Tech N9ne- Slacker
"Aww, look how cute you guys look," Tam screams as she holds up a magazine with a picture of Dante and me on the cover. Titled, The Grand Musical Affair.
This summer was surreal. I've never had this much fun before. The shows, the interviews, the people calling out his name. The only thing missing was David. He missed him as much as I do. School starts up again on Monday so he should be here soon and we can't wait to see him. Skype and texting just doesn't cut it.
I take the booklet when she hands it to me. It's a picture of the two of us sitting in the studio when we were in California a week and a half ago. Just before I had to come back for cheer camp He wanted me to help him with their new single. Someone must have snapped a picture of us. I'm standing over a keyboard and he's got his arms around me. He was singing in my ear testing the lyrics to my notes. Notes he can officially read.
"I love this," I smile at her. She does a little dance and jumps on my bed.
"I heard you have been doing great at cheer camp,"
"I am," I say honestly. "I'm having a lot of fun,"
"Have you met with her?" she changes the subject abruptly.
Her meaning my accompanist. Lily De Laughry. I briefly told them I had to get an accompanist but I didn't really want to talk about it and they didn't press it. I've had the entire Summer to get my mind wrapped around the idea of having to share my music with someone else. It's hella personal. A little more than intimate if you ask me. I can be a bit impervious about my music. With my anything really. As an only child, I've never really had to share.
"No, she's been busy. She did the Summer competition to secure her place at the Academy. Mrs. Dubois has been mentoring her,"
"You're not going to get all possessive of Mrs. D giving it to her right?" Kelly says from my writing desk. Tam laughs.
"Is everything that comes out of your mouth a kink shame?" I scoff.
"Oh, come on. I was joking. You are literally the first person I know to go on a Summer Romance with Dante Blackstone and come back home a f*****g virgin,"
"It hasn't happened?" Tam looks over at me with her eyes nearly popping out of their sockets.
"We're waiting for David to come back," I shrug.
"How do you keep your hands to yourself?" she shakes her head.
"I don't. There were a couple of times when I thought it was going to happen but he stopped," I say disappointedly. "He has to be a million times more frustrated than me,"
"f*****g David," Kelly laughs. A tap on my door makes us all look up. Dante opens the door gently and smiles.
"He's here," he announces.
I fight the urge to scream as I bounce off the bed to make sure I look okay. He laughs when I run over to him and jump into his waiting arms. We've gotten ridiculously close this summer. He hoists me up and grabs my thighs as I wrap my legs around his waist. He's always smiling now. A completely different person than he had been before the summer started and I don't want him to go back.
"All I'm saying is that having another human around is going to suck. What if she can't keep up with twinkle fingers? Dante was fighting her for dominance in the studio and he's a god on that guitar," Anthony is ranting to David as the two of them walk into the house.
Dante sets me down at the bottom of the stairs. I finally scream the excitement I've been gathering and run over to him. He laughs wrapping his arms around me. He picks me up and without hesitation, he holds me to him for a kiss.
"That is a hell of a welcome home greeting," Anthony scoffs. "Where was all this enthusiasm when you met Kellin Quinn and Gerard Way this Summer?"
"Do you ever shut up?" I pull away from David to glare at him. He rolls his eyes.
"She got a little giddy for the Pierce the Veil guys," Rudy laughs.
"You call that a little giddy? She refused to shake Vic's hand," he scoffs. The two of them head into the family room.
"Welcome home," I say looking down at David. "You taste like caramel,"
"I was eating candy on my way here hoping to drown out Tony's voice with my chewing," he smirks.
"I heard that," he calls from the other room as David sets me down. Dante comes over to us and smiles. His eyes say everything without him getting a word out. He tips David's head back and brushes his lips over his as gently as he possibly can. I hate it when he does that. It always leaves me feeling tingly and breathless.
"Welcome back," he whispers.
"Now that we're all here," Carter leans against the front door's frame. "We need to talk,"
"f**k," almost everyone groans.
"You couldn't give us until tomorrow?" Dante asks.
"Nope," he pushes off the frame and heads into the family room. I head over to my piano as everyone takes their seats around the room. David sits with me. He bumps me encouraging me to play something.
"I learned a couple of new Jazz pieces," I whisper.
"Is that right? Play something for me then," he smirks.
I lift the cover and run my hands over the keys. Tony starts tapping on the table behind me giving me his request. I start playing Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Marian McPartland.
"We have a s**t ton of problems," Carter announces. He glances over at me. "Do you know any Vijay Iyer?"
"Yes, I do," I nod. I shift to a lower tune and play Human Nature for him. He gives me a nod of approval before he continues. I'm not at all surprised that he likes Jazz.
"The hunters were on the move this Summer. We lost a lot of people. We lost some of the neighboring Hallows. Kels and I have been meeting with Fidel Soiree in the Fringe to try and get back up but have been unsuccessful in getting any volunteers," he sighs. "However, they did send a team of demons,"
"A team of demons?" I ask looking down at my hands.
"Like James," Dante explains. I stop and look back at him.
"James is for real a demon?" I ask. I thought Dante had been joking.
"You didn't tell her? They were making barbeque in the backyard last night," Rudy laughs.
"I did she just chose not to believe me," he grins.
"Abdullah Ibrahim," Carter taps the piano. I take a deep breath and let it out slowly. "It's not like you can change anything,"
"Right," I agree. He's been surprisingly supportive now that I am "Part of the Team". He's still an absolute asshole. That hasn't changed. "Devotion,"
"Don't f**k it up this time," he warns. I glare at him and try to focus on the keys. "I managed to settle some into the Academy. Ashley here has been very helpful in establishing the new Cheer coordinator. Since the Dean retired, I put Harrison Moore in his place,"
"Good s**t, Car," Kelly praises him. The others grunt their approval. I had no idea the new cheer coordinator was a demon. She's literally the nicest person I've ever met. So is James.
"The rest are scattered in maintenance and fifth-floor staffing," he continues. "James will be on campus now. He wanted kitchen duties. I thought it would be great to get him out of the house as well. That wasn't too bad, Villanueva. You didn't make me want to puke this time,"
"f**k you, Carter," I scoff. The others laugh.
"Ooo, try Polka Dots And Moonbeams," Anthony suggests. "I love that one,"
"None of you are allowed to leave the school without telling anyone and without a partner. I've set a perimeter around the school. James set up the formations so don't ask. If one of the demons catches one of you, you will be administered a sleepy time shot and taken back to your room,"
"A sleepy time shot," I laugh. He glares at me.
"I'm serious," he huffs.
"I know. It makes it that much funnier," I shrug.
"What about David?" Dante laughs.
"Teegan was accepted into H.U. He's setting him and his sister up in his apartment building,"
"Sister?" Dante and I ask at the same time. I stop playing and look over at him.
"Yeah," he groans. "A few things happened over the summer. Uh, I found out that my dad was remarried last year and I now have a step-sister. Avery and our parents thought it would be in her best interest if we went to school together,"
"You're on babysitting duty?" Tony snorts. "That blows,"
"You're on Ashley's babysitting duty," Rudy reminds him.
"Yeah, but Ash and I are bros. His thing sounds like a nightmare," he retorts. I pick the next song and start the music up again.
"This is one of my favorites," James appears in the doorway. "Round Midnight Michel Petrucciani,"
"Point for our demon butler," I nod. He bows and makes his way around us to get to the kitchen.
"Avery isn't that bad. Since we're the same age, my dad wants us to get along. She was in a car accident with her dad a couple of years ago and he didn't make it. He was the former Senator of Texas so she's majoring in Political Science,"
"Aww," Tam coos. "I can't imagine seeing my dad die. I love him. That would f**k me up pretty bad,"
"When do we get to meet her?" I ask. He tenses up and turns around to face everyone.
"David's family doesn't know he's with Dante," Carter informs me.
"Oh," I look over at him. "So, we don't tell her. I mean she's going to wonder why you're over here all the time,"
"I don't know. I don't want her to see something she's not supposed to,"
"You do know Teegan growls in his sleep right?" I ask him.
"Shut up. I do not," Teegan growls from the library. We all laugh. "And we're going to be in the same apartment building. Not the same apartment,"
"How do you know he growls in his sleep?" David asks.
"He had the room next to me in LA. There were a lot of strange noises coming out of his room," I laugh.
"f**k off," Teegan groans. It sounds like he's covering his face with a pillow. "I heard stuff too. Your f*****g giggling is annoying,"
"No, it's not," Dante laughs. "She's not wrong, there were a lot of weird noises,"
"I liked him more when he was miserable. You took that from us, Villanueva. Never forget," he appears at the doorway. "Are you staying here the rest of the weekend or are you coming with me?"
"He's staying," Dante answers for David.
"What about your sister?" I ask.
"She's not flying in until tomorrow night,"
"Quick play something fast," Teegan points at me. I laugh and start the intro to Roses by Outkast.
"Caroline!" Anthony and Teegan sing at the same time. Everyone laughs.
"This is fun," Teegan points at us. "Beli wanted me to tell you guys that she is doing great in the Southside. Tony, she got the parts you asked for. She says you didn't pay her to deliver s**t and if you want to pick them up do it before Friday or she's going to sell them,"
"Going right now," he gets up.
"What are you working on?" Kelly asks. Both Carter and Anthony tense up.
"They're not for me. They're for James. He wants to upgrade some stuff on the Phantom," he answers without looking in her direction. "Who wants to go for a drive?"
Things got out of hand before she and Carter departed for their Summer vacation. Anthony put a gun in her face and told her to f**k off when she showed up at his date with some girl from H.P. He said it wasn't the first time she's shown up to ruin one of his dates. She had made it very clear that she was choosing Carter over him at David's graduation party. He asked me what I thought and I told him he should set some boundaries. I had no idea he would use a gun to do it. Carter told him off and if Dante hadn't been there, Anthony would have killed him. I loved seeing Carter realize that he'd never be able to best Anthony.
"I'm dropping off Tam. I'll come with," Rudy stands up. "Is there more, Car?"
"No, just be careful out there. You're both strapped, right?" he asks them.
"Yeah," they answer.
"Bye, guys," Tam waves at us. She rushes after the two of them. "Can we stop for milkshakes?"
"Is the sky blue?" Anthony counters.
"Did your guy get anything off those laptops?" Dante asks Carter.
"Some information on the targets that c***k we worked over had. Whoever she was here to see, nothing," Carter shrugs. "There's a new girl down in the Fringe. Her name is Jasmine Porter. We sent her the laptops. Soiree thinks she can get them back online to hack the hunter's database,"
"Nice," Teegan nods. "So, what? Soiree giving you the job or what?"
"She offered a job," Carter shakes his head. "I didn't take it,"
"Why not?" David asks.
"I like doing this s**t on my own. If I work for them, I'll have someone yapping in my ear and taking up my time. I got better s**t to do. That and my mom is pushing me and Tiff for the f*****g founders festival bullshit. Danny, you guys gotta participate this year. Ash, Kels, you're going to have to let Tiff teach you this s**t,"
"Aww, man. The last thing I want is to hang out with your sister," Kels groans.
"You don't get a say, baby. If I gotta do it. So do you," he smirks. "Any other questions?"
"Nah, man. You're good to go. Thank you, Carter," Dante gets up. "Now the rest of you. Get the f**k out. The three of us got s**t to do,"
"You're finally going to lose your V-card," Kelly shouts.
"What?" Teegan and Carter blurt out at the same time.
"You-" Carter looks at me accusingly and burst into laughter. I cover my mouth both frightened and embarrassed. I've never heard Carter Kennedy laugh before and it's not cute.
"Carter, get out. You're scaring my girl," Dante shoos them away.
"You have some serious self-restraint, cousin," Teegan shakes his head. "I think I respect you a little now,"
"f**k you, Teeg get out. I need to remedy the situation," Dante growls at the three of them. My phone rings in my pocket. Dante looks over at me.
"Hey, it's that girl. Lily," I say.
"Don't answer that, Ash," he warns. I put it to my ear.
"Too late. Hello?" I answer.
"Hey, is this Ashley?"
"Yeah, it's me,"
"Hey, uh-it's Lily. Umm, I know it's late notice but I was wondering if you wanted to have tea with me at the Tea Shack on Jamerson and Fifth?"
"If that's okay. Mrs. Dubois has been pestering about us meeting up,"
"Is it okay if I bring some friends?" I ask.
"Sure, I'll see you in a bit,"
"Okay," I laugh at Dante's expression.
"I f*****g told you not to answer that," he sighs.
"She invited me to the Tea Shack," I inform him. "That's your favorite cafe,"
"Not right now, it isn't," he shakes his head. "All right. Let's go,"
"Is this how you've been getting away with it?" David asks me.
"No, that's how he's been getting away with it. This is the second time I do it," I laugh.
"There's no need to do it anymore. David is standing right there," he groans.
"I can use some tea," he smiles at me. "Let's go meet Miss this so-called accompanist,"
"What did you say her name was?" Dante asks.
"Lily De Laughry. She's the daughter of Efraim De Laughrey. Owner of the Docks," I announce. They both stop and look back at me. "What?"
"Your new accompanist is creepy Lily?" Dante whispers. "Everyone hates her,"
"Why do you call her creepy Lily?" I laugh.
"She's like that lady everyone thinks is the town witch," David muses. "Remember when she would sit in the back of the class and shoot spitballs at the back of Tony's head through a f*****g boba straw?"
"She used to wear these ugly sweater vests and her pigtails were always uneven," Dante adds.
"The thick bottle glasses," they point at each other and laugh. Dante's grin fades when I cross my arms over my chest to glare at the two of them.
"Okay, I'm sorry," he covers his mouth.
"You guys cannot be mean to her. This is very important to me and to her," I remind them.
"Okay," Dante nods.
"I'm gonna tell Tony," David laughs and then looks up at me guiltily. "You know, to tell him not to be a d**k,"
"Dude," Dante laughs.
"Oh, and maybe be careful around Tam with her. She was super into Rudy when we were kids because they were really into bugs," David presses. "Tam pulled her hair once,"
"That isn't helping," Dante tries not to laugh again and fails.
"You guys are d***s. Just get all your jokes out in the car," I shake my head.
"Tony, you're never going to guess who Ash's accompanist is," David laughs. "Creepy Lily,"