"Those are not the kind of boys I would let into my house."
Her dad's statement broke through Hailey's concentration on her book, and she looked up from her seat on the recliner. Her dad was settled on the couch, remote in hand, watching something on TV. Hailey followed his stare with a puzzled expression, and realized that he was watching some kind of celebrity gossip entertainment program. She scrunched up her nose. Celebrity gossip was basically the lowest thing on her list of things she cared about. Still, in an effort to engage her father in conversation, she asked, "Who is it?"
"Some boy band," was his short response. "But look at them," he motioned to the TV with the hand holding the remote. "The girls are falling all over them and they are just eating it up. Look how conceited they are. They don't have any respect for the girls and they don't even seem to care about their fans."
Hailey refrained from rolling her eyes. She hadn't meant to get her dad started on a rant.
"Even the reporters are saying that they refused to sign autographs or take pictures because they were 'too busy.'" Her dad made quotation marks in the air with his fingers. "These guys need to get a life." He faded away into indiscernible mumblings.
"Yeah…well, you can't always believe everything you hear," Hailey responded lightly, already turning back to her book.
"You can when you hear it on TV like that!" he retorted, obviously annoyed with these guys. "The program could get sued for slander otherwise. These guys are just stuck up celebrity snobs who have no respect for their fans or average people. I would never support people like that – or allow my family to support them." Some more mumbling.
This time Hailey let it go. She made a neutral sound and settled back into her book. She didn't really care, anyway. So everyone else was going crazy over the Jonas Brothers – so what? Yeah, their music was fun and the guys weren't bad looking, but it wasn't worth ruining her already somewhat shaky relationship with her dad for some boy band. Her dad had always said he wouldn't allow them or their music in the house. Fine, Hailey could deal with that. It certainly wouldn't ruin her life – in fact, she could hardly care less.
- - - - -
"Ugh, do they have to play this stuff in here?"
Hailey laughed at Jenna's over exaggeration and replaced the earrings on the rack. She and her best friend were at the mall, hanging out and doing some shopping before a movie. In their favorite accessories store, a song had just started that Jenna clearly didn't like. "Just ignore it," she said lightly, picking up another pair of earrings to examine more closely.
"Ignore it?" Jenna rolled her eyes dramatically. "It's like nails on a chalkboard – how can I ignore it?" She tugged on her bright purple shirt. "They should definitely play some better music in here."
"Your idea of 'better' is vastly different from mine, so I can't really agree with you there." Hailey grinned at her best friend, wondering again how on earth they had become friends in the first place and how they remained friends this long.
Hailey Brooks and Jenna Barnes had met each other in 2nd grade. Jenna had been the new girl at school and Hailey had been sympathetic. They had shared lunches the first day, and had been practically inseparable ever since. Strangely enough, they were almost exact opposites. Hailey was conservative in dress and taste in music but Jenna was loud in both – preferring clothes that stood out and hard rock music. Hailey learned to play the piano and Jenna learned the drums. They had totally different opinions and tastes in many things.
Despite their differences, the girls got along very well and had never had a serious argument. They had learned to respect each other's differences and appreciate them. Whenever they disagreed on something, they worked through it and didn't let it ruin their friendship.
"What do you think?" Hailey asked, holding up a pair of butterfly earrings she'd been admiring.
"Cute," Jenna shrugged one shoulder, "for you, but not me." Both girls grinned at each other and then Jenna grimaced. "Okay, I say, let's head to the theater. I don't think I can take any more of this…noise." She pointed to the speakers in the ceiling and covered her ears.
"So dramatic," Hailey teased, poking Jenna's shoulder. She put the earrings back on the rack and nodded toward the door. "Let's go. It's almost time for the movie, anyway."
"Aren't you getting those earrings?" Jenna asked, falling into step next to Hailey as they squeezed out of the door past a rather large woman who didn't seem to be inclined to move. Jenna stuck her tongue out at the woman's back.
Hailey shook her head. "Nah. I don't feel like fighting the crowd. And I don't need them."
"That's for sure!" Jenna's eyes were wide and she nodded her head hard, black and purple guitar earrings shaking wildly.
"Oh stop – like you don't have a zillion pairs of your own!" Hailey nudged Jenna with her shoulder and the girls continued on their way through the mall, laughing and joking on their way to the movie.
- - - - -
"No, no, no – that was too fast."
Kevin closed his eyes and counted to five. He thought about counting to ten, but then Nick started talking again.
"It needs to be more like…" Nick demonstrated on his own guitar what he wanted Kevin to do. Kevin watched, considering counting to one hundred.
Fortunately, Joe stepped in at that moment. "Why don't we take a break, guys. I need some water anyway." He raised his eyebrows at his brothers, who glanced at each other and then nodded. Joe put his tambourine on his head like a hat and wandered off stage, humming to himself.
Nick glanced over at Kevin as they handed their guitars to a couple of their rhodies. "I got bossy again, didn't I?" he asked in a low voice.
Despite Kevin's current mood and being slightly annoyed with Nick, he had to smile. "Just a little. I think we're all just ready for a break. We've been practicing all day, after all." He fell into step with Nick and they both followed Joe off stage.
"We're the great Jonas Brothers! We shouldn't need practice!" Joe told them. He waved his hand, scoffing at the idea of practice. "Let's run away."
"We really should practice for the show tomorrow," Nick balked.
"Ever the perfectionist." Joe rolled his eyes exaggeratedly and folded his arms. "C'mon, we're all practiced out for the day anyway. And we need to see the sights while we're here. I mean, tomorrow we'll be getting ready for the show and then the next two days we'll be in Disney!" He jumped up and down like a little kid for three seconds, then stood perfectly still like a mature adult. "So, anyway, like I was saying – we need to get out and have some fun while we have time."
Nick and Kevin were still laughing at Joe's antics. "Well, when you put it like that…" Nick grinned. "Why not – let's go."
All three excitedly ran into the bus to change their clothes. It was a rare thing to have enough time on tour to get out and have some fun. They were now determined to take full advantage of the opportunity while it lasted. They had passed a mall not too far away from this concert location and they decided to head there. They let a few people know where they were going – including Big Rob, of course, who would have to come with them.
"So, we should walk through the mall single file, walking like this," Joe demonstrated in the parking lot as they all walked toward the mall, "and singing the Oompa Loompa song."
"I think we'll be attracting enough attention as it is, don't you?" Kevin pointed out with a smirk.
"I'm just glad it's the middle of the day, so maybe there won't be that many people in there," Nick added as they stepped into the mall.
Joe glanced around and then made a face. "Hardly anyone here."
"You want to be mobbed?" Nick asked.
Kevin laughed. "Come on, guys, I want to look at boots." He pointed at a nearby shoe store and led the way there. It was nice to just be able to chill for a while. He and his brothers wiled away some time at the mall and then decided to go see a movie when it was time for school to let out. They didn't want to give up their freedom just yet, and inside a dark theater it was less likely that they would be recognized.
But it didn't erase the possibility altogether, as they were soon to find out.