Disclaimer: I don't own I'm In the Band...only the characters you don't recognise. You all know this I'm sure.
Three: Add Another Guy Into The Mix
The walk to the mall was awkward to say the least.
Izzy stomped ahead, her bag swinging from side to side vigorously while the couple behind her decided to lag behind and be affectionate with each other. She pushed her way into the mall, and gritted her teeth as she walked towards the food court. Beyond this point, food was her only friend. Stopping in front of the deserted counter, she began to order.
"I'll have a large helping of curly fries, and a strawberry splat shake please Matt." Actually scratch that. Food and Matt were her only friends. Matthew Stellar was an average seventeen year old guy. He worked at the food court afterschool Monday through Friday. He and Izzy had met properly and gotten along instantly the day she decided to order three helpings of curly fries all to herself. He had admired her big appetite considering she was a girl and not going for the barely visible portion of salad they also had on the menu. Izzy had always found him attractive to say the least, with his blonde mop head of hair and dazzling smile – but in her eyes, nobody could compare to Tripp.
"Izzy, dude, you seriously don't think I know what you like eating here by now? Psh, I am insulted!" Matt exclaimed. Izzy laughed lightly and he smiled upon causing the musical sound to come out of her before turning around to get what she'd ordered.
"Iz, there you are!" Her heart sank upon hearing Tripp's voice...which was weird, because she usually loved hearing his voice.
"We'd began to think you'd run off or something." An innocent sounding voice added. Izzy scowled to herself, trying to keep her anger in check before turning around to briefly glare at the evil smile on Gia's face.
"You guys walk too slow...so I just went ahead." Izzy told them simply, looking down at the tiled floor before looking back up again. She didn't like the look in Tripp's eyes; a hazy mix between confused and sad. It caused a weird feeling to swirl in her stomach.
"Here's your order, don't eat it too fast like the last time...oh hey Tripp, Tripp's lady friend." Tripp nodded to Matt in a greeting and Gia waved; her smile as fake as her nails. Rolling her eyes, Izzy thanked Matt for getting her order before leaving them to order whatever they wanted and finding a table to sit at. To her surprise, she noticed Jared on a table alone; typing away at something on his laptop with a calm expression on his face. Izzy smiled upon noticing him, walking over to his table.
"Only you would bring a laptop to the mall Jared." She said with a slight laugh, sitting in the chair opposite him and sipping on her shake.
"Yeah, well a proud nerd is what I am." He replied, looking up at her for a few brief seconds to give her a smile before looking back down to focus on his screen. She was happily enjoying the few moments of silence they were basked in before Gia's loud, scratchy laugh cut in to that of course. Izzy shook her head, annoyance evident on her features.
"That's all we need, her fake screechy hyena laugh to burst innocent people's ear drums." Izzy murmured quietly to herself. Obviously not quiet enough however because Jared snickered shortly after, causing Izzy to smile.
"You're so funny Tripp." With the smile wiped clean off her face, Izzy turned around to see Gia and Tripp heading towards the table, his arm around her waist as they both held milkshakes of their own.
The ache in her chest was suddenly much harder to ignore than it was previously.
It was like she was frozen, with her eyes glued to where Tripp's arm was. It took all of about 10 seconds for her to suddenly lose her appetite and the urge cry to be overpowering her insides.
"You know what, I'm going to head off...I don't feel all that hungry anymore." Izzy's voice was held with a lack of emotion. She met Tripp's eyes slowly and from what she saw, it seemed he was even more sad and confused than he was barely five minutes ago. Looking over at Gia, all she saw was satisfaction. No surprise there.
"But we just got here, and you haven't even finished you're curly fries." Tripp said, his voice sounding almost pleading and as if it was a great way of convincing her to stay. Izzy shrugged helplessly, staring at the twisted bits of fried potato in its plastic basket.
"I'll have 'em!" Jared offered eagerly, his hands shooting into the air and his eyes bright with interest. Izzy pushed them towards him with a slightly amused smile before she stood up.
"Enjoy them while they last Jared...see you all later I guess." Tripp continued to lamely stare at her, his face holding a frown while Gia waggled her fingers in a mock wave. Jared muffled a bye through his chewing of her curly fries and not really being able to stand anything any longer, Izzy turned around and headed towards the exit with a sigh.
Life was so unfair. Why did girls like Gia seem to get everything? How hadn't Tripp seen through Gia yet? Why did she suddenly want her curly fries back? All these questions roamed through her head vigorously at once before she knocked into a certain someone.
"Oh, sorry my...bad." Stopping her words, Izzy looked up slowly, only to be met with the sight of Bryce Johnson standing before her in all his good looking glory. His arms were around her waist as he managed to prevent her from toppling all over him. He smirked down at her, instantly causing a blush to form lightly on her cheeks.
"Hey, Fuentes. In a bit of hurry were you?" Izzy tucked a thin strand of brown hair behind her ear as he let go of her waist and a sheepish smile tugged at her lips.
"You could say that." Bryce's own lips formed an amused smile, but almost instantly his attention was taken away from her and was moved to the happenings that were going on over her shoulder.
"You realise Drippy Campbell is over there right?" She almost let out a laugh at the nick name he had made up for Tripp, but considering he was her best friend and all she ultimately and loyally kept it in.
"Yeah, I know. That's who I was leaving actually." She said, her tone casual. Bryce raised a surprised eyebrow at this confession.
"Aren't you guys joined at the hip?" She let out a laugh this time, but it wasn't exactly one that was filled with joy and humour.
"Yeah, not really. That's more of a past tense thing now." She glanced over her shoulder, noticing Tripp was staring at them, an annoyed expression on his face. Tripp and Bryce weren't exactly the best of friends, a well known fact amongst everyone that knew them. They had a sort of rivalry going on between them which, although she found amusing, Izzy usually steered clear of. So in many ways, it could've been said that at that very moment she stood co traversing with Bryce; she was considered to be talking with the enemy.
But then again, what did she care? Gia was clearly her enemy and did that stop Tripp from going way beyond the valleys of just talking with her? Nope.
"Hey, you okay? You don't seem to be in the best of moods." Izzy shrugged, not wanting to meet his eyes in case she made anything obvious.
"Eh, I've been better." She answered honestly, looking at the floor as if it was suddenly very interesting.
"Hmm... well I was going to get me some grub, but it looks like you could use the company of someone awesome for a while. You want to get out of here and go for a ride or something?" Izzy looked up at him in astonishment. Was he being serious, or was he just trying to annoy Tripp? With him just standing a few metres away, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for Bryce to get under his skin...and the perfect opportunity for herself to do the same thing!
This couldn't have been more perfect timing! She could irritate Tripp for a while, and hang out with a really cute guy who just happened to be one of the most popular guys at her school. It was a win-win situation. Her lips formed another smile, and she didn't even feel guilty as she said her next words..
"Sure, I'd love too." And that was that.
His insides had literally burned as he watched Izzy walk away with the asshole.
What on earth had she been doing?
It was a cool evening, the moon already shining brightly up in the sky. Sitting in his garage, Tripp was still silently fuming over what had gone down at the mall few hours prior. He just couldn't fathom the fact that Izzy had just walked away, as if she was with her mother on a casual shopping trip or something and not her best friend's worst possible enemy. Her smile had seemed so happy, so genuine. So...not the way she smiled at him anymore.
And what was even worse was the way Bryce had turned around just before they left the food court, a smirk playing on his lips that was too smug to be considered just an innocent way to irk him. Where the hell had they gone? Were they an item now? Why did he even care? Izzy could do anything she wanted. Sure, she was his best friend and they had right to know what was going on in each other's lives, but it wasn't like he had to know everything. She just so happened to have Bryce Johnson as a 'going on' in her life and she had yet to tell him about it.
Why on earth did that annoy him so much?
Well, actually he knew why. Of all people Izzy could have associated with she had chosen Bryce 'douche bag' Johnson; a guy who had infuriated him for as long as he could remember. A guy who also had the habit of stealing away all the girls that happened to be in his life. Angie in kindergarten, Lana the year before, and now of course, Izzy. She was the most important out of all of those three, it was no wonder he was annoyed.
"Hey, kid. What you doing in here all by yourself?" Driven away from his thoughts, he looked up to see the three men he considered to be like fathers to him walking in through the garage door. Derek smiled at him as he spoke, while Burger and Ash trailed behind.
"Uh, nothing. Just thinking." He rested his chin in his palm and held his elbow to his thigh. His face grasped the expression of confusion, as if he simply could not figure something out.
"Whoa, dude thinking isn't the best thing for people, you already look like you're in pain from just doing it. I would know, happens to me every time I try to think." The three other members of the band looked over to Ash, a 'what the hell?' look masking each of their features. Ash smiled at them obliviously, and Burger was the first one to turn back to face Tripp, used to Ash's unhelpful inputs in conversations.
"What's up little man? You look down." Tripp turned his attention away from Ash and gave it Burger, his mind now wandering back to the problem troubling his mind.
"It's Izzy," He started. "She's been acting weird lately, as if she doesn't want to be around me or something. And today she left the mall earlier than usual all happy and merry with Bryce Johnson." He spat the name out as if it were a deadly virus and the three weasels gasped.
"Bryce Johnson? Your mortal enemy Bryce Johnson?" Derek asked in dramatic astonishment and Tripp nodded in confirmation.
"The Bryce Johnson who has the tendency to steal all girls that walk into your life away from you Bryce Johnson?" Burger asked this time, and again Tripp nodded sadly.
"The Bryce Johnson who has as unbelievably good looks and amazing dimples Bryce Johnson?" Ash was again, met with 'what the hell' looks aimed towards him from before.
"Well it's true." Derek and Burger reluctantly agreed with this, and Tripp grumbled to himself.
"Guys, you're not helping here." They stopped their musings to look at Tripp.
"Well, it's not like we can help the fact that girls are confusing." Derek told him with a helpless tone. And Tripp couldn't deny that it was true. Girls were confusing. But why did confusion have to be on another level when it came to Izzy?
Over the hour, Izzy had been in the pleasure to learn that Bryce was actually an all round nice guy. He was sweet, funny, and there was surprisingly more to him than just his good looks and his talent for sports.
As she walked in through her front door, Izzy couldn't help but think about how his gentlemen offer of driving her home and offering to walk her to my door (to which she had declined) was surprising. What did Tripp see in him that was so bad?
She shouted a quick hello to her mother who was in the living room mindless watching something on the television as she walked up the stairs. For some odd reason, she was in a great mood.
Once Izzy reached her room, she collapsed onto her bed with a sigh. Today had been long struggle, what with Gia being her expected self and Tripp being all cute and infuriating at the same time.
Though at least Bryce seemed to make up for the whole thing.
That night as she went to bed, Izzy fell asleep almost instantly. Her dreams were filled with happiness and Gia having a really bad hair day – which on her accord, could also count as the same thing.
But just as Gia was about to go bald thus missing the really good part of her dream, her happy sleep was interrupted with a loud beep followed by the sound of vibration coming from her phone. Being a light sleeper, Izzy abruptly woke up to this. She jolted awake, looking accusingly around the room for the offending object that had emitted the noise. Looking to her left, she noticed her phone flashing brightly to life in a contrast to the dark room. It was a text message. Who the heck is this? Annoyed, Izzy picked up her phone to read the contents, her eyes squinting as she tried to adjust to the bright light which displayed words on its tiny screen space.
1 New Message: Trippster :)
Really? Why was he awake at 3:26 AM in the morning? Izzy murmured profanities to herself as she opened up the message.
Meet me in the garage. Need to talk to you.
She sat there for a few minutes just staring at the message, reading the words over and over again. Did he really expect her to just run on over there like everything between them was fine? Well he was certainly mistaken. She put her phone back on her night side table and slowly lay her head back onto the pillow.
After ten minutes of continues staring at the ceiling, she knew she couldn't go through with this. And so instead of giving him the cold shoulder like she should have, Izzy got up from her bed and grabbed her jacket with a groan. She wasn't even exactly sure as to why she was bothering to get up. He deserved to sit there alone waiting in his garage all night like an idiot.
But then again she knew that was never going to happen; like she was ever going to stand him up.
She was walking through the back door of his garage five minutes later; at least there were some perks about living two doors away from your best friend. He was sitting in the middle of the room on a bean bag chair, wearing his usual night attire that consisted of a plain dark shirt with a skull on it and sweat pants. As he expertly played a few riffs on one of his many guitars she couldn't help the admiration she felt. It was something, she noticed, he tended to do when feeling troubled on an important manner that was going on in his life. This time he seemed to be concentrating quite a bit because he didn't even notice her presence until she cleared her throat. He turned around sharply, of course not noticing her entering the room. He stopped turning fully however, once noticing her appearance.
She noticed he was assessing her clothing choice and to say that didn't get her nervous was an understatement. But Izzy stood there and let him scrutinize her, hoping her face didn't give away any of her emotions.
"Nice pyjamas." He said with a small smirk and annoyingly she could feel the heat rise to her cheeks as they formed a blush. She dutifully rolled her eyes as if his words didn't affect her.
"Shut up Campbell." Izzy grumbled. She strongly believed that her black kitty pyjama tank top with the matching shorts were pretty awesome.
"No, seriously. You look cute." She gave him a stare that revolved around momentary shock. Cute? She didn't want the word to have such and affect on her but it did. He thinks I look cute? She wondered silently to herself. Was he allowed to say things like that to her while he had a girlfriend?
"...Thanks?" She replied, though it sounded more like a question then a form of reply of gratitude. Upon the silence, Izzy sat down next to him on the bean bag he had kindly set out for her. He gave her a small smile as if to say 'you're welcome' and let his fingers roam the frets of his guitar neck, playing some more chords on the guitar for a few moments as she silently watched him. In her eyes, he always did look adorable as his focused carefully on what he was playing so every note sounded perfect. His hair was falling into his eyes and he flipped it back a little so he could see what he was doing.
Gosh, he was going to be the death of her.
She blinked and lightly shook her head, successfully snapping herself out of this admiration trance he unknowingly had her under. She spoke abruptly to fill the silence.
"So, why did you want me out here?" That got him to stop playing. There was a sound of a clash of a few strings emitting the wrong note, indicating that her words had caught him of guard. He sighed, moving his guitar aside as if to put it down, but stopping short and opting on keeping hold of it instead.
"Oh, I-I was just wondering...about uh..." To her astonishment he was stuttering, a rare trait for the likes of Tripp Campbell. This meant whatever he had to say next definitely had to be interesting.
"About...?" She prompted him, crossing her arms over her chest.
"About you...and Bryce." He said slowly, the disdain obvious in his tone for having to admit it. He managed to hold her gaze for a split second before looking away and Izzy studied his face for a second of her own before replying.
"What about me and Bryce?"
"Just...wondering where you guys went after the mall and...stuff..." Really. It was bothering him that much that he had to text her at three in the morning, interrupt her amazing dream, have her drag herself to his garage where she ended up silently pining for him when she could be doing so much more with her pride, to ask her about something he could have just asked her about tomorrow?
If he wasn't so adorable she would have killed him.
"Nowhere really, we went for a drive. We talked about stuff, that's about it." She kept her answer short purposefully, hoping for an interesting reaction from him. There was a silence; he looked as if he was trying to process this information. Once it looked like he did, he gave her a smile that was a bit too unconvincing to be considered genuine.
"Right, well that's all I really wanted to know." If she wasn't so livid from his lack of reaction she wouldn't have missed the relief that washed over his face momentarily.
"Really?" She asked him carefully, hoping for him to show a sign he cared more than he let on.
"Yeah, really. Good night Iz." She stared at him for a while, refusing to believe he had actually just wasted about twenty minutes of her life, which valuable sleep could have replaced, for this.
"Night." She muttered. Slowly rising from the bean bag cushion and leaving the garage with the strong urge to punch Tripp Campbell straight in the face.
Hey Guys :) I'm back with another update :) much faster than the usual and I'm actually pretty proud of myself LOL. I'm glad to see people are actually reading this through the alerts that I'm getting, so thank you :D
Review Thanks: goodgirl21
I haven't read over this properly because 1:30 AM right now and I'm tired. So apologise for any typos. Please review with your thoughts, and thanks for reading!