End of June, 2003. I watched the people on the playground. I was locked up inside again, because I had thrown pencils to my teacher. I didn’t give a damn, I had to move anyway. My mother got a job at a record studio in London. She has her own label, she’s a manager. And daddy, he is a lawyer and a writer. He has got four books on his name, something about being a lawyer and the courthouse. I saw someone special: Douglas. That’s not his real name, he’s christened Dougie but we all call him Douglas. Just for fun.
I had a little, excuse me, big crush on him since day one. He didn’t know about it, he was a friend of mine. We talked about music and stuff. We were friends. I saw three boys walk to him, probably older boys. They talked to him and they laughed. They gave Douglas cards and then the bell rang. They said goodbye and Douglas came into the classroom. He smiled, no he grinned.
“I got a record deal! I’m moving out this weekend! Oh I’m so exited!” he said. I smiled and hugged him hardly. It was the last week of school, the last day of school. I was moving out this weekend too. Didn’t he know what this meant to me? My heart stopped beating, my world stopped turning… He was leaving me and I was leaving him. Inside I said goodbye to our friendship.
It was Monday November the first in 2004. I realized my birthday was coming up soon. 11th December I would be seventeen, finally. I was in my Lower Sixth and I had one more year to go. I worked at a café, more a coffee shop. I felt the girls at table 01 looking at me; I forgot I was the weirdo from Corringham. This was my second year here in London. The ‘normal’ girls liked the Sugababes and wore all pink stuff; me on the other hand liked Avril Lavigne, Evanescence and wore only black, red and white. And only in combination. I was a skipper, I wrote lyrics and played guitar. A normal girl wouldn’t do that. On my old school, I had friends. Here I didn’t have one, not a single one. Only because I really hated McFly. Their happy lyrics and their smiley faces make me sick. And above all, Dougie was in it. Yes, Douglas from my old school, my former friend, my buddy and my musician. He seemed happy in the videos and in interviews, so I was happy too. I moved on, so did he. The biggest girly-girl came to me and asked for a cup of coffee. Her name was Susanna Jones. She smiled to me, not the friendly smile and paid for her coffee. Her and her cows walked out the café, when a stranger, aka new costumer, walked in. He wore a cap and sunglasses, it was November!
“Can I have a cappuccino please?” he asked. His voice sounded familiar. It was Douglas!
“Yes sir. But I don’t serve to former classmates,” I said. “Especially when they don’t recognize me.”
He looked at me and tried to remember me. He couldn’t remember me, it was too long ago.
“It’s Gabi, short for Gabrielle. Thompson. We went to school together in Corringham, remember?” I said snidely. I putted his cappuccino on the table and looked at hem, with a dirty look.
“Oh! Fuck! Excuse me Gabs, you have to forgive me. I didn’t recognize you. You’re hair is different and you’re a woman now. And a kind of boy-ish too. What’s with the baggy pants?” he said. I did look differently. When we moved to London, I changed my look completely. My hair was black, instead of my natural brown, it had red strings in it and I wore sneakers, wore baggy jeans and wore black make-up around my eyes. That’s why I’m the freak. Nobody at my school paints her hair. They are actually the weirdo’s, not me.
“I didn’t know you moved to London. When were you going to tell me that?” he said.
“I don’t know. You didn’t told me either that you were moving to London too. But, how’s your boy band thing going on? Where are the rest of the lads?” I asked. He knew I hated boy bands. I could fire them all up and send them to hell that the devil has some company too.
“Good, our album in number one right now. And we’re playing here next Friday. Didn’t you know? Anyhow, we’re having a sound check Wednesday, here at 7 o’clock. I’ll see you then. Did your mobile number change? Mine didn’t so if you’ll call me or text me. See y’around!” he said and he smiled when I shook my head. My mobile number never changed. Did he try to call me? No, he didn’t but I didn’t call him either. So I was excited to the sound check, I wondered how they sound live.
The next day at school, the news went around soon. Everybody knew about McFly playing Friday at ‘my’ café. Susanna Jones asked me if I could arrange a meet and greet, but I didn’t agree. I should get the meet and greet, just because Douglas is a friend of mine, or he was. And there were no backstage passes, everybody asked me about it. I am not the manager of that place! I tried to pay attention, but I couldn’t keep my head in the lesson. I ignored the asking people and I focused on my lyrics.
“Gabrielle, are you paying any attention to my class?” my teacher asked.
“Nah, you’re boring. Can’t you tell something about slaughter in the Roman Empire? That’s interesting enough.” I said, but we were handling the culture of the people in the prehistory.
“No, I can’t. Get out of my classroom!” he yelled at me and I walked out of the classroom, with all noisy and whispering people behind me. I could hear Susanna say; “She doesn’t even know how to spell Roman Empire.” That was the drop which did overflow the bucket. I walked back into the classroom and slapped her in the face.
“Don’t you ever call me stupid again. Let this be a warning,” I snapped at her. “I am your worst enemy to have.” I walked out the classroom again and left the school. The rest of the day, I skipped all my classes and I went to the park.
There, I saw my skate-mates. I knew them all by name; Johnny, David, James, Danny, Trevor, Marc, Artemis and Jenny. She was, beside me, the only girl in the group. I grabbed my skateboard and went down the half-pipe. I fell halfway and I planed my knee. It hurt. I went sitting on the side and I looked at them. Jenny sat next to me, she didn’t like me. She said I was too beautiful to be a real skater. I proved I wasn’t pretty and I become a real skater.
“Why are you here, aren’t you suppose to be at school right now?” she asked suspicious.
“No.” I said back. “I just had a free period, the whole day.”
My cell rang and I didn’t recognize the number. I took it and the person didn’t say anything until I said my name.
“Hey you’re speaking with Gabi. Maybe you twisted the number, I don’t know. Don’t bother me.” I said pissed off. The person stuttered a bit.
“Hey, it’s Doug. I wondered how you are, I kind of missed you.” Dougie said. I said a quick goodbye to the skaters and walked to the road, where I started walking.
“Why do you call me now? You should have called me two year ago. It’s too late now, our friendship’s gone.” I said. I could hear Dougie sighing.
“Did you remember your birthday party when you turned fifteen?” he said suddenly.
I could remember my fifteenth birthday party.
“Open your present,” Luna said, she was my best friend. I knew her since grade one and we were inseparable. I opened the box and saw three CD’s in it. I hugged her.
“Thanks girl. I love you.” I said and the party started. The whole house was for us! My parents were at a premier of a movie or an award something. The whole house was full of people from the entire school. Everybody liked to party.
I kissed not many guys; at least I didn’t remember it. I was a bit drunk. But I could remember the end of the night, I was a bit sober again and Dougie, Luna and four others stayed to sleep. Luna walked into my room with a blindfold. She blindfolded me and I had to feel with my hands.
“There’s someone who wants to meet you.” Luna’s voice said. I didn’t know what she meant. Who wanted to meet me? I could felt soft lips on mines and a tongue tried to get into my mouth. It was the greatest kiss ever! I was on cloud nine. I didn’t recognize it though.
When they un-blindfolded me, I asked where the person was. He left my house already and they wouldn’t say who it was.
“You knew who it was. You know who kissed me when I was blindfolded!” I said smiling.
Finally after almost two years I knew who kissed me at that party.
“Kind of. I saw him; he was about the same age. He was handsome, green-blue-ish eyes, blonde hair.” he described the boy and I recognized his profile in it.
“It was you,” I said. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I was afraid that it would ruin our friendship, but a few months after it I went away so it didn’t matter.”
“I don’t know what to say. I am disappointed in you; I thought you were my friend. Friends tell each other things! Did you love me?”
“A bit, I can’t deny I had some feelings for you. But I want to be friends again, so no secrets for you anymore.”
“I don’t know. We’ll see. I’ll see you Wednesday at the café for the sound check, can you come a bit earlier? Alone?”
“Yes I can try it, can’t I? I’ll text you. Bye!” he said and I smiled a bit.
“Yeah sure, goodbye.” I hang the phone and I walked home.
“Your teacher called.” My mum said at home, my dad sat on the couch and he watched me like a hawk. Really scary!
“You skipped the day, and it’s not the first time he calls.” She continued. I watched the floor, I saw a dirty spot on it and grinned.
“What do you say about it Thomas? What kind of punishment she deserves?” she asked to my dad.
“I don’t know Laura. Maybe she has to wear coloured clothes? No make-up using? She can’t go out the whole weekend.” He said, but my mum shook her head.
“She doesn’t go out. Oh, why can’t I have a normal child! You’re making it real difficult to mum and dad.” She said and I hated it when she did that. Talk about themselves in the third term.
“I AM normal, the others are mental. Not me. And talk normal woman. I can figure out my own punishment. You can hide my TV, happy now!” I screamed and I ran upstairs.
They ignored my guitar chords, I played really hard and putted the speaker way out loud. They just putted ear-plugs in. Life isn’t fair. My dad came into my room and sat on my bed. I stopped playing and looked at him.
“The neighbour’s called. You’re making to much noise.” He said and walked out the room. I threw my pillow at the door, but the door couldn’t help it either. I laughed a bit and grabbed my iPod from my desk. I turned it on and searched for ‘My Chemical Romance; I’m Not Okay’. I selected the song and fell on my bed. I stared at the sealing and thoughts of Dougie popped into my brain. I tried to ignore them and soon I started to think about earlier. I thought about the time we first met. I saw a little boy staring at the candies in the supermarket. I stood next to him, we were about four years old. I pointed at the lollypops with coke-flavour. I said I like them best, he said he was more a sweet-flavour person. We laughed and our mums saw us chatting, about candy of course. A few days later I discovered him at kindergarten and said: “You’re the sweet-flavour guy!” I remember it like yesterday. I missed him, I really did. But I was mad at him, and I decided he could apologize to me. Not vice versa.
People knocked on my door. I called them to come in. They found me staring at the sealing and listening to ‘My Chemical Romance on the radio; I’m Not Okay’. I was lying on bed and sighed. I watched them waving in front of my bed.
“Dougie, wake up. You’re sleeping with your eyes open,” a person with a Bolton-accent said; Danny Jones. I smiled and grabbed my pillow. I smashed him with it.
“I’m awake idiot,” I said laughing. “And yes, I’m okay.”
“The song you’re listening says you’re not,” the drummer said. He’s a real idiot. I liked Danny, a bit. He’s headless.
“Can’t you use your brain? It’s a song, not written by my but by ‘My Chemical Romance’. They’re just depressive.” I said snidely. I started to scare myself. I’m not a snide-person. I’m a sarcastic person and a quiet one too.
“Dougie, are you okay? Maybe he’s got a fever!” Danny said, but Harry shook his head.
“His birthday is coming up soon. Maybe he’s nerves.” He said and I smiled a bit.
“Idiot! Of course that’s it! Now you can leave my room. Bye!” I said, while I pushed them out my room. I locked the door and turned the volume way out loud.
I’m totally not telling them I’ve met my former best-friend a few days ago. They wouldn’t understand. I tried to listen to the lyrics, but the song switched. That’s typical radio. Now I was listening to something anonym for me. It was called ‘complicated’. I liked it.
Another knock on the door.
“Dougie! Don’t lock yourself in! We’re your friends!” I recognized Tom’s voice. I stood up from bed and opened the door.
“I’m okay. Don’t worry. I won’t lock the door again,” I said. “You’re like my mother. I can take care myself dude.”
He smiled a bit and nodded.
“Okay then. I’ll see you later then.” He said and he left.
I looked at my phone, still no text from Gabi. Maybe she forgot it. Or she doesn’t want to know me anymore. I really did something wrong. Only, I don’t know what! So I can’t fix it.
I feel a bit lost and I fell on bed again. I started staring at the sealing again and I kinda fell asleep.
The next morning it was Wednesday. Today was the day of the sound check at the café where Gabi worked. The problem was, it was eight in the morning. I fell asleep round 7 pm. I didn’t have a dinner not even a single thing. I walked downstairs and saw the others on the couch, playing play station. I smiled and walked to the fridge. I grabbed a glass and the milk, some cereals and made some kind of breakfast. I plumped down on a chair.
“Sorry about yesterday,” I said and I didn’t get an answer. “I’m sorry about yesterday.”
I repeated it for three times, they answered the fourth time.
“Yeah, sorry. We know. We’re too.” Danny said, after their game was over.
“We got a sound check at that café tonight. What time was that again?” I asked.
“Seven o’clock. Why?” Tom asked and he watched me eat.
“I don’t know. Just wanted to know.” I saw he was watching every move I made. “Can you quit watching me like a hawk? It’s annoying.”
I grabbed a controller and started the game.
“Come on. Let’s play!” I said and we forgot all we knew for a second.
Minutes passed by and it was 6.30 way too soon. We went by car and when we arrived, Gabi opened the door.
“Hey. You didn’t call.” I said, she smiled.
“Neither did you,” she said and gave me three check-kisses. “But I thought about you. That counts.”
Danny grinned, so did Harry. Tom plugged his guitar in and pulled Danny on stage.
“Now, prove to me you can really play.” Gabi said and I jumped on stage. We decided to start with ‘Five colours in her hair’. We played it and started fooling around.
“Ey Bird, can you give me a cup of coffee please?” Harry shouted. Gabi smiled and made coffee, for all of us. She sat on stage and looked at me.
“So guys, why on earth do you call an album ‘Room on the Third floor?’ I just don’t get the title.” she said and she waited for Tom to answer.
“Well, we wrote almost all our tracks there. In a room on the third floor.” he said very seriously.
“Didn’t you follow the news?” Harry said and Gabi smiled, in a very strange way.
“Yes I did, but when the name ‘McFly’ was mentioned I switched the channel. But, now I’ve heard ye live and you’re really nice lads. So, I’ll give it a shot.” She said and of course she had to explain why she switched channels. The reason; “I didn’t like you.”
“And now a real reason?” Danny asked. Stupid question.
“Ask Dougie, he’ll explain it all,” she said and she jumped of stage. She walked away and disappeared.
“Where did she go?” Tom asked. “She has to close up the café.”
“And what has Doug to do with this?” Harry asked. “Do you know her?”
Now I had to tell it all. Why she’s mad at me, why she’s acting like this.
“Well, we were friends earlier. When I lived in Corringham. We were kinda best friends. We wrote lyrics together, played together and we did stuff friends do. Our friendship started at age four. In the summer of 2003, I joined McFly and moved to London, to live with you guys. I knew she was moving out too, only I didn’t know she was moving to London too. She didn’t tell me and I didn’t tell her either. She already said good-bye to the friendship and I didn’t. But I didn’t even try to figure out where she moved to. A couple of days ago, I walked in here and ordered coffee. I didn’t even recognize her. Her whole image has changed. She doesn’t have friends here and her best-friend didn’t even call her when he moved out. I called her yesterday and told her about her fifteenth birthday party, about the blindfold kiss. She really blames me for not telling her. I apologized but she doesn’t forgive me. That’s why she doesn’t like McFly; you’ve taken me away from her. Sort of.” I said and the guys never heard me talking so much.
“That were a lot of words Doug,” Danny said. “But what I don’t understand is, what about the blindfold kiss? It was you, wasn’t it?”
I nodded and jumped of stage. I stared at a door and I knew she was behind it. I realized that our former-friendship didn’t exist anymore. I really screwed things up, especially in her eyes.Could she ever forgive me and rebuilt our friendship?