I Was Born for This
‘Yeah. It happens all the time to celebrities. Fans break in and just … spy on them. Take photos. Steal a couple of things, maybe. I’ve heard so many horror stories about K-pop band members where they got home and there’d be a fangirl hiding in their wardrobe or they’d wake up in the middle of the night and there’d just be a girl watching them from the other side of the room—’
‘Lister,’ says Rowan sharply without looking towards us, but it’s too late. My palms have started to sweat again. A fangirl, dying to know whether Jowan is real, sneaks into our apartment and hides, waiting for the proof that she desperately wants. And we hand it right to her after falling asleep midway through a Brooklyn Nine-Nine marathon. Next, she installs a camera in our bathroom, films us naked, posts it online. Then there’s a camera in our bedroom, which films us doing other stuff, personal stuff. Then she hides in my wardrobe, ready to step out and stab me in the neck –
‘Jimmy,’ says Lister, snapping his fingers in front of my face. ‘You’re spacing out.’
‘It’s not a big deal. You know what? I bet you just fell asleep when we were having a party and forgot about it and someone walked in and thought you looked cute.’
I don’t believe him.
All I can see is some girl waiting to kill me in a wardrobe.
Rowan continues to give Lister the silent treatment for the rest of the flight. He still thinks Lister took the photo.
The shipping itself isn’t a major inconvenience to any of us. If anything, it keeps the fans interested. They think Judgement Day will eventually come and there’ll be a big reveal that Rowan and I are secretly in love.
There won’t. We’re not.
I suppose sometimes it makes me feel a bit awkward. Knowing that a fair percentage of the people who come to meet us or see our concerts have probably read extremely explicit fanfiction about me and my best friend having sex. I got curious once and had a look at some of it, which was a mistake, because it just made me feel really uncomfortable.
But it doesn’t matter. They keep believing and we know the truth and keep on going. Nothing really changes and everyone is happy. So that’s fine.
Lister escaped most of the fanfiction stuff, somehow. He’s always been a bit separate from Rowan and me. Rowan and I are generally considered attractive, by magazines and blogs and stuff, but Lister is so lusted over that he’s been asked to model for Gucci four times. Rowan and I have been friends since we were seven, but we only met Lister when we were thirteen. Rowan and I wanted to start a band, and we forced Lister to be part of it at the last minute because he was the only kid we knew who could play the drums.
It’s always sort of been Rowan and Jimmy, plus Lister.
We still love him of course.
But that’s just the way it is.
When we land at Gatwick and start collecting our stuff together, Lister walks over to Rowan, perching on his table, and says, ‘Come on, Ro, you know I wouldn’t do something like that.’
Rowan shrugs and doesn’t meet Lister’s eyes. ‘It doesn’t matter.’
Lister stands up and wraps his arms round Rowan’s chest. ‘Ro Ro. Don’t be angry at me. I’ll do the washing-up for a week.’
Rowan can’t stop himself smiling. ‘There’s a higher chance of The Ark winning Best Country Artist than you doing the washing-up for a single day.’
Lister lets him go and smiles and, for the moment, all seems to be forgiven, but when Lister skips away to his own chair, I watch Rowan’s smile fade away into nothing.
‘And they’re giving you enough to eat?’ asks Dad.
‘No, Dad, they’re refusing to give me any food and I’m having to survive on the packet of crisps you gave me yesterday.’
‘Well, that would make quite an adventure, at least.’
I sigh heavily and lean against the hallway wall, switching my phone to my other hand.
‘You don’t need to worry. I’m having a good time.’
‘I know,’ says Dad. ‘But after that big argument with your mother yesterday … I just wanted to check up on you. And she’s been telling me all about this TV show Clownfish—’
‘I think it’s called Catfish, Dad.’
‘Well, according to your mother, whatever kind of fish it is, it’s one that could kidnap you and sell you into sexual slavery.’
‘Juliet and I have talked to each other on Skype loads before now. She’s very nice and is looking after me perfectly fine and she isn’t a middle-aged man looking to drug and kill me.’
Dad laughs. ‘I’m very glad to hear that.’
‘Is Mum still angry at me?’
‘I think so, yes. She was typing very loudly at her computer this morning.’
We both laugh.
‘I think,’ says Dad, ‘she’s just frustrated because she feels like you’ve been keeping this from her.’
‘I talk about The Ark all the time. I don’t know why this was a surprise.’
‘Fereshteh, it was a little bit of a surprise to me too.’
‘I suppose … I suppose I never thought you actually cared about this band that much. And to see you just … just start shouting at your mother like that—’
‘She shouted at me too!’
‘I know, I know. But I’ve never seen you so angry, my girl. You’re not a naturally angry person. It was a bit of a shock for everyone.’
There’s a pause. I guess it had been a major argument. One of the worst I’ve had with my parents. I usually get along with my parents really well. I don’t tell them everything about my life, obviously, but I share stuff with them and we have a laugh sometimes.
But the argument yesterday. I can sort of see why Mum and Dad were a bit taken aback.
‘Well, sorry, I guess,’ I say. ‘This is just really important to me.’
‘I know,’ he says. ‘I know. But we’re worried it might be too important.’
‘What does that mean?’
‘Well … more important than your education.’
‘I told you, that school leavers’ ceremony thing isn’t important—’
‘Not just that. You are growing up now, my girl. You’ll be studying at university, then finding yourself a job, starting a new life. And we just want to make sure … you have that in mind too. Because all you seem to talk about or care about is this boy band.’