I set down my sticks in the middle of the song, and both my mates turned around in annoyed confusion, sharp words on the tips of their tongues. I ignored their glares and sighed. There was no point to practicing anymore.
We didn't have a singer. There was some satisfaction to be found in our previous singer's lack of solo success, but it didn't change the fact that we were nothing but noise without our lyrics.
Marsh seemed to catch my drift--she switched her amp off and flopped down onto floor. Quinn took an extra second, but she rolled her eyes and sat back on her heels with a huff.
We didn't talk. The silence was unusual considering we spent most of our alone time screaming about something or other, but none of us knew what to say.
I can't speak for either of them, but I for one was damn near packing up my shit, throwing it in my parents attic, and never playing again. It had been months. We thought she'd come back at first, but she cut all ties with us and blocked our calls.
She was the sweetest thing on the planet--or at least I thought she was. I guess that's what the promise of fame does to people. Turns them into assholes.
Regardless, we weren't a band anymore. Maybe I was being dramatic, but without a singer, the past six years of my life, the hours and hours spent writing, practicing, dreaming, all meant nothing.
It meant I would have to go back home, get a shitty job, kill every dream I ever had, and lead a useless life. It meant being normal. I hated the very idea.
Marsh was still laying there braiding strands of her hair and undoing them and braiding them again and again. I watched her for a while, amazed at how pretty she was, how effortlessly perfect she looked in a shirt and some jeans, her hair splayed out on the floor around her. She looked like an idol. I couldn't imagine Marsh leading an average life.
The first time I met her, I had tripped over her sleeping form as I attempted to slip out of an assembly unnoticed. She had cut school with me and we had stayed up late, laying on the hood of her car, staring at the stars. She had played for me and I had rapped for her, and we had both laughed at how neither of us could sing.
It quickly became tradition to skip class every Wednesday (and Friday and Tuesday and Monday and Thursday) and sit in her car together. Sometimes she'd pull out her guitar and I'd pull out my journal and we'd write songs and pretend we were famous. Other times we'd turn on music and drive until we had no idea where the hell we were. I have no idea how we managed to graduate.
Really the only thing I learned in high school was that I couldn't last a day without her. She was the only good thing about my life.
I wanted to believe that if the band split up, we'd keep in touch, but part of me knew we wouldn't. We'd move to different cities, make different friends, write different songs. Gradually, we would become nothing more than a hazy memory, a story to tell our kids.
We were twenty-three. We had our whole lives ahead of us. I didn't want to spend my whole life with a memory, I wanted the real thing.
Quinn groaned, and I forced myself to peel my eyes away from Marsh.
God. Quinn. A wave of guilt washed through me.
I'd never asked how she was doing. She was the one who found us a singer and helped us realize our dream. She had made everything possible.
She's my little sister, I should be the one taking care of her.
Sure I was upset and in need of comfort, but I hadn't been childhood friends with the very girl who abandoned us the second a better option came up. I was just the asshole who hadn't remembered to pay attention to anybody else's feelings.
I'd always been that way with her, ever since we were kids. She acted so strong that I figured she was fine even in situations where she wasn't. Like when dad died. I blew up, I broke things, I tore into mom, I destroyed relationships, and I left Quinn to deal with the aftermath. I hadn't given her a chance to grieve--I was much too selfish for that.
The world stopped because I was broken, and yet it kept moving whenever she was.
I was hurt, but I couldn't imagine how much pain she was in, losing her friend and her dreams and having to deal with my emotions as well. I had been such an ass.
I ran my hand through my hair, frowning a little at how much the dye had fried it, and took a breath. Whatever happened, I needed her to be happy. I needed both of them to be happy. Hell, I needed to be happy too.
"Let's hold auditions," I said, my voice coming out louder than I had intended. My heart beat drummed in my ears.
Quinn's head snapped around so fast I'm surprised she didn't break her neck. "What?" I wasn't sure if that was meant to sound malicious or simply confused.
Marsh dropped her hair, her hands falling limply to the floor beside her, and sat up. "Auditions?"
"For a new singer," I nodded. "We're a band. We shouldn't have to stop playing just because one person decided we weren't good enough." I looked at Quinn, hoping to calm the storm in her eyes. "I know she was your friend. It feels like we lost part of our family. I know that what she did hurt like hell. And I don't know whether you're more angry or sad, so I don't know if you want revenge or to cry, but either way, you want to play, right? Despite everything, you still want to play... Right?"
Quinn stared at me a long moment, her eyebrows scrunched together, and I started to wonder if I was wrong. Maybe she didn't want to do this anymore; it certainly wasn't an easy life. But she'd shown up to practice, so she did still care, right?
Her gaze fell down to the floor. Marsh and I exchanged a look, neither of us sure how to approach this situation. At the least, it was comforting to know I had Marsh's support.
Quinn looked back up, her lips pulling up at the corners. "Yeah," she breathed. "I still want to play."
I smiled a little, relieved. "Me too."
"And so we need a singer."
"To replace..." Her gaze fell back down to the floor.
"She was a bitch," Marsh chimed in, somehow managing to lighten the mood with her bluntness. "Let's prove her punk ass wrong. We're fucking amazing."
I snorted. "Language, Marsh. There's a child in the room."
She raised her hands in defence. "I'm not wrong though."
Quinn made a face, finally realizing I was referring to her. "I'm not a child, you twat," she spat.
I laughed, and it only took a second before she joined me.
This was gonna work--it had to. We weren't giving up so easily.