at my table. More specifically, staring at Devin. “He’s cute,” she says. She sounds like she really means it.

“He is, right? We’re probably the only two people in the universe who think that. But he’s my bestie, I could never date him.”

“So I can have him?” She grins.

“Sure. He’s all yours.”

“I’ll see you after dinner, then?”

“Yeah.”

She waves and goes to the table marked “Dakota Lights.”

*               *                *

“You guys have to perform something at the Getting To Know Everyone activities,” Jack explains. “I would suggest that you did the song you performed for us. It’s short, and you performed it very well.” He holds the door open. “Go in and get your instruments. Never mind the amps and the drum kit, they’ll have ones you can use there.”

I go inside and stuff my electric and its cable into my guitar bag, then go back outside to wait for the others.

Ten minutes later, I'm sitting in an outdoor amphitheater with my guitar bag propped up against the stage, Devin on my left, and NATE RUESS on my right. The camp director Jenn Brown ascends the stage. “We’ll be doing this performance in order of cabins. This means our first performers will be Dakota Lights of cabin one.”

Once they’re on stage, Casey takes the keyboard from its position near the drum kit and moves it to center stage, lowering the mic so she can sit down. “We’re going to play ‘Haven’t Met You Yet’ by Michael Buble,” she announces, then begins to play.

Once she starts to sing, Devin taps me on the shoulder. “She’s cute,” he whispers.

“You really think that?” I hope I don’t look too enthusiastic as I say this.

He nods, smiling. “Why do you ask?”

“Because I met her in the bathroom before dinner. She said the same thing about you.”

His face flushes. “Should I talk to her?”

“Of course you should. You two would be so cute together.”

He nods. “Okay. I’ll talk to her afterwards.”

The second band was a One Direction-esque boy band. After they finished, we learned that their mentors were, in fact, the British poppies due to their loud whooping. (I think I caught Park drooling over Louis at one point.)

The third and fourth bands were metal bands being mentored by metal bands I’d never heard of. During the fifth band’s performance, I tapped Nate on his shoulder. He glanced at me. “Yeah?”

“I think I’ll ditch Jack’s recommendation and have us play ‘Good Life’ instead. Do you think that’s a good idea?”

“A good idea? That’s a great idea.” He smiles, so I can tell he mans it.

“Cabin six, goodlife,” Jenn Brown says We hop down the amphitheater steps and go up on the stage.

“This is our namesake song-” I start to say before Park cuts me off.

“I thought we were doing ‘The Brightside.’”

“Yeah, change of plans. As I was saying, this is our namesake song, ‘Good Life’ by OneRepublic.”

Tony starts to play the song. I scan the crowd for Casey, and sure enough, her eyes are on Devin. As Park starts to sing the first verse, my gaze moves to Nate, who to my surprise is watching me. I smile and stick my tongue out at him, and he surprises me again by doing the same thing. It’s all I can do not to crack up.

 

Woke up in London yesterday

Found myself in the city near Piccadilly

Don't really know how I got here

I got some pictures on my phone

 

New names and numbers that I don't know

Address to places like Abbey Road

Day turns to night, night turns to whatever we want

We're young enough to say

 

Oh, this has gotta be the good life

This has gotta be the good life

This could really be a good life, good life

 

I say, "Oh, got this feeling that you can't fight"

Like this city is on fire tonight

This could really be a good life, a good, good life

 

I swallow my spit and begin my solo, watching Nate watch me.

 

To my friends in New York, I say hello

My friends in L.A. they don't know

Where I've been for the past few years or so

Paris to China to Colorado

 

Sometimes there's airplanes I can' t jump out

Sometimes there's bullshit that don't work now

We are God of stories, but please tell me-e-e-e

What there is to complain about?

 

When you're happy like a fool, let it take you over

When everything is out you gotta take it in

 

Park joins me for the chorus, and I can’t help but notice Nate bopping his head. I then notice Jack noticing Nate bopping his head and starting to bop his head as well.

 

Oh, this has gotta be the good life

This has gotta be the good life

This could really be a good life, good life

 

I say, oh, got this feeling that you can't fight

Like this city is on fire tonight

This could really be a good life, a good, good life

 

Park sings the bridge by himself and rejoins me for the chorus. Looking out at the audience, I notice that Casey is enjoying our performance, or at least Devin’s performance. My part comes on again, and as I sing, I make a point of noticing as many people as I can: Nate, One Direction, that random kid in the front row, and Jack who is watching us intently. More specifically, watching me intently.

 

To my friends in New York, I say hello

My friends in L.A. they don't know

Where I've been for the past few years or so

Paris to China to Colorado

 

Sometimes there's airplanes I can' t jump out

Sometimes there's bullshit that don't work now

We are God of stories, but please tell me-e-e-e

What there is to complain about?

 

The music ends. Tony stops whistling the whistle part. There’s total silence for a split second, and then the amphitheater suddenly bursts into applause. “Peace out, niggas!” I say into the mic before we make our exit. Nobody in the amphitheater is of the black persuasion, so I assume my remark won’t be taken too literally.

Of course, you can’t always rely on assumptions. As I leave the stage, Jenn Brown stops me. “Young lady, we don not accept that kind of language. You wait right here.” she goes up into the amphitheater, says something to Nate, and they come down together. “Nate will escort you back to your cabin,” she says. “You will stay there for the rest of the night.”

I nod, and Nate begins to lead me back toward Cabin Six. Turning around, I get a thumbs up from Devin, which probably has something to do with him talking to Casey, so I return it.

As we walk, Nate turns to me. “So here’s the thing. I have to stay with you in that cabin. It’s against the law for you to be in a cabin unsupervised. Do you know what this means?”

“What?”

“It means I can help you with some of your music. On a scale of one to ten, how good do you think you are at songwriting?”

“One is worst, right?”

“Yeah.”

“I’d say around negative fifty billion.”

He throws his head back. “Oh, come on! Surely you can’t be that bad! Have you ever tried to write songs?”

“Ypu. Clichés, corny lyrics, and terrible melodies abound.”

“Can I see your songs?”

“You may need to remove the eyeballs from you head afterward, but sure, you can see them.”

When we return to the cabin, Nate dramatically swings the door open and gestures inside. I smirk and enter with him behind me.

Nate sees Dave’s Playboy on his bed. “How about I dispose of this before Davey Boy loses his job?” He scoops up the Playboy and tears it down the middle.

“Davey Boy isn’t going to like that,” I say.

“He probably won’t. Now, let’s see the songs.”

“They’re in my footlocker.” I slide it out from under my bed only to see Nate squat down next to me. I shoo him away. “Go over there. My underwear’s in here, and you really don’t need to see it.”

“Okay.” He goes into the practice room. I dig into my footlocker, grabbing my notebook full of songs and the Some Nights songbook. I shut the trunk and follow him. “Got it.”

Nate is in a chair next to the window. I hand him the notebook and set the songbook on the upright piano in the corner. I sit down at the piano and lean against it, which generates a cacophony of notes. I slouch until they fade, then I sit up.

“I like this one,” Nate says. “What It’s All about.”

“The chorus is terrible,” I say immediately.

“Don’t beat yourself up. The chorus is fine.

“It doesn’t sound fine. Plus, I have no idea how to add the instruments besides guitar. And it’s too poppy to be a goodlife song. I wrote it in SIXTH GRADE, okay?”

“Well, for something written by a sixth grader, it has some pretty good lyrics. Does it have music to it?”

“Of course it does, I'm the only sixteen-year-old girl you’ll ever meet who’s a songwriter and not a lyricist.”

“Can you sing it?”

“No.”

“Please?” He tilts his head to the side and grins from ear to ear. I have to admit, he looks cute.

“No.”

“Anna, you and your band won’t get big if all you do is covers.”

“Okay, but could we do a different song? One that I didn’t write in sixth grade?”

Nate sighs. “Oh, all right. Which song would you prefer to do?”

I take the notebook and flip to another song, “Learning How To Love.” “This one would be good. I got the idea from a Neon Trees song, but the lyrics are mine.

“Sing it.”

“Okay.”
*               *                *

Nate and I work on “Learning How to Love” for a while, adding the instrumentation a bit. Nate works a little on the drum part, but it’s more like a hit-the-drums-as-hard-as-you-can-and-hope-you-don’t-end-up-buying-Tony-a-new-drum-kit-fest than working on the drum part.

By the time we hear footsteps on the cabin stairs, we are ready to show the rest of the band the song. I walk over to the door and hold it open. First Jack and Andrew come in to collect Nate and go back to their cabin. “We’ll show everyone the song tomorrow,” Nate calls to me. Right before he leaves the cabin, he looks right at me and winks.

Nate Ruess did not just wink at me.

Next comes Tony, Park, and Devin, with Dave as the caboose. When Dave sees the halved Playboy on his bed, his mouth falls open and he just stares at it, “That was Nate,” I explain as I pass through Dave’s room, without even looking at him. “He was concerned for your job.”

I fish my pajamas out of my footlocker and go into the bathroom to change. I come out, hoist myself onto the bed, and tuck myself under the blankets.

Five minutes later, Dave comes in and puts his thumb and pointer finger on the switch. “Lights out in five…four…three…two…one…” He flips the switch.

Unable to sleep, I stare up into space for a while, and that’s when I hear something moving below me. I lean over the edge of the bed to see Devin leaving the bed, still fully dresses. “Devin?” I whisper. “What are you doing?”

He puts his finger to his lips. “I'm going to see Casey.”

I flash back to summer camp when I was twelve. A girl named Angela had snuck out who-knows-why. She went home the next day. “You sure you won’t get caught?”

“Sure I'm sure. Jack and Andrew and some guys from OneRepublic are patrolling to keep the counselors away.”

“I give him a thumbs-up. “Good luck. Don’t wake up Davey Boy.”

“I won’t.” I watch as he slips out the door past the snoring Dave, then turn onto my left side and close my eyes.

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