Common Ground

Childhood friends, turned more, turned upside down


15. Uneasy

“So are you ready for extra practice today?” I asked Bethany, walking up to her locker.
“Wait what?”
“Yeah, Isaac gave us a heads up and we have a show Friday so practice every day; especially since we want to get the new song worked in.”
“Excuse me?!” Bethany looked shocked and upset all at the same time.
“No one told you that was a thing…?” I asked slowly.
“No, everyone left that out.”
“Fuck…you had plans tonight too, don’t you?” I asked slowly.
“Yeah, sort of…more like this afternoon.”
“Can you cancel or is that asking too much?”
“I mean, I can’t really cancel; its school related…” Bethany was acting all jumpy, concerning me a little.
“Is everything okay?”
“Yup, everything is fine.” I glanced over at Aviana and Vienna who were staying oddly quiet and looked kind of upset so I knew it wasn’t really anything good. It almost look like she broke some huge ass news to them or something and Bethany didn’t tell me anything. I looked back at Bethany who was just looked flustered.
“Okay, what time can you get to practice?”
“Uh like 4ish, maybe a little before, maybe a little after. I don’t really know.”
“Okay, I’ll tell the guys, no big deal; its school related so it’s understandable.”
“I’ll see you later, okay?” She nodded and gave me a quick kiss before I walked off. I found it very weird how flustered she got and I knew something was up but I had no idea what was going on. I almost wanted to ask if Matt knew but a part of me was telling me he had no clue and another part of me was telling me to trust her and she would tell me about it later, whatever it was.
“You okay?” Jax asked as he joined me at my locker.
“Yeah, why?”
“You look like…I don’t know, you just look weird.”
“Yeah no; just a little confused.”
“Oh, about?”
“Just something Bethany isn’t telling me.”
“How would you know she’s not telling you something?” Jax asked, confused.
“Aviana was not herself this morning; no comments whatsoever; she almost looked pissed at Bethany, I mean, look.” Jax looked over at them and Aviana was flailing her arms and Bethany looked like she was trying to keep her quiet while Vienna just stood there.
“And plus, she said she was going to be late to band practice which is weird all in itself.”
“For her, yeah it seems kind of weird. And she didn’t say anything at all?” Jax asked.
“Nope, nothing. She’s been with my mom a lot lately though so I have no idea if it’s more court shit.”
“That could be it; don’t over think it, just chill. I’m sure she’ll tell you. Anyway, your website says you have a show on Friday?” “Oh yeah, we do.”
“Cool; I’ll be there.” I nodded and smiled as he walked off. I looked back over at Bethany where she was now alone, leaning up against her locker looking miserable.

I have made my decision and it was final. I knew Vienna and Aviana wouldn’t like it, I didn’t even tell Trevor or Matt since I knew they would probably kill me but I needed to this alone. I needed to make sure no one could influence what I wanted to do for myself. I reached in my bag and found the acceptance letter, making me smile just a little. I was just scared, and I wanted someone to support me in my decision, I mean someone besides Claire.
After school, I was sitting in the office with Claire while I was getting weird ass looks from all the staff. I mean, I get it, no one would expect this from me of all people but this is what I wanted to do and it made everything in my life so much easier, it made it all more doable and Claire was supporting me in this and that’s what mattered at this moment.
“Are you sure this is what you want to do, Bethany?” Principal Marcs asked me.
“Yes sir.” I said, nodding, very sure of myself.
“Mrs. Wentworth, so are you?”
“I want what’s best for her and if this is what she wants, then yes, I agree with it.” Claire said, smiling at me.
“Okay, sign here, the both of you.” We both signed and that was that. It was a lot shorter than I thought and Claire drove us home.
When we got back, I quick changed and ran downstairs where all the guys were already practicing. When they finished their run through of Sunrise, they saw me and waved me in.
“That was a lot quicker than you said it would be.” Trevor said.
“Yeah, thank god.”
“What happened? I saw you with Principal Marcs?” Trevor asked.
“Yeah we can talk about that later. Anyway, where are we at?”
“Well now we can get started on the set list for this weekend.” Alex said.
“Alright, cool.”
“We want to end and open with a new song but we only have one so we may have to end with the cover we’ve been half ass working on.” I looked over at Trevor, shocked he hadn’t shown them White Tiger.
“Wait, but Trevor wrote a song?” I said slowly.”
“You did?” Tim asked.
“Yeah but it’s like not…”
“Trevor, it’s good.” I said, cutting him off. “I don’t mind.”
“Are you sure?”
“Positive.” He nodded and ran upstairs to get it.
“What song?” Alex asked.
“He wrote me a song.” I said, shuffling my feet.
“Seriously? The one he was showing me the other day? He finished it already?” Matt asked.
“Yeah, he showed me the same day he said he showed you. He finished it.” 
“Damn, he works quickly.” Matt joked as he ran back in.
“Here…” Trevor said, making copies before handing them out.
“This is going to be one long as week…” Tim pointed out.
“You’re telling us?” Matt joked. “Let’s just get started.
For the rest of the afternoon, we went over the set list, and then when practice normally starts, we spent those next 4 hours working on Road to the Throne since we had already started learning that song. It was so much to cram in one session but I knew it needed to be done and after today, I knew everything was going to work out.
Once nine hit, we decided one more set list run through was necessary and then we called it quits. It was a long night for all of us, and a long as day for me to be honest. I was ready to just go to bed even though I knew my night was only going to get longer. I knew I had to tell at least Trevor what I had done.
After everyone left, I was sitting on mine and Trevor’s bed, trying to figure out how to tell him when he got out of the shower. I was having a mini anxiety attack from all the built up anxiety from not telling him what I’ve been doing the past few days and I hated doing this. I was sitting there, picking at my nails as minutes felt like fucking hours as I waited.
After what felt like years, I pulled out my notebook and started writing because I was just growing too anxious. I needed to calm down and for whatever reason, I had what felt like lyrics going through my head and this, this was a good coping skill I had; probably one of the very few I had down when I got this bad.
“What are you writing?” Trevor asked, sitting next to me.
“Oh, a new song.”
“Band song or Bethany song?”
“More likely a Bethany song.” I said slowly putting down my pen.
“Are you okay? You’ve been jumpy and weird all day.” Trevor pointed out.
“Yeah, I wanted to talk to you about that…” I paused and took a deep breath when I realized he wasn’t going to say anything, he was just waiting for me to tell him. “Promise you will not freak out on me…”
“Sure, I promise I won’t freak out on you.”
“I dropped out.” I whispered.
“Okay, that’s freaking out.” I pointed out. Trevor went silent and was just staring at me wide-eyed.
“You’re fucking joking…”
“Why?! Why would you do that?!” Trevor asked, still quietly freaking out.
“Because…this whole school, band, social life, keeping up with grades…that whole thing wasn’t working for me so I applied to online classes for college and online high school classes so I can do both at once and do everything on my own time so I don’t feel so stressed out all the time.”
“Why didn’t you tell me about this?!”
“I didn’t want you to talk me out of it.” I said slowly. “So like during the day while you guys are gone I will be taking my classes just from here and I can be in band practice whenever, and you know, it won’t be so much on me…”
“This…this is why you looked so surprised when I walked up to you today; you had just told Aviana and Vienna and they were pissed…”
“Yeah, I wanted to tell you just, one on one…”
“Oh my god…”
“You’re still freaking out…” I pointed out quietly.
“Well yeah! This isn’t like I just got a fucking ass tattoo, this is I dropped out of high school and out of everyone you were the last person any one would see that coming from!”
“Ass tattoo?” I questioned.
“Yeah that’s like all I got with how my thought process is right now.” Trevor said, running his hands through his hair. “Holy shit…”
“Are you mad…?” I asked slowly.
“Mind fucked, yes; mad, no.” Trevor said slowly. “And this is what you want?”
“Yeah, it is.”
“I mean, fuck…if this is what you want and what will make you happy then I’m going to support you the whole way…” Trevor finally said.
“Thank you.” I said, leaning into him as he put his arm around me.
“Have you told anyone else?”
“Uh, no; Aviana, Vienna, you…I mean, obviously your mom knows but that’s really it.”
“Well then; okay. Anyway, what were you writing before?”
“Oh just like a love song; it’s nothing.”
“Let me see!” Trevor asked, suddenly distracted and reaching for my notebook. He sounded like a kid in a candy store when it came to writing. He was reading it over and nodding. “This has a solid fucking opening.”
“Gee, thanks.” I said, snatching it from him.
“Hey, you can ready my shit but I can’t read yours?” Trevor joked.
“When it’s done, then you can.” I said.
“Fine, fair enough.” Trevor said, smiling and shaking his head. “Oh that reminds me, Isaac wanted me to ask if you wanted to either do an opening segment for us or an intermission again.”
“Uh, sure.”
“Which one?”
“Uh I guess opening…”
“Cool shit; I’ll text him now; but anyway, let’s get some sleep. It was a long ass day.” Trevor said to me. I nodded, curling up into him as he turned off the light and pulled me closer.

As badly as I wanted to sleep, I couldn’t I kept wondering how all of this was going on and I never even noticed it. I was happy she did what she wanted but I never even knew this was something she wanted; I mean it seemed so far from anything she would want. I always knew her as the goodie, goodie who would never even think of doing something like that.
At school the next day, it didn’t feel right knowing she wasn’t there. I kept looking over at her locker and not seeing her was throwing me off completely. People were already asking where she was and it was already getting around she dropped out. People were of course, assuming the worst when in all reality she just didn’t want to come here anymore; she wanted to focus on her and music and I gave her credit for that, it was just…lonely here.
“I miss her too.” I looked over, surprisingly seeing Aviana standing next to me, holding her books tightly.
“Yeah, it’s weird.” I said.
“It really is. I don’t really know what to do in the morning now.” She said softly.
“What about Vienna?”
“I mean, yeah I hang out with her but…we always hung out at Bethany’s locker. It’s weird being anywhere else in the morning now. And plus it’s really weird not ripping on you in the morning too. Like I missed doing that. It’s only fun when Bethany’s around because she gets all defensive.”
“Why does that not surprise me?” I said, half smirking and shaking my head.
“It shouldn’t; I mean it would be less shocking if you knew how long I did it for just because I knew how much she liked you.”
“How long?”
“Shit…years? I don’t know, probably since like 4th grade.”
“You’ve been doing this for that long?”
“Yeah she was better at hiding it; you just sucked.”
“And there it is.” Aviana half smirked and looked down.
“Yeah, I guess it’s still funny when it’s just you.”
“Had to test out that theory, didn’t you?”
“Well yeah, I can’t just let it sit there and not know for sure. But no, definitely not the same. I wish she never dropped out. I really only ever saw her here once you warped her into this little band of yours.”
“That was Alex, actually; I had nothing to do with it. But yeah, no, that’s part of why she dropped out.”
“She tried telling me, I just kind of kept yelling at her and saying I knew this would happen if she started dating you…”
“You blamed me?”
“Shit Trevor, have you met yourself? She’s around you for five minutes and it’s like she’s…she’s herself and her when she’s around you is like her on steroids after so long. In the moment, I truly believe she dropped out because of you. I mean, that is until I see you fucking standing here and proving me fucking wrong.”
“Yeah, I didn’t know until last night to be honest.”
“Shit…now I really feel like shit.”
“You might want to talk to her about that. I’m really no help.”
“You never are.” Aviana snapped.
“And there it is again.” Aviana half smirked again and shook her head.
“I’ll see you around, Trevor.” Aviana said before walking off. I stood there, turning back to Bethany’s old locker and wondering what the hell I was going to do without her here. She literally was my motivation.

I was sitting in the living room on the couch, getting through my English course for the week so it’d be one class down this week and hopefully start up on another class. The quicker I got through all of this, the better so then I could start on my college classes soon. I wanted all of this over and done with; I wanted to focus on my music.
“Lunch break?” I looked up and saw Daniel, or Mr. Wentworth.
“Home from a business trip for a couple days, I see?” I said.
“Yup, only a couple days. How are you holding up here?”
“I’m surviving, you know. How much can a teenager really do here to be honest? I’m just taking it day by day. But I mean, thanks to you and Claire I’ve been doing a lot better so thank you for that.”
“Of course, any time. But seriously, you need a lunch break. Even kids who do school from home get them.” I laughed and put my laptop down, going into the kitchen. I ate while I caught him up on everything that’s been going on around the house and just in my life in general. He was always a great person, great dad, when he was home from his business trips but he was gone a majority of the time due to how demanding his job was. Claire was just awesome at raising 4 kids, and taking me in all on her own and keeping us all in line.
After lunch, I pushed myself through the rest of my weekly English course and started on my weekly science course. I was fucking determined. I got maybe halfway through it when I heard the band come in and see me sitting on the couch.
“Hey, working hard I see.” Matt said.
“Yup; lemme save this shit and I’ll be right now.”
“How is it compared to actual school?” Alex asked.
“Well I finished English for the week and I’m about halfway through my science lesson for the week so I much prefer it to be honest.” I said slowly as I finished the worksheet and submitted it, then saving my progress. “Okay, let’s go; oh by the way, Matt, Trevor, your dad is home.”
“Huh?” Matt asked.
“Yeah from like his trip or whatever; we had lunch together.”
“Shit where was he?” Trevor asked.
“I don’t know; I was doing science, on the couch, may I throw in there. I was pretty pre-occupied.”
“I’m sure he’ll come down later.” Matt said as we walked into the studio.
“Okay, Bethany, you’re up.” Alex said.
“Excuse me?” I asked.
“Yeah, like your set list.” Trevor said, sitting down, smirking at me.
“Like I actually have to practice this shit?” I asked.
“Uh, yeah.” Tim said.
“Shit; lemme call fucking Jake then.”
“Who the hell is Jake?” Matt asked.
“The kid from the show.” I said, watching Trevor tense up. “Chill the fuck out Trev, it’s not like I’m inviting Damian over too.” I said, rolling my eyes. “Jake, hey; can you meet me at my place? Yeah no, not my parent’s, Trevor’s. Yes, you know him…okay see you soon.”
“Alright well you have shit you can do without him, right?” Tim asked.
“Yeah; new shit too.” I said, rolling my eyes. “Okay, I need someone to like put my music on.” I said.
“Where is it?” Matt asked.
“In the fucking player.”
“Which one?” Matt asked.
“Shit, the second one.” Matt hit play and I heard Stand in the Rain come one and I smiled.
“Alright…” Tim said, turning it up.
“She never slows down…she doesn’t know why but she knows that when she’s all alone, feels like it’s all coming down, she won’t turn around, the shadows are long and she fears that if she cries that first tear, the tears will not stop raining down, so stand in the rain…”

My head snapped up when I heard her almost scream the first line of the chorus. I had no idea how much of a voice she had on her but I felt like I was about to find out.
“She wants to be found, the only way out is through everything she’s running from, wants to give up and lie down, so stand in the rain, stand your ground, stand up when it’s all crashing down, stand through the pain, you won’t drown, and one day what’s lost will be found, you stand in the rain.” I watched as I heard the emotion almost flowing out of her, almost like she felt, like she knew every word, and she was  clinging onto it with everything in her.
“Damn, nice.” We all turned and saw Jake. “Hey, uh Bree let me in I think her name was; I’m Jake.” I saw from the corner of my eye, Bethany waving him in. Everyone introduced themselves and I only stared at him. “Yeah you must be Trevor.” He finally said.
“Shit, Bethany wasn’t kidding when she said you didn’t like me.”
“Trevor, I swear to god, let the fucking kid in the studio.” Bethany said into the mic.
“Who is he?” Matt asked, looking at me. “And why do you not like him?”
“He’s Damian’s best friend; Bethany’s ex’s best friend.”
“Ohh…the kid that was rapping at the last show…” They went on to go over their same song from the last show and we were all hanging around, listening and watching her in there with some other guy was almost making me mad. Not jealous mad, but the way they had the chemistry together was almost painful to watch. You could tell they’ve done this together before. I mean, not relationship, but this music thing. For whatever reason seeing her with her ex’s best friend made me uneasy, and seeing this made me even more uneasy.
After that song, she went over my song she made her own and I was smiling as she literally got very into it; like body, hands, facial expressions, literally every part of her got into the song and you could tell she was nailing everything; she never needed to practice shit. She went over a couple more songs we had heard before but then she came running out, slapping her hand on the stop button.
“What was that?” Tim asked.
“No one is allowed to hear the last song.” She said, shaking her head. “A girl needs to have some surprises.”
“Why does that sound so familiar…?” I joked. Bethany smirked at me and made her way back into the booth.
“Uh, you’re more than welcome to hang around if you want.” Matt said, turning to Jake.
“Thanks man, but I actually have somewhere to be.”
“Oh, where to?”
“Damian’s…” I heard his name and I turned around. “Look, dude, I’m literally here as a favor to Beth, that’s it, no Damian included.”
“I’m aware. She made that very clear to me. But it still weirds me out.” 
“It would weird me out too so no hard feelings okay?”
“Okay.” I finally said, shaking his hand before he left.
“Dude, why do you look so uneasy with him around?” Matt asked.
“Something about him isn’t sitting right with me.” I said slowly.
“Well, let it go, we have shit to do.” Matt said, pushing me into the studio.  
We practiced until 9, like the whole break down kind of practice, a couple broken down run through’s, and then just like yesterday, at the end we did one whole run through, no stopping. We all started packing up after and cleaning as Bethany just hung back staring at the last song she had that was just blank.
“Do you want to go over it?” I asked her.
“No, I can’t. I will on my own time to be honest. I don’t want anyone to hear it yet.” She said, shrugging.
“But no one will listen.”
“Between you and Matt, I don’t trust it. I just need to make some tweaks on it anyway before it’s perfect.”
“If you say so.” I said as Alex and Tim said goodbye, making their way out.
“Why don’t you like Jake?” Bethany asked after Matt had gone upstairs.
“I know you don’t like him; why?”
“I don’t know to be honest; I got this really uneasy feeling when he walked in, I felt it the whole time he was here, when he was talking to you, me even…something isn’t sitting right about him with me.”
“Is it like the idea of Damian?”
“I don’t know to be honest; something just doesn’t feel right.”
“So you’d rather me not talk to him?”
“I would like that, but he’s your friend, not mine.”
“Trevor, if it bothers you that much, and you really feel that strongly that something is off, then I am going to trust you and stop talking to him.”
“What? Really?”
“Yeah, I’ll just text him now and tell him never mind about Friday, I needed to cut a song or some bullshit; it’s not a big deal. You and your trust matters more to me if you really are that uncomfortable and based off your face, I don’t think you could fake it this much, to be honest.”
“So don’t even worry about it, okay?”
“Thanks babe.” I said slowly.
“Hey, relax, calm down; he’s not here anymore, it’s you and me now, that’s it, okay?”
“Alright...we should head upstairs, maybe get some dinner.”
“Yeah, and maybe some tea.”
“You and your fucking tea.” I said, half joking.
“Hey, that shit helps and I’m making you some.”
“Fine babe.” I said when we got upstairs. I saw my dad and smiled, forgetting everything that was bothering me before.
We spent the next couple hours talking with my dad while Bethany made all of us tea. Matt, Bree, Alexis, my mom, all of us; it was nice to have the whole family back together again, and yeah, Bethany included. She was a part of the family to me. She was sitting on my lap while the rest of us were around the table and it honestly felt perfect for the few hours before heading upstairs to bed with her.  

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