Odd One Out

"Good things come to those who wait."
How much longer do I have to wait?

Iris is different. She wants more. She wants to be free.
She wants love.
But no one understands her. Her only escape is through music.
She's the Odd One Out.
And then, she meets Blake...

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11. The Music

Dear Love,

My future starts today,

So hold on, and don't let go because we're only going up now,

Unless you were never really holding on in the first place?

Hurry up, Love, catch up before it's too late!

We're leaving now,

We're on our way to the future,

And you're coming with us,

Yours,

Iris x

 

We had pizza last night. We never have pizza. Mum's supposed to be a vegan, but stretched the rules entirely, and had a really big pepperoni pizza. It tasted like a slice of heaven. And you know what else? Mum completely gave up the vegan thing.

"It sucks," She said, dulging into the big fatty dough, oil dripping from her lips. "Animals are too tasty."

I laughed at that. It's true though.

Now I'm watching the road roll beneath the tyres, because we're on our way to my future. Dad's fingers grip the steering wheel, and he's belting out this really cheesy Westlife song "Dreams Come True". I guess it fits this situation pretty well though. Mum turns round as well as she can under the seatbelt to look at me.

"Nervous?" Her face presses into a smile. I nod.

"A bit."

"You'll do fine."

I look at my shaking fingers, and let my forehead roll against the window. My breath fogs up the glass, and I draw a little heart in the steam. I'm bringing love with us.

***

The car pulls up beside BlueRose. I feel sick.

"Come on!" Mum beams, flinging open the cardoor for me. "Welcome to your dream!"

"Please don't," I drawl, getting out the car, shutting the door behind me. I take a deep breath, and repeat mum's words in my head. I'll do fine, I'll do fine, I'll do fine. It doesn't convince me.

BlueRose doesn't look like a studio. It's built with mouldy bricks, ivy captivating most of the walls. It has a couple windows, but they've gone green and dirty. Yeah, mum, welcome to my dream. Dad fetches my guitar out the car boot, pulling the amp along behind him. I see Charlotte hanging by the door, almost unrecognisable. All sense of teacheriness about her is lost. Her willowy hazel hair falls messily down her shoulders, and she's wearing -ohmigod- a hoodie, and jeans. She no longer looks thirty. More like thirteen.

"Hi Mrs Muller!" I call, but she doesn't hear. "Charlotte!"

Her eyes flick up, and when she sees us, she straightens up a bit, a big smile stretching between her cheeks.

"Iris! How is the star of today doing?" She calls. We head over, and mum shakes hands and does parenty stuff. Dad finally catches up, and Charlotte clasps her hands together. "Shall we go in? It's very nippy out here!" Mum nods, and they set off talking as we make our way in, Dad puffing behind with the guitar and amp. I'm too nervous to offer him help.

Inside, it looks amazing. What looks like mahogany wood is stretched across the floor, and the walls are licked with dark red paint, heavily framed pictures of important people hanging from them. The expensive looking lights are lit low and dim, filling the room with ambience. There is a little desk, and a guy - he looks as though he might be early twenties- has his feet kicked up, strumming a very expensive ukelele. He nods his hello to Charlotte, and she leads us through to another room, even better than the last. Thick double glazed glass takes up most of one of the walls, peering into another room, all set up with microphones and lots of wires. There's a big desk thing full of knobs and twiddly things. Loads of them. This room is really dark, and there's lots of chairs and a sofa taking up some of the space.

"You will be in there," Charlotte says, pointing into the other room through the glass. I catch my breath. "Your parents and I will be in here. The engineer should be here anytime now to record!"

As if on cue, a young looking bloke flings the door open. "Hey Charlotte!" He says, flicking his fingers up in an attempt to wave. "This must be the star you've been telling me about!"

I blush and stare at the floor. I really hope he doesn't expect too much. He swings himself onto one of the chairs behind the desk, and flicks a switch. It doesn't seem to do much. He turns to me. Twenty-five years old, I guess.

"Let's get you all miked up and ready to go, yeah?"

I nod. "Okay."

Butterflies practically errupt like a bomb just dropped in my stomach. He leads me through to the room behind the glass.

"They can't hear us through here," He tells me, fiddling with a wire, looping it round the mic stand. "That glass is soundproof." He winks. He's not bad looking. Sandy hair flops over his dark eyes beneath a grey beanie. Tattoos run up and down his arms under a blue checked shirt. He just seems a bit too old to be potential. Not quite, Love, but you almost got it right. He taps the mic, and a muffling noise comes through one of the amps. I wonder if he can feel my nerves. "You're doing guitar too, right?"

"Yeah," I say, not looking straight into his eyes. He nods to himself, wiring my guitar up to an amp, and twiddling some little riffs on it to check if the sound's working okay. Even when he knows it, he carries on playing anyway. Finally, he hands me my guitar, and gives me the thumbs up.

"You are all good to go! We'll just record the guitar first, but you can sing along for guide vocals to know what to play and when, and we can take those vocals off later and lay some better ones on top after, so don't worry too much about your voice for now..." His voice trails off as he ducks under the mic to get out. "And..." He looks at me properly. "Good luck!"

Just as he's about to leave out the door, he spins round. "Put those headphones on, and I'll tell you when to go."

He shuts the door, and I find a pair of huge headphones looped over the mic, and slide them over my ears. Through the glass, I can make out a bunch of bodies in the darkness. I see the engineer guy, and he flicks a switch. Suddenly, I can hear everything they're saying through the phones.

"Okay!" His voice is muffled. "Just start when you're ready."

When I'm ready. I take a deep breath, and stare at the mic. It's kind of intimadating. Just do it. Just do it for hell's sake.

So I do. And it feels bloody brilliant. I can hear my voice through the phones. When I open my eyes, I can see the bodies watching, I can see Mum holding Dad's hand. I can see Charlotte. And the engineer. When I shut my eyes, they're gone. I see music. I see a girl, she's playing her guitar, she's selling out arenas, the crowd is crying out for her. This is what I want to do. I know now. Music. It's all I've ever wanted to do. Why has it taken so long to realise it?  The song finishes. There's silence. I can hear a muffled voice through the phones. "Awesome, now I'm going to do some stuff to that and we'll lay some fresh vocals on top in a bit!"

"Okay," I whisper into the mic.

Wow.

That was...amazing.

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