Battle of the Bands
Helena plucked the strings of her black acoustic guitar. Her fingers pressed the strings against the frets. She didn’t know what she was playing. For almost half and hour she had been sitting on the grass at her front lawn. The sky was blue and she could hear birds chirping. Though she was alone she wasn’t bored. Helena loved the company of the beautiful day. She looked up the sky and saw the sun smiling at her. She smiled back and went back to her guitar.
“You are not playing it right sunshine. It is E major. Not Minor” said Matt. He smiled and sat beside his sister. Helena handed the guitar to him. Matt didn’t take the guitar. “Ouh.. I’m sorry. I was just trying to help with the chords”. Helena pinched his brother’s cheeks and said “No Matty. It’s ok. I just want you to put the guitar somewhere else.” Hearing that, Matt felt better. He thought he had offended his sister. So, he laid the guitar to the wall and placed his arms around his sister. Helena laid her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes. Though Helena was 20 years old, she will always be Matthew’s little sister.
“Matty.” She called out. “Yes Helena?”
“Don’t you get lonely?”
Matt’s eyebrows shot up. He didn’t really understand what his sister was asking.
“What do you mean?”
“It has been almost a year since you broke up with Candice.”
“Well, you are 24 and you don’t have a girlfriend.”
Now he understood. He turned his head and kissed his sister’s hair.
“No Helena. I don’t get lonely”
“Liar” said Helena and looked up at her brother.
Then they broke into laughter.
“I don’t get lonely Helena. I have you. I have my band. I have your band”
“You will always have me Matty.” She said and hugged her brother’s waist.
Matt hugged her back.
“And you will always have me too. We only have each other Helena. Mom and Dad are gone. You are all I have.”
Helena hugged Matt tighter just as her chest tightened. Then tears flooded Helena’s eyes. Warm tears fall down her cheeks.
“I miss them Matty” she said. Matt heard his sister sobbing. The image of his parents’ car being hit by a truck 7 years ago came to mind. His mom died on the spot of the accident but his dad spends his last few days at the intensive care unit. Young Matt and Helena stayed by his bed 24/7. Until one night, their dad weakly grabbed their hands. Helena kissed her dad. Her eyes were red because she was crying too much. Mr.Paulos flashed a weak smile to both his child. “Helena my angel” he said weakly. Speaking seems so hard for him, but he tried his best. “Always be nice my dear. No matter how bad people are treating you. Be nice. You are an angel.” Hearing those words, Helena sobbed harder and nodded. She kissed her dad and lay her head beside him. Then Mr.Paulos turned to Matthew, who was crying. “Now, now Matthew Andreas, you mustn’t cry” he said and slowly lifted his hands to wipe those tears from Matt’s cheeks. To please his dad, Matt wiped his tears and grabbed his father’s hands. It felt so cold. “Matthew my son, you are a young man. But I know you are wise. Stay wise Matthew. You are the man of the family. Take good care of yourself and your sister.” Matt took a deep breath. He tried so hard to pull back his tears. Then, he too kisses his dad and his head beside his dad. Both Matt and Helena held their dad’s hand. Matthew couldn’t help it so he broke down and cry. “I will always be with you. I promise.” And that was the last time Matt and Helena heard the voice of their father.”No,daddy, please..no don’t leave daddy” cried Helena. She shook his father’s dead body. Hoping it would somehow come back to life. Immediately, the 17 year old Matthew took the role of the man of the family. Just like his father told him to. So, instead of weeping, he got hold of Helena and held her close. “No Matt, let me go. I don’t want to lose daddy too. Ouh God..” Then she sunk into Matt’s chest. Matt closed his eyes, wrapped his arms around his sister. “Daddy and mummy are always with us Helena.”
Both of them cried silently. Then Matt released Helena.He wiped her tears and kissed her forehead. “Hey sunshine, don’t cry. Mom and Dad wouldn’t like it you know.” Then she pulled the sleeve of her shirt to wipe more of her tears. Took a deep breath and smiled at her brother.
“That’s better” said Matt. “Now, I have good news for you.”
“Yes. Well, you know the recording company my band is working with now?” Matt asked.
“Yeah. I know that. Why?”
“Well, they are organizing a battle of the band.” Matt paused.
“Ok. I’ll talk to my band and see what they think” said Helena.
“And the winner gets a recording deal” Matt continued. Helena’s eyes widened and faced her brother.
“For real Matty?”
“For real Helena”
Helena got on her feet and screamed.
“Wicked !I am going to call Vic. He is going to be so turned on by this. Yeah he will. Thanks for telling me Matty.” She then kissed her brother and went inside the house.
“Thanks for the ride dude” said Vic as he got out of Pogue’s car. “No problem. Dude, your dad called me a couple of times. Talk to him man.” Pogue replied. Vic shook hands with his best friend. “Just ignore his calls. Thanks anyway. Class starts at 8 tomorrow.” Pogue banged his head at the steering wheel. “God, why do they have to make morning classes?” Vic smiled and got out of the car. “See you.” Said Vic and got into his house.
His mom was in the living room. “Hey mom” he greeted his mom and gave her a peck on the cheek. “How was class Victor?” she asked. Victor sunk into the couch. “All good mom.” As Victor was about to fall into a deep sleep, his mom said “Your dad told me he called your cell phone but all he got was the answering machine. He called Pogue too.” That sentence awakens Vic. Dad. He thought. Instead of explaining, Vic took a cushion to cover his face and tried to get into his nap again. His mom looked at him with annoyance. Then, she stood up and pulled the cushion away from him. Victor was pissed off but he still had his manners. So, instead of cursing out, he just kept quiet. “Victor Johnstone” his mom said. “Why didn’t you answer your father’s calls?”
“Why should I?”
“Well, he is your father Vic. He cares.”
A cynical smile appeared on Vic’s face.
“He cares. Yeah right he does. He cares too much until he left us.”
“He might not love me anymore Victor. But you are his son. He loves you”
This time Victor let out a cynical laugh.
“Mom, sending a check once a month is not enough to show love. Not even close. He left us. He left me. Is that love mom?”
Suddenly Victor’s hands stared to shiver. As a mother, his mom knew he was upset. So she didn’t say anything but stayed close to her son. She held his hand.
“I’m sorry mom” Victor apologized. He was not sure why but he felt bad towards his mom. His mom smiled.
“It’s ok Victor. But please, talk to your dad. He is proud of you for making it to uni. He is proud of Pogue too.”
“I don’t know mom. I will talk to him when I talk to him.” He then got off the couch and walked towards the kitchen. He opened the fridge and took out the ice cream. Then his phone rang. “Vic!!” screamed a girl from the other line. She was screaming so loud that Vic had to pull the phone away from his ears. “Hey Helena. Sup?”
“Hey Vic. What are you up to?” she asked.
“Nothing much. Just eating ice-cream.”
“Wow,healthy. Hehe. Anyway Vic, I talked to Matt just now. He told me that his recording company is looking for a fresh blood. So the company is organizing a battle of the band.”
Victor who was eating his ice cream listened.
“Sounds cool” he said.
“The winner gets a recording deal” Helena continued. Victor coughed for he almost choked in his ice-cream.
“Fuck! Really??” He could hear Helena laughing on the other line.
“Don’t choke and die Vic. We don’t want to lose our front man.” Victor drank some water and smiled.
“you wont. Don’t worry. Anyway, that is wicked. Seriously”
“So, Engine in our out?” Helena asked.
“Well, we need to ask the others. I say, we meet up tomorrow and talk about it aite?”
“Yeah sure. Hey, I got to go. Later Vic. Bye” and she hung up.
The Volkswagen convertible sped at 110 kilometers per hour with Dragonforce blasting on the car stereo. Pogue was on his way home and he passed through a cemetery. He slowed down his car to examine the motorcycle parked near the entrance of the cemetery. “That is Jimbo’s bike” he thought. “What the hell is it doing at the freaking graveyard at night?” Pogue kept wondering about it until he reached home. The automatic gate opened and he sped through the driveway. He stopped right in front of the main door of the mansion and was greeted by Henry, the butler. “Good evening Sir” said Henry as he opened the door for Pogue. “Sup Henry.” Pogue replied and raised his hands to give Henry a high five. Henry returned the high five awkwardly. Pogue snorted when he saw Henry’s behavior. It seem like Henry had never gave a high five before. Pogue handed his car keys to Henry to park the car in the garage. “Your parents are in the dining room Sir. They are expecting you.”
“Yeah sure. Thanks Henry. I’ll go see them.” Henry slightly bowed his head and he went outside to park Pogue’s car.
Pogue then walk through the big hallway with marble floors towards the dining room. “Was it about the party? Are they pissed off that I booked the tickets?” he thought. He could hear his parents’ voice echoed through the hallway. They sounded happy. So Pogue thought, maybe they don’t mind trip he booked for them after all. Maybe. Just maybe. He finally reached the dining room. The skeleton chandelier is still there. “Damn. How could I forget?” Pogue said to himself. His parents were so busy chatting with each other that it took them a few realize Pogue was standing there at the end of the dining table. “Ah, Pogue, there you are” said Mr. Markus as he saw his son’s figure in the dining room. “Have you had your dinner Pogue?” he asked. Pogue shook his head, pulled the chair and sat with his parents. Though Pogue was a guy who doesn’t care at all, who likes to do crazy things, who was always out of his mind, who loves to be in charge of everything, he was a well-behaved young gentleman around his parents. But it wasn’t an act simply to please them. Pogue’s parents knew so well how their son behaved when they’re not around. They even knew people called their son “dickhead”. It was a sign on respect from Pogue to them. To his father especially.
“Is there a problem Pogue? You seem unusually quiet” his mom asked. Pogue looked at his mom and gave a wryly smile.“Mom, I’m sorry if you’re angry about the chandelier. I promise I’ll change them back” Pogue said. His mom and dad looked up at the chandelier and laughed. Mr Markus tapped his son’s shoulder. “It’s ok son. I will take care of that.” The maids served Pogue’s dinner. Since he didn’t had a proper lunch, he was hungry and devout his food. Not long after that, chocolate pudding was served as desserts. As Pogue was enjoying his dessert, his mom said. “Pogue my dear, how was the university?”
“Good. Really like it.” Replied Pogue.
“Glad you like it son” his father said. “Pogue” he continued. “Your mother and I have been discussing. Since I tend to travel to New York frequently, I think it is better for us to move there.” Suddenly the soft chocolate pudding felt like hard rocks in his mouth. He had to pressed so hard so swallow. “But I am studying here.” Pogue said. “Well, we know Pogue. We were thinking, maybe you want to stay in campus?” his mother asked. Pogue’s eyebrows crooked. Staying in campus was the last thing on his mind. Pogue didn’t saya anything but his dad recognized the look of dismay on Pogue’s face. “Or maybe we can get you a smaller house here.” He suggested. Pogue smiled. “That will be cool” said Pogue, Delighted with his dad’s idea.
“Hey baby, I miss you.” Adrian then pressed his girlfriend’s number, Ashley and sent it. It has been almost 3 days since he last heard from her. He was really worried. Worried that something bad might happened to her. Worry that she might be cheating on him. He didn’t know what to think. But then Adrian tried his best to keep a positive mind.
A few moments later Jimmy and Helena joined him at The Shack. “Sup guys” he greeted them. “Hey Add” replied Helena. Jimmy smiled at him. Both of them sat with Adrian. “Pogue and Vic told me they’ll be here a bit late. Vic wanted to fetch his bike from the workshop” explained Adrian to them. “OK then. I’ll go get some drink. What do u want Jimmy?” Helena asked. “Just some beer.”
“Alright. I’ll be right back.”
Jimmy watched Helena walked by. His lips curled and his eyes were dreamy. “What a beautiful lady” he thought. From the counter Helena looked at him and smile. Jimmy smiled back. “God, that is the sweetest smile I have ever seen.”
Then Adrian saw Pogue and Vic entering the bar. Just as Pogue was about to spanked Jimmy’s head, like he always does, Adrian stopped him. Both Vic and Pogue examined Jimmy’s faraway look. It seem like Jimmy was in his own world. Pogue looked at him and then at Helena who was still ordering some drinks. Now Pogue knew exactly what was going on. “Go tell her Jimbo” said Pogue, and of course, he spanked Jimmy’s head. That popped Jimmy’s bubble. “Tell what to who dickhead?” Jimmy asked, trying to cover up his act. “God Jimmy, it’s so obvious, you fancy her” Vic said. “Yeah Jimmy. All of us can see that. Matt too I think” Adrian continued. Jimmy gave a small laugh and said “You guys are nuts. She is my best friend. How can I like her?”
“Yeah right Jimbo. You like her since forever. But you just don’t have the balls to admit it” said Pogue. Jimmy backed off from the conversation. He didn’t want to say more since he saw Helena walking towards the table. “Hey guys”
“Hey Helena. You look nice today” Pogue said and raised his eyebrows at Jimmy. Vic and Adrian knew Pogue was just messing around with Jimmy. Trying to make Jimmy jealous.
“Yeah right Pogue. Here’s your drink Jimmy.” She handed Jimmy his beer and sat beside him.
“So, what’s up Vic?” asked Adrian.
Victor then explained to the band about the battle of the band. They were thrilled when he heard about it. All of their faces lit up and they were smiling ear to ear.
“So, are we in our out?” Victor finally asked.
“Dude, are you kidding me?” Pogue said.
“Yeah dude, do you even have to ask?” added Adrian
“So, we’re in?” Vic asked to confirmed,
“Of course Vic.” said Jimmy. Pogue placed his arms around Jimmy. “Well, you heard the man Vic. He said we’re in, so we’re in. All hail Jimbo”
All of them laughed. “Once a dickhead, always a dickhead.” Jimmy raised his glass of beer.