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sour cherry 15/acai 5 - musically malted!

sour cherry 15. hill of beans + acai 5. let it go + malt: Darcy : with or without you (PfaH) + malt: what if Darcy had to perform a song in front of an audience?
story: second chances ; early high school . wordcount: 2250. rating: pg.

notes: I couldn't make it through February without writing a qualifying piece for Music & Mixes month! This one uses one of the songs off my Darcy mix. Also, this is the most teenager-y thing I've written in a while…and I usually write YA, but TRUST ME.

Darcy could already feel the sweat breaking out under her arms. She stripped off her jacket and tossed it onto the work bench. She really couldn't say no now. Wherein Darcy weathers time with a frenemy, sings a Ramones song, and gets by with a little help from her friends.

It took what felt like an hour for Jill to finally pick an outfit from her overstuffed dresser. T-shirts and tights now strewed the floor and Darcy wasn't sure how Jill planned on getting those drawers to shut again. Maybe she didn't. Jill's room was always a disaster; Darcy had to move a sweater and a pair of pajama shorts just to sit down in her desk chair.

Watching Jill lay out her final pick—a black halter top and a red pleated mini-skirt—on the bed, Darcy wound a piece of hair around her finger and pulled it tight enough to hurt. Beside her, Jill's CD player was spinning one of Darcy's own mixes. It was the first time Darcy could remember finding that mix kind of annoying.

Jill was wiggling out of her jeans when 'Judy is a Punk' came on and she let out an ooh!. "Turn it up," she said. "This is totally my song."

It's my favorite song, Darcy wanted to say. You steal everything I like. But she just scowled (not that Jill was watching her) and turned to crank the volume. As Jill stepped into her skirt, Darcy caught a glimpse of her skimpy underwear. A line of red hearts ran across the waistband. Jackie is a punk, Judy is a runt, they both went down to Berlin joined the Ice Capades… She wondered if Jack had seen Jill's underwear yet.

Jill turned around like she sensed Darcy looking and arched an eyebrow. "Why are you so quiet today?"

"I thought you wanted to listen to the song," Darcy said. She was sure she sounded bitter, but Jill didn't seem to notice.

"Well, you're making me nervous just watching me. Do you want to change? You can borrow something."

Darcy shook her head. "I'm fine like this."

Jill laughed, like wearing jeans and a t-shirt to meet up with friends was somehow hilarious, and stripped off her tank top. She reached around her back to unhook her bra and Darcy turned her chair around to face the desk. Beside Jill's mouse pad, a framed photograph of Jack and Jill smiled up at her. That was fast. Darcy resisted the urge to tip it over.

Jill must have taken it herself, the camera held at arms length. Their faces practically pressed together, Jill's dark lipsticked-mouth formed her usual smirk while Jack grinned broadly, baring his overlapping front teeth.

Oh, the one with the fucked-up teeth? Jill had asked, when Darcy had first pointed Jack out and Darcy had felt immediately defensive. Jack did have fucked-up teeth, but Darcy always thought they were kind of cute, and it seemed mean to point it out like that. Now, of course, Jill had decided they were just adorable.

"Ok, what do you think?"

Jill's voice tore her away from the photo; Darcy spun the chair back around to look.The halter top dipped a deep V into Jill's cleavage and ended just a little above the waistband of the skirt. Jill looked like she'd nicked the look off a Hot Topic mannequin, but there was no denying she looked good. "Oh. Cool," Darcy said.

Jill turned to face the mirror and fluffed her hair with her fingers. "I just need to pick out some jewelry, then I'll find a top for you to borrow."

"Great," Darcy said flatly. Again, If Jill noticed her tone, she didn't say anything.

Jill's step mother dropped them off on Jack's street. Once she'd driven away, Jill made Darcy hold her stuff while she peeled off the sweater dress she'd thrown on so she "wouldn't get bitched out" for her real clothes. She straightened her top and skirt and asked Darcy how she looked for a second time.

Darcy managed a thumbs up. Jill's stepmother had barely glanced at the white tank top with the safety-pinned slash across the chest that Darcy ended up in, but it was pretty modest by comparison.

"Okay," Jill said, grabbing her bag back. "Let's go."

Jill hummed something Darcy didn't recognize as they walked the block and a half to Jack's house. Darcy put on a smile she hoped was pleasant and tried to look serene, like she was above it all.

When they reached Jack's house, the garage door was half open, but no one was playing music. Darcy rapped her knuckles on the metal door then she and Jill ducked under it when the boys hollered a greeting. Jill made a beeline for her boyfriend while Darcy stood in the corner blinking hard, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the dimmer light.

It looked like their band rehearsal had began to break down. Jack still had his guitar, but Tony and Rayn were sitting by the drums, trying to listen to something on one set of studio-sized headphones.

"Sup, Darcy!" Jack called.

Darcy had looked away when he greeted Jill, but now she waved. "Hey! Are you guys still rehearsing?"

Jack shrugged. Jill looped her arm around his waist as he turned to his bandmates. "We could be done, right?"

Tony's face was drawn in concentration and Rayn had to tap the headphones to get his attention. "Oh," Tony said, yanking them from his head, "what was that?"

"Jack wants to know if you guys are done rehearsing," Darcy said.

Rayn stood up and dusted off the knees of his jeans. "Just about. Sorry, we were just trying to figure out the bass line for this song. Hi, Darcy."

"You're right, I think," Tony told him. "There's an A in there too."

"We could just play it next time," Jack suggested. "I probably need to practice my part more anyway."

Tony let out a warble of frustration and let his head fall back. "We can't put off playing anything new forever. It's just another three chord song!"

"Yeah, let's just do it," Rayn said. "I'll figure it out."

"Or you could just play E," Tony said.

"Or I could just play E."

Jack scratched the back of his neck, making a face. "Could I play it through once without singing?"

Rayn picked up his bass and looped the strap over his shoulder. "You have to sing or we'll get lost," he said. "I don't know it well enough yet."

"What song are you guys talking about?" Jill asked, her tone strangely sharp. She'd given up hanging off Jack in favor of folding her arms in a way that gave her even more cleavage. Darcy wondered if she was annoyed, not being the center of attention.

"I just wanna have something to do." Jack said. He gave Jill a playful poke in the hip. "Hey, you like the Ramones. You wanna sing it? That'll be more fun anyway"

"Oh…" Jill's mouth pursed into a pout. "I don't really know that one."

"I know it," Darcy said, before she realized what she was doing. But Jack's face had already lit up. Fuck everything, she still found him immensely attractive. It was unfair.

"You should sing it then!" he said. "That'll be perfect."

"Oh, I don't…I really can't sing…" She looked to Rayn and Tony. "I don't want to mess up your…"

"You won't mess it up," Rayn said. "You should do it."

Tony cupped his hands around his mouth. "Sing, Darcy!"

Darcy could already feel the sweat breaking out under her arms. She stripped off her jacket and tossed it onto the work bench. She really couldn't say no now.

"Cool shirt!" Tony called as she joined Jack by his microphone.

"I loaned it to her," Jill said. Darcy thought she'd find the look on Jill's face satisfying, but it was too hard to read. When Jill caught her looking, she made a show of checking her watch. "We're still going to Dairy Queen after this, right?" she called to Jack.

"We're all going to Dairy Queen," Darcy said. If I make it through this without making an ass of myself, she thought, I'm getting a banana split.

"I'll sing the 'Tonights' with you if you want," Jack said.

Darcy tugged at the bottom of her tank top. "Great, I'll need all the help I can get."

Tony raised his drum sticks above his head. "Let's do this! One, two, three, four!"

As the first chords kicked in, Darcy took a deep breathe and squeezed in closer to the microphone. Never had she been so glad to have listened to Road to Ruin enough times for her mother to forcibly take it away from her "just for a week, please."

When she opened her mouth to sing the first line, she half expected to choke. She was surprised to hear her own voice blending with the somewhat sloppy accompaniment. "Hanging out on second avenue, eating chicken vindaloo...I just want to be with you, I just wanna have something to do…"

When she reached the first round of 'tonight's, Darcy hazarded a look at Jill. Jill's expression was still hard to read, but she wasn't smiling. But by the time Darcy got to the second verse though, she wasn't thinking about Jill. The butterfly feeling in her stomach had leveled out into a pleasant buzz, and when she got lost in the middle, Jack—who seemed to have built up some confidence—helped her out. She barely realized they'd hit the last chords of the song until Jack let out a relieved laugh.

"Wow! We played it all the way through!"

"That was not bad," Tony said.

Darcy felt her face flush. "I really didn't mess it up? I know I can't sing."

"No, you did great," Rayn said. "Jack messed up worse than you."

"Aww," Darcy said. She hadn't even noticed.

Jack laughed again, unhooking his guitar strap. "No, it's okay, he's right. I'll get it next time though."

"Are we really only going to play it once?" Tony asked.

Jill cleared her throat. "It's past four," she said, setting her hands on her hips. "You said you guys would be done by then."

Rayn was already unplugged his bass. "Yeah, I should get home soon anyway. We're practicing again tomorrow night, right? We'll play it again then."

"Does that mean you're not coming to Dairy Queen?" Darcy asked.

Rayn hesitated, tilting his head. "I guess I can come if we're leaving now."

Tony raised his fists in the air. "Blizzard time!"

"Do we have to go to Dairy Queen?" Jill asked, snapping Darcy's attention back her way. "I kind of want to get some real food. That won't kill me."

Jack looked up from setting his guitar back on its stand. "Where do you want to go instead?" he asked her.

"I dunno, Urban Eats?" Jill stepped forward to rest her chin on his shoulder. "That's right on the bus line."

Darcy exchanged a look with Rayn and Tony.

"Well, I want a Blizzard," Tony said.

"Yeah," Rayn said, "and I better stick with somewhere closer."

Jack quirked his mouth to one side and then the other. Jill seemed to have a death grip on his shoulder now. "Well, why don't you guys go on to DQ and we'll go to Urban Eats?"

"Darcy," Jill said, "you should come with us."

Darcy bit her lip; she couldn't tell if it was a genuine offer or not, if Jill was just offering to seem considerate or if she really hoped to torture Darcy by making her play third wheel. "I think I feel more like ice cream," she said finally.

"Well, your loss," Jill said. To Jack, she added, "Can we go then? I'm starving."

"Sure," Jack said. "I just want to give my mom a heads up."

"Is it okay if I leave the drums out for tomorrow?" Tony asked.

"Oh yeah, sure," Jack said. When he passed Darcy, he stopped to flash her a grin. "Hey, thanks for singing with us. That was great."

Darcy shoved her hands in her pockets. "Oh, um...sure thing!"

"Seriously," he said, "you're the coolest."

A couple months ago, that would have had her bouncing off the walls, but today it barely kept the smile on her face. So what if Jack thought she was 'the coolest' now. He was all about Jill. He was leaving with her. "Thanks," Darcy said. She felt Rayn nudge her shoulder.

"Ready to go?" he asked. He'd had his skateboard under his arm.

"Aw! I didn't bring my board."

"That's okay," Tony cut in. He dropped his voice an octave to say, "You wanna ride on my pegs?"

"Uh, what?"

Tony started laughing and Rayn punched him in the arm. "He just put pegs on his BMX," Rayn said. "He had Jack riding on them earlier."

"Jack's too heavy though. It'll be better with Darcy."

Darcy laughed. "Seriously? Okay, I guess we could try."

"I'll bet you a soda you can't make it all the way to Dairy Queen," Rayn said.

Tony turned to Darcy, planting his fists on his hips. "Well, now we have to try, right?"

Darcy glanced over her shoulder at Jill, who was still standing in the corner of the garage. She seemed to be inspecting her fingernails. Darcy turned back to Tony. "Well, if you can't make it, we can switch."

"Sounds good to me!" Tony said.

He waved to Jill as he and Rayn ducked under the garage door.

"Have fun, dorks," Jill called. Darcy scooped up her jacket and then hesitated, with one hand on the half-closed door.

"You too," she said.


And here's the song they played. As necessitated by the story, it's an easy one for everyone, including the singer.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 27th, 2013 11:09 pm (UTC)
yes, cheesy teenagers, but I love Darcy being Darcy, so it is still spiffy :)
Mar. 1st, 2013 05:44 pm (UTC)
haha, thanks! I pretty much just wanted to write Darcy being Darcy ;) Hitting all the teen beats (hiding clothes from mom! dairy queen! bmx!) wasn't even intentional.
Feb. 28th, 2013 07:55 pm (UTC)
I can honestly say I don't miss being a teenager! Man, I wanted to smack Jill.
Mar. 1st, 2013 05:47 pm (UTC)
hahahaha, I really don't miss it either! thanks for reading :)
Mar. 1st, 2013 02:49 am (UTC)
Excellent choice of song. Excellent :D As was the story!
Mar. 1st, 2013 05:49 pm (UTC)
aw, thank you! The Ramones make good use of those three chords ;)
Jan. 15th, 2014 02:25 am (UTC)
Jill is horrible! Why does Darcy hang out with her again?
Jan. 17th, 2014 11:46 pm (UTC)
Mostly because Levee changed schools? ;) But srsly after I wrote this I had to ask myself the same thing. I keep trying to make Jill a little sympathetic and she keeps just being the worst instead...
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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