A/N: So I reposted the whole story plus one new chapter. The reason why I reposted it was because I fixed a few spelling/grammar issues. So yeah. Enjoy!

I Hear Voices All Around Me, yet There Is No Sign of Life

Preface: Why Are You Here?

The car is slowly filling up with water. I'm not panicking, I'm not moving. I'm done crying because there are no tears left in me. I'm done hurting. I just want it all to stop. I should have known. I should have known that it was never going to happen. I was never good enough. Every thing was just a game. I should have known. At least where I'm going, I won't have to think about her anymore. Just as feel that there is nothing left in me, I see her face, and I leave, smiling.

Chapter 1: The Crappy Beginning

I looked over at her, standing by our locker, getting her stuff out for her first class. In the second it took her to put her books into her bag, a million memories went running through my head. From the day that we met to the day that she signed my year book last year. I could see every laugh, every smile, and every deep secret. I took a deep breath and shook it all off. I turned around and walked towards the other direction.

I could feel the tension. It was blatantly obvious, how she never saw it, baffled me. I walked in the other direction because I no longer knew what to say to her. I didn't know her, and she no longer knew me. We were becoming too different, but I didn't want to admit it. I was in denial, and I couldn't see it. I was mostly mad at myself. Why couldn't I just say bye? Why couldn't I just walk away? Was it because I had never done it before? Was it because she was the only one, of whom I could actually talk to? I just wanted to know.

It was weird, because, on most days, I almost hated her, and then we'd have one good day, and I'd forget everything. I'd forget how much it felt weird to talk to her, or how awkward it was to ask her to hang out with me, or even how she could never make any time for me. The funny thing was, if she ever asked me to hang with her during lunch, and I had promised someone else that I'd have lunch with them, I'd still say yes to her.

Maybe it's just me though. Maybe she just doesn't feel that way, and I think I'm alright with that. The thing that does bother me, is the fact that she said she'd try harder to make our friendship last. I just can't see it lasting anymore.

----------

I pulled my phone out of my pocket and I looked at it. I got a new text message from Band Buddy. I laughed. I couldn't believe that after four years, I still had her as that in my phone. I read it.

"St. John's Café tomorrow?"

"Sorry," I began to type. But then I deleted it. I thought for a moment. Okay, this is what I wanted. She was finally asking me, rather me having to bug her repeatedly.

"Okay, sure," I replied. I sent the message and waited.

My phone buzzed again. "Cool."

So I was going to have lunch with her tomorrow. I looked at the time. It was 9:30. I decided I would just shower in the morning. I jumped out of bed and stood in front of my closet. I pulled out a pair of Levi jeans and a collared, blue Izod shirt. I set them on the edge of my bed, along with my studded belt and my green Vans slip-ons. Pulling out my clothes for the next day was something of a nightly ritual I had. As weird as it sounds, it made me feel like even if the next day was shit, at least there was one thing I had control over. I smiled at my own abnormality and I lied down in bed. I turned my head to my open laptop. I flipped through the iTunes library and found my favorite band, The Spill Canvas and played "Self-Conclusion."

--------

Last year, my parents had made the decision that I was no longer going to be in band. Over the summer, I remember being so depressed that I wouldn't text or call anybody for weeks at a time. I would just listen to The Spill Canvas, and as bad as it sounds, I constantly thought about suicide. (Ironically, later that same year, a friend of mine, Sera, told me that my choices of music had a depressing feel to them.) I remember sitting up in my room for hours at a time, just starring at a knife that I kept in the drawer by my bed. Why was I like that? Why didn't I tell anybody? The sad part is I did. I told my parents, right before I left school that them not allowing me to do band anymore, would destroy me. They thought I was being dramatic. I even told them again, right before my two week trip to Jordan. I told them that I wasn't emotionally stable to go on such a trip. They thought I was retaliating against them. The truth was, it hurt me to ask them to let me stay behind. Since I was 8, I've begged my dad every summer to take us there.

Band had always meant so much to me. Since the 6th grade, the band room had been the only place that I'd ever felt at home. I constantly felt like a guest, even in my own room. I didn't and would never belong within my family. But what I was wrong about was that being in band would be enough to help me.

Since I wasn't allowed to do band, I made a deal with my mom. I was going to graduate early by one year, so I signed up for mostly senior classes. She called me during the second week I was in Jordan. She told me that two of my classes had conflicts. After we fixed what we could, I couldn't take AP Music Theory, which I was taking to replace band. I will never forget the day that she called me and told me that she put me back into band. I cried tears of joy. I was jumping up and down, and for once, my mother had actually listened to me.

The first day I walked into the band room my junior year, had to have been greatest day of my life. At least since the day I first went to high school. To see all these people who had cared so much, and all these people who were absolutely ecstatic that I was back. Even she was happy. It all felt like I was going to be fine. Of course that was never the case as soon as I got home.

My father still insisted on blowing everything out of proportion and making everything a big deal. No matter how well I was doing in school, they would still say, "I know that you are more capable than this." They could just never be happy with what I did for them. They would constantly complain that band took away time form my homework, and yet they would interrupt me almost constantly during my "study" time, and have me do all this shit for them. Most of the time, they'd tell me to do stuff, while they simply sat on their asses watching TV. I was always changing my brother and sister, or bathing them, or feeding them, as if they were my children. I never told my parents, but when my sister was first starting to talk, she called me "Mommy." I ran up to my room and cried for hours. I don't know exactly why I cried. It might have been because I was mad at my mom, or maybe I was mad at myself. Whatever it was, I knew that that very memory would haunt me for the rest of my life.

--------

"So…how have you been?" I asked. We were sitting at a table inside St. John's Café with Alex, and her boyfriend, Mark.

"Pretty good, I guess," she replied.

"You guess, what does that mean?"

"I don't know. I've been stressed a lot this year."

I laughed. "Stressed about what?" I asked, in confusion. I love that no matter how mad she can make me, I still can't help but worry about her. I can't help but care.

"About school and stuff," she said looking away.

"Ah…well just think of it like this, this year will be what you make of it. If you think it'll be bad, then it will be, but if you stay optimistic, you'll be just fine."

"Yeah, you're right."

"I am?" I asked smiling.

"Well aren't you just hilarious!"

"Um," I put my finger on my lips, as if actually thinking about it. "Yeah, I am."

It was a good day. And I was happy.

---------

My most joyous part of the year is always marching season, for more reasons than just one. For one, it was the only time of the year that I got to have any sense of freedom. I would stay after school for every practice and game. Since practices and games didn't start for hours after school, those days gave me opportunities to hang out with the Tuba section. Sometimes, it would be an opportunity to hang out with her. We would go to One Fresh, go out to buy our secret pal gifts (gifts given to the boys in band by the girls), or even have political debates with Will (the only conservative republican in our little "tuba" group).

I remember the first football game of my sophomore year. I will never forget it. It was the first game of her freshman year. We had so much fun. That night we started the tradition of sitting next to each other on the bus rides to each game. We played music and danced. We laughed and joked all night long. We were almost inseparable on nights like that. During our break, we'd get nachos and just make giant messes where ever we went. On our way back to school after each game, we'd be so exhausted. Sometimes we'd even try to sleep. Of course, the rest of the Tuba section would never allow that. Once, James (the clown, and yet so very caring, member of the tuba section) shoved his ass right in front of her face when her eyes were closed. When she opened them and looked up to see that in her face, she yelled, and we all laughed.

Every morning, I would walk withher to her first class, which caused me to be late every day, and to get a lot of detentions, but I didn't care. At the time, we saw it as something we both needed. Since we had no classes together, and since she was always busy during lunch, we had to make time, and that was the only time we could hang out. We used it as a time to vent, to tell each other about everything. At the time, we depended on each other in ways that others couldn't help us. That dependency that we once had, no longer existed after herfreshman year/my sophomore year of high school, and I doubt it could ever exist again.

-------

I was sitting in the band room after school, waiting for the last bell to ring. I sat in a chair, next my locker. When the bell finally did ring, I saw herwalk in and stand right next to me.

"Hey," she said.

"Hey."

She began to fidget with the hem of her shirt.

Was she nervous? I never made her nervous.

"I was just, uh, wondering, if I could uh…"

"Just spit it out." Woops, I think I just sounded a little mad.

"CanIsleepatyourhousetonight!" she practically screamed.

"Uhm, what?"

She took a deep breath.

"Can I sleep at your house tonight?"

I laughed.

"Why did that question make you so nervous?"

She looked down at the ground.

"I don't know, exactly."

"Yes."

"Huh," she looked up in confusion.

"Yes, you can sleep over."

She smiled, which caused me to smile back.

"Thank you."

"No problem."

--------

When we pulled into the driveway, I began to realize something. She had never been inside my house. We had been friends for so long and I had been inside her house more times than I could ever count. Yet, she had never taken a single step inside my home. I don't think she even knew what it looked like.

We stepped out of my car, and she simply froze. I saw her out of the corner of my eyes. What was she looking at? I looked up to my house. I never thought about how much bigger my house was than hers.

"Hey, ready to go in?" I asked, trying to get her to snap out of the trance she was so heavily stuck in.

"Huh," she shook herself back into reality, "yeah, let's go."

When we got into my room, she sat down on my bed, just taking it all in. I looked around my all too familiar room: The posters on the walls of bands like The Bravery, Klaxons, The Postal Service, The Spill Canvas, Death Cab for Cutie, Rooney, and so many more. The paintings and sketches I had done over the years of my favorite superheroes and skateboard designs. The autographed photos of actors like Tobey Maguire, Adam West, Adam Brody, and Kirsten Dunst. The shelves upon shelves of books filled with philosophy, mystery, and haunted tales. My laptop in the corner on my desk. The mini recording studio in another corner. The dark green drum set, three guitars (one bass), and the silver Bb Tuba. The black walls of my room with red artistic graffiti. The self-portrait on the ceiling of myself in my Marching Band uniform.

"Remind me again, why I've never been to your house?" Spencer asked, finally snapping me out of my little world.

"Uh, I don't know."

She sat down on my bed. I remained standing. She smiled and motioned for me to sit down next to her.

"So…" I said, trying to provoke her to talk. I knew that there had to be some specific reason for why she would want to come here.

"He broke up with me," she suddenly said.

"Wha?" I asked in confusion.

"Aiden."

"Your boyfriend?"

She merely nodded her head yes.

Oh no. I hated him, I hated everything about him, but she loved him. I knew he'd do that to her.

"Why?" was the only thing I could muster up to say.

"He…" and so the crying began. She leaned over until her face was buried as far as it could be into my shoulder. My shirt was slowly becoming drenched with her tears.

"It's going to be okay Spence. I'm here for you." I didn't know how much of that was true, but for now, I'd be here.

She finally pulled away from me, only slightly.

"He…he found someone else."

Her blue eyes were filled with more despair than my heart could take. I could feel the rage building inside of me. Having someone hurt her so much, hurt me so much more. I wished, at that moment, that I could take it all away for her.

"Spence, he never deserved you anyway," I said, astonished that I had just said that.

"What do you mean?"

Now I knew I'd have to tell her.

"Spence, what does she look like?"

"Who?"

"The other girl?"

"Uhm, all I know is that she has long brown hair, green eyes, and she's a little shorter than me."

"Is her name Valerie?"

"I think so."

"Oh shit."

"What is it Ashley? You can tell me."

"I think he's been cheating on you."

"WHAT?!"

She was now standing up in front of me. The tears no longer existed. All that was left now was hatred, hatred for the self-destructive, sub-human, testosterone-driven, teenage boy that she once fell in love with.

"If we're talking about the same girl, I've kind of…" I began to stumble over my own words, which was rare for me. "I've seen him with her before."

"WHAT?! Why didn't you ever tell me?" she was now yelling.

"Hey," I stood up, "Don't go yelling at me! I'm not the one doing this."

"Then why didn't you ever tell me?"

"Because, I thought that if I told you, that you wouldn't believe me."

"How could you think that?"

"How could I think that? So many times you've believed him over me."

"That's not true!"

"Do you remember that day that he was going to have lunch with you, and he never showed up?"

"Yeah, he said that he got a detention."

"And what did I say?"

"You said that you saw him at Tropical Smoothie."

"And who did you believe?"

"Him," she whispered.

"Right, so now do you know why I couldn't tell you?"

"Ash?"

I wanted to smile, because even in this moment of tragedy, she stilled called me by the nickname she had given me so very long ago.

"Yeah Spence?"

"Can we not talk about it anymore?"

"Sure."

We both sat back down.

"What do you want to do?" I finally asked, breaking the two minute silence.

"Will you play something?" she asked.

"Huh?" I asked in confusion.

"Will you play something," she pointed to the instruments in the corner.

I smiled and walked over to my acoustic guitar. It was black with swirls of red. I put my stool in front of her and sat down. I quickly contemplated what to play.

It's the way that you blush when you're nervous.
It's your ability to make me earn this.
I know that you're tired, just let me sing you to sleep.
It's about how you laugh out of pity,
'Cause lets be honest I'm not really that funny.
I know that you're shot, just let me sing you to sleep.

If you need anything, just the say the word.
I mean anything.
Rest assured, if you start to doze, then I'll tuck you in,
and plant my lips where your necklaces close.

It's those pills that you don't need to take,
medicating perfection, now that's a mistake.
I know that you're spent, just let me sing you to sleep.
It's your finger and how I'm wrapped around it.
It's your grace and how it keeps me grounded.
I know that you're weak, just let me sing you to sleep.

If you need anything, just the say the word.
I mean anything.
Rest assured, if you start to doze, then I'll tuck you in,
and plant my lips where your necklaces close.

While you were sleeping I figured out everything,
I was constructed for you, and you were molded for me.
Now I feel your name, coursing through my veins.
You shine so bright it's insane, you put the sun to shame.

If you need anything, just the say the word.
I mean anything. (I really do)
Rest assured, if you start to doze, then I'll tuck you in,
and plant my lips where your necklaces close.

If you need anything, just the say the word.
I mean anything.
Rest assured, if you start to doze, then I'll tuck you in,
and plant my lips where your necklaces close.

I love that we both enjoy The Spill Canvas.

"I love that song," she said, as I put away the guitar.

I smiled.

"I know," I replied, plain and simply.

"How do you know me so well, and I didn't even know that you could play the guitar, or sing for that matter?"

I shrugged. I didn't know how to answer that.

"How do you…not hate me?"

Now I was really confused. I looked down at her. Sometimes, I felt as though I did hate her, but then I'd realize that I was just sad, that she couldn't be there for me, the way that I was always there for her.

"I…could never…" I began to stutter, and I think that she sensed it.

"Never what? Hate me? If I were you I would. God, Ashley, you've been the best friend I've ever had, and all that I've done is treat you like the gum on my shoe!"

I laughed at her corny analogy.

"What are you laughing at?" she asked, almost as though she was getting mad at me.

"You've never treated me like I was 'the gum on your shoe.' Sure you've done some mean things to me, but I'm no saint either."

"With me, you are," she mumbled.

I sat down beside her on the bed.

"Look, I may know a lot about who you are and what you like, but I no longer know anything about your life."

"Well what do you want to know?"

"I've got an idea. Look, it's Friday, how about you call your parents and ask if you can stay for the whole weekend."

"Won't your parents care if I stay for that long?"

"My parents are out of town and won't be back until Monday night. I said that I stay over at a friend's house, but this seems like a better idea."

"Uhm, okay. I'll go call them."

She came back into my room ten minutes later, with a big grin on her face.

"I'm guessing from the look on your face that your parents said yes."

She shook her head yes, and sat back down on my bed.

"So, what do you do around here?" she asked, looking around my room.

"Nothing really. Hey, want to go watch a movie? We have a bad-ass theatre room?"

"I'd love to!"

I stood up and led back downstairs, to the very edge of the house. We both walked into a rather large room that had a total of 15 la-z-boy recliners. She stood right behind me as I opened a cabinet, filled with hundreds of DVD's.

"Well, pick one or more if you want. They're in alphabetical order, so, have fun."

She stared at them in awe.

After about 15 minutes, and me beginning to doze off on one of the chairs, she finally walks over to me.

"Ash, I found some."

I sat up and looked at the movies that she handed to me: 1408, Saw V, and Friday the Thirteenth.

"Spence, these are all scary movies."

"I know."

"But these give you nightmares, and you know it."

"Yeah, but I have you here," she smiled, "so I'll be fine."

"Fine, which one first?"

"Uhm…how about Saw V?"

"Okay."

She sat down next to me, a little closer than I had anticipated. At one point in time, she pulled my arm to wrap around her. At that moment, her gaze remained on the movie, but mine drifted towards her. What was she doing?

After watching Saw V and 1408, Spencer decided that she had enough scary movies for the night. I could tell that it had nothing with the movies; it was that she was beginning to fall asleep.

"So, you can take my bed, and I'll sleep on the couch in the other room," I said to her.

"No, this is you're house, I'll take the couch," she replied.

"No way, you're my guest. Besides, the couch isn't so bad," I smiled.

She didn't want me to sleep on the couch, but I wasn't going to allow her to win this time.

At first, I couldn't sleep. I don't know why, but I had this weird feeling in the pit of my stomach. I looked over at the alarm and I realized that I had been lying here, for at least two hours.

Suddenly, I saw a shadow enter into the room. I looked at it, moving towards me. I said nothing. I did nothing. It slowly got closer, until finally it was lying right beside. Then I realized who it was.

"Spence?" I asked, in a slight whisper. She was facing me.

"I was scared," she replied.

We had never been so close before, and I wasn't really sure why it scared me, but it did.

"Ok. You can stay, I'll watch over you."

I couldn't tell, because it was too dark, but I could have sworn that she smiled.

-------

When I awoke the next morning, I noticed something very odd. I remember falling asleep with Spencer facing me, but now, she was facing in the other direction. Both my arms were wrapped around her, and her hands intertwined in mine. How did we get this way?

I tried to get up. I didn't want to wake her. As soon as I got my arms free from her grasp, she pulled me right back. I let out a sigh of defeat. I waited a few minutes, and then tried again. When I was finally able to stand up, I stared in awe. She was only wearing underwear and a wife beater. How had I not noticed that last night? I looked down at myself. She seemed so naked compared to me. I was wearing a pair of pajama pants and a Hanes white t-shirt. I kneeled down and pulled the blanket over her body.

I walked down the stairs, careful to avoid all of the squeaky floor boards. I stepped into the kitchen and made a pot of coffee. I decided I'd watch some T.V. while I waited for the pot to finish. As soon as I turned it on, I heard footsteps. I froze. I looked at the time. It was 6:30. She was not one to wake up this early.

"Hey," she said, walking towards me.

"Hey," I replied, just as she sat down next to me.

She was still only wearing underwear and a tank top. I felt like I couldn't breathe. What was she doing to me? I had never felt this way before.

"Aren't you cold?" I finally asked.

She didn't answer, she only smiled. She scooted closer towards me, until finally; her skin was colliding with my pants. Her head landed on my shoulder and her hands in her lap.

"Mhmm…not anymore," she finally said.

Silence. I didn't know what to say or do. Was this her way of dealing with Aiden? Was this some sort of game to her? Was she so desperate to make her own pain go away, that she'd drag me into some "love me/hate me" ordeal? What ever it was, it scared the living fuck out of me.

"Ash?" she asked, looking straight into my eyes. I suddenly felt naked. I felt as though when she looked at me, that she could see straight into my soul, my mind. As cliché as it sounds, it was probably her intentions.

"Yeah?" I asked, trying hard not to stutter.

"Do you think that the coffee is done?"

I laughed. Not aloud, but I did. I let out a sigh. Thank god.

"Well, I'll just have to go check, won't I?"

She nodded with a bright smile. She moved away as I got up.

I stood in the kitchen. I needed a moment away from her. I'm not sure what she's trying to do. I don't know why she is. Why now? There had to be something that she wasn't telling me. I needed to know.

"Hey, you'll get wrinkles that way," she said, rubbing her fingers across my forehead. Ugh, stop that! Her fingers left an invisible mark, and I suddenly missed them. No! Stop that, stop thinking that way!

"Huh…yeah. Uh, the coffee's done," I said, handing her a cup.

She smiled.

"What? What is it?" I asked, confused.

"Why did you give me this cup?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, I can tell that this one is your favorite. Why did you give it to me?"

I looked at it. It was a dark green cup that had the words of Henry David Thoreau, "Rather than Love, than Money, than Fame...give me Truth."

"How do you know that it's my favorite cup?" I asked.

"Because I gave it to you, silly…"

True, that she had.

"…but also, because it's a line from you favorite book and movie," she said.

"I gave it to you for just that reason," I replied.

"Why, because it's from the book Into the Wild?"

"No, because it's my favorite."

"Ash, I'm confused."

"No one else has ever used that cup, besides me. That cup is very special to me," I could feel the sweat forming on my forehead as I got more and more nervous, "and so are you."

She smiled. "Then thank you very much. That means so much to me."

For the majority of that morning, we sat on the couch, right next to each other, and watched T.V., but I don't really think that either one of us were watching it. Neither one of us really knew what was going on between us, but I don't think that we were ready to face either. It was a crappy beginning.