Finally. He was getting to drive the pickup truck to school. He'd worked all summer to gain his Mom and Dad's trust.
Ever since that one time Leo scraped the right side of his sister's car when he pulled it into the garage during the hail storm, they'd been on his case about being a reckless driver.
Leonard Champion didn't focus on the right things in life. Or so he was told, but he generally didn't listen because there were songs in his head. In fact, they were everywhere. Yes, he still had to have all his keys hanging around his neck, or he wouldn't know where they were.
But things were looking up. He guessed. He awoke at four in the morning to get down to the band hall for marching band. Oh, how he wanted to be in his flipflops about now, and he would be soon.
Naturally, he went on his merry way. He didn't stop to talk to anyone. This generally meant, he was to listen, acknowledge he was listening and that was, after all, getting with the program. He didn't exactly step up to do anything, unless he was asked.
For a moment, he thought he might take a minute or two with a nap. After all, he needed to wait to let most of other teens drive off. Better safe than sorry. He remembered. He promised. No accidents.
He tooddled off in the direction closest to home. It seemed to be a rule, even if they hadn't stressed it. He knew. No, going off to Walmart or Bakers, nor anywhere in between. School and then home.
Of course, Leo wasn't looking forward to his To Do list once he got home. It would be stuck on the fridge. Maybe he could sleep walk through it, but there would be laundry, even vacuuming.
He turned the corner, and there was someone sitting on the steps of the porch.
Leo stared, but he didn't really notice who it was. He couldn't remember the last time anyone was even at his door.
He pulled in the little white pickup truck on the driveway.
Leo planned to say, "We don't want any." But he didn't. There was Henry.
Leo couldn't remember the last time he'd really seen him. Exactly. He thought he'd seen someone who looked like him, but since he didn't play the drums anymore, he was sure he didn't really know what he looked like. Not lately. Not since Henry didn't hang out with the band crowd. He'd moved on. Evidently.
"Hey." Henry got up, sort of gave him a wave.
"Hey." Leo said right back, still looking at him, as if Henry might be lost.
"So..so I..I saw, you, at the band table, yesterday." Henry stood there a bit more dazed than Leo remembered.
Leo nodded. He winced remembering something happened to Henry before summer. Leo's Mom read aloud at breakfast from the newspaper a few months ago about his ordeal, but Leo hadn't really been listening.
"Still in band?" Henry asked.
Leo didn't know why he wanted to know. He hadn't seen Henry at band practice. Leo trotted up the steps and unlocked the door. "Want some caffeine?"
Leo told him to wait right there. He wouldn't want the neighbors telling his Mom he'd had somebody over.
He came back with some Dr. Peppers. His mom wouldn't let him keep Monster drinks in the house. Not after he went on a three day marathon of Silent Hill. He just couldn't sleep.
"Are you, coming back to band?" Leo guessed it was too late for that, but it would be great to have an old timer. Since he was an old timer now. So many Freshmen. It wasn't even funny.
"I don't think so." Henry shook his head, no.
Leo set down on the steps and popped the tab. Henry sat next to him and popped his tab too and took a sip.
It was quiet which Leo didn't mind. He'd been Henry's friend once. They usually talked about band stuff. Henry liked to tease him about being Steve Buscemi and Brad Pitt's love child.
Henry was the popular one. Leo guessed he wasn't much of a friend to anyone. He didn't know why, but then he hadn't really cared to know why. Leo usually did things by himself.
"I just wanted to ask you something." Henry wasn't his usual smiling self.
Leo only nodded, wondering what it could be. He took another sip of his drink.
"I saw you." Henry sighed. "At..at this party.." He closed his eyes as if he might be upset. "I don't know..why.." He took a moment in thought. Henry bit his bottom lip as if he shouldn't even ask, but then he did. "Why didn't you..why didn't you, try to save me?"
Leo looked at him. Startled. He pushed his fingers back through his auburn hair.
"I dunno." He first said. How could he explain it? "I didn't know..you'd be there. I didn't think.." Leo winced as if he were the horrible one now. "I only went for the music, OK?" He couldn't help but eyeball Henry. Leo wasn't in to drugs. He remembered how scared he'd been. "I'd heard that..that this band I've been wanting to see, was there. But they weren't there. And..and I didn't know there was going to be drugs. I didn't know any of that." He'd slipped away before he thought anyone knew he was in the basement of some old vacant building. "I guess, I thought you'd be mad at me..if..if I-I-said..anything to you."
Leo didn't really know what was going on with Henry. He still didn't know. Exactly.
"So what did happen?" He looked at Henry.
Henry only shook his head. He didn't want to talk about it.