Chapter Six

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Dear Diary,

It’s only two days to the gig now. So what did we spend the day doing? Shopping, of course. There’s just no way I’m getting on that stage at The Crystal Bowl without a new outfit, head to toe. Leo too. You can’t see Jimmy much, he’s always behind his drum kit so I’m not too bothered about him. He consistently wears that cap anyway, I’ve tried to persuade him to vary it but he’s having none of it. But I have a vision for Leo and I. A real vision and today we made it come alive.

We woke up early, both too excited to stay in bed long. In fact, the sound of Leo strumming his guitar woke me up, even before the morning sunshine had a chance to creep between the curtains. As soon as I opened my eyes I thought of the upcoming gig and felt a flutter of butterflies in my tummy. I jumped out of bed, humming the tune of one of our songs as I found my clothes for the day.

Opening up the doors of my wooden wardrobe I reached in and grabbed a pair of corduroy trousers and a dark purple velvet jacket. Once I had slung them on, with one of my favorite cream shirts, I put a silk rose in my hair and headed to the bathroom. As I brushed my teeth Leo knocked on the door.

‘Amber!’ he said. ‘I think I’ve got it!’

‘Got what?’ I yelled back, mouth full of toothpaste.

‘I’ve got the melody for the new song!’ he said.

‘Ah,’ I gurgled. ‘That’s brilliant.’

‘Yeah, come out of there, come and sing it with me.’

‘What, right now?’ I said.

‘Yes, right now sis, get your ass out here. The gig is in two days and you’ve not even heard the song yet,’ he said.

‘Alright, alright,’ I said, washing my mouth out before dabbing on a bit of lilac lipstick.

I went straight over to Leo’s room and found him in his boxer shorts – guitar slung over his shoulder and nothing else on apart from a pair of socks.

‘God, bro, get some clothes on,’ I said, giggling at him.

‘Never mind that. Just listen to this song,’ he replied.

And just like that he put one leg on the end of his bed, resting the guitar on his knee, and started to sing the new song. The notes were unusual and beautiful, the chorus haunting. I felt the hairs rise up on my neck and along my arms as he sang.

‘Ah, it’s amazing, Leo,’ I said when he finished.

‘I’m glad you like it,’ he said, smiling ever so slightly.

He handed me a crumpled piece of paper with handwriting all over it.

‘There’s the lyrics,’ he said. ‘Let’s try it now. I’ll sing along until you get it.’

I uncurled the paper and nodded. He began to play the intro. I sang the words, making each one belong to me, as if I were the only person in the world that could sing them. We watched each other all the way through, him leading me along with the tune, nodding as I got the right notes. At the end he said:

‘Wow, you really got that sis.’

We spent a while going over songs: practicing, practicing, practicing. Eventually my rumbling tummy led me to the kitchen and I made us beans on toast and a mug of tea for breakfast. Once we had finished eating and Leo had got some clothes on we washed up the plates and headed out the back door.

‘You know where I’m taking you don’t you, Leo?’ I said, as we walked along the cobbled street.

‘I can guess,’ he said, with a sideways smile.

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