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Authors: Emma South

Writing Our Song

BOOK: Writing Our Song
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Writing Our Song: A Billionaire Romance

Emma South

 

Published by
Emma South

 

Copyright 2013 Emma South

 

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License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

Disclaimer

All characters and events are entirely fictional and any resemblances to persons living or dead and circumstances are purely coincidental.

Chapter 1

There’s a quiet terror just before walking on stage to sing.  Out there in front of a couple thousand people, anything could go wrong.  What if the equipment malfunctioned?  What if I forgot the words?  What if they didn’t like our music?

As I stood on the steps leading up to the stage I could feel my heart absolutely thundering in my chest while my knuckles turned white on the handrail.  I couldn’t go out there.  They’d have to send in the fire department with the Jaws of Life to cut me free, because damned if I was letting go.

I turned to face my dad, who had stepped in as our roadie and helped set up our equipment over the past several hours.  Without him we might not have got the gig here at this annual event celebrating Seattle’s cultural history.  We were just a high school band after all, but we were cheap.  Our sample had been impressive enough to whoever makes the decisions and so here we were at the Seattle Days Festival.

He’d be crestfallen about what I was about to say but I just couldn’t do it, not in front of this many people.  My mouth was open but no words had yet come out when he put a hand on my shoulder and gave me a snippet of the kind of sage advice that I’d come to know him for.

“If you don’t get on that stage and knock this one out of the park, you’re grounded for five years,” he said, successfully keeping a straight face.  “And I might not love you anymore.”

In an instant I felt the terror give way to laughter and my fingers released the handrail.  I could do this, I’d practiced too much to quit now.  The band,
my
band, was already on the stage, I couldn’t let them down.  With a glance around to make sure nobody was watching, I gave him a hug.

“Thanks, Dad,” I said and then turned to climb the few remaining steps.

The crowd had cheered when we were announced and other members of the band had stepped on to stage, only to quieten again while the three boys tinkered with their instruments and I had my little moment out of view to the right.  The applause began anew when I walked out and they saw I was heading for the microphone at front and center.

I stared resolutely ahead, focused only on step-one, which was getting to the mic and taking refuge behind whatever shelter the thin pole it was attached to could provide.  Once in place, I grasped the stand and stared at my feet for a moment before looking up.

We weren’t exactly playing to a packed stadium or anything, but to me it looked like an endless sea of expectant faces.  Expectant… not hostile or critical.  In fact, some of them looked downright enthusiastic, having taken advantage of the refreshments tent throughout the course of the day.

I smiled and waved, feeding off the surge of cheering like it was food for my soul and feeling that energy building up inside of me.  It was like the sound of jet engines accelerating on a runway, getting louder and louder, and even though you can see the end of the road fast approaching, it doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t matter because that sound promises something without words.  It says ‘buckle up, Beatrice, we’re about to take off’.

When I turned to each of my band members, they gave me the nod.  They were ready.  Drew Reynolds on bass, Darrin Watkins on drums and, I gulped, Blair Thompson on lead guitar.  I’d just about fainted when he asked me to audition for lead singer.

I’d had a ‘thing’ for him ever since I started high school and hadn’t even thought he knew my name.  Well, it turned out he did.  Not only that but a friend of a friend of a friend had told him I could sing after their old singer, Preston Bell, left the band over ‘creative differences’.  The creative differences were that Preston had called Drew an asshole and Drew had punched him in the face.

Blair told me right after my audition that I was the new lead singer of Apollo Gone and since then I’d been walking on air, except for when I was blushing so hard that I wanted to crawl under a rock.  Working so closely with him at band practice wasn’t easy for me.  He was quite the distraction.

His nod came with a smile and a wink that had my cheeks burning in an instant.  I glanced back to the other side to make sure my dad hadn’t noticed and then turned to the crowd, cleared my throat and took a deep breath.

“Thanks everybody, hope you’re having a good time!  I think we’ll just get right into it, this is a song you might have heard before called ‘Eight Days a Week’ by The Beatles.”

We’d practiced this song so many times we could do it in our sleep, in fact my dad had told me I actually did sing a few lines of this one while snoozing on the couch one day.  It was a good one to loosen up with, nothing too difficult, family-friendly lyrics and a well-known classic that had all the moms bouncing little kids on their hips as they swayed from side to side.

It was a carefully crafted set list, taking into consideration the time of day we had been scheduled to play.  Starting off with the more easy-listening stuff as the sun was setting, we’d transition to heavier songs as it got dark and the crowd demographics changed from a mixture of everybody to just the young and anybody else that wanted to rock out.

My fears were a distant memory by the time we were halfway through and really in the swing of things.  I was lost in the music and by the time the sun went down and our lights came on, the crowd was all but invisible.  It was just the four of us working together to make something better than any of us could do alone.  Us and that nearly unseen source of cheering.

I’d never met anybody that said they hated music, but I thought I loved it more than most.  When I was singing, singing with everything I had, it wasn’t so much about what the right words were or even what the right notes were.  It was about connecting with the song and making it
feel
right and bringing a story to life.

What was the song about?  Not just to whoever wrote it, but to
you
as the person performing it.  Was it about good times or bad?  Sex and drugs?  Sunshine and beaches?  Life or death?  Love or hate?  If you could bring the song to life for yourself, some fraction of that magic would come through for the audience and you could make them feel something.

Under it all, for me, was some current of joy, all part of doing something I loved.  It was so big that there were times during the gig that I thought I was going to burst.  If the audience felt any of that, then I was doing a good job.  That jet engine sound hadn’t been wrong, I was
flying
and there was no other feeling like it.

Everything was going so well it was hard not to imagine some local talent scout in the audience standing there with his jaw dropped wide open before he worked his way backstage ready to congratulate us on a fine performance when we finished and set up a meeting at his office for later in the week.  Of course he wouldn’t insult us with anything less than a seven figure recording contract and before we knew it, we really
would
be playing to packed stadiums.

During Blair’s guitar solo in ‘Comfortably Numb’ by Pink Floyd, I let myself get swept away in the fantasy.  Instead of just a thousand or two, or several hundred or however many people were here, I’d be sharing my joy with millions around the world.

In the heat of the moment it felt like a sure thing, as sure as the sun would come up tomorrow.  And what about the first time we perform while I’m wearing that big engagement ring on my finger?  Oh the interviews after the show!  ‘Yes!  Blair proposed and
of course
I said yes!’

I looked over at him with a smile.  He was just as lost in the music as I ever was, dragging pained ambulance-siren sounds from his guitar as he did his best to emulate the performance David Gilmour had let loose on Earl’s Court back in 1994.  It was a dream, a sweet
sweet
dream.

The last echoes of Blair’s screaming guitar rippled in the air and the stage lights dimmed, just as we had planned.  After being in the spotlights for so long, the crowd stood out clear as day to my eyes but I imagined we were now just as invisible to them as they had been to me for the past couple hours.

We waited.  I had announced ‘Comfortably Numb’ as our last song of the evening but would they clap politely or yell for an encore?  The applause started, and I heard a loud whistle from backstage plus the clear call of ‘encore’.

I didn’t dare tell my dad to be quiet lest the mic pick it up but soon others in the crowd took it up until they were all calling in unison and our decision was made for us.  We had one more song up our sleeves.  Bringing the tempo down to end the night we did a perfectly serviceable cover of Tracy Chapman’s ‘Fast Car’ and when we were done, we all lined up at the front of the stage and took a bow.

Looking over my shoulder, I saw my dad clapping more enthusiastically than anybody.  There had been several times in my life where his over-the-top support had caused me no small amount of embarrassment but this time was different.  This was no elementary school musical, no ballet recital, this was special and I couldn’t possibly begrudge him getting swept up in the moment.

One by one we filed off the stage and past my dad, who gave me a pat on the back with that special smile he used to say was only for me.  I was buzzing all over and could barely feel the ground under my feet.  I was vaguely surprised I didn’t tumble down the stairs.

To call this area ‘backstage’ would be giving it a level of recognition it didn’t really deserve.  It was behind the stage, sure, but it was really just part of the field that the stage had been set up in, there wasn’t even a temporary structure.

I dropped to my knees and then fell back on to the soft grass, catching a brief glimpse of a few stars before I covered my eyes with my hands and just listened to the ringing in my ears.  It had been so noisy for so long that even the general sound of the departing crowd on the other side of the stage was like silence.

“Not sure you’re cut out for the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, Hampton,” said Drew.  “We haven’t even trashed the hotel room yet and you’re already passed out.”

I brought my hands down to my sides and ran my fingers through the grass, seeing the three of them standing over me and looking about as ecstatic as I felt.  I held my hands up and Blair and Darrin grabbed one each, dragging me to my feet before we all went into a huddle.

“Remember this, guys, we nailed it,” said Blair.  “One day we’ll look back and see this one night as the start of something big.”

“Damn right we nailed it!” said Darrin.  “Beatrice, for somebody with such an old-lady name, you rocked!”

“Shut up, it’s my Grandmother’s name!” I said.

“Is your Grandmother a young lady?” said Darrin.

I gave him a look that should have turned him to stone... for about three tenths of a second before breaking into a smile anyway.  I was always getting crap for my name, a lot of it far less good natured than that little jibe.

“I don’t think I’m gonna sleep tonight,” said Drew.  “Who wants to grab some food once everything’s packed up?”

“Let me just check with my Dad, can I get a ride home with somebody afterwards?” I asked.

“Yeah, I can take you,” said Blair.

I broke from the huddle and went back to the stage to try and find my Dad.  It was amazing how different it was after only a few minutes.  The crowd was already mostly gone, and the area that had been solely our domain during our show was now swarming with city employees dismantling everything like ants taking pieces of food back to their nest.

One of the ants was my dad and, although most of the equipment was hired by or owned by the city, some of it and the instruments belonged to us.  So our honorary roadie was beginning to pack it up before we caught our breaths and came back to help.

“Is it OK if I go out with the others for a bite to eat once everything’s packed away?”

He gave me an exaggerated head to toe scan before replying, “Don’t you think you’ve eaten enough?”

“Dad!” I gave him a slap on the arm, “You’ll give me a friggin’ eating disorder!  I’m just going to eat a cup of ice flakes, happy now?”

“OK, good.  But home by eleven thirty, and no cocaine, just ice flakes.”

“Eleven thirty?  But that’ll only give us a little over an hour!”

“Well, a little over an hour if you left now but you’ve still got to get a lot of stuff into the van.”

“Dad!”

“OK!  Make it midnight, Cinderella, but c’mon, help an old man out, would ya?”

“Thanks!  I’ll get the others.”

I turned on my heel and was at the top of the stairs when I heard him call my name.  I looked around as I put my foot on the step to see him by Darrin’s drum kit with a smile on his face.

“You knocked it way out of the park, sunshine.”

*****

Truth be told I actually
had
eaten enough already that evening, I just didn’t want it to end.  There was a nagging suspicion at the back of my head that if I fell asleep I would wake up to find that we hadn’t performed yet and when we did we would just suck.  It was a silly notion… silly, but still there.

The others covered the major food groups of grease, sugar, meat and bread with some burgers and cokes, whereas I had just asked for a thick chocolate shake.  They had really taken the ‘thick’ part of my request to heart, when I first brought it back to our table I couldn’t even get anything through the straw and had to wait for it to melt a little bit.

BOOK: Writing Our Song
8.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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