August & Beau, Briar: 39, Lexie: 22, Brayden Blackwell-Day: 3, Darius: 32, Seth: 65 Siobhan: 63 (and yes, Winter and Pax are dead now. Ghosts in my game. ;D )
I’d been working on this animation project for weeks. I’d even brought some of it home with me. As my Uncle Darius always complained, I was basically married to work. I’d been living with him and his wife, Bernadette, ever since I started college four years ago because:
- Two dads who were always hot for each other made me very uncomfortable. It was bad enough I had to suffer through their honeymoon phase, shuffling between my mom’s and their penthouse. But once they got a kid? I was out of there.
- Mom was just as bad since she got married to Jack. He moved here a few years ago since he was a lawyer and could basically live anywhere. He popped the question and now, yeah. Make out city. I was so done with all the smoochy stuff floating around me. And for some reason, I wasn’t interested in dating. Not after Cory. I mean, who could measure up to him? No one. Plus, I didn’t have time. With all my art classes, computer projects, plus a side job working at a comic book store, I was not about to shoehorn in a boyfriend. And then I landed my dream job at Chicken Tooth Animation Studio and the rest is history.
Yeah, I was pretty much living like a nun. A 3-D animator nun.
I’d been meaning to move out, but hey, the rent was free and I was too cheap and lazy to get my butt out the door to look for a place. (And I hated thinking about what kind of cockroach infested apartment I could afford in this city.)
Thinking back to my little brother, I’d never forget how ecstatic my uncle and Dad were when my dad’s cousin, Lacey Day (my Great Uncle Eli’s daughter), surprised them with the opportunity to be their surrogate. I thought they were going to rip off each others’ clothing right there. OMG!
I’d never seen such a beautiful woman. Talk about good genes. It seemed she’d just split with her cheating husband of nine years and needed some money. My grandmother put the idea into her mind and she said yes! Cousin Lacey had a nine year old son, Camden, which was an easy birth. (God, I had cousins out the ears on my dad’s side.)
Long story short, a procedure, nine months, and many fretful nights from Uncle Beau’s worrying, out popped a son, Brayden (who was now three years old). He was such a cutie pie. I didn’t mind babysitting for them.
Even though my brother could be a little monster from time to time.
Both Uncle Beau and Dad loved him so much. And sometimes, I felt a bit jealous since I totally missed out on those growing up years with Dad.
But those awful feelings didn’t last very long because I was mostly happy for the kid.
Brayden wasn’t going to be my only sibling, though. Just the other day, I was visiting Mom when I walked in on the two love birds. (I had a knack of doing that for some reason!)
Mom waved her hands like a banshee and gushed, “Guess who’s going to have a baby?” They’d been trying since they tied the knot. Mom was really old for a mother now.
I arched an eyebrow and said, “Of course, Mom. You’ve had that pooch for about a month.” I was thrilled for her, though, even though she was going to be a granny when the kid was my age.
She laughed at my joke then Jack went in for another kiss.
Omg, people. There’s bedrooms for that kind of stuff. It didn’t matter how old I get, I seriously don’t like watching my parents get it on.
Zoning into the present, I slapped my hands on my computer desk. Grr!
Trying to get this computer to obey me was like pulling teeth. I sighed. Then my phone buzzed. Saved from death by annoyance.
“Lex!” my Brindleton bff, Gabby Cook’s voice rang in my ear. “We’re here! Let us up.”
Damn. I totally forgot Gabby and Mariana Sala were coming into town. The reason I forgot? They practically forced me into saying yes to going to a Heartthrob concert. They both would fly out every time the boy band would come to San Myshuno.
Do NOT get me wrong. I’m no Throbber–what’s a Throbber? You know, those weird, maniacle teenyboppers who cry and worship at the feet of five twenty-something, over fluffed guys. They were all chosen based on looks, not talent, so yeah. Not a fan.
I clicked the button and said, “You’re buzzed.”
In a few minutes, Gabby burst into my room. “Oh my LORD, Lex. What the hell are you wearing? You CANNOT be seen looking like that. It isn’t done, my dude. Isn’t done.”
“What? This is my sexiest outfit.”
“Heheheheh…um, Lexie…that is soooo not sexy. Let us into your sanctuary, babe.”
“Aw, c’mon. I know you’ve got good stuff in there.”
“Yeah, Lex,” Mariana chimed in. “This is your first outing and we might get to meet them!”
Snapping, Gabby said, “Straight up! My cousin is going to get us an in with them. We totally could meet THE HEARTTHROBS! Okay…let me at it. Now, girl, before I have to get my ugly on.”
Rolling my eyes and sighing, I relented. “Fine. But I approve before you touch.”
My sanctuary was my huge closet full of thousands of dollars worth of cosplay costumes. Dresses, boots, stilettos, wigs, you name it, I owned it. But some of that stuff was so trampy, I’d never wear it out (well, except at an anime con.)
After several wardrobe changes, we finally agreed on this ensemble. “Lexie, I do NOT know why you won’t wear contacts. Those glasses hide that barbie doll face of yours, hon.”
“I like her in glasses,” Mariana defended.
“Thanks, Mariana,” I said. “Gabs, I feel like I’m walking around naked without them. Just be thankful I’m allowing this. I’m only using these cosplay contacts just this once. They’re kind of scratchy. I hate it.”
“Well, you look like an A Plus Throbber,” Gabby sang.
“Great,” I said, trying hard not to gag.
“Just think. We’re going to meet some famous guys. Maybe we’ll get them to autograph our boobs.” Gabby waggled her eyebrows. “Wouldn’t that be fun?”
“Yeah,” Mariana cheered with a strange look in her eye.
Throbbers. They were the weirdest fandom ever.
“If one of them even tries to look at my boobs,” I hissed, “I’ll deck ’em.”
Wading in a sea of overmade, oversexed teenagers, we milled toward the front. Gabby showed off the front row tickets nearly sticking her tongue out at some of these maniacs as they threw scary darts from their jealous eyes.
I stared at how narcissistic these guys were. I mean, we could see them on the stage, right? Why did they have a huge, 100 foot banner of them right behind? It just didn’t make sense visually to me. And then giant, pink stuffed animal teddy bears loomed over us as decorations. Creepy.
Omg…I couldn’t believe my friends who had grown ass jobs actually were throwing themselves, screaming to tunes like Baby, Baby, Oh Baby, Baby, Baby Love.
Brilliant writing. Right?
Now their dancing wasn’t half bad. I had to admit it. In fact, I’d think I’d died and gone to heaven if I could pull off some of the girations these clowns did. No way was this awkward body ever going to be able to do that.
So, I ignored the cheesy props, cheesy lyrics, and well a whole boatload of cheesy screaming fans and just concentrated on enjoying their dancing.
Then I noticed one of the guys bebopping around in a cute, trendy hat and chic glasses.
My heart seemed to jolt right through my body.
It was like I knew him. Like something was telling me he had some sort of weird connection to me. I mean, I had no idea what this strange feeling was but it was a knowledge. I didn’t know, but it was there like a magnet pulling at my heart.
And then I couldn’t look at anyone else.
And I found myself screaming right along with all the nutjobs around me.
I’d never tell the guys at the office. They’d laugh me to death.
James Sanderson (lead singer of The Heartthrobs)
Just one more hour of sweat, aching muscles, tight throat, squeezing lungs from dancing AND singing, and ear splitting screaming from a whole host of teenaged girls jumping and crying.
I fucking needed a break.
And I’d get one. Just had to gut through this performance. I was going on a six week sabbatical soon.
The lights of the city streamed down beyond the huge, raucous crowd. I did enjoy San Myshuno. The fast pace. The food. The shopping.
Normally, I liked hanging out with my bros, but lately, I’d been feeling stressed out. I was the main producer. The one everyone looked to for inspiration.
But after a six month tour, I was lights out. Nothing creative was coming from me. I’d been reading a self help book about “reimaging”, getting away from everything, and just giving yourself a break from normal life. It sounded radical, but something had to give or I was going to find myself checking out, quitting the band, and sinking into depression.
When I was first chosen to lead The Heartthrobs, I thought all my dreams had come true. Money. Fame. Girls. Yeah, mostly girls. But I found the opposite was true. It was like I’d been handcuffed to work with little time for anything more than sleep, writing and producing songs, constant rehearsals of dance numbers…the list went on.
Only two more songs…that’s what I kept telling myself. And then it was vacation time. A time to hide out and enjoy life incognito.
I couldn’t wait.
Next chapter Monday, June 4th