Author Topic: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter XX, 10/17]  (Read 24572 times)

Offline Quietriot

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The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter XX, 10/17]
« on: April 17, 2012, 05:12:03 AM »
The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up

Chapter I -- For Lack of a Better Name
Chapter II -- Party Rock Anthem
Chapter III -- Karma Police
Chapter IV -- Four Love Songs
Chapter V -- Time is Running Out
Omake I -- 27
Chapter VI -- House of Wolves
Chapter VII -- Liar Liar
Chapter VIII -- SONGS
Chapter IX -- Dance Inside
Chapter X -- Ignorance // Omake II -- Human
Chapter XI -- The Only Exception
Chapter XII -- Not Coming Home
Omake III -- Little Lion Man
Omake IV -- Butterflies and Hurricanes
Chapter XIII -- What I Have Done
Chapter XIV -- Speeding Cars
Chapter XV -- Creep
Chapter XVI -- You and I
Omake V -- Hide and Seek
Chapter XVII -- 50 Ways to Say Goodbye
Chapter XVIII -- Ladykiller
Chapter XIX -- One More Night
Chapter XX -- Wings

Prologue

Fingers, slender but wrinkled with time and age, descended carefully upon the pages of the scrapbook, worn pads tracing over faces in photos like a meaningful caress. There were stories here, in these pictures, or at least the ghosts of them remained, because each one returned something to her memory: a feeling, a melody, the sound of laughter and of confessions whispered in king-sized beds. With each turn of the page, she felt clarity again. It wasn't that she was senile or had forgotten; she was much too stubborn and defiant to let age rob her of everything. No, it was more like her mind was a painting, and as she looked through the scrapbook, she was restoring it to some semblance of its former glory.

For hours now she had been in the dusty attic alone, rummaging through boxes of what appeared to be junk to anyone but her. At one point, her hands had grazed against an old, worn jacket and she trembled as she pulled it from the box, pressing it to her face in the vain hope that somehow old familiar scents still lingered on the fabric.

After that the woman discovered a stack of letters (too soon, much too soon), a necklace (which she was holding still now in her free hand, thumb rubbing against the silver charm each time she turned a page), and then, of course, the scrapbook itself. There were more pictures elsewhere in the boxes, she knew, but this was a thing she had to do piece by piece, and for now, the scrapbook was the least distressing option to start with.

She had purposely avoided going into the attic for years. Whether that decision was motivated by cowardice or pain or both, she couldn't be sure, but she alone had the key to the room, and until that very morning it had remained untouched inside of a drawer in her bedside table. Upon waking, the desire to confront what she had been keeping locked away hit her suddenly, like a flash of lightning. So she'd gotten out of bed, made her way downstairs for an appearance at breakfast like any proper matriarch would do, and then very simply told her son and daughter-in-law that she would be in the attic and that she would like to remain undisturbed for the rest of the day.

They of course, seemed shocked and perhaps a bit awed by the announcement, but nevertheless as she walked away she distinctly heard her grandchildren being instructed to play quietly today.

Some part of her knew, even before she heard the pattering of feet scrambling up the stairs and little voices talking in curious whispers, that her peace would be short-lived. Dark eyes--still as sharp as the day she was born, mind you--glanced up from the sketchbook and over towards the doorway, catching sight of two small heads poking before they rapidly disappeared from view. This was followed by stifled giggling, and the old woman could not help but to allow a grin to grace her lips before calling out to the children.

"Your father told you to leave me be today, did he not? He's no fun, is he?"

She was aware that it had been her own request, but the woman had been born with a mischievous streak that she had never quite grown out of, and besides, grandchildren were a parent's best revenge. Never once did she miss an opportunity to tease her son. Or anyone for that matter. At the sound of her voice, the children reappeared in the doorway, this time completely in view; a boy and a girl, ages eight and nine respectively, like carbon copies of their parents. She loved them dearly, and was proud that even though they'd never look anything like her both had picked up some of her wilder traits, much to her son's dismay.

The old woman patted the empty space beside her on the dusty couch she was seated on, beckoning for them to join her.

"Come. I have pictures to share with you. And perhaps even a story as well if you promise to behave."

They would. Especially for her. The two hurried happily into the room, both scrambling up onto the couch and settling to where they could see the scrapbook. Almost immediately, the boy's arm shot out, pointing to a photo of a girl, dressed like a rockstar and singing her heart out into a microphone. Her expression was fierce and passionate, that of someone who thought she could take on the whole world at once.

"Grandma, who's that?" He questioned, unknowing that the sight of the picture had caused a twinge of pain to settle deep into the old woman's heart. She steeled herself, however, remembered that she had come up here for this very reason. She could not run forever.

"Why, that's me, actually. Can you believe it?"

"You used to sing?"

"Amazing!"

"I was rather good at it. And I was fortunate enough to get to do it with my friends."

She turned the page to reveal another picture, this one a bit larger and of five girls, herself included. Their arms were slung about one another and they were smiling, laughing, making hilarious faces without a care in the world. This picture too, she traced gently, lingering on one face in particular above the rest. Tears threatened to well up in her eyes as she stared at this face, but thankfully they would not come. Not yet.

"Would you like me to tell you about it?" She asked softly, earning two enthusiastic nods in response.

"It started around the time I turned twenty. I had just moved out of my parents' house, and as far as I was concerned, I could do anything. I was going to make all of my dreams come true..."

-----

After... wow, four, uh, five years now, I have returned with a thing. That I wrote. And uh, am going to continue writing. I've had a few ideas in my head now lately but this one suddenly sprung to me and I couldn't sleep so have a prologue. For those of you who don't know and haven't checked out my signature, I used to write fics here as FeverInducedMadness [Voices of Angels, Heartbeat Tempo]. I feel like this may very well end up being a spiritual successor to HT, though with a major change in cast. More is soon to come when its not 4am and I have more of a game plan down. Feel free to guess who our faithful narrator is here if you'd like, as the answer will be revealed in the first actual chapter. Bye for now~
« Last Edit: October 18, 2013, 04:45:05 AM by Quietriot »

Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Prologue, 4/17]
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2012, 06:38:38 AM »
Well, it certainly is a promising start. As for the narrator... Ai-chan?

I dunno, but I'm looking forward to more, definitely!

Offline risa_ai

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Prologue, 4/17]
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2012, 01:54:00 PM »
Ohohoh! xD me want read!

Offline Quietriot

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Prologue, 4/17]
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2012, 02:05:17 AM »
Whoa, lots of views after just one day haha thanks to everyone who's read so far, whether you decided to comment or not. Of course if you don't comment I can't thank you personally, ne?

@rndmnwierd: ahaha thanks for your interest, I hope I don't disappoint. The narrator is not Aichan, but continue reading to find out who is. She will, however, make an appearance in this chapter.

@risa_ai: ask and ye shall receive!

Without further ado, the first chapter. I shall take this moment to point out that chapter names will be song titles. Random song titles. Likely whatever I'm listening to at the time. Don't read too much into them! XD Enjoy!  :cathappy:

Chapter I: For Lack of a Better Name

"I can't believe you're listening to music and trying to sleep through all this... Would you just look out the window once?"

"You know buses make me sick. Leave me alone."

"Ah, but this place is so great, Reina..."

My lip curled upward in an annoyed half-snarl as my baby sister's voice trailed off into a whine, somehow managing to cut through the sounds of heavy metal  I was blasting into my ears. I knew how this would end; she would continue to pester me until I placated her and I sighed, deciding then and there that I was not about to deal with this nonsense for another half hour. I grunted, making a bit of a show of ripping out my headphones--that she missed, as she was still plastered against the glass--before glaring past her out the window.

Currently our bus was weaving in and out of some very crowded streets, and I noted with some slight panic that we had just very narrowly avoided collision with a cab. When we came to a stop I was able to properly take in our surroundings. Buildings clawed their way towards the sky on every  side, some so tall I couldn't see the top from where I was seated, and they were packed in as close as was physically possible. It almost looked as though they were stacked one atop another, as if when the city ran out of room to expand outwards, they built up instead. Everything closer to the ground was old and worn, faded street signs bolted to the corners of shops and bits of graffiti here and there among the littered alleyways, while the further up my eyes traveled, crumbling brick gave way to shining, impressive steel and polished glass.

People were everywhere as well, swarming the streets and pavements like herds of animals, not bothering to pay any heed to the crossing signals...sometimes not paying any heed to the traffic around them at all. They came in all shapes and sizes, colors and walks of life, and the only thing I really noticed that any of them had in common was that most seemed to be busy or in an extreme hurry.

A wave of nausea passed over me as our bus lurched forward again, and I pressed my head into the back of my seat, screwing my eyes shut and feeling the color drain from my face.

"This place is shit."

"Aw, you're just saying that because you FEEL like shit. When we get off this bus and you have a nap you won't be so grumpy."

"Whose idea was it to come here again?"

"Yours."

Oh. Right. She had me there. And I was feeling much too ill to bite back a second time. Instead, I chose to try and remember exactly why I wanted to come to this godforsaken place.

Getting away from my parents was certainly a major factor; I had just become a legal adult and it wasn't in my nature to be one of those girls that stayed at home until she was married off. In fact the idea repulsed me a lot, and I'd started looking for an apartment months before my birthday even came about. In hindsight, announcing on the day itself that I was moving out was probably a little... tactless. And had it been just me, they'd have likely come around to the idea soon enough, but naturally Aika was there to swoop in and make things more difficult. My sister decided that she was coming with me, and that was that; nevermind still being a kid or having no prospects for a job, her stubbornness had always rivaled mine and while I got my way through careful manipulation, she got hers by being doggedly persistent.

She was the most irritating person I knew. But deep down, I had to admit I loved my baby sister dearly, and if I was even more honest with myself I was glad that I wasn't making a change like this all on my own.

Before I realized it, we had stopped at the station, and Aika was nudging me insistently in the shoulder in an attempt to get me to move faster. This incited a small slapping war, one that I lost the moment she cheated and moved to tickling me. I got my revenge in the form of a well-placed kick in the rear as she was exiting the bus, feeling infinitely better as I stepped outside into fresh air.

For a moment I realized that my new life, well, our new life, had just begun, and that I was in a place that I was going to have to learn to call home. I wasn't ready for that, not quite yet, but now that I wasn't on the verge of throwing up every five minutes I felt the familiar burn of excitement and possibility spreading over me. We were finally here, and this was really happening.

Aika had been watching me carefully while I was thinking, resting her weight on the handle of her suitcase. I was brought back out of my head when I realized that a boyish grin had made its way onto her face and I raised an eyebrow.

"What?"

"I just wonder what goes on up there in your head sometimes. When you start to think, the expression on your face makes me think you might be smarter than you look."

"Oh haha, very funny," I snapped in response, starting to stalk away with my bags, "Just for that, YOU get to buy lunch."

"Eh!? Wait- Reina! Whyyyyy?"

----------

A dissonant chord struck the air like a sudden thunderclap, causing everyone in the room to flinch and shoot glares in the direction of the cause. One Michishige Sayumi was sprawled lazily across the stage, eyes fixated on the ceiling as she absently dragged her fingers across the strings of her electric guitar, seeming not to care about the horrific note combinations she was producing. The girl also seemed oblivious to the atmosphere she was creating around her, the tension rising steadily every time she strummed the instrument.

This continued for a few minutes until from the other side of the room someone finally decided they'd had enough.

"Oi! Sayu! Cut it out!"

The rabbit sat up a bit at the admonition, eyes narrowing as she  searched for the person who would dare to speak to her like that. The bassist, Niigaki Risa, was leaning against the wall directly across from her, a scowl on her face and her hands clamped over her ears in an attempt to block out the noise. Sayumi made a face at her, tongue jutting out defiantly past her lips. Risa flashed her a rude hand gesture in response, causing the rabbit to squeal with rage and scramble to her feet as if to rush the bassist. But before the fighting could go on, the drummer--who had been using her snare as a pillow the entire time--suddenly lifted her head with a long-suffering groan that halted the two in their tracks.

"Guys...it's a bit early for a catfight, don't you think?"

"Eri, it's three PM." Risa replied flatly, raising an eyebrow. The turtle girl nodded in agreement, eyes half-closed as she moved to lay her head back down on the drum.

"Exactly," she mumbled, "Too early. So behave."

The two guitarists stood there a moment longer, both giving the drummer an incredulous look before turning back to each other. The turtle girl's interruption had been enough to diffuse the situation, and Risa marched back to where her bass lay, strapping it on and quietly going through some of the riffs for their opening song.

The trio, along with their currently absent leader/keyboardist, were waiting to start the sound check for that night's show, set to perform in one of the city's hottest bars. The band hadn't been doing so well since their other lead singer had bailed on them, and thus this show was important for several reasons and everyone was on edge about it.

For one thing, it was their first major gig in over a month, the bar's owner the only one willing to give them a chance since their shows had been on the decline. For another, they planned on making a fairly major announcement towards the end, one that they hoped would generate a bit more interest for them.

The band's leader soon walked in, running a hand tiredly through her short, boyish hair and sighing as she approached the trio, causing even the turtle to rouse from her nap once more to look up at her. She obviously came bearing some not-so-great news. Only Risa was brave enough to break the silence.

"What is it, Aichan?"

"Well, we're still doing the show, but it seems as though they're gonna cut us short to make time for another band afterwards..." The leader trailed off with a sigh, automatically ascending the steps of the stage and moving towards her keyboard to begin preparing it for the sound check. "It's not the most ideal situation, but it's what we're stuck with, so we'll make the most of it."

She got only stunned and angry silence in reply, and Ai looked up to glance at each of her bandmates in turn, gaze turning a bit stern.

"Right?"

Slowly, hesitantly, she got three affirmatives, and she nodded, leaning forward into the mic in front of her to signal to the sound tech that they were ready to begin.

The show would go on after all. For them, it had to.

----------

I stepped into the apartment with Aika at my heels, immediately shrugging my bag off of my shoulder and onto the ground with a thud. She closed the door behind us before wandering a bit farther into the main room, examining what was now our new home. I had already seen the apartment, of course, as I had been the one to move a majority of our things in a few weeks earlier. We didn't have much outside of the essentials, but in my opinion it was enough.

"It's a bit boring, isn't it?"

"Yeah, well, there will be plenty of time to make it more..." I flopped on the couch at that point, lazily twisting my hand in the air as I made a half-assed search through my vocabulary for the right word.

"Homey? Cozy? Exciting?" Aika supplied, sitting down beside my feet on the other end of the couch.

"Sure, all of those." To be honest, I could have cared less in that moment. We'd been traveling all day and I was completely exhausted and in need of a serious nap. Fortunately, Aika was the best at reading my moods--even if she sometimes used that to her advantage to tease me--and she dropped the subject, moving to curl right up behind me on the couch, arms slipping loosely about my waist.

"Well, I like it here," She declared quietly, and my combative sibling nature gave way to the rare and comfortable moment I was sharing with her. I think I even smiled a bit.

We had reached the point where words weren't really necessary anymore, and I was grateful, because I was fading fast and didn't care to struggle against sleep any longer.

"Rest well, Rei."

"You too, Aika."
« Last Edit: June 30, 2012, 07:38:36 AM by Quietriot »

Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter I, 4/18]
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2012, 04:59:35 AM »
I love band AU's. And I love where this is going!

Offline risa_ai

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter I, 4/18]
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2012, 10:06:37 AM »
U rock. xD

Offline Quietriot

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter I, 4/18]
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2012, 12:27:56 AM »
I don't have much to say about this chapter other than...uh...I should have been studying about textiles and prepping fabric instead of writing it. As for the title...



Enjoy. XD

Chapter II - Party Rock Anthem

I woke up later that evening on the couch alone, more than a little disoriented. But that was what I got for napping for a good three hours, and I staggered dangerously when I rolled onto my feet, the haze of sleep drunkenness clouding my head. I wandered towards the little kitchenette first to grab some water, cursing loudly when my hip clumsily connected with the corner of the breakfast table.

"Are you alright?" Aika's voice came to me from one of the bedrooms; I suddenly noticed that her things were no longer scattered about the main room, knowing my sister had probably taken advantage of my being asleep to stake her claim on the room she wanted more. Fair enough, because I would have done the same.

Instead of answering right away, I went ahead and got my water, splashing a bit on my face for good measure before sluggishly making my way towards her room. I leaned against the doorframe, poking my head in while taking small sips from the glass in my hand.

We had only just gotten here today and the place was already a mess. But not because my sister was disorganized or lazy; actually, all of her things like clothes, books, music, I was sure were put away and in their proper places. She had even wasted no time in tacking pictures to the wall, pieces of home and our old life serving to warm up the otherwise dull space. 

There in the middle of the floor was Aika, covered in paint, a large plastic tarp beneath her and extending up onto the wall she was facing. She was wearing an orange tanktop and a pair of overalls that were stained so many different colors now that not much of the original denim was visible. Between her and the wall was set an easel and canvas that was dripping splotches of blue and red profusely onto the tarp, though from where I was standing, it certainly looked more like my sister was meant to be the canvas.  She hadn't yet noticed my presence, eyes focused intently on her work as she knelt down to grab a different brush; I didn't always understand my sister's work, but there was certainly something about it that went deeper than lines and colors on paper.

Ever since we were children she had been doodling on anything she managed to get her hands on, whether it was a notebook or the walls or say, my favorite band's poster... And as the years went on she became more and more prolific, hell, she'd spent most of the trip that morning sketching away. Even I had to admit, my sister was quite talented.

It made me worry; being here with me likely wasn't a stable enough environment like she was used to with our parents, considering she was going to have to find a job alongside keeping up with her schoolwork. I wasn't about to let her drop out, and one of my conditions for her staying with me was that she finish school; if her grades dropped below what I deemed acceptable, it was straight back to mom and dad. Somehow I felt that she'd keep up her end of the deal, though, because once she set her mind to do something, she got it done. But I couldn't help but feel protective, and wouldn't really be at ease with the situation until we'd been here for a while.

"Brooding again?" Her deep voice snapped me out of my thoughts, and I calmly finished off the last of my water, hoping that I looked as cool as I was attempting to be. She could be quite the mind reader, but only when she could see my eyes, and currently they were fixated on the ground. She didn't need to hear about my worries, not at the moment anyway.

"I just woke up. You didn't waste any time setting up, I see."

"Yeah, well, you were out cold and  I couldn't sit still anymore." I had had enough time to arm my mental defenses by that point and looked up to meet Aika's gaze, resisting internally as she searched for what was bothering me. She let out a sigh when she realized she wasn't going to figure it out, wiping the paint on her hands off on her overalls. 

"I was thinking maybe we could go out tonight? Get some food, see the city?" I proposed, setting my empty glass down on her bedside table. But Aika shook her head, grinning at me as she got down on her knees to mix another color.

"I'm too far into this now, but maybe another night? Besides, I know you would rather party and go somewhere to drink than hang out with your kid sister, and you can't do that with me around anyway."

"Heyyy, that's not true, you know very well that I enjoy spending time with you," I whined a bit, unable to keep a slight pout from forming on my lips. She was teasing, I knew, but I was serious and she wasn't one to turn me down often so it was a bit of a shock.

"Well, the way I see it, you start at the restaurant tomorrow morning and who knows when the next time will be that you can go out and have some serious fun? Or that you'll even want to much after you're worn out from work," she rose to suddenly apply another mark to the piece in front of her, a brilliant stroke of obsidian cutting a ragged, organic path through the primaries already there. "That being said, we're in a new place, we don't have friends here. Well, except Junjun, but she'll have her own friends too. I'll be okay because I'll have school and all, but I don't want you playing the lone wolf all the time."

I started to open my mouth to argue that I was perfectly fine with being a lone wolf, but Aika seemed to expect a retort and chose that moment to waggle her paintbrush dangerously at me, a warning glare on her face.

"I'm telling you to go out. I'll physically put you out if I have to, you know I can. In fact-" Aika broke off at that moment to carefully extract something from one of her desk drawers, before shoving it in my hands. It was a flyer for some rock band playing at a club tonight, and I looked up at her, raising an eyebrow skeptically.

"Where'd you get this?"

"I went out to get some groceries while you were sleeping as well--you're welcome, by the way--and some guy was handing them out on the street. Looks like it could be fun, I dunno." 

She shrugged, turning back to her painting. My eyes skimmed across the flyer again, sizing up the girls pictured there. They didn't seem like anything particularly special, but they weren't bad on the eyes, and I had heard of the club before through Junjun, remembering that it was supposed to be one of the better ones in town. I sighed, because I couldn't really think of a reason not to go other than just not wanting to, and I knew that Aika would make good on her threat to literally put me out of the apartment if I didn't go willingly.

"Fine. I'll go." I turned out of the room with a growl, moving back into the main room to start the process of dragging my things into my bedroom. "But I don't promise anything else! Not even to have fun!"

I heard her cackle in the other room and I snorted, grumbling under my breath as I hefted my suitcase up onto my new bed.

"Oh, and Reina?" She called from the other room, teasing evident in her voice still.

"Hn?"

"If you bring someone home, make sure she has a cute friend for me, okay?"

I slammed my door shut, still able to hear her roaring laughter from behind it. 

...Pervert.

----------

I left the apartment an hour later, properly dressed and feeling a lot less apprehensive about going out on my own. I sort of had a thing for fashion, not necessarily because I was obsessed with my looks, but I liked the challenge of putting outfits together, especially when I could make something really simple look like it came straight out of a magazine. Of course it did help that I was cute, and I was never above showing off to some degree. Tonight's choices were pretty close to my norm; I had a reputation for being a bit of a rebel back home after all, mostly stemming from what I wore. I had on a short, thin-strapped black dress with a yellow belt around the waist, its buckle a silver skull to match both my necklace and earrings. Over this I wore one of my favorite cutoff jackets, purple, of course, and adorned with studs, and to finish the ensemble off, I also had on black, high-heeled zip-up boots that stopped just above my knees. My hair I left down and straight for once, though as I trekked in the direction of the club I was sort of regretting that decision because it was a humid night. 

Fortunately, the club was supposed to be pretty close in relation to our apartment, so I would just deal. At least, that's what I thought until I actually got to the place, jaw dropping slightly as I realized that the line to get in was ridiculously long. Reluctantly, I wandered over towards the end of it, arms crossed as I wondered to myself whether or not this something I cared to wait so long for. As I waited, I felt the stares and glances from the other people waiting in line around me, some sizing me up, some openly checking me out, and I bristled on the inside. I would never get used to drawing attention, at least, not of this variety. I told myself I'd feel better when I had had a few drinks and was able to dance. The only reason I enjoyed clubbing was the sense of anonymity it provided, the chance to get lost in a crowd and forget about everything else. I wouldn't care if people were staring then.

A bouncer was making his way down the line, checking for ids and dragging the underaged kids out of it before they even got to the front. I had mine ready when he got to me, but instead of asking for it, he gave me a very confused look.

"Excuse me, miss, but shouldn't you already be inside?"

I blinked, mirroring his expression almost instantly at the question.

"Eh? What?"

"If you'll just follow me... I guess they didn't tell you you could go in through the side..." 

Before I could ask any more questions, the guy grabbed my hand and began tugging me towards the front, barking at the people in line to move out of the way. I wasn't exactly sure how to react. Was this a joke? Was I getting special treatment because he thought I looked pretty? I wasn't about to complain, though, as it beat standing in line, and it wasn't like I could break free of the burly man's grasp if I wanted to anyway.

He led me inside, where the atmosphere was super-charged and the music loud, just the way I liked it. The floor was already crowded with bodies, moving to the rhythm of the band on stage, some three-piece girl group singing about love. They weren't the ones I had seen on the flyer, but I would have liked to stay and listen had the bouncer not continued to drag me through the club. Before I had gathered my wits enough to protest, he led me backstage, abandoning me there alone, a thousand times more confused than I had been moments earlier. I started to turn on my heel to leave, when I suddenly ran right into a hard, very unmovable wall. 

"Hey, watch where you're- huh? Who the hell are you?"

That wall turned out to be a girl, who's hands were now on her hips as she glared at me. She was wearing a ripped-up leather jacket, tight jeans, and a shirt with some foreign saying plastered across the front of it. Her hair was in a wild ponytail, bits of it purposely messed up by gel and hairspray, and her makeup was very dark and pronounced, only intensifying the look she was giving me. I might have cowered a bit, were I not pissed off by the accusing tone in her voice. It wasn't like I had asked to be there! And then realization hit me a I recognized her from the flyer Aika had given me; she was part of the band, and I- 

...oh.

"There's been a mistake." I replied firmly, "The bouncer brought me here, I think he saw my clothes and thought..."

The girl looked over me, her glare fading somewhat into just simple annoyance as she brought a hand to her face, groaning. Before she could say anything further, though, a taller, darker-haired female sauntered up beside her, similarly dressed with the exception of super short shorts instead of jeans, and high-heeled boots in the place of sneakers. This girl eyed me like a piece of meat, using her bandmates as an armrest so she could further size me up.

"What's this, Gaki-san? I thought we agreed on not bringing groupies backstage?" She paused, a devilish grin marking her lips as she gave me one last hard look. "Even if she is a pretty kitty." I shivered in spite of myself, not sure whether to feel repulsed or seduced.

The girl called Gaki-san snorted, roughly sliding out of the newcomer's touch, disgust coloring her features.

"Its not like that, idiot. The bouncer did this. I think he's still paranoid about that one time he didn't let Eri in and almost got fired..."

"This is like the fifth one, though. You'd think he'd recognize all of us by now..."

"Are you guys talking about me again?"

A third girl materialized behind the first two, looking a bit dazed as though she had just woken up. The situation was quickly explained to her as well, and she looked over to me, smiling kindly. I nodded curtly in response, ready to escape the situation altogether; at this point I really needed a drink. But before I could apologize and slip away, the final member of the group appeared as well, attempting to put in some sort of earpiece as she approached. She didn't even notice me at first, too focused on the task at hand.

"Why are you guys always standing around? We go on in like three minutes, you know, and I'd really appreciate it if we had just one show that didn't start off with a stream of bickering and- ...who's this?"

Spotted. I locked eyes with the short-haired girl, feeling intimidated. But unlike her companions, she seemed intrigued, almost as if she had just come up with a sudden idea.

"We don't know..."

"...happened again..."

"...this club needs a new bouncer..."

"Okay, okay, I get it, but has anyone even asked the poor kid her name?"

A silence descended over the group, and I found my voice again, hackles rising at being referred to as a kid.

"Tanaka Reina." I snapped, finding the courage to glare at the leader. She seemed completely unaffected, a relaxed smile on her face as she reached out to shake my hand.

"Takahashi Ai. These three are Kamei Eri," She gestured towards the girl with the kind smile, "Michishige Sayumi," the dark-haired one who was still leering a bit at me, "and Niigaki Risa," and finally, the girl I had encountered first. Ai stepped forward, and I realized I wasn't the only one here looking at her strangely.

"Tanaka-san, can you sing?"

----------

I don't know what compelled me to answer yes other than I'm not very good at directly lying to people. And I don't think I'll ever know why common sense and rationality didn't take over at some point and get me out of the situation. What I knew then was that I had somehow ended up on the stage, in front of a crowd of cheering party-goers, blinded by lights and sort of reeling from the speed at which this had all happened to me. I turned to glance at the other band members; only Takahashi and Kamei gave me reassuring looks, while Niigaki looked pissed and Michishige lost interest in me quickly once it was decided I would perform with them. Takahashi grabbed the mic in front of her keyboard, calling out to the crowd and causing the noise level to increase dramatically as a result.

"Hey everybody! We are Wild Musume!" There was a loud roar from the audience in response, and energy rushed through me, my nervousness subsiding for a moment. Takahashi was grinning, and she continued to speak, extending a hand towards me. "Tonight we have a guest singing with us. Say hello to Reina-chan, guys!"

I bowed a bit, another spike of adrenaline surging through me as it sunk in that this applause was now for me. 

She began playing a melody on the piano, punctuated by a cymbal roll from Kamei. Takahashi glanced sideways at me as if to ask if I was ready, and I couldn't help the tremble in my breathing, glad that it was much too loud now for a thing like that to be heard. 

"We're mostly doing covers tonight so you should know everything. And if you don't, just follow my lead."

I reached for my mic with one hand, gripping the stand in the other, body subconsciously moving with the rhythm building around me.

"You're crazy!" Niigaki, Michishige, and I all looked at each other, having cried out at exactly the same time. Takahashi just smiled.

"Maybe so."


I pulled the stand towards me and began to sing.

"But maybe not."

----------

I came home later that night, sore, voiceless, sweaty and wild-eyed. Aika was snacking on the couch in the living room when I entered, an appreciative smirk growing on her face as soon as she got a good look at me.

"Looks like someone had a good time."

"I think... I think I just joined a band."

Offline Koei

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter II, 4/19]
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2012, 12:57:57 AM »
WOW !!! hahaha ! I know this is my first time commenting on this but: I just had to do it !!! This is greatly exciting!! at the first chapter (prologue): I was thinking Risa from the eyes still as sharp as the day she was born, but the I thought Reina since they were dark and sharp as well. Yatta!!! I guessed (almost) one character!
Then Aika and Reina moving and stuff and I was like: The beginings of a new life  O0 And the band!!! what !!?!!?!?!? Of course at the song I was like !!! WHAT?!?!?!?!!? Girl you just joined a band!!! but I still would have loved to read how it went, and then I thought: bah it doesn't really matter: the memories of the first live performance one has are either blurred or completely non-existing We only recall the feelings of that moment!! We can always imagine it! So I was like  :twothumbs  Keep it up !!!!!! :cow:

Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter II, 4/19]
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2012, 05:41:29 AM »
Ai-chan! XD Randomly snagging some girl as their singer without actually listening to her.

And always pissed off Gaki-san, for some reason, makes me laugh.

Quote
"I think... I think I just joined a band."
Super lols here for Reina though :lol:

Offline risa_ai

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter II, 4/19]
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2012, 12:50:50 PM »
Oh me gosh! Fast update!
Dang, reina's adorable! xD

Offline Quietriot

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter II, 4/19]
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2012, 03:31:53 AM »
@Koei: Thanks for the kind comment, means a lot to me. :3 you hit the nail right on the head about the whole performance thing, as a performer myself I barely recall most of the shows or concerts I've been in, just the feelings and intensity linger (unless it was an awful performance, in which case...I just wish I could forget!)

@rndmnwierd: heheh impulsive leader. Good thing her instincts aren't half bad. ;) And there's much more pissed off Risa yet to come! Girl has a good reason for it here...

@risa_ai: Ain't she? <3 haha I hope y'all don't get too attached to all this fast updating, it's pretty unlike me... But I won't question it and just take advantage of the inspiration while it's here!  :cathappy:

Short update today, I suppose I could have tagged this on the last one, but I liked the rather frantic abruptness of it all since I felt that best conveyed Reina's inability to process it all. XD and the next chapter will likely be LONG. As always, enjoy.

Chapter III: Karma Police

"There you two are... Should have expected this, right in the very place I told you NOT to be after all..."

Reina paused in her storytelling to look up, noticing that her son had entered the attic, a stern look on his face. The children whined as their father approached, both clutching at their grandmother's arms.

"Papa, we just got to a good part..."

"Yeah, and we weren't being pests at all! ...Right, grandma?"

The old woman grinned, giving her grandson and approving pat on the head.

"Not at all. Come sit down with us, Hiroshi-kun, you can listen as well."

The father shook his head.

"I just came to tell them they needed to finish their chores. And also Aika-bacchan has dropped by to visit with you anyway, mom."

"Oh? Is that so?" One of the singer's eyebrows arched slightly and she closed the book in her lap. "Well you can tell that old bird if I'm young enough to still make it up the stairs, she can too."

"I heard that."

Aika appeared in the doorway, a smirk on her face even as she stopped to catch her breath. She waved her cane in Reina's direction.

"At least I'm still beautiful."

"I may be seventy, but that doesn't mean I won't get up off this couch and teach you a lesson, pup."

"Ahh, so fiesty this morning, Rei, did Hiroshi-kun put something in your food?"

As the two siblings bickered playfully with one another, the father took that moment to usher his children out of the room despite their protests. They would leave the women to catch up with one another, as it had been quite some time since the sisters had been together.

"...MY body is still all in one piece."

"Nothing a few hits with my cane won't fix."

Aika maneuvered her way towards the couch, plopping down ungracefully next to Reina and tossing the cane onto the floor as if she took personal offense with it. The two eyed each other fiercely for a few moments and it seemed like the insults would only continue, but then they both broke into wide grins and settled back together. Reina patted her sister's knee.

"So where's that wife of yours, hm? Finally finished with putting up with me after all these years?"

"She has her good days and her bad days. Today was a bad one," Aika responded, trailing off quietly as she subconsciously played with her wedding band, "But you know she loves seeing you. Even when she can't remember your name, I don't think she'll ever forget your face."

Reina let out a fond hum. She really needed to remember to ask her son to take her to visit sometime. Her sister-in-law's 'good days' were becoming fewer as the years went on, after all. She moved the scrapbook into Aika's lap, opening up to some of the pages she had been looking at with her grandchildren.

"Remember this?"

"How could I not? That certainly was an interesting part of our lives..."

"I was just telling the children about it. I got to the part when I first came home that night and told you I was in a band."

"Ah... I definitely remember that night. That was when it all really started..."

----------

"You what?" Aika was blinking at me incredulously, mouth slightly hanging open, a piece of popcorn spilling out due to shock. I could only nod wordlessly at first, closing the front door behind me and leaning against it before sliding down to the floor, spent. My sister quickly shut off the tv and hurried to my side, brushing my sweaty bangs off my forehead.

"Wow... You really aren't kidding, are you? What happened?"

I recounted the nights events to her, starting with the bouncer's mistake and going over every detail that I could remember: Takahashi's strange sudden proposal that I join them on stage, the insane crowd, the offer to join them permanently afterwards. It had all happened so fast... I couldn't actually remember much of the show itself, other than I liked the rush I felt being on stage. What had Takahashi been thinking to pull something like that? I mean, I knew I could sing--I had been doing it since birth, though I'd never really taken it seriously. But there was no way she could have known that. And then I wondered what the others thought of me... Oh, why did I say yes?

"Well, when I said you needed to go out and have fun, I'm not sure this was what I meant. But now that I think about it I guess this really is the perfect way to get yourself out there?"

"Eh?!" I was stunned, wasn't she supposed to be the voice of reason here? "You're actually encouraging this? Don't you think it's crazy?"

Aika shrugged, straightening out my jacket collar.

"Well, of course, but how many girls just suddenly get the opportunity to be a rockstar? And you liked it, didn't you?"

My mouth opened and closed wordlessly as I tried to come up with a response. I couldn't lie to myself or to her; I really had enjoyed performing with the band. And try as I might, I couldn't really think of any negatives to continuing on with them. If things didn't work out, well, I could always just step out and that would be that.

"...I guess I could stick with it for a while."

Aika grinned and pulled me to my feet, patting me on the shoulder.

"That's the spirit. And now I have something to talk about on my first day at school~"

I groaned, rolling my eyes and pushing past her into my bedroom, flopping face first into my bed without even bothering to shower or change. Fragments of the performance began to replay over and over again in my head, and I was soon lulled to sleep by the stage lights and the roaring of the crowd, chanting my name...

----------

Ai didn't even have to glance up from the book she was reading in order to sense that Risa was at her doorway, and she ignored the younger woman at first, knowing that when she wanted to speak, she would. She wasn't about to lose her place now, in the middle of such an interesting chapter, just to ask the girl what was on her mind. They had known each other long enough to where their conversations didn't require that kind of unnecessary filler. And as if on cue, as soon as the blonde turned the page, Risa cleared her throat, prompting Ai to finally glance in her direction.

"That could have gone very badly tonight, you know... What you did, asking that girl to sing with us."

Oh. This again. Ai's gaze flicked back down to her book.

"But it didn't."

"You made a lucky guess, but that doesn't change the fact that it was reckless and-"

"We needed a change. I took a risk that more than paid off for us. The audience enjoyed our performance tonight, and frankly, so did I. It felt like we were reenergized. And you can't tell me that you didn't feel it too," the blonde finally put down her book, giving Risa her full attention, "I could tell you were even almost enjoying yourself at times."

The younger woman bristled at that, unable to meet her best friend's searching gaze. She rubbed the back of her neck nervously.

"I'll admit it was a good gig. But I don't trust that girl. None of us know her..." Risa finally managed to glance back at Ai, serious now, "And she doesn't know us. There are things that other people don't need to know that we can't exactly hide from her once she starts coming around more often... If she's not a good fit, and things end poorly..."

Risa seemed to be searching for the right words to say, her frustration melting into simple concern.

"Just don't forget that this affects more than just you."

"I haven't forgotten." Ai replied calmly, picking at a stray thread sticking up from her blanket, "We need this. We were going to announce auditions at that gig anyway, it just happened that the answer fell into our laps instead. However..."

The blonde sat up slightly, leaning forward so that Risa was aware she was being sincere.

"If she royally screws up or can't get along with everyone, then we'll cut her out before the music festival at the end of the month. Deal?"

Risa grunted her approval, not really looking satisfied, but apparently deciding to trust her best friend on the matter anyway. It wasn't as if there was much else she could do; once Ai got an idea in her head, she carried it through to the end. Usually, everything turned out alright, but Risa couldn't help but worry, especially when a stranger was involved.

She turned to head towards her own room after they said goodnight, unable to shake the uneasy feeling that had settled inside of her.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2012, 07:39:21 AM by Quietriot »

Offline Koei

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter III, 4/21]
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2012, 06:26:01 AM »
It's so funny that I can completely imagine old Reina and Aika teasing each other in their advanced age  XD Wonder who's Aika's wife though, :P and hey: Karma Police?? :twothumbs Does this mean that soon we'll get to read the chapter titled: 'Somebody that I used to know?'  :cow: Come on let's see what awaits this fiery kitten in this band !!!

Offline mochi.rini

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter III, 4/21]
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2012, 06:29:07 AM »
Man oh man!  You're spoiling us Quietriot! XD  Not that I don't mind~ :D

Elderly Reina and Aika, though an odd image, is so cute~  I love seeing Reina and Aika interaction, so you make me happy ^_^  So Reina was with a man at one point in time?  And Aika is currently with a woman?  Hmmm...I'm interested to see these faces revealed! :D

I can't wait to see what happens next, especially these "secrets" that the band seems to have :O  Fabulous chapter(s)!  Can't wait for me ;)
Hi~iiya!~  (>^_^)>
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Offline Quietriot

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter III, 4/21]
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2012, 03:19:31 AM »
@Koei: they make perfect sisters, imo. :3 and writing them as old ladies is fun~ as for Aika's wife, naturally, it's gonna be a while before I reveal that heheheh. Also, "Somebody That I Used to Know" is indeed a part of my playlist for this story, but I'm holding out on using it for the name of a particular chapter.

@mochi.rini: thanks for the kind comment~ pretty much have the same things to say here as I've said to Koei. Tho I'm just bad at responding to comments XD

Uwehhh this took me longer than it should have but things are getting more complex heheh enjoy!

Chapter IV: Four Love Songs

The next day I arrived very, VERY late to my new job. Had my boss not been a childhood friend of mine, this might have been a terrible mistake on my part, but as it were, Junjun happened to be one of the most laid-back people I knew. Still, four hours later and I hadn't exactly stopped apologizing to her yet. It was a slow day at the Hello! Cafe, and so as soon as I had served the last customer waiting in line, I darted into the kitchen to find her supervising the other trainee, a girl called Linlin. Said trainee was absolutely screwing up an otherwise perfectly good batch of pancakes, but Junjun turned away from her when I entered, raising an eyebrow at me.

"How are you supposed to serve customers from back here?"

"I just wanted to apologize again, I really am sorry for being late... I don't want you to think I'm taking advantage of our friendship, Jun... Some really crazy stuff happened last night..."

The tall Chinese woman leaned against the countertop slightly, curiosity creeping into her eyes.

"Crazy stuff? Like what- Careful, Lin- you're burning that one..."

"Sorry~"

"Well, I joined a band..."

"Eh? Really? What band?"

"Wild Musume."

The elder of the two Chinese women snorted at the name, while the younger looked up from her work, eyes widening appreciatively.

"They're amazing..."

"Lin, the pancakes- definitely not slow to get yourself into trouble, huh, Reina?"

Trouble? I must have looked completely confused at that point, but whether or not Junjun noticed was lost because Linlin somehow managed to spill the rest of the batter all over the floor. I watched as the two women bickered with each other in Chinese, deciding that it was a good time for me to slip back out to the front. I would just have to ask my friend later about what she meant, but for now a line had formed in front of the register and I set my focus on work.

I was grateful that Junjun had offered me this job, really; I had been a waitress before so it wasn't entirely new territory for me. But that was just it. This was fine for now, but I didn't exactly want to work in cafes and restaurants forte rest of my life. It was much too easy, smiling and catering to people's needs everyday; I didn't find it beneath me, I just thought it was boring.

But last night's performance on the other hand... now there was something I could see myself doing over and over and never getting tired of it. I hadn't expected to feel that way, like it was the most natural place on earth for me to be. It was as if there was another person inside of me, and the stage was the switch that brought her to the front.

The question is, though... What exactly have I gotten myself into?

"Hey."

I was so lost in my thoughts that i hadn't even noticed that she'd walked in. She was staring at me with a vaguely amused smirk on her lips, and I realized that I had no idea how much time I'd spent spacing out. For all I knew, she could have been standing there for a while... I felt heat rising to my cheeks and ears, embarrassed at having been caught off guard, and I adopted a scowl in order to save some of my dignity.

"Niigaki-san." I managed, the syllables coming out a bit clipped, "What brings you here? ...Actually, how did you know I was here? I didn't tell any of you where I worked..."

The bassist shrugged, pulling a slip of paper out of her back pocket. I recognized it as the one I had given to Takahashi last night, with my address and phone number scribbled hastily across the front.

"Well, I went to your place, but obviously, you weren't there. The kid told me where to find you, though, so here I am."

"And you want... what?"

She glared at me slightly, crossing her arms.

"You know, I get that maybe we didn't start off on the right foot, but this isn't exactly the way to build any kind of camaraderie with a bandmate, yeah?"

I thought about that a moment, tempted to point out that she had been the one to be sort of gruff with me all along, but I knew she was also right. Niigaki seemed to have some sort of chip on her shoulder, fine, that was her problem. I'd figure out what it was soon enough and learn how to avoid making it worse. I didn't want to spend a great deal of my free time making enemies after all.

"Fine. Reina is listening." I stated a bit petulantly, mirroring her stance. The bassist gave me a funny look before going on to explain her sudden appearance.

"Aichan asked me to come pick you up for practice... Whenever you're done here anyway. Though it doesn't look like you're all that busy..."

She was right, we weren't, but I still had a few hours until we closed up shop, so I wasn't really free to go either. I was about to sigh and tell her to come back later, when Junjun and Linlin finally emerged from the kitchen, the former still attempting to get bits of batter out of her hair as she approached me from behind. Strangely, she seemed to lock eyes with Niigaki as she moved closer, lazily slinging an arm around my shoulder. The bassist seemed confused, the first expression other than jaded irritation that I'd actually seen on her.

"Junjun? I didn't know you worked here..."

"I'm the manager now." The Chinese girl replied, not unkindly, but still firm enough to make me sense that something was going on. They knew each other? Okay so maybe it wasn't so far-fetched, the two living in the same city and all, but it seemed to me there was a familiarity there that would have classified them as more than acquaintances. Niigaki looked almost guilty now, but she was staring off to the side and picking nervously at the edge of her jacket, and Junjun said nothing else after that.

Awkward...

"Reina, why don't you take off early today?" I looked up at Junjun, blinking, but her eyes remained on Niigaki, "I don't think we're going to have many more customers and even if we do, Linlin could use the experience more than you."

That statement elicited a bit of a pout from the younger Chinese girl, but neither one of us were about to argue with our boss.

"...Sure. I'll be here on time tomorrow, I promise." I replied slowly, still a bit distracted by the weird atmosphere. Nevertheless, I obediently made my way back into the employee restroom, slipping out of my uniform and into something way more casual. When I returned, Junjun had disappeared back into the kitchen and Linlin was already busy dealing with a customer, leaving Niigaki still standing off to the side, out of place.

I guess I have a LOT of things to ask Junjun later... maybe I'll get her to have dinner with me or something...

I walked over to the bassist, slinging my bag around my shoulder.

"Well, I guess I'm ready to go now. Shall we?"

She nodded absently, seeming to finally shake whatever thoughts had paralyzed her out of her head with a grunt. I waved goodbye to Linlin and followed Niigaki out of the shop. She led me around the corner and I almost fell flat on my face when I realized what she was walking towards, watching dumbfounded as she began to fish for keys from her pocket.

"Niigaki-san... That's... Is that yours?!"

The bassist was leaning against a sleek black sportscar, and though I knew next to nothing about cars, I didn't need to to be able to tell that said vehicle was worth a pretty penny or two. Niigaki, however, seemed absolutely unphased, finally locating her keys. She moved around to unlock the passenger door, opening it and looking expectantly at me. The gesture caught me a bit off guard and I couldn't help but blush slightly as I got in the car, muttering quiet thanks under my breath. She soon hopped into the driver's side, starting the ignition, and I was going to question her again when she finally decided to speak.

"No, it's not mine. Well, not technically. I suppose it may as well be, but it actually belongs to Eri."

"Eri...? Kamei-san? How...?"

Niigaki easily pulled out of the space she had parked in and began driving through the streets; I noted with some relief that she appeared to be a cautious driver.

"Eri's father is some sort of... Well he's an investor. Plays the stock market game and all that junk."

"So she has a lot of money...?"

The bassist smirked faintly, keeping her eyes on the road.

"Well that's a bit of an understatement. I'll let you decide that for yourself when you see their home."

"Is that where we're going?"

"It's where we have most of our rehearsals. Sometimes Sayu convinces her boss to let us play at his club when it's not open, but that's never a reliable option... And then Aichan and I don't have any room in our apartment."

"Ah..." I murmured quietly, taking in this information. I definitely hadn't expected any of them to be insanely rich, but I supposed that if I were rich it wasn't something I would broadcast either. And then the matter of Takahashi and Niigaki living together... Realization dawned on me; maybe there was something serious going on there. It would have helped to explain Niigaki's aloofness around me, anyway. I made a mental note to study their interaction during practice.

For now, I would focus on the girl beside me.

"So how do you know Junjun?"

Niigaki stiffened, obviously hesitant to answer that.

"...I could ask you the same question. I thought you just got here yesterday. How is it you already know someone?"

Her tone was a bit accusing and it irritated me, but I figured that maybe if I answered her questions first then she would answer mine.

"Our parents were friends for a long time, so my sister and I grew up with her. They moved away when I was fifteen, but we always stayed in touch. So when she found out I was coming here, she offered me a job."

I watched Niigaki process my answer, the suspicion fading from her face and replaced with... relief? What exactly was she hiding? If I thought I could push and get an answer from her, I would have tried, but I wasn't that naive. Asking Junjun instead seemed like a much better idea.

We sat in silence for a while after that, and I turned to look out the window, realizing that we had left the city and were going down some pretty winding roads. I was beginning to wonder if she was lost, and then I saw it: just beyond the crest of a hill on my right was a gigantic mansion, bigger even than the ones I had seen on tv before. And we were driving towards it.

----------

"What did you do to her, Gaki-san? She looks kinda pale..."

"She's just overwhelmed I think. Walking into your house for the first time is intimidating."

Niigaki had ushered me briskly through the mansion, directly towards what she told me was Kamei's personal wing of the building. From what I understood the strange girl had ten rooms or so that belonged to her alone, although the bassist was quick to add that the drummer only used one for herself aside from the room the band rehearsed in. This was the room we had entered, and it was definitely perfect for a band, complete with sound equipment and a small stage. Kamei was the only one there when we arrived, and she was quick to approach me, concern on her face.

"I'm fine... Niigaki-san is right," I managed, finally able to get over my shock a bit and gazing around the room, "You guys have everything you need right here, that's so awesome..."

"Yep. Compliments of my father..." Kamei replied, and even though she was smiling, I could still pick up on the disdain in her voice. When I looked at her more closely I realized that she looked a bit different than she had last night. She was more... alert, perhaps. Her eyes were clearer, but she seemed on edge as well. She began to move towards the door. "Gaki-san, I'm going to, uh..."

Something unspoken passed between them, and the bassist simply nodded as the other girl left the room. She moved up onto the stage after Kamei shut the door, kneeling down to begin taking her guitar out of its case. Before I could even pose the question, she started speaking.

"Nope. If she wants to tell you herself, she will, and in her own time. Though it's not like she can hide forever." She stood up, slinging the guitar strap around her shoulder and turning to look at me.

"There's a lot you don't know. For now, lets leave it at that."

"Fair enough..." I mumbled, awkwardly rubbing my arms and joining her on the stage. "So where are Takahashi-san and Michishige-san?"

The question seemed to strike a nerve and I watched as Niigaki very nearly dropped her bass, fingers slipping and accidentally plucking a sharp note into the air. She recovered quickly however, enough to scowl at me again.

"I don't know, I'm sure they'll be here soon..."

As if on cue, the door opened and the blonde leader and the dark-haired rabbit entered the room, both laughing and smiling. I watched Niigaki carefully, taking note of the way her frown deepened, adding more pieces to the puzzle in my head. Takahashi soon had my attention, though, making a beeline for me as soon as she realized that I was there.

"Ah, Reina-chan, how are you?"

"I'm doing fine. I'm ready to start rehearsing with everyone." Well, it was true, but really I didn't know what to say to the woman. She had an intense gaze and radiated confidence so it was safe to say she intimidated me. More than a little bit. And I couldn't help but be disarmed by her charming smile, either, and my answer had earned me one of those.

"That's good to hear, that's the kind of energy we need here."

I could only nod, smiling back at her as she ascended the stage and walked over to her keyboard. I then felt an uncomfortable prickling on the back of my neck and turned to realize that Michishige was coldly smirking at me. She moved closer, and I felt myself growing a bit light-headed as I tried to focus anywhere but on her cleavage or the amount of leg she was showing with her current outfit.

"It's nice to see you again, kitten~" She breathed, tracing a finger down my arm, making my knees grow weak. The warning sirens in my head were completely drowned out by her voice and I was helpless to speak. Fortunately for me, Niigaki seemed to notice my predicament and snapped at her.

"Sayu, leave her alone. She's not going to be able to sing with you trying to get in her pants before every rehearsal."

The rabbit pouted at that, feigning offense, but not once taking her eyes off me.

"I wouldn't do such a thing~"

"Yes you would," Niigaki responded, unamused, "Just so you could say you've slept with everyone in the band again."

"Well you know what they say," she began, and I could feel her warm breath on my cheek as she moved even closer, my eyes instinctively fluttering shut, "No song unsung, no wine untasted..."

"And I say leave her alone or I'll come over there and knock you flat on your back."

Michishige tore her eyes away from me to glower at Niigaki, who shot her an equally intense glare.

"Risa..." Takahashi's voice held a note of warning in it, and the bassist backed down first, muttering things under her breath as she went on to finish setting up her instrument. I sighed with relief, but it did not last, because Michishige's attention returned to me.

"Let's do well today then. We can always talk later." She gently stroked my cheek before stepping around me, sauntering over to where her guitar lay. I snapped out of it, once again unsure whether or not I liked the game she was playing or if I just felt violated by it. I wasn't exactly sure what the rules were anyway...

I glanced over at Niigaki- Risa, whispering a quiet thank you. She nodded, though her expression remained neutral; she disliked me less than she disliked Sayumi, that much was obvious and that was why she had stuck up for me. I was grateful nonetheless.

Kamei finally returned after a while, staggering slightly when she entered the room. For the most part she was walking normally, and smiling as always, but when she passed me on stage I realized that her eyes were glazed over with a look that told me she wasn't entirely with us. But she sat down at her drumset anyway, warming up and easily tapping off a few complex rhythms.

Perhaps I'm imagining things...

In any case, Risa was right. There was a lot that I didn't know.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2012, 07:40:09 AM by Quietriot »

Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter IV, 4/23]
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2012, 03:58:18 AM »
Holy crap, I just read your siggy! Fim? Fimmy?! Is that really you?

Anyway, we start to get a bit more insight into the dynamics of the band. I feel like Reina in this story, slowly piecing things together. I'm already beginning to put forth a few theories on everyone's malfunctions... But I'm also happy to have it spelled out for me later. I'm really enjoying this so far!

Offline rokun

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter IV, 4/23]
« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2012, 07:21:24 AM »
^ LoL, I wondered if you'd noticed by the tone in your earlier posts. XD I thought, "Surely rndy remembers her......"
I guess I had the advantage of IMing with her along the way ;)

And ahh... I've missed your writing....!!! :cry: :cry:
This is so good... and I can't wait to see how it continues. ^^ Is Eri... a junkie? :o And I'm sure you have many surprises awaiting us  :heart: Even if you don't keep up this posting rate, I hope you at least keep continuing and finish it <3

If nothing else than to get on to that new Berryz fic too *cough* XD

Offline risa_ai

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter IV, 4/23]
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2012, 12:45:00 AM »
There's alot we readers don't know bout either~ xD

Offline Quietriot

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter IV, 4/23]
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2012, 04:57:33 AM »
@rndmnwierd: it is indeed me. ^^ the well-known 'secret' of my identity haha. You should reveal some of your theories! I love reading people's speculation on things, heheh

@rokun: :P so pushy with the Berryz fic thing, sensei... Heheh, soon. Soon. XD

@risa_ai: perhaps this chapter will offer more insight~ and even if not I enjoyed writing it bahaha

It's almost 4am... Haha so not much to say. However for the first time the chapter title is actually relevant as it is the song I quoite throughout the chapter. Enjoy~

Chapter V: Time is Running Out

"Stop, stop, stop- Eri-chan, I said stop, can't you hear me?"

The drums rumbled to a clumsy halt, the poor girl completely losing hold of one of her sticks in the process, having not realized the song was over. Though it wasn't her fault we stopped, as she was playing even better than she had been last night, if such a thing were possible. No, Takahashi was stopping rehearsal for the fifth time that afternoon because of me, and I let out a deep sigh, running my hand through my hair. It wasn't that I wasn't getting the lyrics wrong or that I wasn't hitting the right notes, but more that I was unable to capture the essence of the song's character instead. I was frustrated, with myself and with the growing impatience of my new bandmates. Michishige in particular was being... well... a bitch.

"Are you gonna get to a point where you stop just pretending to be a badass and actually sing with some spine or...?"

She stood with one of her hips jutting sharply towards the side, arms crossed over her guitar, sending a pointed look in my direction. Whatever spell she had had on me earlier was definitely broken by such direct and, in my opinion, unfair criticism.

"What makes you think I'm not a badass?"

"Its not just that I think that, it's that it's true." She tugged on the cord connecting her guitar to the amp, giving her enough slack to walk over towards me. I could feel the tension in the room build back up again, both Risa and Takahashi eyeing the guitarist warily. She was quickly in my space again and the hair on the back of my neck stood up as she tugged at the jacket I was wearing.

"You can dress the part, but you're singing like a princess. Like the lyrics aren't registering."

My anger diffused slightly, because I knew she was right. The problem was that I didn't have any idea how to change that. Last night was different, because I didn't have time to think about what I was doing or how to do it. But now that my mind was in the way I was definitely at a loss...

Michishige rolled her eyes at me, turning to Takahashi for help. But the blonde woman simply shrugged and crossed her arms as if to say, "What do you need my help for?" The rabbit nodded and turned her attention to Risa, lazily pointing a finger in her direction.

"Gaki-san, start the song again please~"

The bassist glowered at the sickeningly sweet tone in her voice, but her curiosity was obviously going to win out, and she began the bass line riff that opened the song. The line rumbled through my chest as it filled the room, and my eyes grew wide as Michishige began to sway, moving to use the mic that had been set up for me. Her eyes locked onto mine, and once again I felt trapped.

"I think I'm drowning,
Asphyxiation,
I wanna break this spell,
That you've created..."


Her hand moved towards my neck, trailing down it to trace the skull necklace that rested against my collarbone, and I felt a chill run through my spine. Michishige didn't have the best voice in the world, but it didn't matter; she was using her entire body to convey the message, and in doing so it was reflected in her tone. I was captivated. Kamei began to punctuate the rhythm with a simple drum beat, and Michishige continued, the hand that was on the mic sliding purposefully down its stand.

"You're something beautiful,
A contradiction,
I wanna play the game,
I want the friction..."


Delicate piano notes began their descent from Takahashi's hands, and Michishige's voice began to croon slightly, further hypnotizing me.

"You will be the death of me,
You will be the death of me..."


Finally, she broke my gaze as she turned her focus to her guitar, playing chords to fill out the rhythm. She closed her eyes and leaned into the mic, taken away by the crescendo building around us.

"Bury it,
I won't let you bury it,
I won't let you smother it,
I won't let you murder it..."


I felt something welling up inside of me, the same feeling that had taken over me last night on stage. The music was moving me, and I let it, knowing that this was how I needed to feel to perform. I joined Michishige at the mic, no longer caring about things like how close that put our faces and bodies but instead allowing this other side of me take control.

"Our time is running out,
Our time is running out,
You can't push it underground,
You can't stop it screaming out."


There was a desperation there that I felt, coming from me or from Michishige as we sang, I wasn't sure. But I knew the song meant to communicate that and I suddenly knew how to do it. Somehow, I began to turn the tables on the rabbit girl, a husky growl lacing my voice as I took the lead.

"I wanted freedom,
Bound and restricted,
I tried to give you up,
But I'm addicted..."


Michishige took a step backwards, the smallest hint of shock registering in her eyes, and I couldn't help but smirk, my confidence growing. She obviously didn't like where things were headed, and as I kept singing she hesitantly moved back to her original spot.

"Now that you know I'm trapped,
Sense of elation,
You'd never dream of
breaking this fixation..."


During the bridge, I realized that Takahashi's and Risa's voices had joined in to support me, the former's taking place beside mine in the comfortable mezzo range, while the bassist dipped below that as a powerful alto. The blend surprised me, as I had only heard the leader sing with me last night, and the way their voices fit together was almost as though they weren't meant to be apart. We reached the final chorus with Michishige and Kamei vocalizing beneath it all, and as the song finally came to a close I found myself gripping the mic stand for support.

Singing like that, with everything I had, took a lot out of me. It wasn't something I was used to at all, and I found myself panting slightly for air as the music ended, definitely winded. But it was a good exhaustion in a way, rewarding, the kind following a great accomplishment. After all, I had just made a bit of a breakthrough somehow.

I finally turned to look at my new bandmates, all of them giving me looks of either shock or approval. Risa and Michishige were in the first category, though the rabbit seemed to also be a little... annoyed as well. Kamei and Takahashi were clapping, though, and the blonde leader approached me with that charming grin on her face again.

"That was perfect. Really. You're a natural, Reina-chan."

I timidly accepted the compliments, bowing my head slightly. I didn't really know what to say to her apart from that anyway; until I got to know her better, I suspected I was going to continue to remain tongue tied in her presence. Risa cleared her throat, catching both of our attentions.

"As great as it was... We've been at this for a long time. It's getting late."

I hadn't even realized. Quickly, I pulled my phone out of my pocket to check the time, groaning as I read the numbers. It was very nearly midnight now and I had the opening shift at the cafe in the morning.

"I need to head home..." I stated quietly, still unable to believe rehearsal had gone so long. Kamei  raised her hand from where she was seated at the drums, smiling at me.

"I can take you. Or rather, I'll have one of my drivers take us and I'll make sure you get home."

To be honest, I wasn't sure how I felt about spending the long drive to my house alone with the drummer, but Risa wasn't offering and at least it seemed that Kamei was acting somewhat normal again. Her eyes had lost that glazed appearance, anyway. I nodded to her, causing her smile to light up a bit more brightly. The turtle descended from the stage and offered me her arm like a gentleman, and I couldn't help but grin. Perhaps it would be just fine after all.

----------

The ride with Kamei, or Eri, as I was beginning to think of her, was much different than my earlier time with Risa. For one thing we hit it off almost immediately, and spent a great deal of the trip laughing our heads off and chatting about the most random things. For another, where Risa was closed off and suspicious of me, Eri was an open book and I was already learning a great deal about her.

She told me she couldn't really stand being rich, the only part of it she enjoyed being the times when she could use it to help other people out.

"Like with Gaki-san and her car. She needed a way to get around and papa gives me a new one every year. So I figured she could just have it because it's not like I'm using it myself."

She also explained to me her passion for music and drumming specifically when I mentioned that I found her skills impressive.

"I picked the drums because... Well, growing up in my household, I was always expected to be proper and quiet. Or at least to give off that image. When I'm behind my set, though, I can be however wild or free as I want to be."

"Do your parents know that you play?"

She shook her head at the question, leaning back in her seat. As always, she was smiling, though it was a bit fainter now, and I could detect the sadness in her eyes.

"They don't. Well, they give me tons of money and don't seem to care what I do with it. As long as I'm not disrupting their business, it doesn't really matter."

Sensing that we were swimming towards a sensitive topic I decided not to push her. I was growing to like Eri and her go with the flow personality and I didn't want to damage a possible friendship by dragging out all of the negative stuff into the light so early on. If she wanted to rely on me, she could.

"So... You were pretty brave with Sayu earlier, you know." She started, changing the subject suddenly.

"Yeah I guess I managed to be. What's the deal with her anyway?"

Eri chuckled, and when she glanced over at me I could see that the sparkle had returned to her eyes.

"Sayu is Sayu. She likes to be top dog, even though Aichan is our leader. I think maybe she's feeling threatened by you being in her territory, so to speak."

"I can't really tell if she wants to beat me up or if she wants to sleep with me..."

"Probably both."

"Eh?" I blinked at her, confused.

"Well, she's going to bully you until she puts you in your place or you show her hers. Once that line is drawn she'll back off a little bit. But she definitely will try to get you in bed."

"So then, what Niigaki-san said about her sleeping with everyone..." Eri nodded, shrugging lightly.

"I mean, she's pretty good at getting what she wants. As far as I know, she never sleeps alone, even if it's not the same person every night. She dances at this club downtown so a lot of times she'll take the customers home with her, and then sometimes it's one of us..." she paused as she was telling me this, tapping a finger thoughtfully against her lips, "I'm surprised she got Gaki-san at all, but I think they were very drunk that night. And then lately I know she and Aichan have been together a bit."

And there it was, another missing puzzle piece. The friction between Risa and Michishige made a hell of a lot of sense with that sudden revelation. Though I still wasn't sure what the relationship was between the bassist and the leader, I definitely could see enough to spot the jealousy there.

"And then... With you?"

"Just friends with benefits," she replied nonchalantly, "We get along really well, and neither of us take it seriously. And it's always really fun in the end."

I wasn't sure I wanted to hear any more about that, and fortunately Eri read the silence well and decided to change the subject again.

"So tell me a little more about you. Why did you decide to come here?"

"Well... It was far enough away from home, I guess."

"Ah, sick of your folks, huh?"

"It's not really like that," I replied carefully, shifting so that I could look out the window of the car. The lights of the city were coming up in the distance and I focused on them, enjoying the view. "I love my parents. But I wanted to be on my own. I was ready for it, and I just happened to be lucky enough to be able to start off by myself so early, I guess."

Eri nodded at me, seemingly satisfied by my answer.

"What will they say when they find out that you're in a band? Or do you plan on telling them?"

I hadn't actually thought of that, and I paused, wondering. What WOULD they say? Would they be alright with it? Or worried? Supportive?

"I mean, I guess technically I don't have to tell them anything... But I'm not hiding it either? I don't know how they'd react, honestly. My sister knows, though, and she seems to be perfectly alright with it."

"Well as long as you're happy, I guess." The drummer concluded, "I mean, in the end I think all parents think that for their kids, even when they wish things are different. Even people like my own parents."

Maybe she was right. The drummer was definitely a lot wiser than she let people think, at least. As we wound our way back through the city streets, getting closer to the apartment, I quietly decided to ask Aika about it later.

After all, no one knew me or my family better than my sister did.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2012, 05:24:43 AM by Quietriot »

Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter V, 4/24]
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2012, 01:26:20 PM »
Wow Fim, long time no see! Glad to have you back!

Yay for Reina getting back into her performing place! And yay for a little Tanakame bonding! Can't wait for more!

Offline Koei

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Re: The Rockstar's Guide to Growing Up [Chapter V, 4/24]
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2012, 08:46:46 PM »
Woah !! 2 chappies !!! Kame + You will be the death of me + glazed eyes = Our time is running out + _____________ (a little secret for the other readers who still ain't got a clue :P) but yeah. Keep it up I want to know more... MOAR !!!