"Oh shit, you damn near got you head blown off! Get that bastard!" Brian held the Xbox controller in his hand in a vice like grip as Kevin shouted from the seat on the couch next to him. They were unwinding after a lengthy jam session by running a game of Call of Duty on Xbox live. None of the amateurs they were playing against stood a chance when they teamed up. As he ran around the level quickly
"F*ck!" Kevin ended up only getting blown up by an unexpected grenade while tailing his opponent. Apparantly one of their team mates had been following him as well. "F*ck this game!" In a huff, Kevin threw his controller across the room and got up to walk outside to have a cigarette.
Brian followed him onto his front porch as Jess stayed behind and flipped the channel to some random reality show. He grabbed his gray zippered hoodie on the way out since the last few days had started to get rather chilly. August was coming to a close and September was right around the corner. The death of summer was inevitable, but it wasn't all that bad. It only meant one of his favorite holidays, Halloween, was close and who doesn't like getting drunk and getting free candy? Really that was any other holiday, but you can't exactly dress up in a costume on Christmas or the 4th of July without being looked at as completely batshit insane.
The leaves would soon be turning color in a matter of weeks, and that only meant beautiful scenery before the bleak wasteland of winter arrived. It also meant hayrides, candy and caramel apples, bonfires, exploring the local woods all over again, and mainly the girls. The fall also offered up some of the area's best strains of cannabis, which was always welcome in his book.
As Brian walked out onto the porch, he glanced over at Kevin as the late afternoon sun hung low in the sky. He had both hands on the wooden railing that went all the way around the porch except for where the steps came up and had his head hung low with his shoulders raised above his head. He watched Kevin for a second before he pulled himself off the railing and plopped down on the weather worn cedar wood chair in the corner of the porch. Brian walked over and sat down next to him.
"What's wrong, dude?"
"I don't know. I guess it's everything. The sudden amount of recognition we're getting around here coupled with what happened to me at The Tavern are kinda wearing on me. Getting stabbed isn't exactly the best experience someone can have. I'm still waking up in a cold sweat every so often from having nightmares about it."
"Yeah, I know. I can't pretend to know how you're feeling about it all, but we gotta keep our heads up. If this guy is for real, this may be the break we're looking for. You really don't want to throw away the chance to get what we've been working at since we started the band, do you?" Brian shifted in his seat and leaned back a little more, putting his feet up on a short stool his parents kept on the porch as an extra seat.
"No, I don't want that at all. All I'm saying is that maybe we need to take a break for a little bit. You know, look before we leap. We've been practicing and gigging almost non-stop since we got this whole thing started a few years ago and even though it's starting to pay off, it's wearing on me big time. I just don't know if I'm ready to give up everything I have here. If we go on the road, I'd have to leave all this behind- my friends, family, my job, the girls I'm talking to." Kevin took an extra long drag from his cigarette, shorting it before standing up to flick it into the street from the porch. He missed by about a foot, the smoldering butt burning out in the slightly damp grass of Brian's front yard.
"I'm not saying we have to give it all up. We are going to have to make some sacrifices though, but that's what being a band is all about. You gotta put a thousand percent into everything you do or it'll just crash and burn horribly. Your family will understand you wanting to live out your dream, and your real friends will be there to support you the whole way, even if you don't see them all the time like you used to. If they don't then they're not really your friend, now are they? As for the girls, they're a dime a dozen on the road." Brian closed his eyes as he laid back a little more, relaxing in the cool breeze that flowed over them.
"I guess you're right. I still think we should take a little bit of time off from the whole band thing before we decide to call this guy. It'll give us time to recharge and think about things. I mean we've barely even talked to the other guys about it since the other night, we don't even know what they'll say." Kevin leaned forward, the wood from the chair making sitting in one position too long a literal pain in the ass.
"That's probably a good idea. We'll call them later, see what they say. Now come on, let's go back inside. Jess is probably wondering if we wandered off with us being out here so long."
With that they both walked back in the house. Jess was still sitting on the couch watching TV, though she now had a drink and a bowl of salsa with some torilla chips sitting on a TV tray in front of her. About a week after the incident at The Tavern, she had moved the last of her things out of Johnny's house and into Brian's, adding yet more furniture and clothes to the already overwhelming amount in Brian's room. It was decently spacious, but with the addition of her things it seemed to shrink a noticeable amount. They had also bought a new queen sized bed to replace Brian's old twin so that they weren't falling off the side of it with the slightest amount of movement like they used to when he still had it. As he sat down on the couch next to her and put his arm around her, she looked over at Brian and saw concern on his face.
"Something wrong?" Jess shifted a bit to make it more comfortable for Brian.
"Not really. I just think we should hold off on calling this guy for a little while, maybe take a break from the band thing for a bit. We're enjoying ourselves, but it'll give us time to clear our heads, make sure everyone's on the same page."
"That's not that bad of an idea. You guys seem like you've been under a lot of stress lately. It'll probably be good for you." As Jess snuggled up to Brian, Kevin got up from the couch across the room and started to collect his things.
"You heading out?" Brian asked his friend as he started to grope Jess.
"Yeah, I'm kinda tired. I gotta work early tomorrow anyway. I'll catch you later."
"Alright, dude. Drive safe."
"Definitely. Later." With that, Kevin was out the door. Brian had a hunch that he got the hint as he thought he saw Kevin looking at Jess slyly sticking her hand down his pants underneath his black Alice In Chains shirt.
"Something else seemed to be bothering him. What happened out there between you two?" Jess looked up, puzzled, at Brian as she started to unbutton his jeans.
"It's just everything- mainly getting stabbed, but I don't think he's used to the exposure we're getting. None of us are, but he never really handled stress that well to begin with. It might also be the fact that he hasn't gotten laid in a while. I can't remember the last time I saw him hanging out with any girls."
"I have a few friends that I could probably set him up with. One of them's real easy, he could get laid without even trying. She's a nice girl too, just a bit slutty."
"Sounds good, but you're talking too much. Why don't we just shutup and enjoy each other?" Brian put his index finger up to her thick, full lips in a motion that meant "shush" and immediately went to work on her bra behind her back.
After what seemed like hours, both Brian and Jess lay almost completely naked while spooning each other on the couch, Brian clad only in his black boxers and Jess only in her baby blue boy shorts. Different articles of clothing were randomly strewn about the room, somewhat centralized around the couch. Their shoes were neatly lined up along the wall next to them, but everything else had been haphazardly thrown to where they rested now. A sock was draped over the lamp on the end table next to the couch with its twin nowhere to be found, and their pants were both on the same armrest. Brian was in that state of sleep where you're aware of your surroundings right before you fall completely into dream land when he heard a series of sharp knocks on the door. It startled him so much that he ended up rolling off the couch, taking Jess with him and landing on top of her.
"OUCH! That hurt! Get off me, asshole, you're crushing me!" Jess smacked Brian in the back of the head before he was able to gain his composure and realize he was laying on her with all his weight resting on her.
"Sorry! God, sorry! I didn't mean to do that, honest!" Brian rolled off of Jess and stood up, scrambling to find his pants. Jess made a mad dash to find her shirt and threw it on as Brian walked over to the door.
"Who is it?" Jess asked as Brian looked through the peephole.
"I don't know, they're covering the hole. I hope Kevin didn't forget anything, I'd be embarrassed as hell if he saw this mess we made."
"Just open the door already. He won't care as long as your d*ck isn't hanging out." Jess walked over to Brian and stood behind him after hastily slipping her pants on. As she fumbled with the button to her jeans, she looked up when Brian opened the door, and her jaw hit the ground, freezing in her tracks. The figure that greeted them both was her ex-boyfriend, Johnny. He stood there with flowers in one hand and a heart shaped box of chocolates in the other, dressed in black slacks, a dark red button down shirt, a dark blue tie, and black dress shoes.