here's a long chap for y'all lol
The musicians and the juveniles, intertwined in one place. It was a beautiful sight.
We didn't start immediately. I wanted the musicians and juveniles to get to know one another first. Soon enough, despite the judgments they'd once placed upon each other, despite their social differences, they mingled.
Kayley Anne and Ryker sat slightly away from everyone, flirting and talking. I'd never seen the girl flirt so much, and thankfully he was returning the favor.
Marty and Dusty had warmed up to Darren, Oren, and Mayek. Mayek didn't talk much, but he was trying. It turned out Dusty and Darren had a lot in common. They'd be best friends in no time.
Julie and Makenna had were chatting with Shemiah and Jade. The girls were gleefully telling stories and laughing.
Eventually, I joined in, and everyone gathered in one big group.
After I felt everyone had properly grown accustomed to each other, I started the meeting.
"Welcome musicians!" I called out. "Let's go over instruments. Firstly, we have two drummers here: Marty and Oren. We can make this work right? Two drummers?"
"Well," Kayley Anne answered. "If we're going to have this many people in the band, we might need an extra heartbeat."
"True," I agreed. "Thankfully, we have Shemiah and Dusty, who play violin and cello. I like having a string section. It gives a band…a certain brand of class. We also have our keyboardist Jade and bassist Kayley Anne, which is a bonus. We have three guitars here, including me. Any ideas here?"
Ryker cleared his throat, and said, "Well, one of the guitars could be lead, and the other two could be rhythm. Plus, one of the rhythms could double as lead and boost riffs and solos."
"I like that," Kayley Anne said.
"Me too," I agreed. "That's a great idea. Any objections?"
"Nope," everyone said.
"Great," I said. "Lastly, singers. We have six here that can. I want to hear what you can do, and I'll place you accordingly. First, I want to place the musicians."
I lead the instrument players to the aisle between the bleachers. I lead them to certain spots, creating a simulation of our band setup. I had each of them play on instruments I'd brought in from the band room¾with help from Oren and Dusty¾and organized accordingly.
Oren's drumming style was completely different from Marty's. Where Marty was smooth and gentle, having a smooth jazz feel about him, Oren had a violent nature, relentlessly pounding the drums with brute force. I decided that they would play off of each other, fusing their styles to make something new. I put Marty and Oren in place, putting them back-to-back to they could hear each other clearly.
Next, I put Shemiah, Dusty, Kayley Anne, and Mayek on Marty's side, since these instruments would be a little harder to hear and Marty played quieter than Oren. I know guitars aren't the quietest instruments, but I wanted Ryker and Mayek, the rhythm guitarists, to be on opposite sides so we could get a full sound out. The violin, the strongest of the string instruments, would be put in the middle. Kayley Anne and Mayek would be put out front so they could be highlighted, but still a little behind me so as not to drown out my lead vocals. Dusty was put closest to the dual drummers so he could play against the two.
Then I dealt with Jade and Ryker. Because Jade played piano with a loud, rocking style, she was put near Oren, but not close enough to be drowned out. Ryker and Mayek were on either side of me, able to work with my guitar since they would be my rhythms.
That left a big gap between Jade and Ryker, where the other singers would go. We all agreed that I would be lead, and some agreed to be background. All were good singers¾especially Darren and Mayek¾but everyone, except Darren, picked to be a background singer right away. I was, however, able to coax Mayek to take harmony parts with my vocals, along with Makenna's harmony because of her high soprano. Darren agreed to duet parts, which put him next to me, and Julie and Jade, both altos, would be his harmony.
Simulation in place, I told everyone to remember their spots, then move the instruments out onto the football so we could practice with more space.
About ten minutes later, when everyone was in place, I had everyone play test sounds so I could deliberate. I got started with the drummers and Dusty, teaching them to play against one another. They got the hang of it fast, except for Oren, who just wanted to bash wildly. We got him in line eventually, bringing control to chaos. Next I had Shemiah and Kayley Anne play against Dusty. It blended smoothly, but I decided to put Dusty in the middle of Shemiah and Kayley Anne instead, put the violinist next Marty's smooth drumming. She wasn't drowned out, thankfully. Dusty still had to play against the drums, even though not as close to them.
I moved to Jade, who I had listen and play accordingly to Shemiah. She'd never done it before, but I figured it would be a good option for such a layout.
Once I had Ryker and Mayek going with riffs, I joined, then moved to the singers, first testing mine and Darren's harmony. My mezzo-soprano to soprano range worked nicely with Darren's baritone, as I hoped it would, then moved on to the background singers, adding them in. The main problem with the singing was volume. Makenna sang too loud, whereas Julie and Mayek didn't sing near loud enough. That, however, was easily fixed. Once everyone was playing, I got a feel for the sound. The layout was perfect. Our genre of music, however, would be a work in progress.
I had everyone submit a band name, then adjourned the band meeting. Darren and I walked home, and I retired to the guest room to get started on a song to suit our instrument range for us to practice on. I wanted this band to beat out Davie, and it would take a lot of work.
"Hello?" Kayley Anne answered the phone.
"Hey Kayley Anne," I said. "It's Reni."
"Oh hey!" she greeted.
"Can you get over to Darren's?" I asked. "There's a major cleaning emergency to be done here."
"Cleaning?" she squeaked.
"Your dream come true."
"I'll be right over!"
I couldn't think of a better day than today. It was Saturday, so no school, and Kay had to take Darren to see his grandma in the hospital. What a surprise to come home to: a clean house!
Kayley Anne got to the house in about five minutes, panting and bounding around with excitement. She entered, and gasped.
"It's…so dirty!" she whined. "I think I'm a little in over my head."
"I understand if you want to leave," I said solemnly.
"Are you kidding?" she said with a laugh. "This…will be a challenge."
"Pause for emphasis between the 'this' and the 'will'?" I asked.
"Got a problem?" she countered.
"As long as you clean, nope."
Kayley Anne is an absolute…MIRACLE WORKER! The crazy walking OCD actually cleaned the ENTIRE house. She even bleached the carpets! With my help, we actually cleaned the entire house in one day.
Atomic Fireball, at last, exited my room and walked around the house. Kayley Anne loves AF, and AF loves her. She can even get AF into a bath! I can't even do that!
We got finished when the Saunders' got home. Darren gasped, and Kay thought she was in the wrong house. The two hugged Kayley Anne, and Kay even gave her fifty dollars! For my help, Kay gave me twenty. Both of us refused to take her money, but she insisted.
Kayley Anne went home, and I cooked up my special chili for Kay and Darren. When I finished, we gleefully ate in front of the TV while watching Easy A.
"I can't thank you enough," Kay told me. "All you've done for us. I cannot believe your father would just kick you out. You're a blessing."
"Thank you," I said.
"What are you doing?" Darren asked, looking over my shoulder at my work.
"I'm looking over the band names that the gang submitted," I explained.
I sat at the dining room table fiddling away with my band project. Atomic Fireball was perched on my shoulder, his favorite place to be when I was working on something. I think he knows how to read and likes to snoop on what I'm doing.
Kay had left for work half an hour earlier, leaving Darren and me alone.
"Are they ridiculous?" Darren joked.
"You tell me. Oren came up with Zombie Face."
Darren laughed. "Yeah, that sounds like him. Okay, how about this? Name off all the band names, and we'll go from there."
"Let's see…Kayley Anne likes Death By Manicure, but that's really just a long-running joke between us. Jade put Blood Rivals. Shemiah put The Pretty Deadlys. Dusty put Scars. Marty put Party Town, which sounds like a disco outfit." That made Darren laugh, then I continued. "I told you what Oren put. Mayek put Offspring of the Unstable. Julie put Your Lies, My Eyes, Our Ties. Makenna put In Death We Are Triumphant. Ryker put The Switchblades."
"Okay," Darren said once I finished. "I really dig The Pretty Deadlys, Offspring of the Unstable, Your Lies, My Eyes, Our Ties, and In Death We Are Triumphant."
"Me too," I agreed. "Wait…I just realized something!"
"What?" he asked.
"You didn't put a suggestion down!"
"Neither did you!"
He thought for a second, then said, "Okay, how about this? We write our idea down on a piece of paper, not letting each other see, then, on the count of three, we'll show each other. Agreed?"
"Yeah, sounds good," I said.
With that we got writing and thinking.
After a short while, both of us had our names written down, and on the count of three, our ideas were revealed.
"Anarchy's Angel?" Darren asked when he read mine.
"Reject Song?" I asked when I read his.
"I like it," we said in unison.
"Great," Darren said. "So we have six great band names on the table. Now what?"
"I don't know," I mumbled. "How about we get it down to two, and have the band deliberate it on Monday?"
"How do we get it down to two?" he asked.
"Put the names on scraps of paper, put them in a hat, and draw, I guess."
A few minutes later, a hat was found. We put the names inside, and shook them up to mix them.
One by one, we drew.
On three, we did the same as before: we showed each other the names.
On Monday, during lunch, we rallied the band outside for a band meeting.
"So Darren and I got it down to two names," I explained. "You guys will have to vote between the two by show of hands."
"The two names decided on will be…" he paused for dramatic effect. "In Death We Are Triumphant and Reject Song."
"Show of hands for Reject Song," I said.
Everyone except Julie, Mayek, and Makenna¾she'd picked the name after all¾raised their hands.
"Majority rules!" Darren said. "Reject Song it is."
Everyone applauded, even the ones who hadn't raised their hands. They were good sports.
"Meeting adjourned!" I said. "Let's go eat!"
Everyone cheered, and we raced back to the school.
"Know what we need?" Julie asked while we were eating lunch. "Masks or something. If everyone knew the juveniles were in a band, they'd boo us off the stage before we even started playing."
"You might be onto something," Oren said.
"But maybe it could just be our thing, you know?" I suggested. "If people think we're scared of them, they'll take advantage of that and heckle us. We can just make a statement while still hiding."
"A vintage look?" Kayley Anne offered, smiling slyly at me.
"Hells yeah!" I cheered.
"I don't like vintage," Darren said.
"We can just each have a unique look," I assured him.
"But we still have to kinda go together or our looks will just be stupid," Shemiah said.
Everyone agreed, and the plan was set into motion.
We went to a thrift store after school, and looked for a signature look for the band. In the end, we'd agreed on aviator sunglasses, different color wigs, and black leather and studded outfits. The leather and studs came from how one of my favorite bands, Black Veil Brides, liked to dress. Kayley Anne and I recommended it.
Everyone got creative when we picked out wigs. We went back to Darren's house, and worked on the designs of our wigs.
I didn't do much with my bright blond wig. I just layered it and fixed it to flop all to one side. The wig was really long, the length ending at my hip. When I layered it, I kept the bottom layer full-length, then braided it and put it over my shoulder so the shiny yellow braid cascaded down my torso.
Darren's wig was black and short, except for the long bangs that covered one side of his face and was shortened a little all the way to his ear when they abruptly stopped. I was surprised when he kept the bangs as they were.
Kayley Anne, of course, got a long straight black wig. I helped her put red and purple streaks in it, and layer it. It was her absolute dream come true.
I cracked up when I saw that Shemiah and Marty had both made their wigs into afros; Shemiah's hot pink, Marty's lime green.
Jade's wig was completely white and made into a messy pixie cut that stuck out all over the place.
Dusty had a dark red Mohawk, which I had picked out for him. It was so him!
I knew what Oren would get: something wild! And he did. He got a long purple wig, then fixed the long hair up to spike out all over the place. The spikes came out about a foot off his head. It would be a miracle if Marty didn't get stabbed by them onstage.
Julie and Makenna had matching lavender wigs, both styled into high ponytails. They wanted to be "twinees."
Mayek cut his black wig into a Green Day's " " from the "Jesus of Suburbia" music video, and with his sunglasses and tall-skinniness, you couldn't tell them apart.
Ryker got a long dark green wig. The hair had a certain Kurt Cobain style so that it always covered his face when unattended to.
That done with, everyone started pestering me about the song I was working on. Of course, I wasn't even half finished. Writing music, instruments parts and lyrics and the whole shebang, is really hard. Plus, I was still researching violin and cello. I can play every instrument in our band and I know all the notes, but when it comes to violin and cello, I'm completely clueless.
The band went home an hour before Kay left for work. Kay was happy to see Oren, Mayek, Julie, Makenna, and Ryker, but she didn't know any of the rest of the band besides her son, me, and her cleaning hero Kayley Anne. After intros, she helped us on our wigs, then called out for pizza. After that, every left, and Kay hopped into the shower to clean up before work¾she'd told me her boss didn't like it when she came into the factory smelling like cigarette smoke.
Darren and I just watched TV for the rest of the evening.
Darren and I were in my room. He was helping me hang posters and make the room my own.
"Me and my mom are really glad you're living here," he said at random.
"I'm really thankful you two are letting me stay here," I said.
"I lied about something," he mumbled.
I looked at him. "What?"
"This isn't really a guest room," he said sadly. "It used to be a nursery."
My eyebrows shot up. "Nursery?"
"Yeah," he continued. "When I was eleven, my mom was expecting¾eight months at this point¾a daughter, my new little sister. My mom had everything planned. The baby's room was pink with fluffy white bunnies painted on the wall. Mom even decided her daughter would go to ballet when she was old enough, even though she hadn't even had the child. She also had a name decided on: Elizabeth Diana. Then, out of nowhere, her work was attacked. A crazed man injured and killed many workers. My mom tried to get away, but he stabbed her in the stomach. She lived, but Elizabeth died. My mom fell into a depression. She stopped cleaning the house, stopped trying to learn how to cook, and started smoking.
He sighed, then went on. "She was quick to let you in, especially since she knew you were a girl. The promise of a daughter had been taken from her, but she saw you as a second chance. I haven't seen her smoke one cigarette since you got here, and because she's been so happy, I've stopped too. Hell, she even took me to the doctor. She hadn't done that since I was eleven. She's even been keeping up with regular cleaning."
"I'm really happy I could mean that much to her," I said.
He grinned. "Just between you and me, she wants me to knock you up so she can have a second chance at raising a baby. I heard her on the phone telling my aunt Clarissa about it."
We both laughed. We were just friends. There was no way he'd knock me up.
"Yeah, I know you don't like me that way," he said. "Actually, I've seen the way you look at Mayek." He waggled his eyebrows.
"What?" I asked, shocked.
He nudged me with his elbow. "You totally like Mayek. I know you do."
"Shut up! I do not!"
"You're not a very good liar."
"I'm not a very good liar? You should see the things I got away with before I went to juvie. I actually got kicked out of my school in Missouri, but I convinced my dad I was framed so I got off scot-free."
"How did you get kicked out?"
"I set off fireworks during a pep rally and injured many cheerleaders and football players."
"Was it an accident or on purpose?"
"The fireworks: on purpose. I definitely meant to cause a commotion. The injuries: an accident. I just wanted to scare people. I didn't want to hurt them."
"Let's go back to Mayek. How do we get him to like you? He doesn't really have girlfriends often because of trust issues, especially after what happened with his last girlfriend Halton. She really liked Oren."
"Okay, I really do not have a crush on Mayek. I admire the guy, sure, but I really don't have a crush on him."
He shrugged, deciding I was telling the truth. "Then who do you like?"
"Why must you be nosy?"
"I'm not being nosy."
"Alright, I'm sorry. We'll drop it."
I rolled my eyes.
He left me alone in my room.
I sat on the bed, thinking. Did I like someone? I hadn't really thought about anything but my new band and revenge after Davie dumped me and kicked me out of the band. I definitely didn't like Davie anymore. I decided he was a major a-hole. Maybe I didn't like anyone right now.
Although, not liking anyone has never been my dynamic. I've always been a little boy crazy.
The next day at school was an off day for me. We got a sudden huge writing project in my advanced language class, and I had to write a huge story with a partner. Now, if I could pick someone to do that with, it would definitely be Kayley Anne. She wrote a book. Did you know that? I wrote a book too, but it didn't get published. I didn't have enough money.
Anyway, my partner was selected for me. Know who I got? Caleb Craft! Whhhyyyyyyyyyy!?
And just to make matters worse, he knows I vandalized his family's property, and even when not provoked, he can be quite the frigid bitch.
We got started on the project that day. A scowl on his face, he trudged over to my seat, and pulled up a chair.
"Great," he muttered. "I get to work with the girl who vandalized my house!"
"Go complain to Ferndale," I told him, gesturing toward our fat, smelly English teacher Mr. Ferndale. "I don't want to hear it."
He sighed. "Alright, listen," he decided. "If we're going to work on this project together, we need to do so without the possibility of homicide. I'd like to issue a truce. In this truce, I'll be nice to you, and you'll be nice to me. Fair?"
"So I can't use any sarcasm?" I asked.
"Well of course we'll use sarcasm," he said. "I'm pretty sure you and I have the same speech patterns, meaning we talk in sarcasm and bitterness in the place of English."
I laughed. "So true."
"Should we work on this at your house after school?" he asked.
"As long as you're okay with being at Darren Sanders's house," I said. "I'm living with him and his mom now."
"Yeah that's fine," he said. "See you then."
The bell rang, and I met up with Kayley Anne on the way to our locker.
"You got Caleb as a partner," she observed. "That sucks ass."
"We've agreed on a truce," I said.
"That's good," she said. "Are you bringing him over to Darren's to work?"
"Yeah," I said. "Why?"
"Uh oh. Darren's going to get jealous."
"Why would you say that?"
"I think he likes you."
"No he doesn't."
"Just be careful, okay? Jealous guys are bad news."
"I know that's a shut-up-I'll-do-what-I-want 'yeah, yeah.' You'll learn, Reni."