4 – The Hangout


“First Blood: Part 2!”, I shout back as Seth argues. “Demolition Man was NOT BETTER! Look, Demolition Man is a really good movie, but how, HOW do you beat Rambo? The only one who can beat Rambo is-”

“SPARTAN!”, Seth gets in my face.

I use two fingers and slowly push him back. I slide my hand over my face to simulate wiping spit off. “I was going to say Chuck Norris. I mean come on Seth, admit it.” He shakes his head ‘no’. “I’ve got proof that you can’t deny!”

“Bring it.”

“Chuck Norris was born on May 6th, 1945. The Nazi’s surrendered on May 7th, 1945. Coincidence? I think NOT!”

Seth sits on the soda, contemplating this. Nick walks in with two large bowls of popcorn in-hand. “She’s right. So who’s ready for Jen’s first Hangout?”

“Yeah!”, Jayden shouts while she sets down a laundry basket loaded with snacks and desserts of all sorts. “Get comfy people, we’ll probably be here all night.”

“What do you mean?”, I ask.

“I thought you got permission to come?”, Nick asks. Guess he’s confused too.

“It’s not that. I just thought we were gonna hangout. Watch a movie, play Band Hero Extreme ya know. Why would we be here all night?”

“It’s your first hangout,” Answers Jayden, “and for each new bandmates’ first Hangout we just get to know each other. We run well together because we trust each other.”

“I trust you guys though.”

“I believe you. We’re all friends, but this is our way of… Accepting you into the band,” Jayden explains. I understand now, but these guys and I are all friends. That’s saying something because I can count how many I have on my fingers.

Seth sits on the couch next to Diego. Jayden grabs some things from the basket and takes a seat on the far cushion. Nick and I sit in bean bag chairs across from them. So… Let’s go.


I have no problem telling these guys about myself. Or even Jenna. I just… I just don’t feel like talking today. It’s been a long one.

“So I started going to public school,” Diego finishes. He had been homeschooled until Freshman year. Other than that, the story he’s just told consists of how his younger sister had cancer when she was 7. She’ll be 13 in August. She’s been NEC (*No Evidence of Cancer*) for 3 and a half years.

Seth already told his own tale — He’s the second oldest of our pastor Clayton’s 4 sons. He was kicked out of his 7th grade class for being Seth. — The way we’re all sitting, I’ll be next. After me, Nick. Then, being the newest, Jenna will go last.

Diego finishes up and I move my leg as it starts going numb.

“I uh, I didn’t really start going and enjoying church until I was 12 or 13… My grandmother made me go once I turned 10 because she thought I was old enough to understand what they were telling me. When I was younger, when I lived with my parents, I only went when my grandmother was visiting. I was baptized last summer by Clayton and I joined Worship Team at the beginning of the school year.” There’s my church story. Now it’s time for the one about my life.


I watch Jenna’s facial expression stay still like stone, her eyes not once leaving Jayden as she speaks.

“My parents would leave me with their ‘friends’ while they did what they wanted. Sometimes I think it could be worse… I could’ve been watching from the front row seat,” Jayden says sadly. “My mom was hooked on meth, ice, and speed. My dad mostly just drank. The different friends they would leave me with got annoyed eventually. At first, they watched me out of pity and sympathy… Sympathy runs out eventually though.

“My dad would stay and get drunk in the apartment sometimes. When I was 8 my mom had a ‘friend’ over. My dad caught them together and sent the guy’s head through a wall. My mom got in the car with him and never came back.”

Jenna shifts in the chair and pops her shoulder. I look back to Jayden.

“And when I was 9 my dad got so drunk and angry he tried drowning me in the pool of the apartment complex. Someone, I don’t know who, called the police. They took me to my grandmother’s and I’ve been there since,” she finishes.


I thought I knew Jayden. I thought I knew her really well…

“Is he still in jail?”, I can’t help but ask.

“Yes. He had a lot of warrants so he’s got to pay time on all of those.”

“Well,” Nick sits up. “Jenna here is my best friend and newbie who knows my story, so I can skip my own. Your turn Jen.”

“Nick,” everyone else says in unison.


“We all have to go. How come you think you can skip out?”, Seth asks, standing from the couch.

“Because I’ve told her and it hasn’t changed since I told all of you guys.”

“You introduced her to us less than a month ago. How long have you known her?”, Diego questions.

“A l-“, Nick starts, but I interrupt.

“Why not just tell the story and get it over with?”, I ask. “I’ve told you mine and I’m going to tell you again. It won’t kill you Nick.”

And so he tells. I like how everyone listens to tentatively. Nick starts his story of how his dad began drinking when he was 7 and his parents divorced when he was 9. He lived with his mother from then. His older brother started going to Michigan State last year. Nick’s dad showed up at his 14th birthday party, sober and seeking out a relationship. Nick gave him a chance and they’re really close now. He started band just when Jayden did at the beginning of the school year.

Then it’s my turn.

My past.

My secrets.

My pain.

My turn…


(A/N: Sorry for most of the beginning xD I know it’s pretty stupid, but I’ve been waiting to use the Nazi joke for a while, and I’m in the mood to watch Demolition Man. Couldn’t help it.)


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