Chapter 1 - Let's Start A Band
("Let's Start A Band" - Amy Macdonald)
Justin and Alex Russo sat on the couch in their living room, both of them trying to come to grips with the fact that Max, their younger brother, had just won the wizard competition.
Alex's legs were in her brother's lap, her head at the other end of the couch, and for once he wasn't trying to shove them off. Instead, his arms rested casually across her lower legs, as though it were something that he had always been okay with, and it truly did seem that he was fine with it.
Alex watched as Justin ran a hand through his hair, a small look of incredulity still plastered across his lips.
"So…Max. Wow. Who woulda thought?"
Alex smiled at Justin's words, glad that for once in her life she had seen something that he hadn't.
"Okay, one: I think he deserves it," she said, lifting her hand and counting off her points. "Two: he's unpredictable which always made him a threat in my book. And three…seriously, Justin? How did you not see this one coming?"
She started to giggle, but a small slap on her calf had her retaliating in a small kick to his thigh.
He gave her a rueful look, but she ignored it, instead looking intently at her nails as though they held answers in them.
Justin sighed and then absentmindedly rubbed the spot on his sister's leg that he'd just abused.
"I…" He started to speak and then paused, obviously distracted and disturbed by everything that had happened. "I don't know. I guess…I guess I just thought for the longest time, that I was going to be the family wizard, you know? And now that I don't have my powers, I feel…less."
At that, Alex wisely stayed silent. He wasn't alone in that feeling.
She knew what he meant by "less."
Magic had always been something that she'd taken for granted and usually only used to prank her brothers or get her own way, but now she sort of realized that it had been a part of her in a much deeper way. It was as though the part of her that knew that she was special was…gone.
But at the same time, she felt that she was ready to take on the world as a normal person.
She glanced over at her brother and a small, indulgent smile escaped her lips. It was hard to believe that Justin was twenty-one years old when he pouted.
But, of course, practically no one believed that she was twenty. Her mouth made sure of that.
As she thought over everything that had happened and how each of them would be living their lives out as normal people, a small thought popped into the back of her head and she grinned once again, this time in fond remembrance.
She nudged her toes into his rib cage, getting her brother's attention. As soon as he was looking at her, she spoke.
"Hey, Justin…remember when we decided that our back-up plan was to be in band together? Now that was fun."
Justin gave her a real smile this time, and nodded in agreement.
"Yeah, I remember, Alex."
He turned his head back in the other direction, looking towards the door. Both Max and their parents were out at dinner, celebrating Max's victory. Justin still thought that it was strange that Max had won, but at the same time partially agreed with Alex. Max did deserve it.
Absentmindedly, he began to run his hand across his sister's knee, not really paying attention to what he was doing, but she didn't seem to mind.
Justin's mind drifted to what she had just said and he found himself actually seriously contemplating the idea.
He had continued practicing guitar over the years and had gotten much better, and he knew that Alex had secretly been practicing drums on her own for the past few years and had also continued to sing, and she was pretty good. Of course, they would need at least one more person, though, in order to really make it work.
She looked up from examining her hands and gave him a look. "Yeah?"
"Let's do it."
She gave him a confused look. "Do what?"
He lifted his hand from her knee and motioned in her general direction, attempting to sound nonchalant, but being quite serious in what he was saying. "You know…the band. We weren't that bad and we should at least try it. We could have some fun at least."
He gave her a pointed look and was surprised when she didn't even flinch at the suggestion.
And that was that.
Alex positioned herself behind her brother as he logged himself onto the special forums for kids who hadn't won their wizard family competition, but still kept in touch with the wizard world. As Justin had explained it to her, most of them had regular jobs, but a lot of them were searching for jobs through connections in the wizarding world.
She watched as he typed in the job description. It was simple, basic, and to the point.
She read it out loud as soon as he finished it.
"Brother and sister band looking for fellow band member. Music experience necessary, singing and instrument skills a plus. Must be able to relocate to Manhattan. Enthusiastic attitude is welcome."
She shrugged. "Not bad."
Justin gave her an incredulous look. "Not bad? Not bad? Hey, for only having room for thirty words, I managed to do it in twenty-nine in under two minutes!"
She gave a slight snort, but said nothing. He was the one who was good with words, not her, and he was right. Even though she didn't want to admit it, they needed another person in the band. She didn't want to have to sing all of the time, and it would be good to have someone else with a new perspective.
Justin had decided not to put the name of the band on the advertisement for one good reason…they were changing it.
And if they were changing it, then they would need to have their third person first in order for everyone to agree on the name.
Alex moved from her hovering position and went over and flopped on the couch. It was nice that they were still allowed into the wizarding lair. She had many fond memories in this room and was glad that she wouldn't have to give them up.
Justin leaned back in his chair and sighed, linking his hands behind his head. "Now we wait."
They didn't have to wait long.
"Hey, Alex…look at this."
She lifted her head but didn't even bother to move from her comfortable position on the couch. He rolled his eyes at her, but went ahead and read off what he'd found. "Alex, someone responded already to our ad. See here?"
He pointed at the screen and read off the credentials.
"Her name is Lisa Wright and she's twenty-three years old. She has an extensive background in music theory and has been doing small-time gigs in the Manhattan area. She spent three years in Great Britain, travelling the countryside, and is now looking for some more permanent work."
At this, Alex sat up from her prone position on the cushions. "Great Britain? Really? Like, England, Scotland, Ireland…those places?"
Justin looked at his little sister in surprise.
"Look who paid attention in geography."
She rolled her eyes at him as she threw her legs over the side of the couch, walking over to the computer to look at the screen herself. When she glanced at the photo, she was faintly surprised. Lisa had plain dark brown hair, green eyes, and was fairly pretty, but not breathtaking or anything of the sort.
To put it in simple terms, she was normal.
Alex shrugged. "Sure, why not. Let's message her back."
Justin looked at his sister in surprise once more, but decided to let it slide. He quickly typed out a message and hit enter, waiting for a reply from the other side.
Once more, they didn't have too wait long.
"Alex! Look at this!" He motioned to the screen once more, gesticulating with obvious excitement. "She said that she can meet with us tomorrow, here at the Sub Station! Wow…this is great. We're really doing this, aren't we?"
Alex just laughed at her brother's reaction. "Yes, Justin. We are."