Chapter 23: Idea
I had to do something big to show Rylie just how much I cared for her. And how sorry I actually was. But I knew it had to be personal.
I couldn’t just apologize for leaving. It was more than that. I needed to do something that showed her how much I had always cared for her and paid attention to her.
How much I love her.
Her song. I was gonna teach it to the boys and have us play it at the next concert.
Rylie had been MIA the past two weeks. We knew she was on the bus, but we never saw her. She was on a completely different time schedule then us. We had been to Canada and new we were back in the US in Illinois. But this made it easier for me to learn the song and perfect it.
It’s slowly come back to me over the past few days. The words were all there, and I remembered the melody and I was able to transfer the piano bars into chords. Now I just had to get Ashton to figure out the drums…that is, if I can get him to agree to play it.
I was scared to ask him. I wanted so badly to explain the situation between Rylie and I. But admitting to him what I actually felt meant admitting my life before them. Meant that I had lied about a lot of things from my past. I was scared that would be unforgivable.
But this all had to end. This band had never been closer to ending. The fighting between Ashton and I had become almost unbearable. It wasn’t fair to the other guys.
I stood outside of the room where we had rehearsal. I could hear Calum and Michael tuning their guitars and Ashton banging softly on his drums. I had typed up the words and divided the lyrics. I only made one change, which was changing the “he’s” to “she’s”. Rylie’s version was amazing but I didn’t want to sound gay. I even gave Ashton a singing part, which he didn’t normally have. I took a deep breath and opened the door.
The instruments stopped and all the faces looked up to me. No one said anything. I could feel the tension.
I cleared my throat. “Umm so I have an idea for a new song.” I said quickly.
They continued to stare at me.
“Uhh…it was written by a friend of mine. I want to play it for them because they’ll be at our next concert. It would mean a lot to me if we did this. Please.” I said realizing how pathetic I sounded.
I looked at Ashton. His face didn’t move. I then looked to Calum. His eyes softened and he smiled.
“Can I take a look at it mate?” Calum said walking towards me. I smiled at him and handed him the paper. I watched him read the lyrics. I saw him reach the end and he stared at the paper for a few minutes before looking up.
“Wow. Those lyrics are incredible. Who wrote this?” He said with a smile.
“Umm I’d rather keep that a secret until the show. I want it to be a surprise for the person.” I said. I had already thought this whole conversation out and what my responses would be.
Calum took the paper and showed it to Michael. I watched as he read through it. He looked up at me. He smiled and nodded. He took the paper to Ashton. Ashton’s eyes were still looking at me. I gave him a small pitiful smile. He looked down at the paper. I watched him read through it.
After about 2 minutes, he looked up from the paper. His face hadn’t changed. He wasn’t going to agree. We needed him. I just stared back at him with a hopeful smile.
“Can you play it for us?” Ashton said without changing the look on his face.
I let out a sigh of relief. I picked up my guitar from the corner of the room, strummed it a few times to make sure it was on tune as I walked over to get the paper. I took the paper and put it on an amp so I could refer to it if needed, but I already knew it by heart.
I played the opening chords and started the first verse. I played it by heart.
It took me back to the moment when Rylie showed it to me. I couldn’t believe it. I watched her play the piano. I knew she took lessons but I never thought she was at the level that she could actually play. I watched her face the whole time she sang the song. Her eyes were closed as she played and sang. She was putting everything into the performance. I could tell she was completely letting her guard down. Her voice was so perfect. Clear, and pretty low for a girl, but in a beautiful way. She knew how to control it. Not to mention the song itself. The song completely described her. It was about a boy. I remember wanting so badly to be the boy that the song was about, but knowing that there was no way it was. When she finished the song, I was speechless. She turned to me and I could see how happy it had made her to perform it. Her singing was amazing. Her song was amazing. She was amazing. I remember only being able to manage her name softly as she finished. I remember wanting to kiss her so badly that I kept my mouth shut for a few moments just to restrain myself. Finally I was able to produce words. She told me she was scared of performing in front of people, which made me disappointed. But if I knew she was uncomfortable, I didn’t want to push it. After that day, I didn’t ever talk about her talent unless she brought it up.
I flashed back to the present as I finished the last couple of words and the last chords. I continued looking at the sheet while silence echoed through the room. I looked up.
Calum had a huge smile, Michael’s mouth was opened in a look of shock and Ashton was still looking at me with the straight face, although the expression in his eyes had softened.
“So uh…what do you think? Can we play it?” I asked quietly.
“Uh hell yes! That was amazing!” Calum said excitedly.
“I don’t know where you got that song mate, but it’s incredible. I can’t wait to play it live.” Michael said encouragingly.
Then I looked to Ashton. He was the deciding factor, and that was a scary thought considering he hated me right now.
“Just tell me what you want me to do.” He said, still with a straight face.
I felt relief wash over me. He didn’t look happy but at least he was willing to help me. He just didn’t need to know it was for Rylie.
I gave Michael the sheet that had the chords written on it. I gave the bass chords to Calum. I told Ashton that we needed to figure the guitars out before we figured out the drums. He slipped away from the rehearsal for a while. Once he had come back, we had ran the rough cut of the song a few times, figure out if anything needed to be changed. I gave him a beat and the direction of which way he needed to go and he was able to match our progress with the beat on his own.
After about 3 hours, we had played the song all the way through with only a few minor details here and there.
“Wow guys. This sounds incredible. I have no idea how to thank you.” I said to them after we finished running through it for the 10th time.
“Hey mate, that’s what band mates are for. We play each other’s songs and we help them out with favors. I’m excited to play this one live. It’s going to kick ass.” Michael said with a smile and a riff of his guitar.
“Thanks man. That means a lot. Now let’s take it from the top!” I said as I pointed to Calum to begin the song.
After rehearsal was over, we all went our separate ways to relax before we had to leave for the next place. We had our second of two shows in Illinois and were about to leave for Minneapolis. I didn’t think the song was quiet ready. It needed at least another five days of rehearsal. My birthday was in two days and I doubt we will rehearse on that day, so that leaves us to play it in Kansas City.
But in order for this all to happen, I had to clear it with our tour manager, which just so happens to be Rylie’s mom.
I found her sitting on a couch in the lobby of the hotel, reading a book. I walked over and sat down on the couch next to her.
“Hello Luke. I was wondering when this conversation was coming.” Ashley said without looking up from her book. She always knows everything.
“Uhh yeah….I have a favor to ask.” I said.
“I figured you did. What can I do for you?” She said looking away from the page and locking eyes with me.
“I figure out how I’m going to tell Rylie. I’m going to play her song. On stage in Kansas City.” I said rather quickly. I looked into Ashley’s eyes waiting for a reaction but receiving none. She stared quietly at me for a few moments. Her face broke into a soft smile.
“Luke I think that’s a brilliant idea.” She said quietly. I felt my face spread into the biggest smile I could muster.
“But—, your manager would never allow that. Neither him nor I have heard you play the song and to throw a random song into the set list would make him very angry,” she said breaking my happiness. I let out of a sigh of disappointment.
“Which is why I’m not going to tell him.” She said with a grin. I felt my heart lift.
“Oh Ashley thank you so much! You have no idea how much this means to me! I think this the perfect way to show how much I care about Rylie.”
“I need to hear you boys perform it before you play it on stage. And ALL the boys agreed to this right?” Ashley said.
“Yes. Well sorta. Ashton never gave me his permission, but he isn’t saying no. He doesn’t know it’s for Rylie and I think it should be kept that way. He’ll understand soon enough but for now him and the other boys just think it’s for a friend of mine.” I said truthfully to Ashley.
“Understood. Now get back to rehearsal. I want to hear the song tomorrow.” Ashley said with a small smile, then put her nose back in her book.
I breathed a sigh of relief. This whole nightmare would all be over within 5 days. It could end up being the best day of my life or it could be a complete disaster. But one way or another, the truth had to come out.
Let’s just hope that the truth doesn’t break up my band.