Happy Easter! However you spent today, I hope you had a good day. 🙂
I never directly talk about real-world places or parts of pop-culture in my stories. I’ll plant Easter eggs (making this post perfect for today), by playing with words, but I don’t ever want to break a reader’s suspension of belief or leave anyone out of a reference. That being said, Vienna Teng’s rendition of “Say the Word” was very much so the inspiration for the fictional London Grent’s “Whisper the Answer” as well as Gia and Oliver’s subplot, so I went ahead and included it with this entry for the heck of it.
Oliver opens a paper folder stuffed with hand-scribbled music and pulls out a few of the less crumbled sheets. “After I heard you sing for Lyra, I scrapped the song I thought we should do and went with that London Grent one instead. It didn’t look like the sheet music was available for purchase, so I went ahead and transcribed it. There’s still a few kinks, but we’ve got some time to work that out.”
“You wrote the piano part? From ear?”
“It’s not actually too complicated. The lyrics are the real powerhouse.”
“How long have you been a piano genius?”
Oliver chuckles as he slides onto the bench and sets up the music. “I’m really not. I’m better at the guitar, honestly. My dad’s the real genius. He helped out a lot with this. Especially the bridge. That’s really tricky.” He pecks at a few notes and sits up straighter. “You’ve got the song memorized, right? Want to give it a run through?”
I turn and face the window. “Sure.”
“Um, where are you looking?”
“Outside, obviously. I can’t sing with you watching me.”
“A full auditorium is going to be watching you, Gia.”
“We’ll build up to that. Just start.”
I hear him sigh (and probably rolls his eyes. He’s rather fond of that.) then the piano starts, high and light like wind chimes and rain drops. Then it swoops down, rests a moment, then signals for me to come in. The words come to me as naturally as the breath they ride on and intermingle with the piano notes, like birds dancing through the air together, up into the clouds, then low against the tree tops.
The interlocking nature gives me the strength to sing with the force and strength that the words, the desire to love and be understood deserve. It’s more force and strength than I’d ever dare use to speak on my own. Then, it pulls me back so that I can hesitate and barely even whisper the hesitation and fear that comes with uncertainty and inexperience. Then, it pushes me again to bring back the power and confidence that comes with the bridge. There’s something new there too that I’ve never heard before too: a descant, courtesy of Oliver. I never realized that the song was missing his rich tenor voice until now.
That gives me an idea.
I stay focused enough to finish the last chorus and let Oliver play the outro.
The second the last note fades, he’s got a pencil in his hand pressed to the first sheet of paper. “Not bad for a first run through. I think our biggest issue is the timing, and that solo was abysmal, but that’s my problem–”
“This needs to be a duet.”
He pauses and looks at me like I’ve lost my mind. “Did you breathe enough? I think your brain needs more oxygen.”
“I’m serious. That descant was awesome, but the song needs more of you. The song works with it. It could be two people’s thoughts instead of one. Let’s be real: two people can definitely be oblivious to the fact that their love interest is actually in love with them too.”
“Zoe and Miguel are doing exactly that and it’s driving me crazy.”
Oliver’s face goes through a series of puzzled expressions before he nods. “That certainly explains a lot. The song sounded great just with you, though.”
“It would sound even better if you helped. C’mon, Oliver.”
He taps the end of his pencil against his lips for a moment. “We’d have to rework a few things, maybe modify that last chorus to be a call and response…Odds are it’ll end up overly complicated and dramatic as hell…” A mischievous grin comes to his face as I watch the wheels in his head start to turn. “I love it.”