If ur ok with making posters how much do u charge?
Clara glanced at her phone with a smile, wondering what to answer while Giselle busied herself with the bubbling pot of pasta on the stove. Truth be told, she'd never thought about charging people for her designs. She usually just did them for friends and family anyway: Giselle, sometimes Marie or her mom when they needed something to look pretty for school or work. But…somehow she didn't want to say no to this stranger either. Sure, she knew nothing about this Freddie guy except for his name and the fact that he was in a band, but for some reason she couldn't help liking the way he typed.
Honestly idk 😅, she wrote back after a while. I'm not rlly a pro graphic designer or anything, I mostly just do it for friends? I'd love to check you guys out and see what I can do tho!
Truth be told, she had no idea why she was agreeing to this. Hadn't she just been feeling like she already had too much on her plate? And yet something told her that this was the right decision. Maybe she didn't need a break; maybe she needed something different. Something interesting. New people in her life…a band.
She sent the text, then she waited. And waited. And waited.
"Hey, dinner's ready," Giselle said at last, waving an amused hand in front of Clara's face. "Did the guy text you yet?"
Snapping out of her thoughts, Clara put down her phone, turning her attention to the steaming pot of spaghetti in front of her. "He did, actually," she said, helping herself to a serving. "I already replied, but he hasn't responded yet."
Giselle hummed brightly. "What do you think?"
Clara thought for a moment, then she shrugged. "He seems…nice," she said, twirling the spaghetti around her fork. "I think I'll give it a try."
"Getting to know new people? You have to keep me updated," Giselle replied around a mouthful of pasta and canned tomato sauce, her eyes glittering. "This is so exciting!"
Clara let out a snort. "You're acting like I'm some kind of hermit."
"Not a hermit, more like…set in your ways." Giselle chewed, then swallowed, gesturing with her fork. "You always say you know all the people you need. What's up with that?"
"But I do."
"Do you really."
Clara's phone buzzed.
Dropping her fork on her plate, she snatched it up, shaking her head when she read the message on the screen. Ok cool 🙂, Freddie had texted back. But we have to pay u something! We insist
Its really fine! Put that money into better equipment lol, Clara replied. Why dont you guys send me some material on your band so I can get a feel for the poster? So I know what kinda vibe to go with and everything?
There was another long pause, then after dinner Clara opened her phone again to an onslaught of links and blurry videos. I can tell u more if u want, Freddie had added, closely followed by, Or u can come watch us rehearse sometime?
Even as she was scrolling down, another message popped up. Only if ur free of course
Abruptly Clara glanced back at her laptop on the desk, still open, the assignment almost forgotten, but nonetheless due soon. Not to mention all her other upcoming deadlines.
I'd love to! she wrote back, sighing internally as she pushed the band poster project behind all her soon-to-be-due college work on her mental priority list. Idk when I'll be free tho, college got me BUSY atm 💀 But I'll check you guys out and get back to you ASAP!
And she meant to. She really, really did.
But…well. She had a lot of deadlines. And a lot of other things to worry about.
And by the time she realized her mistake, texting back would be awkward.
~ ~ ~
"She ghosted us!"
The others sighed. They already knew what was coming next; the situation was always the same, give or take a few details. Currently they were back in their dingy basement studio, sitting around and trying to brainstorm songs while Freddie continued to pace like a cheetah trapped in a too-small cage.
"We don't know that, man," Dylan said from where he lay stretched out on the floor with his notebook, half sprawled over Theo's lap. "Just text her again."
"No, you don't understand! She ghosted us!" Freddie momentarily stopped to gesture in his direction, then continued to pace. "She told me she'd get back to me as soon as possible, and then she didn't! Not a word! Nothing! It's been ten days—"
"But who's counting, am I right," Clem muttered, sitting backwards on his chair and idly twirling a drum stick.
"And you want me to do what, text her again? I'm not an idiot! Don't you know that when a girl says she'll let you know when she's free and then dips, that's her way of saying no?" The others only blinked at him, and he sighed. "Yeah! This is exactly why you people can't get a date!"
Dylan clicked his pen. "Okay, Casanova," he said, grinning like a Cheshire cat. "And you get how many dates again?"
Freddie went pink. "Like it's my fault I'm not attractive!"
"Boo! Wrong," Theo called out over his shoulder. "Everyone in this band is sexy as hell, it's science."
"And that's not the point," Freddie continued, choosing not to argue. "The point is—why did I think this was a good idea? I knew someone like her wouldn't care for a band like us! She probably expected someone cooler, and when she saw us, she turned her back just like everyone else—"
"Even if she did," Dylan replied, dropping his notebook and rising to his feet, "that's her loss, man. Who cares about some shitty posters?"
Terrence was at Freddie's side at once. "That's right!" he said, placing a hand on his shoulder. "We can find a better graphic designer who doesn't ghost us. We don't need that girl!"
His dark eyes were wide as he spoke, his expression so painfully earnest that Freddie couldn't help cracking a smile. "You're right," he said warmly, ruffling his hair. "But you guys have to contact the next one."
Theo grinned. "Don't worry, I can do that," he said. "And then we blow up and get famous, and then that girl's gonna regret not giving us a chance. Does that sound good?"
Shouts of agreement from the whole band. For the moment, Freddie could smile again. The poster girl might have chosen to ignore them, after getting his hopes up no less, but but it was okay. They could find someone else. Someone better.
The question was just how long that would take.
~ ~ ~
Freddie's mood had lifted around the others, but when he was back on his own that night, staring at his phone while Theo was fast asleep on the other side of the room, the doubts came back.
Maybe he should text the girl again after all, part of him mused, his finger hovering over the message thread. Maybe the guys were right, and she really had just forgotten. But honestly—what were the odds? Most people didn't think their band was worth a second glance. Most likely she'd just get annoyed with him for not getting the hint the first time.
Rolling over, he closed his messages and went through the band's social media accounts again, scrolling and scrolling like he didn't know all of them by heart anyway. Always the same. Blurry photos and videos they had taken themselves. Announcements for gigs no one had bothered to show up to. Cover versions of songs that had actually gotten some likes. Original songs that had gone completely ignored.
Almost zero comments on anything. Pity likes from the same small handful of people.
Why are we doing this?
On nights like this, Freddie himself didn't know why. People didn't care. Maybe people would never care. Maybe he and his four idiots were the only ones on earth who truly saw something in their band, their sound, the songs they poured their heart and soul into. And was there even any point in making music just for themselves? What good was their art if no one was there to experience it?
As if on cue, his screen lit up with a notification, and his heart skipped a beat. A comment. On the band account, no less.
Heart drumming against his ribcage, he tapped it, waiting for it to open with shaking hands. Then he read it. Read it again. His newly found hope disappeared faster than a candle that had been snuffed out.
The comment was a bot.
Lowering the phone, Freddie draped an arm across his eyes, feeling more stupid than ever. What had he expected? Mockery and bots. Those were the only kinds of comments they ever got, aside from the occasional encouragement from a well-meaning relative.
Freddie rolled over, burying his face in the lumpy pillow. Ignored. Ignored. That was all they ever got, all he ever got. Why should the world care about a bunch of idiots with their instruments yelling out into the void? Why should they care for this?
Picking up his phone again, he opened the message thread to his mother. Mom…I think i want to quit, he typed in, then his eyes landed on the messages above. It's ok honey ❤️, was the last message his mom had sent him. Many bands started out slow, that doesn't mean it's hopeless! I believe in you!!!
His eyes burned. His vision blurred. A dozen different emotions swirled and spiraled in his chest, threatening to crash down on him and swallow him whole. I don't believe you, Mom, he wanted to say. I don't know what you still see in us, but no one else sees it.
But he didn't have the heart.
So he did what he always did when he felt like this. Deleted the unsent message. Put away his phone, closing his eyes and staring at the wall until sleep finally found him in the wee hours of the morning.
No, Freddie had never been one to believe in miracles.
But miracles aren’t like Tinkerbell; they don’t need anyone to believe in them to exist. Sometimes, very rarely, they just happen.
And sometimes, against all odds, a miracle could find its way even to someone like him.