Saturday, October 8, 2016

Studio Time: Thirty Eight

Broken things and when not to fix them

Fourteen hours after his brother left, Nate stepped under the stairs to the second floor and growled into the phone, “Where the hell are you?  Is the car okay?”
They sort of shared the car.  It was Nate’s car though, the car he’d saved for, the one he’d bought without his father’s charity or help or whatever.  They negotiated who got to use it and today Eric was using the car.
Eric had the car because Rayne wanted a ride out to Sandy Point to get something out of her house. It was a long way but he’d been gone a long time, a lot longer than it would take to get there, make Rayne get out of the car and grab her shit, make Rayne get back in the car, and drive home.  
“We had sort of a problem.  Not with the car.  I’m on the way about an hour maybe less.  Make sure there’s beer.”

After driving Rayne around all day he would probably want to sit in a dark room by himself and drink.  He started to say goodbye and all right when he realized Eric had hung on up him.
Nate drew a breath, uneasy, then took a step out of the dim stairwell and into the old brick walled place living room thing with the iron columns that didn’t seem to hold up anything.

Three people were sitting at the table in that room, all of them occupied trying to find a drummer for him. Devlin Holloway was one of his oldest friends.  He had a cute new girlfriend and the girlfriend was helping.  She had a whole spreadsheet with every drummer dead or alive or zombified on the face of the earth and all the planets in the visible - make that also the invisible - universe. She had them all mixed up.  She didn’t know one damned thing about music or drummers.
And the third was Alice, his other guitarist.  She wasn’t doing much.
His attention wandered.  He wondered if it was even worth the trouble looking for a drummer since as soon as he found one, someone else would probably quit.

Alice was moving between beer and coke, drinking both of them, eating the chicken fried rice and what was left of the spring rolls.  Dev and Eva laughed about something they were watching then tabbed away from it and pulled up more mystery drummer data. 

“He moved away last week,” Alice pointed out, “that one, Aaron.  They have a new baby. Cross him off.  I don’t think that leaves more than a handful of even remote possibilities.”
Dev leaned back, finished his Heineken, and added, “Nate can go through them later.  I’ve been out of that whole business for a couple of years now, don’t know who anybody is anymore.”

Eva tapped the keyboard gently. “Well I guess that leaves Woody at the top of the list like we said when we started.  I do have one more - Stevie Holloway. She came up on a list but looks like she retired years ago.  It’s funny because of the name.  I was going to mention it to you Dev but didn’t have time before we got here." 

Nate almost gasped.  It was like an evil curse thrown by a witch with a mean sense of humor.  Get three people in a room and talk about bands and up comes one of Cooper Stanfield’s girlfriends.
He’d been 15 when he saw his dad and Stevie Holloway together in the men’s room at that photo shoot.  It was one of those things you see that you know you’re never going to unsee no matter what kind of mental bleach you use.  At the time he just froze.  Now he would have thrown any bleach he had at his them.  Since they weren’t wearing much in the way of clothes the bleach would have left a nice burn.
"What’s the matter with you?  Don’t you know who Stevie is?”

The three of them stopped and stared at him.  Eva didn’t move. Alice sat there  open-mouthed and speechless. 
“I said don’t you know who she is?!  It’s bad enough that fucking Woody is at the top of the list, but there’s no way Stevie should be on it at all!”
Dev, looking stunned and then angry, glared at him then turned his attention to his girlfriend.
 "Nate means that Stevie Holloway is my mother.  She might help out with a benefit but she’s not going to join Nate’s band.“  He glanced up at Nate and then back at Eva.  "Nate’s fucking COLLEGE band.”

Eva pulled back from the computer and glanced around nervously.  "Oh.  I didn’t know she was your mother.  I didn’t know Stevie was that old so I didn’t make the connection.  I should have asked  I’m sorry.“
Nate tightened his grip on the table’s edge.  Cut it out, he told himself. Don’t start something by acting weird. Let it go.  "Yeah okay no big deal.  You know what, I think we’re done.  I’m going to have to kick everyone out early tonight - Eric’s run into a thing. A problem.”

They got up and pushed the chairs around.  Eva silently pocketed her flash drive.  Dev got in front of her, visibly furious.  “You get your own drummer if you can find anyone wiling to put up with your shit. We’re out of here.”  
Nate didn’t move, silent, letting them move past him. He thought Alice might stick around but she left too. 

He went out on the fancy front porch and leaned on one of the fancy columns.  His mother had picked out the place. He’d pretended to love it, didn’t make as good a show as Eric did, and she probably knew they didn’t care, but it was okay. She seemed happy. She’d been struggling for years to make his dad happy, and it didn’t seem to work most of the time, so it felt good to see her happy. 
Where the hell was Eric with his car?

Easing his cell out of his pocket in case Eric called again, Nate set it down carefully on the steps next to him.  He ran his fingers across the cell’s cracked screen to make sure it hadn’t cracked even more.  He always broke things.   Keyboards.  Guitars.  Stuff in the kitchen.   He’d started trying to watch himself around fragile things but somehow a lot of them still broke. 
He was breaking his band, too.

But here, finally, was his brother. The relief he always felt when his twin came back briefly flooded him. At least he hadn’t broken that. 

Eric parked the car, got out, slammed the door and stood leaning against the rear fender.  He glanced around, looked up at the house, down the street, then down at the ground.  It was too dark to tell if anything serious was wrong with him, he wasn’t bleeding, but something was wrong.
“Everybody gone? I expected a party.”

“Nobody’s here and it wasn’t a party. Something’s wrong, what’s wrong? You run into some kind of trouble?”
His brother stretched his shoulders and walked away from the car.  "I’m good, just wiped. The trip was a bitch.“ 

They headed toward the front door, climbing the steps side by side the way they’d done since they were little kids who matched footsteps on the stairs at home.  It became a habit.
"I need a beer before I get into it but she ran off to Jimmy’s house and had her usual breakdown. Get this though, Gemma Wilson was there and Rayne got into a fight with her. I had to get between them and basically shut Gemma up to stop it.” 

“That’s all that happened?  It took that long because she got into it with Gemma?”
Eric strode across the room avoiding that damned column, heading for the fridge. “You don’t get it, Nate. She was crying.  She could barely stand.  I wasn’t sure she was going to be able to drive back.  I followed her home to make sure.” He paused and added quietly, “Jimmy’s sister Remy was there.”

All right, that clarified pretty much nothing but it fit his sister’s general reaction to everything. Cry over it or annihilate it.  Or get drunk and contemplate one of the above, then go ahead and annihilate it.  He didn’t know what Jimmy’s sister had to do with anything but let that slide. 
Eric took another long gulp of Guinness and leaned back and very calmly and without looking at him said, “I’m going to take a break.  I’’m going to Jimmy’s funeral on Saturday then I’ll find a place to stay.  I’m not going to be in the middle of this anymore.”

Cautiously, wondering if something much worse than Eric was telling him had actually happened, or if he’d done something bad enough this time to chase him away, Nate asked, “You mean take time off like a vacation?  The semester’s just starting, the first classes start next week.”
Eric set the empty beer can down on the table and shook his head.  "I’m dropping out.  I don’t want to do this right now, none of it, not the classes or the family or anything related to them.  I want to get away from all of it, everything. There’s no problem, we’re okay, I want to do something else, that’s all.“


Stunned, confused, struggling with guilt - he’d been an ass, he’d always bullied Eric, he’d ruined his twin’s life when he jabbed that stick in his ear when they were six years old, he shouldn’t have pressured him to do that paper on art - Nate watched him get up and go up the stairs.  "Is this about a girl?”
“You would come up with that.” Eric glanced down then kept on going. 

Eric got up, walked across the room and started on up the stairs, taking them two at a time now, looking like that was it, he’d explained it all and there wasn’t anything more. “So okay, you’re going to take a break, not for any particular reason, just a break.”
“That’s right.  It’ll be all okay Nate. If I need help, you’ll be the one I’ll call. And if you need help, if you need something, call me first. We’re brothers and that’s never going to change.”


  1. I like Alice! She does seem to mellow Nate out without infringing on his essential Nateness. I like the idea of Woody being the new drummer as well, so I'm glad he's the front runner. Hmm... did I read it right, that Eva is Devlin's girlfriend? This must be a fairly recent development if she didn't know that Stevie was his mom.

    Eric... yeah, he needs a break. There's too much going on with everyone in his life and he has nothing that's just his. Growing up with such a dramatic family, he's never had the space to find himself. No one can blame him for wanting some space for a while.

    Yeesh, Randi! If you're curious about how Rayne is, go and see Rayne herself. Rayne's entire world seems to be Duff and Cooper and the Ghost of Jimmy right now. Cooper and Duff both mean well, but they're both stifling in their own ways (honestly, I'd be MUCH more concerned about Duff's control issues outside of the playroom than within any consensual BDSM...). Driving around with Eric has probably been the most low-pressure social interaction that Rayne has had in a while. A hangout with Randi would do her a world of good right now, so why won't Randi go?

    1. Thank you Van.

      The girlfriend status is premature. The semester has just started so they've known each other all of 2 weeks. Devlin isn't involved in the music scene. Eva never has been. Stevie's been retired for years and was never a household name. Eva was trying to impress and didn't make the connection. She knows it now. She may be rethinking her association with Dev and his friends.

      Eric has to either get away or blow up his relationship with his brother. Taking the long road trip cleared his mind enough to see that. Nate is not going to understand but neither is he resentful or angry. He's used to not understanding Eric.

      As far as Randi goes, her concern right at that moment was Rayne's return to South Beach. Rayne was not responding to her. Why? Randi's never been on board with what seems like Rayne's endless brooding about her father so Rayne is temporarily shutting her out - more 'I'll talk to you later, I can't deal right now, I'm ok' but of course it's alarming. Randi drove out to Sandy Point to try to see Rayne, was dismissed by Duff, and would have been trying again in the interim. I doubt she would have been able to get in there and spend any time with Rayne. Duff is trying to keep Rayne wrapped up and would not have encouraged it, and Rayne is going along with him. But again, it's only been 4 days including the road trip day. Since this is plodding along day by day, Randi's involvement hasn't come up yet, but yeah, needs to be there.

      I apologize for distraction and absence and abandonment in the last month or so. I've been volunteering and I'm overwhelmed.

      Thank you so much for your support. I know I keep saying that but I can't say it enough.

    2. Hey Van! Thank you for always keeping tabs on the story and for leaving a comment. You always bring up good points and observations. I won't add much to what Beth said already other than to apologize for the timing. In my mind, it seemed necessary to plod day by day leading up to the funeral and where Rayne and Duff are headed. Certain things need to unfold in Rayne and Duff's story. I think readers would have a "WTF moment" if we simply jump from point A to point H without filling in some gaps to explain how the got there and where they end up.

      The pace at which we post is unfortunate (mostly my fault). I will try and pick it up and focus better. The story loses momentum, is probably frustrating all around, and I am sorry about that. Totally my fault. Thank you again for staying in touch.

  2. Gah! I was trying to read this on my work comp yesterday but the photos wouldn't load. I'm at home today so I'll look forward to settling down with a nice cup of coffee & a biccy while what's-her-name has her nap:P

  3. Woah that was a mega update. Lots of stuff happening. Nate and Eric's relationship is so real. I love how accepting Nate is of Eric's moods. And I felt really sorry for Eva but she seemed to recover very well! And I think it's great Eric is taking some time out, though I feel like there's a lot of foreshadowing going on concerning the funeral ....but maybe that's just me and everything will just go off without a hitch...;=)

    1. It's denser than I would prefer. I decided to go back and reference stuff that we showed rather than told but it was so long ago it took up a lot of space to pull it up. Pulling it off is another matter and I'm not at all sure I did.

      Eva can walk out of there with her proto boyfriend thinking that his friend is a Huge Dick. Nate deserves it. I feel kind of sorry for him. He's hell bent on ramming through anything in his way to get what his father had and show him what's what, and yet he keeps running into him. Dad did a bad thing and it's in Nate's face again, or oh yeah, that's who you are, Cooper's kid.

      I'd have fun if I could film that funeral although I doubt it will be fun for the participants. I think about how fabulous it would be to watch your writing as film, as a series. GoT with a bartender. Good times.

      Thank you. It's such a pleasure to get a comment from you.

    2. Thank you for leaving a comment Treason! I will say that for all Nate dislikes what he has seen from his father, he is still trying to walk in his footsteps. Or more appropriately, bulldoze his way past. I don't think he realizes how similar he can be to his dad.

      Unfortunately, because we don't update and had been on a bit of a hiatus for a while, many of the plot points get a little lost in translation. But we hope to rectify that and keep the story moving.

      I have to nod in agreement about filming the writing. When I write, I tend to see chapters cinematically. I think that's why it can be so hard to get screen caps afterwards.

      Again, thank you!

  4. Oh you definitely succeeded! It was all very nicely paced and flowed very smoothly. And it helped clarify a lot of stuff for me as a newish reader. Oh and thanks for the compliment! Although my own stuff feels very amateurish compared to the breadth and quality of your story xxxxx

  5. Looks like Nate has found himself in unfamiliar territory: not being the one to call the shots. I like that we are seeing more of his vulnerability here rather than his bravado. He's more sensitive than I thought. I had no idea he was this shaken by seeing his father with Stevie. Clearly finding out what happened with his father and Gemma would be nuclear to say the least, but I feel like that is inevitable at this point. I'm surprised that Eric is leaving school and curious and to what he is going to do and where he's going. He's the responsible (seemingly) and this is a (seemingly) irresponsible thing to do. Perhaps they both have more of the same, opposite qualities than I thought. In any event I love seeing this new generation of kids come into their own.

    P.S.: The lighting in this was was magical.

    1. Just when you think you have a character figured out, they throw you a curve. What's happening with these two, from my point of view, is fascinating and shows their depth. They both are walking in unfamiliar territory but it makes them whole characters when you expose their lesser known sides. Not sure if that makes any sense...

      Nate and Eric were both devastated seeing Stevie with Coop. They circled the wagons around their mother and while Nate hasn't let go of his resentment, Eric has to an extent. They still fiercely protect their mother and will always take her side against Coop. It is what it is for those two.

      I think I have gone beyond trying to find words to express how amazing Beth's shots are. Magical is the right word.

      Thanks again!!