His Prelude
Her Prelude
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen

A peek at the plot

"You know, you're more weight-conscious than any guy I've ever met."

Suddenly, Nick was on the defensive. "I have to be, okay? My weight fluctuates easily, and my metabolism sucks. I'm not one of those people who can just eat what they want all the time. I have to watch myself."

Adia nodded reluctantly. She probably would've pressed the issue if she'd known him better, but she didn't, and she knew that his problems with weight were none of her business. "As long as you don't allow it to keep you from satisfying your nutritional needs..."

"It's just a personal struggle," Nick mumbled. "We all have them. Like the emotional burdens that we write out in songs."

Adia smiled ironically. "Yeah, I guess you're right."

He wasn't sure whether it was the lighting or the privacy, but something about Adia was making him feel bolder than usual. "So you know my burden. What's yours?"

Adia frowned gently. "My burden?"

"Yeah," he reiterated quietly. "I mean, I've heard your album. Quite a few times, actually. Your music is...well, it's not a lot like you seem to be. It's really angry. I mean...there's just..." He sighed, knowing that his words weren't articulating the thoughts he wanted to express. "Aggression, I guess?" God, I need to get a dictionary.

Adia chuckled lightly. "I hadn't thought about it, but I guess you're right. I don't tend to write when I'm happy," she admitted with a small smile. "I'd rather be off being happy, you know?"

He nodded, taking a sip of his water. "Yeah, I guess I can see that. Just..." He paused, searching for the right words. He didn't want to screw this question up. "Don't you...don't you feel weird showing people such ugly parts of yourself?" Ugly? What the fuck? God, Nick...

To his surprise, Adia shook her head. "Not at all. I think there's a certain beauty in anger, actually. The passion behind it, the energy it takes to care that much about something--I'd rather see people getting angry than people being indifferent. Anger at least indicates an awareness of the problem and the need for change." She paused for a moment, chewing thoughtfully on a piece of ice. "That, and I like to think that music can make anything beautiful. Stereotypically ugly feelings become much less ugly when they're set to mode and meter."
He was suddenly thankful for Kevin's impromptu music theory lessons. "I guess...I guess I agree."

They sat in silence for a moment, Adia drawing idly on the table's surface with her index finger while Nick found a spot on the wall to stare at. He was sure that she was thinking about how stupid he sounded. He was sure that she was offended and too afraid to show it. Of course, that doesn't make a lot of sense. She wasn't afraid to walk in here in her PJs. She wasn't afraid to nag me about eating.

In truth, Adia was thinking about how sad it was that Nick had so little faith in himself. He's obviously a smart kid, and he's insanely attractive, but he doesn't feel it. Who in the world planted all of this insecurity in his head? He stumbles over his words like he's afraid of being berated every time he opens his mouth.

She was, however, inwardly pleased that he seemed willing to have a deep discussion with her. It warmed her to know that her band had been wrong about him. He really is just unsure of himself.
"Can I ask you a question?" he asked softly. The moment she saw the apprehension on his face, she smiled reassuringly.

"Sure thing."

He took a deep breath and lifted his gaze to meet hers. When he spoke again, his voice was whisper-soft. "What is 'Deny You' about?"

Adia's eyebrows rose in surprise. She'd had people ask her direct questions about her music before, but no one had been able to figure out which songs were autobiographical and which ones were merely exaggerated emotions. She was impressed that he'd recognized the personal investment she had in that song.

"Good question," she began. "It's about the resistance of a memory and its accompanying ideals."

He frowned deeply, trying to digest the vague explanation, and Adia sighed.

"I'm sorry. You gave me a fairly in-depth explanation of 'Do I Have To Cry For You.' I owe you the same." She paused. "My parents died when I was younger. In order to compensate for their absence, I basically redefined myself according to my assumptions as to who they wanted me to be. I spent a lot of time letting my idea of them and their expectations dictate who I was and what I would become, but I got exceedingly frustrated with the lack of positive feedback regarding my development."

Nick gulped at the stretch of big words and complication. Yeah, I was right. She's going to kick my ass when we do press work.

When she saw the look of bewilderment on his face, she realized she was talking herself out of specifics. "I was trying to please two people who were both deceased and fabricated, and I got angry when I wasn't successful."

"But you couldn't have been successful," Nick countered quietly. "They weren't...they weren't there to...to approve of you."

"Exactly," Adia smiled sadly, "but I was letting that need to please them destroy me."

"So you had to destroy your idea of them," Nick finished. The song's history surprised him, to say the least. First of all, he'd had no idea that Adia was an orphan. Secondly, he'd had a very different idea of who was being denied.

"You look like you weren't expecting that," Adia remarked gently. To her relief, Nick chuckled. She couldn't help but think that he had a beautiful smile.

"I guess my perception of it was a lot different."

"That's the idea," Adia explained. "I'm vague for a reason sometimes. I think that the beauty of music is that, if you write the lyrics correctly, both they and the emotions behind them become universal."
Nick laughed hollowly. "Yeah, I guess anger and frustration are pretty universal."

"So is self-preservation," Adia argued quietly. "The anger is important, but we can only deal with a bad situation for so long before we force ourselves out of it for survival's sake." She looked at him meaningfully. "It's the same in your song."

He rolled his eyes. "My one serious song."

"Not all good music has to be serious," Adia countered pointedly.

"But what if you have more serious stuff to say?" Nick wondered aloud. Since traveling with Adia, he'd started to hate the careless nature of his album. It was poppy and preppy and he hated the way it went down so easily when her album had been so damn difficult to swallow.

"Sometimes we have to wait until we're ready to say it."

Excerpt taken from Chapter Nine