The Music Masters: Falling

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Re: Falling

For a few seconds, ironically when he had his arm around Kim, Michael thought he had felt something akin to peace and clarity. But unfortunately for him, the feeling disappeared the moment that he felt Kim roughly grab him by the wrist.

With just one forceful twist, she had Michael yelping like a dog.

"Agh...damn it!" he protested, trying to weasel his way out of Kim's grip. Her grip was quite powerful though, and it was only the action of Kim shoving Michael away that released him from her vice-hold. The afro-headed teen rubbed his wrist as he stood up from the couch, stepping away from Kim.

" much for third chances." Michael said in a low voice. He was pretty sure his wrist wasn't broken, but it certainly wasn't far from it. The pain was certainly there.

"Okay, okay. I get it. I'll go take a shower, get some food, and find something to do that doesn't involve you, Kim." He declared.

Michael mumbled under his breath. "Why do I even try..."

"...and where the hell is Rob, anyway?"
Re: Falling

"Agh...damn it!"

Yeah, well. She didn't feel the least bit apologetic or sorry for what she did. Shaking her head she walked away from him, heading towards the bathroom. There wasn't much else she wanted to do to Michael right now. She flipped a lock of short brown hair tipped in magenta color around her ear before stalking off towards the bathroom. She needed to take a shower, maybe even soak in the tub. No, just a shower. She felt disgusting, and REALLY disgusting, and REALLY REALLY disgusting. Just grimy and dirty in general.

She wasn't exactly happy either. She needed steaming hot shower water to wash away all the annoyance, the anger, and the meanness for now. She wasn't even sure why she liked being mean to him, she just felt like she was obligated to. She'd tried to figure out many times why she was so angry inside, in fact she probably knew, she was just trying to deny it.... Denying was something that Kim excelled at.

" much for third chances." Or any other number of chances he tried to push on her. She wasn't ever going to like him, or become friends with him, or BE friendly with him. It just wasn't happening, and he should learn to accept that. Kim angrily continued to walk towards the bathroom, when she heard him add on a few words.

"Okay, okay. I get it. I'll go take a shower, get some food, and find something to do that doesn't involve you, Kim."

No freaking way, she was going to shower first. She slipped into the bathroom silently, and didn't return his words, she didn't feel that was necessary. Locking the door behind her, she stared at the tiny bathroom, nearly shrieking out loud. It was nice enough, but it was so small that she felt claustrophobic again. Leaning back against the bathroom door, she closed her eyes and slid down the length of the door, hitting the floor with a quiet thump as she leaned her head against her knees. So tired... Sleeping on the couch wasn't too much fun.

"Why do I even try..."

The bathroom walls, and door were pretty flimsy, but she could hear Michael's question to himself faintly. A small smile tugged at her lips, but it disappeared the instant she spoke. "Because in order to fail like you always do, you have to try." She called out tauntingly, snickering softly beneath her breath.

She got up from her place on the floor and stared at herself in the mirror. Purple circles that hadn't been there the night before were beneath her eyes, it mixed with the make up she had been too tired to take off the night before. She looked terrible. Time to shower.
Re: Falling

Michael sighed as he heard Kim shut the bathroom door behind her. Clearly, she didn't want to like him very much. And it didn't seem like she was going to make any attempt to ever like him anytime soon. Finally, Michael was beginning to get all the hints that his subconscious was trying to throw at him. Finally, he was just starting to realize that no matter what he did, he would never get a friendly response out of Kim.

And now, with the closing of the bathroom door, Kim had free reign of the shower for as long as she wanted. Michael could only groan in response to her sarcasm, which of course only annoyed him further. Michael didn't really get it, but he was at least beginning to understand the nastiness behind her tone. He listened to the sound of shuffling clothes behind the door, and then heard his stomach growl loudly. Hunger had finally caught up with him.

Michael opened the fridge and licked his lips. But upon opening one of the styrofoam containers of Chinese food, his nostrils curled back in disgust, and he threw the container back in the fridge. It had a smell far from appetizing.

Michael scratched his head, wondering what to do. This was quite the predicament all of a sudden.

" I'm really going to starve."

Michael slumped down in defeat. He looked up, and suddenly his eye caught the glint of silver in top of the fridge. Like an excited little kid, he reached for the few coins, and quickly counted at least a dollar in change. Michael licked his lips again. He could run out quick. Rob would never find out, and neither would Zero Beat. Hunger would bother him no longer.

Smiling wide, Michael went for the door, but he stopped when his ears caught the sound of water pouring heavily from the faucet.

Kim was showering now. The thought was relatively innocent in his mind as he opened the door. Then his subconscious alerted him to an obvious fact.

if Kim was showering...then that meant...

"...she's naked." Michael said in a low voice, with the tone of a child. He smiled stupidly as teenage fantasies began to erupt in his mind.

Then he shook his head and nearly slapped himself.

"Agh, God! What's wrong with me? I would in a million years..."

The thoughts were there. They taunted him with desire, and he felt beyond disgusted even thinking about any of it. After a few seconds, Michael couldn't bear it any longer. He shut the door hard as he left, trying as hard as he could to drive the thought of showering, seductive Kim out of his mind.


When the afro-headed teenager returned, the apartment was silent. He crunched on chips loudly as he closed the door discreetly behind him. Michael could hear nothing. When he walked into the living room, the sound of pattering water was absent.

Was she done already? Michael needed a shower badly. He gulped a few more chips before throwing them aside on the couch. Triumphantly, Michael grabbed on the doorknob and twisted. The door opened easily, almost as if the knob had been loose.

Michael grinned wide as he announced his success to what he thought was no one in particular.

"Alright! Not gonna think about Kim all naked and showering! No more super-tight pants! Just gonna shower it up and get this afro clean!"
Re: Falling

"Alright! Not gonna think about Kim all naked and showering! No more super-tight pants! Just gonna shower it up and get this afro clean!"

She didn't even care that he was going crazy, and that he had actually said that. What she did care about is that she, Kim had been walked in on my Michael Kay, half naked. She'd just finished showering, and had been planning on letting her hair air dry. It was still quite damp, making her chestnut colored hair look black, which actually looked quite nice with her magenta colored tips. Well, the point is not about how Kim's hair would look good dyed black. The point was, MICHAEL KAY, had walked in on her when she was CHANGING.

She hadn't realized the freaking lock on the door didn't work. She stood, frozen, standing there and staring at him for a single moment. That moment felt like a life time to Kim. She was holding a pair of pants, clutched against her chest, now. She'd managed to pull on a fresh shirt, which was purple, for some reason. But that didn't matter right now. What did matter was that Michael would see her… her…

Rubber ducky underwear. She was mortified. What did Kim do when she was mortified? She screamed, and generally became very violent. She felt the anger build up, and nearly explode through her eyes as she continued to stand there. But she had this feeling that she'd never felt before, she ordered her arms to move, and her legs to move so she could punch Michael out of the bathroom, but they wouldn't do it. Her legs were frozen, as were her arms.

She cursed inwardly, they'd been standing here for more than ten seconds, and that was more than enough time for him to notice her … rubber ducky stuff. She gritted her teeth, and finally forced herself to move AFTER she had given him enough time to take a look, DAMNIT. Why wouldn't her body just move easier?

"Get. Out. GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT!" She screamed, dropping her pants and shoving the palms of her hands against his chest. She was pissed, now and she found that she could move. Her nails embedded themselves into his flesh for a moment as she generally just shoved him out of the bathroom and slammed the door behind him. Turning around and supporting herself against the door, she breathed hard. Had he seen them? She was horrified that he might've. And what was with the whole "I THOUGHT ABOUT KIM IN THE SHOWER" thing? Was this guy not as innocent as she' d thought he was?

She slipped on a pair of comfortable black baggy pants rather than her pinstripe ones, opting to go for something a little different today. But as she stared at herself in the mirror and quickly caked the makeup up onto her face hurriedly in about two seconds flat, she grabbed the door knob and swung the door open, letting it smash against the wall behind it. She was seeing red, pretty much, again.

He was just a perv. A TOTAL PERV. She could hear him announcing that he hadn't thought about her in the shower, or something like that… What the hell was up with that, anyway?! She groaned beneath her breath and raked her nails through her hair, not even paying attention to the way it looked. It looked like a rat nest.

"Michael, bloody Kay. If you ever think about me in the shower, or in ANY OTHER PERVERTED WAY, I'LL MAKE SURE TO BREAK SOMETHING PERMANENTLY ATTACHED TO YOU. NO, NOT YOUR ARMS, OR YOUR LEGS, BUT YOUR OTHER MIND, THE ONE THAT DOESN'T KNOW WHAT'S GOOD FOR IT, AND WHAT'S FREAKING BAD." She yelled. Snapping her mouth shut after that, she hustled down the hall and crashed onto the couch, raising the palms of her hands to rub at her temples. Headache, major headache.

This whole situation was one, big, major headache.
Re: Falling

The first thing Michael had on his mind was the fact that his chest hurt. Kim's screaming had more or less gone through one ear and out the other; at this point it didn't matter what she said to him. The feeling of guilt, confusion and overall disgust were clearly prevalent in his mind. On the couch, Michael could see that Kim looked like she was ready to kill someone. And even Michael wasn't dumb enough to even think that person was anyone but him.

So for almost a full minute, Michael sat silent against the wall on the floor. He glanced at Kim, and then down at his pants.

What did he just say back there? What had he been thinking? His older sister had once tried to explain attraction to the opposite sex, but Michael had always tuned her out. He had never really taken the time to think of girl's that way. Clearly, his body was very interested in something he wasn't.

Michael's mind had been devoid of a filter all his life, and he tended to say things without really thinking. It was something he had learned to live with. But this time, with those stupid words of his, he had gone just a bit too far.

Michael didn't have much so say. He could only wonder again why those thoughts had entered his mind. Sighing heavily, Michael realized he had to say something. Though his mind was relatively simple, Michael always tried his best to admit certain truths to himself. It was something Rob had always taught him to do.

He didn't like Kim. She was a nasty and mean person. He didn't like her music taste, her personality, just about everything that made up her being. But despite all these things, he had to tell her the truth burning in his mind, or it would continue to claw at him for as long as they were here together.

"I'm crazy. Maybe insane for those thoughts of mine. That wasn't me thinking. It was this...teenage body..."

Michael opened the bathroom door as he continued to speak. A shower would be really nice now.

"But maybe I just realize you're pretty, Kim. Maybe you're just a pretty girl. The truth is better than a lie...I think." Michael said in an uneasy tone, before closing the bathroom door behind him. He didn't need a response from Kim. In fact, he didn't want one. He just wanted the truth in his mind, the one that kept telling him he found Kim Ramone actually attractive, to just go away.

Why else would he have had those infernal thoughts? The truth was harsh and cruel. Michael turned on the shower faucet and jumped right in, hoping the cool water would just wash all his troubles away.
Re: Falling

"I'm crazy. Maybe insane for those thoughts of mine. That wasn't me thinking. It was this...teenage body..."

She didn't understand what he was saying. She didn't want to speak to him, or be spoken to by him, but she felt compelled to listen to what he had to say. She felt no guilt for shoving him, but she did feel slightly uncomfortable with the fact that he hadn't even said anything insulting back at her. Which meant something she didn't understand. She curled up on the couch and rocked herself, back and forth for a few moments. She didn't know what he was getting at.

He'd seen her. Half naked. In the bathroom. That was enough for her to want to wring his neck, but she felt something different about this situation. It wasn't anger that had caused her to lash out like that. It had been embarrassment. She'd felt this wave of uncertainty, and had converted that into anger when really, it was just because being seen by a boy with only her freaking underwear on would make anyone freak out.

He was going to say something nasty about her, to be sure. She deserved it, and she didn't give a damn about what he thought about her. But that smile… She was thinking about it again. She couldn't stop thinking about it. She stopped herself and moved her thoughts back to the anger, but it seemed fake, now. So fake that she didn't even realize that it was faker than fake.

"Or maybe you're just pretty, Kim. Maybe you're just a pretty girl."

Shock. That was all she felt now. The entire world washed away as she heard those few words. "Pretty" was not something Kim would use to describe herself. She'd always thought that she needed something more, like there was something missing from her face, or from her body. Why had he said that? She couldn't make the anger well up and overflow like she usually could, and now… She was just puzzled. What was happening?

Confusion. She pondered and thought over what he might mean. Perhaps he was attempting to sooth her anger with a compliment, and then he would tell her later that it had all been a joke. But Michael didn't seem like that kind of person. Despite how much she disliked him she could say that he wasn't as mean as her. In fact, she probably brought out the meanness and spite in him with her own uncanny sense of violence.

Maybe… Maybe she could be nicer to him. Maybe she didn't have to put her guard up around Michael, like she did with the rest of the world. Perhaps she could stop building the walls that she had let crumble only once.

The sound of the shower starting broke through her thoughts, and she pinched herself hard and very nearly smacked herself whilst sliding her legs in front of her and sighing. Nah, she wouldn't do that. Why should she? Yeah… She had plenty of reasons.

But those didn't really matter.
Re: Falling

Showers. Michael loved showers. The feeling of water coming down his head and his scalp was so wonderful. Wonderful enough that it almost had him forgetting his thoughts about Kim.

Michael furrowed his brow, thinking hard as he washed his hair.

He must have been loopy back there. She was only a somewhat pretty. He probably exaggerated with what he was saying to her back there. Michael shook his head as he lathered his scalp with shampoo.

The thought of kissing Kim came into his mind. She was always wearing that green lipstick. Would it rub off on his lips? Michael wondered if it might taste bad. Then he turned the faucet off, and tried to stop wondering. The last thing he needed to think about was kissing Kim...

Grabbing a nearby towel, Michael wrapped it around himself before searching the cabinet for a hair dryer. Finding a small, worn one, he turned it on and hoped the battery would last just long enough to dry his mass of hair. Michael then grabbed the pile of clothes, failing to notice the single misplaced item made for the female species. Oblivious to the foreign object in his clothing pile, he pushed open the door and turned on the hair dryer, smiling at Kim on the couch and hoping it might improve the bad mood in the air.

"Ah, now that's a shower..." Michael said with a pile of clothes in one hand, and a loud hair dryer in the other. He was shirtless with only a towel to cover him, but he didn't seem to care. For some inane reason, even after all that had just happened, Michael plopped down next to Kim, and in the process the single item that wasn't his became unjumbled from the mass. Seconds later, when he finally spotted it, his eyes stared at the item curiously.

"...Rubber duckies? Hahahaha, that's great!" Michael exclaimed as he looked at the bra displaying a yellow duck print. He picked it up, and it was only then, when he glanced at Kim and saw her expression, did he suddenly realize what a gigantic mistake he just made.

"...Oh...this is yours...isn't it." Michael said uneasily as he continued to hold the bra in his hand, his face glowing as red as a Christmas ornament. Things had just become so awkward...
Re: Falling

She just needed to calm down. There wasn't anything she really needed to get worked up over. And she had at least a few minutes to herself for now while Michael was in the shower doing god knows what. She was sincerely lucky that he hadn't seen her… Private clothes with the ducks on them. She was still half freaking out about it in her own mind. She couldn't say that she hated ducks, because they were her favorite animal, but wearing that underwear and being seen by her worst enemy at the moment wouldn't be her greatest idea.

The situation was unbearable to Kim. Why was it her that was getting humiliated and not him? It wasn't fair, not at all. She groaned softly, before quieting at once. She heard the shower stop, and the constant patter of water disappear into the silence. Then came the hair dryer, and the squeak of the door knob turning. He mumbled something about how that shower was a real shower, and then plopped down beside her with a ton of clothes in his hands.

She stared at him, wondering whether he had short term memory loss or something. All thoughts of the smile disintegrated instantly as she scooted over to the far end of the couch, trying to put as muc
h distance as possible between Michael and herself. Perv, he was a perv.

"...Rubber duckies? Hahahaha, that's great!"

This was the end of her life. This was the freaking end of her life. She would've started to hyperventilate, except that she knew if she did Michael would know for sure that she liked rubber duckies, and everything like that. He would mock her, and tease her for the rest of her life. She had to come up with a quick response… Something that would completely dupe Michael.

Her brain went into overload as she tried to stop freaking out on the inside, while maintaining her cool attitude on the outside. As he held up her favorite… Bra, she wanted to seriously grab it out of his hands and panic, just run away from him. But she stood her ground, at least she sat her ground on her side of the couch, staring at him with open dislike for a moment.

Ah, she had it! The perfect story. It would be her friends trying to pull a prank on her for something. No, no that wouldn't work. But he'd have to believe it. That and the fact that no one knew her secret love for… Rubber duckies would just have to make it happen. This was the worst day of her life. He'd barged in on her, she'd tried so hard to get him to NOT see her wearing ducky underwear, and now he'd found her freaking bra. She was burning up brain cells, maybe she'd drunk too much Monster, oh god.

And you know what made it so much more worse? All of a sudden she had the song stuck in her head. It played over and over… Rubber duckie, you're the one… You make bath time lots of fun… And she had a sick feeling in her stomach as she pushed the song away, muting it at least.

"...Oh...this is yours...isn't it."

She wanted to laugh at the look on his face. It looked like he thought she was going to execute him. If this were a different story, she might've just killed him right here and now, but instead she just laughed. It sounded like a genuine laugh, and maybe there was just a hint of relief in her voice as she slapped his shoulder lightly, not enough to hurt him, even.

"No, that's not my bra. That belongs to a friend of mine. She must've forgotten it, and when I was packing my crap I might've just shoved it into my bag on accident." She was relieved that she'd come up with a story, now she needed Michael to take the bait. Leaning back against the couch cushions, she realized that being that nice was weird.

"But I'd suggest you not gawk at it… I don't want to live with a perv." She said in a huffy voice. On the inside she was just praying he'd take the bait.
Re: Falling

Michael crossed his arms and glared back at Kim, suddenly insulted by her choice of words.

"Hey, hey, hey! I AM not a pervert! Let's get that straight." Michael declared. His bare chest was heaving as he felt his blood begin to boil. He was not a pervert. He just had a filter problem. Kim should have figured it out by now.

Michael's eyes glanced at the rubber ducky bra in his hand. He put it down between himself and Kim, hoping that such a simple gesture would prove he wasn't a pervert. Michael put one hand on his towel to make absolutely sure it didn't fall off on him. He made a grimace as he stared at Kim.

"Not a pervert. I am not a pervert."

Michael felt so insulted. He grumbled under his breath.

"...and if I was...I wouldn't gawk at you..."

The sound of the door being unlocked alerted Michael before he could say more. A smile grew on his face as he got up, grabbing his clothes and still continuing to dry his hair. Unfortunately, he failed to notice that his afro pick, which was the only way for him to ever get his hair into its usual perfect orb form, had fallen right on Kim's lap.

The door opened, and Rob shuffled inside, groceries in tow and a concerned look on his face.

"You two are alive..." Rob began before closing the door behind him. Then he looked at Michael, the clothes in his hand, and caught a glimpse of the bra sitting on the couch. A confused look began to emerge on Rob's face as he put the bags of groceries down and looked on at the scene, which included the ducky print bra and Michael in nothing but a towel, before him.

"...okay...what have you guys been up to? When I meant you could get along, I didn't mean you should get along that well..."

Michael, as usual, didn't really get what Rob was alluding to. He was just beyond happy to see him.

"Finally! You're back! So did you bring water? I'm dying of thirst here, and I can't drink from the tap. And when can I go out and get some fresh air? We're in the middle of Manhattan and I feel so damn trapped..." Michael exclaimed, hoping his uncle would listen to his words.

Michael needed a distraction from Kim more than anything else. He was getting to the point where even the prospect of using his powers again or even running into Zero Beat seemed more appealing than being stuck in the apartment with Kim...
Re: Falling

"Yeah, yeah. I get it." She said, waving a hand in his general direction. As the door opened, and Rob entered on the scene, she felt a start. He'd already seen the ducky bra, which meant it really didn't matter whether she picked it up or not. She didn't like Rob any more than she liked Michael, so she simply tuned out their conversation for the time being.

She'd managed to avoid the fact that the bra was really hers, so she was relieved about that. But Michael really had gotten angry when she called him a pervert, which meant that she'd somehow struck a nerve or something. She smirked at that fact, before toying and fiddling with something like a tooth pick on her lap. She pricked her finger with it, but didn't flinch as she continued to roll it between her fingers. It was some kind of… Afro pick? He must've dropped it. Oops. She'd just keep it hidden for now.

"...okay...what have you guys been up to? When I meant you could get along, I didn't mean you should get along that well..."

"Whoa, whoa whoa whoa! I wouldn't let him get near me for a million bucks, Rob." She spat out , protesting against his obvious assumption as she crossed her arms and slumped deeper into the couch cushions. She avoided Michael's gaze, and Rob's gaze as she stared at some random speck of dust on the wall. This was the worst day of her life. Ever.

"Michael doesn't even know anything about anything." She grunted. Not that she cared, she was just stating a point to Rob. She bit down on her tongue, making sure she said nothing else as she leaned over and grabbed her bra, stuffing it behind her whilst she rolled her eyes. She had to agree with one thing Michael said, they were trapped. They were seriously trapped. She tapped her foot against the floor of the studio while simultaneously fiddling with the afro pick. If he couldn't find it, then he'd probably freak out, but it'd be oh, so worth it.

She hoped that they could get out of here, if only just for a few seconds.. Maybe minutes. Did she even give a damn whether Zero Beat was after them? Yeah, kinda. But she still thought it'd be worth it.

Soooo worth it.
Re: Falling

"Calm down, calm down. I got some bottled water for you, Mike." Rob said as he pulled out a large container full of clear bottles of spring water. Michael smiled wide and grabbed one of the bottles. Biting down on it with his mouth, he went and picked up all his mess of clothes next to Kim, deciding it was time to finally change.

"Thanks for the water, Rob. Be back in just a second!" Michael exclaimed before running into the bedroom and shutting the door behind him. The sound of him shuffling with his clothes in the master bedroom was quite noticable and loud.

Rob Kay glanced at the door, and then sighed before he began to put some of the groceries away in the fridge. When he was finished, he clapped his hands together and addressed Kim in the most upbeat voice he could muster.

"So how are you handling, Kim? I know my nephew can be a little much sometimes, but he means well." Rob said.

He was no idiot. He knew from her sarcastic comments that she didn't seem to want to try to be happy or friendly.

He knew almost nothing about her at this point. Yet something about Kim was so familiar. Rob had heard the last name Ramone in the past. He was sure of it.

Then it hit him. A smile flashed on his face.

"Hey. A long time ago, I once met this kid named Seth. He was pretty talented with the guitar. You happen to know someone like that?" Rob asked. If anything, he hoped his question would just give him some insight on this Kim character.

"...or maybe you two having the same last name is just a coincidence, I guess." Rob added at the end, as he pulled out his bass guitar from the case, his eyes scanning the strings to make sure they were nice and taut.
Re: Falling

"So how are you handling, Kim? I know my nephew can be a little much sometimes, but he means well."

That was seriously the major understatement of the year. He had to know that his nephew was a complete douche, a pervert, and a dumb ass on top of everything else. She snorted softly beneath her breath and stayed where she was, practically falling off of the couch because she was slouched so low. She ignored his question, and didn't answer. She didn't think he'd care if she didn't answer anyway.

She didn't know what Michael's uncle's deal was, but she didn't like him any better than the dumb ass himself. Maybe it was Rob that Michael learned from, because Michael seemed like he idolized his uncle. She saw that he was thinking, and she hoped that he would just leave her alone now. But no such luck arose as he spoke once again.

"Hey. A long time ago, I once met this kid named Seth. He was pretty talented with the guitar. You happen to know someone like that?"

Prior to her previous thoughts, let's make a correction to the assumption of Kim. Assumption: This day could not get any worse. Correction: Hell yes, it can. She swore beneath her breath, not answering Rob's blunt question. She had to think of a way out, she needed to escape from this hell hole. Holding her breath for a moment, she let the air slip between her teeth in an irritated hiss. She sat up, straight as she spoke to Rob.

"Yeah, I remember him. He was a relative of mine." She played it cool. She could feel the tears constricting her chest already. She hated when things like this happened. She wouldn't make a fool out of herself in front of this man, in front of Michael. She held her breath until the stinging in her eyes subsided, and she lapsed back into silence. She hated this. She resented Rob, now. She'd been a bit more inclined to indifference before, not any more.

"He was pretty talented at guitar, in fact he was a genius at it now that I remember… Everyone loved him." She said. She recoiled after she'd said those few words. That wasn't supposed to come out. Clenching her teeth shut, she bit back another curse and remained silent after that, letting the awkwardness soak through the air… Yeah.
Re: Falling

Rob could sense something in her voice. Pretty easily, in fact. At more than thirty-five years old, Rob had lived through a lot of experiences, both good and bad. He wasn't going to start assuming things, but something was definitely telling him that there was more to Kim then just what met the eye. Rob treaded on his next words carefully.

"He definitely seemed like a one of a kind guy. I'm thankful to have known him."

The sound of the bedroom door being thrown open seemed to halt any further words from Rob. He glanced at Kim as Michael approached them, his eyes frantically searching for something. For now, anything about this Seth and Kim's past would have to wait.

"Finally got some clothes on, Mike?" Rob asked with a yawn. Michael nodded as he opened up a bottle of water, taking a big drink through his nod. He wiped his mouth before speaking in an overly loud voice.

"So can I please get out of this place already? I need some air. And some time away from her..." Michael asked, with last part being more under his breath more than anything else. Michael ran his hands through his hair in sudden frustration. They were in Jehri curls right now. He looked at himself in the mirror, and he absolutely hated the way he looked with these stupid curls.

Rob yawned again. He had been through hell and back trying to explain the situation to Michael's older sister Colleen, and had already been talking to some of his contacts among Music Masters in an attempt to get some pressure off Michael and Kim. And through all that, he had gotten no sleep whatsoever. Rob contemplated what to say to Michael in response. Then he yawned again. He had something for them to do, and it would be relatively safe too.

"Alright." he said, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a ten dollar bill. "Go down to Rickie's and pick up my record player. He should have fixed it by now. And while you're at it you can try and pick up a couple cheap vinyls."

Michael's eyes shined with joy as he stared at the ten spot and thought of the prospect in his head.

"I'm going to get some sleep." Rob said as he passed by Michael and opened the door to the master bedroom. "I'd appreciate it if you'd both go to Rickie's together, and please try to be as inconspicuous as possible."

Michael nodded at Rob, and with that, his uncle nodded back before closing the bedroom door. Crumpling the cash in his hand, Michael glanced down at Kim on the couch. He was about to tell her that she really didn't need to come with him, when something else suddenly came to mind.

"Hey...have you seen my hair pick?" he asked in a concerned voice, and suddenly Michael was on his knees, feeling around on the floor for his beloved hair pick. Worry was now easily apparent on his face.
Well, that was that. She was off to 'Rickie's' with… That thing while Rob caught some Zs. Whatever, no problem. YES, there was a big freaking huge problem decking her in the gut. She had to go to a damn store, and walk there with this dirt bag. On top of everything else she'd been through, ugh. This was the worst day of her life, truly. Kim sucked in her breath and crossed her arms, shuffling her feet for a moment before she nodded absently.

All she wanted to do was just go to sleep right now. Seriously. Tugging at a loose thread on her shirt, she sighed again and walked towards the door, leaning back against the door frame as she waited for a very concerned looking Michael to get a move on. "No, I haven't seen your pick anywhere." She muttered. Putting her hands behind her back innocently, she continued to fiddle with the pick, rolling it between her fingers as she ground her teeth against one another. Her hair was still wet from the shower, and she didn't really want to walk…. But getting away from this little tiny piece of hell might be nice.

She slipped on her boots, without socks for whatever reason and turned on her heel. Grasping the door knob she flipped the door open with a flick of her wrist and was outside the small studio in a flash. She'd already begun walking, but it was a slow, leisurely walk that ensured Michael wouldn't be left behind… Too much, that is. She whistled beneath her breath and tapped the end of the afro pick, wondering when she would truly give it back to him. Maybe in a month or so. While she was thinking about this, her thoughts wandered to Rob's pestering of whether she was related to Seth Ramone… Her brother, of course.

This quieted her. She didn't play with the pick as much, and she walked slower than ever. Why had he been so curious, trying to pry in her personal life? Her hands clenched into fists, as they usually would. It was a bad habit that she'd probably never break. It wasn't that she was annoyed he'd talked to her. It just irritated her that he'd had to talk about THAT. For a moment she'd felt vulnerable back there, and it hadn't been… Satisfying to her. She'd felt herself put up a wall against Rob when he'd mentioned her brother's name.

She missed him. It was as simple as that. His blue hair, and his guitar playing. She stared at something in the distance for a moment, and for that single moment, her frown, everything venomous about her disappeared. It didn't leave a trace on her face. There was only a soft, wistful smile. But reality had to come back soon, and as soon as it did the sneer was back in place. She turned her head towards the still open door of the studio and called out to Michael.

"Oi, get a move on. Are you coming or what? I'll be old by the time you get out the door." She barked sharply. "If I live that long…" She mumbled beneath her breath.
"Gah, this is so stupid..." Michael exclaimed as he made his way downstairs and to the front of the studio, where Kim was waiting with a nasty sneer on her face. The tall teen ran his fingers through his hair. They were still in Jehri curls. He couldn't stand it.

Michael glared at Kim with bloodshot eyes. Rickie's was the last thing on his mind right now. "We can't go. Not yet. Not until I find my hair pick."

Michael began to pace in circles. His face looked drawn out and thin all of a sudden, as if he was some hundred-year old zombie. His mind began to pound inside his skull, as if he was going through withdrawal. Shivers emerged all over his body. His stomach rumbled, and Michael felt like he was going to vomit.

"I don't get it. I looked everywhere, and I can't find it. I lose a lot of things. Believe me. But I never lose my afro-pick." he practically croaked. Michael sat on the sidewalk in front of the studio, and he began to rock back and forth like a scared baby. His mind began to formulate the possibilities of where his hair pick could be. Thinking hard was the only way to solve this predicament, he thought to himself.

So for four minutes straight, Michael just kept thinking and thinking. His eyes stared ahead lifelessly as his mind shuffled through all of its various contents. Finally, intelligence hit him. He furrowed his brow before taking on a look of innocence. Michael glanced up at Kim. He was practically begging to her.

"Kim...if you have my pick, please give it back. I'm sorry about walking in on you. I need my pick. My hair...I can't keep going without my hair. Please, Kim. You have great hair, I think. So you of all people would understand..."

Michael just barely stopped himself from slapping himself in the face. Great hair? On Kim? What was he saying? He hated the whole dyed hair, emo-punk look...didn't he?
Okay, maybe this day was getting a little better. She had to admit watching Michael start freaking out was pretty awesome right at this very moment. His hair did look ridiculous when it wasn't in his afro anyway. She poked herself with the pick, and slipped it into a deep pocket in her baggy pants. Leaning back against the outside of the studio, she whistled softly again, still going over the brief conversation she had had with Rob.

After the whole rocking back and forth thinking for like a million years, she was finally seething. Steam had begun to pour out of her ears. She hated just sitting here. She wasn't a slacker, she was a do-er. SHE COULDN'T JUST SIT HERE LIKE THIS. She was about to burst, and all Michael was doing was sitting and rocking back and forth. Finally, he'd figured it out. As he began pleading with her, a small grin appeared on her face.

"Kim...if you have my pick, please give it back. I'm sorry about walking in on you. I need my pick. My hair...I can't keep going without my hair. Please, Kim. You have great hair, I think. So you of all people would understand..."

Great hair? She groaned inwardly and simply smirked at Michael on the outside. "That's not a good enough reason to give it back." She said defiantly, shrugging her shoulders as she tried to figure out what he'd meant by great hair. He was acting all weird ever since he'd walked in on her when she was changing. Shrugging this off, she began to meander in what seemed to be an aimless fashion, finally getting at least a few feet away from the studio.

"I don't have your dumb pick anyway." She snapped. But it was obvious that she did. Her poker face obviously wasn't working too well today anyway. Having been shaken up from before, she wasn't about to give away that she was extremely upset, which made her more violent and just a little bit more aggressive. "Let's go."

Great hair? Her thoughts kept going back to that part of his little speech. She scratched her head for a moment, quite puzzled with the way he'd said that. What the flipping heck did he mean when he said "good hair"?

"My hair…" She muttered. "…Great?" She almost burst out laughing right then. She was being such an idiot. And he was being annoying, as usual. She felt different today, and she couldn't be sure whether it was a good different or a bad different. Meh, it was probably a neutral different.

"Come onnnnnn…" She turned around and began walking backwards, whining at Michael like a bored, spoilt child. "LET'S GO!" She bellowed. But it wasn't that loud of a bellow.. Okay maybe it was pretty loud. EITHER WAY, she was ready to go. Now. Right now… Now.
"Don't you get it?!?" Michael shrieked like a banshee, "I can't go! I NEED my pick!"

Michael continued to sit and watch as Kim glared down at him. Of course she wanted him to get up and go. But that didn't mean he was going to do it.

Not until he got his hair pick back. Not until SHE gave it back to him. Because intelligence had finally hit him. He was absolutely sure she had it...

"No. I refuse. Never. Not in a million years." He declared in his sitting position. The Jehri curls were starting to hurt his scalp. They bit and tore at his skin like sinister serpents. They taunted and mocked him. They were agents of Kim, plotting to take him down.

At least, he was imagining they were.

Now at the apex of his rage, Michael's voice suddenly became loud and angry. Not surprisingly, Kim was actually starting to legitimately piss him off.

"Give it back, Kim. I need my pick." He declared, in a serious voice that was very much unlike him.
Kim knew there was a very fine line between fun, and not fun. She was starting to figure out what really did piss off Michael. Slowly, she turned to stare him full in the face, raising a single eyebrow as though she were amused. But, really she was trying to gauge how long it would take for Michael to explode, for real.

She could understand that Michael might be fed up with her. And her fingers twitched at the thought. She could feel the afro pick burning a hole through her pocket as she pursed her lips and pondered over whether she should really give it back to him.

"Okay. I'm sorry." This was very unlike her. She plucked the pick out of her pocket and tossed it end over end towards Michael. Her face was still holding the very puzzled look as she soon realized she'd gone too far. But she didn't want to seem like she really felt bad, which she didn't... Kinda. "Here's your dumb tooth pick." She muttered beneath her breath, loud enough for him to hear, of course.

She didn't think that it mattered whether he had curls or an afro. He was fine looking either way... Fine looking. What the heck? She shook her head, unsure of why she just thought that. But, with a shrug of her shoulders she turned her back on Michael and began to walk down, towards whatever the store was called... "Rickie's" or something.

Meh, she didn't care... Kind of.
When he watched Kim throw down his afro pick onto the ground, Michael didn't really immeaditely know what to think. As he cradled his beloved pick in his hands, Michael could feel both feelings of confusion and happiness in his mind. But the confusion seemed to go away quickly, and the happiness remained. He could forgive Kim this one time. A smile grew on his face as he stood up and began to rapidly puff out his hair with the pick. After so many years of working to create the perfect afro, Michael had become quite good at sculpting his hair without having ever to actually look at it. Catching up with Kim easily, he put a hand on her shoulder and pushed himself ahead.

"I'll lead the way. You have no idea where you're going. I do. I grew up in this city, after all." he said, flashing a grin and creating just enough distance between himself and Kim so she couldn't retaliate on the fact that he had touched her.

"Alright, just one more block, and we'll take a right on 23rd, and we're there. Not a long walk, really. Don't tire out on me just yet..."

Michael's grin seemed pasted on his face. His voice was momentarily sincere again though. "Oh, and thanks for giving back my pick. The thing might cost less than a buck, but it means a lot to me. More than you probably think. And I know you probably think my reasons are dumb..."

The grin on Michael's face represented two things. One was victory. He had won through whining, but it was still winning all the same. The other thing was legitimate happiness. Kim had given it back willingly. Maybe, just maybe she had a heart. But most importantly, having his pick back after nearly losing it forever meant the world to Michael Kay.

After all, he was nothing without his afro. At least, that's what he thought.


The stairs leading down into the basement below the street were quite musty, to say the least. Michael's afro brushed against low cement above as he made his way down, assuming Kim was following.He had been to Rickie's many, many times in the past. The owner, Rickie Vasquez, was a good friend of Rob's from college, and from a young age Michael had loved being taken by Rob to his used vinyl store.

A smile grew on his face as he opened the red door at the end of the stairwell. He opened the door for Kim like a regular gentlemen before going inside himself.

"It's oldschool record stores like these that keep me going..." Michael exclaimed as he walked with Kim past the large rectangular containers that held hundreds of vinyl records.

"Michael Kay!" Rickie himself said from behind the counter. He was a thin, wiry man, with a crew cut and defined stubble all over his chin.

"Good to see ya. You'll be happy to know your uncle Rob's player is all nice 'an fixed. And for no extra charge, even though he owes me a couple mil'." Rickie said with a laugh, before pulling out the record player from underneath the counter. Michael was far too busy looking at some Whispers albums to truly hear him though.

"Yeah, sure. I'll be with you in just a sec." Michael said, his mind elsewhere.

"So is this your new girlfriend, Mike?" Rickie asked as he smiled at Kim, a toothpick stuck between his lips. He was more then fifteen years older than her, of course, but Rickie still had working eyes. She was attractive, maybe hot, even.

"Not really..." Michael said as he continued to shuffle through vinyl disks. He was looking for something in particular, but he'd yet to find it. His answer was quick and a bit dumb."She's...a friend, I guess. Visiting from another country."

Rickie raised a curious eyebrow. Knowing Michael, he figured it was best not to ask any questions.

"Ah, alright. If you didn't already know, my name's Rickie, miss. Welcome to my cellar of a store." He said to Kim, his smile not showing one hint of innocence.

"So you looking for an album, Mike?"

"Yeah, just this one I've been kind of searching for..."Michael's eyes moved over the O section of records. His fingers methodically flipped through them like playing cards.

Then he saw it; sitting alone on the corner of the P section. He reached for it, and his fingers wrapped around one edge before he realized an opposing force was stopping him from pulling it away immeaditely.

Someone else wanted Michael Jackson's Off The Wall as well, it seemed.

"So...who gets it?" a cheery voice said to Michael prompting him to look up at the speaker. She was a girl only a little bit shorter than him, with blonde hair styled into a ponytail. Her face was much different than Kim's; it showed a clear air of joy and fun. But the most interesting thing about her though, at least to Michael, was her wardrobe. Holding the other end of the vinyl case was a sparkly gloved hand. The girl's pants were tight and black, and her shoes were of the tap dancing variety. Her jacket was a brilliant red, with black stripes cutting through it. Who she emulated was obvious, even to someone like Michael Kay. And after all, he was a fan of the King of Pop himself, so he would know a fellow fan when he saw one.

"Uh...I dunno." Michael said uneasily. He wanted the album badly, but from the looks of it, she wanted it more.

"Oh look! There's two." the girl said, before handing him the extra. She then moonwalked backwards and spun like a pro, laughing as she did so.

"Oh. Well...thanks." Michael replied, looking down at the album with satisfaction in his eyes.

"Nice moves, by the way. Looks like you practice a lot."

The girl giggled, maybe a bit too loudly. "I guess I do. Do you like to dance too?""

Do I?" Michael flashed another grin. "There's nothing than better than a good dance. I'm Michael Kay. Are you from around this neighborhood? Never seen someone like you around here before..."

"You could say...I'm new around here. Nice to meet you, Michael Kay. And nice hair. You look just like MJ; back when he was a cute little kid." she replied with another giggle before twirling around.

"My name's Denny. I love just saying it. Denny, Denny, Denny, Denny, Denny..." Michael laughed nervously. His face felt warm. She was kind of interesting to him, to say the least. And he rarely got compliments like that, so he definitely appreciated them.

"Nice to meet you too, Denny. And thanks. Glad to know someone appreciates my style..." Michael said in a purposely loud voice, before looking behind him and finally realizing that he had left Kim to her own devices in this place this whole time.
"Oh, and thanks for giving back my pick. The thing might cost less than a buck, but it means a lot to me. More than you probably think. And I know you probably think my reasons are dumb..."

His voice addled her brain, she was still kind of confused on why he'd acted so serious. It explained a lot, the pick meaning something to him. Though she didn't have the slightest idea why something that small and dumb was so important to him. Brushing that aside, she grunted for a moment, and finally muttered beneath her breath towards him, "Yeah, yeah, whatever." She was a bit annoyed that he'd been that pissed off about a freaking afro pick. She didn't get it, and that really irritated her.

Well, she didn't really want to care about him anyway, so she ignored him after that. It was an art that she had perfected beyond perfection. In fact she barely noticed him most of the time. Whistling beneath her breath, the same song that had annoyed him yesterday, the one she'd turned up so loud that he'd nearly exploded, she continued to walk at a leisurely pace, making sure to stay with Michael even if she didn't want to. And then, her thoughts wandered to a place she wasn't really sure she wanted them to wander to.

There was one question that kept rolling through her head. Why did she hate Michael Kay so much? Was it his clumsiness, his stupidity? Was it because he was a blithering idiot? 'Cuz he was happy all the time? She pondered over this for a few moments, trying to pinpoint the exact reason she hated Michael Kay. She couldn't figure it out. In fact, it bothered her quite a bit that she didn't understand her intense dislike for Michael Kay. Shuddering, she realized that he had been speaking to her, telling her the directions to Rickie's.

When they'd finally gotten to Rickie's she'd been totally out of it. She was completely zoned out. She was pretty much following Michael like a zombie. She was confused, and she was still trying to figure out why she hated him. Maybe she hated him just to hate him. Maybe she was getting her feelings confused. A horrified expression crossed Kim's face as a possibility came to her mind. She felt her fingers shake for a moment, and then she caught herself, gathering whatever dignity she could muster as she waltzed into the store, without a care in the world.

When she'd situated herself accordingly, she heard Michael greet someone who seemed to be Rickie himself. Unsure of whether she should introduce herself, she decided not to anyway. Ignoring Rickie just like she ignored Michael, she flipped through a random selection of albums without even looking at them. The bright colors blurred past her face, yet still she stared off into the distance. There weren't a lot of people milling about the store, she saw that. Only some other person, Michael, Rickie, and herself.

"So is this your new girlfriend, Mike?"

"DEFINITELY not." She snapped after Michael stammered out his answer. She glared at Rickie for a moment, but she was tired of glaring, and finally relaxed back into her I'm-not-going-to-talk-to-you attitude. Leaning back against a wall and closing her eyes for a moment, before opening them again and staring back at Rickie defiantly.

He wasn't bad looking, definitely not her type. Then again, nobody was really her type at all. She shot a small, curious look, before letting herself settle back into her naturally intense stare. She turned her head away, letting a curtain of dark brown hair edged in glowing purple to hide her face.

"Ah, alright. If you didn't already know, my name's Rickie, miss. Welcome to my cellar of a store."

He was leering at her. All of a sudden, Kim felt very uncomfortable in Rickie's attention. Slowly, she smiled at him uncertaintly and eased herself back, shifting and shuffling away from him ever so slowly. He was totally like, staring at her as though she were a piece of meat rather than a girl. He probably didn't get out much. In fact she couldn't figure out whether he didn't get out much, or whether he was just a freaking perv. She bit her tongue before she could say the words and spoke through clenched teeth.

"Ah, nice to meet you. I'm Kim... Um." She took another step back and finally turned on her heel, giving Rickie a backwards wave as she nearly crashed into something or the other. She wasn't usually this clumsy, but Rickie was making her so uncomfortable, that she seriously just wanted to smack that weird leer right off of his face. No, forget the leer. She just wanted to rearrange his face right now.

As she began to build a mental wall against Rickie's voice, she heard something else. Something that proved to be much, much more annoying than Rickie. Her ears ached from the sound of it already. God, what was making that insufferable squeaky noise? She winced, and flinched away from the sound. Finally gathering the courage to even try and find the SOURCE of the sound... Ugh... It was getting worse.

"My name's Denny. I love just saying it. Denny, Denny, Denny, Denny, Denny..."

Someone was singing something or the other. Turning towards the general direction the noise was emanating from, she soon realized that she was in quite a predicament. Standing in front of Michael was someone even more annoying than Michael himself. She was shorter than him. She had blonde hair, which made Kim like her even less, and she had the most annoying voice in the entire universe...

She was dressed in ridiculous clothing as well. Sparkly... Stuff. Michael Jackson gone blonde impersonator. She stored away the insult to use later on if the chick ever annoyed her. She stalked towards them both, her eyebrows furrowing as she thought about just how annoying this girl was.

She realized that the name Denny held no appeal to her anymore. Denny was just a dumb name. She had to admit after hearing it about a million times, she didn't like it. But that was to be expected, no? Denny, Denny, Denny, Denny Denny DENNY DENNY DENNY DENNY DENNNNNYYYYY! She could hear that annoying, little, squeaky mouse voice rattling through her head. She shook her head for a moment, and nearly smashed straight into Michael.

"Oh. You." She sneered for a moment, sizing up "Denny". "Michael, when are we leaving. I get the feeling that I'm a little too welcome here." She snorted beneath her breath and glanced back at Denny. She felt a twinge of something in her chest. Michael looked rather flushed, and rather happy. Backing away from the both of them, she warred with herself. Would she rather hang out with Michael the moron and Denny the dumb ass? Or Rickie the retard? Hard choice, hard choice.

She wasn't sure what it was about Denny, but she didn't like her straight away. She got that there was something beneath the sickening sweetness. Some kind of nasty medicinal flavor that made her tongue curl back towards her throat. Eh... She didn't know exactly what it was, but she didn't want to stick around to get a taste of it. But, still, she stood there, waiting patiently for Michael to leave with her. But she knew in the back of her head he wouldn't.

Ah, well.

She'd just drag him out by his afro if he didn't hurry.