Julia dried her tears, brought her luggage to her room, and called her mom soon after looking at her father’s picture.
“Mom! They made a whole room for me! In their house!” Julia exclaimed into her cell phone.
“Did you thank them? That is so nice!” her mother replied.
“Oh, believe me. I made sure they know how thankful I am.”
After talking about Julia’s trip, the two said their “good byes” and “I love yous” and hung up. Julia missed her mom, but having her own room made her feel more at home and less homesick.
Julia decided to go exploring. She walked down the stairs and into the hallway where the boys’ rooms were located. They hadn’t exactly shown her the inside of them. Hmm. Julia went to the first open door and looked inside. That was obviously Frankie’s room. A small bed shaped like a car was in the corner of the room. Toys were all over the floor and an empty toy box was against the opposite wall. A model airplane hung from the ceiling and hand-drawn pictures were hung on the walls.
Julia moved to the next door and took a step inside. Kevin’s room obviously. The double bed was neatly made. Three guitars sitting in their stands were in the corner. Posters of Kevin’s favorite singers and bands decorated the wall in an organized fashion. His DVD collection sat in its rack, most likely alphabetized. Julia noticed his closet door open. All of his shirts were color coordinated and his boots and sneakers lined the bottom of the floor neatly. Julia thought it was adorable how well Kevin took care of his belongings. He’d been like that for as long as she could remember.
The next room presented another open door. This had to be Joe’s room. The comforter on the double bed was pulled back and half of it was lying in the floor. Socks hung from his ceiling fan like decorations. Joe had posters on his wall just like Kevin, but his were crooked and the corners on some of them were hanging off the wall. Stacks of CDs and DVDs lay in the floor in front of his CD player. Shoes were all over the room as if he managed to slip off a pair in every possibly location. Finally, a pile of dirty clothes lay at the end of his messy bed. That was Joe for you. His mind was always moving from one thing to the next.
That only left one more room and Julia was eager to see what was inside it. She moved to the end of the hallway where there was a closed door. Julia turned the handle and let herself in. She was surprised to see Nick sitting in his computer chair talking on his cell phone. “Oh, I’m sorry!” Julia exclaimed, a bit embarrassed. She started to close the door.
“It’s ok, Julia!” Nick said, standing up. “Come back in.” Julia hesitantly came back into his room. Her cheeks were flushed and she didn’t want him to see. He put his phone back to his ear. “Hello? Oh, no. It’s Julia. I’ve told you about her before. Yeah, from New Jersey. My best friend, remember?” Nick winked at Julia “I’ve got to go. I’ll talk to you later. Bye.” Nick hung up.
“Who was that?” Julia asked.
Nick threw his phone on his double bed. “Miley.”
Julia raised her eyebrows and she felt her cheeks turn red again. Of course, Miley Cyrus. What other Miley would Nick talk to? “Oh, duh,” she said, laughing at herself.
Nick laughed too. “It’s ok.” He looked down at the floor and smiled. “You haven’t changed, have you? You still walk into people’s rooms without knocking.”
This made Julia grin. “Well, I just wanted to see your rooms. I assumed you weren’t in here.”
“It’s ok. We’re like family.”
“Well, I think I’ll knock next time anyway. You know… just in case.” She laughed and Nick laughed with her. Why did Julia feel all these butterflies in her stomach? It’s just Nick.
Nick’s phone rang again. He picked it up and looked to see who was calling. He sighed. “I have to take this call. I’ll be right back.” Nick stepped into the hallway and closed the door, leaving Julia to do what she came to do in the first place—have a look around.
As she knew and expected, Nick’s room was a mixture of Kevin and Joe’s. There was his laptop (a picture of the New York cityscape as his background), a neat stack of CDs on his desk next to his computer, a laundry basket filled with clothes, and a pile of paper on the floor with lyrics and music notes written on them. Nick’s bed was made, but the covers still seemed sloppy as if he had made his bed hastily. His guitar sat in its stand by his bed and it looked like it had a shining orb around it. On the other side of Nick’s bed was a nightstand. On the nightstand was a lamp and a picture. Julia moved closer to see if she could make it out. Once she was close enough, she instantly recognized it and she sucked in a breath.
It was a picture from last spring. The two families were having a barbecue in the Jonas’ backyard. In the picture, the background was filled with people moving around and preparing the meal. In the foreground, however, Julia and Nick sat side by side with their arms draped around one another. Their heads were leaned in towards each other and both of them had grins on their faces. Julia’s blonde hair was pulled into a ponytail and she was sporting a yellow shirt that made her face light up. Nick’s hair was as curly as ever and he was wearing a bright, red shirt. The shirts combined with the bright, green grass made the picture so vibrant and festive. It was a picture that Julia treasured and also kept in a frame in her own room.
The fact that Nick had the picture framed and had it next to his bed, made Julia’s palms start to sweat. She moved to the nightstand and picked up the picture to study it like she had done with her father’s picture.
Nick came back into his room and Julia looked up from the picture. “I have this in my room too,” she said, showing Nick what she was looking at.
Nick laughed nervously and brushed the back of his neck with his hand. “Really? I like that picture.”
“Me too. It’s a good picture.” Julia placed the photo back on Nick’s nightstand carefully.
“You look really pretty in it. The picture, I mean.”
Julia stood up straight. “Oh, thank you.” She smiled. The two stood in silence before Julia flopped on to his bed. “So, I’m loving your CD!”
“Do you? You really like it?” And with that, the two began a conversation about the boys’ new CD. Nothing could take away their bond over music.
“I come all the way from New Jersey,” Julia began, “and you’re going to play Guitar Hero?”
Kevin and Joe turned to look at Julia. Kevin popped a piece of popcorn into his mouth. “Come on, Julia. It's Guitar Hero,” Joe said.
Julia giggled. “But you play Guitar Hero all the time.” She walked over to the couch and sat between the two of them.
“This is what we do,” Kevin said very seriously. Almost too seriously.
“Mind if I play?” Julia said.
"Oh, bring it on," Joe said, immediately pausing the game and giving the guitar to Julia. Julia had only played a couple of times and she didn't think she was going to have very good hand-eye coordination. She actually did pretty well, though.
"Whoa. When did you learn to dominate, Julia?" Kevin asked.
"Yeah! Last time I checked, you were straight up losing this game," Joe said.
Julia stared at the screen, pushing the buttons along with the music. "I don't know! I must be a natural, I guess!"
“Are you guys playing Guitar Hero?” Nick asked, walking into the living room.
“Yeah, and Julia apparently rocks at it!” Joe said, acting a little more excited than he should.
Nick moved behind the couch and against the back of it. He smiled as Julia continued to excel at Guitar Hero. And for Julia, to be in that room with all three of them at the same time was a blessing.