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Ursula Part 2
They worshipped us. Every person in my school wished they were me. People dressed like me, wearing black jeans and and t-shirts. No one in my high-school listened to rap or pop music. Everyone was a fan of my band, Ursula. Within weeks of the release of our first album, people came into school wearing Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Deftones t-shirts. Rock and Metal music were all of a sudden the coolest things that had ever hit our school. And it was all because of our band.
Jimmy sends me several texts saying that I need mental help and I’m insane. Good for him, I think. He finally figured it out.
One day, I walked to my next class and saw Ashlin. I rarely see her, nowadays. And when I do, she can’t look me in the eye. This time is no different. She just stands by her locker with her friends, who at one point didn’t know I existed and are now saying “hi” to me as if we are best friends. Ashlin just looks at the ground.
I try to walk to my next class, but it’s hard with all these people I barely know trying to talk to me. I honestly hated being this popular. Old friends of mine would hide from me, as if I think they aren’t worthy of talking to me. When I do get to class, Jimmy is glaring at me. I sit next to a sophomore who I know. His name is Joe. He’s always been cool. He’s liked early grunge bands way before they were all of a sudden popular. He has close-cropped red hair, and a Run DMC shirt on. He looks at me with a confused look then points at Jimmy, who is sitting alone at his own row of desks. That is one good power of being so popular. All I have to do is say that someone is a jerk, and he all of a sudden becomes an outcast. Everyone in my school is a conformist.
I shrug at Joe, then pay attention to the teacher. I hate this class. history has always been an interesting subject to me, but our teacher is a jerk. Mr. Hans. He has a comb-over and a handle bar mustache. He’s Sexist, Racist, and every other kind of ist there is. But, it’s fun when he calls you out to answer the question, when you didn’t raise your hand, because he thought you weren’t paying attention. Because, 90% of the time I answer the question correctly and then go on to explain in further detail about it. He always looks like an idiot.
On the other side of the room, Brad sits with two of his friends. Brad is Ashlin’s ex-boyfriend. And it wouldn’t surprise me if they got back together. It would almost kill me though. Brad throws a wad of paper at me, but misses. He tries again with a baseball. He would have got me, if I hadn’t stood up and caught it, then threw it back at him. It hit him in the eye. He screamed and that’s when I realize Mr. Hans saw it all.
“Mr. Keenan! Why did you do that? Was that necessary?” Mr. Hans yelled.
“Was it Necessary when you blackmailed Andrew Harris into telling you who stole your stupid painting. Or was it necessary for you to give Sophie Briggs a lower test grade because she didn’t join your track team this year? Shut your mouth Frederich, or I might just have to let the office know about these things.”
Mr. Hans sat down and class went on as if it never happened. After that, i was only more popular. Kids saw how cool it was to stand up to teachers like that.
After school I walked home to find my band waiting for me. Today was the day we were rehearsing for our big gig. The lead singer of the band, OSIRIS, listened to our album and then email me if we would tour with them. OSIRIS is a popular band, and I wasn’t going to say no. We would play three shows in three major cities nearby.
We started off rehearsing songs off our EP. Our bassist, Jesse, starts the intro to our song, Hammer, with tons of distortion on the bass. We play through the song while I sing about a guy who is slowly dying. Happy stuff.
My mom takes pictures of us playing, just like she does at our gigs. We put them on our website. We were getting popular fast.
We play our three shows with OSIRIS. Each of us played our songs perfectly. While we are packing up from our last show Jesse says to me, “Hey Ben, what do you think of us shooting a music video?”
“That would be awesome, but our record label won’t pay for it.” I say.
“They wouldn’t have to. My cousin films music videos for a living. He filmed OSIRIS’ first music video. He said he will do it for free. I was thinking we could film it at the Home Coming dance in two weeks.” Jesse says scratching his brown hair.
“Would the school let us do it?” Our drummer, Chad, asks.
“Maybe we could make a deal. We could play at the dance for free, that way they don’t have to pay for a DJ, and in exchange,” I say.
“Sounds like a plan,” Jesse laughs.
That Monday I walk into the office of our school and of course, I almost run into Ashlin.
“Oh, sorry,” she says.
“Sorry,” I say back, then I walk past her and up to the principle. “Mr. Mosbell, do you happen to have a DJ for the dance coming up?”
The Principal is bald and kinda reminds me of a lizard. I’m not going to lie, sometimes I’m scared he will start shedding his skin.
“No not yet,” he says after clearing his throat.
“My band is willing to play for free if we can film us playing a song on the catwalk above the cafeteria.”
We discuss for a while, then finally Mr. Mosbell and I make a deal. We’re playing the school dance.
The next few days, people ask me who I am taking to the dance. I want to tell them that I’ll be asking Ashlin, but that would be a lie. I tell them I’m only going for the music.
Two weeks later the dance comes. We set up our equipment on the catwalk. It’s not a catwalk, like the kind that hangs over a stage, but more like a bridge that is above the cafeteria and has stairs that lead to the food court. We play a few songs until the cafeteria is full of people, then we kill the lights and Jesse’s cousin starts filming. We play our song Hammer. I set down my guitar and pull the mic off it’s stand, then begin singing. Below us, on the cafeteria floor, kids are dancing like crazy. I see Ashlin in a purple dress that she looks absolutely beautiful in. Then I see her talking to Brad. His eye is still black from the baseball I pelted him with. My heart gets that familiar pain that makes me dizzy for a second, but I recover just in time for us to finish filming.
The dance ends at around 11 and we finish packing up our equipment a half an hour later. I choose to walk home again.
I don’t get very far, because I see Ashlin sitting on a curb alone. I walk up to her and before I can even say anything she says, “Ben.”
I look at the sky. The stars seem brighter than ever. “Ashlin,” there’s a long pause and then I say, “How about I walk you home?”
She smiles a little bit, “I’d like that.”
We walk a couple blocks in silence before she finally says, “So, who’d you take to the dance?”
“Nobody,” I say, biting my lip.
“Really? You’re so popular all of sudden that you could’ve taken any girl you wanted,” Ashlin says.
“Except for the one girl I wanted to take,” I add.
She gets quiet, until I ask, “You were with Brad?”
“No. He asked, but I wasn’t going to let him hurt me again,” she sighs.
We don’t talk for a while, then she says, “And Ben? I wish you’d asked me.”
And then she kissed me. It was the greatest night of my life.