A/N: Hellooo. I would've had to look for some good guitar pieces for this, but I already had something in mind, so I listened to it and I was like OH FATHER THAT IS GOOD. Literally. Also, what do you think about… Mazzy? Before you start yelling at me about how wrong that is, they're the same age, I think it would really work with my plot line. Gazzy is the most innocent guy I could think of, and I say I could make it work, though I've never seen any Mazzy before. I am also considering some other pairings: possible Sax/Mylan, definite Eggy/Fax, and there will be some new characters appearing later on that I might just have to pair up!
Has you all voted in the Golden Joystick awards? I haven't yet, because when I looked at the page for YouTube gamers, the Yogscast, Syndicate Project and InTheLittleWood were all there. Then my brother told me I could only vote once. I cried. LOL.
Oh Father (Paramore) - watch?v=M0v31CFgwWA
Emergency – watch?v=pbqL6f-9m5c
ED Slayer/Skatzaa: You'll have to read it to find out!
WARNING: (GERMANS IN THE SQUARE! Sorry, only joking. I saw that on Fool Britannia.) OCS AHEAD
Chapter Four – Back to School Sale: Popularity Now 50% Off!
Max's POV Tuesday
Feeling groggy and exceptionally warm lulls my senses: I only realise that I'm not in my own bedroom when I get out of the bed and fall over a heap of laundry. See, that's what you get when you (let your heart win, whoa) put it there. I, however, leave my laundry at the foot of someone else's bed, like a civilised person. That way, they fall on their face, instead of you.
Slowly I push myself up, and pick a can of Relentless off my bed sheets. Fortunately, it's not open. It'll be warm, but I'm tired, and I don't have a reason to care, so I pop it open and chug it anyway. I can hear Ella breathing softly as she sleeps on the top bunk. She has to get to school at half eight, and since it's six now, I'll just wake her up in a while. There's something about school that I haven't told her yet, though I'm not sure she'll be pleased with it, so I think I'll just leave it for her to figure out by herself. Preferably around Iggy, because she won't want him to see her wigged out.
Unzipping my duffle bag and pulling out something that matches, I sweep off into the bathroom to fix myself up. My eyeliner is sitting on the toilet lid for some mysterious reason, so after checking that someone hasn't dunked it, I settle myself in front of the mirror to put it on. Applying my eye makeup is an intricate process, because I use my eyelids like a blank canvass to paint on. As I create a smoky swirl pattern reaching up from my eyelashes, I run over my success criteria for my day at school.
You're probably thinking, 'Max, did you jump under a falling brick wall?' or, 'Max, did you jump under a falling whale?" No, I didn't jump under a falling anything. At least, not in the past few months, I haven't.
I thought maybe it was time I got reacquainted with my old school chums, and see what's changed around the place. I don't think I ever mentioned to you that I was frequently picked on for being the odd one out at that school, so there's my second reason for you: I want revenge.
Honestly, you might think that it's not the kind of valid reason that a decent person would give. But sincerely, I don't give a full diaper. Wait, let me check – nope, does not faze me one bit. If you'd been through what I did, you wouldn't just understand, you would drop a bucket of paint on each and every one of the populars who had ever teased me about something: my clothes, my hair, my attitude. My being related to that fabulous Ella Martinez, who was by far way cooler and more popular than I was.
So, eventually, I'll get them back. But I'm going to bide my time.
- - time skip - -
"Get up El – WHOOP!" I bark loudly, having just accidentally pushed my sister off the top bunk and possibly broken her elbow. I gingerly peep out from the soft duvet, and shrug slightly. "You'll be late for school?" I attempt to excuse myself, but then I hear a low, feral grow and realise she'll strangle me if I let her up here, so I begin to swing up to ladder, right when she lunges for it.
"MAX! I'll kill you!"
"WHOOP!" I literally smack myself. "I'm sorry – here!" I yank a tube of concealer out of my back pocket and drop it down for her, but instead it hits her over the head. I expect her to be even angrier and come up here without the ladder, but she shrieks at me about today's music lesson and scurries off out of the door. Whilst all this went on, I was panicking, because when Ella says she's going to kill you, she's goingto kill you. Then again, I think of it now, and it just sounds hilarious.
Just as I'm about to fall off the bed laughing, I smell something interesting. I sniff my way downstairs like Scooby Doo and inside the kitchen; my mother is there, cooking pancakes. But these aren't just any pancakes… they're Mom & S pancakes. (I hope you get my reference) So naturally, I begin stuffing my face like an angry pig. What would you have done?
"Hey honey. Are you ready?" Mom asks, laughing quietly at my reaction to her cooking.
"Oh totes. I can't wait to see everybody again." I reply, quite truthfully, though not in quite the way she thinks.
"Well good for you. I'm sure Ella will be happy to introduce you. Just remember, I don't think you should tell anybody who you've become. There'll be no end to the hassle." She reminds me in a very maternal tone.
Almost ten minutes later, Ella emerges from the hallway looking perky. "Erro Emma!" I wave joyfully, curling my bottom lip in a failed attempt to stop the syrup dripping out of my mouth.
"Morning dear. I have some good news," she says, scraping a big wooden spoon again the bottom of the pan. She hasn't given me any news, so I can only expect the worse, and my fears are confirmed with the beginning of her next sentence. "Max has en–"
"No mom!" well, that's what was supposed to come out. Instead, it sounds more like I'm some kind of oompaloompa. "I'w tew hew water." A deranged oompaloompa.
Mom offers a stack of pancakes to Ella. "If you say so, hun. Well, she'll tell you later,"
- - time skip - -
"No really, you'd didn't have to drive me all the way to school. I expect you've got some frolicking down Memory Lane to do," says Ella sarcastically, stressing for the nth time that it was 'generous' of me to drive her to school. She still doesn't know that I'm going too.
"I went round the North for a while, you know," I hint offhandedly, "before I picked you up yesterday."
"That doesn't count."
"I'm driving you to school. Deal with it." I tell her, pushing my shades down and resting my elbow on the back of the seat, leaving only one hand on the steering wheel. I know the way to this school like the back of my hand – well actually, maybe more like my mom, because I don't talk to my hand that much.
"Fine, fine, Rarity. We're almost there, and then you can go on your little trip. I'm sure you're dying,"
"No can do. I figure I'm going to say hello to a few of my favourite teachers, if you know what I mean," I say, sliding my hand down the side of the leather wheel to turn right.
"No way! You can't do that, they'd kick you out."
"It's okay. I'm wearing REALLY big knickers."
Turning into the parking lot, I'm surprised to see some familiar cars. I didn't think I'd remember them, let alone exactly who drives them.
"Ella!" two boys jog over. One of them has messy golden-blonde hair and sky blue eyes, slightly shorter than his companion. The other sports combed-over light blonde hair, Caribbean blue eyes and a flashy grin. He's wearing an open light blue shirt over a white gym tank and blue jeans. What's Dylan doing talking to my Ella? When they reach Ella's door, Dylan holds onto it and leans forward. Only then do they seem to notice me. "Oh hello, who might you be?" he raises an eyebrow in my direction and sticks out a hand.
"Maxine Martinez. The cousin." I reply, taking the hand and shaking it. Hmm, still warm. Just like I left it.
"Hm. Maxine. That sounds familiar," he looks past me, thinking for a moment, then brings his eyes back down. "Well, I'm Dylan, a friend of Ella's. And this is Gazzy," he gestures to the guy beside him, who I completely forgot about. He's standing behind Dylan a bit, inspecting me warily. He looks like he's used to having Dylan steal his thunder (and from my experience with ol' Dilly, I'd say especially with the ladies). He must had moved here in the past couple years, because I've never met him before.
"Hey," I smile, propping myself back and giving him a wave. His muscles seem to slack with relief, as if he was holding a breath.
"Hi." Says Gazzy, in a nervous tone.
"I gotta go Max, and so do you." Ella looks at me sternly, getting out of my car. "Bye."
"Chill, El," Wow. I sound really Texan there. "See you later." Ella walks off, promptly followed by Dylan, but as I pull slowly into the closest parking space, I notice Gazzy hasn't gone with them. Looking at him over my shoulder at him, he seems to realise that he's been staring, and jumps at the chance to follow them.
For the rest of the time until the bell rings, I sit in my car with my ankles crossed over the wheel, texting my band mates in Portland, while my car stereo booms out my voice. When I get out of my car to go to class, I see that I have a little fan club going.
I think we have an emergency
I think we have an emergency
If you thought I'd leave, then you were wrong
'Cause I won't stop holding on
so are you listening? So are you watching me?
- - time skip - -
Having received my timetable already, I head to my first period, which is in the art block. Easels have been set up where the desks would have been if we were doing paperwork or essays or something stupid on my first day. With art, I prefer just to get straight to it.
Finding my name clipped to an easel near the back, I settle down on the metal stool in front of it and wait for the teacher to say something. She's got our back to us, but her short black hair is tied back in a messy ponytail and she has four piercings on each ear. Ooh, artsy.
"Hey," a deep, slightly sandpaper-like voice from my right whispers at me, and I turn to see a guy with shaggy dark brown hair and hazel eyes watching me. "I'm Kyle. What's your name?" I notice his jock jacket immediately.
"Maxine." I tell him, almost in my regular accent, but catch myself at the last moment. I hope he didn't notice.
"That's a cute name." he says, cocking an eyebrow and leaning back on his stool. "I'm pretty sure I'd have noticed you before," he adds, eyeing my outfit (I hope), "if you'd been here all year. Where you from?"
"Texas. Do you know Ella Martinez?" I ask him, trying to distract him from my… shirt.
"I think she was my ICT partner once."
"I'm her cousin." I tell him, and he frowns, something sparking up in his expression.
"Oh, I can see it now. The resemblance." Why he doesn't seem too happy about that, I have no idea. His eyes are still roaming a little, which unsettles me, but I don't think he's checking me out anymore. He looks more like he's comparing me with Ella. Leaning round my easel, I see that the teacher has left a message on the whiteboard and that everyone else has started painting.
Perspective: draw an everyday object in the detailed perspective of your choice. You have forty minutes.
Turning my head around the room, I select the wooden doorframe and start to draw a brown outline around the edge of my paper. Twenty minutes later, I've painted a whole doorframe, complete with discriminating details. Inside the frame, I draw another frame, and in that frame, a smaller frame yet. This goes on for another ten minutes, until the last frame is just a speck. I hear a small cough from the front, and the teacher is watching us. "I see all of you have finished early, so you can have another ten minutes to just be social while I mark your work." The buzz of chat begins long before she's picked up the first painting.
"Hey, Maxine," Kyle calls from my left this time, and I look over to see he's got a few friends with him, all male. "There are some people you should meet. C'mere." I shrug and walk over, to where he pushes a stool at me, and I'm grateful that I don't have to stand there awkwardly while he introduces me to his jock friends. "This is Anthony, Joshua, Gabe, Tyler, Justin, Connor and Lucas. Guys, this is Maxine," he turns from me, but by the way his friends react I'm sure he's make a dirty gesture because I can't see his face.
I remember them all from my old days back here, studying them from afar because I was never even allowed into the thick of things. I have to admit that Anthony is rather good looking, which is why all three of his girlfriends from the beginning of eighth grade didn't care that he was dating them all at the same time. Joshua's relationship record is four weeks and three days, and he left her because she had changed shampoo brand. Gabe and Tyler are both single most of the time, and it's totally not because they know they'd get dumped if their girlfriends saw them checking every girl out. Justin is a total lead-on, and he never goes out with any of them because he enjoys seeing them upset over him. Connor only likes older women, which he can never get, and the foreign type, so chicas; I suggest you don't move here. I don't think Lucas as has rep with the women, but I saw him kick a bird once, so it's not like I don't have a reason.
They greet me in a civil way, which I'm grateful for, because I think I'd have to flip someone if they thought I was going to be easy. "So, Max. Can I call you Max?" I honestly don't care what they call me, as long as it's some form of my name, and not... well, you know what I mean, right? "Where did you move from?"
"I live in Dallas with my dad. I'm visiting for a month or two, didn't have much better to do than school." Yes I do. But you don't know that. :)
"Aww, you'll be gone in two months?" actually, you look very pleased about that. I can't wait to see your face when I introduce you to Swirly Ville.
"Maybe longer, that depends how long my dad wants to stay. He can only stay so long with my aunt, if you know what I mean." I tell Connor, giving him a sideways look. "It's fine for some weeks, but then the sibling instincts kick in and they start to get on each other's nerves." It's all lies. They're not even square.
"Ah." Justin smirks, elbowing Anthony subtly.
You know that phrase, 'saved by the bell'?
- - time skip - -
I make my way up to the gym with Kyle and Lucas, not looking forward to this at all. Phys Ed has always sucked, even if afterwards you think, 'hey, it wasn't that bad'. Stop trying to cover up for yourself, because you know you hate it. Changing in front of the school's sweaty feminine population, exerting yourself with the most stupid warm-up the teacher could think of, and spending a whole precious hour of your life trying to actually dodge the ball this time.
I don't know if this school has an exercise uniform, and if they do I'm going to have to borrow one from the school, which is just eugh. Swiftly though, I'm brought out of my thoughts by Lucas' next comment.
"Get the space behind her man, those skimpy gym shorts will give you a great view." He laughs and elbows Kyle, who joins in half-heartedly.
"Excuse me?" I ask him nonchalantly.
"I think we're running track today," is all Lucas tells me.
"Hey, guess what? Running track has nothing to do with what I asked." he turns to look at me, mouth slightly open. "Yep! You learn something new every day."
"LUCAS!" a very girly voice squeals, running up from behind us and clamping small hands over Lucas' eyes. "Guess who it is. Guess."
"Tess? Brigid? Gabe?" he grins, still walking even though he can't see. The girl behind him coughs, looking very disturbed. Lucas chuckles. "It's okay, Liss, you don't look like a boy." 'Liss' doesn't look convinced.
"You'd better not be playing with me, because I spent like, all morning layering and waving my hair like this." That's when I notice her hair, which I would have definitely before, had I been paying attention. It's crimson red, and not that kind of damaging dark red that everyone's dying their hair these days. It's genuinely scarlet. She's much shorter than me, with wide olive green eyes and a faint spray of freckles. She notices me while I look at her. "Oh hello, who are you?" she says without a smile, cocking her head and keeping hold of Lucas.
"My name's Maxine, I'm from Texas." I tell her, and she nods a little, but I can see vulnerability in her eyes.
"I'm Lissa." Is all she says, before prancing off up the corridor and into the girls' changing room. The boys split into the guys' room, and I'm left to go in on my own. Fortunately, as I push open the door, only a few heads turn, because most of the girls are focussed on getting dressed quickly. A woman with a clipboard and a name-tag walks up to me.
"New student, right?" she skims the clipboard, "Maxine. Right, next time you can bring your own clothes, but for now you can wear these," she adds, handing me a pile of used clothes. Before I can reach for them, Lissa skips over and dumps a different pile on me.
"This is what you'll need. No problem, coach," then she skips right off into a corner, where she beckons me over. Looking back at the coach for a moment, I follow her and unfold the clothes. Wedged between a white tank top and some red shorts is a pair of red-and-white Nikes. "That's what we're all wearing. I didn't want you to feel out of place." As I look around, I notice she's right; they're all wearing similar outfits.
"Thanks." I say simply, pulling my clothes off and putting hers on. Quickly, the coach calls us out onto the track, and I notice that the shoes pinch a little, but what other choice do I have?
"Right kids," squinting at the nametag, I can see that her name is coach Pivot. "We're running track today. And I mean running, not walking," she emphasises, eyeing a few students.
The class disperses out onto the field, where I see Gazzy with a brown-haired guy. I bounce up behind them, sticking my hands in my pockets, and say in a cheery voice, "HELLO." Both of them jump and turn around fast, Gazzy's friend shooting me a puzzled look, and Gazzy himself turning away from me, his cheeks heating up rapidly.
"He...llo?" his friend says hesitantly. "Who are you?" he asks, as we begin to jog.
"Maxine. Texas. Ella's cousin. Jeez, if I had a nickel." I laugh, and he laughs too. Gazzy's still trying to ignore me.
"Well, I'm Sam, Ella's friend. Nice to meet you." we shake hands. "Have you met Gazzy?"
"Yup," I answer, popping the 'p', "Speaking of which, are you happy there, ignoring me?" I poke him, and if his cheeks could get any brighter, I'm sure they did just then.
"I'm, yeah." He mumbles, so I jog up between them to get closer.
"Come on, talk to me. I won't eat you, you know. Gingers taste better." He laughs quietly and finally looks at me, so I smile in what I hope was an encouraging way, but frankly I'll bet you that nickel I got earlier that I looked constipated.
"Uh well, did you –" he looks frantically over my shoulder at Sam, then a second later, he looks back at me triumphantly. "– did you catch the big game last night?" Ha-ha. That's a classic!
"What game?" Sam asks, furrowing his brows at Gazzy over my head. Sam is taller than both of us.
"The one, you know, last night. That one." He exchanges and glance with Sam, who seems to get the message, whatever it is, and lets out a drawling 'ohhhhh'. When I turn my head up at him innocently, he gives me a very firm nod, as if trying to convince me that there really was a game going on last night.
"Oh, I see, that game. The one last night." I look smugly ahead. "Who did you think was going to win?" Gazzy sputters.
"The, the team who, didn't, you know, win. I was rooting for them." To add to the story, Sam gives a long, mockingly deep and depressed 'awwwwhhhh'.
"Oh, yeah, devastated when they lost. Devastated. My dad cried, my mum cried, my fish cried – well I couldn't tell because he was swimming in water, but I assumed he was – I cried, oh I cried my diddy heart out, I did. Gaz was so sad he came right over to my house and then he…" Sam pauses dramatically, "he ate my TV. Boy did he eatthat thing. He ate it good and proper, he did."
I decide to join in, knowing that we're teasing Gazzy mercilessly, but it's all in good fun, right? "On the contrary, I was supporting the winning team the whole time. I sat in my nuddy-pants, I did," I say, watching Gazzy light up like a tomato out of the corner of my eye, "and then when they won I went up to that TV and I said 'I love you all, you lucky gits' and then I snogged that TV to a pulp I did, I did." Gazzy's eyebrows shoot up, then Sam and I split our sides laughing.
"Your face!" I scream, clutching my sides.
"His face!" Sam yells, bent double.
"It's so not funny!" Gazzy frowns, standing there and watching us. In no time, everyone has passed us and there's just us, two goons falling about laughing, and their poor innocent victim left trying to defend his last scrap of dignity. "I was only trying to talk to you. You were the one who told me to." He accuses me.
I finally compose myself and stand up straight. "I'm sorry honey. Come here, baby, let me kiss your booboo." I step closer and wrap my arms around him, feeling him stand rigid and Sam, just about breathing normally, starts giggling all over again.
A sharp whistle is blown, and the coach yells at us. "GET MOVING, KIDS,"
I pull away from Gazzy, who seems reluctant to run again, and push Sam roughly off the floor. "Damn, boy. You're heavy, mister." Sam gets himself slowly up; as if afraid he'll fall over laughing again.
For a while, we jog in silence, gradually catching up with the rest of the class, who have got tired and given up trying to run. Gazzy and Sam drop back a bit – I suppose they want to talk about 'man' things – so I run up to Lissa, who's grouped with the girls who have spent as long on their hair as she has. As I come up, Lissa hears me and turns around, glancing behind me at the boys. "Hey, Max?" she asks as I fall into step, "What were you doing with those dorks?"
"What, Gazzy and Sam?" I frown a little, but she doesn't seem to realise that she's being insulting. "I was just talking to them. They're Ella's friends."
"Ella Martinez. I'm her cousin."
"Oh, I remember Ella. She used to be one of the populars a few years back, but she dropped away from us because she wanted to be friends with…" Lissa looks away. "…dorks." When she turns back, she looks hurt.
- - time skip - -
I walk into music with a spring in my step. It's been a successful first day; I just needed to get used to my surroundings again so I'll be able to get down to business soon enough. Not much has changed since I left, so if I'm careful and precise, my Operation Justice should run smoothly. But then, when has any teenager's life ever run smoothly?
Mr Henson is where I left him, too: sitting back on that spinney chair, hands together, feet crossed on his desk, keeping us all under a watchful eye (if you're wondering- 'we're under his eye, so what's his eye under?' then you're a weirdo. But the answer is a President Snow eyebrow). The students are generally milling around, mingling until the lesson actually begins, because Mr Henson doesn't start without everyone.
"Maxine, over here!" someone calls, and I see that it's Kyle again. Normally, I give people a chance before I start to judge. But this guy is already starting to get on my nerves. I walk over anyway because I don't exactly have a choice, and slide myself onto the table. "Hey Andi, tell her what you said." The girl he gestures to has shoulder-length black hair, with a chrome streak in her fringe.
"I was telling them how those geeks in Phys Ed made you run with them when you clearly wanted to run away. Clueless!" everyone chuckles, not full-out laughing because she's already told them before, and she laughs again, watching me with a grin on her face. Waiting for me to join in. But I don't, so she stops laughing and turns away. Caution: apply ice to burned area.
A cough from the head of the classroom tells us that the last stragglers have appeared and Mr Henson wants to begin the lesson. "Settle down, kids." He says, leaning back whilst everyone finds their seats. "So, class, I've been having some requests. I take that most of you want to learn how to play the guitar, yes? Does anybody know how to play?" he squints, bringing a piece of paper to his face, choosing his victim with great care. And it's not me.
It's Primrose Everdeen.
Okay, maybe it wasn't, but it was worth a shot.
"Uh yeah, I guess." I agree quietly, slipping off the table and weaving between the chairs to get to the stage (it's not a stage as such; it's just where the carpet's been cut out in a large square leaving a bare patch of wooden slabs). I don't know what to do when I reach it, so I stand silently for a moment, waiting for Mr Henson to tell me what to do. When I look up, I see Ella at the back. Luckily, she decides to repress anger for now and send me an assuring look.
"Just choose a guitar, dear, and show us how you play." I skim over the rack and choose a dark mahogany-coloured one, with a maple brown pattern curling outwards from the strings, like flames caressing the wood. It reminds me of the one I have back in Portland, under watch of my band mates. I hook the strap round my neck and stroke the strings, getting a first feel, and then jump straight into one of my own: Oh Father.
My well-trained fingers move like lightning on my command, and I feel as if they are on auto-pilot. I know this all so well, it seems to me like I forgot what I was about when I had been away from my beloved music for so long. This is what I should be doing now; this is what I should be doing for the rest of my life, and I must fight the urge to sing. It sounds so wrong without the drums, the bass, the voice. But it sounds so right too, powerful and graceful and independent. I'm loving this so much that I can't even hear anyone else here, can't see anyone; it's just me and my guitar all over again. My roots. This is where I came from. Me and my guitar.
As soon as it started, it's over, and I'm left my hands resting comfortably on the guitar and my mouth parted, catching a breath. I don't look up because I don't want to. I don't want to leave that little world I travelled to when I was playing, so I'm gripping onto the little things I can remember of it. When I play, my thinking becomes drastic and irrational, because I play with my heart, not my head. I simply don't need to think straight when I play, so my brain switches off, and my soul comes out.
"I… I think that…" Mr Henson stutters, "I think that… deserves some applause." The room becomes raucous and erratic so rapidly that you could hear it from New Zealand.
- - time skip - -
"That…" Gazzy says for the twelfth time, staring at Iggy's phone, because apparently he was filming while I was playing the guitar. Story of my life.
"Shut up you lot." I frown, not turning from the wheel. Ella, Iggy, Gazzy, Sam and I are all packed into my car and driving to our house to play some video games. I haven't mentioned this before, but I am totally pro at video games. Of course, I haven't told them all that, so that I have a secret weapon. Ella seems to have caught on, and since I won't have an advantage over her, she's going along with it.
"Yeah, Gazzy, or she'll have to treat you like her TV." Iggy and Ella exchange a puzzled glance, but Sam and I just giggle quietly as Gazzy heats up like Christmas lights and sinks into his seat. "So anyway, what are we playing first? I haven't mentioned this before, but I am totally pro at video games. Of course, I'm not going to tell all of you that." That's what I said!
"You just did, doofus," I call over my shoulder, and Sam and I get the giggles again. I don't know if you noticed, but ever since we met on the tracks, he and I really hit it off. Ella notices.
"You twooo." She grins and wiggles her eyebrows suggestively, poking me constantly in the side. "Sparks!"
"Don't distract me, or this car will feel the sparks too." I warn her, elbowing her hands out of the way. We talk for most of the way home (well, mostly me and Sam poking fun at everyone else. But it was fun) until I pull up in the driveway and lead everyone inside. Even before I've got my shoes off, the boys push past me and into the living room, yelling like… well, boys.
"Shotgun middle seat!"
"I call player one!"
"Dibs on the popcorn!"
"All of it!"
"You can't do that!"
As I lower myself onto the stairs to pull off my shoes, Ella rolls her eyes at me and walks off to deal with the boys, and I pause for a moment. As much as I love my life: my band, my music, my fans and my freedom, I decide that I will always love Greyhound, and I will always love my family.