Hi guys! It's been a really long while since i updated anything on this, huh? Sorry! Really!
I've been having, and still have exams these few weeks. They will be over next month, but till then, i won't have much time to write this. The only reason why i can write it now is cuz i don't have school for a week, but i still have CCAs and still need to go for extra lessons, so...HAHA
ANyway, i don't know much about guitars, so pardon my misinformation to anything, yea?
Also, please review so that i know people still read this HAHA anyway thanks for the reviews and stay awesome!
"So, the G-chord is like this?" Ellie asked, her fingers pressing down on the strings. Joel shook his head.
"No, not right. Your index finger needs to go one string up." He told her. She frowned in concentration as she shifted her finger to the correct position. She looked up at Joel for confirmation. Joel nodded approvingly.
"Good. Try strumming it now then." Ellie licked her dry lips as she prepared to strum. Joel almost chuckled at how much concentration she was putting into just strumming one chord.
They both winced as she strummed. It sounded nothing like a G-chord at all.
"What the fuck man!" Ellie cursed, frustration building up inside her. They had already been at it for twenty minutes, and she was pretty sure that learning how to strum one chord did not take more than fifteen minutes. "I strummed it! My finger positioning is correct!" She exclaimed.
"No, your fingers went out of position when you strummed, and that's why it did not sound like a G-chord," Joel explained calmly. "Chill the hell down, Ellie. You still have three weeks till the performance, and it's your first time." He said in a soothing voice.
Ellie glared at the ground for a few more seconds before taking a deep breath and exhaling. "I just wish I could learn it faster than this. Its such a fucking downer that I can't even play a basic chord properly." She said with a weary sigh. Joel chuckled.
"I remember my first time trying out the guitar," He started. Ellie perked up curiously. "I got the hang of the basic chords in a week or so." Ellie's eyes widened.
"Only a week?" She asked incredulously. "There's like over ten basic chords!" Joel nodded.
"Just keep on practicing. Both you and I don't want you to make a fool of yourself in front of everyone." Joel encouraged her. Ellie's eyebrow twitched.
"Would you like me to remind you who the hell was the person who got me into this position in the first place?" She snidely remarked. Joel shrugged nonchalantly.
"It was your idea for a bet." He replied, short and to the point. Ellie couldn't find a reasonable retort, so she just huffed in annoyance went back to practicing her G-chord.
Another torturing sound came out of the guitar. Ellie groaned in frustration and gritted her teeth, trying not to flare up and smash the damn guitar into something.
She suddenly felt someone's hand on the one she was using to press down the strings. She looked up to see Joel looking down on with patient eyes.
"Calm down, okay?" He said. Ellie was momentarily stunned by his fatherly action. It lasted for ten seconds before he let go of her hand and went back to his seat.
"Try it again. Slowly. Don't rush it." Ellie closed her eyes and sighed. Her whole body, who had been tense for the past twenty minutes, slowly relaxed.
"Okay." She said to herself, carefully placing her fingers against the strings, making sure they were correct before raising her other hand to strum.
"Here goes fucking nothing." She muttered and strummed. Both their eyes widened when they heard the chord. It was extremely different from the rest of the times she had tried.
"…please tell me that was it." Ellie said, almost pleadingly even though she knew that wouldn't actually do anything at all. Joel was silent for a long while, so long that Ellie almost believed that Joel was thinking about what to say to comfort her.
All those guesses went down the drain when a small, approving, proud smile appeared on his gruff face. Ellie took around five seconds to register that he was smiling, then another ten seconds to succeed in saying out what she wanted to say audibly.
"It…was it finally…correct?" She asked tentatively, afraid that her hopes would be dashed. She could tell that Joel was purposely dragging his reply, trying to add to the urgency and intense atmosphere. He was, unfortunately, succeeding.
"Fuck, Joel!" She exclaimed after Joel stayed silent for another five seconds. "Just tell me already!" Joel let out a chuckle and nodded.
"Yes, yes. You got it right." He finally gave in. She couldn't help but spring out of her chair in happiness, punching her fist enthusiastically into the air. Despite all that, she remembered to hold her guitar.
"Fuck yea! Finally!" She shouted, pride twinkling in her eyes. Joel couldn't help but let out a wider, gentler smile that, if only considering the time before he met Ellie, had not appeared for twenty years.
He never thought he would be able to even form that kind of smile again. Then Ellie came, and he was proven wrong.
"C'mon. That was only once. Keep on practicing. One time isn't enough." Joel advised, signaling for her to calm down and sit back down. Ellie huffed in mild annoyance.
"Can't you just let me celebrate for a moment…" she muttered under her breath as she sat back down onto the chair and adjusted her position.
"You'll get to celebrate once you get it right all the time." Joel simply stated. Ellie glared at him and started to strum again.
For the rest of the strums, not all were successful, but at least none of them were as terrible as the ones before she got it right.
In the end, all Ellie managed to learn that day were only the E-minor, G and D chord. It was already near nine when they finally decided to stop. They had been in it for six hours.
"Man…never knew it would take so long to perfect just three chords…" Ellie commented as she went to sit at the dining table. They hadn't even taken their dinner yet.
"Well, I could have taught you more chords, but I want you to master these few first," He said in an explanatory tone as he brought two bowls of steaming soupy noodles form the kitchen to the table. "No use knowing so many but unable to play any properly." Ellie sighed.
"Well, I still feel like I'm going at a really slow pace. I bet people in the past learnt way more than me." She said, disappointment and sadness lacing her voice. Joel wondered how knowing people in the past learned guitar faster could make her more sad than knowing that she had killed someone. Still, they lived in a fucked up world. Almost everything was beyond common sense.
"Don't worry. You're not that slow. You're actually considered quite fast, seeing that you can already play two out of the three chords almost perfectly seven out of ten times." Joel informed her as he sat down opposite Ellie. Ellie took a whiff of the noodles, and an ecstatic grin lit up her face.
"Man, even after so long, I still can't get used to having all these warm, cooked, delicious food as our meals. I still remember when we were travelling together all those months ago…" Ellie trialed off, her eyes travelling to another time, when they had fought for their lives all the time, when they never had a proper place to sleep or proper food to eat.
Even though it had only been around a year ago, it felt like it had happened more than ten years ago.
"Well, when it was my time, these were considered unhealthy meals." Joel said as he picked up his fork and dug in to his food. Ellie's eyes widened in surprise as she heard his statement.
"What? Really?!"She asked, her voice filled with disbelief. Joel nodded as he quietly ate his food.
"What we considered good at that time was proper, well-prepared dishes like steak with fries and vegetables and mash potatoes. And we had a larger variety of food too. We had many types of gravis, flavourings…" He stopped eating as he suddenly recalled something.
"Thinking bout it, I bet you've never had ice-cream before." Ellie looked at him quizzically.
"Ice…cream?" She asked. Joel shook his head.
"Sorry. Forget bout it. It's impossible for me to get any ice-cream in this era." He stated. Ellie frowned in confusion, but nevertheless dug in to her food.
She wondered how could this piping hot, delicious, steaming bowl of noodles be considered unhealthy and one of the less-luxurious food in the past. It only succeeded in saddening her even more. It reminded her of how much she had not experienced, unlike Tommy and Joel. And there was this…ice cream.
"After you're done, take a shower and go to sleep. I can see that you're exhausted," Joel rose up his hand when he saw Ellie open her mouth to protest. "Don't argue back. I can see it as clear as day."
Ellie glanced at his face, and immediately knew that he wasn't taking no as an answer. She sighed resignedly and nodded, not bothering to say anything as she slurped on her noodles. Joel didn't need a vocal answer anyway.
Thirty minutes later, they were both residing in Ellie's room. Joel was sitting on a wooden chair and checking the guitar while Ellie lay down on the bed. Ellie's hair was still quite wet, but it wasn't as though she hadn't suffered worse before.
"What's the plan tomorrow?" Ellie asked curiously as she went through the box of "savage starlight" comics for volume nine-the one Joel had given her.
"Afternoon patrol. We have the morning and the evening free."
"So…we can practice guitar in the morning and evening, right?" Joel chuckled.
"Yea. Hey, don't sleep too late, okay? I'm going back to my room." Joel informed her. "Anyway, the guitar's as good as ever." He leaned the guitar against the wall beside Ellie. Ellie nodded.
"Thanks." She said.
"Hmph." Ellie rolled her eyes at his response. He still didn't know how to accept gratitude easily.
"Go to your room and tinker with your screws and stuff now," Ellie said, albeit impatiently, as she shooed Joel off with her hand. "I wanna read some comics before I go to sleep." Joel nodded and walked towards the door.
"G'night and sweet dreams, baby girl." He whispered as he opened the door and closed it behind him. Ellie pretended not to hear, but they both knew she had heard it.
Both of them couldn't help but plaster a delighted, peaceful and content smile on their faces as they carried on with what they were doing.