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Rise & Rise Again

it's the end of the world as we know it.

"Hey, what's up! This is Zoe X from Storm TV, signing in with Jackie Rox from Omega at Warped Tour 2007-"


"Yo! This is Zoe X, here with Alex Garcia and Derek Sanders of Mayday Parade, getting ready for day twenty of Warped Tour 2008-"

Click. Click.

"Zoe X, here, signing on at Warped Tour 2010 with Miss Nasty Orlav! You're watching Storm TV-"


"I'm Zoe X."

"And I'm Austin Carlile from Of Mice and Men."

"You're watching Storm TV at Warped Tour 2011!"

Click. Pause. Click. Play.

"Alright, Austin, first random question: do you prefer gift cards or birthday cards?"

"Birthday cards, definitely. Gift cards are nice, but I love rereading all the little messages on the inside."

"Okay," she laughs softly into the microphone before looking back at her paper. "Question number two: what is the last book you read?"

"Oh man... I'm going to have to think about this one..."

She smirks behind the microphone. "I finished reading The Hunger Games about a week ago."

"I've read all of them! In the end of the last book, Annie and Finnick-"

"Don't tell me, you asshole!" She pushes at his arm, laughing to herself, shaking her head. He smiles at her fondly, but she doesn't notice it. "But for real, the last book you read."

"Hmm..." he takes a moment more to think on it. "I think it was a Stephen King book... or maybe it was that Girl with the Dragon Tattoo one?"

Zoe looks back down at her paper, satisfied with the answer. "Favorite childhood memory?"

Without a beat of hesitation, Austin answers with a tooth-shining grin. "Being a kid, man. Staying out until the street lights came on, skating down the beach to Sergeant Moody's ice cream shop and just being young. Being old sucks, ya know?"

Zoe laughs, and nods in agreement, faintly remembering those summer days spent in sunny Florida. "Your favorite was Moose Tracks," she says, not noticing exactly what she had said. Her camera guy, Jay, gave her a look, surprised that she would know that. He didn't know about her past with the tall, lanky, inked singer beside her. Austin grins, his tongue sticking out between his teeth.

"And your favorite was Butter Pecan with rainbow sprinkles."

She returns the smile that could sink thousands of ships, before going to the next question. Her pale purple hair is shifted from over one shoulder to the other. She thinks it will be edited out later. It won't.

"If you ever have a child, what song will you use as their lullaby?"

Austin is quiet for a few moments, looking at Zoe with a serious expression. Her fingers tighten around her microphone before she situates it in his direction, waiting for the reply. He holds off for one more moment before answering.

"If I have a daughter, it will be My Girl."

Zoe asks, "And if you have a son?"

Austin smiles fondly. "I'm going to have a daughter."

Zoe's heart speeds up quickly. She looks away from him, the camera shifts, and she goes back to the interview. She has to stop being so distracted by him. Friends. Childhood friends. That's all they are and ever will be. She's a journalist, he's an upcoming rockstar. They live in two separate worlds brought together by one thing: music.

"So, you're releasing your second album near the end of July, right?"

"Yeah. We're really excited to get it out to the fans. We've already released 'Still YDG'n' and 'Let Live' on YouTube and can't wait to get the full thing out to you guys."

She smiles, listening as he talks so passionately of his fans. "What's your favorite track on the album?"

"Well, it goes back and forth between songs the more I listen to them. I don't really have a favorite. They all mean a lot to me and I love them each equally."

Click. Pause. Click. Rewind.

"...They all mean a lot to me and I love them each equally."

Click. Pause. Click. Rewind.

"....to me and I love them each eq-"

Click. Pause. Click. Rewind.

"...and I love them-"

Click. Pause. Hesitation. Click. Rewind.

"...I love-"

Click. Pause.



"Attention passengers, this is Captain Marco speaking. We are now entering our final descent to Brisbane, Australia. If you would please return to your seats and buckle in your seat belt we shall be landing in close to half an hour. Thank you."

There was a click over the intercom, making my ears pop again. I winced, sighing as I rubbed at my throbbing temple. I hate airplanes and tried not to travel on one as much as I could, but I knew this would be the only way to Australia in time. It was a last minute assignment from my boss, and no matter how much I wanted to decline it, it was either my job or this segment of interviews of the SoundWave Festival for the upcoming additions to Storm TV's ever-growing amount of interviews. The most viewed and the most up-to-date; that was how I kept my job. Thank you popular rockstars.

"I'm so exicted, Zoe! We get to see Australia and go to tons of concerts for free!"

My camera guy, a spastic twenty-year-old, fresh-out-of-college-graduate, had just been introduced to me yesterday, right before I was told that I had a 5 a.m. flight to Brisbane, Australia.

"Shut up, Nick," I growl irritably, continuing to rub at my temples. He doesn't hear me over his excitement, however, causing me to grab at his hand, which keeps tapping on the plastic arm rest, and squeeze a warning to him. He stops bouncing in his seat, but his knee jumps and there is an extra twinkle in his eye. I sigh, knowing I'm going to be in for a world of no-sleep for the next few days so to be in the right time zone. I could never fall asleep on airplanes - they scared the shit out of me, too much.

The only thing that could calm my pounding nerves was music and pain meds; sadly, my phone had dead half way through the flight from me playing the games on it and all my headache medicine was packed away in my main suitcase squished between hundreds of other baggage. Thirty minutes. That's how much longer I had until we were on the ground and my ears could finally-


"Son of a bitch!" I say under my breath, groaning at the new ache now in my head. One of the attendants that is passing by sends me an ugly look, but I ignore it. There's a lesser pop now, and not too much later I feel the plane start to slow as the wheels squeak against the tarmac. It takes a total of five minutes to get the plane to our gate and the First Class seats are the first to get off. Then, slowly, the rest of the plane started to filter out. Nick and I were located in the middle of the fuselage, making us wait a good ten minutes until we pulled our carry-on bags from over head and started down the thin aisle.

The pilots and attendants smiled and waved and shook hands, but I passed by them without a second glance and hurried down the hall to the security of the bustling Brisbane airport. I hated airplanes and showed it passionately. Nick was still mesmerized my the late morning sun coming in through the windows that showed the bright, exotic Australia. I wanted to be back in the States, in my bed, staring at a blank wall.

Instead, I'm here, standing at a baggage claim, waiting for my luggage. Ours bags are the last. Of course.

With our bags and all of our equipment packed, Nick hurriedly leads me through the airports as I fumble with his phone, trying to get a hold of our boss. After almost three times of calling, he picks up with a not-very-happy tone in his voice.

"I told you not to call me Nick-"

"Shut your trap, Brad. We've landed. We're going out to look for our ride. I'll call you again once I'm sure you've had at least five shots."

I hang up, not in the mood for Bradley Oswell's shit talk. Just past the exit gates and into the front lobby of the airport, I stand beside Nick as we look for our ride. We read the signs, looking for anything close to 'Zoe Xavier' and 'Nick Law'. Of course, there was no sign that said such a thing. In its place, or where it should have been, at least, was a group of very familiar looking Hispanics.

"Zo-zo!" The heavily tattooed guitarist yells, causing a few to look over in our direction as I'm lifted into the air by him hugging me. My feet don't touch the ground, which gives me a moment of fear since my tall five foot-ten inches make me always touch the ground. The last time I saw all of them was the end of last summer just as I was taking the last of my interviews before being pregnant got too much in the way of my job at Storm TV.

"Hey, squirt," the drummer says, pulling a face that makes me laugh and no longer dwell in the dark past.

"Says the freak giant!"

He looks hurt, but I know he's only pulling the face to make me feel bad - I don't.

"There's no need for names, Zoe," he tells me, and once I'm freed from Tony, he pulls me in with a headlock and a rough noogie. My hair, already messed up from the thirteen hour flight over to Australia, becomes even more tangled.

"But Mike is too boring. Freak giant is much more fun to say," I retort back, finally pulling myself free from his hold. I glance up, watching the transition of the expression on Nick's face change. He's obviously surprised about my relationship with the band members, as well as happy to finally meet some of her favorite rockstars.

"Guys, this is my new camera guy, Nick. Nick, I'm pretty sure you already know these guys."

Nick, completely flabbergast, stands quiet and still looking like a fish out of water.

"What happened to the other one, uh, Jay?"

I simply shrug and pick my bags back up. "I think he moved, or got a better job some where else. I wasn't in contact with the company those last few months so..." Nothing more needs to be said. If they didn't know what happened, they would find out soon enough, and if they did know, they made no inclination that they did. "I'm gonna guess and say that you guys are our ride?" I change the subject, and it seems to be enough of a distraction to get us out of the bustling airport.

"Oh, yeah! Brad called and thought it would be a nice surprise. We don't start playing until the day after tomorrow anyways, so it was a day off and we didn't mind."

I nod and look over at Nick; the surprise has finally sunk in and he seems back to his normal, energetic, youthful self. "C'mon, Nicky, let's go see Australia."

We all piled into the SUV, paid for by the sponsors of the SoundWave and SideWave tours, with luggage in the trunk. Vic, the serious one of us all, was driving while Nick was beside him in the front passenger's seat. The rest of the guys, Mike, Jaime and Tony, and I were in the back two rows catching up on all that had been going on. They had a new States tour starting at the end of March, beginning of April and were still dealing with the new rise in fame that came with their newest album.

I had been doing what I could for Storm TV since the New Year, just barely getting by as I lived with my sister until I could get enough money from Brad to start paying for my own apartment. Things had changed drastically since September.

"So, you and the main squeeze are no more?" Jaime noses in, leaning forward on his arms on the back of the bench seat in the SUV. I had my back against the window behind Vic, sitting sideways so to face all of them. It was my own defense of nothing sneaking up on me, both literal and figurative. I hated surprises.

I nod, crossing my arms over my chest as I situate my body to be more comfortable. The topic hasn't come up much, lately, but when it does I get very uncomfortable.

"What happened, exactly? We've heard bits and pieces, and he won't tell us anything."

I stare at Mike, trying to find the best way to get around the question, but I would rather they all hear it from me, rather than the passing rumors that come along with old flames and touring bands. There's a sigh, a reassuring look from Mike and Tony, and then, with a hand running through my in-need-of-a-dye purple hair, I finally say what needs to be said and nothing more.

"I went into labor around midnight and had Julia on the 27th around nine in the morning. She was a stillborn."

The vehicle is dead silent as the thought of such an event goes through their minds.

Poor Julia. Poor Zoe. Poor Au-

"We buried her three days later. I left him and the ring in December and have been living with my sister. I got my job back at Storm TV and here I am."

I seem heartless, cold, with my nonchalant explanation of the situation, but how else am I supposed to tell them? With tears in my eyes as I think back on the horrible feelings and emotions I had rollercoastering through me over those three months? I have to move on because what happened has happened and there's no changing it. I'm no longer engaged. I'm no longer a mother, or one to be, at least. I'm no longer the Zoe Andrea Xavier that I was five months ago. I am Zoe X, interviewer for Storm TV and nothing more.

"I'm going to need a beer," I hear Vic say over the sound of the wind flowing through the windows as we drive down a street that I hope is bringing us closer to our hotel. I couldn't agree more with that, especially if I had to see him before I've prepared myself for the meeting.

I don't think I'll ever be prepared enough to see him again, but that is something I'm willing to live with as long as I never do see him. He can see me, and I'm fine with that -

But even thinking about him brings back all those happy thoughts of being a part of a family again, only to have those dreams crushed by something that I couldn't control and that broke us apart even more than we already had been at the time. When I left, it had been the end of the world for us both, and now we were living in the dystopian aftermath of that apocalypse.


this is perfect. <3

christinaannxo christinaannxo

Just read the whole story in 2 hours cx its 12:30 in the morning and totally worth it xp

Aw! The nusery scene was sad :( but I can't wait for the marriage scene next!

amazing update! your writing is crazy! specially in this chapter! ;) ;)

taxigerm taxigerm

Oh hot damn. This chapter is fabulous Dahling. :3

WhiskeyPrincess WhiskeyPrincess