Chapter Two: The Day Off, or And Then I Was Really Stupid and Drooled on my Arm
I rolled over and blinked slightly as I realized that light was filling the room. Someone should make it illegal for the sun to blind you so early in the morning. You got that, sun? You are now public enemy number one! And I’ll deal with you soon!... Right after I finish sleeping. I pulled my blanket over my head and closed my eyes again. My peaceful sleep was quickly ended as I was greeted with a pillow to the face once again. I groaned.
“Brian, why do you hate me?” I groaned again.
“Because it’s nine thirty and you should be up.”
“After yesterday? No.” I rolled over and closed my eyes.
“It’s not like we let you drink in public… Or at all…”
“I smell like toxic death…”
“And this is news to you?” Brian laughed.
I pulled my blanket off my head and sat up, “Not like my normal smell… Something more…. markery smelling?”
“Face…” Brian started cracking up. “So funny!”
“Why are you laughing? I wanted to sleep!”
Brian tossed another pillow at me.
“What was that for?”
“Get up and look at your face.”
“I don’t wanna get up…” I groaned and flopped back on my pillows.
Brian chuckled, “Yes, you do. I promise.”
“Fine, if you promise,” I rolled my eyes before rolling out of bed, “I think you inherited Kevin’s busted arm syndrome.”
Brian examined his arm, “Nope, doesn’t look busted to me.”
I shook my head as I walked toward the door, “Not the busted part, I meant the anal part that AHHHHHHH!!!”
Brian started laughing again. “Face!... Hilarious!”
I stared at the mirror in front of me. Why was my face black? Why was my face black? Why was my face black? Why was it… markery smelling? “Why does my face smell like marker?!?!”
“Why does your arm look like someone slobbered on it?”
“Shit!” I stared down at the scribbled mess that was my arm.” Shit! I needed that!”
“Needed what, Nick?”
“On my arm! Her number was on my arm! And I can’t call her if I don’t have her number!”
“Okay Nick, calm down. Let’s think this through. Whose number?”
“That’s a girl… You didn’t tell me about a girl!”
“Well, I danced with a lot of girls.”
“But you remember this one’s name!”
“She invited me to a party.”
“On a Monday? That’s a school night.”
“It’s a college party.”
“Like an apartment party?”
“Something with pies and carps…”
“Pie and seafood? Not my choice of a good meal, even at a college party...”
“Maybe she said ‘parks’…”
“That doesn’t make sense either, Nick.”
“What about pie cans? Like a big party where everyone makes pies from canned pie mix?”
“Like pumpkin pie?”
“Yeah, I mean, isn’t that what you’re supposed to do with jack o’ lanterns when Halloween is over? Mash the skin and bake it in a pie?”
“Oh yeah, Nick, especially the rotted ones! They’re delicious!”
“Now you’re making fun of me.”
“You use the insides of fresh pie pumpkins, Nick.”
“Like you cut open the pumpkin and there’s a pie inside?”
Brian put an arm around me, “Maybe you should spend less time rambling and telling me about the party she invited you to and more time telling me about her.”
“Well, she rambles too… a lot.”
“Is that different from your rambling?”
“It’s more… long winded?”
“More long winded than you? Is that even possible?” he started laughing again, “I have to meet this girl!”
“I’m not long winded!”
“Have you ever listened to yourself? ‘And I had this dream where I was being chased by gremlins and they were shouting “feed me” and I was screaming and….’ Tell me that’s not long winded.”
Brian grabbed me into a noogie, “You’re just saying that because I told you to.”
I grinned, “Maybe.”
“You’re being extra annoying for this early in the morning,” he laughed.
“You too, especially since you started this by waking me up.” I stuck out my tongue.
Once again, Brian reached for it. And as usual, I pulled it back inside my mouth at the last second. You would think this would get old, but it really doesn’t. Brian and I have too much fun for it to get old.
“Missed again!” He shook his head.
“Missed again, like always!” I laughed.
“Want to get breakfast, Nick?”
“When my face looks like this? You’re kidding. I can see the tabloids now… ‘Backstreet Boy Nick Carter Develops New Skin Disease! He was last seen at a local Colorado restaurant with a black, putrid smelling face.’”
“You know? Like vomit.”
“Your face doesn’t smell like vomit, it smells like sharpie.”
“Sharpie… Vomit… Same thing.”
He laughed, “How about room service?”
“Now you’re talking!”
“Let’s get eggs.”
“Pancakes, Brian, Pancakes!”
“Greasy, breakfast cake-like food, perfect for the morning after a Halloween clubbing event!” Brian put his arm around me.
“With extra syrup!” I laughed.
“You really know how to live, Nick,” Brian laughed as he patted my shoulder. “You really know how to live.”
We walked into the living room. AJ and Kevin were sitting in front of the television. As usual, AJ was busying himself with the remote and the various channels flashing across the screen. Kevin was rubbing his shoulder again, which wasn’t so unusual after yesterday.
“How do you guys feel about pancakes?” Brian called out to them.
AJ stopped scanning the channels momentarily. “After last night? Pancakes sound amazing!” He quickly went back to scanning the channels.
“What time is your appointment, Kev?” I yawned.
Kevin continued rubbing his shoulder gingerly. “Noon… So I guess I have enough time to eat pancakes with you, sleepy head.”
“I didn’t mean me.” I rolled my eyes, “Brian wanted you to eat with him.” I laughed a little.
“Oh…” Kevin looked down as he continued rubbing his shoulder.
I cocked my head to the side slightly. Is he upset about that? I was totally kidding. You know that, don’t you, Kevin? My mouth screwed into a slight frown.
Brian pinched my arm, “You know, you can say things out loud sometimes.”
AJ and Kevin looked up from the television.
“Nick… Why is your face black?” Kevin gave me an odd look.
“I think he has the Black Death!” AJ pointed at me and started laughing.
I rolled my eyes, “The Black Death didn’t turn your skin black, it made it blotchy… And it’s not a disease, it’s sharpie.” I turned to Brian, “And I should have bet you money on what would have happened if we went out to breakfast.”
“But you didn’t,” Brian laughed.
“Wow….” AJ stopped laughing abruptly, “Nick corrected me about something school related?”
Kevin stopped rubbing his shoulder momentarily, “I’m still more concerned that his face is black.”
“Where’s Howie?” I turned my head quickly.
“Still sleeping,” Kevin stared straight at me, “Why is your face black?”
Wow, he just hits hard and fast with the questions! He didn’t even really stop to think about where Howie was… I squirmed. You’re too intense, Kevin. I decided to give him a nice eye roll, “I already told you it was sharpie.”
“You drew all over your face? Wow, that’s a new low, even for you, Nick.” AJ laughed.
“I didn’t draw on my face, I drooled on my arm.”
AJ paused, “Huh… That sounds just as weird.”
“I was sleeping.” I rolled my eyes.
“With a face like that, maybe we shouldn’t call you Kaos…” AJ laughed, “How about Slobber?”
“Or Drooly.” Brian laughed as he picked up the hotel phone from the stand near the bathroom door.
“You guys sure are getting your insults in early today,” I rolled my eyes.
“Well, it’s our day off from work… And each other,” AJ snickered.
“That’s definitely my idea of a day off.” I rolled my eyes.
“Don’t you ever worry that those’ll roll back into your head or something?” AJ responded dryly.
I rolled my eyes again.
“Apparently not,” Kevin chuckled.
I settled into the small space on the couch in-between AJ and Kevin.
“There’s no room for your ass there, Nick,” AJ laughed.
“There is now!” I stuck out my tongue and went to lick him, but he quickly clamped his hand over my mouth.
“And we wonder why people think we’re gay,” he smirked at me.
I licked the palm of his hand.
AJ pulled his hand away quickly and stared me down, “Not cool, Nick.”
AJ shook his hand slightly, “Typical.”
Brian plopped down in the chair across from us, “I got some pancakes, bacon, eggs, toast, orange juice, and milk coming up for everyone. Maybe we can wake D when it gets here?”
“And extra syrup?” I almost bounced in my seat. Pancakes sounded amazingly delicious right about now.
Brian laughed, “I thought that was the whole point of eating pancakes.”
“So, who’s waking D up?” AJ had gone back to surfing the channels.
“Rock, Paper, Sisters!” I shouted.
“I’ll mediate,” Kevin rubbed his shoulder again.
“Let’s go!” I put my fist in front of me.
Brian laughed and AJ shook his head.
“Rock, paper, scissors, shoot!”
Brian and AJ both held out scissors, I had paper.
“Not fair, you two have the same one! Best two out of three! Rock, papers, scissors, shoot!”
This time it was two rocks and a scissor. You guys suck!
“Shoot!” “Shoot!” “Shoot!” You guys suck a lot!
Kevin held his head in his hand, “Nick, just give up.”
“Best fifteen out of twenty! Shoot!”
There was a knock at the door. “Room service!”
AJ pushed me off the couch, “Kevin called it; you lose. Go wake up Howie.”
“But pancakes… And syrup….” I sniffled.
“He’ll love the sight of your face first thing in the morning,” he snickered.
“I hate you all.” I pouted and shuffled toward Howie and AJ’s door.
I sat in the back of a taxi with Billy as it drove down a little highway. I fiddled with a napkin in my hand. “Three-zero-three, five-nine-eight, one-two-two-eight. University of Colorado at Boulder. Pi Kappa Phi,” I mumbled to myself.
“What’s that, Nick?” Billy asked.
“Nothing Billy… I just can’t believe Kevin had this…”
I stared at the smeared mess that appeared on my arm and sighed.
Kevin and I were the only ones in the living room now. I think it was because Kevin had gotten ready hours ago for his doctor’s appointment. He was showered and everything by the time Brian and I walked into the living room this morning to order pancakes. And I was still here because I had lost the rock, paper, scissors competition for the bathroom. Howie was in it now. And next to sleeping in the latest, Howie was known to take the longest showers. And I blame that on his hippie ponytail.
“So are you getting anxious to clean that up?” he laughed.
I shrugged and slumped down on the couch, “I don’t have to be anywhere right away… And if I can’t figure out what this smear used to say, I won’t be going anyway.”
“So you didn’t just draw on your arm for the fun of it?”
“I’m pretty sure that we discussed that I’m nineteen plenty of times yesterday.” I rolled my eyes slightly.
He gave me a smile despite that. “You know, I seem to recall you excitedly coming up to me yesterday blabbering about rocks and pies at the night club.”
“Rocks and pies, huh? Did you worry that I was drunk?”
“You know, I considered it at first, but it was too random even if you had been drunk.” He chuckled, “And then you showed me your arm, so I assumed you were confusing words.”
I lowered my head, “Like ‘resign’ and ‘reside,’ right?”
He chuckled slightly again, “Yes, something like that.”
“I think I remember coming up to you… I know I ran up to Brian and I think you pulled me away then.” I laughed.
“That’s because Brian was entertaining some fans.”
“Wow, I thought all our fans went to bed early on Sunday nights.” I giggled.
Kevin smirked, “I made Brian eat his words.”
“Sometimes you’re almost as much of a prankster as me and Brian!” I kept laughing. That is something Kevin would do, especially when Brian was being anal about it. Man, Kev, no one gives you as much credit as you deserve.
He rubbed his shoulder again, “But since Brian was preoccupied, that meant I had to deal with the rambled mess that was your story about some rabbit, rocks, and pies.” He laughed, “But I had Billy do some research for me.”
I cocked my head, “What kind of research?”
Kevin held out a small napkin, “When you were rambling, I jotted down the phone number on your arm. I figured you’d take a shower and forget about it.” He put his hand to his face to hide his laugh, “I didn’t think you’d slobber all over it though.”
I took the napkin from his hand, after giving him an appropriately timed eye roll. I stared at it for a minute, “This is the phone number that was on my arm?”
He nodded and gave me a small smile.
“Maybe it’s no so bad having you for a baby sitter.” I laughed.
“I’ll remember you said that next time we fight about something,” he smirked slightly.
“University of Colorado at Boulder?”
“I asked Billy to look up any colleges in the state that had names similar to rocks.”
“Wow…” I paused, “Rock and Boulder aren’t really the same thing, are they?”
“No,” Kevin laughed, “But Billy really had your back a couple times yesterday.”
I screwed my mouth slightly as I stared at the napkin, “Pi Kappa Phi? What’s that?”
“You were going on and on about some fraternity party. You mentioned pies and hats. So I figured it was where you were meeting the girl you went on and on about. Billy looked the house up too. I’m impressed he got a real fraternity out of ‘pie hats’.”
I stared at the napkin for a minute and then looked up at him, “Kevin…”
He laughed, “You aren’t going to cry are you?”
“I’m nineteen…” I rolled my eyes.
We both started laughing.
I stopped for a minute, “Hey Kev?”
I leaned my head on his uninjured right shoulder, “Thanks.”
Kevin messed my hair a little, “You’re welcome, Nick.”
I smiled as I kept staring at the note.
Billy knocked my arm lightly, “You can call her.”
I blushed slightly. That was embarrassing. Imagine his reaction if he knew I was actually smiling about Kevin… I shook it off and pulled out my cell phone.
Ring, ring, ring…. And more ringing, and more ringing… And more ringing… Aren’t college girls attached to their phones? Especially ones that are in sororities? Ring? Click? Yes!
“Hey, it’s Nick.”
“Oh, hi, Nick! It’s almost five, so I didn’t think you would call today.”
“Yeah, I just passed this red bridge… Did you want me to meet you at that fraternity?”
“Oh, well, it’s Monday, Nick…”
“Right, you told me to meet you today.”
“Well, I was hoping you would have called earlier… I’m getting ready for Formal meeting right now.”
“Was I supposed to dress in formal wear?” Shit, she didn’t tell me that yesterday.
She laughed, “Not you, silly. The first meeting of every month is Formal, so the entire sorority dresses up in formal clothing and we have a fancy dinner.”
Sounds complicated…. “Oh, when will you be done?”
“Should I turn around?”
“Did you bring a costume?”
“No… it’s still wet…” You should know that, since you did get it wet… My poor, poor Batman costume…
“Okay, great! Go to Crossroads Mall and there should be a Halloween store there… And everything should be on sale! It’s exciting.”
“What are you going as?” I wonder if she has a second costume… that would be amazing. Maybe a devil… or an angel… Or a cat. Girls in college always seem to go as cats.
“Oh, I have another bunny costume. But you should go as whatever you want. Maybe a naval officer? That would be cool. Because you get to be near water and wear a uniform and ride in a boat… Sorry, I’m rambling again.”
“Another bunny costume, huh?” I laughed. She was adorable when she rambled. “Sure, I’ll get a navy uniform… if I can find one, anyway. Sales mean everything’s gone right?”
“Maybe some stuff, but I’ll bet you can find one.” Her voice smiled. “Oh! Do you know how to get to Crossroads Mall?”
“Hang on…” I pulled the phone down and looked toward the taxi driver, “Do you know how to get to Crossroads Mall?”
“You’re going to have to get me directions, sorry.” The driver shook his head, but smiled anyway.
I pulled the phone back to my face, “No, I don’t.”
Billy handed me a pen.
“Okay, take the 36 all the way to the end, and it’ll turn into Twenty-Eighth Street. Keep going to Arapahoe and you’ll see the Crossroads Mall a couple streets up on your right. You can’t miss it.”
I scribbled her directions on the back of the napkin. “Okay, I got it.”
“Great!” she sounded like she was smiling again. “I’ll meet you there around seven, but it might be a little later than that, since I have to get there.”
“That’s fine,” I smiled.
“Are you sure you’ll be okay by yourself?”
I shook my head, “I’ll be fine. I have a friend with me.”
“Oh…” she paused, “I don’t think I can get him into the party… Sorry.”
“Don’t worry,” I smiled, “He’s just here to make sure I got up to…” Rock… Rocks… I looked at the napkin, “Boulder!... okay…”
She giggled, “Alright, Nick. I have to get downstairs for dinner, but I’ll see you soon. I want to take you to this restaurant later, so save room.”
“Okay.” I smiled.
“I can’t wait to see your naval officer costume.”
“You’ll love it.” I couldn’t help but grin.
“Perfect. Bye bye.” The line went dead.
I put my phone back in my pocket.
After Billy finished giving the rushed directions to our taxi driver, he turned back to me. “So I’m your friend now?”
“Well, it wouldn’t go very well if I said my bodyguard followed me up to Boulder so I didn’t get mobbed by crazy fans. That would never impress her!”
Billy laughed, “Nick, I think you’re turning into a hopeless case. All for a frat party and a girl dressed as a rabbit.”
“She was…” I paused for a moment, “Sweet. Her rambling made me feel comfortable.”
“That’s because she reminds you of another rambling fool.” Billy gave me a wink.
“Come on, I don’t ramble that much!” I crossed my arms and sulked. I was just getting it blow for blow lately about the rambling and being nineteen. What next? Being blond?
Billy shook his head, “Someday, you’ll look back on all the times everyone teased you and laugh.”
“Ha, ha. Like that?” My voice dripped with sarcasm, even I could hear it. I cringed a little. I hate to admit it, but I hated getting moody when everyone made fun of me. I sulked further into my seat anyway.
“Cheer up, Nick. There’s a bunny coming to meet you in a few hours. Not a Playboy bunny, but I bet you’ll be excited to see her anyway.”
“I am excited to see her.” I decided to keep sulking. That’s what you get Billy! I’ll teach you to pretend you’re AJ! And then I’ll teach AJ!
“Your face doesn’t look it.” He laughed.
I gave him a big grin to appease him.
“And one more thing, Nick.”
“Whaaaaat?” I whined.
“I know I can’t go to the party with you, but I’m going to get you around one, got it?”
“One?” I let out a groan and continued to sulk.
“I wouldn’t complain if I were you, Cinderella only got until Midnight.”
“Fine…” I rolled my eyes and sat up. “Why one?”
“The bus leaves at four.”
“Can’t the bus stop by and pick me up?”
Billy shook his head, “You can’t inconvenience everyone else.”
I opened my mouth.
“Or make Brian pack your stuff.” Billy interrupted.
I crossed my arms again and pouted. Damn, he had a point.
“I’ll be there at one, got it?”
I sighed and rolled my eyes, “I got it, I got it…”
Who cares if Cinderella only got until midnight? Cinderella didn’t go to a frat party.