The following afternoon, Perrie knocks on my door. "Greetings from Maryland!" She holds out something wrapped up in tissue paper. "You remembered!" I take the gift and start to unwrap the tissue.
"Of course I remembered. I only do it every year." It's a pink scallop seashell. "these are my favorite." I turn it over in my hand and rub the smooth surface. Perrie shakes her head."I can't believe you keep them. The first time I gave you one was because I was eight and cheap. What else do you give someone from the beach for free?" She glances over the other shells she's given me, all lined up on my bookshelf.
I place my newest shell next to the others. "It's not that."
"Right, it's the thought that counts."
"Stop it." I pick up the first one she gave me, a black-and-white shell. "I just think it's interesting to think about it's journey. Where it's been, you know? It's probably traveled thousands of miles in the ocean and ends up on a beach in Maryland."
"And then on some girl's bookshelf in Brooklyn. What a life!" She laughs. "Although I really shouldn't judge, since my journey hasn't been anything to brag about."
Perrie sits down on my bed and I see her study the photos on my wall. There's a collage of all talent competition Perrie and I have competed in. Perrie and I have competed in. Perrie is wearing a blue ribbon or a gold metal in all of them. But the photos stop when we're around fourteen. Our schedules at CPA don't really allow us to do much outside of school, and, well . . . Perrie really hasn't shone through as much as we thought she would.
She shakes he head as is she's trying to get rid of whatever thought is there. "Sorry, I'm just in a crappy mood. Bad night."
"Oh, did you and Zayn get into a fright or something?" Perrie reaches into her bag and pulls out a stack of newspapers and printouts from online gossip columns. "No. I spent all last night posing for photographers and was cut off in every picture except one." She hands me a spread from Gossip Guru that has a picture of Perrie clutching on to Zayn. "Zayn Malik and friend . . . and friend!"
I look at the photo. She has one arm wrapper around Zayn, while the other holds his hand. "It's pretty clear that you two are a couple."
She picks up the photo and studies it. "That's not the point. I've been with Zayn for two year now - Shouldn't they recognize me already? And we're seniors now, so time is running out."
I know how much pressure senior year is going to be. I never thought it would get to Perrie, but she seems more stressed out than usual.
Perrie puts the articles back in her bag. "I really need my name out there. It's only a matter of time before I start working with talent scouts."
I don't say anything. I don't agree with Perrie's decision to avoid college and immediately dive into the world of Broadway and record contracts. It's not that I doubt her talent; it's just such a hard business.
"Anyway." Perrie lays her head on my shoulder. "I'm so sorry to dump that on you. How are things with the guys? Do you know what you're going to do for the audition?"
"Oh, it's fine. We're debating which of Niall's songs to do." I feel a slight stab in my stomach as I say his name. When he returned to the table, we started talking about what songs to preform and mapped out a practice schedule. I tried to talk to him afterward, but he rushed off to the subway. I guess maybe it's better to let it go. I said my peace. Well, I said a lot of things. It was more like I was declaring war, but I had to do it.
"Hello?" Perrie waves her hand in front of my face. "Earth to Emme."
She tilts her head. "Is everything all right?"
I nod. I'm glad to have Perrie back, and not just from Maryland, but back in my life. Each year it seems like she slips away from me. I know I carry the blame since I have to dedicate so much time to the band. But between homework, rehearsals, school performances, and band gigs, I don't have a lot of time for anything. Still, there will always be time for Perrie. We're a team. We're best friends.
I pull out the sheet with music scribbles over it.
Perrie straightens up. "I've been warming up my voice. Tell me everything about it!"
"I've been working on this one idea for a while. It's about searching. The song is about searching for that person, the one who completes you. Sort of like 'Where are you already?' but I think it also works with where we are right now. Searching for our future, where we belong."
Perrie nods at me while she studies my lyrics. "Amazing Emme. Really amazing."
I sit down at the keyboard in my room and begin to play the song for Perrie. After a few run-through, she begins to sing along. I love this stage of the writing process, when the song is like an intimate secret shared between us. It's a bond that can't be broken by school or by anyone. It's only the two of us.
After we practice for a while, I type out the reworked lyrics. (Hearing Perrie always inspires me to make changes.)
She hesitates before taking the sheet.
"Um, Em, I was hoping you could do me a huge favor." She begins to curl a long strand of hair between her fingers. She does this when she waits for a callback list to be posted or when she's going to say something that will upset me.
I wish I wasn't so sensitive. I've never been tough like her. She's center stage. I'm background. That's just the way it has been and always will be.
She sits down next to me on the piano bench and grabs my hand. "I know how extremely busy you're going to be, and I was hoping you could write out the accompanying part so I could practice with Amanda."
"Oh." I try to not sound hurt. Amanda is a junior music student who has been practicing Perrie's other vocal department songs with her. But the songs I write have always been between the two of us.
"You know that Amanda is nowhere near the pianist that you are, but I really want to do well. It's senior year and it's hard for you and me to find time with our schedules. You understand, don't you?"
What kind of friend would I be if I didn't give Perrie every advantage to nail her audition for the performance?
"Of course. I'll write it up tonight and send it to you."
"Oh, Emme." Perrie hugs me. "You're the greatest friend ever! I'm eternally indebted to you. You are so getting an entire paragraph in the liner notes for my first album. To Emme, who has been my biggest supporter and friend since day one."
I know Amanda could never replace me. Really, when I think about it, she's helping me out. Senior year is going to be busy and I need to let go a little. I don't have the time and I can't do it all. If I keep trying to juggle everything, someone is going to end up getting shortchanged and I don't want to do that to Perrie and the guys, not to mention to my sanity.
After Perrie leaves, something registers in what she said. Her album. We used to discuss how I was going to write and produce her albums. But she hasn't said anything about me being part of her album in months.
Wow, Emme, needy much? I think
Senior year hasn't even started, but I'm already worried about not being a part of an album that doesn't even exist yet.
I know how much I mean to Perrie. I've got to remember her Plan. I've been part of it, a big part of it. And nothing will change that.
Hello my little kittens!!! I know most of these are Emme but trust me someone else will be coming up soon don't worry!!!