One Year Later

It's the night of the masked ball and he's already gotten into trouble with Victor once this evening. He's only been here a few weeks as it is and he really shouldn't be pressing his luck any more than he already has. But he's Eddie Miller and that's just how he rolls. That's what's earned him this move to the UK in the first place and he's still not sure if he even cares if he stays or goes anyway. What's the harm in breaking one more rule?

Besides, if Fabian Rutter of all people can successfully sneak out in the middle of the night; he definitely isn't going to be the one to get caught. He can't imagine what his roommate could possibly be doing at this hour, but it's highly unlikely to him that it involves a girl. That's both a far cry from his buddies back home and also kind of a nice change of pace, if he's honest. Though, how can you be so innocent to not even consider that your roommate might be faking being asleep?

There is only one thing Eddie knows for sure at this point; he can't sleep, even if he tries to stay in. He's too wired.

He's too hyped up on whipped cream and maple syrup… On fierce green eyes and a little black dress that was warm under his fingertips… And also on the repetitive thought that there's still an abandoned drum set over at the school that he knows for a fact is scheduled to be picked up first thing in the morning.

Don't get him wrong… He misses his dog, sometimes he even misses his mom—but not the yelling—but he misses his drum set the most. He lost that privilege two trips to detention ago. If he's lucky, she'll change her mind about selling it while he's gone.

That's why he's now piling his blankets in a sloppy mess, trying to mimic Fabian's flawless body double across the room. It's dark in here and Victor and his eyesight is practically ancient. What he's managed will do for a quick session.

He eases the bedroom door closed and makes a break for the front door before he loses the nerve to cross under Victor's office.

He hears movement to his left near the stairs and almost yelps in surprise. Patricia also jumps when she sees him and it causes her to yank the cellar door shut in one swift—noisy—movement. Not at all the plan.

"Yacker— what are you doing?" he hisses.

She grabs him by the shoulders and pushes him into the darkness of the common room.

He inhales sharply when she slaps a hand over his mouth and hisses back, "Shut up!"

Eddie can't hear anything over the blood pounding in his ears but guesses that Victor doesn't stir at any of the noise when Patricia turns back to him and drops her hands to cross her arms. She falls back into character and his guard goes right back up too.

"So…" Eddie starts with a hint of bitterness in his voice, "You and Fabian, huh? Tsk, tsk, your bestie isn't going to like that…"

Patricia scoffs, "That's the dumbest thing I've heard you say since you got here."

Nina and Amber sneak up the stairs while Fabian flails his arms at them on his way down the hall and now Eddie gives Patricia an incredulous look.

She puts a hand up to stop him, "I won't ask if you don't, Slimeball."

Right. He's also carousing around after midnight here.

"Me? I've got nothing to hide." He shrugs, "Forgot my suit jacket at school and I'm going to go get it. I can't sleep on that terrible mattress and I'm bored out of my mind."

"Listen, not that we're friends or will ever be friends but that's a terrible idea. Sneaking around the house is one thing, but leaving? You have a death wish." Her eyes flick up to Victor's office and he has no doubt if she is exaggerating the caretaker's ways.

"Look, it'll be fine. I know for a fact that the school is empty. Come with me," he blurts, "I'll prove it to you... Unless you're too chicken?"

Her eyes widen and she looks so scared, "Eddie, I—"

"C'mon, live a little...I promise we'll be fine." He says it softly. He decides then and there that he doesn't want this beautiful girl to have to feel scared of anything ever again if he has any say in it.

They are not fine.

Eddie pretends to look around, stalling for time before doing what he actually came here to do. Jumping right in would look too obvious and he's not going to blow this with her. He didn't think he would get this far and has no plan here. He never thought Patricia would actually say yes and the fact that she did— Well, if that didn't make him even crazier for her...

"Are you sure you left it in here? This is taking way too long. This was such a stupid idea!"

He wonders up onto the stage and runs a finger along a symbol as he yells back, "Definitely! But hey, come check this out!"

"Right," she calls back as she throws the curtains back and sees him settling in, "like you know how to play. We're wasting time."

"Yeah. I saw you trying to 'talk metal' tonight. What do you know about good drummers?"

She scoffs, "What do you?"

He smirks and picks up a pair of sticks.

"Eddie, you can't!"

"Lighten up," he scrolls to something on his phone, "Sweetie's gone for the night."

"You can't know that!"

"Trust me, I can. I know a guy."

"Already? Slimeballs across the world stick together, do they?"

Eddie does the quick rundown of what he knows about his dad in his head and agrees, "Yeah… Something like that."

Patricia holds back a grin when he hits play on a Sick Puppies song; she still thinks this is a bad idea and wants to get out of here. She even thinks about making a run for it when he bends down to place his phone but before that plan fully processes Eddie starts to freestyle drum along in perfect pace with the song.

He laughs at the shock that fills her face and really goes for it at that. It can't be more than 45 seconds in but he stops, catching a symbol in his hand. The risk of getting caught makes it feel like he's already done too much.

"I play."

She turns back from looking at the exits and rolls her eyes, "Obviously." then with a flash of her eyebrows adds, "but I bet you can't do this." and plays him one of the last audio clips she had received from SickPuppy97.

Eddie pales and then chuckles nervously to himself, "Huh." As the clip ends, he goes to say something but really, what can he say here? This night has really gone off the rails in the best way. There's such a happy glitter in her eyes and he purses his lips and looks down to hide his grin.

She mocks, "Yeah, I didn't think so."

Through his lashes he watches her grin at her phone until her face falls into something more akin to sadness and she stops scrolling.

His grip on the drumsticks tightens to the point of being painful and he makes up his mind. Eddie plays his exact riff back to her without meeting her eyes.

Patricia's head snaps up and there's that same scared look they started this excursion with.

He finally meets her eyes and smiles softly as he catches a symbol once more—she hates that she loves the way he does that.

It's so silent in the room now.

Eddie clears his throat and even his hushed tone sounds so loud, "I told you I was moving. Sorry I haven't gotten back to you yet, I've been...busy." He smiles, but it's uneasy.

The walk back to the house was equally quiet. Patricia fell a few steps behind Eddie, her face heated with embarrassment despite the chill in the early morning air. She never thought she would meet SickPuppy97 face to face so there were plenty of times that she had been too personal with him. Exposed too many of her feelings—thankfully not any she had held for him nor anything specific to last year. But plenty more than she would have told anyone in her real life. That was one of the few perks of online anonymity.

Up ahead Eddie was also reeling, his suit jacket slung over his arm. He had wanted to drape it over Patricia's shoulders when she shivered, but all things considered she just may have decked him if he had tried it. He really had left it over at the school. He just didn't dare tell her that he had left it there on purpose to happen to have to go get it on purpose—minus the surprise accomplice part. Especially not when he just happened to go straight to it when Patricia never replied and the awkwardness got so thick they had to get out of there. Did he ruin this before they even met? Did she think he was a creep? Oh no, did she think he already knew?

"We're here."

Eddie whipped around to see her standing back at the stairs. He hadn't been paying attention and completely bypassed them in the dark—wasn't it a shame that someone broke the motion detector light? He nodded and smiled, going up ahead to make sure the coast was clear before motioning Patricia to follow.

He eased the first door closed and couldn't stand any more silence while they waited to open the next one.

"Hey, thanks for keeping me company tonight...and most nights, I guess." he laughed.

"Listen, Eddie... Please don't—" Patricia started.

He dropped a hand gently across her mouth to stop her, "I get it. Your secret is safe with me. I don't rat people out either. And even if I did, you know too much about me too." he grinned.

She rolled her eyes.

Victor resumed snoring in his room above them and they both looked up at the sound.

Patricia went first this time, easing the foyer door open. There was a certain point that the hinges of this one groaned and she had enough practice over the years to get them in quietly. Eddie shuffled into the house closely behind her. She hung around to watch him lock the door behind him. She never went to bed without checking it anymore. He furrowed his brow when he turned around to see her waiting.

"See you in the morning," she whispered, trying to cover.

"Psh, more like see you in 10?"

She rolled her eyes but took one last lingering look at Eddie, waiting to hear a loud enough snore from Victor. She was about to agree when they heard it.

"Go!" Eddie whispered, "And Yacker? Night...again."

1 user(s) online, 2 new messages

SickPuppy97: so... my new school isn't the worst...

SickPuppy97 : btw you never told me what you thought of that last solo. Get a chance to play the clip yet? ;)))


GothPixie: sounded better in person... ;P

SickPuppy97 : Oh? I'm flattered.

GothPixie: Night, Eddie.

Eddie grinned as he closed out his tab. He hit play on his playlist and rock music blared out from his headphones loud enough to wake Fabian, who had barely drifted off to sleep from his own outing. His new roommate groaned and shoved his pillow around his ears.

Eddie decides this is his favorite song on the whole album. Yeah, he definitely wasn't getting any sleep tonight.

"Sick Puppies? Eddie's the only one around here with any taste." Patricia grinned at breakfast.