tagRomanceHow Do You Like Me Now?

How Do You Like Me Now?

bysweeteuphoria©

Note from the Author:

To all the picky readers out there, "Thank you!" This is the edited version of my original story. I would like to thank those who kindly pointed out my errors.

You may have noticed that michchick98 also submitted a story with the same title. We both had the same idea inspired by the Toby Keith song entitled, "How Do You Like Me Now?" and agreed to write separate stories and compare how different our ideas actually were. Please take the time to check out her version of this story, she can be found through my favorites. Thanks for reading me, don't forget to vote.

*

Summer 2007

"Okay dad. I got the tickets for the concert next weekend," Jessie said excitedly, darting in the front door.

"Are you sure you want to go to that concert with your old man, son?"

"Yeah, it'll be fun dad. My friends think you are the coolest dad around and besides, you need to get out even if it's just a night out with your kid," Jessie replied as he patted his dad's shoulder, knowing how lucky he was.

Jessie, still in junior high, was proud of his dad. He knew how difficult his life had been raising a child on his own. His mom died in a car accident when he was just a baby. His parents met in high school and married the day after they graduated; five months later they discovered she was pregnant.

>>>

After the death of his wife, in 1994, Noah still a teenager himself, contemplated giving his son up for adoption, but when it came to signing the final papers making the adoption legal Noah declined.

"I know I can do this. Yes, it will be rough for a while, but he's all I have left. I know his mother wouldn't have even considered the idea if the roles were reversed and she was on her own," Noah told the woman holding the legal papers.

Noah was an only child himself and his parents had passed three years prior, but he did have friends from high school who helped out whenever they could. Noah had never remarried. He dated some, but never found anyone who could make him feel the way his wife did.

He had help from his in-laws on occasion, but they were distant with him and didn't agree with his plan to keep the baby after the death of their daughter. "It would be best for the welfare of the child," they'd always tell him. The last time they saw him was for Jessie's tenth birthday after that they went their separate ways and Noah raised Jessie alone.

>>>

"Hey Jess, what bands are we going to see at the concert?"

"Dad, how many times do I have to tell you? There will be a lot of bands, some popular and some local garage bands. I don't even think I have heard all of them yet. If you are worried you won't like it I can ask Joey to go with me instead."

"Not on your life, boy. I'm looking forward to a night out and I can't think of anyone else I'd rather be spending time with. What time do we have to be there?"

"The gates open at six-thirty, but the concert doesn't start 'til eight pm. I think Stewie said it takes about forty-five minutes to get there."

"Well then, I guess I had better get supper started so we can eat before we have to leave. I don't want to spend a fortune in food at the concession stands."

"Okay dad, call me when supper's ready. I'll be in my room," Jessie finished as he walked out of the kitchen and down the hallway to his bedroom.

>>>>

"Finally he's getting out of the house. He's been spending too much time here with me," Jessie thought to himself as he powered up his computer. "I sure hope this works."

After the browser loaded, Jessie clicked the shortcut for the want ads. He had placed an online singles ad in the local paper searching for a woman for his dad. The page popped up without delay and Jessie immediately noticed there were three new messages.

He clicked on the first message and read it, "Hello Noah. I am also a single parent. I love to party and life just isn't the same without a good party. I'd love to meet you and have some fun. I'm not looking for anything serious because I've been married five times already." The words 'married five times' blurted off the screen and Jessie instantly deleted that message and clicked on the next.

The second message was a bit more normal, but not his dad's type. "I don't think dad would like going to the beach naked. Sorry lady," he typed in the reply to the email. "Dang! This is hard work. Why are these women so strange? Aren't there any normal ladies around anymore?"

Jessie was searching for someone like his mom. Although he didn't remember her personally, his dad had photos and slides of her when she was a kid and when they dated. His dad wanted Jessie to know as much about her as he could and they viewed the pictures often when he was a youngster.

The advertisement had another three days left, but Jessie was becoming impatient. "I can't quit now. He's never going to get out there and meet somebody nice on his own, I just know it."

Jessie closed that page and opened his email to see if he had anything new from his friends. "Oh yeah! She actually responded! I can't fricken believe it!" Jessie said as he rubbed his eyes and glanced back at the screen.

Scrolling down to the entry that had him freaking out, he clicked on it. When the message opened in a separate window Jessie scooted close to the screen and began to read.

"Hello CoolSingleDad. I enjoyed reading through your ad. Like you, I live in the town I grew up in. I've learned many lessons throughout my life. I left for a while in search of myself, not realizing I was truly myself when at home doing what I loved the most. Eventually after many ups and downs I settled on my one true passion, music."

"I would love to meet you in person. With hoping you get this in time, I'm saving two backstage passes at the ticket counter for you and your guest. When you get there just tell them your username and the passes are yours. Looking forward to our meeting. Sincerely, Kellie."

Jessie quickly typed a reply, "Dear Kellie, I look forward to meeting you in person. It's been too long since I've been out on a date, so please excuse my nervousness in advance. I will be at the concert with my son. He got seats in the front row. I can't wait to see his face when he sees the passes. Thanks a bunch. Well then, I will see you tonight. Break a leg."

Jessie was so excited he almost forgot to spell check his message. When everything was set to go he clicked send and just in time too, because he heard his dad calling him for dinner. He closed all windows and put his computer in hibernation so he could immediately get back online later and tell his best pal about the concert.

Jessie had been planning dates for his dad for a couple years now, ever since he got his new laptop with internet capabilities. Jessie was a sneaky little kid and would review the singles ads weekly. His favorite location for a date was at the park where he and his dad frequently visited for a few games of Frisbee or to toss the ball around.

After Jessie confirmed a date he would make plans for his dad to go with him to the park. When Jessie spotted the single female he would make himself scarce. Fortunately for Jessie, his dad never caught on to his son's sneaky behavior; but unfortunately the dates never worked out past the initial meeting.

Tonight was an exception though. The woman Jessie was trying to set his dad up with would be at the same concert. His dad was unaware that Jessie had scored backstage passes. He knew the band was from the same town Noah grew up in, but little did Jessie know his dad already knew this woman.

>>>

Spring 1992

Kellie was a plain girl, a loner type. She had a few good friends, but they were stereotyped as she was. A good student, always making A's and B's, Kellie was in the chess club as well as the chemistry and Foreign language clubs for extra credit. She was good enough that her teachers often recommended her for tutoring students in whatever subject they needed assistance.

Kellie did it because she didn't want to let her teachers down, but she always hated those tutoring sessions, especially with the jocks. They treated her like dirt and she let them, never defending herself.

One particular boy would bribe her to do his homework and if she refused he would do awful things to her. There was always a rumor going around the school about Kellie and her attitude, hygiene, choice of fashion and even one that she was gay.

The 'popular click' gave her a nickname in her junior year. "Smelly Kellie" was the most popular name used and to make matters worse they would usually make up a rhyme or some other derogatory statement to go with it as if the nickname wasn't degrading enough.

"Hey Peter, here comes your girl. Yep, that's the girl you should ask to the next dance," one of the kids would say as Kellie walked past.

His response, "Hell no, do you think I'm crazy? I might have problems getting a date now and then, but I'd rather sit home with my grandmother than be caught out in public with her. I don't blame the guys in this school or any other school for not asking her out. Would you want to be seen kissing someone who looks like a guy? I sure as hell wouldn't."

Kellie was tall and lanky, her figure resembling that of a boy. She had yet to develop the curves or even breasts that would distinguish her as a female. Her hair was long and thick, lacking style; hanging down her back and in her face when she bent forward. Her lips were full, but that was only because her mouth was full of teeth and those were covered in metal braces.

Her tomboy clothing came from the discount stores or the salvation army because of her mother, a single parent and just fifteen years Kellie's senior was unable to afford much else and she had never been seen in a dress or skirt because she was embarrassed about her boyish figure.

Kellie's school years were difficult, but her mother forbid her to work, "Your grades are much more important than keeping up with the newest fashions. You are still a kid and I want you to be able to enjoy these few years you have left," her mother always said.

Kellie was thankful for her mother's guidelines because that gave her more opportunities to explore her interests; that's when she discovered the guitar. Walking home from school one Friday, she took a shortcut through the alley behind the school.

The sound echoed louder off the trees and garages as she neared. She stopped and hid behind the open door of the garage where the music came from. Trying to remain quiet, she pressed her cheek to the wood of the door, not wanting to be seen. All her efforts failed her though and she was spotted.

"Who's there?" a male voice crackled.

Kellie tried to back away, but the kids tricked her by walking around to the back of the garage and caught her. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to disturb you guys. I just heard the music and it sounded good. I wanted to hear more," she mumbled through her braces.

"Didn't anybody ever tell you it's not a good idea to walk down the alley by yourself, girlie?" one of the other kids said, as he looked her over.

"Not bad, but a bit too skinny for me," another said and then continued, "How old are you kid?"

"I will be eighteen in three weeks, why does it matter how old I am? I was only watching."

"It doesn't really, I was just asking. Don't bite my head off. Slim here is the oldest. Me and Skip are eighteen," Nick replied before turning toward Skip and Slim.

The next time she spoke she moved backward slightly. "I—I was just on my way home fr--om school and heard the mu--," she said quietly before being interrupted when Slim coughed. She stumbled with her words and her footing as she adjusted the heavy book bag on her back.

"Oh great, now these guys think you're a geek too, just like the kids at school. Nice going genius. When are you ever going to learn how to talk?" she thought to herself as the guys headed back into the garage.

"Well, are you gonna come in or what?" Nick asked from inside the garage.

"Really? Oh cool! Thanks!" she mumbled again, pulling her bottom lip away from the protruding metal wire of her lower braces and walked in. The garage was quite roomy even with the instruments set up.

"Do you play?"

"Well, not exactly. I play by sight on the piano, but my favorite is the electric guitar. I love the sounds musicians can get it to make," she answered with a slight giggle of embarrassment as she covered her flushed face.

"Here, give it your best shot!" Nick said, handing her the extra guitar from the corner.

"Oh no, you can't be serious! I said I couldn't play. It will sound awful I know it will."

Kellie surprised herself and the other members of the band; she wasn't all that bad on the guitar. She followed Slim's lead and before she knew it she was playing for real.

"I have to be getting home now, but thanks a lot for letting me sit in."

"No problem, come back tomorrow and we'll see what else you can do," Nick said.

"We need another player, but mostly a singer. None of us can sing and our lead singer just left us hanging," Slim added.

Nick walked her home and while they walked he learned as much about her as he could. He discovered her favorite genres after rock were country and easy listening. Their band played mostly easy listening, but always wanted to try country.

"So, will we see you tomorrow, Kellie?" Nick asked as she walked to her door.

"Yeah, sure. It sounds like fun."

>>>

"Damn, that girl can really sing! I never would have expected that voice to come from that body," Slim said as the guys decided together that asking Kellie to join their band would be a great step forward.

"Mom! Hey mom! You'll never guess what happened to me today on my was home from school!" Kellie shouted excitedly throughout the house in search of her mother.

"What's all that hollering for young lady?" her mom asked coming up the stairs from the basement, with a basket of folded laundry.

"I can hardly believe it myself, but I was asked to be in a band! Two of the three members are still in high school and I'm guessing the other guy is only 19 or so. They practice in Nick's garage, he lives a couple blocks from school."

Kellie paused to see the reaction on her mom's face then continued, "It will be a welcomed change from the boring groups at school," she said as she grabbed a snack from the counter and headed to her bedroom. She quickly finished her homework as she daydreamed about playing in a real band.

>>>

Kellie arrived at Nick's bright and early Saturday morning, actually it was afternoon, but to the guys it felt like morning as they straggled in sleepy eyed and yawning.

"Hey Kellie, I hope you don't have anything planned for next Saturday," Nick said as she entered the garage ready to play.

"Okay, I don't, but why?" She asked hoping what she thought he meant was actually the reason.

"We have our first gig Saturday at a small club in Hamtramck. It's not a good paying gig, but we will get exposure if nothing else."

>>>

"I think you should go for it Kell! He's gorgeous and as far as I know he's not going with anyone to the Spring Fling," Jo giggled, daring her best friend to ask the most handsome guy in the school to take her to the dance.

"Oh no, you've got to be kidding me! He doesn't even know I'm alive, much less that I have a crush on him. He surely has a girlfriend. If he doesn't, then there must be something wrong with him, don't ya think."

"I mean look at him, really look at him. Besides being handsome, he's the captain of the basketball team; he's on the baseball and football teams too. I bet he's dating one of the cheerleaders. What could you possibly think he would have in common with me?"

This had been the ritual for the past three years and now as the kids entered their senior year of high school nothing would change. Kellie secretly had a crush on Noah for the past six years, although her friends only knew about the last three.

She took up music and was nominated for the choir because of her singing talents and whenever there was a performance she made certain she knew exactly where Noah was sitting so she could sing to him and hopefully make eye contact. She even went as far as taking the same classes he did so she could be closer to him.

Once in a while Kellie would go out with her girlfriends, but that was just for a school event and then it was right back home for her. This lifestyle didn't bother Kellie too much because she had a hobby she loved.

While the other kids her age were out on dates, hanging around the parks or at the mall, Kellie would be practicing her guitar. She had even written a few songs and eventually took her music to the band members.

>>>

"Shirley, I think I found the band for prom! I heard them when I went out with Sam last weekend. He took me to this little dive in Hamtramck. They feature local bands and the one we heard was quite good.

It shouldn't cost too much because of its size, only four members. I can't recall the name, but Sam has it. I will give them a call and see if they would be willing to do a tryout this weekend."

The band agreed to the session and said they would only charge $100.00. Kellie was unaware of this agreement until they pulled up at her school.

"What are we doing here?"

"We have a potential gig scheduled for the end of the month and the kids here want to see what we sound like," Slim said as he parked and started to remove the equipment from the back of the truck.

"I never agreed to this!" Kellie shouted, refusing to go in the building.

"What's the deal with her all of a sudden?"

"Didn't you know? She's still in high school and this is her school you idiot."

"I knew she was still in school, but I didn't picture her as a good Catholic girl. Know what I mean?"

"She might not be a good Catholic girl, but these are her classmates. I will have a talk with her and see if I can change her mind."

"Hey girl, wait up!" Nick shouted as he chased after her. "C'mon, this is a paid gig! You can do it. Besides, didn't you say the kids in your school don't even know you exist?"

Nick cornered her, placed his hands on her shoulders and with his most serious expression continued, "I think it's time you show them you do exist and you are on your way to stardom! I overheard Slim tell a guy he was trying to get a local recording studio to tape us so we will have a CD to give out."

"Really? Well, I suppose I can give it a try, but if anyone starts making fun of me I'm outta there, got it? I didn't have a date for this anyway. At least now I get to go without looking stupid," Kellie giggled as she turned and walked back to the van and helped unload the equipment.

"Hello," Slim started, but then hesitated, "We're um --- uh ---"

Kellie took over when the girls became impatient. "Hey there. If you don't know me I'm Kellie Price and we are THREE GUYS AND A GEEK and we are ready to play for you if you are ready to listen." With that, Kellie slid her pick across the strings of her guitar and the band joined in, just as they rehearsed back in the garage.

The band played three songs total, two fast and one slow. Kellie sang for all three songs but only played guitar for two. They did one song for each genre they were interested in; which included one of Kellie's originals.

The girls listening seemed amazed and impressed with what they heard from the band and it was unanimous; the band was selected as the band for the prom.

"What the hell were you thinking Kel? Couldn't you have come up with a better name for us?" Slim shouted as they loaded the van and headed back to the garage.

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