A/N I had no plans on starting a new AH fic, but, this idea popped into my head and refused to go away. I will say that I was inspired by three other fics that feature our favorite characters as musicians. These stories are: Good Girls & Bad Boys by Schafer; Nothing Personal by ohfortuneslost; and Last Request by MegsMoke. This wonderful writers inspired me, but I want to point out that I am not in any way trying to copy or steal what they've already done. PS, I don't own any of the characters, just the storyline. Enjoy and let me know what you think!!!
"Eric?!? Have you even heard a single word I've said?" Eric Northman turned away from the window to look at his best friend, Lafayette. Lafayette was currently behind the wheel of his Mazda 6, speeding down the interstate, and Eric felt slightly uncomfortable as he noticed that Lafayette was watching him instead of the road.
"Laf, watch the road, not me. No, I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention. What were you saying?"
Lafayette let out a loud sigh. "Eric, you need to put your game face on. It's time for you to start taking things seriously, again. I know you're having a bit of a rough time, but, it's been a year. And, if we don't get our asses in gear, we'll be dropped from the label, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if we were sued for breach of contract."
Eric simply nodded his head, and turned to look back out the window. "Yeah, I know. And, I promise you that by the time we get to the club, I'll be ready for this. But, until then, just let me think, okay?"
As far as Eric could tell in the dark car, Lafayette rolled his eyes, but nodded in agreement. Eric once again turned and watched the scenery go by. He let his mind drift back to the past, as it had so many times recently.
He'd been born and raised in Sweden. He was an only child, and although his parents spoiled him with material goods, they very sparingly gave him their love. So, it did not come as a big surprise when, at the age of 16, they informed him that he would be moving to Shreveport, Louisiana to live with his Aunt Amelia and her son, Clancy.
Amelia, a recent divorcee, was his mother's only sister. Her husband, Claude, had come home from work one day, informed his wife that he'd decided he was gay, and left his family without another word. Amelia had been a bit of a wreck after Claude left, and had mentioned to her sister that she was having a hard time taking care of Clancy all on her own.
Well, of course, her sister immediately offered to send her own son to stay with them. Everyone knew that the real reason was because having a child interfered with her social life too much, but, they kept that fact hidden from view. So, Eric packed up his things, and moved in with his depressed Aunt, and his 13 year old cousin.
Eric knew that moving to a new place wouldn't be easy. But, he didn't quite comprehend how difficult it was actually going to be, since he was moving to a completely different country, and he would be staying with family he barely knew. Amelia tried to help make the transition easier on him, and it did help, even if just a little.
He was shocked at the types of attention he got from his classmates on his first day at his new school. The girls all batted their eyes, and tried to flirt with him. The boys wanted nothing to do with him. But, who could blame them. He was the new kid, a novelty in a small town. Plus, he was already well over 6 feet tall, had long blonde hair, blue eyes, and the physique of someone who'd spent countless hours in the gym.
It did surprise him, though, that the first person to actually make an effort to get to know him was the only other person in their graduating class to stand out like a sore thumb. Lafayette Reynolds was a wonderfully flamboyant, make-up wearing gay man who made absolutely no apologies for who or what he was. Eric found his attitude to be very refreshing, and they became great friends very quickly.
They were able to do the majority of their bonding, however, over their mutual love of writing and playing music. Eric was pretty good at guitar and piano, but his true passion was singing. Lafayette, on the other hand, played the bass guitar like nobody's business. The two of them spent countless hours messing around in the garage at Eric's home, learning to play everything they heard on the radio, and writing songs of their own, as well.
This continued until they graduated from high school, but unfortunately, died down a little after that. Eric was attending classes at LSU Shreveport, and since Lafayette couldn't afford college, he took on a full-time job. They still got together to play as often as they could, but, didn't take it as seriously. That is, until Lafayette brought a friend from work over one day.
Lafayette had been working for the parish road department, and had struck up an odd friendship with one of his coworkers, Alcide Herveaux. As it turned out, Alcide was quite the drummer, and he began spending his spare time working on music with Eric and Lafayette.
The three of them talked often about their desires to actually do something with their music. But, something always held them back. If Eric was honest with himself, it was his own insecurity, really. He didn't think he was strong enough on guitar to really do their songs any justice. So, they mostly played for themselves, and only occasionally performed in front of an audience.
They rehearsed every Saturday afternoon, without fail. One weekend, Lafayette called Eric to ask if he would pick him up for practice, because Lafayette's car had a flat, and Alcide was running late. Eric had of course gone, and when they pulled into the driveway, they were shocked at what they heard. Either someone had turned some really loud music on, or, someone was playing the guitar in the garage. No, not just playing, but playing incredibly well.
They were both shocked when they entered the garage to find that it was Eric's cousin, Clancy. Eric knew that Clancy had taken a few lessons, but, he had no idea at how talented his cousin actually was. And the rest, as they say, was history. The four of them began writing and performing as often as they could. They were lucky enough to be approached by an agent. Pamela Ravenscroft looked like a middle-class soccer mom, which was the most likely reason that people underestimated her. She was tough as nails, and could negotiate with the best of them. Thanks to Pam, it wasn't long before Shades of Dawn was the newest band signed by Bon Temps Records, based out of New Orleans.
Things began happening faster than any of them could've ever imagined. A few months after being signed, they were touring nationally as the opening act for the label's biggest acts, and were lucky enough to churn out two albums in three years. However, it was during their first headline tour that everything went wrong.
They had been on the road for five months straight, and were set to play in Seattle for two nights, and then go home for a much needed six week break. Eric and Clancy spoke to Amelia on the phone at least once a week. By this time, Eric was 22, and seemed very mature for his age, but, Clancy was still very much a teenager at 19. Amelia constantly worried about her son, and Eric promised time and again to always watch out for him. They had grown very close, and Eric looked at Clancy more as a brother than just a cousin.
They had arrived in Seattle a night early, and, since it was his first time in the city, Clancy wanted to hit the town. Eric opted to stay at the hotel and catch up on his sleep, and encouraged Clancy to just go out and have a good time by himself. He would never forgive himself for what happened. When he went to get his cousin the next day for sound check, there was no answer at Clancy's door. So, he eventually got the concierge to let him into the room. When he entered the room, Eric found his cousin dead. Weeks later, it would be concluded that Clancy had overdosed on meth and cocaine.
Eric was completely distraught. He allowed himself to become a recluse, rarely leaving home. Amelia told him over and over again that she didn't blame him, but, Eric certainly blamed himself. If he'd only gone out with Clancy that night, he thought, he would've stopped him from taking what he did.
Shades of Dawn had ended up canceling a European tour, and indefinitely postponed the release of an album they'd almost finished recording at the time of Clancy's death. Pam told them to take however long they needed to grieve before returning to their music. Apparently though, it wasn't as much of an open timeline as they'd thought.
Nine months after the tragedy, Pam said that the head of the label, Sophie-Anne LeClerq, was beginning to get impatient, and needed for them to get back into the swing of things. They began auditioning new guitarists, but, Eric said no to every prospect they found. Everyone knew that he was doing this because he didn't want to think that his cousin could be replaced.
"We're here," Lafayette said, once again bringing Eric's mind back to the present. Eric looked up to see that they had indeed pulled into the parking lot of a small club just outside of Shreveport. He took the time to note that the parking lot was completely full.
As the two of them got out of the car and began walking towards the club, Lafayette took it upon himself to remind Eric of their goal for the evening. "Okay, so Pam said that she saw this band play last week in Monroe, and that word is they're calling it quits, soon. Apparently, two of the band members were dating, and one was caught cheating. Rumor is they can hardly stand to be in the same room anymore. This is their home turf, so, it's more or less their farewell performance I guess you could say. She said that the lead guitarist completely blew her away. She actually used the words 'the next John Mayer.'"
Eric gave Lafayette a skeptical look. "If this guy's that good, how come he's playing in a hick bar in a Podunk town?"
"Hey, it wasn't that long ago that we were playin' hick bars, so shut it." Eric smiled at his friend, and just rolled his eyes a little.
If the bouncer at entrance to the bar recognized either of them, he didn't let it show. Eric found it nice to feel anonymous in a world where it seemed everyone recognized his face and voice. He relished the ambience of the room as he and Lafayette made their way towards the bar. It was just like any other small bar, in any other town. Full of people who all know each other, clouds of cigarette smoke thick in the air and the smell of stale alcohol everywhere you turned.
Once they reached the bar, they both ordered a beer, and began to scan the crowd for Alcide, who was supposed to meet them. They could see that a band was setting up on stage, but didn't give it much thought for the time being. There was more than one band playing that night, and until Pam arrived, they had no way of knowing which one they'd come for. They finally spotted Alcide, who waved, and came to join them at the bar.
"Where the hell is Pam? I don't wanna be here all damn night," Alcide said once he'd reached them.
"She should be here any minute, if she's not here already," Lafayette answered. Pam had a reputation for being extremely detail oriented, and was never late for anything. It had annoyed her to no end that every member of the band seemed to be very good at procrastinating.
They heard the tell-tale 'pop' of a sound system switching on, and figured the band was now ready to perform. However, they didn't bother to look at the stage, still scanning the crowd for any sign of Pam.
"Well now, how's everyone doin' tonight?" came a small feminine voice through the speakers. Eric turned to look, and was a little taken back by what he saw. She was not what he expected when he heard her speak. She sounded so full of Southern Charm, like a sweet little debutante, but she certainly didn't look the part. She was maybe 5'6", with long blonde hair that was pulled back into a sloppy ponytail. She wore a deep red tank top, black cargo pants, and black Vans. Her eyes had been made-up with dark shadow and liner, achieving a very sensual smoky look.
"Well, most of y'all know that this is going to be our farewell performance, so let's not waste any time and get right down to brass tax, shall we?" So, Eric thought, this is the band they came to see. He turned his head and made a quick nod to Lafayette and Alcide to make sure they caught that as well.
The band consisted of four members. The blonde woman at the microphone, a similar looking blonde man on drums, a thin-looking man with shaggy reddish-brown hair on bass guitar, and a pale man with dark brown hair on lead guitar. Eric closely watched the dark haired man, assuming he's the one Pam was interested in auditioning.
The crowd began to cheer as the familiar beginning of "Come Together" filled the air.
It was more of a bluesy, rock arrangement than Eric had heard before, and he enjoyed it. When the blonde opened her mouth to sing, he was more than a little impressed. Her voice was raw and husky, and had a sort of raspy quality to it. She moved her hips to the beat as she sang, and made use of every available bit of space on the stage, moving around quite a bit.
She was almost oblivious to the crowd as she sang. She was in her own world, and it was a sight to behold. She looked completely relaxed and comfortable on stage. She seemed to be one of those people that were entertaining to watch not because of their skill in what they did, but rather their own personal enjoyment of it. It was sexy as hell. She interacted with the bass player and drummer while she sang, but kept distance between herself and the dark-haired guitar player. Eric figured they were the two who had been dated, and which one was the cheater.
When the song ended, the crowd went absolutely nuts. Lafayette leaned over to Eric and Alcide, and said, "Damn, if I was in to women, I'd be in her pants in a heartbeat!" Eric and Alcide just laughed.
"Hey, there's Pam," Alcide said, and Eric and Lafayette turned to look in the direction he was indicating. Once Eric was sure that she had seen them and was on her way to join them, he allowed his attention to return to the stage. He was surprised to see that the woman also had a guitar now, and that the dark-haired man was at the mic. You don't normally see a band with a female guitarist, unless the band is all women.
They began playing another song, but it wasn't anything that Eric was familiar with. The new singer had a good enough voice, but it wasn't enough to really make him stand out in a crowd. He thought they would've done better if they'd left the woman at the mic. When it came to the break in the song, Eric's eyes were drawn once again to the woman with the guitar. He was mesmerized. Her fingers flew over the fingerboard, and her pic hand went so fast, it was barely a blur. She was playing some very difficult riffs, and she was making it look easy.
The song was just ending when Pam finally reached Eric, Lafayette, and Alcide. "Parking in this hell hole is atrocious," she said, by way of greeting. She asked the bartender for a shot of bourbon, and drank it down before turning back to the men again. "So," she said, nodding to the band on stage, "what did you all think?"
"Not too bad," Lafayette said. Pam cocked one eyebrow, clearly not getting the response she'd expected.
"He's okay, but it's not really anything to write home about," Eric added.
Pam laughed. "Oh, it's not him I brought you here to see. It's her," Pam said, nodding towards the woman. They all seemed surprised at this. "Her name is Sookie Stackhouse, and I'd bet good money she's the best guitar player you'll find in the state." She couldn't help but laugh at the look of complete shock on all of their faces.