I was a little worried at first since I wasn’t sure if her style of singing would exactly match the band but I shouldn’t have doubted.
She threw her heart and soul into the music. It was amazing to watch. Iconic.
I could tell Hunter was really getting into the vibe with her, too. The music’s pace was heart pounding.
And her voice had this earth shattering range that I’d never heard before. God. She was miles ahead of that prick, Kade Phelps.
My next task would be to talk her into joining the band for good.
I learned something about myself when I got on stage. That it didn’t matter if it was in the theater or a dive bar, I loved performing.
Thankfully, the guys were cool with doing songs I knew. They put a heavy metal spin to some pop songs, and I honestly felt at home singing them.
The crowd cheered at some points when one of the songs crescendoed at the chorus. It surprised me but buoyed my energy and I sang even more passionately.
Glancing over to my left, I noticed my friends jumping and cheering, too. God, it was so surreal. What a rush!
After the night was over, the guys kind of just stared at each other. They didn’t tell me I did a good job or even thanked me. I felt kind of awkward and was just going to get my things and leave with Akia and Phoebe when Mateo finally spoke.
“What do you think, guys?” he said.
The drummer, Angelo gave him a look. “What do you think?”
The lead guitarist mumbled something to the bassist but I couldn’t hear him.
My stomach tied itself in knots thinking I must have sucked. I guessed the crowd just liked the music and the band must have felt my female voice was too different for them. After all, they’d been a heavy metal band with a deep male voiced lead.
I laughed trying to lighten up the atmosphere. “Well, it was fun, guys. Thanks for letting me sing with you. You’re all very talented and I’m definitely going to follow your band from now on.”
Angelo smiled and said, “Instead of following, how about joining us for good?”
That knocked my breath clean away. I stammered, glancing at Hunter then at Mateo. “Y-You mean…work on songs together and have me tour with you?” My mind whirred at the notion.
Hunter’s eyes held mine. My skin shivered at how serious he was. “Cheyenne, we’d be honored if you’d join our band.”
The bassist, Devontae added, “You fit us, dude. Please say yes.”
It was so strange. I hardly knew them and this was all so new to me and yet it was like I’d found my way home. Emotion welled up inside me and I wiped a tear as I simply nodded without even thinking through anything.
Once I got back to my dorm room, the thought of joining their band struck me.
“Oh my God. What have I done?” I whispered.
Peeking outside my window I could spy a few students chatting with each other as they worked on their homework.
I thought about my acting professor and how shocked she was going to be when I tell her I’m not coming back in the spring. Or finish out this semester for that matter.
And then another thought hit me. What were my parents going to say?
What about Zachary?
I knew my grandpa would support me. He’d been telling me not to waste my time at college. Acting classes were offered outside of universities, but I’d wanted to be with my friends. Kristie was a huge part of that decision and now she’d left me. What was really keeping me here? Grandpa said I should always grab any opportunity when it presented itself. Wasn’t this a golden opportunity?
Did I really want to be a singer in a band?
My mind went back to the exhilerating feeling I had singing with music I loved and hearing the shouts and adulation from the crowd and I could only answer one way.
It was girls night out and I was soooo ready. I’d been holing up in my dorm room studying for finals and Zachary was out of town this weekend for a game. Phoebe wouldn’t quit talking about her favorite band, BLITZED, a black metal band who was playing at this dive bar in town. I’d never heard of them but she was up on indie bands and would follow their social media, videos, and swoon. Guess the lead singer, Kade Phelps, was to die for.
When we entered the bar, Phoebe put her arms around us and announced, “Get ready to be slammed with breathtaking beauty, girls.” She gripped my and our other friend, Akia Irvin’s shoulders. “I see Kade. I think I’m going to faint.”
I didn’t know which one was Kade. They all looked fairly handsome–in a rocker sort of way. I was down for some amped up music and screamo death melodies. I’d hoped they were worth the $20 cover.
“Sorry, guys,” Kade said, “but it’s got to be that way. My agent says I need to get paid more or move on.”
This guy. Why I let Hunter talk me into hooking up with Kade Phelps is beyond me. Sure he got us a bit of star power. He was known in the biz and had a few one hitters on his own but the guy was a fucking diva. I hated it. Now he was trying to take half our earnings for the night which would leave us to split the rest four ways. I clenched my jaw, trying not to say anything.
Hunter arched an eyebrow. “No fucking way, Phelps. Our deal was even split.” Hunter Rider was the band’s bossman–an awesome lead guitar. The dude shredded riffs like an Olympian.
Kade turned to me. Since I was best buds with Hunter, I guessed he thought I could convince him. Too bad Kade didn’t know I hated his guts. We were better off without him. I had a decent voice. I could lead sing and play the keyboard and synthesizer. Did it before he came along.
I didn’t look at him.
“Come on, Mateo. You know what I bring to this band. You’d be nothing without me. I’m worth it.”
Our drummer, Angelo Peters, sighed. “Give the drama king what he wants, Hunter. We’ve got a show to do.”
He cracked his neck.
Devontae Williams, our bassist, shook his head. “He’s out. We don’t need some greedy cocksucker. We’re supposed to be a team.”
Kade’s eyes locked onto mine. “Looks like it’s two to two. Break the tie and we can get on with business, Mat. We don’t want to keep our fans waiting.”
I snorted. Fans. It was five fricken thirty. Fans wouldn’t start showing until nine. “Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.”
Kade straightened his shoulders. “Fine. Die in mediocrity, fellas. Peace.”
“EEK!” Phoebe squealed. “He’s coming this way!”
I caught sight of a gorgeous tall-dark-and-handsome storming over to us. “Good God. What’s he want?” I asked.
We held onto Phoebe so she wouldn’t faint.
He stopped and said, “Good evening, ladies. Sorry to say, BLITZED is no more. You can get a refund at the bar.”
“Well shit!” Phoebe whined. “I can’t believe BLITZED broke up just as soon as they hit our town. I must have the worst luck.” Phoebe pulled her chair out and plopped down.
I hated not to share in her misery but I was over the moon. Zachary’s game was playing at the bar. I was such a horrid girlfriend. I really had no clue about anything football except that the game was out of town and it was today. But it looked like MY luck was on fire tonight. I’d tried in the past to watch a whole game but it was like jumping beans settled into my feet or my hands and I’d find myself drifting only to hear cheers around me and I’d miss probably the best play Zachary made in his game. At least I could sneak peeks from time to time here while sipping on a yummy cocktail.
I wanted to cheer Phoebe up. “Well, we’re at a bar together. Let’s order our favorite drinks and get the party started!”
Akia agreed. “Yeah, Pheebs. I’m DYING for a snaggle fluster!”
Phoebe nodded. “I guess I’ll drown my sorrows then. Snaggle flusters for us all!”
After I sipped the tasty fruity drink, I glanced at my texts and noticed some from Zachary.
Aww…he was the most romantic guy I’d ever dated. So attentive!
Even though both of us were extremely busy, he always made time for me and would think up the most romantic dates. I’d never met anyone like him before.
Last week, he’d surprised me by taking me to this harvest festival about forty-five minutes away. I didn’t even know it’d existed.
I gazed at all the hoe-down decorations everywhere. The haystacks were bigger than we were!
Zachary challenged me to some horseshoes. I was TERRIBLE at it. I figured he’d be good. He was good at everything athletic.
But he sucked.
The old man running the game quipped, “Good to know you throw a football better than them shoes, Hawthorne. I got two hundred bucks on the Lobsters next weekend.”
I snickered, teasing him. “I’m glad, too, or I’d be embarrassed at the games.”
“You guys are reeeeally funny,” Zachary said, shaking his head.
Next, he surprised me with a picnic at an area where a lot of people were eating and chatting. Even though there were many people around us, it was like we were the only ones in the world.
Zachary sidled up to me and said, “Come here.”
Whenever he said that, it meant he wanted a kiss so I puckered up, anticipating his soft kiss.
But then he threw me up in the air on his feet. He was crazy strong. “Put me down!” I cried, giggling.
He finally did then cradled me. “I wish we could stay like this forever,” he whispered in my ear.
Glancing at a family in front of us, I imagined a life with him. It’d look perfect just like them. Zachary was so easy going, thoughtful, handsome, and he was bound for the SFL. Our lives would be set. I couldn’t believe it, but I was actually rethinking my priorities. Acting didn’t seem feasible as an SFL star’s wife. Our relationship had grown at light speed but it didn’t scare me. I’d change everything for Zachary.
“Do you want another?” came a deep voice, breaking me out of my thoughts.
Blinking, I said, “Uh…yeah…sure.”
It was only seven thirty and one of our worst groupies showed up–Olivia Davis. This girl would NOT leave Hunter alone…or me for that matter. And she was going to lose her shit when she found out Kade left. Even though groupies were a pain in the ass, they were great for getting the word out and getting our stuff shared on social media. Happy groupies meant bigger crowds.
But I didn’t want to deal with her. Let Hunter figure it out. He brought the fucking diva to our ranks in the first place.
When I got to the bar, my stomach did a nosedive.
The girl from the party was chilling at the bar. It was like the Universe gifted me another chance. Maybe this time I would have the opportunity to ask her out.
I’d never forget listening to her voice when she was just fooling around on the piano. It was like an angel singing.
And her range was phenomenal.
I wanted to introduce myself to her then but also didn’t want to interrupt.
It figured. Some dumbass was in my seat. I had to rectify that immediately.
“What’s going on, jerk? You cutting in on my girl?” Tough guy speech always worked with wimps.
The guy’s eyes grew and he popped up, wheezed out an apology and the seat was vacated in seconds.
After I got my drink, I managed to grab her attention. This was my chance! “What are you drinking, angel? The next one’s on me.”
“Um…no thanks. I don’t think my boyfriend would like that too much.”
Of course she had a boyfriend.
But then it was like I’d saved up all my lucky chips with the Universe. A smoking idea hit me square in the face. “Then would you help me out with a problem?”
She looked at the tv screen. “See that guy with the football?”
I glanced up to see that douche Lobster quarterback. Hated football. Hated sports. But I knew the guy because he was hitting on our drummer, Angelo’s girlfriend a while back. The dick thought he was God’s gift to women.
With a smug face, she said, “That’s my boyfriend. So, if you don’t mind, please take your lines and throw them at someone else.”
And then my memories came together all at once. I remembered her mugging him in the middle of that party.
But that guy wasn’t someone’s serious boyfriend. He was a manwhore who dropped into a ladies pants like an emergency helicopter.
“Look, I’m not trying to hit on you with this. Honest. My band needs a singer and I’ve heard you’ve got a talented voice. Would you help us out? Just for tonight?”
At this her friend nudged her. “Oh my God, Cheyenne! You CANNOT say no! I’d die if you could sing with BLITZED!”
Her other friend chimed in, “Yeah, Chey! Please do it!”
She shook her head. “I don’t know any of their songs.”
“They do the most AMAZING covers to tons of songs you know. Seriously, this would make my night. Say yes, Chey! For me?” she winked.
“How can you say no to that?” I piled on, hoping she’d cave.
She sighed like a teakettle hissing. Then she groaned, “Okay, fine. I’ll do it.”
I sat at my vanity and incessantly filed my nails like I had any nails to file.
Why was I so nervous?
I was just going out with a guy I’d woken up with after a drinking binge. This said guy was none other than Zachary Hawthorn, who, according to my brother, Kian, was set to be an SFL first round draft pick. When I only gave a shrug at that information, my brother went on a tirade about how Zachary will be the darling of any pro football team and will probably be used as a weapon in trading but will most likely be swiped up by the worst team (the one who gets the first pick.) He actually felt sorry for him.
I didn’t care.
I couldn’t be bothered about football or any sport for that matter.
And here I was about to go out on a date with this star quarterback, not even knowing anything about the game he played.
And worse–I’d told Zachary I’d loved him. Like love at first sight!
Staring at myself in the mirror, I shook my head. “What are you doing, Cheyenne? You’re not compatible. It’d be better if you called the whole thing off.”
When I heard a knock on my door, all my misgivings melted to the floor and were replaced with psychotic butterflies whizzing inside me.
Escorting me out the door, I turned to Zachary and asked, “Where are you taking me, handsome?”
Handsome? Did that really come out of my mouth? I cringed so hard at myself. It was like I’d turned into a goofy fangirl at the sight of his dreamy green eyes and gorgeous body. And with his cocky ego, he didn’t need anyone to fan those self confident flames.
He smirked. “You’ll see.”
I didn’t know why I was surprised that Zachary took me to one of the most luxurious asian restaurants in Del Sol Valley. I could tell he wanted to impress me since he basically had to stalk me to get me to cave into going out with him. Me telling him he’s handsome did nothing to add to my mystique. He probably thought I was gobbledy gook in the palm of his hands.
Laughing nervously, I quipped, “Listen, Zachary, we don’t have to go to an expensive restaurant. I’d be fine with a movie and some waffle fries at Freezer Bunny’s.”
Zachary huffed. “I don’t know how many dates you’ve been on but that doesn’t sound very romantic.”
I shrugged. Sounded fun and romantic to me, but I went along with him anyway.
A hostess brought us to a cozy table where Zachary pulled my chair for me. Wow. So formal!
I bent my head around and said, “Thank you,” trying to stifle those psychotic butterflies.
He caught my eyes and something clicked like time stopped. “Of course,” he said, smiling slightly.
After we’d ordered (I decided to go all out and got the jungle moss egg with lavendar whisps. Go big or go home. Am I right?), Zachary just stared at me, sending nervous jitters through my bones. God, there was something about him that made me quake!
Gripping my hands so they didn’t shake, I said, “What? Do I have spinach on my face or something?”
He leaned in. “I didn’t get a chance to tell you the other night but you were absolutely fantastic. You’ve got real talent as an actress.”
That caught me off guard. I wasn’t used to compliments. Just thinking about my future sent me into a spiraling caldron of anxiety. I plopped my face on my hand. “Tell that to the next casting agent. Do you know how hard it is just to get a read for a commercial?”
He shrugged. “You’ve got connections. Use them.”
I shook my head. “That’s not how you make it. Sure, I could use my grandfather to get in the door, but that won’t get you the part.” I sighed. “Acting isn’t much different from football. You’ve got to practice, practice, practice to win.”
He smirked. “But they never tell you that in football, you can practice all you want but it takes talent to win. You’ve got that talent.”
When I didn’t say anything he added, “Speaking of which. When are you coming to my next game? You stood me up last time.”
His face fell.
I giggled inside. He looked so cute. “Okay…I promise I’ll come next week and see you beat my university’s pathetic team. My brother is decidedly a turncoat. He says since I’m going out with you, he’s forever a lobster. I’ve got you to blame if he gets wrapped in duct tape and dunked in the pond by his fraternity brothers.”
That made him laugh.
For the rest of the evening, we got to know each other a bit better. He was the sixth child of a long line of very talented, overly competitive brothers. But he was also the only one who stuck with football. Every last brother who started in the game when they were young burned out by the time they’d reached college and decided to move on to other things–computers, insurance, graphic design, real estate, and one brother even took to ghost hunting off the coast of Brindleton Bay. I didn’t even know that was a thing!
After we ate and drank and laughed our asses off, Zachary pinned me down with a stare and asked, “Want to dance?”
The place was deserted as there was no dj–just some pleasant tunes coming from the ceiling.
Pulling me close to him, he said, “Come here.”
He had a look on his face like he was trying to tell me something.
And I didn’t know if it was the dinner or his yummy masculine cologne or the old 90’s music drifting through the air, but before I could stop myself, I touched my lips to his in a delicious kiss.
Pulling back, I said, “That was our first kiss, okay? The ones that I can’t remember don’t count.”
“Even when you said you loved me?” he asked.
“Especially that!” I teased.
Pulling away, he said, “You’re wounding my ego.”
Laughing, I said, “I think your ego is so huge it can handle it.”
Yes, this story is back! And I plan on doing weekly updates. I’ve been planning this story all year so I should be able to pump it out on time. YAY!
And thanks for hanging in there with me. 2020 was rough but I can see clear skies in 2021!