Chapter Four

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From the diary of Leo Harwood

Dear Diary,

I’ve got this new song in my head and I can’t get it out properly. This afternoon I tried it every possible way. I know exactly what I want. Me on the acoustic guitar and Amber singing. That’s it. Simple. I see it, I can hear it. In my head. But when I pick up the guitar I can’t get the melody right. Every time it comes out slightly wrong.

I did all the things I usually do when I’m writing a song. I looked out my bedroom window, down at the backyard. I stared at the row of houses in front and then looked upwards to the hills in the background. I couldn’t find the sun in the sky. And I couldn’t find the perfect melody for this song. Not in the real world anyway.

I paced up and down the room. I talked to the stuffed owl on top of my drawers, hoping he could give me some inspiration. Nothing. I strummed on my guitar, singing the words over and over. I threw the guitar down. I picked it up again. I went to the bathroom. About sixteen times. I lifted my weights. I tidied my music magazines. Every time I went back to the guitar it came out not quite right.

After some time – and I mean hours, I gave up. I lay on my bed and stared at the ceiling, tracing every tiny crack with my eyes. I just lay there and listened to the sound of my own heart.

I could hear Amber coming out of the front room downstairs. I bet she went in there to look at Mum and Dad’s wedding album again. I’ve found her in there loads of times, staring at the photographs. I never look at them.

‘It’ll get better with time.’ How many times have I heard that? Will it? One word from a drunk old man at a gig and all hell breaks loose. My little sis, a wreck all over again. In front of the local police. I’ve been there, I’ve been obsessed by what happened to Mum. In my own way.

All that matters to me now is the music and making the band the best it can be. What could make Mum, and Dad, more proud than that? Thing is, I hear so much talk, all around me, from anyone, everyone. Words, chatter and more words. I don’t like to add to it all. People tell me I don’t talk enough but maybe that’s why I don’t bother. What am I even supposed to say half the time? Of all the people in the world there’s only one person who I really talk to – and that’s Amber.

Music. Now that says something. Look at that crowd the other night. They loved every note of what we played. And Amber gets better and better. No one could sing my songs like she can, not even me.

I sent that application off yesterday for The Crystal Bowl gig, they should have got it by now. It could be our first break, a chance to show more people what we can do. I don’t want to play to a pathetic audience any more I want to play on a proper stage… If we do get the gig I’ll need to get that song right.

As I lay on my bed, with my hands behind my head, the bedroom door swung open and there was Amber. The mascara around her eyes was smudged. Crying again. Before I got the chance to sit her down next to me and coax out of her what was wrong, she said:

‘Someone’s on the phone for you, bro.’

‘Who?’ I said.

‘I think its Marilyn.’

She turned to head back downstairs and I followed. I picked up the receiver and heard a feeble sounding voice at the end.

‘Hi Leo.’

‘Hi Marilyn. What’s up?’ I said.

‘I’m sooo sorry I missed your gig the other night. I wasn’t feeling too well.’

‘Oh yeah, you weren’t there?’ I said.

‘Ahem, no, I wasn’t. You didn’t even notice?’

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