...Three...Two weeks later, it was now the last week of school. When I went into my class I could feel the excitement of how close these students were to being seniors. All time before class started was now consumed with the exchanging of year books in order to write little notes to each other. On Thursday I put out the last section of the final test before the students came in. When the second bell rang I smiled towards the group, “Now I know how excited you guys are since today is the last day, but give it your best on this test,” I said and then let them start the test. Today was only a half day because all they had left to do was finish the test and then they were free for summer vacation but we technically had to keep them at school so there was a special assembly for the rest of the day. As they took their tests I filled out my resignation forms, but looked up when I realized it was almost time to go. I looked to the class to see them all eagerly either looking at each other or looking to the clock, “Is anyone still taking their tests?” I asked and no one answered. I then went around and took each test from everyone before coming back up to the front of the room, “Well guys, it was great having you in my class this year and I hope you guys have a great summer break. I also hope you guys enjoy the assembly today.”
Laura raised her hand and I nodded towards her, “The seniors said for their junior assembly last year they had Cold Play come perform, is someone going to perform today?”
I nodded to her with a smile, “Yes, a band will be performing.”
I let out a small laugh, “It’s a surprise so I can’t tell you! Just come to the assembly after lunch and you’ll be surprised.” I said and she pouted but did not complain. The bell rang and they all quickly left the room. I made my way out of the room also but was stopped when I saw Mrs. Kelly, “Mrs. Kelly, has the band arrived yet?” I asked and she nodded with flushed cheeks.
“I can’t believe you get them to come here, Raven! I love that band, but where is their lead singer?”
I smiled, “She’s going to arrive late,” I replied, “But where are the guys at?”
“They’re in the health room in order to keep away from the students so they stay a surprise.”
“Alright, I’ll go talk to them.” I said and then went to the health room. I knocked on the door.
“Yea?” Dwayne asked.
“Guys, let me in!” I complained and the door was quickly opened. I rushed in and then locked the door behind me. I went over to the windows and pulled the curtains over them, “Thanks for doing this again, guys.” I said with a smile.
Sly smiled back, “It’s cool to finally see where you work,” He replied and then handed me a bag, “There’s your clothes.” I put on my (now famous) purple dress from the gig two weeks ago, my red contacts, red hair extensions, cross necklace, flower leggings that were torn up, and platform boots. This is the outfit I wore for our first album that had been made last week and now seemed to be my fan’s favorite dress. I turned to the guys, “So do I look like a teacher?” I asked but was confused when Ash walked behind me.
He slapped my butt, “No, cause it would be a crime for a teacher to have such a hot ass!”
“Jerk!” I hissed, but then looked to the door as there was a knock on it, “Yea?” I asked and heard someone clear their throat.
“Um, this is the nurse of the school, could I come in?” I heard Laura ask with a shaky voice and I let out a quiet laugh before opening the door and quickly pulling her into the room. She blushed as she looked to the three guys, “Uh, where is Ms. Patrice?” She asked and I looked to the guys before we all busted out laughing.
I finally collected myself, “Hm, I’m not sure! But she is some kind of pretty!” I said and the three guys couldn’t control their laughter. They were on the ground laughing at the joke.
“What’s so funny?” Laura asked as she blushed more. Sly finally got himself under control and then came over to her.
“She’s right there!” He said as he pointed to me and then busted out laughing. Laura turned to me and I slipped on my glassed and pulled my hair back to prove myself. She squealed and then hugged me.
“Omigosh! You’re Rave!”
I let out a laugh, “I know!”
“Omigosh! I can’t believe this! I’m friends with the lead singer of Released Reality!” She squealed and I laughed again.
“Calm down, Laura!” I laughed, “Is it time for us to go?”
She nodded, “The principal has already started the assembly and is ready for you guys! The drums are already set up and the microphones are in place.”
I turned to the guys, “Let’s go kick some ass!” I said and they cheered in agreement. Laura walked in front of us to the assembly and when she opened the door we walked in. I waved to bleachers of screaming juniors as the four of us walked towards the center of the room. I smiled kindly towards the principal and then shook his hand.
“It’s an honor to have you here!” He said with a smile and I nodded. He took the front microphone in his hand and turned towards the bleachers, “Let’s give a big welcome to Released Reality!” He called and I took the microphone. I pulled on my guitar strap so that my guitar went to my back and then took the microphone in my hand.
“Good afternoon, Neligh Academy! How’s everybody doin’?” I asked and then whole grouped screamed. I let out a laugh, “Good! Now let’s start this up!” I called and then looked to Dwayne. He started his melody of death, then Sly joined, and lastly Ash joined in. I pulled closer to the microphone and closed my eyes. I listened to the beat and when it got faster I opened my eyes and stared down the group, “Imagining what the world has to offer! Setting his sights on fame! Shooting for the Oscars and to have everyone chant his name! He was a well born dreamer! Imagining his name in lights! But now he’s broken and bleeding upon a deadly sight!” I flipped my guitar to the front and started playing my deep melody of agony, “Death of a dreamer! Death of setting sights on high! Death from truth and reality! Death for a lie!” I sang and kept on for three more songs. I then pulled away from my guitar as the last song was supposed to become saddening. I pulled the microphone closer again, “This was her reality; this was the truth. She was death brought to life with everything as proof.” I whispered and then moved away from the microphone. The three guys all stopped playing on my last word and we listened for a moment. The juniors cheered and stood with applause. The principal came over.
“Another hand for Released Reality!” He called and the crowd cheered louder, “The band has been kind enough to give us an hour to let you get their autographs so please make a line and do not crowd them!” I smiled as a large group formed around me begging for autographs. I signed my name as fast as I could for almost the entire hour, but when the hour was up I went over to the guys.
“They were like leaches to you.” Ash mumbled and I smiled.
“Jealous?” I asked and he frowned.
“Keep dreaming!” He hissed and I laughed, but turned when I felt someone watching me. I smiled towards Ellen and Linda.
“Hey there.”I said nicely.
“Could we take a picture with you, please?” They asked and I smiled before nodding. I took the camera and handed it to Ash.
“Make yourself useful?” I asked and he sighed before taking the camera. He held it up as I stood a good distance away as the two girls put their arms around me.
“1…2…3,” Ash said and then brought the camera over to the girls. I smiled towards them again.
“Are you girls by any chance Linda and Ellen?”
“Omigosh! How do you know our names?” Ellen squealed.
“Well Ms. Patrice told me that you two were some of my biggest fans and that I should do something for you,” I pulled two CD’s out of my pocket on the side of my guitar case on the floor by my foot and handed them to the girls, “This is our first CD. It’s not coming out for another month, but I thought my two biggest fans would want to have it in advance.” The girls squealed as they took the CD’s and then hugged me before running off. I turned as Dwayne put his hand on my shoulder.
“You know those two?”
I nodded, “They were my students this year and all they could talk about was Rave Life and Released Reality so I thought I’d do something nice for them,” I whispered, “I think I’m gonna miss those two girls the most.”
Dwayne hugged me from behind, “It’ll be alright, Rave.” He whispered and I put my hand on his arm.
“Yea,” I whispered but then looked to Kevin as he came over to us, “Hey Kevin, I’d like you to meet the crew,” I said as Dwayne let go of me, “This is Dwayne, Ash, and Sly.”
“It’s nice to meet you guys.” Kevin replied.
“Oh! You’re the kid from Rave’s place!” Ash said as he came over to us. He lightly slapped Kevin’s arm, “How’s it hangin’ dude?”
“Becoming a senior must be fun.” Sly added as he came over to us and I smiled towards Sly.
“Sly, this is the guy I was tellin’ you about that reminded me a lot of you.”
Sly let out a laugh, “Too bad you didn’t break that guy’s ribs, kid. That would’ve definitely stopped the bullying.”
“Did you really break the lacrosse captain’s nose?” Kevin asked and Dwayne laughed.
“He definitely did!”
“What’re you talking about Dwayne? You weren’t even there!” I argued and Dwayne smiled.
“But I saw the dude afterwards!”
I looked to the clock in the auditorium and quickly froze, “Ah, crap! I gotta go!” I said as I quickly picked up my guitar case. I went to my car and drove over to the mental hospital on the opposite side of town. When I went in I smiled towards the nurse at the front desk, “Hi, I’m here to see Evan Patrice. I’m his younger sister.” I said and the girl nodded. She then led me down a hall and stopped me in front of a door with a concerned look.
“Mr. Patrice has been having difficulties for the past few days, so please try not to anger him. He lashed out at a nurse last week.” She informed me and I nodded before knocking on the door.
“Evan, it’s Raven. I’m coming in,” I said before opening the door and then quickly closing it behind me. I smiled towards my older brother of black hair and brown eyes. He was sitting in the middle of the floor of his room staring at the wall behind me, “Evan, why are you sitting on the floor? Wouldn’t the bed be more comfortable?”
He looked up to me in a dazed look, “Oh, Raven. You were coming by today?” He asked and I nodded before sitting on the ground in front of him, “Why are your eyes red?”
I smiled, “They’re colored contacts, that’s all.”
He gave me a blank expression, “You haven’t been back in almost a month. I thought you forgot me.”
I let out a sigh, “I could never forget about my big brother. I’m sorry I haven’t come much lately, but I had to work.”
“Mom used to do that too. She would leave early and then come home really late.”
I nodded, “I remember.”
He suddenly frowned, “Don’t act like you know what you’re talking about Raven! You barely even met her!”
I was taken back, “No, I just mean I remember dad telling me about mom doing that.”
He suddenly stood with fury, “Don’t talk about him! He hasn’t come to see me at all! He stuck me in this hell filled place and never came back!”
I quickly stood, “Evan, calm down!” I pleaded, “Dad cares about you dearly, but he is too sick to come see you!”
He suddenly took a step back, “You’re going to do the same, aren’t you? You’re going to get my hopes up and then suddenly you’ll stop showing up all together! All of you are just going to leave me here to die! You’ll leave me too!” He hollered as he put his hands over his ears, “You’re just like them! You’ll never come back! You’ll leave me alone too!”
“Evan…” I started to protest but gasped when Evan scratched me across the face. I fell to the ground as he pushed down my arms by squeezing the top part near my shoulder. He pierced my skin with his nails as he cried above me.
“I won’t let you! I won’t let you leave too!” He hollered at the top of his lungs.
“Nurse!” I called as loud as I could and was shocked how quickly two male nurses came in with the nurse from before. The two men pulled Evan off of me as he fought back. I watched in horror as they strapped down his arms and legs as he screamed. Then the woman nurse shoved a needle into his arm and pushed in the liquid. Evan screamed as loud as he could before slumping to his side. The woman nurse let out a long breath before looking to me.
“That will calm him down so that he can’t hurt himself again,” She said but then quickly kneeled at my side as I sat up, “Ms. Patrice, you need to go to the hospital.” She informed me as she looked at my cuts across my cheek that burned. I sighed and then allowed her to help me up. I was taken away by an ambulance and brought to the regular hospital before receiving five stitches in my cheek. I was then given a lift by one of the nurses to the mental hospital so that I could get my car. By this time it was really late at night so I went straight home. I could not eat to save my life because of the horrifying feeling I had in my gut, so after she ate I cuddled up with Lulu and went to sleep. I woke up at around three with unbearable pain in my cheek. I took two pills that the doctor at the hospital had given me before going back to sleep and not waking back up till noon. I went to my kitchen and still felt like I couldn’t eat so I picked up the phone and dialed Sly’s number.
“Rave?” He asked and I let out a sigh.
“Hey Sly, I have some not so great news.”
“What is it?”
I took a deep breath, “I don’t think I can go on the tour for the next year. I’m really sorry, but maybe you can find a new singer so that the band can still go on tour.”
“Did something happen?”
I sighed again, “Nah, I just can’t. Sorry. I’ll talk to ya’ later.” I whispered before hanging up the phone and lying on my couch. I put a pillow under my head before taking out a book I had been reading and started back up again. I did not get up till almost seven when there was a knock at the door. I went over to the door but was afraid to open it. My face was now bruising and looked horrible, “Yea?” I asked the door.
“Teach, it’s Kevin. Can I come in?” He asked and I sighed.
“I’d really not like to talk right now, Kevin. Sorry.”
“Come on, Rave! Let us in!” Dwayne called and I was shocked.
He let out a laugh, “Yea, all of us are here! We were worried about your sudden drop out on the tour and so we called Kevin since he said he was close to you. He was worried too so we decided to come over!”
I let out a sigh, “Guys, I can’t.”
“You’re really worrying me, Rave. Please open the door.” Sly said and I bit my lip. I opened the door and all four guys froze as they saw me. I put my hand over the bandage that covered my cheek and part of my bruise.
“I know it looks like hell, so don’t stare,” I whispered, “Come on in. I’d rather not show the whole world my bruised face.” I added and the guy’s quickly came into the room. I shut the door and Sly put his hand over the bandage.
“Who did that to ya’ Rave?” He asked with anger, “I’ll kick their ass!”
I sighed and shook my head, “It was my fault,” I replied, “When I went to see Evan yesterday I was told not to upset him, but I ended doing just that and he attacked me.”
“Evan did this?”
I looked away, “I scared him by not coming a few weeks ago. He is very dependent that I come every last Friday of every month, but last month one of my students needed help on a project so I went to help the student instead of seeing Evan. He was afraid I would be like my mom.”
“But you shouldn’t drop out of the tour!” Ash complained.
I squeezed my arms against my chest, “He’s afraid I’ll stop coming to see him and if I go on this tour that is exactly what will happen. If I leave, Evan will lose all connection to our family and the outside world and he may go crazy,” I looked to Lulu as she brushed against my leg, “Evan’s really struggling with our family problems lately so I don’t want to give him more to worry about.”
“What family problems?” Kevin asked as I looked to Dwayne and Sly for support.
Dwayne sighed, “Rave’s mom got up n’ left their family when Rave was only three.”
Sly nodded, “And then her oldest brother ditched ‘em too, during our junior year of high school, right before Rave’s dad went into the hospital and then Evan went to the mental institution 6 months later.”
I nodded, “All Evan has left is me and Lulu. I can’t just get up and leave him like mom and bro did,” I sighed, “I really want to go with you guys, but I have to put Evan before the band. I’m sorry.”
Ash sighed, “We can understand why you’re doin’ it,” He replied and then came over to me, “Now we know how Evan’s doin’ but how are you? Being attacked by your brother must’ve been difficult on ya’.”
I smiled slightly, “I’m alright. I just wish I hadn’t had to see them sedate Evan.”
He hugged me, “You’re so goddamn brave!” He whispered but then looked to my face, “Did you have to get stitches?”
I nodded, “Five of ‘em,” My mind suddenly trailed off and I quickly moved from Ash’s grasp. I quickly went to the kitchen and picked up the paper I had written on earlier before coming back. I handed it to Ash and he looked to me with confusion, “There are four girls on that list and two guys. They all have worked with me before and have asked to become part of the band. I think you guys should look ‘em up for my replacement.”
“I don’t feel right going on tour without you, Rave,” Ash whispered as he looked to the floor, “I don’t want to play if you’re not singing and playing with me.”
I put my hand on his cheek, “You’re really good at the base, Ash. You should pursue your dream of being famous.”
He grabbed my hand from his cheek and held it between his hands, “I want to become famous with our band, Rave! I want you, Sly, Dwayne, and me to become famous playing together! Otherwise I don’t want anything to do with the base!”
I looked to Kevin, “As a fan, would you be okay with Ash not playing ever again?”
Kevin looked to me with intensity, “I wouldn’t like it, but if it was to convince you that this band needs you, I’d back ‘im up.”
I sighed, “Guys, you need to leave.”
“Why?” Sly asked me with concern.
“Cause I gotta go.”
I sighed, “I’m going to see my dad. I got a call a week ago saying he was put on life support and will not last long.”
“We’ll go with you.”
I shook my head, “No, I need to do this alone. I need to say my goodbyes and I can’t do that while you guys are there. I don’t want any of you to see me cry,” I picked up Lulu and kissed her before setting her down. I grabbed my coat and keys that were on the counter before going to the door. I turned back to the guys, “Unless you wanna be locked in, come on,” I whispered and they all slowly left the apartment. I quickly left them and went to my car. I drove to the hospital and went to the front desk, “I’m here to see William Patrice.” I said to the front nurse.
“Follow me,” She replied and then led me down the hall to the right of the front desk. We stopped at a room and I was let in, “I shall inform the doctor that you are here, Miss Patrice.” She said with a sad smile and then left the room. I went over to the side of my dad’s bed and sat down in a chair placed there. I held his hand in mine as I watched the machine he was hooked up to blink colors and make noises. I turned when the doctor came in but did not let go of my dad’s hand. The doctor came to my side and just watched me.
“I was surprised when you did not come when he was hooked up to this machine, Raven,” The familiar man said with a sad smile, “Are you just here to visit?” He was now so much more mature. We had grown up as next door neighbors and still felt very close to each other regardless of how little we had talked since he graduated a year before me.
I shook my head, “You told me that he does not have much time to live, right?”
He nodded, “He will most likely not last the rest of the month.”
I looked to my dad’s face, “Turn it off.”
“What?” The doctor asked with tension in his voice.
I turned to him, “Turn off the life support. He would not want this. He did not allow my grandmother on life support so I will respect his beliefs and decisions. Keeping him alive just so I could feel better and would not have to finally say goodbye is childish. Turn it off and let him pass away peacefully with me here to watch.”
“Are you sure about this Raven?” He asked and I nodded. He sighed and went to the other side of the bed, “Last chance to back out.” He informed me and I looked to my dad.
“I know.” I whispered and he flipped the switch. A deep groan came from the machine as I felt my father’s muscles loosen and then they became limp. I put my head down on the bed and started crying as the doctor came over to me. He touched my shoulder and I quickly stood. He embraced me as I cried and shook.
“It’s going to be okay, Raven. I’m here.” He whispered soothingly as I cried harder. I cried on his shoulder for a long span of time before lifting away and he sighed, “You should go. It will be hard to be near this right now.” He whispered and I nodded.
“But I can’t drive like this, Chris.” I whispered in a hiccup of tears.
“I’ll drive you,” He whispered and then hugged me again, “I’ll stay with you until you are feeling better.” He added and then took my hand in his. He led me to his black Toyota and then quickly drove me home.