Chapter 1 - Far Behind (Candlebox; 1993)

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He's so beautiful.

I don't think even Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Picasso, or even da Vinci could recreate a masterpiece so strikingly mesmerizing as him. Have you ever done one thing one time and it came out perfect, then every other time you tried to redo it, it could never come out as good as you did it the first time?

That's what I'm feeling right now. I'm staring at the original work of art, knowing that I will never be able to recreate him with justice.

"Okay, everyone," I hear Mr. Way say, breaking my thought process, "this is your model for the next eight weeks, so I suggest you get comfortable with him." He turns to face the boy and motions out to the class. "Introduce yourself for us?"

Am I about to hear him speak? Am I about to hear the heavenly voice that's about to come out of this heavenly human? I don't know if I can handle this, oh my--

"Hi," he says, a small smile gracing his face. "My name is Brendon Urie, and I'm a freshman here, just started a couple of weeks ago, and I'm a Vocal Performance major with a minor in Musical Instrumentation."

I can feel the heat rising in my cheeks as I continue to stare at the masterpiece in front of me, catching his eyes every couple of seconds. My palms are beginning to sweat and I've stopped flipping my pencil between my fingers in fear that my trembling hand would cause it to fall from my grasp and clatter to the floor. My knee has begun bouncing the beat of my raging heart behind my rib cage, if that's any indication that he's going to cause me to need medical attention.

"That's very cool, Brendon," Mr. Way said from his desk. "Class, why don't you ask Brendon some questions? Get to know him a bit better, maybe incorporate some of what he's saying into your artwork?"

There were some quiet murmurs around the room for a few seconds and Brendon looked a little flushed, the new pink color on skin somehow accentuating his cheekbones in a way that confused me, because it didn't seem possible that his facial structure could be any more defined. Some girl eventually shot up her hand and Mr. Way called on her to ask her question.

"Hi," she said, sounding shy and trying to be coy, which made me roll my eyes. "Why did you take this modeling job if you're a music major?"

Brendon smiled softly, and scratched the back of his neck, his white T-shirt riding up, slightly showing off the skin of his mid-riff as he answered her. "Well," he started softly, "my parents weren't all too supportive of me pursuing music as my professional career, and only supplied me with enough finances to pay a portion of my tuition, while the rest was covered by financial aid and grants. I'm still short about a thousand dollars, and the head of the Arts department said that if I took this job then I could get the rest of my tuition covered for the year."

A few murmurs and hums were spread out through the room, but I, myself, stayed silent. I didn't want to possibly miss anything that he could say or do, so I kept my eyes and ears intently trained on him. I noted the way his Adam's apple moved when he spoke, like his voice was a song and the movement was the beat. His lips seemed to shape perfectly to the words he was speaking, creating perfect circles on "o" sounds, popping intricately with every "p" sound, and articulating consonants with perfect ease. I filed every detail about him in the back of my brain.

A boy from the far right side of our oval formation raised his hand and Brendon pointed at him. "Can you tell us what your goals are with the musical path you've chosen?"

He then smiled a smile so bright and brilliant that mad this dimly lit room not so dim after all. On instinct, I smiled back, catching his eyes again as I did so. He began to talk animatedly about his plans to one day wow a crowd with his voice, whether it be the front man of a singing group or on the Broadway stage, making people swoon over the way he carries out his voice or the way he plays his instruments.

Quite frankly, I could be wowed just hearing him talk like this. This voice of his that's so raw and pure and filled with excitement and animation, that could honestly grab anyone's attention within a two hundred foot radius, maybe even more. His voice sounded like smoke, in a sense, the way that it flowed freely without any interruptions, creating beautiful intricate designs in the air that could literally almost be seen with a naked eye.

Another girl raised her hand and when Brendon called on her, I could never be more thankful to hear this girl speak. "Could you sing something for us?"

Agreements to this proposition were thrown about the room, and I still stayed silent, my eyes fixated on him and the way he shifted slightly from one foot to the other, a shy smile gracing his lips as his eyes met mine once again.

I simply nodded.

He cleared his throat and the room fell silent once again. We were all awaiting for him to start singing and I could see the look of apprehension on some of my classmate's faces, probably thinking he wasn't as good as he let us all imagine.

They were more than wrong.

He chose to sing a song that should have been more than familiar with everyone in my class, a song called Far Behind by Candlebox. When he started signing, he began with soft words like the song is supposed to start, and when the chorus began to set in he picked amplified the volume of his voice and carried the notes and chords in a way that I don't even think the band itself could do.

He sounded beautiful.

As he ended the song, we all stared, completely awestruck. My eyes were glistening with wonder as I try to relish in the fact that this boy had somehow become more than perfect in my eyes. I broke the tension as I set my graphite stick on my easel and brought my hands together, creating a resonating sound that the rest of my class soon joined in on. Brendon blushed furiously as we applauded and cheered for him, clasping his hands behind his band and rocking back and forth on his heels. As the cheers died down, another girl raised her hand and Brendon called on her shyly.

"Are you single," she started, "and if you are do you want to maybe go out sometime?"

Wow, I thought. Ballsy.

Brendon chuckled slightly and ran his hands through his hair gently. "I am single," he said with a small laugh, "but, uh, sorry, I don't swing that way."

I smiled.


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