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 Post subject: Play It from the Heart- Original Fiction (completed)
PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2004 6:54 pm 
Title: Play It From the Heart

Author: Big Dummy

Rating: PG13

Disclaimer: This is an original story. All characters belong to me. It depicts a romantic relationship betwen two high school girls. Nothing sexual, pure soppy romance. Think Diane Salvatore and Nancy Garden. But not as good. Any similarities between Krista and Taryn and any other characters/rl people is purely coincidental.

Copyright Stuff: I think it goes without saying, but please do not reproduce this piece of original fiction anywhere without my permission. It's my baby. Questions and requests can be directed to the email address in my profile.

Extra: My first time writing an original story, hopefully not my last. Also my first time posting any creative attempt here, or anywhere. It's not done yet, but it's at 177 pages so far, so by the time we get to where I stopped...well, hopefully it'll be done.

Also, it's kind've a slow beginning, with a lot of character intro, and I'm also not sure how much to put in one post because I don't really have it divided into chapters, so...

Done with the disclaimers. On with the show.


Play It From the Heart

She shifted her backpack higher onto her shoulder and stood in the middle of the walkway taking in the concrete building that loomed in front of her. It was pristine, but not unwelcoming. With its sprawling green lawn that seemed to go on for miles, the high school looked as if it belonged on a brochure for some Ivy League school. She felt herself being jostled as a pack of students moved by her, prompting her to resume her progress towards the building. She studiously looked at the ground as she made her way towards the stairs, looking up only to avoid bumping into anyone. At the large double doors she paused once more, sighed heavily, braced herself, and let the flow of students around her carry her inside.

She glanced around the hall, quickly noting the numbers on the doors around her. She was grateful for the map she had received with her course schedule in her registration materials. She liked to be prepared, and it had given her an opportunity to familiarize herself with the school’s layout. After a moments' hesitation she began to make her way down the hall towards room 110. Through the sandy blonde hair that hung over her eyes she could see a few people glancing curiously at her. She hated that. It made her self-conscious, and as she grasped the strap of her bag a little tighter she fought the self-awareness that came when you felt people were watching you, that made your step falter because you were suddenly consciously thinking about walking.

Room 110. She quickly surveyed the room before she resumed her floor meditation; she was thankful for being a little early. There were plenty of empty seats to choose from, and she headed towards the back of the room and slid into a chair. As she set her bag on the floor next to her the bell sounded, signaling time for Homeroom. She closed her eyes and braced herself, cursing her parents not for the first time that morning. She wasn’t particularly gifted at acclimating, and hadn’t needed to be for a long time.

The seats around her quickly filled up with talking, joking teenagers, and as the final bell sounded she finally looked up to take in the bodies around her. These were the people she would be spending the next three years with.

“Alright people, settle down,” Mrs. Rhodes, according to the placard on her desk, said as she closed the classroom door. She returned to her desk and picked up a small black notebook. “Let’s see who decided to show up this morning. Gerald Arnold?”

“Here.”

She slouched a little lower in her seat as Mrs. Rhodes continued reading off names, glancing at each of the students in turn as they responded.

“Krista Evans?”

She glanced up quickly, uttering a ‘Here’ just loud enough to be heard by the teacher. A few heads turned to look at her, and she shifted uncomfortably.

“Ah, you’re one of our new students. I’m Mrs. Rhodes. Welcome.”

“Thank you,” she answered, managing a weak smile. By now the whole class had turned to look at her, some with disinterest, some with curiosity. A few offered smiles of their own, which she gratefully returned. Mrs. Rhodes continued down her list, and Krista quickly found an incredibly interesting ink smudge on her desk to rub at. As Mrs. Rhodes finished her attendance there was a squelch from the loudspeaker above the door, followed by a cheery voice exclaiming “Good Morning Townshend High!”

The voice went through a series of announcements, reminding people of various auditions and try-outs and the importance of being on time to class. Krista removed a pen and notebook from her bag as she listened carefully for information about Jazz Band auditions. When her parents had announced the move, she was grateful that the new school would at least have a jazz band. Probably nowhere near as good as that of her old school, but something was better than nothing. She hadn’t been looking forward to playing her bass alone in her room all year.

She jotted down the date and time when it was announced and listened inattentively to the rest of the announcements. She thought back to her old jazz band, remembering the friendships she’d formed within the group, the small celebrity status she’d enjoyed after a concert. It had been hard getting to that place. Now she was the New Girl and had to start the whole difficult process all over again. She knew that the new job made her mom happier than she’d been in a long time, and that it would overall be good for the whole family. They could definitely use the increased income. Nor was she naïve enough to think that she would never make any friends at Townshend. That was part of the reason for deciding to try out for the jazz band here. She was simply realistic enough to know how hard it would be for her to do so.

The announcements ended, and immediately afterwards the bell sounded. With a flurry of grabbed bags and hastily made plans for lunch later, the classroom quickly emptied. Krista joined the throng, pausing outside of the classroom door to orient herself and then heading in the direction of her first class, World History. She grimaced inwardly as she thought about having to go through the New Girl routine in every class that day. Welcome to Townshend she thought, and steadied herself to plow through the rest of the day.


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 Post subject: cool beginning
PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2004 9:28 am 
Hey there, I really like the beginning of your story. Hope to see more of it soon.



-Sky-:glasses



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 Post subject: Re: cool beginning
PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2004 1:11 pm 
Ooh, I like the beginning too :heart . Love sam xx

"Sometimes things happen between people that you don't really expect. And sometimes the things that are important are the ones that seem the weirdest or the most wrong. And those are the ones that change your life." - Jessie Sammler (Evan Rachel Wood)



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 Post subject: Re: cool beginning
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 10:30 am 
Thanks for the feedback, you guys. I'm really nervous about this, so having some positive reaction is of the good. Very good.



Here's an update:



Play it from the Heart





Krista headed towards the sound of instruments tuning, her bass slung over one shoulder in a nylon travel case. Her heart pounded a little faster than normal, her body warm with nervousness and anticipation. Besides Friday, universal gateway to freedom, this was the most anticipated day of her first week of school. Jazz band could be the beginning of whatever social life she would eventually eek out for herself at Townshend. It had only been two days, but she had already tired of eating lunch alone. She just hoped she got in. She knew she was good – she had been playing for three years- but situations like this always gave her the jitters. She slowed her pace as she neared the door, took a few deep, calming breaths, and walked inside.



A quick glance around the room told her that there were about 20 other students present. She spotted the teacher, Mr. Brannigan, standing on the other side of the room speaking with a tenor saxophonist, and started to make her way over to him when she felt a tap on her shoulder. Whirling around she found herself face to face with a grinning blonde-haired boy.



“Good band,” he said, gesturing to her “Carnivale” t-shirt.



She nervously glanced down at her shirt as if she’d forgotten she was wearing it, and offered a tentative smile back. “Thanks.”



“Trying out for the jazz band, huh? Cool. What do you play, guitar?” he asked, gesturing at her gig bag.



“Um, bass actually.” She stuck the hand that wasn’t curled around the strap into her pocket, nodding her head.



He nodded his head in return. “Oh, right on. I play drums. “



“Cool,” she said, and looked around the room. “Lot of people trying out today.”



“Oh no, most of these guys are already in. There're only about five of you trying out.”



“Good,” she said, offering a nervous laugh. “Um, do you know where I would set up?”



“Oh yeah. There’s an amp over here.” He gestured to the end of the room where a drum kit was set up, and headed over. Krista followed as he wound his way through open instrument cases, exchanging greetings with people he knew. They reached a large amp- Krista noted with awe that it was a Hartke 2200- and he began to feel around the back of the crate.



“There’s a patch cord back here somewhere…here it is,” he said, holding up the long black cord. “By the way, I’m Jay.”



“Krista,” she answered, taking the cord from him. She carefully set her bag down, removed her bass, and hooked it up to the amp. As she was getting situated a sheaf of paper was passed to her: music for the session. She quickly perused the small stack, relieved that it pretty much consisted of jazz standards.



“Alright, ladies and gentlemen. If you’ll all take a seat we’ll tune really quickly,” Mr. Brannigan announced from the front of the room. He turned to the piano behind him and struck a C. Krista quickly switched the amp on, and hit the corresponding note on her bass, adjusting the volume so as not to overpower the other instruments. C’s in varying degrees of tonality invaded the room, migrating to D’s as he hit the next note, and continuing through a basic C Major scale. At the conclusion of the scale Mr. Brannigan faced the room again, and called out, “D minor!” With a sporadic start the room started on a slow D minor scale. Mr. Brannigan walked the room slowly, listening carefully to each instrumentalist and jotting things down in his notebook. As one scale ended he would announce another. Krista smiled, sensing that this would be no slacker jazz band. This man obviously expected his musicians to know the music inside and out.

**********************************************



“Ok, one last time. 1 and-a-2-and-a...” Mr. Brannigan counted off and the room surged into a lazy, slow-paced ‘Mood Indigo’. Save for one louder-than-usual trumpet player, the group as a whole sounded pretty good. Krista felt a familiar excitement building in her as her head bobbed in time to the music, fingers plucking the notes confidently. It was like this with music. It almost didn’t matter what kind it was when she played. Something about playing live, playing with a band, really struck a chord within her. It had been a long summer, playing alone in her room.



She glanced to her left and found Jay smiling at her as he kept the beat, and this time she smiled back fully. What do you know, she thought, I might have made a friend. Jazz band pays off yet again. She returned her concentration to the song, riding the waves of the crescendos and decrescendos to the end. Mr. Brannigan cut the last note with a sharp flick of his wrist, and smiled. Glancing at his watch he said, “It’s 4:30. Go home, or wherever it is that you go when you leave here. Announcements will be made Friday morning. Goodbye.” With that he began to gather his things into his briefcase.



Krista turned uncertain eyes on Jay, who was putting his drumsticks into his case. “Is that it?” she asked, confused.



“Yep. He likes to draw the process out, but everyone here seemed to have their shit together, so I doubt anyone doesn’t make it. You were really good, by the way.”



She grinned widely, and began to unplug and pack up her bass. She gave the bag a small shake to make sure everything was secure, and turned to go. She was surprised to see Jay waiting for her by the door.



“So,” he began as he fell into step with her, “listen. I’ve got this band, Q; we do kinda alternative indie-ish rock. Nothing too loud and obnoxious, just…well, think Drag Stand mixed with Achilles. And we need a bassist. Our old bassist graduated last year, and we haven’t found anyone good yet. You interested?”



“Uh, you want me to be in your band?” Krista asked incredulously. “I mean, I’ve never played in a band before, a non-school band that is.” As soon as she’d said it she wanted to kick herself. That was no way to sell yourself.



Jay shrugged. “It’s not much different. We practice twice a week; we get a few gigs here and there, nothing major. We’re trying to shop our demo, trying to get famous…”he shrugged again and smiled cheekily,” but y’know mainly we just like to play. My older sister is the lead singer, I do drums obviously, this kid named Sergio is our guitarist.”



They reached the double doors and Jay waved to a group of boys that appeared to be waiting for him. “Here,” he said, reaching into his backpack and withdrawing a notebook and a pen. He wrote something down and ripped the page out, handing it to her. “This is my address and phone number. We practice Thursday nights around five and Saturday afternoons at four. You should come by this Thursday, check it out. Bring your bass and see if it clicks with you. I mean, you’re really good from what I heard, and we could use you.”



She hesitated for a moment before replying. “Um, I don’t think I could come Thursday, but I’d like to try Saturday.”



“Cool. That works. See you later.” With that he turned and walked towards the waiting boys. Krista turned to head home, rolling her eyes when she heard Jay’s friends teasing him about “love letters” and “his new girlfriend.” Boys were so grade school sometimes. She looked at the piece of paper as she walked towards her bike, and noted with surprise that Jay lived a block over from her. She wondered which house it was. She smiled in excitement at the prospect of playing with an actual band as she climbed onto her bike and headed home.

*******************************************

The excitement of jazz band auditions over, the last two days seemed to pass painfully slowly. She’d never been a big fan of school, preferring to learn what she was really interested in on her own. She paid just enough attention in her classes to get by with a B average. It made her parents happy enough, and would be good enough to get her into a good school if she decided to go to college. And of course, her social life hadn’t experienced a sudden, miraculous change. She’d exchanged words with only a few people, her natural shyness preventing her from going any further. She needed others to make the first move. She had no doubt that that would eventually happen, and hoped that Jay’s band might be another means for her to make friends, but for the time being she felt awkward and alone.



Her name was among those that were called during the Friday morning announcements as having been accepted into the jazz band. She sighed with relief and suffered through the embarrassment of Mrs. Rhodes making a big deal out of it. It was the only attention she received for the rest of the morning, and lunchtime Friday found her sitting comfortably against a tree, eating her lunch alone and taking in the activity around her, as she’d done every day that week.



She ate her sandwich mechanically, holding it with one hand while the other rested on an open notebook, a pen gripped in her hand. Every now and then the hand holding the pen would feverishly come to life, scribbling words or phrases onto the page, and then she would lapse back into silence, looking off with an expression that was vacant, but taking in everything around her. She was thinking about her week at Townshend, and her new city of Alexander in general, jotting down things to possibly include in a song later. She wrote a lot when she was depressed or confused or lonely. She had at least five notebooks filled with songs and poems, and fragments of songs and poems.



Her eyes continued to automatically roam the area around her, subconsciously taking in the array of students laughing and talking in groups. She recognized several configurations of cliques already. From her vantage point she was able to observe the groupings of students every day. It made for interesting viewing, seeing the way they interacted. Her eyes stopped their roaming as they reached a gathering she’d been particularly interested in, for within that group was probably the most beautiful girl in the school. Krista had seen her in the halls several times as well, and the other girl always seemed to have a small crowd with her, but she didn’t strike Krista as the typical popular type. She’d never seen her making someone else’s life hell, she didn’t hang out with anyone from the football team that Krista had seen. She seemed, from far away, to simply be this beautiful, Goddess-like girl with an incredible smile…Krista gave herself a mental shake. She’d been doing this all week; she’d spot the brunette and find herself barely concealing her stares. She’d wondered what the girl’s claim to fame was, what made her so popular besides being beautiful. Although she had to admit that often looks were enough; not that she’d know anything about that. Krista allowed her eyes to roam the other girl’s features; from the stylishly cut black hair that brushed her shoulders, to the toned stomach peeking out below her short top, to the sneakers she wore. One week, she thought. One week to develop a crush on someone I’ve never even talked to. That must be a record.



She wrote that last thought down in her notebook, thinking it might be a good idea for a song. Her gaze returned to the other girl, watching as she casually laughed and brushed a strand of hair behind her ear. Krista wondered what her name was, and what year she was. She hadn’t seen her in any of her classes, which made any opportunities to talk to her pretty much impossible. Not that she would actually talk to her if she had the chance. Nope, she was more the ‘admire from afar’ type. Her last try at opening up to someone about her feelings had been embarrassing, and it was only the fact that Diana had been her friend for so long that had saved her from complete humiliation. She had been really sweet and kind about it, but she’d learned her lesson. Still, if this girl was going to be the unknowing object of her affections (and some fantasies, she admitted ruefully), it would be nice to have a name…



She shook her head. There was no sense in pining. She was already as lucky as she’d ever hoped to be at Townshend; she was in the jazz band and she had been invited to try out for a rock band. To hope that the beautiful popular girl in school would pay any attention to her…well, that was sheer greed. She packed up what was left of her lunch and stood to head back inside, surreptitiously casting one last look at the girl.





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 Post subject: Re: cool beginning
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 11:53 am 
Hi Big Dummy,



I like the story and you've written already 177 pages, wow.

So I'm thinking regular updates then?



Thanks for posting,

wilgen.



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 Post subject: Re: cool beginning
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 2:21 pm 
That update was so great :heart . Love sam xx

"Sometimes things happen between people that you don't really expect. And sometimes the things that are important are the ones that seem the weirdest or the most wrong. And those are the ones that change your life." - Jessie Sammler (Evan Rachel Wood)



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 Post subject: Re: cool beginning
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2004 2:07 am 
Hey Big Dummy,

Im really loving the story so far, just from 2 chapters im really starting to like krista and her personality already. Plus you know...she plays bass! lol

Anyways, hoping to read more soon- Ill be checking up for updates :wink



Stacey xx



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 Post subject: part two
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2004 7:34 am 
Great job there. It is turning out really good. Keep going with it. Dont worry to much about it, you'll have your fans of your fic. Got one here. :bounce



-Sky-:glasses



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 Post subject: Responses
PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2004 4:43 am 
wilgen: Thanks for the comment. Updates will be fairly regular. I don't have a schedule yet, mainly because I would never keep to it. I'm too eager to share and see what people think. :p



sam darls: Thanks you. It's nice to see people are reading and enjoying.



willowsgirl: Uh-oh. You're a bassist aren't you? Great. I'll have to re-read my descriptions and make sure my facts gel. :lol I'm a guitarist, so hopefully my interpretation of bass playing'll ring true.



WhiteSkyFire: It's a great boost to my creative ego to have fans of this story. The more I re-read it, the more uncertain I become of its goodness. No one tends to be more critical of me than...me. Thanks for being so supportive.



I should be updating this tonight or tomorrow. Thanks again, everyone.



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 Post subject: Re: Responses
PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2004 3:37 pm 
:lmao :lol Hey, dont worry, im not a bassist! I just happen to think girls that play bass are very cute :wink

I must start trying to convince my gf to learn... :hmm

Looking forward to an update :D



Stacey xx



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 Post subject: Re: Responses
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 5:32 pm 
Howdey :bigwave



This is a great story you've got happening here!!! I'm semi hooked already :read all i need is a feeeww moooore updates hmmm.... I hope you're feeding my addiction as we speak/...er...type!



I'm impaitent, i wanna know what happens! :fit2 I wanna know what happens! :fit2



*tries to act atleast remotely mature and paitently awaits an update* :eyebrow





- lilmiss :grin

can i keep you?



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 Post subject: Update
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 6:42 am 
And we're off...





Play it from the Heart



The only light in the room came from the candles arranged around the room atop the unpacked cardboard boxes. A thin wisp of smoke rose from the incense holder on her desk, which was piled high with the types of things other people threw away. Krista lay across her bed, her notebook open in front of her, the top of her pen tapping her lower lip as she thought. She was working on lyrics to a song she’d started earlier that week, a song inspired by the beautiful girl at school. She was going over the words, trying to tone them down so that they didn’t sound like amateur poetry night. She’d been taking tips from a book on songwriting her dad had gotten her recently, and it had proven to be helpful. Krista mainly wrote love songs. Not that she’d ever been in love before, but she’d read a lot of romance books, books that fueled her imagination of what it would finally be like. Unfortunately, lack of actual experience tended to give her songs a fanciful feel; lots of beautiful imagery without any real emotion behind it. She was smart enough and talented enough to recognize that. Sighing, she laid her head on her notebook. Not that she could change that if she tried.



A knock on the door caused her to lift her head. “Come in.”



The door crept open and her father’s head peaked around the edge. “Hey, Button. You’ve got a phone call. And mom just got home, and dinner’s ready, so try and make it quick, ‘kay?”



“ ‘Kay,” she answered as she got up from the bed to take the phone her dad offered her, casting him a questioning look. She waited for the door to close before plopping back onto her bed and putting the phone to her ear. “Hello?”



“How’s Wonderland?” a familiar voice asked.



“Diana!” Krista shrieked, sitting up in a rush. “Oh man, I thought you were going to call later!”



“I can call back,” her friend said with a chuckle.



“Oh yeah, please do. I haven’t been waiting to talk to you all week or anything.” There was a pause as they both laughed, the pleasure at being in touch with each other evident in their voices. They had known each other since they were eight, and had been inseparable ever since. The loss of physical proximity to her best friend had made the move to Alexander all the more distressing for Krista, and she and Diana had promised each other that they would email every day, and talk on the phone at least once a week. Krista was thankful to this day that her admission of a year ago didn’t wreck this friendship. “So, God, what’s going on? How are you?”



“Alright. We all miss you. Mrs. Truman was talking about you in rehearsal.” Krista smiled at the mention of her old band teacher. Truman had been the sweetest teacher in the school, and although their band never won any prizes, they were a tight-knit group and had always been proud of themselves. “So, Kris, what’s going on at the new school? How was the first day? Did you make some friends? What are the kids like? Do you hate them all?”



“Actually, you’ll never believe it. I got into the jazz band this afternoon, and the drummer is this guy who has a band, and he invited me to come over and play with them.” She waited for Diana’s reaction. Diana was well aware of Krista’s shyness and the difficulties she had meeting people.



“Wow,” Diana breathed. “I’m impressed. Almost speechless. What, did you move and suddenly grow balls?”



Krista rolled her eyes. “No. Pure luck, y’know. But I’m nervous. I’ve never played with a band band before. I’m not sure what’s gonna happen.”



“Kris, it’s music. You play the same notes, just maybe a different tempo. You’re gonna rock. And roll.”



Krista smiled to herself at Diana’s words of encouragement. Diana had always been her supporter, pushing her to do things she’d otherwise not have the guts to do. She was the catalyst behind Krista joining the jazz band back home. It felt good that even now, hundreds of miles away, Diana was still being her cheerleader.



“Anyway,” Diana continued, “moving on to the next big topic. Romance? Any hot young lesbians waiting for you?”



“Dude,” Krista hissed, looking around as if she expected to see her parents pop out of the closet. Despite the lack of dating and interest in boys in general, which Krista thought would have set off warning bells for her parents by now, they were still clueless about her sexuality. Hell, Krista’d only come to terms with it herself within the last year. She was in no means ready to come out to her parents, or anyone else. She felt content to live in her romance-novel fueled mind and wait out the three years till she was able to live on her own before she even thought of broaching the topic with her parents. It wasn’t that they weren’t liberal. Like any parents, they had expectations of her, and she was well aware that being gay wasn’t one of them. Some self-preserving instinct within her had tipped her off that liberalness sometimes started in other peoples’ yards, and landed home last. “No, no romance or anything. Are you kidding? I’ve resigned myself to being alone at least until I’m 21.”



“That’s a long time from now. I told you, you oughta answer a personal ad or something. ‘Big Momma Bear Seeks hot young thing to be her Goldilocks.’” They burst into a fit of laughter at the old joke between them. After her confessions of gayness and love, her good friend Diana had offered to take out a personal ad for her. “Besides, you’ve officially crossed the line from girl to woman. Time to get on that horse.”



Krista sighed. She’d never admit it out loud, but she had hoped, deep inside, that the recent event of her 16th birthday (for which her parents had been kind of enough to postpone the move so that she could spend it with her friends) would prove a landmark for her romantically. Two weeks into it, nothing had changed, and there was nothing about her circumstances at Townshend that gave her hope that it ever would.



“Yeah, yeah. You’ve never even seen a horse,” she retorted, and quickly changed the subject. They talked a little longer, Diana updating her of the goings-on within the little group she’d left behind. Krista listened carefully, memorizing and visualizing every detail, trying hard to ignore the pang of loneliness and missing she felt as she pictured each of her friends. They ended the call with promises of a repeat phone date the following week. Krista sat on the bed for a minute, composing herself and carefully placing her past on a shelf to be examined later, when she could be alone in her room all night. When she was ready she headed down to dinner.



The smell of food made her stomach rumble as she stepped into the dining room. Her father was setting the plates and napkins at the table, and a steaming bowl of pasta in sauce sat in the middle.



“Smells great, dad,” Krista complimented.



“Thank you. Help me get the rest of the silverware. Your mom’s changing. She just got home.” They headed into the kitchen together, gathering glasses, forks, and knives. They returned to the dining room to find Janice Evans wearily slumping into one of the chairs, emitting a big sigh. Father and daughter followed suit, setting the remaining dinnerware in their proper places and taking their seats on either side of the tired woman. Krista leaned over and gave her mom a small peck on the cheek. Her father reached over and took his wife’s hand, giving it a light squeeze.



“Ooohhh, am I glad this week is over,” she exclaimed. Mr. Evans reached for the bottle of red wine and her glass.



“No progress?” he asked as he poured her a glass.



“Progress, sure,” she replied, accepting the plate of pasta Krista set in front of her. “Just not enough. Mmm, this smells wonderful honey,” she added to Mr. Evans. “Anyway, I shouldn’t complain. I knew what I would be getting into. I knew it would be hard. Just…” she smiled ruefully,” it’s hard.”



Janice Evans had moved her family to Alexander, Arizona, to take the VP of Operations position at the local hospital. The interviewing process had been long and drawn out; the family had spent most of the summer unsure of what to prepare for. When the job offer finally came, the subsequent move was hurried. Bill Evans had recently been let go from the company where he’d worked for 30 years, and had nothing to gain by staying. The family had packed up their entire lives and made major adjustments in a short period of time. They had only arrived a week ago, and still had yet to completely unpack their belongings. Their new home showed the haphazardness of the move, and Krista’s parents were concerned about the affect the major transition would have on their daughter. She had had to be taken out of school, and away from the only friends she’d known for most of her life. In the end, though, moving was really the better option. Krista had assured her parents that she would be ok, and they’d made their decision.



Krista scooped some salad onto her plate. “Did you settle things with those HR jerks?” Krista asked. Janice had experienced unforeseen delays in processing her paperwork, and the hospital’s Human Resources department had been less than helpful



Janice nodded her head, chewing vigorously. “Mmhmm. I finally went straight to the Director, and he settled things very quickly.” She turned to her husband. “Have you heard anything else about that store?”



“I’ve got a meeting with them on Tuesday,” Bill announced, smiling proudly. “The price seems right, and if the inside is anywhere near as great as out, I think I’ll make an offer.”



“When do we get to see it?” Krista asked. Her father had started looking for rental property to try his hand in the retail business and pursue an independent computer business.



“Don’t get excited yet, honey. It’s not a sure thing. But, if you happen to travel downtown this weekend, it’s on Fifth and Maynard, on a street that’s got a lot of little businesses, around the corner from the main business district.”



Janice sipped her wine and eyed her daughter. “What about you, Button? How was your first week of school? We haven’t heard much. How’re the other kids?”



“Yeah, when do I get to start scaring teenage boys?” her father added, rubbing his hands together and emitting an evil chuckle.



Krista looked down at her plate, suddenly very interested in the configuration of her salad greens. I don’t know dad, hopefully you’ll have to scare some teenage lesbians away first was what she thought. What actually came out was a hollow laugh with a small, “Daaad.”



Janice watched as her previously animated daughter shut down. It had been this way for almost a year. One day she was the same old Krista, open and good-natured, and suddenly she had turned into this secretive, distrusting person that didn’t talk to her parents. She and Bill had worried about drugs, but intensive investigation had proven that not to be the case. She suspected that it stemmed from hormones; Krista was probably depressed because she didn’t get a lot of attention from boys. The strange thing was that prior to last October, Krista had gone on a dating spree. She’d actually dressed herself up nicely and went on quite a few dates. It had stopped just as suddenly as it had begun, leaving her parents confused and worried. Janice just hoped that whatever it was would pass or come to a head. She missed being close to her daughter.



“All kidding aside,” she prodded now, “how was your first week?”



“It was fine,” Krista replied. “I got into the jazz band.”



Bill reached over to pat her arm. “I knew you would. Never had a doubt,” He said proudly. Bill was particularly invested in Krista’s musical involvement, having been a talented saxophonist in his youth. He only picked it up to play around now, and would periodically practice with Krista, but had long ago given up his aspirations to be a professional jazz musician.



“And how about your teachers? Do you like them? Have you made any friends?” her mother questioned.



“The teachers are fine. And I’m getting to know people, I guess.” There was a pause, and her parents looked at each other, wondering if they should give up the questioning. “Actually,” Krista volunteered, “the drummer for the jazz band invited me to sit in with his band tomorrow night. He thinks I might be good enough to join them.”



“Oh, he has own jazz band?” her dad asked excitedly.



“Actually, no. It’s a rock band, I guess.”



His eyebrows shot up in surprise. “A rock band? Finally! Congratulations!”



“Well, thanks.” Krista looked at her dad fondly. She’d shared her frustrations with him about trying to get into bands in Staughton. It was just like him to be more excited than she was. Krista had a suspicion that he was living out his musical dreams through her, but she didn’t mind so much. At times she thought it was cute.



“What’s his name and where does he live?” her father inquired.



“Jay, and he lives on Roslindale, the street right behind ours. I think he might actually live in the house behind ours.”



“Is he cute?” her mother asked.



Krista sighed and replied, “No,” and turned her attention back to her food, refusing to participate any further in that particular conversation. She just didn’t know how to answer questions like that. Jay was cute in a completely objective way, but if she’d said that they’d have started in with the wriggling eyebrows.



She didn’t see her parents look at each other, mystified by her reaction to an innocent question. It always got this way when they attempted to talk to her about her private life. Quite frankly, the person she was becoming baffled them.



Suddenly her mother cleared her throat and turned to her father. “I met the nicest woman at work today, and I wanted to invite her and her husband to dinner one night. Which means,” she glanced at Krista, “Sunday is designated Family Cleaning Day. We need to get the rest of these boxes cleared and start making this place look like a home.” With that the tension eased, and the meal was finished with easy gossip about her mother’s new co-workers. Finally out of the spotlight, Krista settled back and relaxed with her family.





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 Post subject: Re: Update
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 12:49 pm 
Yay..an update :bounce . Wonderful. Love sam xx

"Sometimes things happen between people that you don't really expect. And sometimes the things that are important are the ones that seem the weirdest or the most wrong. And those are the ones that change your life." - Jessie Sammler (Evan Rachel Wood)



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 Post subject: update
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 7:42 pm 
Great update there. Cant wait to see more! :applause



-Sky-:glasses



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 Post subject: Re: Update
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2004 11:19 am 
This is a very good story. You describe your characters very well.



Looking forward to :read more



What other people think of me is none of my business - Ellen Degeneres



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 Post subject: Re: Update
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2004 3:35 am 
Wow, really enjoying the fic. I'm betting that the lead singer of the band is going to be the girl she's got a crush on, which may be a little complicated because i think Jay has a crush on Krista.



Update soon please.

Michelle.x



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 Post subject: Re: Update
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2004 4:58 pm 
I really don't come on here [the Kitten Board] much, but I was bored today so I thought I'd see if I could find anything interesting to read, and this story of yours was the first I clicked on. It is very good! I'm glad I decided to stop by... I'm definitely gonna hafta peek in more often to check if you've updated. I'm really gettin' familiar with the character Krista, and I'm enjoyin' her a lot. I find the shy bassist guise extremely adorable. I, too, am wondering if Taryn is the lead singer. It would be very interesting if she were for the same reasons that veiled isis moon has already described. Whoever Taryn ends up being, I can't wait to see how she interacts with Krista and vice versa. I hope you add some more soon!



Thanks :peace





[ ashley ]



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 Post subject: Re: Update
PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2004 12:50 am 
Ok see, I'm hooked. This sounds like an extremely promising story! Only thing is i hate waiting for updates!! I think you should just, post the entire thing on here! :grin hee...but i'm just impatient! I'm already into this girls character, and believe me when I say it isnt easy to pull me into a story like this.



I've read so much Willow/Tara I think it's time for me to read something new...I just hope there are more updates soon! :banana



Galahad: What a strange person. French Dude: I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries. Galahad: Is there someone else up their we could talk to? French Dude: No, now go away or I shall taunt you a second time. - Monty Python



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 Post subject: Update
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 2:05 pm 
Wow, everyone. I'm really flattered by the response. I'm glad you guys are enjoying it so far. I only hope I can keep it up. So, here's the next bit.



Play It From the Heart



‘Mexico Starting at $199!’



‘Join Us for Karaoke Every Wednesday Night’



‘Voted Best Sushi in Alexander 3 Years Running’



‘Manicures and Facials’



‘Hot Corned Beef’



Krista surveyed the signs as she walked down Peer Street, the main shopping district in downtown Alexander. Door after door, window after window, small businesses competed to lure passers-bys with their signs; from hand-made signs with scrawled writing declaring that they sell phone cards, to glitzy lit signs offering Budweiser. The buildings stood shoulder to shoulder as if hunched together in protection against the towering skyscrapers a block away that announced the presence of the Financial District. That was where the city went to work, and Peer Street, with its shops and restaurants and bars and more bars stretching in diminishing quality all the way to the train station, was where they went to play.



‘Used CDs Bought and Sold’



She stopped and peered through the music store’s windows. The late Saturday morning had yet to see as many strollers and consumers as it would in a matter of hours, but the store already had its fair share of patrons. Mainly school kids from the looks of it, none of whom Krista recognized. The thump of bass was audible through the glass storefront. She perused the various flyers attached to the glass. Community events, concerts…a gay bookstore. She stopped and re-read it, her eyes widening in excitement. The address indicated that it was on the same block. All thoughts of going inside the music store were replaced with a desire to visit the bookstore, and she turned and went in search.



She almost missed the little store with the rainbow flag tucked in between a hardware store and the Alexander Legal Aid Society. She was halfway past the doorway when she registered a familiar book cover in the small window. She stopped short and looked again. Best Lesbian Erotica 2004 was proudly propped up next to a host of other titles that were obviously gay in nature, some that she recognized and others that were new to her. This was it. She glanced around to see if she saw anyone she recognized from school, and ducked inside.



Her smile grew until she thought she could barely see around it, and she looked down to compose herself, lest anyone should think she was a loony. She raised her head, a more sedate grin on her face, and let her eyes scan the aisles of books and racks of clothing and stands of postcards, buttons, and bumper stickers in excitement. Here was a gay bookstore within biking distance from her home! Back in Staughton it was at least a 30-minute trip by car into the city. She remembered those trips with her parents, when she’d make a bid to check out the huge main library in hopes of finding a book or two by a known lesbian publisher to slip into her backpack. She’d felt bad about stealing, but had known there was no way she’d be able to check them out without her parents noticing. Once she’d been on the verge of picking one such book off the shelf when her mother had suddenly appeared beside her, asking her if she’d found anything interesting. She’d wound up checking out an incredibly boring book about a boy and his life on a farm. Here she was, suddenly presented with the possibility of having what looked like hundreds of books right in front of her, almost whenever she wanted. Who knew a little place like Alexander would even have such a store?



She read the placards hanging above the aisles, and headed towards the one marked “Lesbian.” Her route was intercepted by a middle-aged woman with a short, graying afro and square glasses.



“Hi,” the woman said, smiling warmly, “can I help you find anything?”



“Um, no thanks,” Krista answered shyly. “I’m just looking for now.”



“Okay. If you need any help, I’ll be around,” the woman offered.



“Thanks.” Krista ducked her head and continued towards the desired section. She was aware that people who worked in a gay bookstore must be ok with her being gay, but it still made her nervous. She stepped into the aisle and found herself overwhelmed. The bookcases were six shelves high, and spanned about eight feet. They were broken into sections covering fiction, health, relationships, politics, gender studies…she didn’t know there were this many books about lesbians. She moved to stand in front of the fiction section, and randomly picked a book off of the shelf. She turned it over to read the back cover. A lonely psychiatrist takes on a mysterious patient who appears to have a dark past. Perhaps she can unlock the patient’s memories, and the patient can unlock her heart. Deciding that it looked interesting enough, she began to flip through it, stopping from time to time to test out a paragraph or two. In this manner she perused the first 3 shelves of books, skipping over the few titles she’d already read, until her arms became too full to hold any more. She contemplated her load. She had $30 in her wallet, and each book was about $11. She carefully lowered herself to the floor and set the books in front of her, and began the methodical process of deciding what two books to get.



Fifteen minutes later she was out the door, two books stowed safely inside her backpack, a story already forming in her mind should her parents notice that she’d spent most of her money and wonder where it’d gone. She glanced at her watch as she headed towards the rack where her bike was chained. She hadn’t done much more sightseeing, but she was anxious to get home and read. She only hoped her parents wouldn’t be in a family-mind and would leave her in peace.

**********************************************

Five hours later she lay on her back in the middle of her bed, daydreaming. She’d finished both books, reading them as quickly as a starving person eats their first meal. She’d sighed deeply at the romantic parts, groaned out loud at the stupid actions the characters took on the path to resolution, squirmed slightly as her body reacted to some of the steamier parts, and now she was basking in the afterglow of vicariously living lives and loves she wished she had. She was 16 and her hormones were doing a fandango on her mind and body. It was definitely time, she thought, to experience these things first hand.



Krista rolled over slowly onto her stomach and reached a hand to the floor. She grasped her notebook, humming a tune that was forming in her head. She slid her pen from the metal rings of the notebook, opened the book to a blank page, and started to jot down the lyrics that were bubbling in her head. She grimaced at some clichéd lines that had found their way into her thoughts, but forced herself to keep writing. Editing would come later. She continued to hum as she wrote.



Once she had exhausted her thoughts, she set the notebook down and walked to the corner of the room where her bass was propped, standing alongside a small cart atop which lay a brand new digital 8-track, a microphone, and a pair of headphones- birthday presents from her parents. She slipped the headset on, turned the power button on, and adjusted a few knobs. She positioned the strap of the instrument over her shoulder, gave a few experimental strums to test the tuning, and began to play. She started slowly at first, grimacing in frustration as she sought to find the right notes until the melody that had been looping in her mind found form in the rich notes of her instrument. She played the lines over and over again, winding her way through a verse and a chorus and back again until it sounded exactly the way she’d heard it in her head. Her head bobbed in time to the implied rhythm, and she hummed the melody as she played.



Satisfied with her efforts, she pushed the record button and played through her new song, smiling to herself. It took a few tries to get it perfect, but once it was done she pressed the stop button with satisfaction. Removing her bass she glanced at the clock and found that she had been playing for quite some time. She was due at Jay’s house soon. She shook her head to try and clear the sudden nervousness that had her heart beating faster and her stomach feeling as if she had a swarm of butterflies trying to get out.



“It’ll be fine, Krista. This is what you’ve wanted for a long time now. And if it blows you come home, eat dinner, and tell your parents that you want to go to boarding school.” She gave a short laugh and proceeded to pack her gear for the short trip around the corner.



******************************************

She stood on the porch, waiting for someone to answer the doorbell. She had recognized the house immediately even though she had only seen it from behind. The house was located right behind hers, or from this vantage, her house was located behind Jay’s. It makes sense, she thought to herself, putting everything together. A few nights ago, while changing the CD she was listening to, she’d heard a female voice singing along with a radio. She’d followed the sound to her open bedroom window and realized that it was coming from the house behind hers, specifically from a window directly opposite hers. The yards weren’t particularly far apart given the design of the neighborhood; the two houses themselves were only as far apart as the medium-sized swimming pool her neighbors had, and the lack of dense tree growth enabled a body to see rather well into the opposite home, and both singer and music were pretty loud. She’d liked what she’d heard, and the voice of the singer had captured her attention immediately. A beautiful alto voice, incredibly sexy. She’d fantasized about that voice and the kind of girl it would belong to, hoping she might come across her in the neighborhood one day and have an excuse to talk to her. It made perfect sense that the voice would wind up belonging to Jay’s sister.



Cheryl Hoffa set down the romantic thriller she was engrossed in (current New York Time’s bestseller she’d inform you, in case you thought such material was silly) to answer the doorbell. She parted the light curtains covering the glass section at the top of the front door to see her visitor before opening the door with a warm, generous smile.



“Hello. You must be Krista.”



The slender, sandy-haired girl in front of her returned her wide smile with a shier one. “Yes ma’am,” she replied.



“Come on in,” Cheryl invited, stepping inside for the younger woman to enter. Krista adjusted her shoulder bag in a nervous gesture and stepped into the brightly lit foyer, trying hard to quell the natural instinct to immediately look at everything in a new surrounding. Her mother had often warned her that it was impolite to have a “visual picnic”, as she called it, when first meeting someone. “Jay’s in the basement already with Sergio. Would you like anything to drink before you head down?”



“Oh, no thank you.”



“Alright, I’ll show you to the basement.” Cheryl walked silently down the carpeted hallway that connected the foyer to the rest of the house with Krista behind her, discreetly glancing around. As they proceeded through the house, her ears registered faint thumping sounds and what sounded like a guitar. The sound grew slightly louder as they walked through a door on the right into a gleaming kitchen. Everything looked brand new, right down to the appliances, a phenomenon Krista had never witnessed in a kitchen before. She followed Jay’s mother to the far right of the room, where a wooden door contrasted with the gleaming newness of the kitchen. Mrs. Hoffa opened the door, and the thumping and strumming that had been almost unnoticeable came to throbbing life. Krista jerked back a little, taken aback by the sudden increase of sound. Mrs. Hoffa noticed this and, leaning closer so as to be heard above the din, answered the unasked question. “We sound-proofed the basement. Seemed like a smart idea.” With a look at the doorway, she added, “Still does.” She leaned through the doorway slightly and yelled, “Jay! Krista’s here!” Turning back to Krista with a shrug and a smile that admitted the futility of the move, she gestured for the teen to enter. Krista smiled her thanks and scooted past her to descend the stairs. Cheryl stared briefly at the retreating figure. Both of her teens were very outgoing, and this shy girl seemed as if she could use a little of what they had, especially if she were really going to be in their band. She closed the door behind her and, her parental duty temporarily discharged, returned to the living room and her book.



Krista paused on the stairs, mentally preparing herself for what she was about to experience. She hoped the other members were as nice as Jay.



She descended the stairs, a simple light fixture on the wall illuminating her path. Below her she could see that the stairs gave way to a large, carpeted room. Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs she saw that the carpet continued from the floor to the walls, the light green color giving her the feeling of being in a forest. To the left sat a washer, dryer, and pool table. To her right, still unaware of her presence, Jay sat at his drum kit, and a short, auburn-haired boy stood a few feet away from him playing a guitar. They were arranged with their backs to the stairs, the far wall acting as their audience. She stood awkwardly, unsure of how to proceed. The guitar player (what was his name? Steve? Scott?) rescued her when he turned to say something to Jay and spotted her.



“Hey,” he said in acknowledgement.



Jay swiveled on his stool and stood up when he saw her. “Krista, hey,” he greeted as he strolled over to her.



“Hey,” she replied, giving her patented trademark shy smile.



“That’s Sergio, our guitarist,” he informed her, throwing a thumb in the direction of the waiting boy, who gave a short upward nod of his head in that cool teenage shorthand for ‘What’s up?’ Jay walked back towards the set-up and Krista followed suit, her eyes taking in the spread of instruments and equipment. He led her to a large bass amp. She recognized the brand as one she’d salivated over in a music store back home, and hoped that her awed reaction didn’t let on that she knew how much it cost. Certainly more than her parents would ever spend on her for an amp. As supportive as her dad was about her music, he’d still been a little tight in the wallet when it came to buying her equipment.



“You can plug in here.” He motioned towards the amp. “We were just messing around with a new song while we wait for my sister, who…” he glanced at his watch with a trace of annoyance, “should be here any minute now.”



At the mention of Jay’s sister Krista’s nervous energy, which had been reduced somewhat by the reality of finally being here, quickly hit the red again and she had to avert her eyes to hide her excitement. Her rational mind realized that such excitement over someone she’d never seen could be construed as crazy, but she tucked that part away till later, when she would sit in her bedroom and carefully review each second of this visit for opportunities to berate herself for her behavior. She’d constructed lavish ideas about people with little to go on before, and she was old enough to realize that this was perhaps par for the course for Krista Evans, delusional romantic.



Jay returned to his drum kit and gave it a few experimental pops while he waited for Krista to set up. Krista pulled the strap of her bass over her head and turned the amp on, unaware of Jay’s eyes on her nor of Sergio smirking at Jay. She plucked a string and winced at the loudness. She adjusted the volume; later there would be need for that, but for now it was a bit much. She glanced at Sergio, and in the silent communication that exists between musicians, he played a note, knowing that she wanted to tune to him. She tuned her E to his, and once that was going right she tuned the rest of her strings on her own. She played a few riffs to guarantee that everything was as it should be and, once satisfied, turned to the others. Sergio and Jay looked at each other.



“Whadda you want to do?” Sergio queried.



“Well,” Jay started, glancing again at his watch. His next words were halted by the sound of the basement door opening, and a series of heavy thumps as someone came bounding down the stairs. Krista looked towards the stairway expectantly, and watched as a pair of scuffed black boots came into view, attached to slender denim-clad legs, attached to shapely hips and thighs, which were closely acquainted with a green army-camouflage shirt that was even more closely acquainted with snug-fitting jeans that hung low on her waist….finally, mercifully, Krista dropped her gaze, realizing that she was staring in a manner that could never be interpreted as merely curious, should anyone notice. A furtive glance around assured her that no one had noticed, and she returned her gaze to the safety of her bass and pretended to be engrossed in the strings.



“ ‘Bout time, slowpoke,” she heard Jay say in a mildly berating tone.



“Sorry dad,” the disembodied voice of the girl said, noticeably closer. Krista raised her head, realizing that her refusal to look at the new addition to the room would be just as conspicuous as gawking at her. Her eyes quickly panned up from the floor and the previously traveled territory of feet and legs and such, skipping parts best left alone, and finally landed on the face of Jay’s sister, where they rested in what they hoped was a nonchalant manner while the rest of Krista’s senses re-fired as she recognized the girl. Jay’s sister was none other than the popular girl she shared a lunch period with. Suddenly, instead of being many feet away, separated by a crowd of people, she was approaching her and holding her hand out.



“Hey,” Taryn greeted and shook her hand. She walked in a manner familiar only to those who have reached the level of ease with their bodies that comes from always being told how “hot” they are, and believing it. Taryn Hoffa had been praised on her looks by many people, and she knew how true it was. It hadn’t made her vain; she was simply confident in a way that the Kristas of the world usually never experienced.



“I’m Taryn, and you must be Krista,” she continued, and firmly grasped the other girl’s hand as she responded to the unusual gesture. Krista felt her face grow hot as Taryn’s eyes swept over her, clearly taking her measure in that one glance. She fought to keep herself from yanking her hand out of her grasp. “Nice to meet you. Jay’s been talking about you all week.” She smirked at Jay who looked at her with murderous eyes. With that she turned around and headed for the unoccupied mic stand near Sergio, and took her place facing the carpeted wall that served as their audience. “Let’s start with ‘Heaven Knows.’ I need to warm up.”



Jay rolled his eyes in response to her take-charge attitude, tossing a ‘don’t mind her’ grin Krista’s way. “You can just listen, get a feel for it,” Jay advised her before he began a count-off, tapping his sticks together. On four he swung into a heavy, bass-drum driven groove that reminded her of a “strip song” in its steady, pulsating feel. After a measure of this Sergio began to wind his guitar part into the spaced beats, his one-notes resonating with the ample reverb he applied. Krista watched as his back curved, thrusting his pelvis and the body of his guitar forward as he rocked back and forth to the sensuous beat. Jay’s head had instinctively began to loll back on his neck as he responded to the sexy rhythm. Krista’s eyes moved to take in the back of what might be her lead singer. Taryn had begun to sway, both hands cupping the microphone cradled in its stand, her hips moving side to side in short, sharp motions. This, Krista thought, is what cool is, and she wasn’t at all sure she could hang.



Suddenly Taryn began to sing, and Krista felt as if every hair on her body were standing on end. It wasn’t as if she hadn’t heard this voice before. The night she’d overheard her Krista had sat in her window seat, just listening to the intoxicating sounds that came from the house behind hers, imagining what form a voice like that would take. It was entirely different, however, to be experiencing the power of that voice from the same room. It was intensely erotic, that voice, and every line that she had ever read in her cheesy romance novels came crashing through her mind.



It seemed like hours had gone by since she’d began to helplessly stare at Taryn, and with no small degree of difficulty Krista pulled herself out of the dream-state she had fallen into. She glanced at Jay, registering a faint sense of loss as her eyes were robbed of the singing vision, and found his eyes on her. She wondered how long he had been looking at her looking at Taryn, and smiled nervously at him. He seemed unaware of her preoccupation with his sister, and offered her an encouraging smile and nodded pointedly at her bass. She understood that he was prompting her to join in, and she fixed her attention to the actual song that was developing around her rather than on the girl. She attuned her senses to the rolling beat of the drum, the haunting echoes of Sergio’s guitar, and the stirring tones of Taryn’s voice; her ears, well-trained from years of practice, picked up the key, and her mind worked out what was missing in the song, what her bass could supply, and she tentatively began to pick out a few notes, feeling out the line she wanted to add. Another look at Jay, seeing the grin appear on his face as he caught where she was going, and she played louder, adding the deep sounds of her instruments to the swell of sound around her, and she was in.



She ventured a glance at Taryn. It was where her eyes wanted to be anyway; it was a physical struggle to keep from gaping at her back. Her eyes had just settled on the figure at the front of the room when her crush turned around, and suddenly they were making eye contact. Taryn smiled widely, nodding her head with obvious approval as she moved in time with the music. Pure instinct made Krista quickly look away, and when she’d gathered her courage to return her gaze, Taryn had already turned back to the microphone.



Basking in your light

Covered in your kiss

Only heaven knows

Feeling like this

Falling into you

Held by your love

Only heaven knows

What it’s like to be us




Krista wanted to close her eyes and simply feel the music, but she needed to keep her eyes on Jay to be ready for changes. She didn’t want anything to mess up the music-induced trance, because a trance was exactly what it felt like. This is what she had always wanted, what she’d envisioned when she’d listened to her CDs and imagined herself playing with a band. There was a hypnotic quality to it all; the music, the connection she felt with these people who were essentially strangers to her, simply because they were all contributing to something that was so beautiful.



Jay was trying to get Krista’s attention, which had wandered again. He caught her eye; the bobbing motion of his head became exaggerated and he was mouthing the count. He was trying to indicate a change coming. She watched him carefully, but was unable to decipher whether it was tempo or key or something else, so she began to count with him, paying rapt attention so that when he suddenly stopped playing she was able to silence her bass just as quickly. There was no sound except Taryn’s voice and sparse accompaniment from Sergio.



I couldn’t imagine

This

And all of this time I’ve

Missed

You set my world on

Fire

Opened my eyes to

Desire




Krista watched in rapt attention as the singer geared up, her voice climbing the notes, practically clinging to each one, affecting a smooth slide up the scale as the bridge reached its crescendo. Without thought, her body attuned to the song in a way that only true music lovers get, she instinctively came back in at the peak, louder than ever, adding to the ferocity the song had suddenly taken on. She was playing it from the heart, which felt like it would swell under the pressure. She reluctantly tore her eyes from the captivating figure of Taryn singing from her soul to watch Jay again, aware that the song was reaching its end and preparing to take her cue from him once again. Krista’s bass line moved with him as he slowed the tempo, and everything began to get quieter; the song was fading out, till there was nothing but a whisper of sound left. When the very last audible note faded away, there was a moment of complete silence, when no one moved.



Suddenly Taryn turned around, beaming, and exclaimed in a low voice, “That felt amazing.”



“Yeah,” Jay agreed, his own wide smile so large it seemed to take up his entire face. “Krista, you hung in there like a pro, man. I’m really impressed.”



“Yeah,” Sergio added.



The music gone, Krista bowed her head in customary shyness and mumbled her thanks, wishing the attention was suddenly receiving would go away. She liked it much better when everyone was concentrating on the music.



“Let’s not lose it,” Taryn’s voice broke into her thoughts as she addressed the group. “Keep going. ‘Pieces’?” This last she addressed to Jay, referring to another of their songs.



“Yeah. Let’s start there and work our way down the list till dinner. Same as before, Krista, join in when you’re comfortable.”



They played for an hour and a half more. Krista found herself joining in on each song a little sooner, unconsciously gaining confidence in what she was contributing. They stopped and started a few songs that were still under construction, and Krista found herself being invited to weigh in on the discussions that sometimes followed. No one had said the words explicitly, but she had a feeling she was a member of this band, that they wanted her and what she had to offer. She was glad that she was constantly holding her instrument, as she felt a desire to clench her hands, jump up and down and yell out loud in excitement.



Krista lost all track of time and was surprised when Jay glanced at his watch and signaled that it was time to wrap things up. She quietly packed her gear, listening to the others talk excitedly, planning gigs and ways to advertise themselves. It was all overwhelming for her. She wasn’t sure what, if anything, all of this talk meant for her until Jay suddenly looked at her and said, “So, do you wanna be in?”



“Y-yeah. Yeah, if you want me,” she responded, caught off guard.



“Yeah he wants you,” Sergio replied, his smirk mimicking Taryn’s earlier one. Krista was a little confused, but decided to let it slide. She was in! She was in her first band, a band that seemed to be constituted of cool people. She didn’t know how she would fit in, but it was definitely a much better start to her school year than she had anticipated.



She finished packing her bass up and was preparing to leave when Jay stopped her at the bottom of the stairs.



“Hey, um, we’re all going to the drive-in later. You wanna come?”



Krista stared at him for a moment, taken aback by the offer. “You guys have a drive-in?” she asked when she was able to open her mouth.



He chuckled. “Yeah, bona fide drive-in. It’s fun. We mainly go just to hang out. Usually something really cheesy is playing anyway.”



Krista looked suspiciously at him. She wasn’t the kind of girl who easily believed that someone was interested in her (unless they had some obvious deformity or something), but she was smart enough to put two and two together and get date. Between Taryn and Sergio’s comments and the secret meaning of drive-in, she was suddenly not feeling all together comfortable. Taryn, who had been watching the exchange from across the room, understood her hesitation and offered, “He doesn’t mean hang-out in the ‘making-out’ sense. We really do just go to eat bad food and watch an equally bad movie.”



It was obvious from the sheepish look he gave her that Jay had had no idea of the implications of his previous words, and he shook his head as he apologized. “Yeah, sorry, I didn’t mean it like that. I meant…what she said.”



“Come on,” Taryn added, walking over to them. “It’ll be like your initiation. Hanging out with the band.” She waited for Krista’s answer.



“Ok,” Krista agreed, not meeting Taryn’s eyes.



“Cool,” Jay said, smiling. “Um, you wanna swing by around 7:45?”



Krista nodded. She bid everyone good-bye, and escaped up the stairs. She was sad that practice was over, that the music was done, but she was also grateful for some time in her room alone to think about everything that had happened. Her fingers itched for her pen, and a new burst of excitement propelled her home.



Edited by: Big Dummy at: 8/5/04 9:23 am


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 Post subject: Re: Update
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 8:54 pm 
Hi Big Dummy,



Excellent update. Keep them coming.



wilgen.



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 Post subject: Re: Update
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 10:28 pm 
Awesome update! Krista is adorable! :flirt I knew she'd make it into the band. Its all gettin' very interesting; can't wait to see how things go in the next update...



Thanks :peace





[ ashley ]



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 Post subject: Re: Update
PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2004 1:07 am 
Ooh yay..an update!! I love this :heart ..Can't wait for more :bounce . Love sam xx

"Sometimes things happen between people that you don't really expect. And sometimes the things that are important are the ones that seem the weirdest or the most wrong. And those are the ones that change your life." - Jessie Sammler (Evan Rachel Wood)



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 Post subject: Re: Update
PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2004 7:37 am 
Just found this one... Very good stuff.



I'm only through the first two installments so far, but I can't help but to read further. There's great, flavorful internalization, an interesting point-of-view character, and some pretty skillful descriptions and inferences throughout.



You must be a pretty good reader to have written so well for your first piece. Really, this is a great and promising story told with an earnest enthusiasm which breathes a lot of life and identity into the narrative.



I understand that you're not finished yet (what's that like?) and would like to offer you a few constructive suggestions for your continued writing:



1. Use as few adverbs as possible. EVERY starting writer uses way-too-many of them, and they do nothing but clutter the narrative. We all use them in everyday speech because they are fast and easy, but in prose, they can weigh-down an otherwise powerful and sleek delivery. Choose active verbs instead. They force more emotional and dynamic conviction into a scene, making it seem even more real.

2. Do not use contractions, unless they are in your dialogue (internal or external.) They have their place in the narrative, but not from the 3rd person perspective (which you are using.)

3. Avoid repetition. We all do it, not meaning to, but do it nevertheless. We get comfortable with words and phrases, write in installments, eager to forge-ahead, looking back with fatigued eyes. You have an impressive vocabulary at your disposal (I can tell from your word-choices... some are quite delicious.) ...Make as much use of it as possible.

4. Scene structure is THE most important thing to learn about prose writing. Each scene should have:



A Goal -- Usually a want or need of your POV character.



A Conflict -- Something that stands in the way of the goal, usually external in nature... such as another character.



A Disaster -- The confrontation between the goal and conflict that will result in four ways (Yes / Yes, But / No / No, But .) The word 'disaster' does not mean an earthquake or a brawl necessarily, but there has to be a demonstration of the conflict's resolution.



A Sequel -- The aftermath of the disaster, setting up another goal, or redefining the need to pursue the previous goal further.



As a reader, you have a subliminal expectation for these elements of structure. When they're not fully defined or developed, then the work just seems 'off,' and you can't place exactly why. As a writers, we worry so much about our style, our content, our characters, oour speling, etc. that we often lose sight of the reader's main needs as the recipient of a story. The most important of those needs is the presence of a dramatic structure. Pick up a children's book and check it out... The words are fewer and simpler, but the goal-conflict-disaster-sequel elements are even clearer to recognize, and their importance is much clearer with no flowery prose to hide behind.



I share this with you because I am also new to writing. I learned a lot of this through trial-and error, observation, and LOTS of reading from very boring-yet-informative books that are intended to turn hacks into writers :) Some of them are kind of like parents: You don't want to listen to them, you think that they're infringing on your creativity and controlling your own personal style, but after you're a little wiser, looking back at your first work, you begin to realize that they had your best interest at-heart all along.



Enough from me already... I'm going to read the rest!



I can't wait... Great Job!



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 Post subject: Re: Update
PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2004 7:46 am 
That was a great update :applause



I really like Krista. I can definitely sympathise with her shyness :shy



When you wrote about Krista hearing the girl next door singing, I wondered if it would be the girl that she had seen at school, and I was right :)



Looking forward to :read more



What other people think of me is none of my business - Ellen Degeneres



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 Post subject: Re: Update
PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2004 8:39 am 
Okay… Read the rest… Loved it!



First impression is that you’ve got some great dynamics between your characters. A lot of well-stated (by narrative implication) goals and lots of potential conflicts, all leading toward several juicy disaster scenarios. The bricks of the story’s foundation are definitely made of some good clay.



I knew that the mysterious girl from the second installment was going to be Taryn, but I didn’t groan when you delivered her to us. Probably because of your immediate descriptive sentences and the rapid reaction and clever, vulnerable internalizations on the part of Krista. Very well done, and rather refreshing.



There’s a lot of room in here for the main players to interact and develop, so don’t rush into anything if you can avoid it. From the pacing that you’ve established so far, I think you’ll handle it just fine.



You have a warm feel to the settings; comfortable... familiar. This is a great choice for creating a contrast to the turmoil of the POV character’s internal conflict.



The bookstore was rendered very well. Just enough detail to build the setting. The internal conflict, nervousness, unease, and eager anticipation came across quite well, and with a frankness that begs for reader sympathy and identification. I also like your explanations and observatory comments within Krista’s mind. You’ve put a lot of flavor into her self-discovery without making her sappy or tiresome. Well done.



The band rehearsal scene had some good balance going too. There were quite a few goals inferred, and through your internalizations, the reader actually wants to see them met as much as the characters. It was very clear after a certain point that Jay will have a conflict with Krista (their goals are different, hence conflict) and that Taryn may have a conflict with Jay (again, different goals,) and Sergio may wind up in conflict with all three of them (His goal right now seems to be more musical, less romantic, therefore, the soap opera stuff could make him fed-up in a hurry.) It’s quite a stew that you’re setting to simmer here. A pot that begs to be watched.



With all that said, I would like to pass another piece of advice on to you: Try to keep your POV character consistent. Taryn may feel something, like something, or get all tingly over something, but don’t tell us—show us. This was Krista’s scene, and we should only have access to her direct thoughts and impressions. If Taryn likes or dislikes something, the only way that we should be able to tell is through her words or body language. If, in a later scene, Taryn is the POV character, then we can find out what’s going on in her head through direct means.



[Taryn watched her shrink under the praise with interest. She was so shy, but she had to be in the band. She was too good not to be.]



It’s great to deliver Taryn’s impression like that, but again, you’ve already chosen Krista as the POV (we even followed her down the stairs, didn’t we?)



I am WAY more guilty of this than you are, so please take my advice on this matter as seriously as you can. It can save you a lot of editing later if you keep it in-mind as you build a scene.



Again, great work overall. As a first work, it’s incredible. I wish that my first story was as skilled and savvy as yours is promising to be. I look forward to reading more.



-SQ





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 Post subject: Re:Update
PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2004 9:01 am 
You guys make me blush. Thanks for reading. My teeny-tiny ego is getting a good stroking (but no worries; it shall forever remain teeny and tiny :blush ).



StrangeQuark, I thank you profusely for your feedback and criticism. It was exactly what I was looking for. I know the story could use some tweaking and cleaning-up...some sophistication, I guess. I will re-read the parts I've already written with an eye for the things you mentioned, as well as keep them in mind for the as of yet unwritten portions.



And thanks again to all of you for commenting. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have the courage to continue posting this. You make a first-time writer feel good.



:peace



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 Post subject: Re: Re:Update
PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2004 5:35 am 
Really, really loving this fic. You write so well and you deserve all the great feedback you get. We'll have to work on that teeny-tiny ego of yours, cos it just won't do!



The meeting with the band was great. The way in which you decribed the music they were playing and the shifts in tempo was intense, especially that first song, felt like i was actually there!



I'm getting all excited about Krista and Taryn! Will they get together? If they are it'll be fun to see how Taryn interacts and gets to know Krista, what with Krista being so shy and she.........well.......being not so shy!



I want more please



Michelle.x



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 Post subject: Re: Re:Update
PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2004 5:06 pm 
SQ, it's interesting that you said that about the POV. My proofer (who may be a bit biased but is always fair), said something along those same lines when she started reading it a while back. She has since said that it doesn't bother her anymore, which I was thankful for because the POV switch is kinda important to me.



What I mean is, although I started with Krista and she is indeed the focal point of the story in so many ways, I wanted to ease into getting into Taryn some and what makes her tick as much, or almost as much, as I do with Krista. Perhaps the way in which I introduced that idea is awkward. I value the 3rd person because I do want to explore both Krista and Taryn here. As the story goes on, I actually do that more and more, so you can imagine my distress when you echoed my proofer's first comments; that's a lot of re-writing to do! :eek



Seriously, what I'd like is for you to read the next few installments and see if the POV switch doesn't come a little more easily. Maybe the early POV transitions, as it is the earliest stage of my writing, needs work to function well for the reader. Or it could be that it still proves distracting after a bit, and I need to rethink the entire approach as you've said.



Thanks again for your comments and critiques. I have no illusions that this is the final draft by any means, and I hope to use your suggestions (and those of others) to make it better.



And thanks, veiled isis moon (great name btw). I was afraid the band scene would come off cheesy. It's hard to explain the feeling you can get from music, especially performing it. And I won't lie; I made the lyrics up on the fly, so I'm especially thankful that that didn't come out as cheesy as I had feared.



Thanks again, you guys. I'm doing a lot of hard thinking, and re-writing.



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 Post subject: Re: Re:Update
PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2004 6:40 am 
BD--



Third person is great. Heck, a huge amount of modern fiction is third-person. Having multiple POV characters is great too, again almost all modern fiction has many characters, each with their own POV within a larger universe.



I'm suggesting that you select a single POV character for each SCENE. You can have scenes where Kritsa is the POV, or it could be Taryn, or any other character well developed enough to deserve a scene in the story. It's not a well-accepted, or well-received practice to have more than one POV character in a practical dramatic scene, though. Almost all professional writers avoid this, and I assume for good reason.

The whole story doesn't have to be through Krista's eyes... Just the scenes in which her POV is used.



It's a subtle, insidious little thing that happens when you're passionate about your story, and a little over-eager to divulge and develop every little idea as-it-happens. Believe me, I've had to rewrite major scenes of a (now over 120,000 words and still growing) novel because I broke the one-viewpoint-character-per-scene rule and didn't realize it until much later.



The only ^difficult^ multi-POV scenes that you should attempt should be moments between Taryn and Krista-- just the two of them, together-- when it IS important to be inside each character's head as emotions, impressions, reactions, etc develop (such as in a romantic encounter.)



Again, I love your story, the flavor, the ideas, the characters, the conflicts... It's really very well-done. There's a book out there... the 38 most common mistakes made by starting authors, or something like that (don't have it at my desk right now,) and you've avoided almost all of them so far, but the single scene with multiple POV is one of the first ten listed, and I encourage you to use some of your obvious creativity and cleverness to find ways to avoid it. It will make your story, and your writing ability even stronger.



When you are tempted to jump from your selected POV character's head and into another's –even for an instant-- ask yourself:



a) Does the reader REALLY need to know what this non-POV character is thinking RIGHT NOW?



b) Could it add more drama to have to wait for that character’s reaction? (might improve story-flow serendipitously.)



c) Can you imply their thoughts through your POV character’s observation of body language, mannerisms? (always a good choice—you can follow-up later in the non-POV character’s scene where they have the POV)



d) Can they share their thoughts with the POV character through dialogue? If not, can the next scene feature this character as the POV character so that you can divulge their hidden thoughts?



If you can answer “yes” to any of the above questions (except a.), then you’ve successfully found a better way to deal with the multiple-POV situation.



It’s all for the sake of clarity and readability—your two most important goals as a person trying to tell a story which the most-possible people will want to read. After all, that’s what writing is for… to be read.



-SQ



Edited by: StrangeQuark at: 7/27/04 6:58 am


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 Post subject: Re:Update
PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2004 2:59 pm 
Niiiice... keep it coming.. can hardly wait for more!



-Sky- :glasses



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