Chapter 2. Yay. :/ This is my fault, but I accidentally kept switching back and forth between present and past tense. I'll fix it later.
This chapter's in Dare's perspective. His chapters will mostly be like the Rock Band comic, but slightly different just so it makes more sense in written form. :M
Name: Dare Cromwell. Age: eighteen-years-old as of September 4th. Grade: Senior. Place of Residence: Boston, Massachusetts. Likes: music. Dislikes: stereotypes. Hair: naturally black. Eyes: blue. Stature: short.
That should cover the basic analysis of me. Although, “short” may not be the best word to describe my stature. A word more like “really-short-guy-who-is-also-really-skinny-and-lanky-because-he-has-a-high-metabolism” would fit better. But sometimes words like that aren’t in the dictionary.
I swear I am the shortest guy in the 12th grade. No, wait. Scratch that. Randy Schlichting was 5’5 last year. My money’s on that he grew over summer and now he’s like, six foot a million. At just under 5’6, I’m towered over by freshman for crying out loud. I was really hoping that I’d at least grow an inch over my high school career.
The sound of my alarm clock woke me up. …mostly. The sound of my aunt banging on my room door woke me up the rest of the way.
“Dare Cromwell, get your ass out of bed!”
She muttered something like “that boy sleeps harder than a rock” under her breath. I’m pretty sure she meant “sleeps like a rock,” but saying nonsensical things was one of her charms.
“Auntie, I’m up. I’ll be down in a sec, okay?” I yelled above her fervent pounding. I slipped a black t-shirt onto my torso, and put on a pair of ripped, navy blue jeans. As I tromped down the stairs, I fastened a black-and-white studded belt onto my pants.
Some would call what I wear “emo.” Others would call it “goth.” I called it “black is such an easy color to match with.” Heck yes. But I’m still labeled as emo, despite my explanation for what I wear. I guess I have my piercings to blame for that. In 9th grade, I got my ears pierced. In 10th, it was my nose. And later that year, my ears again. But that’s it, I promise! I was actually a little surprised my aunt let me go through with it. But then again, she’s pretty loose for an adult.
My aunt was in the middle of making scrambled eggs when I got to the kitchen. I wanted to sit down and have breakfast with her, but I was already running late. I grabbed a bagel from the pantry and started toward the door.
“Hey, where do you think you’re going, kiddo?” she asked, jabbing the spatula she was holding in my direction.
“Rick wanted to walk to school with me today, so I gotta go before I’m late,” I replied.
She looked at me pleadingly. I groaned. “Bye Auntie, I loooove youuuu,” I kissed her on the cheek and grinned quickly before dashing out the door.
I’ve been living with my aunt for as long as I can remember. She said we moved to Boston back when I was three years old. I haven’t seen my parents since we moved away, so I remember basically nothing about them. In fact, I’m not entirely sure why we moved away. The topic is pretty hush-hush, I guess. Which doesn’t really make much sense considering it’s relating to my life, but whatever. Auntie’s always been like my mom to me, so it doesn’t upset me too much that I don’t have parents.
The two of us live together in a little town house outside of Boston. My aunt’s got a job at a local restaurant/bar called Charlie’s Pub. The owner’s been friends with Auntie since… basically forever. Or as long as I’ve known, at least. The owner’s a really friendly, hardworking guy. He started the business from nothing, so he’s a respectable dude.
I work at Charlie’s Pub, too. I’ve been helping out there since I was in 8th grade. When I was in 10th grade, I actually started getting paid. Auntie doesn’t make much at Charlie’s Pub, but I know she’ll never leave her job there. I try to help out by putting my money into use for groceries, but she tells me repeatedly to keep my money for things I want. We may not have all kinds of fancy computers and cars, but we get by alright, and I’m happy with how we live.
I hopped onto the doorstep to Rick’s house and knocked a couple times on the door. His mom answered.
“Good morning, Dare,” she greeted me. “Rick’s still getting ready. He’ll be down in a moment or two.”
Sure enough, he came trotting down the stairs.
“’Morning, Dare,” he said, securing his grey cap on his head. He gently pushed his light blonde hair out of his eyes.
I smiled, and gestured for him to come down the sidewalk with me. Rick’s been my best friend since he moved here in the 4th grade. He’s a little bit shy and a little bit wimpy, but he’s the nicest guy I know. I’ve never seen him yell or insult anyone, and he never curses. Like, whoa. He’s also got a great relationship with his mom and pop.
It was in the 9th grade when Rick told me he was gay. The news initially shocked me, obviously. It kind of weirded me out that my best friend suddenly wanted to do it with guys. But I realized later that year that it wasn’t like that at all. He didn’t suddenly change; he was the same guy I’d known for five years. The same shy, awkward, and friendly guy. Except he didn’t like girls. Rick told me he wasn’t gay because he wanted have sex with guys, he just wasn’t interested in girls. There’s a stern difference.
Either way, Rick’s to shy and innocent to do anything like that with anyone.
I don’t think that’s all there is to it, though. My hunch is that Rick’s got a crush on some guy in the school. He always denies it, but I have an idea of who it might be.
“Oh! Dare,” Rick chimed, breaking me from my thoughts. “I saw something interesting on the school corkboard, yesterday…”
He began pulling things from his bag. Hmm. Corkboard was a weird word. And who really calls it that, anyways? Well, I guess Rick does... I always call it the bulletin board.
“Isn’t it called a bulletin board?”
“Huh? Well… I don’t know. I guess. I call it the corkboard,” he replied. “Anyways, look at this.”
He held a piece of paper titled “You Could Be in a Band!”
“What the… What is this?” I asked. I scanned the paper.
You Could Be in a Band!
Local band Something Impossible is looking for a bassist! If you’re interested, just fill out this paper and send it to **** Bkry Ln. Or call Michka Morris at ***-****.
Name: Dare Cromwell
You Could Be in a Band!
My reading came to a halt. “Rick, what the hell is this?!” I hollered and snatched the paper out of his hands. I skimmed the rest of the paper.
Name: Dare Cromwell
Instrument experience: Played bass guitar for 5 years
Current Job: Student
Contact Information: ***-***-****
Name: Dare Cromwell
My 11th grade yearbook picture was taped in the spot for “photo.”
“What the hell is this?!” I repeated. I shot my eyes at Rick. “Did you fill this out?”
“Yeah, I did. I thought you might be interested, so…” he trailed off. He nervously pushed his hand through his light hair.
I sighed, and took another look at the flyer. It was beyond me why it was necessary to know my height… I was also kind of surprised Rick knew how long I’ve been playing bass.
“Dude. Where’d you get this picture of me?”
“Oh, your aunt gave it to me last year. I guess she had extras, or something,” he answered. “So what do you think? Do you want to do it?”
Rick was beaming. Obviously, he was more excited than I was. I sighed again.
“Eh.” I grunted.
“Is that a ‘no’?”
“It’s a maybe.” I shoved the paper into my backpack.
“It might be fun.” He gave me a huge grin. “I think it’ll be good for you.”
I didn’t get why he was so excited. I love music and all, but a band…? I don’t know if I could handle it.
“A band, huh? Sounds neat.”
I leaned against my locker, facing Tim. He held the flyer in his hand, reading it carefully.
Tim is one of the cooler guys in the school. I’m actually surprised he hangs with me, considering how much of a geek I am. He also outranks me in tallness; his 5’11 versus my 5’6.
“I dunno…” I replied, dragging out my words.
“Come on, Dare. If Tim says it’s neat, it must be neat,” Rick joked. “I don’t see why you’re so indecisive about this. If you can play an instrument, wouldn’t it be better if people could see how good you play?”
“That’s the thing, Rick. I’m not that awesome on the bass. I mean, I can play, but I’m not like, some sort of freakish bass genius or anything.” I slumped my shoulders over. “There are a ton of kids who can play better than me, anyways.”
Tim folded the paper over and handed it back to me. “Well, do whatever you want. I think it’d be cool. You love music, don’t you?”
The warning bell rang overhead.
“Hey, I’m going to class now,” Tim announced and gave a slight wave of his hand. “I’ll see you later.”
“Yeah, I’m going too. See you at lunch, Dare.” Rick waved, and followed Tim down the hall.
“See ya,” I said. I stayed behind, pondering.
I do love music. But a band? I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep up with school. And there’s probably someone out there who can play much better than me. Yeah, they could find a better bassist than me, I’d probably just drag them down.
But you know… if I was in a band… I could play my own music. I could make music. I could create something new. A band means I get to actually make what I love. Instead of me listening to someone else’s music, they could be listening to mine.