This was going to go with a preference, but I never got around to writing the others. I will eventually and post them as one shots. Hopefully it is a good distraction while I finish up this nerd preference right now.
He was human Seabiscuit as he darted straight down aisle 2 of the supermarket, heading past the long shelves of nothing, but hair product and straight into pharmacy. He just wanted to pick up Miles’s Celexa and then drive home, eager for a night at home with his wife and one of three children. Penelope was hanging out with her friends at the nearest Wax ‘n’ Wake shop as she usually did after school and Miles was kicking around the soccer ball with his buddies while March was grounded for selling his sister’s bikini tops to the kids in his grade and part of his punishment was staying home to join his parents for a movie night much to his dismay.
Luke had his car keys in hand, wallet back in his pocket, and other hand folded over the top of the stark white prescription bag when he turned directly on his heels to head out the door of the supermarket. He was steps away from the hair aisle when he stopped himself from barreling into a petite brunette.
“Fuck.” He muttered before very sincerely apologizing. Luke didn’t look down at first to take any note of the person he almost took out cold with his chest, but the unmistakable saucer sized eyes of Daphne Hood stared back up at him. “Oh hey Daph.” He shook the pills in the bag, saying ‘hello’ to her with his full hand and grinning. She was always a timid introvert, nothing like her father except for facial features and long arms, but Daphne seemed even more uncomfortable than usual this time. Her cheeks were a faint pink and she refused to hold his gaze. “Is Cal here? You with your mum?” He looked right over her head and scanned the pharmacy section, not seeing any sign of another Hood anywhere.
“No. They’re out. They’re at my grandparents.” She nodded, both hands behind her back, her leather floral purse brushing at her hip at metronome.
“You need a ride home?” He didn’t live very far, just about ten minutes South of Calum’s place. While Daphne was his beloved goddaughter, he didn’t get to spend much one on one time with her. She came over to hang out with Penelope often, but the girls rarely hung out indoors. Everything he knew about Daphne now, he really only knew through her parents. Luke had half a mind to invite her to come watch a movie with he and his wife since her own parents weren’t home. He knew March would probably like it since they were in the same grade and Daphne wasn’t exactly unappealing to look at for a fifteen year old boy.
“No. It’s okay.” Frantically, she shook her head and took a large step to the side to try and move past him.
“Daph, are you – “ Luke was just about to check on her, turning to allow her to walk to the counter, when he spotted her nervously brush her brown locks behind her ear, her hand was as full as his was except she didn’t have a paper prescription bag. She was holding a pink box that he knew very well. It was a pregnancy test. “Oh, Jesus.” The words hardly left his throat, suffocated by the sight of a color he had never realized could be so overwhelming and violent. He had forgotten that there had once been a scare in his life when he was nineteen, a girl he was fooling around with showing up at his hotel in Scotland, sobbing her eyes out and telling him she was pregnant with a fake test. The other times he had seen a pregnancy test were when he was told he was about to be a father or an uncle, all happy occasions. He had never been fifteen though and looking as terrified as Daphne did before him now. He thought back to how hard she cried, only a year old, waking up on the bus to only Luke, her father gone for a few hours. That little girl was standing before him now, steps away, with a fate-deciding box under four of her fingers. Luke panicked over what to do, itching at his head with the hand that held his keys, allowing them to jingle between his eyes. Sighing, he reached forward and snatched the test from her hand and walked by her. “I’ll drive you home.” He locked his stare into hers, finally earning those brown eyes that could swallow him whole, and promised before going to pay for the test himself. There would be gossip if the clerk knew who he was, but he was an adult whose life had been under the radar for a long time. He knew he could handle this moment a lot better than Daphne Hood could. She could barely grasp basic math.
As he pulled out of the parking lot, Luke couldn’t avoid the sharp corners of the pregnancy test box. He didn’t even try to glance down, but it was pulling his attention downward to it, taunting him. His best friend’s daughter, fifteen years old, was in the middle of the sort of thing a father lost sleep over. Until he was on the road, Luke struggled to form words while Daphne was sitting on her hands and staring out the windshield, counting the blue cars that passed them by. She was always quiet, though this silence felt loaded.
“Do you want to come over or should I drive you to your place?” He asked, unsure of what else he could say to her. Most of him just wanted to ask if she was alright and then try to dig up any information on Penny from her. He hoped to God his own daughter hadn’t been in this position. What if she had been buying the test for Penelope? Luke’s mind reeled.
“Um, my home is fine. I have homework….” She mumbled back, talking to her denim covered knees.
“How’s math going?” Everyone knew that Daphne had a tutor and wasn’t doing very well in any of her core subjects. Luke wished he could have been of some help, but he hadn’t been a great student himself. His mum had offered though, but Daphne was too shy to take her up on the offer. Clearly, she had other after school activities that kept her occupied. She didn’t have room in her schedule for study sessions with Liz.
“It’s okay, I guess.” Very generically, sounding every bit fifteen, Daphne answered.
Luke kept the radio loud the rest of the car ride. It should have only taken seven minutes, but he hit every red along the way and managed to get them through three whole Foo Fighters songs from their Greatest Hits album. The tires of his sleek black SUV screeched slightly as he pulled up in front of the locked gate of his best friend’s place.
“Thanks, Uncle Luke.” Daphne reached down between their seats to take her plastic bag from behind his gear shift, checking that her purse was still over her shoulder before taking off her seatbelt to leave.
“Do you want me to come in?” Once he heard her feet collide with the ground, he asked, almost shouting the question at her deer in the headlights expression.
“Uhhh….” She held the syllable, unsure of how to respond. Out of habit, like butter melting on toast even if it wasn’t warm, Daphne’s eyes descended downward and she studied the blue color painted on her toes under her thong sandals.
“It just looks like you could use someone right now.” He was her Godfather after all and he had vowed to Calum that he would look after her as if she was his own.
Instantly, Daphne looked up with a warbling bottom lip, “You don’t think I’m a slut?” In a whisper, she checked.
“No.” Luke whispered, the sound of his heart aching at her question louder than his answer. “I don’t really know what’s going on, but I don’t think that, Daff.” He shook his head, blond hair moving with it as he pulled his keys from the ignition and joined her outside of the car.
Inside Calum’s house, he could feel his friend everywhere. Calum’s spirit echoed off of the walls like the sound of his bass strings plucked and reverberating through an empty stadium. His empty sneakers were sitting neatly, side by side, as soon as Luke entered behind Daphne who bolted to the closet to shut off the alarm. The sound of her index finger plucking the four digit code prompted Luke to recall the numbers in his head, 0918, as in September 18th for his anniversary with his girlfriend so it would never slip his mind.
“I’m going to…” Daphne nodded at the plastic bag in her hand, swinging it back and forth. “You know your way around…” Luke was an honorary Hood after all. He could help himself to anything he wanted.
“Yeah, I’ll be here. I’ll be in the living room.” He told her under the cloak of darkness in the foyer. He watched the teenager shuffle down the hall to the main floor bathroom before he reached around the wall to summon the lights on. Luke kept his shoes and stepped into the family room, Calum’s favorite picture of Daphne greeted him on the shelf above the television as soon as he walked in. She was merely five in the framed photograph, held up in her father’s arm and showing off her first missing tooth with a happy grin. She had on overalls and her hair was tied in a Dutch braid by Ashton’s wife. Luke recalled the day because Daphne nearly swallowed her tooth and gave Calum a heart attack in the St. Tropez hotel room. Daphne had always been the most innocent of the all the children in the 5 Seconds of Summer family, Luke was having a hard time believing that she was the one currently peeing on a stick just feet away from him. He heard the door creak and the toilet flush and spun around anxiously, but no one greeted him. He walked over to the leather sectional, sitting down right in the center and folding his hands slowly over his knees, fiddling with fingers.
It was only three and a half minutes, but Luke felt like he waited a good half hour before hearing the sound of Daphne walking in on her tip toes, forever a dancer. She didn’t have the test in her hand though, not even the box. She crossed her arms over her generous chest and nodded slowly at her Uncle.
“Well, this was unnecessarily embarrassing…” She claimed, speaking just slightly above a whisper. “I’m not. So if you could not tell my parents about this…”
“Nope!” Luke shouted back, laughing at his fast response. He could just about imagine the kind of Hell that Calum would reign if he knew his fifteen year old, his only child, was having sex. “This is between you and I, Daphne, don’t worry.” Luke promised. “Are you okay?” He checked, sitting up from the couch and coming closer. Her eyes were on the floor again, so he knew she was not at all comfortable.
“I just feel so stupid.” Faintly, she admitted, the sound of tears undetectable, but Luke knew that she was crying. He reached over with one hand and took her shoulder, rubbing up and down the top of her arm until he could hear her choking out somber sobs. “I’m so stupid.” Daphne’s eyes clenched together, the first few tears dropping out of her lids and falling to the wood panels below her feet.
“You’re not stupid.” Luke used his other hand to comb back her thick dark bangs, trying to soothe her, but not at all sure how he could be there. He knew that Calum would have been out of his element in the moment and Calum truly was her father. “Come here.” Luke nodded and pulled his goddaughter into a hug, wrapping her up like a pig in a blanket against his chest and resting his chin on top of her head while he cradled her close. She smelt just like baby powder and it took him back to the first time he babysat her on the bus, she followed him around and applauded his guitar playing, never not calling for her father throughout. “Come here.” He sighed again and led her over to the couch, taking the vacancy he had left and holding her into his side with an arm around her shoulder. “What happened? I didn’t know you had a boyfriend.” Luke imagined he would have known because he could not see Calum being able to just swallow that pill as if it was a chewable vitamin. He would have a hard time adjusting. All the guys agreed that it would be Calum who had the hardest time letting his daughter grow up. It was mostly just because Calum only had a daughter while the other three had sons as well, but Daphne was far more naïve than the other girls. She required extra care and guidance.
“I don’t. He was just…” Biting down on her cheeks from the inside, she wrestled with how to explain herself. “Like everyone has their thing, but me, you know?” Wrinkling up her nose, she stared at her toes and cried. “I’m not smart, or pretty, or cool,” Like Molly, like Emmeline, like Penelope. Luke knew that Daphne struggled to identify herself, it had been the topic of late night conversations between all the mothers and Luke often found himself at their table when the guys were getting too rowdy. “He was nice to me, so I just thought…I thought…maybe he thought I was all those things and I didn’t want to lose him.” Daphne reached up to her face with both palms, smacking them into her forehead as punishment. “He’s 18, like, no kidding people think I’m stupid, of course, he didn’t like me.”
Luke could feel his heart breaking inside his chest and all he wanted to do was take her back to his house and let his wife hold her all night. He knew from experience that the woman he married could nurse any wounded person to perfect health with just her two arms. He was so scared of telling the crying girl the wrong thing.
“Daphne, look at me,” Closing his almond eyes for a moment, he shook his head and signed while adjusting his knees to face hers. “You are all those things. You’re very smart. Who likes math? No one. You can be smart and not good at school, look at your father…” Calum wasn’t the poster child for genuises either, but he had done well for himself and Luke credited his best friend as highly intelligent. “And you’re very pretty. I was a teenage boy once and, trust me, you’re very pretty.” He never quite understood why Daphne didn’t like what looked back at her in the mirror. She looked exotic and dark, something like a storybook gypsy, the kind of girl poets dreamed of meeting just to write about. “And I think you’re cool, Penny thinks you’re cool, and a lot of people think you’re cool. Don’t beat yourself up, but….” Luke worried about overstepping his boundaries. He didn’t want to tell her something that her father would disagree with. His hand ran down the back of her head, her hair softer than it was when she was a little pipsqueak. “Don’t waste your time with boys right now.” He thought about Penelope and what he would say to her if she was crying on the couch to him. “We are all so stupid at that age and we don’t know what to do with nice girls, so we’re just shitty to them. Just concentrate on school and dance and your friends right now. Save sex for when the consequences don’t seem so scary.” Nodding, Luke approved of his answer and smiled at the sight of Daphne calming down. With his thumb, he leaned in and wiped at a few stains left on her burning cheeks.
“The only consequence I was really scared of was my Dad punching a hole in the wall.” It seemed more terrifying than actual childbirth to Daphne.
“Just the wall? He would burn down this neighborhood.” Luke laughed and messed up her hair with a shake of his hand at the top of her head. “Do you want to come over? Watch a movie? March is home.”
Reluctantly, she agreed with a grin.
“Thanks.” She pulled away slowly, adjusting her Sydney Dance Factory t-shirt over herself as she stood up.
In June 2005…
(most popular bands on tumblr are in bold)
The following bands formed:
-Angels & Airwaves
-The Devil Wears Prada
-Dead By Sunrise
-Escape the Fate
-Five Finger Death Punch
-In This Moment
-Motionless in White
-My Darkest Days -Panic! at the Disco
Alice in Chains and Backstreet Boys reform after hiatus (RIP Layne Staley)
The following bands released albums:
-Ringo Star (Choose Love)
-Avenged Sevenfold (City of Evil)
-Backstreet Boys (Never Gone)
-Foo Fighters (In You Honor)
-The Offspring (Greatest Hits)
-Fountains of Wayne (Out-of-State Plates)
The following songs are charting:
-Audioslave’s Be Yourself
-Foo Fighters’ Best Of You
-Weezer’s Beverly Hills
-System of a Down’s B.Y.O.B.
-50 Cent’s Candy Shop -Fall Out Boy’s Dance, Dance
-Beck’s E-Pro -Gorillaz’ Feel Good Inc
-Kanye West’s Gold Digger -Green Day’s Holiday
-Arctic Monkeys’ I Bet You Look Good on a Dancefloor
-Papa Roach’s Scars -Fall Out Boy’s Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down -Green Day’s Wake Me Up When September Ends
-Eminem’s When I’m Gone