Right In Front of You

Mayor Mellow bounced onto the stage giving a hardy handshake to Corey.

"Give it up for this young man right here folks! Your crazy catchy lyrics have done the impossible, your delicious song has brought my dear mother and me together after YEARS of hatin' in silence!"

Corey made a big dorky grin as the assembled crowd erupted into cheers that echoed throughout the town hall. He pulled the mic from the stand and took center stage. The lights dimmed and a spotlight hit Corey as his manner suddenly become more serious.

"Mayor, I may be a simple dude on the path to a rock legend in the making, but when I saw how bad your relationship with your mom was I had to let the both of you know how messed up keeping your true feelings all super hidden really is."

Corey gripped the mic firmly and addressed the people in the audience directly.

"If you care about someone and never tell it to them face to face then you're only hurting yourself, and that just isn't righteous! You know, be real! Show them how important they are to you and if they are even half as amazing as you believe they are they'll be real with you too!"

Kin and Kon exchanged fist bumps nodding in approval of Corey's wisdom ramblings.

"I mean, let's be totally real! You need to get up in their face! Just tell them how you feel!"

Corey reverted back to being his weird self,

"Sometimes people are dumb and can't take a hint. They don't realize there's an amazing person literally right in front of their face! It's like COME ON are you so blind that you can't tell when another person digs you and totally respects who you really are!?"

An uncomfortable murmur began going around the crowd and Corey paced back and forth like a psycho.

"You just wanna grab 'em by the shoulders and shake and slap them and yell, 'Hellooooo!? You are going to let a crazy cool person drift on by cuz you failed at reading in between the lines class?! They are literally up in your face trying to tell you that they-"

Corey heard what sounded like sniffling from a runny nose behind him. He glanced over and saw Laney quickly turn away tuning her base.

"Huh? Oh uh...yeah where was I?"

Before he could regain his train of thought Mayor Mellow snatched the mic from Corey,

"OK kid," the mayor said rolling his eyes, "I think we get it."

With that signal everyone in the town hall began filing out the doors. It was getting late and the sun was just beginning to set coloring the sky a relaxing reddish orange.

"That gig was legendary!" Kon gleefully declared as he grabbed his band mates into a bear hug.

Corey laughed and rough housed with his friends as they all agreed how huge a success their performance was. The good vibe turned sour when Corey felt a hand shove him aside as his sister got into her car slamming the door shut. She was still furious for being humiliated in front of the whole town.

"You guys need rides?" Corey asked and was meet with a unanimous 'yeah.'

Corey smirked and called out, "Hey Sis, you mind giving us-"

He was cut off mid sentence as the screeching tires and kicked up dust made by his sisters car as it sped away. Corey managed to catch a glimpse of the hatred burning in Triana's eyes in her rear-view mirror. He was so used to it that it didn't even phase him anymore; besides she'll be like that for about a day and a half then go back to her usual spiteful ways.

"Lame," groaned Laney.

"But not unexpected," interjected Kin.

Corey shrugged, "Guess I'll see you at practice tomorrow."

"Later!" they all shouted, each of them went their separate ways.

*CASUAL WALK HOME TRANSITIOOOON*

Laney walked slowly toward her street not even focused on getting home. All she kept thinking about Corey's words and how much they seemed to affect her. Before she knew it she was running in the direction of Corey's house. She didn't know what she'd tell him, but she couldn't miss this chance. Not after Corey's speech about being real and going for it.

Corey strolled down the sidewalk still pumped from his bands killer show. In his mind it wouldn't be long before Gonjband got a record deal and completely sold out. Artist integrity was nice and all but Corey knew reaching a wider audience was much more important, not to mention the the boatload of money he'd get for compromising the edginess his band had at this phase.

It's better for the fans if we get it over with, he thought, that way it can be hardly said that we sold out if we did it from the beginning!

"So...hey," Laney mumbled surprising the heck out of Corey. She had apparently been walking beside him unnoticed.

"Dang Lanes!" Corey laughed, "You missed your true calling as a ninja!"

"So...hey," Laney continued, ignoring Corey's observation, "That was a pretty cool monologue you made back there."

She put on her signature uninterested look on her face, but inside she was a nervous wreak. Her eyes were squarely fixed on Corey with a subtle intensity she didn't even realize she had, as if she was expecting some sort of reaction from Corey.

"Thaaanks..." Corey trailed off, "You ok Lanes?"

"Of course I'm ok!" Laney scoffed, "I'm like the most ok person that ever was, I'm totally ok!"

"You look like you got dry eye," Corey bluntly stated.

Laney had a momentary look of shock on her face. She stopped walking and whipped out a small mirror then just as quickly stashed it away.

"Haha...yeah" she laughed nervously, "Stupid allergies, all that plant pollen and junk."

Laney was tugging at her green and black stripped shirt and now wouldn't even look Corey in the eyes. If she wasn't playing with her shirt she would adjust her orange leggings. After a long uncomfortable pause Corey raised an eyebrow.

"You know your place is on the other side of town right?"

"Of course I know that!" Laney rolled her eyes and folded her arms, "I just wanted to tell you how cool your speech was and junk."

Laney's gaze softened, "...And how it's totally accurate, you know? About how sometimes people just need to be real and let someone they care about know...and stuff."

It wasn't like Laney to be so rattled and awkward. She realized her heart was pounding enough to cause her to tremble. Corey looked like he was holding back a laugh at the sight of her. She could feel her face turning scarlet thinking how stupid she was coming off to him. Corey then made a sly smile and took a step toward the rattled girl.

"Wha- Core?" Laney sputtered, "What are you doing? Uh, what are you doing?"

Corey leaned in until their faces were just inches apart with the sly smile still painted across his face.

"You're...in Laney's bubble, Core..." Laney squeaked.

Corey was looking Laney straight in the eyes which were now wide and shaking. No mater how close he leaned Laney didn't recoil at all. She could smell the shampoo from his messy blue hair. An image of Corey in the shower sneaked into Laney's brain for a split second and she worried her legs would give out and would fall on her butt.

"Laney?" Corey said looking down into his band mate's eyes.

"Ye...yeah Core?"

"Are you stalking me?" Corey burst into laughter.

Laney stood there stunned with her mouth hanging open. Corey was howling so loud the whole block could probably hear it. A smile finally cracked on Laney's face then she put her hands over her mouth to keep from laughing as hard as Corey. It wasn't long till both of them had their hands on their knees wiping away tears.

Corey began to straighten up to say something when Leney appeared right in front of him. Her eyes narrowed slowly as she gave a sinister smile. Corey was low enough for their faces to be on the same level as hers.

"Whaaauhhhnngg?" Corey made a unintelligent sound.

Laney moved in till her face was all Corey could make out. Her eye make up had run down her pale cheeks from the laughter, which made it even more creepy when her eyes widened.

"I watch you in your sleep," she whispered.

Corey gave an over dramatic look of utter horror before he and Laney were on the ground cackling like a couple of unhinged loons. Laney's sides were getting soar from the amount of laughing she was doing. Every time it seemed they were just starting to get over it one of them would lose it and they'd be on the ground again. A man and woman came out of the house Corey and Laney were in front of to see what was the commotion, they shook their heads and went back when their curiosity was satisfied. Corey finally calmed down enough the stand up and stretch.

"Uhhhh! Man that was crazy funny what you did there Lanes!"

"Heh, well when I'm around you," Laney brushed back her short red hair, "I feel like I can be myself, you know?"

Corey grinned and lightly punched Laney's shoulder.

"Bring that same energy at band practice tomorrow and we'll make some serious giant steps toward super stardom buddy!"

Laney's expression went from puppy dog happy to crestfallen. Was that all she ever will be to Corey? Laney felt her hand priming itself to punch Corey dead in the face. Instead, she chuckled to herself.

"Corey Riffin," Laney mused, "You're an idiot."

"Huh?" Corey looked completely lost.

The redhead lifted her gaze to Corey's with tears welling up in her eyes. She was smiling.

"But I love you so much because you're an idiot."

She took Corey's hand, placed it against her face. She closed her eyes and sighed.

"It's like you said, 'You need to get up in their face. Just tell them how you feel."

Laney was trembling, she pressed herself against Corey's chest looking up at him with eyes full of tears and uncertainty.

"Well, I'm up in your face Core. And I'm telling you what I've always felt since I met you."

Laney closed her eyes, held onto Corey's shirt using it to boost herself up on tip toes and she soon felt a pair of lips pressing against hers. The whole time Laney never opened her eyes, she didn't want this feeling to end. It was warm and made her forget the evening chill. Before she knew it she was standing in front of him waiting for a response, a look, or anything because the silence was killing her. Corey's eyes were wide possibly trying to register what had just happened.

"Lanes...I'm really flattered...," Corey cleared his throat, "but, this...can't work."

Laney's heart felt like it was bursting she didn't want to hears this. She wanted to be blinked out of existence or have her memory erased. She thought she was keeping it together but tears were now pouring down her face. She'd taken a chance and payed dearly for it. It was all over.

"You're my best friend Lanes," he continued, "But if we get...you know...close, what's going to happen to the band? I want all of us to be cool, but...you know, we should be professional and junk. For the sake of the band."

Typical Corey, he'd always put the band first she thought, he was being selfless which made Laney feel even worse. She had wanted to be with Corey so bad that she didn't think how it would impacted all of them. She loved him more than ever knowing how passionate he was for this silly dream they'd all invested in.

"Oh Core!" Laney buried her face in his shirt sobbing, "I was being stupid and I...I didn't even think about the band!"

Corey smiled and put his arms around Laney.

"Hey don't sweat it," he said, "That took major guts what you said to me. I had no idea you were gay."

Laney stopped mid sob, "Wait- What."

"Not that I'm against that sort of thing, that's all cool," Corey reassured, "It's just that I'm into girls."

Without thinking Laney cocked her arm back and punched Corey dead in the face.