"Well, I got bored, and that band sounded pretty good, so I'm here."
"The one in the place you just came out of." I state flatly, and sigh. Maybe I could be nice. Just this once. It wouldn't hurt, would it?
"I'm Michael. What's your name?" Michael leans his head against the wall, and looks at me.
"That's not your real name."
"How did you know?" I blurt out, surprised.
"Because you had to think before you said anything." A small smile forms on his lips.
"It's the name I got stuck with when my little sister died. So it kind of is my name."
"Okay, but what's you real name?"
"My middle name is Guinevere."
"Your actual name."
"I don't want to share that information."
"I'm gonna start calling you Smart-Ass pretty soon."
"That's what I am, isn't it?"
Michael laughs, and I suppress the urge to smile. It feels.....nice to be the reason someone is happy. It's not the kind of thing I do on a daily basis.
"Fine. My actual, true-blue name is Aindrie." I roll my eyes in defeat. Michael tests my name out on his tongue.
"Aindrie. That's such a cool name." He motions to my hair.
"Is that permanent?"
I allow myself a smirk. I love talking about bodily modifications. Not like plastic surgery, but as in piercings, tattoos and dyed hair.
"No, I like to change it all the time, so I just bleach the underside and dye it." I play with a piece of my lime green under-hair. I recently died the top layers of my hair black, making the color in my hair strand out wonderfully.
"Same. I dye my hair constantly, so I just keep it bleached and buy hair dye that stays in for a week or two. It's not as harsh as permanent dye." Michael agrees, and checks his phone. "Shit, I gotta go. You have a phone?"
"I could say no, but I haven't had a decent conversation with anybody I actually don't mind in forever." I laugh, for the first time in ages. He hands me his phone, and I enter my number. At the same time, I put his number in mine.
"We'll be staying here for a couple days. Maybe you can come visit us in the hotel." He stands up and starts walking. He turns to look at me hesitantly, then waves and starts running.
I'd better get going too. Granny's probably worried sick, even though I said I'd be fine.
I open the door and yell.
"Grandma!" I repeat. She probably doesn't have her hearing aids in.
I open her bedroom door, and time seems to stop. I can't move, and my throat tightens.
There is my grandmother, dead, on the floor. My brain tries to assess the situation.
Why didn't she call someone?
Dammit, I told her not to have a heart attack.
Then I see it. Her hand is reached out towards the cordless phone, which is on the floor an inch in front of her.
I don't know what to do, so I do all my mind can tell me to do.
"Michael." I manage to say his name when he picks up the phone, but my voice is hoarse.
"What? What happened? Where are you?" He instantly panics, and I feel better, knowing that he is concerned about me.
"My...my grandma. She had a heart attack, and I don't know what to do." I breathe, trying to calm down.
"Where are you?" He says, but it's not a question. More of a demand. His voice changes. I can't describe how, but it does. And so, I tell him my whereabouts, and wait. I shouldn't be surprised, she was turning 98, and refused to go to an old folks home, just because I hadn't turned 18 yet. I don't have any family left to go to, really. I got adopted, and my ''mother" died because her body produced too much brain fluid, and the surgery to remove some got botched. Too many brain-pokes, I guess. Not to mention she was single, so I don't have a dad, and my grandpa died of being too old a year ago. Good thing I'm almost 18 I guess.
I try to recollect my mind, and hear frantic knocking on the door. I go to open it, and as soon as I turn the doorknob, Michael pushes the door open, and puts his hands on my shoulders.
"Are you okay?"
"Y-yeah. My grandma's not though."
" I kind of gathered that."
A group of paramedics push past us, and into Grandma's room. Michael leads me outside and we sit on the cold grass.
"Where are you gonna go?" He asks, picking a fine blade out of the dirt.
"She probably left the house to me, but I don't have a job. And I need a change of scenery. Maybe I'll hitchhike."
"No, you will not. I'll help you pay the bills."
"You barely even know me! Why are you being so nice?" I raise my voice at him, but his voice stays even.
"Because, I want to. And like you said, you haven't had a decent conversation in ages, and I'm determined to change that. I want to make you happy again." He says, and by the tone of his voice, I can tell that's the end of it.
After a silence, and me watching my Grandma being wheeled into an ambulance, I realize how lonely I have been, and how I will be. It never bothered me before, but then again, you never appreciate what you have until it's gone.
"Could I come with you?" I ask, looking up into Michael's eyes. They are a mix of grey and green, and sparkle in the faint light streaming through the curtains of the house that now belongs to me.
"On tour. We can like...pay the bills online or something."
"Oh...um...I don't know." He opens his mouth to add something else, but three other boys (who I assume are his bandmates) come running up to us.
"Michael! What's going on?" The curly-haired one gasps at the scene around us.
"How'd you find me?"
"We followed you, duh." The one with coarse, black and blonde-streaked hair answers.
"Why is there an ambulance?!" The tallest of them, who wears a blonde quiff and a lip ring, panics. He looks scared enough to piss himself, really.
"This is my friend Noelle, and her grandma just died, so calm the fuck down." Michael says, and I am thankful he didn't use my actual name.
"Could I go on tour with you guys?" I ask, quietly, which surprises me. I'm never quiet. I'm more of the up and front, fuck you type of person.
"I-I don't know." They look at each other, hesitant and confused.
"At least let me stay in your hotel, I'm begging you." I plead, and Michael's hand touches my thigh subtly.
"You can sleep on the couch if you really want." He says, and stands up. "Let's go back."
And so, we drive back to the hotel, and the entire time, the atmosphere is tense. I can tell they feel uneasy, except Michael, of course, who keeps trying to make me laugh. He almost succeeds, until Curly Hair speaks up.
"So, um...Noelle. Do you know who we are yet?" He attempts to start a conversation, and I oblige.
"I know Michael's the guitarist of your band."
"Okay, well um.... I'm Ashton, the drummer. The current driver of this vehicle is Luke, the lead singer, and that's Calum, our bassist. Do you play any instruments?"
" I can play the guitar, bass, ukulele and a small bit of the drums." I admit. Not to make myself seem cool or anything, I just have an interest in learning how to play instruments.
"That's so awesome!" Michael accidentally gushes. And when I say he gushes, I mean it. If he squished his cheeks with his hands, he could pass for a Japanese schoolgirl drooling over her senpai.
We make it inside the hotel unscathed by the fans surrounding it, and several of them take pictures of me sticking close to Michael. To show to their friends and call me his girlfriend, no doubt. Maybe I'll make a Twitter and mess with them. Later though.
I walk into the hotel with them, and the security that follows us give me looks. The kind that say 'if you try anything I'm kicking you out faster than you can say no'. The security retreat to their hotel room, and Michael and the band go to theirs. I decide to stay out a while to clear my head, and while doing so, a girl approaches me.
"So you're 5 Seconds of Summer's groupie?" She obnoxiously chews her gum, which makes me want to punch her in the face.
"You're their groupie, aren't you. Well, T.B.H., I think they could do better."
"So you're calling me a slut because I'm sitting outside their hotel room and they know who I am?"
"That's because you are a slut, and they don't care about you. You do know that, right?"
"Sorry what? I can't hear you through all that bullshit coming through your lips."
"Oh my fucking God, you are so rude. I hope they dump you in the trash."
"I apologize, but I'd rather not take up your spot. You could do so much better with your attempts of bringing me down, you know."
And with that, the girl huffs angrily, and stomps away, back into her room, and I tap a beat onto the door I was previously leaning against. Michael opens the door almost instantly, and pulls me inside.
"I can't believe that just happened." He sighs.
"I was listening. I'm so sorry that had to happen."
"If you were listening, you would've realized that it really didn't bother me. It's not my fault she's jealous that I get to stay in your hotel room." I smirk, and flick his chest, then walk past him and flop down on the couch at the end of the room. All four boys get into bed and three of them go to sleep. Calum, on the other hand, stays up and writes in a notebook, with 'Songs' written sloppily on the front.
He doesn't realize I'm not sleeping until about 2 am.
"You're up too?" He whispers, and I nod.
"I'm an insomniac." I explain, and sit up. "Wanna go for a walk?"
"It's almost 2 am!"
"So? It's not like you were planning on going to sleep anyways." I slowly stand.
He hesitates, then places his notebook onto the bedside table, and pulls on a pair of sweatpants, and a shirt. I must admit, he's well built.
Me and Calum walk along the street, and to my favorite place, the abandoned park. Even though it takes half an hour to get there, it's worth it.
He explains that every night, he tries to write songs before bed, and often doesn't get enough sleep. And so, I help him write songs. He sings a line, and I try to make up something that goes with it, while we sit on the swings.
"So how did you and Michael meet?"
"Earlier today I walked here from my house, and lost track of time outside that arena listening to you play. Michael needed to go out the back door for some reason and found me. Wow I haven't talked this much in forever. Don't get used to it."
I start rambling, and Calum laughs.
"Do you like the moon? I think it's beautiful." I confess, looking up, and he nods.
"I like how it shines white, like such a pure thing." He stares at it in such admiration, I realize that if I caught someone looking at me that way, they'd have to be in love. That's not gonna happen though.
"I heard you defending yourself in the hallway."
"You heard it too?"
"You must not have noticed, noise carries well in an empty hallway with un-soundproofed doors."
"Anyways, like I was saying before. Nice comebacks. You didn't even have to think, they just came out so smoothly."
"Careful there," I smile, "you're starting to gush like Michael." Calum's face lights up.
"He must see something in me that you guys don't, because I wasn't exactly nice when he met me." I say, making him turn to focus on me.
"You're mysterious, and don't seem to like anyone. It makes me want to open you up like a book, and read you, page by page." He thoughtfully mumbles, then his eyes widen, and he slaps his hand over his mouth.
"Yeah, you just said that out loud. And just to clear things up, you'll have to do a lot more than hang out with me late at night, when my mind is at its best to get me to talk." I pat him on the back.
"How old are you, anyway?" Calum questions, and looks at his feet.
"Seventeen, almost Eighteen, and I dropped out of school, so no I don't need to go to school in the morning."
"We should get back and go to sleep." He stands, and messes up his hair with one hand. I join him on my feet.
"Maybe I'll get lucky and sleep for once." I joke with myself, but suddenly stop laughing.
"What?" Calum instantly turns around, and I hold my head in my hands.
"Insomnia. Dizziness and hallucinations. I..." I lean against him. Not that I want to, but I feel like collapsing and everywhere I look I see dark figures.
"Do you need water or something? What can I do?"
"I need to lay down. We need to get back to the hotel."
"But your house is quicker, you can be more comfortable, and-"
"Hotel room. Now." I exhale, and Calum slings my arm over his shoulder.
"Don't pass out on me now." He keeps whispering in my ear, and I secretly want to pass out, just to spite him. I don't, though, because I don't want him to have to carry me, and people to get the wrong idea.
We return to the hotel by 3:30, and Calum brings me a glass of ice water and a blanket.
"Try to sleep. And if you can't, at least rest your eyes and brain." He tells me, while making sure I'm comfortable.
"I'll try." I lie. Of course I won't. But I'll pretend to try anyways. It's nice to have someone care for me because they want to. And so, I close my eyes, and think of nothing.