The doorbell rings at 6:30, revealing all four boys of the band, whose name I have yet to learn. My father seems unimpressed with them, all have very visible piercings and holes in their shirts not unlike the one that Luke had on this morning. Before letting me leave, he makes Luke promise to keep me safe while we are out tonight. Within minutes, we're driving to the nearby venue where the boys will be playing tonight. Michael lets out a loud, dramatic sigh moments after we hit the road: "This is awkward."
I nod, signaling that I agree with him, even though, really, no one can see me. I've never talked to him that much, never even met Ashton before today, hardly talk to Luke besides at picnics, and only talk to Calum during school classes. So, yes, this is an awkward ride.
"Well," Luke laughs, "I think that Liliana here will be spending more time with us now. So, we should get to know a few things about her." Though I don’t verbally agree, I know that Luke is probably right. I’m not too sure what was different this morning when I entered the garage, but the atmosphere between me and them changed. So, the boys ask me questions such as my favorite animal, food, color and things of that sort. I ask them all for their answers to their questions after I've given mine, and in the thirty minutes that it takes us to get to the venue, we all know a little bit more about each other than we did when I was picked up, even if I can’t remember whose favorite animal is a penguin and who loves spaghetti.
The boys unload their gear and start to set up, while I awkwardly stand around. Luke gives me little errands to do (and by little, I mean little, because he feels bad about how socially inept I am), and I quickly befriend the stage manager of the venue, who helps me feel at ease. "Those boys seem like a lot of work, honey." She says this while laughing, and I do so as well.
"I wouldn't know. I've hardly spoken to any of them until today," I say with a shrug. She doesn't question this, but instead gives me orders on how to set up chairs that need setting up.
I find their music to be very good, and even sing along to two songs that I've heard the boys practice a countless number of times. There's actually quite a bit of people here, considering the fact that the band is relatively unknown. At the end of the show, Luke screams into the microphone, obviously very hyped from all of the positive feedback that they're getting, "We're 5 Seconds of Summer and thank you for being amazing!"
After the show has finished, it is another half an hour before the boys are ready to head home. I am already nervous, because it is nearly eleven o'clock, but Luke continually assures me that he has already told my father that it will be late when I return home. Ashton takes his position in the driver’s seat of the van, and Calum takes the passenger seat. Michael, Luke, and I sit in the middle row of the van, and the equipment is shoved in the backseats and trunk of the van.
I am shocked when we pull into a McDonalds parking lot, because it is nearly eleven thirty and we still have a fifteen-minute ride back to mine and Luke's houses. Luke tells me, again, to quit worrying about my curfew. The other boys laugh at how "uptight" I am, but apologize quickly, to ensure that they haven't hurt my feelings.
We all make small talk while we eat, and everything goes smoothly until Calum opens his mouth to speak: "Do you have a boyfriend?" I sit shocked, and then start to laugh.
"What's so funny?" Ashton asks.
"Like I would be allowed to have a boyfriend. Oh, gosh no. My parents are bent on Luke quitting the band and me marrying him. He's the only boy they have ever liked." Luke also starts to laugh at this, fully aware that nothing romantic will ever spark between the two of us. "Why would you even ask that?"
Calum shrugs before, almost inaudibly, saying, "Ashton thinks you're cute."
As crazy as it might sound, I start laughing at this. I try to explain my hysterical laughter to the boys when I see Ashton's face fall, but this causes me to laugh even more.
Luke laughs hesitantly, "Gee, Lil. You could have just told Ashton that you think he's ugly, because he is, “Ashton makes a face at him. “You didn't have to laugh at him."
My laughter eventually dies down and I can tell the boys about it, "It's really not even that funny. It's just that, no one has ever told me that I'm attractive before, and he had you say it. Then I started laughing, and I thought it was funny that Ashton got so upset about it and kept me laughing." I start laughing again and this time Luke joins in.
"I think you're tired. It's much past your bedtime, Good Girl," Michael says with a wink, which once again causes me to laugh.
Luke sighs before saying: "Your parents are going to think I let you drink. Liliana, calm down. Stop laughing."
Twenty minutes later, I am left in the van with Luke and Ashton. Ashton is apparently the only one who can drive of the four of them. "Did you have fun tonight, Liliana?" Ashton asks, and I laugh a little, before saying yes.
"Do not laugh, Lil.” Luke’s voice is serious, and I realize that he’s actually a caring guy. “The last thing I need is for your parents to think you were out doing drugs or drinking. You didn't drink, did you?"
"Lighten up, Luke. I didn't drink. I just had fun."
Much to my expectations, my father is still awake when I return home, nearly at 12:30. Luke walks me inside the house and says goodnight to my father, who we could both tell was extremely tired. "Thank you for letting her come out, sir. We had a lot of fun."
I say goodnight and watch him as he returns to the car and I notice Ashton waving to me. I feel my cheeks begin to burn as I think about the fact that he told the others that he thinks I'm cute. I wave back and close the door.
"Dad," I say, chuckling, "I think that it's time for you to go to bed."
"I just wanted to make sure that you got home okay, Princess. Did you have fun?"
I nod, "We had a really good time, and they're quite a good band." In order to throw in something to make him feel safer, I add, "That boy Calum who comes over a lot for projects is in the band, too. He plays the bass guitar."
My father yawning, I hardly hear as he replies, "He's a good kid, too," before walking up the stairs and to his bedroom.
I'm nearly never awake this late, but from the buzz of the concert, I'm not tired at all, so I grab my laptop- the only thing I've ever bought against my parents' will- and check my social media- all of which they are unaware of.
Even though I only met him this morning, I can't help but to feel a smile spread across my face and my heart beat quicken as I see a notification on Facebook: Ashton Irwin requested to be your friend.