Chapter One: Professional Lead Vocalist Wanted
I think I remember it differently than Angel…
I was a complete nervous wreck…
The last bloody person…. I had no experience - I was just someone who had sung in couple of school musicals…
I sang for ‘em…
“So, are you going to do it?”
Twenty-one year old William Giles looked up from the ad he had been contemplating for the past twenty or so minutes. “What’d you say, luv?”
Buffy sighed and rolled her eyes. She pointed to the paper in his hands. “That. Are you going to do it?”
He looked down at it again.
For Professional Outfit
Presently Financed by Major Publishing Company
They were seated on the sofa in the lounge of the residence hall. It was late on a Sunday night and most of the other students had already gone down for the evening. However, Buffy was desperately trying to put the finishing touches on her paper regarding marginal imagery of Gothic Art. William was staying up for her. He would help…but his major was English literature - not Art History. He really didn’t get it. What the hell was marginal imagery anyway?
William, when he was in secondary school, pursued drama and music. However, when he was presented an opportunity to pursue it further in a post-secondary school, turned it down. Why? Because his then-girlfriend, Cecily, didn’t get accepted. Of course, they ended up breaking up two weeks later, anyway. Sure, he was heartbroken. Of course, he was. Cecily was his first real girlfriend and he, being the romantic that he was, thought they were meant to be.
But then, he came to the University, on a scholarship he managed to get - otherwise he never would have been able to afford to go. Two weeks after the first term began he met her. Buffy. The sweet American girl who was completely lost in this foreign country. The attraction was instant and they had been inseparable ever since. Buffy Summers, William was convinced, was the love of his life. He had found the one. The one he was going to marry.
The one who was currently staring at him, awaiting an answer.
The ad was something he had been holding on to for the past week. He found it in a small newsmagazine about local bands when he was working one night at the music store near the campus. To be completely honest, he had no idea why the idea was so appealing. He’d never had any musical performance experience at all…well, unless you counted the high school musical. He wasn’t a singer. He was a writer. He liked to write poetry. Sure, he had gotten plenty of compliments on his voice. Sure, it was something of a fantasy of his, but really, he, a lead vocalist? It was an absurd idea.
But then, his inner voice questioned, why did he keep the ad? Why didn’t he just toss it?
Because, he thought to himself, it’s something you’ve always wanted. Ever since you were a kid. It’s your dream job.
Another minute dragged on.
“Well? Are you?” Buffy asked, exasperated by his slow response.
He sighed and shook his head. “No, I don’t think so.” He crumbled the ad and tossed it toward the trash can across the room. It bounced off the rim and fell to the ground. William sighed again and leaned his head against the back of the sofa, looking at his love. “Are you almost finished?”
Her eyes never left her paper as she scribbled madly, as if struck with a sudden brilliant idea. “Why not?”
He suppressed another sigh. “’Cuz, luv, they’ll be wanting someone with experience, somethin’ I don’t have. I’m not a singer.”
She put her pen down and looked at him. “Why do you think that? You’ve got an amazing voice.”
“Thanks, pet. But, I still think it’d be a waste of time.”
“Well, you won’t know until you try out.” With that, she returned to her paper.
William, thinking the subject was dropped, settled down in the cushions to watch her work. However, perhaps against his better judgment, his eyes slid back to the crumbled ad.
No…it was stupid. He’d only be setting himself up for embarrassment. And failure. Besides, he already had his future planned. Graduate college, marry Buffy, have lots of kids, teach and write. Nowhere in those plans did singing fit.
So…again, why was the temptation so strong? Why couldn’t he stop thinking about it? Maybe Buffy was right. He should just, at least, call, find some things out. Maybe it wouldn’t be a waste of time.
He stood up and, like a moth to the flame, moved towards the piece of paper and picked it up. Almost reverently, he smoothed the wrinkles out.
Buffy slipped her eyes up, keeping her face down, and watched him. She smiled as he picked up the ad. Then, she added the final words to her paper. Whipping it out, she handed it to him, “Here, check it, Mr. English Major.”
William took the paper from her. Her title made him tilt his head in curiosity. “’The Devil, Sex and Obscenities on the Medieval Church?’ What are they teaching you in that class, pet?”
“Ha ha,” she deadpanned. “Just read it.”
Anxious didn’t even begin to describe how William was feeling as he pulled his car up to The Bronze. He got up the nerves and finally contacted Angel. He was told the band was called Red Edge. Their previous lead vocalist quit, due to personal reasons. No experience? No problem. Looking for talent. Alright. Can you come Tuesday night for an audition and to meet the rest of the band? See you then.
So, that was how William found himself at the local club. Buffy offered to go with him, but he declined, worried her presence would shake his already frazzled nerves. As he quietly slipped through the door into the darkened club, his nerves increased as he heard the man currently on stage. Suddenly, he wished he did ask Buffy to tag along. Maybe her presence would have had more of a calming effect than he originally thought.
There was no way he stood a chance. The man on that stage was incredible. And he certainly looked the part of a rock star. William adjusted his glasses self-consciously as he eyed the man’s attire. Despite everything said to the contrary, William knew image did play a huge role. And he most definitely didn’t look the part. Floppy light brown hair. Wire-framed glasses. The khakis and tucked-in white dress shirt. Definitely not your typical rock star image. Although, he thought to himself, oddly proud, the fresh jagged scar across his left eyebrow added to his lacking rock star appeal.
No, I wish I could say it came from a bar fight, or somethin’ manly like that…
No, I, uh, I was twenty-one, working at Willy’s…Willy’s Music Store. The night shift. I was supposed to close for the evenin’.
And, uh, we were robbed. Don’t remember much… ‘cept the guy cold cocked me with the gun…
No….no, they never did catch the bloody bastard…
Last I heard anyway…
“Thank you,” a male voice sounded.
The singer stopped singing. “How was that?”
“Good. It was good. Um…we’ll call you, okay?”
“Okay….okay….Sure thing.” He leapt off the stage and moved towards the exit, where William still was standing.
William stepped to the side as the man passed, sneering at him. The faint aroma of weed trailed the man. William wrinkled his nose. Nice.
“You William Giles?” a tall, brunette man, speaking with an American accent, came up to him.
“Oh, yeah,” William nodded.
The man held his hand out, “Name’s Angel. We spoke on the phone. Nice to meet you.”
“Likewise.” William instantly liked the man. He certainly didn’t appear to dismiss him on merely his outward appearance.
Angel gave a slight nod and led William further into the club. He spoke to his fellow band members, “Last one tonight, guys. This is William Giles.”
William shook hands with each of the members, trying to remember the names as they were announced. Okay, Timothy was the drummer; Devon, the keyboards, and Sean was on rhythm guitar. And, of course, Angel on lead guitar.
“So, you ready to do this?” Angel asked.
“Um,” William cleared his throat, “Yeah, I guess.”
Angel gestured to the stage as if to say, ‘It’s all yours.’
William gave a jerky nod and took his place in front of the band. The voice in the back of his head, the one that always kept him from taking risks like this before spoke up. This was stupid. A stupid idea. He was on the road towards humiliation. No, scratch that; he was racing towards and was about to crash head first into the concrete wall of humiliation. What the bloody hell was he doing up here, on this damn stage?
He wasn’t a rock star. He was William Giles, the writer, the poet, who just happened to get parts in plays and musicals. Who took one term of music in which he played the trombone - rather badly, too. And that was years ago. He didn’t know anything about music. Not really.
Except that he loved it.
Get off the stage, you bloody idiot, his inner voice screamed. Go back to your books. Go back to your pen and paper. Go back to your safe world.
But, while a huge part of him said ‘don’t do this,’ another part said he needed to do this. Prove to himself that he could do this.
He took a deep breath and began to sing.
…..and everythin’ changed…
END CHAPTER ONE