When I went to get a sandwich at the corner shop, an American dude was waiting at the deli counter. I knew he was American because of his accent and also because he was wearing a baseball cap. There was no one serving but there was a shop lady at the back doing whatever it is they do in the back of delis. I was witness to a poignant demonstration of the difference between Americans and Irish: while I was content to wait until she'd finished, noticed me, and came to serve, he called her over. Wow, I mean. I'd be afraid she'd spit in my food, if I did that. (Note that he wasn't rude, he was just - American.)
Now, the adapted iconmeme! blindmouse gave me six icons to write about. If you'd like to partake, just holler!
Mine ended up being a sequence of Jon/Greta, mainly. I don't know! I only write it.
Shale stared at her reflection, at the one stray piece of hair that just would not lie flat. Mirrors were the bane of her life. Not, as her friends complained, because they showed unpleasant images like a crop of spots appearing hours before a date, or swells of flesh today where there were none last week. No, Shale had a problem with mirrors because of how they didn't work.
She sighed as her reflection disappeared. The first time it had done that, after Shale realised it wasn't a trick of the light or a magic mirror prank, the emptiness of a reflected room shocked and paled her. She'd grown to know her hair by touch, so that she could tie and braid and comb it neat without ever seeing it. She'd had to give up on the heavy eyeliner, though; panda eyes were supposed to be a metaphor, not a description.
When her reflection returned, Shale felt a dart of concern. It never usually did that - once it was gone, it was gone. Her reflected face looked uneasy, but she felt uneasy, so that made sense.
At least until her reflection's mouth moved all by itself, speaking words Shale couldn't hear but understood nonetheless.
"Look out behind you."
Alice grew up. Alice grew up, and Wonderland followed her.
She did her best to thwart it. She took exams and did reasonably well, earned a job in an office totting up endless neat rows of figures. Not much scope for Wonderland's denizens there, it was true. But they were patient and sly; they lay in wait. Her flat was small and neat and beige, but her dreams were endless. She woke up to find she'd painted a wall red with white diamonds. She opened her eyes and she was dancing alone in the apartment block foyer, her stockings matching the tiles' crazy pattern. She opened her mouth in the rainy park and began singing, and the words fell as drops of petals and frogs on the damp, soggy path.
Alice really thought she should change her medication.
"What's he doing here?"
Greta looked over instead of saying who?, and felt her palms grow slick on the ribbons of the balloons. It hadn't been her idea, the balloons, it had been Chris', but no one was going to believe that when there was a girl in the band.
Brendon bounced alongside Jon, looking for all the world like an overgrown Labrador puppy. Jon had that affect on people; when you stopped to think about it, it was strange. Jon, after all, was such a calm and mellow person. The only time he really exerted himself to speak was in interviews when he wanted to save Brendon or smooth down some of the spikes in Ryan's words. Not that Greta had been youtubing Panic interviews - she'd just happened to come across a few while she was updating her playlists.
"Oh man," sighed Darren. "I hope Brendon doesn't lick me again. He's a nice kid and all, but I don't need to know any more about the inner workings of his mouth."
At that moment Jon smiled over at them and Greta couldn't help thinking about the inner workings of his mouth. Whoops.
"Say cheese!" chirped the photographer, whom Greta was going to kill and eviscerate later. Brendon waved at them and Chris waved back, completely ruining the shot. Greta decided he would have to be hung and quartered.
They got a break after that. Greta shook out the folds of her sundress and went over to where Jon and Brendon were investigating the paltry Kraft Service. Brendon had a sandwhich stuffed into each cheek, so he just nodded when Greta said hello. Jon didn't smile again, but his face was all loose and easy and Greta felt her heartbeat stutter right down to her toes.
"You look pretty," he said, hand lifting one heavy curl and twining it around his finger.
"Ugh, I hate photo shoots. I always look so weird and twee in them," said Greta. Girly magazines always said you shouldn't run yourself down in front of guys you liked, but she didn't like Jon like that, and besides, girly magazines were one hundred percent trash.
Jon shook his head and gently replaced the curl on Greta's shoulder. His other hand contained two Oreos, which he offered to Greta. "Nah," he said, smiling now, and oh God, Greta might have to run out and buy a Cosmo this instant. "That's not actually possible."
i bought some socks, Greta text to Jon.
send pix immediately, came the reply, not two minutes later. Jon was supposed to be recording Panic's third album with the boys, but they were clearly on another argument break. Greta smiled to herself as she scrolled through her phone to find the camera function.
She wasn't quite sure how this had started. Jon mentioned his photography hobby and Greta expressed a polite interest in seeing his work, which lead to a swapping of email addresses and later swapping of emails. After Greta opened the first attachment her interest became profound. Jon was good. Not Mappleworth standards, by any means, but he had a natural eye for composition and scene and Greta didn't hesitate to tell him so. Six months down the line and they were texting every day, usually random things like a single smiley or a picture Jon took of a leaf on the sidewalk or snippets of Greta's side project, a feminist reworking of fairytales. Rapunzel figured out a pulley system to drop herself down from the tower and she sold her hair for wigs to make money to fund her dreams of becoming Fairyland's first female aviator Greta text Jon while she pulled up the socks.
awesome, she can machine gun down the forest around sleeping beautys castle Jon replied.
tsk fairyland's heroines don't approve of violence. standby for pics
Greta hadn't got a scrap of makeup on and while on all counts, that shouldn't make a difference, she possessed an ungovernable desire to look her best for Jon. So she experimented with various poses that didn't include her upper body - she had her period and was feeling bloated - while Jon text again to say hurry up, my eyes need your legs in my life. It made Greta blush and wonder, as she sometimes did, if Jon were flirting with her. She didn't like to dwell too long on the idea, as it was both too sweet and too painful a prospect.
Finally she lit upon lying on her back and taking pictures of her legs vertical against the wall. Her skirt fell down around her hips, and Greta was careful to only include the below-knee area in her shot. No need to be giving Jon ideas. Gabe had seen the photo she sent Jon of herself wearing only a lacy camisole - the point had been to show Jon how long her hair was getting, but Gabe had teased her about it and her 'crush' ever since. Greta knew Jon had a girlfriend, though he never spoke of her. Greta didn't want to be seen as the harlot of the equation. Jon's innocent enquiries about the bad weather in San Francisco, now that she was always wearing turtlenecks and long-sleeved sweaters in her shots, were killing.
mmm, rainbow. makes me think of skittles said Jon and, a moment later, you should come down and visit. bring ur socks.
maybe i will, returned Greta, before she resolutely turned her phone off.
Brendon had a guilty, terrible, no-good secret. He sometimes provoked Ryan on purpose, because. Well. Ryan got the most animated when he was angry; his dark eyes flashed and he scrunched his hands in his hair, bringing out the little curls, and his cheeks suffused with a deep, dusky pink colour. Best of all, his mouth. Brendon didn't really have words to describe what he did with his mouth, but it got soft and wide and a little damp at the edges. In other words, Ryan Ross, angry? Was insanely hot.
They'd been arguing for form over this album since the start. Jon and Spencer almost seemed to expect it. After a few hours passed with nothing but polite conversation between Ryan and Brendon, Jon and Spencer would get these puzzled, almost hurt looks on their faces, and exchange not very subtle surprised glances. Last night, Brendon and Ryan went so far as to choreograph a few spats just to avoid having one of the other two come up to them and say in a low voice, "Hey, is everything ... you know ... okay?"
However, Ryan was pretty mad today all on his own, and it was actually Jon's fault. They'd decided to lay down the bass tracks this week and Jon, instead of being the tower of concentration and focus he usually was, spent most of his time futzing on his phone, getting messages every two minutes and grinning at them like a loon on holiday to loonville.
"I don't know how to get him to pay attention," Ryan groused. His hair was a mess of tiny curls at this point. "With you, all you have to do is yell enough times and hide the soda."
"You hide the soda?" Brendon's mouth dropped open. Ryan rolled his eyes.
"Anyway, I thought he and Cassie were on a break."
"Maybe they're back together. Properly, I mean," said Brendon. Ryan looked a little wistful.
"If they are, great. But does he have to do it on our time?"
Brendon stared at Ryan until he flushed and looked away, at which point Brendon pulled him into a body hug. He liked the way Ryan was just tall enough to fit his chin on Brendon's head.
Muffled by Ryan's faintly vanilla-smelling t-shirt, which made him want cupcakes, Brendon said, "We've done great work so far. We've laid down five tracks in three weeks. I think we can afford to take an afternoon off."
He felt rather than heard Ryan sigh, a soft rise and fall of warmth against Brendon's cheek. "You're right. Maybe we should all just hang out for the evening."
"Yeah! Hey, let's go to Madam Alexander's and get those crazy cupcakes with the icing." To his credit, Brendon didn't mention the inspiration behind the cupcake plan.
Ryan pulled away, smiling, and put a finger against Brendon's cheek. Just for a second. Brendon forgot to breathe. "I'll tell the guys," he said.
Brendon changed his mind. There was nothing hotter than Ryan Ross smiling, unless it was Ryan Ross smiling at you.
"This band is so gay." Jon shook his head, but he was smiling. He also had three different flavours of cupcakes on his plate, and one of them was pink. With marzipan hearts.
"Shut up, you love us." Brendon pulled a clump of sprinkles off his cupcake and threw them at Jon, who promptly ate them.
"Of course I do," he said. "Gay, remember? Hang on, I've gotta take a photo."
"I'm sure Cassie has seen a cupcake before." Ryan rolled his eyes. He was being extremely abstemious with his one blueberry cupcake, but they all knew Spencer had got a chocolate raisin one for Ryan to pick at and pretend he wasn't. Spencer hated raisins.
"It's not - I mean. Pose, Ross." Jon flipped open his phone and caught Ryan's nimble fingers pulling apart his cupcake, Brendon's face smeared with multicoloured sprinkles, and Spencer - whose heart wasn't really in sweet things - making a castle with the selection of mini-cupcakes he'd ordered. Jon then decided to make a video because - in his words - 'This is something the world should not miss.'
"Say hi to Cassie for me!" yelled Brendon down the tiny lens. "Or, wait, she'll be watching this. Hi, Cassie." He didn't notice Jon blushing, but he was surprised when Jon suddenly snapped the phone shut.
"I'm not sending this to Cassie," he said. "It's for Greta."
All three of them stared at him as one. Jon shuffled his feet and sunk down until his head was retracted into the neck of his hoodie like a sleepy turtle.
"Greta?" said Brendon stupidly. "Like, Greta Salpeter? Hushie Greta? Or another Greta we don't know?"
"Yeah, Greta from the Hushies," said Jon. "She demanded pictorial proof that Ross was actually eating a cupcake."
"Oh?" said Ryan. "Far be it from me to question her interest in my dining habits, but why does she care?"
"Well, I tell her stuff," mumbled Jon. "You know. About the band and - whatever. I mean, you know her, right?"
"Sure," said Ryan. "I don't regularly send her my breakfast menu, but she's cool."
Jon brightened up. "Yeah, she is," he said. "Totally cool. Oh man, guess what she said the other day? She was emailing me this vid -"
Brendon dropped his cupcake. "Oh my god, Jon Walker," he breathed, "you're totally in love with her!"
"I am not!" said Jon.
"Yeah, you kind of are," said Spencer. "Ross, take the goddamn raisin monstrosity off my plate before I throw it at you."
"We're just friends," said Jon, angrily flushed under his scruffy beard. "Besides, there's Cassie. We're just friends," he repeated.
Brendon just gave him a 'what am I, new?' look. He didn't pester Jon about it, though. The idea of Jon and Greta together was cute, but there was Cassie. Brendon glanced over at Ryan, who was rubbing his left ring finger with an absent expression.
He knew all about it.