To say that Lucinda Jordan was not amused was an understatement. She was definitely not happy to welcome Brandelyn Carroll into their band. Sure, it was Colin's call, but she would make sure that the girl would know how she felt about the little gang member. Okay, so what if she wanted to quit? Lucinda still hadn't forgiven the redhead for being so rude and practically attacking her fried. When she had asked Fai about how he felt, he had just shrugged, saying that she better got used to having Brandelyn, or 'Brandey' as the girl preferred, around. Yeah, Lucinda was definitely not going to call her 'Brandey'. Calling the guitarist by her nickname would make it seem like Lucinda wanted her around, and she was determined to make the little redhead as unwelcome as possible.
Maybe it was a bit childish, but she was scowling the entire morning about her. When her friends asked her what was wrong, she just shrugged, saying she was just in a bad mood. Her friends knew that when Lucinda was in a bad mood, they'd better leave her alone.
The bell rang, announcing it was finally time for lunch. Lucinda sighed, knowing full well that she finally got to meet the infamous 'Brandey'. When she arrived at Fai and Brandelyn's classroom though, the redhead was nowhere to be seen. This would have relieved Lucinda, if a certain tall blonde hadn't been missing as well.
''Where's Colin?'' she asked Fai as she made her way to his desk. The Chinese boy just shrugged, without looking up from his book. This just made Lucinda angrier. She slammed the book out of his hand and slammed her hands on his table. She brought her face close to his in an intimidating manner (or at least she hoped it was intimidating). Fai gulped. She could feel his classmates' staring at her, but she didn't care (not that much anyway).
''Where is he?''
Fai shrugged again. The nerve of that kid!
''Fai Hu, answer me!'' Lucinda growled. She couldn't help but feel like a bear. Well, at least bears looked cuddly when they didn't attack. Oh God, was she actually calling herself cuddly?
''I don't know!'' Fai cried. Wow, who knew that Fai had any other emotions besides boredom and sarcasm. He generally looked scared, so Lucinda leaned back.
"Didn't mean to scare you." she mumbled under her breath.
"Yeah right." Fai glared at her.
"No really, just wanted to intimidate you."
Fai picked up his book from the floor, an annoyed expression on his face.
"Next time, spare my book 'kay?"
Lucinda rolled her eyes at this.
"Sure." she bit down the snarky comment she was about to make, deciding she had been mean enough to the younger boy for one day.
"So they didn't leave together then?"
Fai stared at her numbly.
Lucinda just stared back at him. She should have known when she saw the book in his hand that Fai hadn't been paying attention. At all.
"Brandelyn and Collin," she told him. "They're both not here when it's lunchtime."
Fai seemed to notice for the first time that even though it was lunch time, his ADHD friend wasn't sitting in front of him. Lucinda thought it remarkable that he couldn't even notice that Colin wasn't there. Brandelyn she could understand, as quiet and unsocial the girl was. But Colin? Really?
''You're right.'' the bassist said, surprise clear in his voice. Lucinda just rolled her eyes and sat down in Colin's usual place.
''No shit, Sherlock.''
When lunch had started ten minutes ago and Colin still hadn't shown up in her classroom, Brandey got really worried. She knew Colin always headed for her classroom during lunch and any other break actually. Sometimes he would be joined by twin siblings, one of them with purple eyes, which Brandey had just ignored. Obviously they were contacts. She knew that Colin had thought it must have been real though. Anyway, the point was that every day he would sit in the seat in front of her classmate Fai Hu, who was the bassist in his- their, actually, though she really had to get used to that idea -band. Colin would chat in a very excited manner- not to mention very fast, though she would soon learn that was just how he talked -while Fai continued to read his book, replying things like 'Don't be an idiot' or 'That's stupid, Col' from time to time.
Brandey had been jealous of their friendship right away. No one had called her an idiot before. If they had, they would have probably got badly hurt. Or that's what they thought anyway. She had never really hurt anyone on purpose, just threatened. Okay, that wasn't exactly a good thing to do either, she knew that.
Anyway, Colin wasn't there yet and Brandey started to think that maybe somehow Blake had found out about her joining his band and was now at her school to take revenge on Colin. Thus Brandey found herself leaving the classroom in a hurried manner (which she just knew would lead to new rumours, okay she had been in a fight, but she had just defended herself. What was she supposed to do? Let herself get beaten up? No, thank you) in search for the tall blonde.
It didn't take her that long to find him, to be honest. He wasn't even that far away from their classroom. She passed a scowling Lucinda Jordan, former star of the track and field team and now her fellow band member, who didn't seem to see her. Brandey was thankful for this, as the older girl was definitely in a bad mood. No, scratch that. Lucinda Jordan seemed to be in a terrible mood.
As she made her way to Colin, who was talking to someone who's back was turned to her, she heard some extracts from their conversation. She was relieved to hear the voice didn't belong to Blake, though she had already known it was someone else- she'd recognise Blake in an instant.
''...not an official club without one, I'm afraid Mr. Walker.'' the man's voice said. Brandey was now almost standing next to Colin. She realised the voice belonged to Mr. Anderson, the English teacher. She wondered what they were talking about and quickly stood next to Colin. Colin's face brightened when he saw her, though she had noticed the sad look on his face. It was really rare to see the cheery kid look so down.
''What's wrong?'' she asked, trying to sound not too concerned. Mr. Anderson turned to look at her, fear in his eyes. Oh yeah, she forgot that even the teachers believed that she had ruthlessy beaten the crap out of someone.
''Oh, hello Miss Carroll,'' Mr. Anderson smiled a forced smile. ''I was just telling Colin that without a teacher acting as an advisor, his band is not an official school club.''
Brandey raised her eyebrow at this, saying ''So?''
Mr. Anderson sighed.
''An unofficial school club can not make use of a classroom and any of the school funds.''
Brandey now understood why Colin looked so down, but it wasn't such a big problem, right?
''So we find a teacher.'' she shrugged, not understanding what the big deal was.
''There aren't many teachers available, and the ones that are...'' Mr. Anderson explained.
''We'll find someone!'' Colin exclaimed loudly all of a sudden. This made both Brandey and Mr. Anderson jump. He had been so quiet that Brandey had almost forgotten that he had been there.
Colin grinned his usual boyish grin.
''Don't worry Brandey, we'll find someone!" he looked back at Mr. Anderson. ''Thanks for your help, Mr. Anderson. No worries, you'll be enjoying our music in no time!''
Colin started to drag Brandey away by her hand, but she could still see the grimace on Mr. Anderson face. She knew he doubted that he would be enjoying their music, but she decided not to spoil Colin's good mood. She didn't like to see the boy down, it was unnatural.
Colin let go of her when they arrived at the classroom. He peaked in and raised his left eyebrow.
''They're not here!'' he gasped.
Now it was Brandey's time to raise her eyebrow.
''Fai and Lucy!'' Colin sighed, walking away from the classroom, his arms behind his head. Brandey slowly followed him. She figured he was going to look for them, and she wasn't sure if she wanted to be around Lucinda when she was in the mood she was in.
''You coming?'' he asked, when he noticed she was reluctantly following him. Brandey bit her lip.
''...Okay.'' she started to walk faster until she was walking next to him. The other students in the hallway gave them some weird looks. Brandey completely understood them. If she had been one of them she would have done the same. The new scary girl, who was rumoured to be in a gang- okay this rumour was true, but still -and wore a scowl pretty much the entire time in school and the happy-go-lucky kid who never seemed to get depressed. Even if he did, it would only last about a second. So really, she couldn't blame them.
Brandey noticed they made their way towards the doors that lead outside. Colin didn't really say anything, he was just humming a song she didn't know.
Colin seemed to know where he was going when they went outside. Brandey however did not. She was wondering if he really had an idea where his two friends could be, or if he just pretented to be confident.
Fair enough, she soon spotted her classmate and Lucinda sitting under an oak tree. The girl wasn't scowling anymore, but she still didn't look very happy. Brandey really wondered what had happened to irritate the girl so deeply.
''Fai! Lucy!'' Colin shouted, when they came closer. Brandey could see Lucinda's face fall when she saw them. And that's when Brandey realised what had irritated the girl so deeply. Her. Lucinda didn't like that she had joined their band, did she? She couldn't deny that she wasn't hurt, but again, she couldn't blame Lucinda. After all, she had grabbed Colin by his collar and threatened him the other day. Then there was the rumour about the fight at her other school and Brandey was pretty sure that Colin had told his friends about her gang membership.
Colin sat down, Brandey however, stood beside him awkwardly. She was definitely not wanted here. Colin looked up at her, innocent eyes meeting...well probably scowling ones since she hadn't been comfortable with changing her attitude at school yet. It was kind of a defense mechanism, one she had adopted ever since... Well, she really didn't like to think about that.
''Hi Brandey.'' Fai greeted politely, a small smile on his face. Brandey didn't miss the look Lucinda gave him afterwards, but either the Chinese boy didn't, or he chose to ignore it. Knowing the boy- which she did not very well, but she had observed him and Colin the past few days -it was the latter.
''Sit down.'' Colin said, while pointing at the ground. It wasn't a command though, like it always was out of Blake's mouth. Lucinda's scowl deepened, if that was even possible. Brandey did as she was told, making sure that she kept her distance from the brunette.
''Everything okay, Lucy?'' Colin asked, a worried expression on his face. Brandey wondered if he already knew what was wrong with her, since he could look practically look into your eyes and know your whole damn life story. Seriously, was he the reincarnated Albus Dumbledore? It wasn't the first time she had wondered about that. Unless he was a young time travelling Dumbledore... Focus, Brandey, focus, she thought.
Lucinda sighed. ''My parents keep asking me how practice went.''
Fai raised his left eyebrow, something Brandey had seen Colin do the same day. She wondered if the hyperactive boy- seriously, even now he couldn't sit still -had adopted the habit from his friend.
''You still haven't told them you quit? Sit still, Col.''
Colin immediately obeyed, though they all knew he'd be tapping his foot or his fingers or jumping up and down soon.
Lucinda shook his head and bit her lip. Brandey wondered if maybe she had been wrong about the girl. She seemed genuinely worried about it.
''I know I shouldn't delay it, but...'' she sighed again. ''I just know how they're going to react and it's not pretty.''
Fai nodded as if he understood, though Brandey wondered if he really did. Colin had started to jump up and down again, which seemed to really annoy the bassist. Lucinda seemed amused, not saying anything.
''But I forgot to tell you something important!'' Colin made it sound as if this was an excuse for not being able to sit still. Fai did not think of this as a valid excuse, however.
''Do you have to jump up and down to let us know?''
This resulted in some sort of bicker that Brandey didn't really understand. Usually when people bickered, both sides were annoyed. This was not the case however, since Colin just kept grinning.
''I had to get your attention didn't I? And I sure did, even though you're now mad at me and I still can't tell you what I need to tell you, which is kind of annoying really, since it's really important. Like really, really important. The most important thing you will hear today, no kidding. Right', Brandey? Isn't it important, Brandey? It's important right?''
Brandey just stared at him, dumfounded. She had only been able to progress a few words, including her name so she knew he was talking to her. Fai smirked at her expression, and even though Brandey had the idea that the former track and field star didn't like her, Lucinda looked amused and pitiful, probably because she had had the same reaction when she first heard Colin talk so fast.
Colin still looked at her expectantly, so Brandey figured she'd just agree with him, even though she had no idea what he just had said.
''We need a teacher to act as an advisor, or we're not an official school club and we won't get our own classroom to meet in, which is terrible because we can't just keep meeting outside and we can't exactly practice outside either and I don't think any one of us has a studio in our house. Oh and we won't get any funds either and I figured we kind of need money, not that I know what for, but we'll definitely need money since we live in a society where no one can live or do anything without money so we probably can't either.''
He finally took a deep breath, which he no doubt needed after that. Brandey knew what he had said, because she had been there when Mr. Anderson had explained the situation. Otherwise, she was pretty sure she would have been clueless. Fai and Lucinda didn't even look a bit lost and apparently heard every word Colin had said. Brandey figured you got used to it, even though it seemed impossible now.
''What about Mr. Anderson?'' Lucinda offered. Colin shook his head though.
''He's already the advisor of the drama club.''
''Mrs. Andrews?'' Fai offered.
''That's my old coach, Col.''
Brandey just watched as the other three named every teacher that came to mind, but apparently not one teacher that they could think of was available.
''Wait, what about Mrs. Mitchell?'' Lucinda offered, looking excited. ''I'm pretty sure she isn't an advisor yet.''
Colin however wrinkled his nose.
''Cougar.'' he just said with disgust. Lucinda raised her left eyebrow. Did all of them raise their left eyebrow? Why did none of them ever raise the right one?
''She is married, Col!''
Colin just shrugged, indicating that the conversation was over.
''What about Mr. Allen?''
''Hates Harry Potter.''
''Oh come on, Col.'' Fai gave his friend a look as to say 'I'm judging you'.
''I can't work with someone who hates Harry Potter. I have my priorities.''
''Yeah, and you really need to get them straight.'' Lucinda said, though her eyes twinkled.
''So Mrs. Murray it is?'' Fai said, ignoring Colin.
''Ehm,'' Brandey hold her hand up, even though she really wanted to stay out of this conversation, it had to be said. ''Mrs. Murray left on maternity leave not too long ago.''
Fai and Lucinda looked down, though Colin looked pleased by this.
''Such a shame.'' he muttered, though he was grinning from ear to ear.
''Guys, we need to be less picky!'' Lucinda complained. ''No advisor, no band!''
Colin whined that she didn't have a say in this, since she wasn't the one who would be stuck with the teacher for three years, like him. Lucinda just rolled her eyes and ignored him. Right, Brandey thought, even if Lucinda really doesn't like me, she will be graduating this year.
''I'll go ask the teachers around who's available and who's not, so we can pick someone, okay?'' with those words she stood up and left. Brandey felt relieve wash over her. It was funny, she never had felt intimidated before, she was usually the one being intimidating.
Fai and Colin we're continuing the conversation without Lucinda, but Brandey wasn't really paying attention. Her mind kept wandering off to Blake and the rest of the gang. She had wanted too quit the gang ever since she joined, but she was way too scared to do that. She knew she had to eventually, if she wanted to be in this band and make new friends. If she didn't...
''Everything alright, Brandey?'' Colin looked at her worriedly. Fai looked at her as well, but his expression was more curious than concerned.
She nodded, not knowing what else to do. She didn't want to talk about that, especially not now. Colin looked at her disbelieving, but he didn't push it further.
''Okay, so since Lucy isn't back yet, we really need to talk about some other stuff. Like backing vocals.''
''No.'' both Brandey and Fai said. Brandey hadn't even noticed that she had opened her mouth, but she was definitely not going to sing. Even if it was just backing vocals. Colin looked at them both with puppy dog eyes, but luckily Brandey was immune to those. Colin opened his mouth, most likely to beg them, but he was cut off by the bell signalling that lunch was over. Brandey quickly got up and got out of there. She heard Fai running behind her and soon she found him running besides her, into the main building. Well, who knew that he was that fast. He hadn't seemed very interested in sports the other day in P.E.
When they noticed that Colin wasn't following them, they slowed their pace and walked to their classroom at ease.
''Look, if you really don't want to sing, you'll just have to put your foot down. He'll understand.'' Fai told her, and she nodded. Well, at least Fai talked to her, even though she wondered if maybe he agreed with Lucinda (if she was right about that anyway). Brandey hated it when people where too much of a coward to say things in her face. Then again, she was in a gang, so maybe she shouldn't get too worked up about it.
''Does Lucinda hate me?'' she had asked it before she could even blink.
Fai stared at her, not knowing what to say. He laughed uncomfortable, which Brandey took as a yes.
''What makes you say that?'' he ruffled his hair, which Brandey would later find out he always did when he got nervous.
''Well right now, you're confirming it.''
''Am too. And just so you know, I can do this for a looong time.''
''She doesn't hate you. Just... a strong dislike, maybe?''
Brandey nodded. She was used to that.
''Can't she at least say it to my face?''
Fai shook his head.
''No offense, but er...''
''I'm in a gang.'' she finished. Fai nodded.
''I've never actually beaten anyone up, you know.'' she muttered. Fai gave her a confused look.
''I thought you were expelled because of a fight...''
They had reached their classroom and immediately cut of their conversation. Brandey noticed how people actually made room for her as she walked in, as if she was a damn queen. She sighed and sat down in her seat. She noticed how some of her classmates approached Fai as he sat down, no doubt asking about her. Jeez, couldn't they ask her? Fai shrugged and said something, causing the interviewers (or maybe interrogators was a better word) to look at her. Brandey decided that glaring at them would just make her reputation worse, so she deliberately looked out of the window.
''What were you doing with gang girl?'' one of his classmates asked. Fai just shrugged.
''We're in the same band.''
His interrogators looked at Brandelyn, who quickly looked out of the window. She had clearly been watching them. Fai felt bad for her, but there wasn't much he could do. This was more Colin's area.
''Walker's band?'' one of the boys asked. ''No way. How did that happen?''
Fai just shrugged. To be honest, he had no idea. Colin had called him yesterday, telling him that Brandelyn had joined their band and then hang up because dinner was ready.
''Why would she join a band?'' one of the girls asked, before her eyes went wide. ''Hey Fai, Colin isn't in her gang as well, is he?''
Fai just stared at her like she was an idiot, which she was, actually. Had she met Colin? He really didn't know if he should laugh or cry at her stupidity.
''Don't be stupid Han,'' one of her friends said. Fai wondered what kind of weird name 'Han' was. ''Colin is way too innocent for that.''
One of the guys nodded at this.
''Maybe the gang wants a band for their private parties. Hey, she didn't threaten you guys, did she?''
''Of course not.'' Fai sighed, getting real tired of this conversation. Hadn't the bell rung like ten minutes ago? Classic Mr. Allen. Not only did he have a terrible breath, he was never on time. Luckily for him, the devil had entered the classroom.
''Sit down class, sit down.''
His interrogators did so and Fai grabbed his book. No way that he was going to pay attention to this class.
Colin looked amused at his two bandmates running away from him. That desperate to not do backing vocals, huh? He wondered if he could do it himself... Then again, a little voice that he recognised as his mothers, reminded him that was terrible at multitasking. He knew he just had to convince Fai and Brandey, one way or another. He made his way into the second building, since he had chemistry next. Chemistry wasn't really his thing. You had to concentrate way too much, and concentrating really wasn't his thing. The teacher knew this, what made the subject even worse. He wasn't even allowed to touch a vial, let alone mix some chemicals, which made chemistry one of the most boring subjects, next to history.
He made his way into the chemistry classroom and was immediately dragged out again by his two friends.
''Guys! The hell?''
They dragged him all the way through the corridor and let him go when they were absolutely sure there was no one else there. He gave the twins an angry look.
''What are you two doing?'' he demanded. He didn't get mad often, but he also didn't get dragged around that much.
''Did Brandelyn Carroll really join your band?'' Leanne asked worriedly. Liam looked just as upset as his twin sister.
''Yeah, what about it?''
The twins looked at him in horror.
''What about it? Are you serious, Col?'' Liam looked at his friend as if he was mental.
''She is in a gang.'' Leanne added.
''And we heard that she grabbed you by the collar the other day.''
''Not to mention she threatened you.''
''How cute of you, Huey, Dewey and Louie, that you finish each other's sentences,'' he didn't get sarcastic often either, but he was getting really tired of people judging Brandey. ''But don't worry about it, 'cause there's nothing to worry about.'' He turned around and made his way back to the classroom. If he got into trouble for being late because of those two...
Behind him he heard Liam saying 'But there's only two of us?' but he ignored it.
When he entered the classroom he was faced with Mrs. Mitchell, which was peculiar, since she didn't teach chemistry. This was in his favour though, since she just adored him.
''Oh, hello Colin! I was starting to worry about you!'' Mrs. Mitchell smiled at him, a smile that was really inappropriate for a teacher. ''Sit down, sit down. I was just telling the class that Mrs. Andrews wasn't feeling well and had to leave early. Now, I don't know much about chemistry-''
She was interrupted by the door opening again, this time Liam and Leanne entered. They quickly sat down next to Colin, who didn't even look at them.
''As I was saying,'' Mrs. Mitchell continued, not even scolding the twins for being late. ''I don't know a thing about chemistry, so just make some homework, yeah? Nothing chemistry related, since I wouldn't know what's explosive or not.''
Liam and Leanne figured this was a perfect time to try and reason with their friend. Colin didn't agree though, and just tried to focus on his history homework. With the emphasis on 'tried'. He had always had trouble focusing, especially on homework, even worse if it was history homework. It would've definitely been a lot easier to concentrate, if his two friends weren't talking to him.
''Liam, Leanne, I believe Colin is trying to do his homework. I suggest you do the same.'' it occurred to Colin, who had looked up after hearing his name, that she had only given Leanne a dirty look, not Liam. He suppressed the urge to cough 'cougar', since she wasn't that far away. Lucy could say whatever she wanted. Married or not, the woman was a sucker to teenage boys. He quickly directed his attention to his homework again, not wanting to think about that.
The door to the classroom opened and a girl from Fai and Brandey's class entered. She had a quick word with Mrs. Mitchell before the cougar- no teacher, beckoned him to come forward. Colin stood up reluctantly. This couldn't be good.
''Mr. Anderson would like to speak to you.'' Mrs. Mitchell told him.
''Follow me.'' the girl said. Colin believed her name was Hannah, though he wasn't sure.
He followed her out of the classroom, but instead of leaving the building, the girl just took a few steps away from the classroom before she stood still.
''Colin, is Carroll threatening you?''
Colin groaned. Not again.
''What is wrong with you people?'' he almost shouted. He certainly didn't want to attract the attention from his classmates and Mrs. Mitchell. Though Mrs. Mitchell would totally take his side. No, bad Colin, don't think about that!
'''We're just concerned, since she is in your band and all...'' the girl explained, taken aback. She obviously hadn't expected him to get mad like that.
''Yeah, 'cause that's what gang members do. They threaten people with bands so they can join them.'' wow, he sure was on a roll when it came to sarcasm today. That, or maybe Fai was rubbing off on him.
''I know it sounds silly-''
''Then keep your mouth shut.'' Colin turned around and went back into the classroom. He couldn't believe he had actually been that rude! He had never been that rude before. Or had he? Maybe he had. He did get really protective of his friends. But being rude was not the answer. He made a mental note to apologise to the girl later.
He noticed that his friends gave him strange looks and sighed. He didn't want to break Brandey's trust, but he also wanted his friends to understand.
He sat down next to them and rubbed his temples.
''Look guys, I appreciate your concern, really, but you don't have to worry about me getting beat up. At least not by Brandey.''
Leanne raised her eyebrow.
''So someone else might beat you up?''
''Dude, you've gotten yourself in quite a pinch, haven't you? Please tell me it isn't her gang leader.'' Liam practically begged him.
''Er, okay?'' Colin grinned at him. Liam dropped his head on his desk in defeat.
''Colin!'' Leanne shrieked, which earned her some confused glances from their classmates.
''Well I'm not entirely sure if he's her gang leader, but everyone seemed really afraid of him so I guess he is. That or maybe he's like Vice Gang Leader or something. Is that a thing, you think? I don't know that much about gangs. Maybe you don't have to worry about anything, he could be just all talk. A barking dog never bites, right?'' he had pretty much said everything in one breath again. Sometimes he wondered how people were able to keep up with him. His mother had once explained that she and Dad had got used to it.
Liam and Leanne looked everything but not worried. They didn't seem to want to argue with him on the 'a barking dog never bites' saying though, even if Colin could tell they didn't believe it.
''So er...Why would he beat you up?''
''Because he's like Grumpy Cat, only not cute and... Okay he's not like Grumpy Cat, but he is grumpy and maybe because Brandey might leave the gang for my band and he might, he might not like that.'' He said the part about Brandey leaving the gang even quicker than the rest. He figured it must be some kind of record, or at least a personal one. Then again, he was never really aware of how fast he said things.
''Oh Colin, why did you have to get involved with her!'' Leanne exclaimed, her brother nodded in agreement. Colin himself however just shrugged.
''Can't tell you that bit.''
The twins looked at their friend in concern and wondered if they should start planning his funeral soon.