It Was Meant To Be

Molly dreams of two things: getting into her first-choice university and finding true love. Music-loving slacker Zayn also dreams of two things:winning the battle of the bands- and winning Molly.He is determined to make her fall in love with him.

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13. More Determined Than Ever

More Determined Than Ever

6th September, 7:58 p.m.

Zayn

"That's a fucking awesome plan," Mike announces.

He twangs the strings of his bass, tuning up again.

"Why do you have to have a plan?" Josh asks. "Why can't you just ask her out?"

This makes Mike defensive. The man likes his plans. "What's wrong with having a plan?" Mike says. "When everyone thought The Cure was going to break up, Bloodflowers came out. Why? Because they had a plan and they acted on it. And now look."

"Fine," Josh says. "But when Zayn freaks her out acting like a psycho and she hates him, can I say I told you so?"

"You are sort of obsesses," Mike tells me.

"I don't know what my problem is," I say. I've been trying not to think about the fact that Molly and Andrew are out together right now. I keep messing up my chords. I keep forgetting how the lyrics go and I'm the one who wrote them.

"Dude," Mike says. "Stop stressing. Remember what you're capable of. Cynthia's wet panties were on the floor before you could say ribbed or glow-in-the-dark."

"You my hero, dog," Josh says

I only think about having sex with Molly once every three seconds but talking about her that way with the guys seems like I'm disrespecting her. I've told them everything about the other girls I've been with. But it's different now.

Josh clashes the cymbals. "Are we doing this or what?"

We're working on our set for Battle of the Bands. Actually, we only get to play one song. Two if we make it to the final round but we're still narrowing it down.

We go through this Led Zeppelin number Mike's convinced will rule. The Mike says, "This is the one." I kind of disagree, though. His vocals aren't sounding all that.

"I think one with a drum solo would be better," Josh says from behind the drums.

"Oh, really?" Mike says. "And why's that?"

"It's heavy drum sessions that shake up the scene. Everyone knows this." Josh taps his sticks together.

"Then how come--"

"Michael!"

The sound of Mike's mum indicates that practise is over. Since it's Sunday, we can practise until she gets home from doing errands. We also get the garage from after school until she gets home from work. The it's time for dinner and homework. At least, it is for Mike. His mum hovers over him like a dark cloud with a perpetual absence of silver lining. If he doesn't do all his homework, we can't use the garage. She even checks it over and everything. So his grades are pretty good but he's a slacker at heart, like me and Josh.

The door swings open. Light from the kitchen filters in.

"Hi, boys."

"Hi, Mrs Panalba," Josh and I say together.

Her heels click across the cement floor as she walks towards us. "How's the world-famous MindFlame this evening?

I get a little thrill whenever I hear anyone say the name of our band. I thought of it myself. It's a whole lot better than What Jesus Would Do, which is what Josh wanted. Or Mike's idea, the Jeans Creamers. I guess our band is sort of weird. We've been described as "Out there" but I really feel like we're on the verge of a breakthrough. Plus, we have a reputation for kicking ass with our classic rock covers. So the gigs we play are mainly class reunions and pre-midlife-crisis birthday parties and even some pool party and barbeque-type events in the summer. Which don't suck since we always get paid really well. Josh has been lining up more gigs for this year and of course Mike is organizing plans to record our demo.

"Making progress," I say.

Mrs Panalba rubs Mike's face. "What's this on your face?" she says.

"Ma!" Mike yells. He jerks away. "Get off!"

"What is that?" She touches his face again.

"Nothing!" Mike slaps her hand away. "God!"

"Aren't you using the Clearasil I got you?"

"Ma! Jeez!"

"OK, OK." She heads back towards the kitchen.

"Take care, boys."

"We'll try," Josh says.

Mrs Panalba gives Josh a funny look. She closes the door.

"I swear, it's like her sole purpose In life is to humiliate me," Mike says.

Josh shrugs. "Yeah, but that's parents."

We start packing up

"You guys wanna chill at the mall?" Mike says. He gets off easy on non-school nights and my curfew isn't until one.

"Sure," I say.

"I can't," Josh says. "I'm still on lockdown."

Josh is grounded, like, every other week. He's always doing something stupid. This time it was chucking his dad's bowling ball through the window while demonstrating his stance to this chick he was trying to impress. Real impressive.

Mike and I decide to take my car. As I drive, Mike yammers on about all his elaborate plans for the band's inevitable success.

When we're sitting at the food court with enough fried food to feed a small country, Mike says, "We've gotta get your mind off things." He's looking at something over my shoulder. "And I think I know how."

I turn around and that's when I see them.

Cynthia and Rachael are slumming it in line at cinnabon. If this were last year, it would have been perfect. I was nailing Cynthia and Mike's been trying to get Rachael for a long time.

I'm tempted for a second. How easy it would be. How good she looks. But hooking up with Cynthia again would be such a pain. She'd start nagging about how she wants to be my girlfriend. Then she'd start demanding to spend more time with me. It's a road I don't want to go down again.

"I'm out," I say. I stand up  and get my rubbish together.

"What? Are you serious?"

"Yeah."

Mike looks at me like I'm insane.

"Can you get home OK?" I say.

He glances over at Rachael. "Definitely."

"See you."

"Later."

Walking across the car park, I'm more determined than ever. There's no way I'm giving up. It has to happen.

 

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