"Andy, what do you want to be when you grow up?"
"I'm not sure, Dusky," he said, gripping my hand. "Actually, I do know. When I grow up, I want to be your best friend." I squeezed his hand in thanks.
"You're already my best friend, Andy!" I said, trying not to laugh. I mock-punched him in the arm. He pretended to rub it, as if it had hurt him.
"I know. I just really want it to stay that way. Forever, yeah?"
"Forever and ever..." I said, and I meant it. I wanted to be his best friend forever and ever. I was 8, he was 9, we'd known each other our whole lives. We'd been best friends since the start and knew we would be best friends til the end. It was a promise we'd made when I was 5 and he was 6 and we hadn't fallen out once. Our parents thought it was cute, how close we were, but they didn't think we'd be friends for so long. But we proved the wrong...
-10 years later-
"Dusky!" Andy said, picking me up and spinning me round. He put me back down on the floor and pulled me close. I smiled, breathing in his warm scent as we embraced. I heard the crowd going mental as they were cleared out, screaming "Black Veil Brides" like total maniacs. The band knew they'd be mobbed if they didn't go and sign autographs soon. Jinxx pulled a face at the sound of hundreds of screaming girls. His wife, Sammi, laughed and kissed him on the cheek.
"Oh, hey, Dusky!" she hugged me, and I smiled. Me, Sammi and Brittan, CC's girl, were really close, it was like I was Andy's girlfriend, not Scout. None of us really liked Scout, even Andy had started to dislike her. Maybe it was her attitude, or the fact that she's a right cocky cow. I heard the oh-so familiar sound if Converse squeaking and prayed to Satan that it was Jake walking up to us. Sadly, it was not. It was Scout and she raised her eyebrow at Andy when she saw me. I wanted to try and be friends with her, Andy was my best friend and it didn't look like they'd be breaking up anytime soon.
"Hey, Scout," I said, as nice as I possibly could. She ignored me and reached up to kiss Andy. I saw him roll his eyes and it took all my strength not to laugh.
"Oh, erm, sorry, I didn't see you there, Dusty," she finally said. It was an apparent jibe at my height, although she's nearly five inches shorter than me. She only said it because I'm smaller than most of the band. Except Jake, we're the exact same height.
"My name's Dusky," I mumbled, and Andy put his arm around me. Scout growled, glaring at us, but Andy refused to move his arm. I relaxed into him. Suddenly, there was a banging at the backstage door.
"Shit!" Ashley ran outside to calm everyone down. Andy usually stood with Scout when he was signing autographs, but this time he took me outside with him.
"Hey guys! Thanks for coming out here and supporting us tonight. Now this girl here is my best friend, Dusky. She doesn't believe it, but she is an amazing singer and she's gonna sing for us now. Is that OK?" The whole crowd of BVB fangirls started cheering, as if to say 'yes'.
"What?! Sing? In front of all these people?" I whispered to Andy?
"Go on, please? I'll hold your hand the whole time." he looked at me, puppy dog eyes melting me almost straight away. He grabbed my hand and I just couldn't say no.
"A reason, a victim, a shining beacon in the sky..." I started to sing. Never Give In was my favourite BVB song so why not? When I'd finished singing, Andy was still holding my hand and everyone in the crowd was cheering. I opened my eyes and was shocked to see everyone was clapping.
"Told you," Andy said, hugging me. It was obvious that at least half the crowd thought we were together. That is until Scout came bounding out to steal my limelight. She waved at the crowd but no one seemed bothered that she was there. It was clear that most people couldn't care less. She kissed Andy full on the lips and a few people booed. Scout had got a pretty bad image with Andy recently, something that she'd said in an interview. Andy ignored the booing and went to signing autographs. I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket and when I looked, it was my mum. I read the text that said I needed to get home and told Andy that I was going. He hugged me and said goodbye. He promised that he'd call me at 11 next morning and he'd be round at 4. Every spare day he had, when he wasn't performing/rehearsing/recording, then he'd call me in the morning and come round in the evening. I loved those days, just me and Andy, being us, mucking about. I had to walk to the bus stop and as I made my way through the crowd, some people even asked me for my autograph. Whether it was for my so-called 'brilliant' singing or just because I knew Andy, I don't know. But it felt good to be asked. It made me feel...special. But I was just as happy living in Andy's shadow. As I walked home, a cold chill picked up so I reached into my bag for a jacket and found Andy's hoodie. He'd given it to me when I was 13 because I'd said I was cold, and I'd forgotten to give it back. After that he said I could keep it. I pulled it over my head and breathed in. Although I'd worn it many times and it had been washed countless times, it still smelt vaguely of Andy. I savoured the faint smell, it reminded me of our earlier hug. I reached the bus stop just as the bus arrived. It was late and it was the last bus of the day, so it was full of people coming back from clubs. I didn't fit in with all the girls in short, tight dresses so I sat on my own at the front of the bus. 20 minutes later, I was home. My mum asked if I'd enjoyed the concert, I just nodded and headed up to bed. When Andy had held my hand before, I felt something, something different then when he usually held my hand or hugged me. I'd found myself looking at him in a different way then normal, I found his jokes funnier and voice even more hypnotising...I was confused, but I just put it down to being tired. I turned my phone off of silent, totally looking forward for Andy's wake-up call. I quickly changed into my pyjamas-an over-sized BVB band shirt and some trackies and got into bed. As soon as my head hit the pillow, I was asleep.
*Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na, Drugs, Gimme Drugs, Gimme Drugs...*
I opened my eyes and reached for my phone. I noticed that the caller ID said 'Scout'. I rolled my eyes. "What does she want now?" I said to myself, before answering.
"Hey, Dusky," I heard a familiar deep voice on the other end of the phone and breathed a sigh of relief.
"I'm sorry that I'm on Scout's phone, she's taken mine with her so I couldn't call you, but she's forgotten to take hers. So, anyway, how are you? Did you get home alright cast night?"
"No, Andy, I was raped, slaughtered and set on fire. That's why I'm talking to you now." I joked and he laughed. I wasn't so hypnotised by his voice this time.
"Alright, alright, no need to get cheeky with me missy." he said sarcastically. "I can still come round at 4, right? I really need to get away from Scout, she's doing my head in."
"Of course, Andy. Come round whenever you need to get away from her. Even if I'm not in, my mum will welcome you with open arms."
"Haha, true. I've gotta go, Scout's just got home. If she catches me on her phone, I'll end up dead. If I don't make it, tell your mum I love her!" I laughed, hanging up the phone. I jumped out of bed and ran downstairs for breakfast. I tied my hair up and found that it was greasy. I normally wouldn't be bothered, but today I was. For two reasons. One, Andy was coming round and I didn't want him to see me looking a mess. Two, any greasier and I'd be making dreadlocks out of it. I quickly shovelled down my CoCo Pops and started running a bath. My mum came home from Tesco and hugged me.
"Dusky, are you OK? You seemed a bit off last night..."
"Mum, I'm fine. By the way, Andy loves you." Mum raised her eyebrow but, with it being Andy, didn't say anything. I stepped round her and ran up the stairs. I got in the bath and washed my hair. I washed it more...thoroughly than usual. I'm not sure why, I just did. I got out of the bath, got dressed and straightened my hair. I'd just finished by the time Andy arrived. I answered the door and he came bounding in, shouting "I'M HOME!" as he entered. I laughed and hugged him, once again breathing in his warm scent. I grabbed his wrist and pulled him up the stairs to my room. He willingly followed. He sat on my bed and pulled me down so we were laying together.
"Dusky? What would you think if I broke up with Scout?"
"I would think you were the smartest guy in the world. But why? You love her so much."
"I loved her, Dusky. But if she's gonna try and stop me talking to my favourite girl in the world, then I just can't be with her. I'd miss you too much." There was a silence as I took in what he just said. Favourite girl..? He really thought that? I had no words to say so I just hugged him, slightly confused. He wrapped his arms around my waist and buried his head into my neck. His upset scared me, I'd not seen him sad since his goldfish died, 12 years ago. He sniffed and I felt sick at the thought of Andy crying. He never cried in front of me. Never. But when he pulled away he wasn't crying.
"Sorry, bit of a cold or something," he said, sniffing again. I wasn't sure whether to believe him or not so I just nodded. He put his head in his hands and I saw his shoulders moving up and down slightly. I was certain he was crying and didn't know what to do.
"Andy..?" I said, my voice shaking slightly.
"Yeah?" he was laughing, not crying. I loved it when he laughed, it was always contagious and I started laughing too.
"What are you laughing at?" I asked after I'd composed myself.
"You thinking I was crying over Scout. I mean, like, what the hell?" he put his arm around me and I leant my head on his shoulder.
"LIKE what the hell? Ogod, she's contagious!" I groaned at Andy's use of, as I called it, 'Scout language'. I mean, for Satan's sake, that girl does NOT speak English. Chav, maybe...Andy laughed again and I smiled. My mum called us down for dinner and, as we sat eating pizza, Mum started to make some small-talk.
"So, Andy, you love me, apparently?" The three of us fell about laughing. After we'd finished eating our pizza, Andy asked something, that completely changed the atmosphere.
"Erm...Miss Taylor? I have a feeling I won't be allowed back home tonight...Any chance I could stay here?"
"Of course, Andy, anything! You'll have to sleep in Dusky's room, if that's OK with the two of you?" Andy and I nodded and we ran upstairs. He grabbed his phone, that he'd clearly got back from Scout, and dialled a number. Scout's number. They had a massive argument before Andy screamed "IT'S OVER!" and hung up. He lay down on my bed and I followed, laying my head on his chest. Not long later, we were asleep, his arm around my waist.
I woke up at about 11pm that night and Andy wasn't there. I was sort of worried-he'd usually wake me up and tell me if he was leaving. I was hurt, but I had to find out where he had gone. I grabbed the hoodie off the back of the chair in my room and went on a hunt for my combats-they were the warmest shoes I owned. As I was looking, I found a piece of paper with Andy's scrawly handwriting on it. It read: Sorry I had to leave so quick. I just needed some time alone. I'll be back. Promise x. I went into panic mode. Time alone? Didn't he trust me to leave him alone when he wanted me to? Why couldn't he have woken me up? I raced downstairs and ran out of the front door before Mum could even ask where I was going. I didn't even know where I was going, I just sort of...went. I was confused and scared but I had to find him. There was no point ringing him, he'd left his phone at my house. I kept running through the dimly lit streets until I found myself in the suburbs where Andy lived. The thought scared me even more, but I had to go and fin him, so I knocked on his house, just to be sure. Scout answered and saw me stood there, completely unaware of what was going on.
"Yes, Dusky?" she said through her teeth.
"Is Andy here? I think he's gone missing and I'm so scared. Sorry for disturbing you, Scout, but I really need to fi-" she placed her hand over my mouth.
"No, he's not here. I can't help you. Goodbye." And she slammed the door in my face. I tried to think logically, where would me and Andy always go as kids? Where would we go to be alone? That's when I realised exactly where he was. I ran there as fast as I could, tripping over my own feet in the dark. When I was almost there, I could see the outline of the tree towering over all in its path. It looked scary in the darkness and it took all my strength to approach it. But I did it. I did it for Andy. All my memories of spending time here with Andy, carving our initials inti the trunk encased in a heart when were only about 10, climbing all the way to the top of this...giant when we were about 7...the list is endless. But, now, as I approached the monster tree, my heart was no longer filled with joy about sitting under it's long, arm-like branches with Andy. It was filled with fear, fear of what I might find under those spindly arms. I sat down under the tree and reached out.
"Ow!" I heard a voice say.
"Andy? Are you OK?" I was holding back tears.
"D-Dusky?" he reached out for my hand. I squeezed his hand in reassurance, to show him I was there. He was shaking and there was a thick, warm liquid running down from his hand onto mine. I knew straight away that it was blood and gasped.
"Why?" I asked him, unable to fight the tears anymore. They were rolling down my cheeks at 100mph, one-by-one, mixing with Andy's blood.
"I needed it, Dusky, I needed a form of freedom and this was all I could think of. I'm sorry, Dusky, I really am." I hugged him, but avoided touching his wounded arms. By the time we'd embraced, we were both drowned in blood. I stood up and held out my hand to help Andy up. He gently grabbed it, so long as to not brush any of his cuts against me. He was a bit shaken up and needed help walking at first. I could understand why, he'd lost a lot of blood. I walked him back to my house and, on the way, we got a lot of weird looks. Two emos walking down the street, hand in hand, covered in blood. It wasn't a normal sight. When we got to my house I refused to let him in. I ran in, grabbed my car keys and ran out again, barely noticing my mum screaming at me for leaving without permission. I told Andy to get in my car. He refused.
"Why? Where are you taking me?"
"The hospital. You're losing a lot if blood, you need stitching up." He still refused to go. I started to cry again. "Please, just get in the car. Please Andy, I want you to live.". He slowly opened the door and sat down in the passenger seat. I wasn't bothered about the blood, I was only bothered about Andy's health. We arrived at the hospital in the space of 25 minutes and went straight to A&E. There were only a few drunken idiots so we were seen to almost immediately. After being stitched up, Andy thanked the nurse and grabbed my hand. We walked out of the hospital slowly, unsure of where to go. We sat in the car for about ten minutes, wondering what to do before I got my phone out of my pocket and called Sammi. There was no answer, so I called Brittan. I explained the situation and she said we could stay over. We drove there and when we arrived she looked shocked at the sight of Andy's arms. She gave us both something to sleep in and we made our way to bed, not before thanking her. I realised that it was half three in the morning by now. The nurse at the hospital had washed all the blood of the pair of us, so we got changed and got into bed. But I couldn't sleep. I was thinking over the days events. Andy going from such a happy person, the life of the party, the only candle in an otherwise pitch black room, to a depressed, self-harming almost suicidal soul. I tossed and turned all night but sleep was the last thing on my mind right now. Until about 12o'clock the next day, when it was the only thing I wanted to do at all.
I went downstairs to see Brittan sat with her phone in her hand and Andy on the computer. I breathed a silent sigh of relief-he looked much happier. I hadn't known that CC was staying at Brittan's as well as us, so I got the biggest shock of my life when he came downstairs, about ten minutes after me. Brittan stood up and handed me the phone, mouthing the word 'mum' to me. I answered and, after explaining the whole Andy situation once again, she let me off the hook. I left out a few minor details, though, just stuff like how much blood he'd lost and how he nearly passed out when we were walking home. I didn't want her fussing over us. CC was unaware of the situation, so when he heard me telling my mum, he turned deathly white. Andy showed him his scarred arms and then went back to tweeting his fans. We told Ashley, Jake and Jinxx and then we made a pact to keep this whole thing a secret. Andy finished what he was doing on Twitter or whatever and sat next to me on the sofa. I leant my head on his chest and he put his arm around my shoulders. I wanted to breathe in his scent, but he smelt vaguely of blood and absolutely reeked of whatever the nurse had used to clean him up with at the hospital. But I couldn't complain, as long as Andy was alright. We went upstairs to get dressed into our, once again, borrowed clothes. When dressed, Andy asked if we could go back to the tree. I didn't know why he asked, but I agreed. We decided to walk there and leave the car at Brittan's place. I sat under the tree, my heart racing, trying to block the images of last night out of my head-the blood, the tears, everything. As Andy sat next to me, I placed my hand on something sharp.
"Ouch!" I said, a tear forming in my eye. I picked the object up, thinking it would be a sharp twig or stone. Instead, it was a silver blade. Andy and I just stared for a minute. Stared at the blood stained blade, and the blood that was dripping out of the newly formed cut on my hand.
"Dusky, I am so sorry," Andy finally said. We had no idea what to do with the blade, so I placed it back down on the ground.
"No, no, Andy, don't be sorry. Anyway, why did you want to come back here?" My hand made it's way to his.
"No reason, I guess. I just wanted to tell you something. D-Dusky...I love you..." I gasped.
"Andy, I love you, too. More than anyone or anything else in the world." A tear rolled down my cheek, and I went to wipe it way with my free hand. It was the hand that was bleeding and I ended up with blood on my face. Andy leant to kiss it away and got some blood on his lip.
"Andy, you have sone blood on your face."
"There," I said, leaning in to kiss it away. And as we kissed, under the heart containing our initials, I realised something. I am the luckiest girl in the world...