Word Count: 1676
Chapter 3: Parker
The sun peeked through the window directly into my eyes. It nudged me awake and I saw I fell asleep on the couch again instead of throwing myself into the guest bedroom. I dragged myself into the bathroom to freshen up. When I got back into the living room, Garret sat on the couch with Avianna across from him.
With my croaky morning voice, I squeaked out, “‘Sup?”
Avi tossed her phone aside, “Nothing.” She got up and stalked to the kitchen. She pulled out a carton of eggs and cracked a few into a bowl. Garret got up and sat at the dining room table all without looking up from his phone.
“Isn’t it a little early to be making eggs?” I grumbled.
Avi pointed to the wall mounted clock. 10:24. Okay maybe the sun had its whole face in the window and I didn’t notice. I blamed my job, I hadn’t woken up at a proper time since I graduated high school.
She whipped up the eggs in a jiff and served them all for us. I rolled my eyes and ate her eggs that always ended up better than mine. Garret put down his phone to eat. Big deal. I tried to eat them bitterly, but they were too good. I still had a hard time waking up. Every morning the lights were too bright, noises screamed at me, and anything that touched my body stabbed like knives. The stimulus died down the longer I stayed awake.
Avianna put her utensils down with an awful clang. Before she could speak I said, “If you’re going to go on a long winded story, be quiet for the first few minutes. Everything is loud.” I looked at her puzzled, “And what are you even doing here? I didn’t know you had a kay.”
She nodded, “Garret let me. And I’ll be quiet. Now, are you ready to hear what happened yesterday, pretty boy?”
I hated it when she called me pretty boy, “Fire away.”
“We started at the new coffee shop,” she said, “We got there extra early because Jacob didn’t give us a time. On the ride there Damon was bouncing all around the car. We were lucky to not get into a crash.” She smiled and took our finished plates and put them into the sink without too much noise. She ran the water and cleaned the dishes while she continued. The story was spoken slowly and clearly so the water didn’t overtake it.
“We pulled up and walked in. I thought we would wait for Jacob, but he was at a corner table. His hair was messy, but he still wore some really good clothing. I don’t know, he just looked so,” she paused, “Peculiar.”
“So then Jacob came up and slid money to the barista. He said to give us two teas and an extra. We all sat and Jacob just stared at the barista while we tried to get him to stop. I think he even blew a kiss to the barista. Pretty sure it was a joke, but eesh.”
Avi smirked and turned off the tap. “Speaking of uncomfortable, it was like everyone was looking at us. I don’t know if it was because of Jacob, people recognizing Damon, or they recognized Damon with a wife,” she leaned over the counter and pointed to herself, “And that would be yours truly.”
“Aunt Avi, let’s hear the rest in the living room. You might knock over the urn.” He got up to the living room, never looking up from his phone.We migrated to the living room where Avi could animate herself as much as she wanted.
“The beverages were done by that point and I gave them to Damon and Jacob, but Jacob put his in a thermos and started to walk out. Man, why did Damon have to be friends with such a cryptic person?” She learned that word from me. “Not in a cool brooding way either. He could go into another room with no windows and still find a way to disappear.” She rolled her eyes and muttered something I couldn’t hear. Garret nodded along, though.
Avi sat in a chair and continued, “We chased Jacob to the car and he started it before we even got in. And as we got in Jacob was saying how if Parker didn’t cooperate he’d throw the tea in his smug face. The fresh tea.”
I sneered. Jacob sounded like one of those jerk characters some amateur clients would write. They think it makes them “broken and complex” but they’re really just contemptible people I would rather use a vulgarity towards.
Avi shook her head. “I know, total jerk move.” I heard Garret scoff. She continued, “Damon jumped in and was all like, ‘Woah dude, no need to get violent. We can solve things with good ol’ conversation. I know you’re pretty physical, but leave the confrontation to me.’ I had to agree.”
I said, “If Jacob had paid attention in any history class, he would have learned there are many other ways to solve conflict that don't involve engaging in war. I mean, all of those are theoretical, but it doesn’t seem as though Parker would want to join back while being threatened. They broke up for a reason, right?” I finally found a way to contribute.
Avi resumed, “Here’s the thing, Jacob said: ‘People who speak can still wage war. The internal person is what causes everything. So, when you make them take a few punches to the face, you get them to stop for enough time to listen and change. And if you’re on the ground, maybe you’re the one in the wrong.’”
I took a blow by the recount. I didn’t think something so intelligent could come out of someone so arrogant as Jacob. The sentiment itself wasn’t of moral rightness, but it made me think.
“Yeah,” Avi broke into my thoughts, “I also heard him mumble stuff about how he didn’t make a multi-million business to talk through problems.” She rolled her eyes and sighed. “I swear we were driving for forever and all of a sudden we’re in front of a house. I took pictures in case anything happened. Here,” she handed me her phone. The house was tan and slumped down. It sank into itself. It sat defeated on the side of the road and smoked a cigarette. The roof hung low just above the windows, like heavy eyelids and beckoned no one to look in. I gave a sad grin and handed the phone back.
“I don’t know what I was expecting Parker to live in. Maybe something with a little more,” she paused, “Pizazz.” She did the theater kid jazz hands. I did theater too. I was in charge of lighting.
She giggled and sighed to carry on her recount. “We pulled up and came to knock on the door. Jacob had his tea and I glanced at Damon and he gave me that look. You know the one. So this guy opens the door.” She gave me the phone with some candid photos of an angular-faced man that must have been from a few years ago. His light brown, almost blond, hair was neatly trimmed all around his head and framed his honey eyes. He smiled in only one picture. He was a good looking guy, he should have smiled more.
“Is this Parker?” I knew it was, but I wanted to say something.
Garret cocked his eyebrow and said, “I want to see.” I gave him the phone to look at and gave it back to Avianna.
“Yeah those are pics of Parker, but the man who opened the door didn’t look like the same man. His face was covered in stubble and cuts. He had bruises all over his face, his eyes were all droopy, and his hair was an absolute rat’s nest. I thought we had the wrong house. I was about to scram when Damon and Jacob were all like, ‘Parker! Buddy! It’s been a while. Can we come in?’” She changed her demeanor to be more masculine as she acted out Damon and Jacob’s mannerisms. As funny as it was, it hid a sense of urgency and fear, as well as sadness.
“The poor kid looked terrified. I tried to look as polite as possible, but I didn’t know what I was doing. I just smiled and went along with everything. We stood there for a few seconds when Parker unlocked the chain door and let us in.”
Garret popped an attitude and said, “That sounds awkward.”
“It was. When he invited us in, the inside wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. It was nice, I guess. There were some glass statues and paintings all around, but the rest was…messy to say the least. If it weren’t for the mess, the house would have been quite inviting. He had a conversation pit and we all sat.
“Jacob cut right to the chase and said,” she cleared her throat and mimicked Jacob, “‘We’re going on a reunion, we need our bassist, partial drummer, and lyricist back. Everyone will be absolutely outraged if it’s not you and Damon together. What’s the band without you?’” Avi broke character and laughed at herself. Garret and I chuckled too.
Avianna sat back in her chair. “Parker said,” she proceeded to slur her words together, “‘No one cares about the bassist. In our songs you can’t even hear it when I play. I don’t know why you’re asking me back. No one likes the bassist. Can you name five bassists?’
“Jacob went on more about the fans, the band, the business. He talked extensively about how it all started and the finances. He lost me there. Parker got really tired of it too.” She slowed down like she was at the house again, “And then he opened up a beer.” She spaced out and tried to think of how she’d want to frame it.