Chapter Eleven

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Dear Diary,

I picked up my guitar and led us onto the stage. I slung the guitar strap onto my shoulder and took out the plectrum that was nestled in between the strings at the top of the fret board. I looked out towards the audience.

The judges were right in front of us. James, the Mad Machine guy sat wearing leather pants – legs wide open, arms crossed; the music producer lady was all prim and proper with a notebook and pen.

Kevin Cousins, the singer guy, God he just sat there looking at me dreamily. He was all doe-eyed and smiley, sat forward resting his chin on his hand. He must’ve been at least thirty years older than me. I caught his eye for a few moments and he winked. Yikes. I smiled back, trying not to look too disturbed.

Leo and Jimmy settled down into their positions, Leo in front of his synthesizer keyboard and Jimmy behind the drums. Jimmy started us off with a few taps of his drum sticks, I looked at Leo as we both began to play the tune – me strumming along on my guitar and Leo adding all sorts of layers of sound with his synthesizer.

Almost straight away I could feel the whole room turning their attention onto us. Those people in the audience who had been chatting away amongst themselves started to turn towards the stage. I could see Damart at the back of the room jumping up and down with his thumbs held upwards in the air. Bit by bit more people began to come closer to the stage.

I sang the first verse with as much fire and feeling as I could muster. By the time we got to the chorus a group had formed at the front of the stage, swaying and dancing along to the song. More and more people were pouring through the door at the back of the club.

At the end of the song there was a round of cheering and whooping from the audience. I saw the judges clapping and I got the feeling Kevin Cousins hadn’t taken his eyes off me for the whole song. He was pounding his hands together and his cheeks were so red they looked like they might burst.

People I didn’t recognize lined the front of the stage, mostly teenagers looking up at us with curious faces. The whole place seemed to be coming alive with movement and noise. I had to raise my voice through the microphone to introduce the next song:

‘Ahem. Hi. My name is Amber, this is Leo and this is Jimmy,’ I said, pointing to the other guys.

There was a loud feedback screech from the microphone.

‘You’re gorgeous!’ shouted some guy in the audience.

‘Thanks,’ I replied, fleeting a glance at Leo who was scanning the audience, scowling.

‘Anyway, our next song is called – Holy Water it’s a song written by my brother here, Leo.’

A group of girls at the front turned to each other and giggled, cooing amongst themselves and making all sorts of ooh and aah sounds before looking back at Leo and beaming straight in his direction. He didn’t seem to notice.

We started to play the next song – a faster beat this time and a tune that seemed to sweep the audience up into action. They were dancing and jumping around, in amongst the tables, all the way to the back of the club where more people were still streaming in.

Halfway through I noticed Cheryl waving at me from amongst the middle of the crowd. Her eyes were shining, Jez and Lambert close by, pushing themselves along through to the front of the stage. I smiled at them as I sang and pointed the head of my guitar in their direction.

A few moments later I saw Marilyn following behind them. She was hard to miss with her hair styled on top of her head and bright red lipstick. She seemed eager to catch Leo’s attention. Again, I think he was concentrating so hard he didn’t notice. When she did finally she look at me she nodded her head and gave a tiny smile.

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