The Band

She got back to her apartment, throwing her backpack on the couch.  After plopping down in a chair, the girl looked up.  What a day.  What an awesome day!  I’m the pilot of Wolf’s Armor!  I’m her left hand in battle!  I get to take the Empire apart with my own two hands.  As the thoughts came to her, the phone rang.
“Hello?”
“Hey Gabby, where the fuck are you?!  We were supposed to meet for practice two hours ago!”
Does he think of nothing else?!  “I already called you yesterday, Nate.  I told you – I couldn’t make it today.  Jeez, your attention span must be comparable to a gnat!”
The man let out a long sigh.  “Oh, come on!  We haven’t had a decent night’s practice in two weeks!  Can’t you come over, for a little while?  We need our base player!”
She groaned, sitting up.  “Alright, but only for a couple hours!  I’m exhausted.  It’s been a long-ass day.”
“Sure, sure, whatever.  We’re meeting at Michelle’s.  Out in the garage.”
Dragging her feet, she went to where she kept her guitar.  “Alright, but you better be set up when I get there!”
“Already are, it’s you we’re waiting on!”
I made sure that the rest of them knew too, asshole.  “Fine, bye.”  She hung up, walking over to her dresser.  She threw it open, changing fast into something that wasn’t covered in sweat.

Michelle was Nathan’s girlfriend.  The two were not the wealthiest people, but they made it work.  They lived in a place just outside of the ghetto.  It was barely furnished, the fridge had little in it, and both of their vehicles had seen better days.  And that’s putting it nicely.  Gabby arrived about half an hour later.
She was greeted by Duncan, their drummer.  He gave her a hug as she came in.  “I told him that you weren’t going to be able to practice today, but you know him.  He bitched and moaned.  Kept calling you, too.”
She rolled her eyes.  “I saw that.  Twenty messages.  Twenty fucking messages.  That man needs to get laid.”
“I heard that!” Nate said from the other room.
Duncan leaned in closer.  “You won’t hear me arguing.  Way I hear it, he hasn’t gotten anywhere near Michelle’s love-rug in weeks.”  He winked at her and the two shared a laugh, heading in.

The band consisted of four people.  It was a small affair, but they were looking to get another guitarist.  There was Gabby on base, Duncan as the drummer, Nathan playing the lead guitar, with Hudson as their vocalist.  Their style of music was very grunge-rock.  One of the the band’s greatest icons were the old-school rock bands.  For Gabby, she always loved the Rolling Stones.  The passion in their music, it was amazing.  While she played in the band, she also had a very deep-seated love for blues as well.  With her bass guitar, it was a passion that she found remarkably easy to play to.  It was what she did for money, playing at restaurants and social events.  Her easy tone, soft strings were well-respected among the various restaurant owners and catering services.  They called her often.  The band had to earn money somehow.
Her fingers had thick calluses, from years of perfecting her craft.  Her hands could work magic, even if she never got any respect for it from fans of the band.  The bass player was always the sad and ignored one.  But she didn’t mind.  Just getting to play is what mattered.  Thankfully, their vocalist wrote the music.  He was a very soft-spoken man outside of their work in the band, but was unbelievably meticulous about each and every note and line that went into a song.  The man obsessed about it.  Why he did is a question they never asked.  Everyone assumed that it was a lost love or something.
Duncan was also pretty damn good at what he did.  He was a man who didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life.  The world seemed a whole lot bigger to him, with him staring down the barrel of it.  The only truly weak link in their chain was Nate.  He was a good man, and dedicated to their music, but the fact was that he just wasn’t as good as he should be.  It wasn’t his fault.  He genuinely tried to get better, practicing day and night.  Somehow, it just never clicked for him like it did for the rest.  That was why they were looking to get another guitarist, having him back them up.  Not out loud, of course.  An unspoken agreement, made so that he doesn’t have to feel like shit.  The person they had in mind was a young woman who seemed like just the ticket.  The girl had real talent, and passion that rivaled Gabby’s.  They had already tested the waters, and the girl seemed interested.  They agreed to pose the question the upcoming weekend.

The group assembled in the garage, with everything set up.  For the moment, Gabby was using one of Nate’s amps.  She plugged in, tuning the guitar.  This beauty was one that she had chosen at a friend’s shop.  It was beautiful.  Black and yellow, like a wasp, it called to her.  Her friend had said that unless the instrument calls out to you, sings to you, it isn’t the one you want.  She couldn’t agree more.
Hudson smiled at her as he came in.  He would never admit it, but he had kind of a crush on Gabby.  While she wasn’t interested, she wasn’t mean about it.  If he ever got around to asking her out, she would be nice.  He was a nice guy and didn’t deserve a brush-off.  Or the “it’s not you, it’s me excuse.”  She was going to be straight with him.  A good man deserved that.  Duncan knew this, and he was sure that it wouldn’t damage things between them.  Hudson was a genuinely good guy, who had been used to an excessive amount.  For a girl not to play games with him, that sounded like just what he needed.
“Alright, I’ve got a new piece that I’ve been working on.  I think you’re all gonna like this.  I remember an old song by the Stones, “Brown Sugar.”  I was wanting to do something similar, but instead make a reference to be a Number.”
That got Nate nervous.  “You think that’s a good idea?  Imperials freak the fuck out when they hear music that isn’t flattering.”
The man winked at him.  “Come on, Nate, do you really think that I wouldn’t be careful?  I know how butt-hurt the Imperials get about this.  But that’s why you have me writing the music.  I worded this so well that only a few will get it.  And we all know how smart the average soldier in the Empire is.”  The group had a laugh at that.
Duncan clicked his sticks together.  “Alright, let’s get this shit moving!”
They all took a look, with Gabby smiling.  He really is a musical prodigy!  Even Keith Richards would be impressed.
The band sorted out the tune, playing long into the night.  By the time she got back home, Gabby was utterly exhausted.  She didn’t bother putting on pj’s.  She just slipped out of her pants and collapsed.

The meeting with the girl they wanted to join them, Ariel, went incredibly well.  She was excited to work with an actual band.  She got along swimmingly with Gabby, which was nice.  It’ll be nice to have another girl with us.  I’m the only one with a vag in that lot.  Under-represented.
Now, it was back to the day-to-day as they got ready to practice again.  She had a gig to play at a restaurant in downtown.  She opened up her closet, getting the nicer of her outfits.  This wasn’t a five-star joint, but it was still high-class enough to warrant her looking better than usual.  After getting dressed, she grabbed her guitar and amp.  A cab dropped her off at the place.  The joint was very romantic.  That was good.
The owner of the restaurant’s accent was thick, but he was a nice man.  “Ah, just in time, Gabrielle!  The dinner rush isn’t here yet, but it will be soon.  How long do you need to set up?”
She looked up at him and smiled.  “Oh, you know I don’t need long.  Unlike some of your employees, I’m very good at what I do.”  She stuck out her tongue at him, heading in.  It was nice to be here.
The stage was reasonably distant from the tables, but close enough to hear and enjoy.  She turned down the volume, already knowing where she’d need to be for a place like this.  She put on a special glove, with a pick on each finger.  A gift from Hudson, which she put to good use to no end.  She made sure everything was working, playing a soft tune from an old master of blues.  As she played, her eyes closed.  The music infected her soul.

Getting to go on a date was nice.  It didn’t happen nearly as much as she liked.  Emily was in a rather sour mood, but eager to be out with her girlfriend.  She could guess what was making her lover unhappy.  The attack on their base.  Dozens dead, lots of destruction.  Military people take these things personally.  Who knew?
The restaurant they picked was one downtown.  A bit of a ritzy place, but she was able to get a perfect table reserved.  A little bit of Nova Particle magic and the man who ran the place was VERY accommodating.  How polite.
Emily was in a cute little dress, showing enough skin to make her mouth water, but not enough for it to be in bad taste.  Polite of her as well.  Wearing a dress was something that Quinn swore would not be happening before the grave, much to Emily’s chagrin.  She was in a very professional pants and shirt.  Nice enough for where they were going, but casual enough for a date.  Like dressing for a business meeting and a party at the same time.
They got to the restaurant, making their way to the front of the line.  Quinn put her arm around Emily’s waist, pulling her close.  She was letting the world know – This is my girl.  Mess with her and you’re dead.  Emily loved the closeness.  Whenever Quinn was possessive, it was a sign of a long night when they got home.  But a bite to eat was very exciting.  Several members of the line looked annoyed, but the doorman recognized her.
“Ah, Quinn, how nice to see you again!  Your table is ready!”
“Excellent, good sir, my compliments.”  She laid down a hundred as they went by.  In Imperial currency, of course.  The man pocketed it, nodding.
They made their way to a table overlooking the restaurant.  Quinn always liked to be situated above.  High ground is easily defensible.  They sat down, with Quinn sitting across from her lover.  Made conversation easier.
“I like your dress,” she whispered.
“Thanks!  I haven’t worn it in a while.  Never felt the need to.  Upscale places like this aren’t my thing.  Too nice for my tastes.”  She winked at Quinn, smiling.
“Well, perhaps we can find a way to make some trouble!  You know I’m always down for that.”  The two looked at each other, with Emily loving the soft smile that Quinn had.  She felt so much stress just melting away beneath her lover’s gaze.
How does she do that to me?  They looked at their menus as they noticed music start to play.  It was an odd music.  Bass guitar, playing a very old tune.  An old blues song, from before the war.
Quinn looked down to see the source.  Her eyes went wide.  Gabby!  What are you doing here?!  She sized her up.  Well-dressed, playing for a crowd.  A cup on a piano behind her.  She’s working.  Huh, never knew she played guitar.  Kid’s a natural.

From the stage, her eyes opened.  She looked at her fingers as she played, with the strings responding to her touch.  It was beautiful.  This instrument was like that suit that she wore into battle.  It felt like an extension of her.  Another part of her life.  It was part of her, and she was part of it.  As she played, she felt something.  A bit of a tremor going up her arms.  Like she was being watched, by a predator.  She looked around, seeing only the usual people, eating, not really paying her much mind.  As her eyes went up, she saw her.  Quinn!  She’s here!  Why would she be here?  The two met eyes, and she saw Quinn smile and nod at her.  She approves of me.  The feeling that gave her, it was…nice.

Until next time, a quote,

“For once, could you two try and act like grown-ups?”  -Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock

Peace out,

Maverick

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One thought on “The Band

  1. Pingback: Quinn | Lucien Maverick's Blog

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