"Luke?" I asked.
"Yeah," he said.
Ms. Hemingway sounded as if she were having a heart attack behind me. She was fumbling with her phone to start recording.
"I found you," he said.
I looked past him to the road at a black sedan with a blonde-haired girl driving. "Jenny?" I asked.
"Sorry!" she said. "I had to tell him where you live. It's Luke Hemmings!"
I rolled my eyes. "Hi Luke."
He shrugged. "Michael around?"
"I don't know where he is to be honest," I said. I had my cello rolling along in one had and my phone in the other. I requested an Uber and Jenny's face came up as my driver. I rolled my eyes and walked around Luke to Jenny's car. He followed me.
"We'll split the fair," he said, pulling his own phone out. Jenny was spazzing out in the driver seat as Luke sat beside me in the back seat.
My phone buzzed. Michael sent a message saying You're beautiful. On the cover.
I smiled at my phone. You're the rock star, I replied.
"Is that Michael?" Luke asked.
One of your band mates is sitting beside me, I texted.
"Tell him I'm sorry. I fell in love with her and it happened so fast," Luke said.
I frowned at Luke. "You fell in love with who?"
Luke frowned back at me. "You seriously don't know?"
"No," I said. "I've barely listened to your guys little music group thing," I said.
Jenny looked back at me from the driver's seat. "Their little music group thing?" she asked in disbelief. "They're the most popular band of 2017. You're sitting with a living legend."
I knew I should probably feel anxious being near someone so popular and famous. But I couldn't. I felt at ease.
"It's kinda refreshing," Luke said, sitting back in his seat.
My phone buzzed. Ditch him and come see me, Michael said.
I'm on my way to an audition, I replied.
I sent him the address to the auditorium I was heading towards. I arrived at my destination a few minutes later. Luke helped me with my cello. He was wearing a hat and glasses with some non descript clothing so he wouldn't stand out. I was glad he was at least being considerate.
I had Luke follow me with the cello the backstage where other performers were preparing for their own auditions.
"Alexandria!" A girl shouted, then lowered her voice and cast a glance to the stage to make sure she didn't cause too much of a disturbance.
"Hi Suzy," I said.
"Oh, who's the cute guy you're with?" she asked. She didn't have trouble flirting with anyone.
"His name is Luke," I said.
"Oh, that's kinda funny. He looks like a guy from a group I love."
"No," she said slowly. "No way."
"Of course not," I said, chuckling both at her and then towards Luke.
She put her hand on her chest and laughed nervously. "Okay, okay," she said. "I just thought..."
"You were wrong," I replied.
The music coming from the stage was pretty good. I looked at the girl playing and she was young. Younger than I was. Was I that good when I was her age? She played so gracefully.
The fact is, I was. I was a really good cellist and even at her age I knew how good I could play. But when they called my name my heart skipped a beat.
And as I walked onto the stage I knew something was wrong. Something was terribly wrong. It wasn't the judges, it wasn't the competing musicians trying to take the cellist spot, it was a guy who sat 3 rows above the judges. He was smiling. My chest felt tight.
He had me. I fell for him hard. But then I really did fall. I tried to use my cello to keep my balance but the ground rushed to meet my face faster than I could shift my weight. I heard the cracking of the cello, or the bones in my skull, I wasn't sure which.