Put me down, punk

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I'm not sure what I imagined from a cafe called the rusty nail, but this was not it. From the outside, it looked worn down. The windows and walls were plastered with worn down posters and the like. I opened the glass door that chimed a little bell as I did. It smelled musty, and the inside was dark, and rustic. There were a couple people sitting at the bar and at tables, the mum of conversation filling the air.

I looked around awkwardly and expectedly, when a petite, older, curly orange-red haired woman with a big smile walked up to me.

"Whatcha standin' around here for, lass?" She asked me, her Irish accent thick and full as she spoke.

I hesitated, suddenly uncomfortable, "Well, I go to Westwood School and Dr. Gesby-"

"Getsby?" She cut me off, and I nodded. She made a huffing noise and walked towards the bar. I reluctantly followed her, feeling a little out of place.

She slammed her hands on the bar and called, "Daniel!"

I stared awkwardly as an older man with sort of blonde hair who looked like he was straight from the 70's appeared from behind the bar. I assumed this to be Daniel.

"This lass here says Getsby sent 'er," She spoke to Daniel as If I wasn't there. I shifted uncomfortably back and forth.

The older man looked my up and down and nodded towards the rundown stage at the back of the room, fully furnished with all the best equipment, stark contrast to the rust of this place.

"Madame, would you do the honor for us of playing something," He nodded towards the stage.

I blinked a few times at them and stuttered, "R-right now?"

"Well, these old bones don't have all the time in the world, go play something' then we'll talk about a job," She announced and I walked slowly to the stage, racking my brain for something to play.

I grab their electric guitar set up on the stage and I think about how I feel. Images of Rowen and Gemma surface before I can even begin to push them down. I sigh and sit down, pulling the microphone so it's level with my lips. I'm feelin' a little bit of an Ani DeFranco moment.

I strum the guitar feeling my arms embrace the comfortable feeling. If you thought I loved singing, guitar just felt right. Even more right when singing. I had played since my fifth birthday, and maybe a time I had played until my fingers bled.

"I am not a pretty girl, that is not what I do," I begin to sing, gently, almost timidly, And I look upwards towards the quiet audience and the bar as I begin to play. I see Caspian walk in just as I do, and I look quickly back down at my fingers, trying not to think.

I feel the anger soar in me again, and I sing, "So put me down punk, wouldn't you prefer a maiden fair? Isn't there a kitten, stuck up a tree somewhere?"

I continue to sing, "Imagine you're a girl, just trying to finally come clean, knowing full well they'd prefer you were dirty, and smiling." I felt every word of the song, letting it tell the story of my soul. I felt strong and weak at the same time as I sang.

When I finished, the cafe erupted into applause and I smiled and waved as I climbed off the stole and sauntered over to the bar were the redheaded women and Daniel were watching.

"Here's my number, ring me when you would like to play, and we shall schedule it. You'll be played by the hour, maybe, 20 pounds, deal?" Daniel offered, as he wrote down his number on a napkin. I smiled brightly as I took it and pocketed it. The redheaded women winked at me and I walked outside.

"Hey Nola," Caspian said, scaring me. He leaned against the wall outside the cafe.

"Jesus Caspian! You scared me!" I laughed as I began walking towards school. I looked back over my shoulder at him, "Coming?"

He shook his head and smiled, and followed after me. He seemed fairly somber compared to his normal flirtatious self. We walked silently for a few moments before he broke that silence.

"It was a stupid, stupid, fight I got in with this guy because I had gotten with his girlfriend. It's so dumb that I would even challenge him cause, hell, I don't even remember the girl's name now," He sarted to explain, and I just quietly listened.

"So why fight?" I asked him gently, looking at him sideways.

He sighed and shook his head, "I grew up with basically no one. Rowen was the closest thing to a brother I ever had. I didn't grow up with a mom, and he grew up without a dad, so we kinda fit together well like that," He paused, inhaled a ragged breath, and kept going. "This is going to sound so dumb, but I feel like I need to constantly fill that void. And maybe it's girls or music or booze but I feel so empty and hollow inside, because I haven't ever met my mom, nor will I ever, and I rarely speak with my father, and only about inheriting the company. It feels so... fake." He shook his head and looked away.

I turned and I hugged him. It wasn't an intimate hug, but it felt so nice. I did it half to comfort him, and half to comfort myself. Honestly it sounded like he had what girls have for daddy issues but for a mom. And trust me, I can relate to that on so many levels but that's an issue for another day.

"Let's go home, you can make me pasta as I tell you stupid stories, and Rowen can brood in a corner and Matteo can eat half his weight and Laurent make passive aggressive comments the whole time." I said, rambling.

"You know he likes you, ya know that right?" He said, and I felt the color drain from my face.

"Haha as if," I say, awkwardly laughing it off and quickly walking home. Why did I know exactly who he was talking about as he said that? And why would he lie to blatantly like that?

We walked home, and the night went exactly as I had predicted, but suddenly, I felt hyper aware of all of Rowen's actions. It sort of drove me to not hang out with the boys as much that following week. I mostly hung out with India and Ivy, not that I was complaining at all. Ivy seemed so mature, in some ways, but I don't think she's done anything besides have her first kiss. India, on the other hand, is mature in... other ways. Nothing was more fun than spending nights watching chick flicks and giggling under the covers of our beds, whispering all the gruesome details. 

It became ever so apparent that India was super into Matteo, and Ivy definitely liked someone but there was nothing we could do to get her to spill who it was. When I was battered with questions, I just said I didn't like anyone, despite the fact both of them knew that was a lie. 

Woot woot! progress! also does anyone wanna do me the favor of commenting or voting? I feel like a youtuber lol. Does anyone ship Caspian and Nola? Or Rowen and Nola? Or who are we shipping? Tell me because maybe I'll be nice and make it happen! Thanks for reading! <33!

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