His Smile Will Keep You Safe - Chapter Twelve
Warnings: racism, drugs, angst, anxiety, extensive swearing, mention of depression
Word Count: 3 706
The show in Cincinnati was not featuring the „Three Beats“. After Jay’s arrest, both Charlie and Luis were too shaken up, and without their guitarist and lead singer they were helpless anyway.
At the end of the free day, which Lucas had spent entirely at the police station, the crew heavy heartedly climbed onto the rented vans, and drove to Cincinnati. Leaving Jay behind felt wrong, but there was nothing any of you could have done for him.
Luis and Charlie asked for your help to film a short video, in which they announced that they would not be able to play the remaining two shows, because “Jay’s had an incident in the family”. It was not difficult to tell that they both were suffering from the accusations against their friend, the whole team suffered, but nobody knew how to help.
Lucas had offered them to go back home, but they had insisted that they wanted to finish the tour properly, and since there were only two days left, nobody complained. Honestly, you had the feeling that neither of the two of them wanted to be left alone with their emotions right now, and this way you had some company during the times when Dallon and Ryan were out giving interviews.
You reached Indianapolis around noon, after you had spent the night in Cincinnati. When the tour had started, you had imagined that everyone would be happy and cheerful on the last day, celebrating that the tour was successfully over, but with how things were, there was nothing to celebrate, and everybody felt far from cheerful.
You had trouble getting up that morning again, but you kept it to yourself. It was the last day, and you did not want to worry anybody with your problems. There still were no news of Jay, and by now you had given up hope on receiving any. The venue in Indianapolis was bigger than any others before, and featured an impressively big stage.
As soon as you had arrived, you searched for a corner with a power outlet, and plugged your computer in, starting to edit the pictures that still were left. This managed to draw your attention away from the dark thoughts circling your mind. At least until the first picture of Ryan appeared on your screen. Completely dumbfounded you stared at the shot, admiring the way his hair was flying around his head while he was drumming, and the dreamy expression on his face.
You assumed he was able to escape reality for a while when he was playing, and even though last night had features far too few smiles from him, it probably had been a nice distraction. But then you remembered that he still was not talking to you. Again, like so many times during the past two weeks, you felt your heart shatter at the thought that he probably did not want anything to do with you. The cause was still a mystery to you, but you had accepted it.
But that still did not change the way you felt about him. It had occurred to you several weeks ago that you were falling in love with him, but by now you almost would go as far as saying that you loved him. And no matter what he thought about you, you wanted him to know.
Still staring at the photograph of Ryan, you made a decision. Since tonight was the last night of tour, you would tell him. You would tell him how you felt, because if he did not like it, did not feel the same, behaved weirdly, or things turned out badly in any other way, you never had to see him again. And in the unlikely case of him not turning you down, you could figure out what to do.
The flow of your bubbling emotions was interrupted by Bill, who suddenly stood in front of you.
“Do you have time,” he asked, looking down to you sitting on the floor.
“Sure, what’s up,” you nodded, thinking it was about unloading equipment.
“We got a call from the label, and they want you to take some last pictures of Ryan and Dallon, like a small shooting. Some of them together, and then them individually. Could you do that?”
Closing your laptop, you nodded, and got up from the floor, picking everything up along the way.
“I’ll just get my camera.”
Dallon was waiting in a room backstage, which, much to your surprise and joy, actually featured three different lamps for creating the perfect lighting to take pictures. Since Ryan was not there yet, you started with a couple of pictures of Dallon.
The room had a broad sofa in front of a wall, plastered with multiple posters, all supposedly from the most famous bands that had played this venue. A small table next to the sofa with some little knickknacks added detail to the scene, and so did the shelf, which was hung over the table, filled with books and a plant that had their branches reaching downwards.
It was interesting to use the light sources you had the chance to use, trying out the different effects it had on the mood of the pictures. Of course you had done this in college, and you had taken Lisa’s portraits some time back, but these lights offered new possibilities.
Most of the time, you were working in silence. You were focused on how to stage the scene, and Dallon seemed to be in deep thought.
Since Ryan had told him what had happened, he could not quite stop thinking about it. It pained him to know his friend was heartbroken, and it was not hard to guess that you were too. But Ryan had made him swear that he would not mention anything to you, and he was a man of his word, at least until tonight. If things should not have magically cleared up by then, he would not hesitate to tell you everything Ryan had told him, and convince you to talk to the drummer. Hell, if he had to, he would drag Ryan to you, explain everything and then lock you two in a room together until you had made up, or out, whichever would happen first.
By the time Ryan finally found you, you had taken tons of pictures of Dallon already, but also figured out your favourite lighting. You thought, having the pictures for the label all taken in the same scene would be the most coherent, so after you had finished the ones of Dallon, you quickly took a couple of shots of the two of them together.
After you had taken a couple of snaps from different positions, you announced that Dallon was done, and you only needed to photograph Ryan now. For some reason you had expected Dallon to stay, and even if only so the atmosphere would not get to weird between Ryan and you, but he got up, and almost immediately left the room.
Biting you lip, and ignoring the hammering heart in your chest, you looked over at Ryan, who was watching you closely.
“I’ll be quick,” you promised, and started kneeling down on the carpet in front of the sofa, already having a good idea of what you wanted the pictures to look like.
Ryan was staring at you, trying to soak in every second you were in his company. Damn, you were perfect; the shade of your hair, such smooth skin, and the shirt that was the perfect middle between tight and loose on your body.
Part of him still refused to believe that Lars had told him the truth, refused to believe that you had only been playing him, that he was letting you slip through his fingers. But he was so scared, so scared that what Lars had told him was true. And as he had told Dallon, he did not know if he could handle knowing for sure that all of the affection you had shown him had been faked.
So instead he watched you, the way your fingers skilfully moved over the filigree mechanics of the camera, how strands of your hair shifted on your head when you moved, and the small glances you took to look between the camera screen and him. He could have sat here forever, imagining all your attention was focused on him, and him alone.
How much he wanted to be the only thing you could think about! Of course he knew that in reality you were working on getting a picture done, and he just happened to be in the picture by accident, but the little fantasy was too sweet to let go like that.
Ryan seemed zoned out while you were working. It was hard focusing on getting the perfect angle, one that looked artistic, but not too weird, when all you really wanted to do was to capture every single detail, each little imperfection of his face, every tiny dent in his lips.
If he still refused to talk to you, if you really had to part with him after tonight, you wanted to have pictures to remember him by, and you wanted them to be as detailed as possible, so you could study his face in the photographs the way you would have done in real life, until the pain was over. But you resisted the urge to take close ups, feeling it would not only be really creepy, but also overstepping your boundaries.
“We’re done,” you eventually decided, getting up from the floor where you had been kneeling in the end.
Ryan flinched, as if he had gotten jump scared by your voice, but shot you a small smile.
“Thanks,” he whispered, getting up from that sofa.
This was already more interaction than you had expected, so trying your luck, just in case, you tried to start a conversation.
“Looking forward to going home?”
“I really like touring,” he answered, while his mind added, and I really love touring with you, but he did not say it out loud, “and honestly I just want this nightmare to be over. First the bus, then the drugs, and the thing with Jay…”
“Me too,” you agreed, turning off your camera and putting the cap in front of the lens.
“Any plans for when you get home?”
Does lying in bed and cry about you count as a plan, you wondered in your mind.
“Not really, maybe visiting my family,” you replied instead, “I miss them.”
“How’ve you been, mentally wise, I mean?”
Ryan’s sudden interest irritated you, but you were definitely not going to complain.
“I don’t know, not so great since Jay,” you admitted.
You could feel Ryan’s eyes on your face as you looked down to the floor, feeling ashamed for how your mind affected you, even though there was no reason to be ashamed for it. To your surprise you saw his feet shuffling into your vision, and suddenly his warm hands brushed against yours, which were still holding the camera that was dangling from your neck.
“It’s gonna be alright, I promise,” Ryan whispered into your ear. He had bent down so his head was right next to yours, his nose almost brushing your hair, and his breath fanning over your skin.
You wanted nothing more than to wrap your arms around him in that second, to burry your face in his shoulders, and let his shirt soak up the hot tears that were stinging in your eyes. You wanted to feel him close, to hold him like your life depended on it, and if he rejected that, then so be it, and you could close the chapter.
Having the feeling that maybe he would not back away, you pulled your hands out from under his and were about to wrap them around him, his arms already moving to reach for your waist to pull you closer, when just in that moment the door jumped open, and Lars walked in.
“(Y/n), Lucas needs you,” he announced, shooting Ryan a strange look, which you could not help but notice.
Hesitantly you stepped away from Ryan, wondering if this had been the last chance you would ever get with him, and walked out of the room, your hand brushing against Ryan’s a last time, suddenly picking up on an unfamiliar tension which seemed to build up between the two males who were staring at each other in an almost challenging manner.
Furrowing your eyebrows, you left. You had made it already half-way over the dance floor towards the bar where Lucas was waiting, when suddenly, without any reason or cause something clicked together. It felt like two puzzle pieces getting connected, and everything made sense.
Ryan had not suddenly grown distant because of something you had said or done, or because he had decided out of the blue that he did not want anything to do with you. He had distanced himself because of Lars. There was no doubt in your mind that Lars had said something to Ryan, which had caused him to behave this weirdly.
What had he told him? That he should keep his hands away from you? Had he made up some lie about you not liking Ryan? From how you knew Lars, it was not even out of the range of possibilities that he had said you just wanted to make Lars jealous to get him back by pretending to like Ryan.
That asshole! He had caused you two weeks of misery just because he was not able to accept that you had moved on from him? Of course this was just a theory, but it fit perfectly, it explained everything. And you needed to confirm or deny this immediately; no matter if it was with Ryan or Lars, you needed to know.
You had stopped in the middle of the room, and Lucas was already waving you over, but you turned around on your heels, and ran back to where you had come from, rather inelegant, but effectively quick.
Rage was bubbling in your chest as you stormed back to the room where you had taken the pictures. You did not even know what exactly you were going to say, but you knew it would not be pretty. Except that when you pushed open the door, the room was empty. The lamps had been turned off, and with the little light that fell in from the corridor, you saw that both men had left the room.
Standing there for a moment, you considered what to do, but eventually decided to go back to Lucas, and talk to either of them later.
Lucas had just finished explaining what kind of pictures he had in mind for the night, something which he had rarely done before, when the door to the venue opened, and a hand full of people entered.
The three men and two women were wearing what looked like button-up shirts and suit trousers, but on top they wore bulletproof vests, with the three yellow letters, spelling out DEA.
Lucas and you, along with Bill, Charlie and Luis, who also had hung out in the bar, immediately straightened. If the Drug Enforcement Administration was here, this was definitely about what Ryan and Dallon had found on the bus. Before anyone managed to open their mouth to ask about Jay, the man in the front started talking.
“We’re looking for Kathrin Lewis,” he spoke, making everyone share confused looks.
The man pulled out a photo, and handed it to Lucas, who was standing closest.
“We were told she’s one of your tour members,” the DEA officer explained.
Getting on your tiptoes, you spied over Lucas’ shoulder to see what the picture was showing. It was obviously a mugshot, like the ones you saw in movies, in front of a wall with height markings. The person in the picture was pale, purple circles under the eyes, and un-brushed, tousled hair. But you recognized the face anyway. Familiar brown eyes stared up at you, except for that in this picture they were filled with hatred, not girlish cheerfulness.
“Do you know her?”
The brothers and Luis also stepped closer to take a look.
“Yeah, yeah of course, but her name isn’t Kathrin Lewis,” Lucas muttered, handing the picture to Charlie, who took a sharp breath as he recognized the girl, “It’s Lisa Roberts.”
“We already assumed she’d be using a different name, where can we find her,” the officer asked.
You barely heard the conversation going on. Blood was rushing in your ears, and you started to feel dizzy. Were they accusing Lisa of having placed the drugs on the bus? Why did they have a mugshot of her? This had to be a mistake!
Bill offered to lead four of the officers to the van, where he had last seen Lisa. With shaking knees you sat down. The officer who had stayed behind with the rest of the team in the bar, shot you a concerned glance, but you ignored it.
This was crazy. First they accused Jay and arrested him, then the stuff with Ryan, and Lars’s most likely involvement, and now they were after Lisa? You never had believed for a second that Jay was responsible, but somehow you were not quite as certain about this when you thought about Lisa. And they had a mugshot of her, which proofed that she had been in trouble with the law before.
Half a minute later, voices grew loud outside. The officer turned towards the door, everyone’s eyes following him, before Charlie walked over to peek outside. Luis and Lucas followed him, and so did the officer, so you got up as well to see what the turmoil was all about.
The scene outside was shocking, but not because it was very brutal, but because it was against anything you had ever expected to see Lisa like.
Two of the DEA officers had grabbed her by the upper arms, her hands cuffed behind her back, while she struggled and screamed, trying to wriggle out of the strong grasps of their hands. Most of the time her feet were not even touching the ground, and the girl you had always experienced as sweet and a little childish, and cute and caring, all of a sudden had turned into what people in the middle ages would probably have described as demonic possession.
She screamed obscenities, half of which you did not even know what they meant, while her eyes were shooting flashes of mad rage. All of a sudden the girl in front of you resembled the girl in the picture, which you had been shown, a lot more than the image of her in your mind.
When the officers lead her past the door, she managed to get them to halt shortly.
“You’re a fucking fool, you ass-eating motherfucker,” she hollered, and spit directly into Lucas’ face.
“And you!” All of a sudden she turned to look at you, while the men continued dragging her towards their van, “Your fucking ex is the worst piece of shit on this fucking planet, and you deserve each other! I’ve never been more disgusted by a human being than by him, and that just because you are a fucking-“
The rest of her screams were muffled by the doors of the DEA’s van slamming shut, leaving all of you star struck. Looking down the street you could see Dallon and Ryan, who had witnessed the scene as well, and Lars and Bill were standing next to the bus.
“Well, that was ugly,” the officer, who was still standing by you, sighed, handing Lucas a tissue with which he wiped of the spit, “I guess you would like to know what happened.”
The officer was so nice to stay and explain why they had taken Lisa.
As it turned out, her real name was Kathrin Lewis. She had been arrested for the dealing and smuggling of drugs several times, but never been prosecuted, because of lack of evidence. But when the police who had confiscated the bus, had handed the case over to the DEA, the DEA’s laboratory had found tons and tons of Lisa’s fingerprints all over the drug packages, as well as on the inside of the plastic in the seats.
Later she confessed that it had also been her, who had helped in stealing the bus. She had stolen Lucas’ keys, copied them, slipped them back to Lucas, and handed the copies to the men who had helped her. These men had stolen the bus, and then later, together with her help, hidden the drugs. After that, the bus had gotten returned so they could smuggle the drugs from one state into the next.
Ryan and Dallon had probably only discovered the hiding place, because the fabric had not been sewn shut very probably and the seams had ripped when they had been play fighting.
After everyone had taken in the news, the officer ended with a good message though.
“The city police will drop of your colleague, who I believe has been wrongfully accused and arrested,” he told the team before he left.
And sure enough, five minutes later, Jay walked in. He looked tired, but he beamed with happiness when he saw his friends, and immediately the whole crew stormed over to him, wrapping him in hugs and pats on the shoulder. There was laughter and too many questions to understand a single one of them, but now he was back and this was how it was supposed to be. Slowly the world balanced itself again, and the only remaining problem was the situation with Ryan.
But that had to wait, since now the crew was missing someone for selling the merch. So while Jay, Luis and Charlie did a quick announcement that they would in fact play this last show on tour, you helped Lucas and Bill make signs that announced merch would only be sold before and after each band, which would be your job, so you could take pictures during the time they were playing.
And so the last concert of tour kicked off.
Oh, Those Summer Nights. (Part 4) (Brendon Urie x Reader)
“Josh, you know that I consider you one of my best friends,” Brendon said as he took a step forward so that he was only inches away from the drummer, “but if you come between me and my girl, I won’t hesitate to kick your ass.”
Josh let out a light scoff. “I don’t need to come between you and (Y/N),” he said calmly, raising his brows before hardening his face, “You already did that yourself.”
Brendon’s eyes narrowed and his jaw clenched simultaneously; you could see his right hand twitch slightly, as if he was debating whether or not to throw a punch at the man in front of him.
Josh’s body language surprised you. Everyone who knows him knows that he’s not a fighter; he’s usually the mediator, the guy who prevents fights from happening, not one that’s involved in them. Yet, when faced with a pissed off Brendon, he didn’t back away or even try and calm his fuming counterpart down; he stood his ground, muscles tensing and face hardening as he stared at the singer as if to say Go ahead. Hit me. It scared you, honestly – this was a side of Josh you’d never seen before. Which is why you knew that you needed to put an end to this – once and for all – before someone did something they would regret.
“That’s enough,” you huffed, struggling to squeeze yourself into the tiny space separating the two band members, “Stop it. Both of you.”
With a great amount of effort – and a mean frown on your face – you managed to shove both of them apart.
“This needs to end,” you said softly, avoiding their gazes and looking down at the ground instead, “I don’t want you to fight. I know that you both want me to be happy, and I think I know who it is that makes me happiest,” you took a deep breath and turned to face him, “You.”
~One Week Earlier~
It had been three days since the get-together at Dallon’s house, meaning it had been three days since you had last seen or heard from Brendon – a wonderful fact.
He hadn’t tried to call or text you since the argument, which was probably in his best interest. You were still insurmountably infuriated with him and unless he wanted his eardrums blown or his face tattooed with your handprint, it was wise of him to not make any kind of contact with you.
You were on the road with twentyonepilots, and they were playing a show in Las Vegas tonight. Understandably, you were a bit jumpy about being in the same city as Brendon, but you were almost certain that he wouldn’t dare try and seek you out.
But ‘almost’ wasn’t enough.
You had underestimated Brendon and his desperation to win you back, resulting in you almost having a heart attack when he strolled onto the tour bus you were lounging in.
You sat up in your seat so fast that you gave yourself a mild case of whiplash. “What the hell are you doing here?” you demanded.
“Isn’t it obvious?” he replied, shoving his hands in his jeans pockets as he took tentative steps towards you, “I came to see you.”
“I don’t want to see you.”
“I know you don’t,” he sighed, looking up as he scoffed at himself, “But I needed to tell you that I’m sorry.”
“A text would’ve been fine,” you said flatly, maintaining a poker face as you looked at him.
“I wanted to see you. I have things I want to say to you that can’t be said over text. May I?” he questioned politely, gesturing to a spot on the seat next to you.
His warm, chocolate eyes bored right into you, coaxing you to agree and damn it, the longer you looked at him, the more you felt your resolve slowly but surely slip away.
“Yeah,” you murmured, waving your hands dismissively before wiping them on your jeans and turning your head to the other side, away from him.
A silence fell between the two of you and you sat like that for a little bit before he broke it.
“The argument we had the other day… I crossed the line. I shouldn’t have said what I said. I know that I hurt you and I hate myself for it. There’s no excuse for my behaviour. I just…” he trailed off, exhaling, “I just want a chance to make things right with you so badly, (Y/N). I want to show you how sorry I am and prove that if you let me back in, I will never hurt you ever again.”
You closed your eyes and bit your lip, tears already forming. “If you wanted to make things right, why didn’t you say something the first time you saw me with Tyler and Josh? Why did you just pretend like I was a stranger? Like I meant nothing?” you questioned frailly, looking at him with sad eyes.
He swallowed, starting to fiddle with his fingers. “I was too much of a coward. The look in your eyes when you saw me that day…” he chuckled lightly and shook his head, “it was pure hatred. I knew that you hated me for leaving you, and I hated myself too. I wanted to try and make things right with you, but I was too afraid that you’d just reject me. So I just avoided making contact with you, because I knew that if I did, I wouldn’t stop until you were mine again.”
You shifted in your seat to better face him and furrowed your brows, shaking your head at him. “It wasn’t hate you saw that day, Brendon. It was hurt. When I saw you, everything just came flooding back and I… I couldn’t take it. It was like my heart was breaking all over again.”
You went quiet for a moment before looking at him earnestly. “I know that I’ve said it multiple times, but I don’t really hate you. I could never hate you,” you whispered those last five words.
“Really?” he chuckled, raising an eyebrow in amusement, “Because you were pretty convincing.”
“Yeah, well,” you breathed, cocking your head and shrugging, “that’s what happens when you tell yourself something for eleven years. You get pretty good at pretending it’s true.”
Another silence fell over you, only this time, it held much less tension. Again, Brendon was the one to break it.
“(Y/N), can you look at me?” he asked softly.
Slowly and carefully, you turned to face him. He gave you a small smile, and even though a part of you wanted to, you didn’t smile back.
“Do you think,” he started but stopped after the first three words, too scared to continue his question; but when you gave him an expectant look, he found the courage to do so, “you could ever give me a second chance? Give us a second chance?”
You felt your stomach drop and you gulped before drawing in a shaky breath. You knew that this question was coming. You knew it. And you dreaded it, because you also knew that your answer wouldn’t be one he wanted to hear.
“Brendon,” you croaked, letting out a short breath, “I’m sorry, but I can’t.”
Brendon felt his heart shatter right then. “Why not?” he asked quietly.
You couldn’t answer him. You just sat there and looked at him forlornly, shaking your head slightly.
When you couldn’t give him an explanation, he came up with one of his own. His faced paled as he rolled his tongue against his cheek before speaking again.
“There’s someone else, isn’t there?”
Again, you didn’t answer him. You tore your gaze from him and averted it to your lap.
“Who is it?” he pressed, “Is it Josh?”
Your shoulders tensed up. It was an extremely subtle movement, but Brendon caught it. Knowing that his assumption had been correct, he straightened up in his seat; he suddenly felt sick.
Before either of you could say anything else, the door to the bus opened and Tyler and Josh sauntered inside.
“Oh, hey, dude,” Tyler greeted with a smile when his eyes landed on Brendon, “I didn’t know you were dropping by. You staying for the show?”
“No,” Brendon replied flatly, getting up, “I was just leaving.”
Tyler made a puzzled face. “Alright, then. Guess we’ll see you-“ he stopped speaking when Brendon stormed past him and out the door, purposefully bumping shoulders with Josh on the way out.
“-later,” Tyler frowned, jutting a thumb over his shoulder at the singer before turning to you, “What’s up with him?”
You opened your mouth to speak, but no words came out. Instead, tears rolled down your cheeks, prompting Josh to immediately rush over and pull you into his embrace.
Even after the show, when he was practically exhausted, Josh still insisted on cuddling with you until you fell asleep, playing with your hair in an attempt to soothe you.
“So, yeah, I’m pretty sure that he hates me now,” you sighed. You had just gone over the details of your and Brendon’s conversation – although you left out the parts involving you having feelings for Josh.
Josh’s chest puffed out as he scoffed. “He has no reason to hate you. He broke your heart and left you alone for eleven years; you have every right to move on.”
You raised an eyebrow and lifted your head from his chest to give him a perplexed look. “Last time we spoke about this, you said that I was being too hard on him.”
“Yeah, I mean, I don’t think you should hold a grudge against him. You should forgive him for what he did. But you should also move on if that’s what you feel you should do.”
You stayed in that position for a little while, just looking at Josh while he looked back at you. Then, you decided to take his advice.
Swiftly, you bent your head down and captured his soft lips with yours. He was shocked at first, but once it wore off, he gripped the back of your neck and kissed you harder.
“Wait, what are we doing?” he asked, pulling back a little.
You crashed your lips back onto his. “I don’t know about you,” you mumbled into the kiss, “But I’m moving on.”
Note: Hahaha! #TeamJish for the effing win!
Thank you for reading x