Roman Holiday - By Ashleyn Poston Page 0,1


For a moment, all I can do is stare. Then something inside of me snaps. In two quick strides, I pick up his backpack and shove it into his chest, knocking him back in surprise. "Get out of my shithole."

"That's cute, sweetie."

"No, if you think this place is a shithole then I want you to fucking leave!"

"Jesus, calm down."

"Leave. And don't worry about coming back."

"You firin' me?" He sounds genuinely incredulous. "Who else are you gonna hire? I'm sorry sweetie, but you can't do it."

"I think I can manage. Hal!" I call over to the bouncer at the bar. "Escort him out, please?"

The bouncer, a burly guy with knuckles the size of pancakes, abandons his beer. He saunters up, towering over Danny. Watching the sound guy squirm gives me a tiny bit of satisfaction.

"I'll mail you your last check," I tell him.

"You need me, sweetie—"

"And don't" —I interrupt, flipping my pink hair over my shoulder— "call me sweetie, asshole."

He opens his mouth to retort, but Hal punches his fist into his other hand menacingly. Getting the hint, Danny pulls his backpack over his shoulder and stalks to the front door. When he throws it open, it ricochets off the wall and almost slams him back inside, but he dodges out. He whips a glare back at me before the door slams shut.

"Dumbass," I murmur and make my way over to the bar where Maggie, my best friend, is spinning herself around in one of the swivel chairs.

She stops when I come over, and puts up her fist. "Great job, bb! You sack acely."

"You have no idea how long I've dreamed of doing that." I hop onto the stool beside her, and fist-bump her hanging fist.

"Your new hair must make you bold. It's totes cute on you B-T-W. Who did it?" She winks.

I shrug casually, twirling my finger around a lock of neon pink. "Just some totally awesome best friend."

"Aw, bb, you flatter me!"

I grin before glancing back at the door. "You don't think I was too harsh?"

"Too harsh? That sleaze-ball totes deserved it. He always looks at my tits. I know they're perky and everything but ugh!" She shivers, pulling out her phone. "Totes gross."

"Totes," I laugh.

Maggie and I met in second grade. She was the new kid. I was the weird kid. A match made in heaven, really. On the first day of school, Mrs. Eller teamed us up for an in-class writing assignment—Who is the Most Influential Person In Your Life? The idea was to help each other write our own responses, but I took one look at her paper and was appalled. To be honest, I had never heard another kid call Bruce Springsteen the Boss—or even know who the rock legend was to begin with. All they talked about Britney Spears and Beyonce.

To say I was shell-shocked was the understatement of the year. To say that I wholeheartedly disagreed with her came in close second. "No way, Bon Jovi. Bon Jovi all the way!" I argued.

"Most influential? You even know what that means?" She sniffed indignantly.

"Yeah, Bon Jovi totally changed my life." Dad had taken me to a Bon Jovi concert half a year before. We had seats in the nosebleed section, but it was still the best night of my life. I refused to wash the cigarette smoke and concert sweat out of the t-shirt after. It resides in the top of my closet now. Whenever I begin to miss Dad, I pull it down and take a big whiff. It doesn't smell like him, because he constantly smelled like beer and stale Cuban cigars, but it smells like the memories of him. And that's just as good.

Maggie and I became inseparable after that essay, and learned that she wanted to be a journalist, and kept diaries like I kept music collections. We were like Velcro—she was the sticky, I was the spiky.

But then, five years ago, Roman Holiday came along.

I bet you've heard of them, probably not by name. You can't really distinguish their songs between Justin Timberlake and Maroon 5, although the front man, Roman Montgomery, does try a little ingenuity. Sad to say, I doubt he can think his way out of a paper bag, much less come up with something memorable. Nevertheless, no matter how much I fought to get her to listen to other bands—The Format, the Darkness, Motion City Soundtrack for God's sake!—she became obsessed with Roman Holiday. She went to the concerts, bought the posters, and wore the