Jarring me awake is the sudden sound of my alarm. As I fumble to turn it off without lifting my head while I heard the sound of the contents that were on top hitting the floor as I pushed them out of the way. I laid there for a moment or two listening to the quiet still sleeping house wondering why I had set my alarm on the weekend. Turning over on my side I tried unsuccessfully to fall back to sleep but unlike my brother I can’t fall asleep at the drop of a hat. So instead I sat up, stretching as soon as my feet hit the wooden floor boards.
Shuffling around my slightly messy room I found a pair of pajama pants that my mother deemed us to wear outside of our rooms since the last time I came downstairs at noon in only my boxers in a tired haze when she had guests over. They weren’t the only ones that were surprised that morning. I almost dropped the carton of juice I was drinking out of when I realized that had walked by Alliesort’s mom and my mom having lunch as they discussed the community center being renovated.
The sun was just starting to come up as I made my way to my father studio that also housed the gym equipment. To my surprise my brother was out there already, strumming away on a guitar quite unsuccessfully as he produced sounds with it that sounded remotely like a wounded cow with a voice box. “What are you doing out with that Roux?” I asked him feeling concerned for the guitar as he continued on, making the poor thing sound as if it were weeping.
“Playing it, what does it look like?” He snapped as I guess I broke his concentration. “Playing wasn’t a word that I would use to describe what you are doing right now.” I retorted back as I walked over to the treadmill. “I don’t understand how you and Fade can make this look so easy.” He grumbled under his breath as he got up and put the guitar back on its stand, I could almost hear it breathe a sigh of relief before I shifted my attention back to my brother.
“Have you even been asleep yet bro?” I asked him as I noticed the dark circles under his eyes as he looked at me tiredly. “No, not yet I’ve had a lot on my mind last night.” He said as he sat down almost dejectedly on the teal couch. “Like what?” I asked him as I began to run.
“That girl Shiraz, I just…I just can’t get her out of my mind. I tried talking to her and she just makes me feel like everything I ever done was stupid. Which makes me feel stupid and then that makes me angry. And then…wait why am I even talking about this with you? It’s not like you’ve ever really dated before since you and Alliesort have been together since the dawn of time. I’m going to take a nap then drive out to Candy’s” My brother said as he strode out of the studio.
Umm ok? I thought to myself wondering how he was going to get our mother’s approval to take a trip out to see our cousin in Sugar Valley as I continued on with running and the rhythmic movement numbing my mind against any anger I had towards my brother’s attitude of me as I turned up the treadmill so go faster. I try not to let things like that bother me in attempts to control a few anger issues I have.
By the time I had finished lunch I was ready and on my way out the door hanging out at Alliesort’s house under the watchful eyes of her mother that had undoubtedly heard the stories about my brother’s escapades. Who watched my every move after answering the door and reminded me that I was not close Alliesort’s bedroom door for any reason before allowing me to go upstairs to her room. As I thudded up the stairs in my boots I knew that Mrs. Licorice was watching me as she planned out ways to pop into Alliesort’s room to check on us.
As soon as I opened the door to Alliesort’s bedroom she greeted me like we hadn’t just seen each other the other night when she was over my house with her standup bass. As it stood in the corner of her room it was a reminder of what first attracted me to her beyond her looks.
The way she played whether classically or retro slap style with the look of concentration when she played was nothing short of beautiful as the music she made with the bass. Her knowledge and ability to write her own music had impressed me as I thought quickly back then of a way to spend more time with her without coming out right asking her out as I felt like I was running out of reasons to hand out with being obvious.
“So... Um… I’m thinking…I’m thinking of starting a band…Do you…You wanna join?” I asked her nervously when I was over her house after being assigned in our music class for a project together focusing on my notebook in front of me as I nervously looked up from it. For a moment she just continued writing as if she didn’t hear me before she put down her pencil and looked me right in the eyes with her sapphire ones “Yes I would like to go out with you Friday night and I’ll join your band.” She said almost uncertainly as if she would regret what she had said before she laughed at me and what I guess was a surprised look on my face as my mouth hung wide open as she turned back to her work.
Two years and three drummers later we were still together as a couple and a band. Unlike my father I could actually carry a tune singing and Alliesort wasn’t that bad herself though she’d rather write the songs and hide behind her large bass than actually have to sing them. The only time she would sing was when it was just the two of us in my father’s sound proof studio. Though right now she moved to sit on her bed with a pencil in her hand as she opened up her notebook and excitedly said “So I’ve been working on a new song that I really think you’ll like a lot Ashy.”
Moving across the room I joined Alliesort as I sat on her bed next to her as she excitedly began to explain her idea. With her face bent down toward her note book a few stray hairs fell forward obscuring the lines of her face so I brush them aside with my hand making her look up at me while blushing. “Ash…” She said as her cheeks reddened more as smile tugged at her glossy bright pink lips.
I felt a smile of my own coming on while I slowly said her name before I began to chew on my lip as I let my fingers trail down her arm till they reached her hand and I pulled her close for a kiss just as her mother walked through the door. “Snacks!” Mrs. Licorice proudly exclaimed as she wielded a tray full of them. Without hesitation Alliesort and I inched away from each other at the sound of her voice as her mother because to talk about the snacks she brought up and about the opening of the community center pool in a few days.
Through the rest of the afternoon in between Mrs. Licorice’s interruptions we were able to work on the new song that Alliesort had written and agree on the melody of another by the time the sun was setting. “So you want to go to that party up at Peach’s house?” I asked her hoping her mother wouldn’t burst in at any moment and insist that I’d stay for dinner. It wouldn’t have been all that bad, if Mrs. Licorice didn’t have the keen ability to burn water, not even Alliesort could stand her cooking. “Sure, fine.” She said shortly with an annoyed sigh as she snapped her book shut. “What’s wrong? You want to stay here all night?” I asked her as I stood up and stretched.
“You know I don’t like how Peaches practically throws herself at you.” Alliesort said a bit darkly while making a face. “Alliesort she does that to every guy she comes in contact with you’ve seen how she behaves around Roux. Besides she is kind of dating Spumoni and I know he is going to want to play at the party so we do have to make some sort of appearance. Besides we can always leave after a few songs.” I pointed out knowing that our drummer wanted to show off a bit for Peaches since they had recently started dating.
“Fine, let’s go before my mom tries to get us to eat whatever she is concocting down there.” She agreed reluctantly as we began to leave. Quickly sneaking past the kitchen Alliesort yelled over her shoulder while we crossed the threshold “I’m going out mom, be back later!” But there was no wretched scents coming from the kitchen as her mother sat in the dining room enthralled with the News on the TV as we only heard a snippet of something that I knew we would be discussing in school come Monday. “It is with great sadness and regret that I will now make this announcement. For almost 18 years now I have been your leader so it is no easy decision to make that this would be my last term. In the fall we will be having our bi-annual elections but this year will be the first year in almost two decades that I will not be casting my ballot in. I can only hope that our next leader will continue to lead our country in a way that will continue to…”
At the party it was loud and crammed with the base from the music making the windows barely vibrate. Among the usual things that were done at high school parties when parents were out of town Peaches had a bubble blowing station set up in her spacious living room.
“Oh My Berry you made it!” She exclaimed before giving me a instead of accepted the wave I tried to offer while Alliesort almost shot daggers from her eyes at that sight. “Oh and Hi Alliesort.” She said flatly when Peaches saw her standing there before she went off to greet some other guest that had arrived behind us.
As promised we didn’t stay for long only playing a set with our drummer who had an area set up in Peaches’s backyard. Even though it was just for a party consisting of friends and people from my previous school there as nothing like the rush I got from being in front of everyone with my guitar as I sang letting everything else just slip into the background.
When we finally wrapped everything up and were getting ready to leave I asked Alliesort “So what do you feel like doing now?” Without hesitating she answered “I want to go somewhere quieter with not as many berries around.” And as I held her an idea popped into my head as I said “I think I might know of a place like that.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me Ashen.” Alliesort said as she soon found herself at our local pool way after hours. “Oh come on it’ll be fun.” I replied trying to assure her. “What are we going to go swimming in?” She asked resistantly though she looked over at the pool curiously “I’m sure we’ll think of something.” I said teasingly to her as her face begun to turn red again as I began to strip down to my boxers before I jumped in and eventually she followed suit.
The water lapped in between our bodies that were only clad in our undergarments. Slipping me arm around her I pulled her close enough to press my forehead against hers while looking into her eyes. “Hi.” I said quietly with the soft sound of the water in the light breeze that had started to blow around when the sun began to go down. Even though there was barely any light out I knew that once again I made Alliesort blush again. Her shy and almost innocent ways always brought a smile to my face.
“Hi.” She said back to me her voice as low as my own before I began to kiss her starting out gently before eventually turning into something deeper as our hands began to roam each other’s bodies only momentarily though because I knew that any further and Alliesort’s already blushing beauty might turn permanently crimson in doing things that she and maybe I might now be completely ready for. But before I or she could pull away from each other a bright light shined down upon us.
“What do the two of you think you are doing trespassing on private property?” A voice asked us as we both turned to look up at where the light was coming from. A guy that didn’t appear too old and probably the same age as Roux stood shining a flashlight on us I saw before he finally pointed it somewhere else as Alliesort and I climbed out of the pool. “Nothing, we we’re just getting ready to leave.” I said as I groped around for my clothes in the darkness.
“Yeah like you and your floozy were really just going for a quick dip. Look I wasn’t born yesterday kid I know what the two of you were doing here.” The security guard said rudely to us. “What did you say?” I asked outraged as I felt my temper begin to boil. “I saaiidd you and your floo…” He started to say obnoxiously but I didn’t let him get that far before I punched him square in his face. As he began to go down I grabbed him up by his collar with both hands and then held him up with only one as I began to continue to bludgeon him with my fist. “ No! Stop it, stop it now!” I heard Alliesort’s voice coming at me from far away and felt something trying to stop me as things went black for what only seemed a moment before the sound and everything else came back at me full force. The security guard was on the ground cursing me and I was vaguely aware that my shoeless right foot felt extremely sore.
“Let’s go! Now!” Alliesort shouted at me as she continued to try to drag me away with one hand while carrying our clothes and shoes in the other. Through the property we ran until we go back to my car and quickly got in after throwing our clothes on in haste. The sound of tires squealing could be heard outside as I pushed the gas pedal down and we took off.
“Allie… I’m.. I’m sorry that, that happened. I didn’t mean to go all out like that. It’s just…It’s just that when he called you I couldn’t control myself and things got way out of hand.” I tried to say as she sat in the passenger seat as I glanced over at Alliesort, her eyes almost glittered excitedly in the lights we passed as she chewed on her lower lip. “I know and even though I know it’s been almost ages since the last time you got into a fight Ashen I just… I just need you to keep trying harder. Because honestly it makes it hard sometimes to be with you not knowing when the next time you are going to blow up like that at someone or if it is going to be…me.” She said pausing a moment before she said that last word.
For the rest of the car drive back to her house we rode in silence, not saying a word between us. Pulling up to her house I stopped the car and turned it off as she began to get out. Quickly I followed her catching up only to grab her hand. “I’m sorry ok? I can’t say for sure it will never happen again but I can only say that I’ll keep trying.” I said to her as she avoided my gaze while all I could do is lamely repeat “I’m sorry Alliesort.” Before she replied "Maybe I'm not exactly the one you should be apologizing too."
“I’ll call you tomorrow ok?” She said before she turned and slipped silently into her darkened house. Without any goodbye or goodnight kiss I left and drove home. My own house was just as dark and quiet as hers. In the kitchen I found a note and a message on the answering machine that both my parents would be working late. Roux was not home so I could only assume that he was in Sweet Valley hanging out with our cousin Candy as I grabbed something to eat from the fridge.
Tiredly I walked up the stairs and to my room. As I crashed on my bed I could only think of Alliesort non-goodbye as she left me standing there at her door. Try as I might I couldn’t fall asleep nor muster up the motivation to even get changed. When it clicked in my head, an idea that might have been a little crazy or a tad silly but none the less I soon was on my way back out the door driving to Alliesort’s house again.
Scaling the wall of her backyard’s fence easily I silently and quickly crossed her backyard coming to her bedroom window. Arming myself with a few of the pebbles from her landscaping I began to throw them one at a time at her well lit window before she finally came to it and opened it. “Ashen what are you doing here? You’re going to wake my mom up and she’ll have your head for being here at this hour.” She said in a hushed voice with her eyes wide in surprised as she looked down at me still also clad in the clothes she had worn earlier. “Come down here.” I softly called up to her.
“No.” She said as she went to close the window. “If you don’t then I’ll climb up there on your trellis. We’ll be like Romeo and Julep only with Julep being extremely angry at Romeo because of the stupid things that he does sometimes… Oh with love's light wings did I o'er-perch these walls, for stony limits cannot hold love out, and what love can do that dares love attempt. Therefore thy kinsmen are no let to me.” I teased as I began to grab a hold of the trellis to hoist myself up. “Stop it! I’ll be down in a minute.” She whispered down to me before closing her window.
“So what do you want?” She asked me warily after closing her sliding door quietly. “I just wanted to do this.” I replied before giving her a kiss. “Is that all?” She asked after it had ended “Maybe although I have to admit that I don’t like you being mad at me.” I said not letting her easily escape from my arms. “It’s not that I’m mad at what you did tonight it’s more like I am disappointed. You could have seriously hurt that guy.” Alliesort argued though I could feel her relaxing as I held her. “I know.” Was all I could say as I buried my face in her braided hair that smelled sweet and sugary almost like a Candy Shoppe wishing more than anything that things had not ended like they had at the pool.
For the rest of the night we sat quietly on her deck and watched as the sun began to rise while Alliesort started to fall asleep, not caring about anything else for those few moments besides the fact that we were there together.