"No, I won't." Jen snapped.
"Hold on, guys. I still don't get why there was a different name used in the song if-" Martin was suddenly cut off by Jen.
"It's just a name. I don't know anyone named Corey. And I wasn't trying to make a point because the name sounds like Cary. It's just a name! Why can't any of you understand that?"
"So...the song wasn't about someone you know?" Martin asked, seeming puzzled.
"Never mind." Jen sighed. There was a pause, and then her eyes suddenly widened. She muttered something to herself, stood up and desperately looked around for her guitar. She picked it up.
"I gotta go!" she yelled, already halfway to her room.
"I gotta go." she

The door slammed - loudly. "Wow, seriously?" Cary huffed from afar.
"Shut UP!" she shouted from her room.
"Fine!" he shouted back. "I'll be more quiet."
"No! You just DON'T TALK at ALL." In response, the boys remained quiet for a few moments. Nobody knew the extent of Jen's wrath, but no one wanted to know it.
"But guys," Martin began, "can you explain-" The boys all shushed him.
"Okay! Since you guys can't figure out how to SHUT UP," Jen yelled again, "I'm not playing until tomorrow."
"What!" Cary gaped.
"Yeah! For real. So, GO AWAY!"

To prove a point, Cary tiptoed over to Jen's room and sat outside the door, straining to hear what she was singing.
"I hear you outside my door. You need to quit distracting me or I'm gonna lose this." Jen yelled at him.
"Lose what?" Cary challenged.
"My melody, my lyrics, everything. Just give me a second to write this down!"
Cary scooted away from the door.

"Dude, I'm pretty sure your sister is turning into a monster," he whispered as soon as he got back to the rest of the boys.
"She's only like this for-" Joe thought quickly - "two weeks."
"Are you- you're not serious, right? I'm going to go crazy."
"Why should you go crazy?" Charles said instantly. "You made her act like that."

"I did no such thing." Cary protested.
Charles rolled his eyes. They listened to the strumming of the guitar in the background. They could hear her softly humming a melody, particularly on high notes. Then it went quiet for a few moments, and Jen emerged without her guitar.

"Where's your guitar?" Cary said instantly. "Aren't you going to sing?"
She instantly glared at him. "Oh, I'm sorry, honey, I didn't know you were stupid, I guess I need to repeat what I said."
"I j-"
"Okay, honey, repeat after me. NNNOOOOOO." He blinked at her. "Come on, you can do it. Noooooo."
"Sorry for asking," he mumbled.

"Look, I don't have the energy to just keep writing these songs...and keep singing them...and keep listen to you be cocky about them. I'm too-" Jen paused and smiled. "I'm too tired."

"But girls don't get tired," Martin began.
Cary rolled his eyes. "You really need to stop, Smartin."
"Stop what?"
"Stop being so smart. I don't even know how you're alive." Martin only frowned in response.
"See, this is exactly why I'm tired," Jen began. "Because you guys spend all your time either being mean to each other or being mean to me."

"Maybe it's because Smartin spends so much time being dumb." Cary muttered.
Jen groaned and tipped over onto her back. "You're exhausting. Don't you have a hobby or something?"
"Yes, I like fireworks."
"No, I know. I meant, don't you have something better to do than bug me?"
"Oh, no. Not really."

"No fireworks at home?" she asked.

"No, but-"
"But what?"
"You're the only firework around here," he said, winking at her. The other boys groaned at his terrible joke - but Jen found her fists tightening and her face reddening by the second. "Eh? Eh?" Finally, she lunged at him with her fist, landing square on his cheek. He stumbled slightly. "What was that for?"

"You had that coming."
"Well it didn't even hurt."
"Want me to make it hurt? We can easily arrange that."
"No." Cary said, shying away a bit.

"It totally hurt," Charles laughed.

"It did not! Shut up!" Cary muttered.

"I do kinda agree though," Preston said. "You're like a firework. Or maybe a firecracker."
"You're like, the opposite of Joe. I still don't get how you're related." Martin said.

"We're not," she began, laughing. "His dad married my mom."
"But why- then how-"
"It's okay, Martin, someone will explain it to you better than I can." She smiled.
"Maybe they'll explain it at stupid school," Cary whispered.
"It looks like you're running out of steam," Charles replied. "Or - maybe - your spark is gone."
"Took you two tries to get a good one."
"I'm doing better than you are."

"Oh my God, Shutupshutupshutup!" Jen screeched, covering her ears and falling over onto her back again.
It was silent for a moment. She sat back up.
"Hey Martin, how come you hang out with these guys?" she challenged, glaring at Cary.

"Um...uh, well, I guess I always have..." he said meekly.
"But why?"
"Shut your face, Smartin," Cary interrupted. "It's because without us he would be stupid AND lonely."
"Let Martin speak for himself," Jen chided. "Go ahead. You can tell me."

"Well, I've known them since forever...not being friends with them anymore would be- well, it would be mean." Martin said quietly.
"Gee, look at that Cary. Martin doesn't want to leave you because he's afraid of being MEAN." Jen gave Cary a dirty look.

I'm not being mean, though," he replied. "I'm just brutally honest. Come on, Jen. You think he's stupid, too."
"He says the dumbest thing! He doesn't get how you and Joe are brother and sister. He doesn't even understand English!"
"I just don't get the name thing," Martin muttered.
"Look! Martin might not know everything," Jen said, "but he's a lot nicer to be around than you guys are."

There was a silence, and Joe gave his sister a look that told her she should stop before she said something she'd regret. A moment later, the front door opened, and Jen's mom walked in. Grateful for the distraction, Jen got up and hugged her.
"Hey, Mom."

While Jen and her mom were talking, the boys turned to each other. "I'm seriously scared of her now," Cary said.
"Well," Charles began, "we can't exactly try to make her nicer. To us, anyway."
"So what do we do?"
"Come over to my house." The other boys nodded. Any place was better than Joe's, what with his sister's behavior.
"But I like Joe's better!"
"That's too bad."

"But I like hanging out with Jen." Martin protested.
"I find her entertaining." Preston admitted.

Jen turned to the boys at that moment. "Joe, I'm going to the grocery store with Mom. Wanna come?"
"Um...no, no thanks. Maybe next time." Joe smiled at them.
Jen's mom walked out the door. Jen ran into her room. The boys listened to her throwing things around, most likely hiding her songs so the boys wouldn't try to find them. She rushed back out and opened the door.
"Bye, love you!" she yelled as she stepped outside, with the door about halfway closed.
"Love you too!" Cary yelled.
She opened the door again and peeked her head through. "I was talking to Joe, idiot."

"Be nice," her mom yelled.
"Whatever," she huffed before leaving.

: Jen woke up early the next morning, with yesterday's melody playing over and over again in her head. They lyrics came quickly and naturally, and by about 6 A.M. she had a song that she was trying not to play too loudly, not wanting to wake up Joe or their parents.

: While her parents remained sound asleep, she soon heard the soft footsteps of her brother. He tended to wake up early - especially when he had a big day ahead of him.
He opened the door to her room. "Practicing?" he asked sleepily.
"Yeah," she replied, just looking at her guitar.
"Will you play it later today?"
"That's why I'm practicing."

"I can't believe you're still willing to play for them." Joe said, sitting down on the floor.
"It's important." Jen said simply.
"Cause the songs are about them?"
Jen smirked at her brother. "I never said that."
They were quiet.
"When are they coming?" Jen asked.
"Whenever they feel like it."
"Jeez, don't they have responsibilities? Families? Houses? They spend every minute here."

: "Well, they do," Joe began. "They're just- I don't know - they like coming to my place."
"I don't really know. They've always done it."
"Maybe you're just interesting to them, for whatever reason."
He shrugged. "Maybe. I still wonder why you play for them. You look like you're ready to kill them every time."
"Maybe I am," she chuckled.

Jen yawned. "I'm exhausted. I'm not used to being up this early."
"Go back to bed."
"Can't. I'm not gonna be able to sleep."
"If you insist."

When the boys arrived a few hours later, Jen was sleeping on the couch, despite her insisting it wasn't going to happen. She yawned and stretched upon hearing the boys entering her house, but didn't move.

As always, Cary was talking his head off. "So, yeah, I basically told him that he was wro- wait, is Jen...asleep?"
"Of course she is," Charles said. "You might be surprised to learn that girls need sleep, too." Cary glared, while Martin blinked, processing the new information.
"Whatever." Cary stepped in front of her. "Hey! Wake up! We wanna hear your song!"

Jen turned on her side and groaned. "Shut up. I was up at four this morning writing your stupid song. I'm tired."
"My song? So it's about me!" Cary said gleefully.
"No, Cary. Let me make it clear right now that it's not about you." Jen muttered into the couch. "I don't believe you."
"Come on! Get up!"
"Why not?"
"Because I don't want to play the stupid song."
"Why? You said you would!"
"Because it's stupid, and you're just going to whine about how it is or isn't about you, and I want to sleep. Now goodbye."

"No! No 'goodbye', Jen! I want to hear my song!"
"Too bad, Cary. Now go cry to your friendsies and your mommy and daddy about how MEAN I am." He stared. "You're gonna cry. You are. You big baby."

"No I'm not!" he yelled back.
"Joe, does Cary always act like a big baby?"
"No," he mumbled.
Cary sighed in relief, but found it interrupted by Charles. "Now wait, if he said you DON'T always act like a big baby, doesn't that mean you're a baby right now?"

"Hey, lubberboy, who said YOU weren't a big baby?"

Jen threw her hands over her ears. "Shut up shut up shut up!" she whimpered.
"Now you're being a baby!" Cary said to her.
"No, I'm really not. I just want to sleep."
"Play the song and then you can sleep."

"No! You shut up and go away and I'll play the song later."
"But I wanna hear it now!"
"You really are a baby, Cary. You're spoiled and whiny - and, not to mention, really, really, stupid."
"That's right, I said it!" She smiled viciously.

"Please? Please? Please? Please? You promised. Do you break promises?"
Jen rolled over onto her back again. She groaned. She sat up, rubbed her eyes, and ran her fingers through her hair.

"You're right. I don't," she replied. "But I will only play the song on one condition."
"What's that?"
"You keep your mouth shut for the rest of the day." She grinned at him while his eyes popped out at her in disbelief. "That's perfect. Now keep that up for the next...24 hours, actually."

"Okay, okay, fine!" Cary said.
Jen rolled her eyes, knowing he was lying. She picked up her guitar, which was leaning up against the couch.

She started plucking at some strings, as if debating whether to start playing or not.
"I'm going to regret this." she muttered.

"Here goes..." she mumbled.
"Look at you
Look at me
Look at who
We could be
I wanna know
Who you are
What you want
From the start," she began.
As soon as she took a break from singing, Cary jumped in with a question. "Why-"
"What did I tell you?" she snapped quickly.
"Oh," he replied, frowning.

She continued playing and singing, seeming unfazed by the interruption. "And every time I look at you I can hardly say a thing
My head starts to spin
And it hits me then
I love you"

Cary started rocking back and forth, looking desperate to say something. Jen gave him a dirty look.

"And every time you look at me I could go crazy but I
don't say it but I won't
Cause I'd rather be alone
Than lose you," she continued, emphasizing the word "crazy." Just by the way he was rocking and grinning, Jen had the feeling that he thought the song was about him.

"And all I really wanna do is be next to you
But I'm too tired to fight
And I could tell you now
But baby never mind"
At this point all the boys looked like they had questions. Cary looked like he was about to explode.

She looked up at them and grinned before continuing. "All the time
There's nothing I can do baby
To make you go away." She continued to watch their faces, and slowly began to reflect on just how much power she had over them. Her music - or, rather, her lyrics - seemed to grab their interest instantly: and they stayed mesmerized until the very last note. She smiled before singing again. "So look at you
And look at me
And think of who
We could be..."

"And every time I look at you I can hardly say a thing
My head starts to spin
And it hits me then
I love you
And every time you look at me I could go crazy but I
don't say it but I won't
Cause I'd rather be alone
Than lose you"
She grinned upon seeing their faces. Even Cary seemed to have focused on the lyrics more. She hoped that she was showing them that it didn't matter who the song was about, but what impact the lyrics made on them.
"And all I really wanna do is be next to you
But I'm too tired to fight
And I could tell you now
But baby never mind"

They continued to look focused - but one boy had begun to smile. To her shock, it was Martin; she didn't think that he would be able to understand the lyrics. Still, she felt flattered by the response.
She continued. "All I really wanna say is I need you, babe
But how could you understand
What happens if you turn away
And everything turns blue and gray
And I just wish I told you never mind"

"And I could tell you now
But baby never mind
Oh yeah
I could tell you now but never mind
Oh yeah yeah
And I could tell you now but never mind..."
She strummed the last chord triumphantly. She immediately looked to the boy's faces. It was clear to her straight away that the only boy who had fully grasped the lyrics was Martin, which surprised and pleased her at the same time.

Meanwhile, Joe, Charles and Preston all blinked rapidly - telling her that the song went right over their heads. And poor Cary: his face was red with confusion and frustration.
"You can talk now, Cary," she said.
He took a huge gulp of air before saying anything. "Idon'tgethowit'saboutme," he said quickly.

"Very simple answer: it's not about you."
"But- but- but-"
"It's not about you, Cary. Get over it."

"Then who is it about?" he asked. "I'm the only one you really like."
"Really? Are you serious?"
"Yeah. And you are, too."
"No. Nononononono. I have never liked you like this. At all. Ever." She still liked him a bit - but not that much.

"Well then if it's not about me, who is it about?"
Jen smiled and put her guitar aside.
"You're not going to tell us?" Cary asked.
"You know, I never said it was about one of you."
Cary's mouth fell open, and this statement seemed to open up a whole new world of questions. But before he could start asking them, Martin spoke.
"Wait, guys. I still don't get how-"
"Shut up, Smartin." Cary said, sounding bored.

"It's okay, Martin, you'll figure it out one day." Although she hadn't known him for very long, Jen was getting used to comforting Martin in his ignorance. "But, you know, I've met people outside of your group."
"No, really?" Cary said, faking astonishment.
"Yes. And, believe it or not, I've been around boys. Ones that were a lot different than you guys."
"Better or worse?"
"That depends."

"Well what if-"
"My point is that, my world doesn't revolve around you guys. I've had friends who are boys back home. And I miss them. So my point is that, just because I write a song, doesn't make it automatically about you." she paused. "Automatically about any of you." she corrected herself.
"But it's about one of us, right?"
Jen sighed. "Cary, why would I ever tell you if it was? So that you could torture me forever?"

"No, it's just that you obviously really like whoever you wrote that about."
"You're a genius." Jen said sarcastically.

"Thank you," he replied in a similar fashion.
"Yeah, okay. But still, I wonder why I would ever tell you that it's about-" She stopped herself. Oops.

"About who? About who?" Cary immediately attacked her.
Jen was at a loss for words.
"I got you! I totally got you! It's about one of us. I knew it!"

"Fine, so it MAY or may not be about one of you guys," she said, smiling. "But now you have to ask yourselves - is it really all about you?"
"Well, duh," Cary replied. "Didn't you say 'never mind' to me yesterday?"
"Didn't I tell you that it wasn't about you?"

But you could be lying."

"I don't lie."

"Perfect. Is it about Preston?"

"What? No-"

"Is it about Charles?"

"Oh no, that's not the way it works. Nice try, though."

"Well, you already admitted that it's not about Preston or I. That leaves Charles and Martin."
"And Joe." Martin added.

"Martin, that's her brother," Preston whispered.
"Oh," he replied. "I forgot." Joe frowned a bit at that response, but didn't seem too phased.
"You're right, Cary. But I'm not telling either of them who the song's about."
"Well, why not? You've gotten rid of everyone else."
"Because! A girl can keep her secrets."

"That's so pointless! Now we'll just be confused for the rest of our lives."
Jen sighed. "Yup."
"But now your whole life will be just like the song...if you don't tell us."
"Try not to read into things so much, Cary. We're talking about a song that I wrote at four in the morning. I was tired, not thinking straight. Just because I wrote it and liked it doesn't mean I still mean it."

"I don't get that," Martin said. "How can you write something and not mean it? If you wrote it down, some part of you meant it, right?"
She sighed. "Martin, if I had a dollar for every time you asked a silly question-"
"I was just asking..." he said sadly.
"Sorry," she mumbled. "But still, the song's not that deep. So stop trying to read into it."
"But that's what you want us to do!" Cary yelled.

"No, Cary, it's really not. I just want you to listen to the lyrics and take them in. It's not supposed to mean anything. It's supposed to be a song. You need to relax."
"But I want to know who you wrote it about!"
"It doesn't matter! It really doesn't!"
"But I still want to know!"
Jen sighed. "I give up."

"On what?"
"On trying to get you to stop being an idiot."
"Aww!" He frowned a pouty frown.
"Don't give me that face. You're not funny anymore," she huffed. He puckered his lips, still frowning. "Okay, maybe a little bit."

"Tanksh," he replied. She covered her mouth, trying not to break into laughter.

"Wait. Back to when you said how you didn't mean what you wrote-" Martin began.
"I didn't say that. I said I didn't mean it anymore. Well, I meant- it's not that I don't-" Jen stopped talking. She breathed out. "I don't know. Don't worry about it, okay?"

"Okay," he said and smiled.
"Gee, Smartin, you seem pretty happy with that response," Cary grumbled.
"Well, that's fine. That's what she wants me to do."
"But that's not what you should do. You're supposed to think about stuff - and that stuff's supposed to mean something."
"Never mind."

Jen laughed.
"What?" Cary demanded.
"It's just that the song is called 'Never Mind.' I swear Cary, you need to relax."
"I am relaxed!"
"Whatever you say."
Jen sighed.
"So can we hear another song?" Cary asked eagerly.
"I'm too tired to write another song."
"You have songs already written, don't you?"
"I guess."