"you know what he said, michael?" i asked as i walked into my room. "you know what that bastard had to say to me?"
"i bet you'll tell me regardless," laughed michael, his eyes glued to some magazine. i chucked my purse at him and it hit his chest. he laughed again, but stayed looking at that magazine, a smile emerging on his face. i had finally figured out what the pictures were of–expensive fender guitars like he'd always wanted.
shame we could only just look.
"you're no better. fucking hippie bastard."
"calm down, atta. what's the deal? what did mr. o'hara say? he loved your songs, didn't he? he had to, i know they're bloody brilliant as."
i felt my throat squeeze up because i'd have to tell michael that for the fifteenth time, my songs had not been bought. it wasn't that he was going to judge me, he wasn't, he had no room to.
it was simply that i hated to admit out loud that i was still a failure. all i'd ever wanted growing up was to be a singer. now i was twenty-four and hadn't even gotten my foot in the door of sydney's music industry.
"he said he found my songs to be funny. funny! they're not supposed to be fucking funny! that makes me so, so angry. i can't even explain it," i gasped, feeling my limbs start to shake in rage.
"and? what's wrong with that?" michael asked, tucking a piece of his messy long hair behind his ear. it was faintly streaked in maroon and blue from when i'd played stylist on him.
"everything! they're supposed to be deep, and he laughed. everyone just thinks i'm such a joke. even you don't get it. and you always get it."
michael closed his magazine and mopped at his face with his sleeve. he looked tired, but he always did. i didn't mind, not when i so liked his big brown eyes and his animal magnetism. not when i so loved his soul.
"come here, atta. i do get it. maybe mr. o'hara's record label just isn't the right fit for smog parlor."
smog parlor. that's my stage name.
i used to smoke and michael would call my bedroom the smog parlor. never stopped him from coming in, though.
i closed my eyes and thought of how long it had taken to even be approved to show up at mr. o'hara's office. i had to prove i wasn't a felon and that i really could play guitar. i had to wait in line in the grueling heat and blistering wind. all that for him to laugh in my face. "this is just hilarious!"
my songs didn't have punchlines, but i'd felt as if mr. o'hara had just socked me one in the gut.
i sat next to michael on the bed, my bed. or maybe it was his. i didn't really know, or care. we were both struggling musicians, leeching off one another, lovers and swain. we shared everything. the mattress had been his, and the bedframe had been mine, from home. still with spiralling purple letters spelling out 'princess atta' on the headboard. most of the letters had crumbled away with age,
leaving just a solitary 'rin sat'.
"you will have a song produced, i know you will."
"actually, you don't. you just want me to shut up because you don't have the mental strength to handle my whining right now. i know you, you know i do. and you're lucky lucky lucky i do."
"i've got plenty mental strength, little fella," said michael, "i'm just so bloody hungover."
"and who's fault is that? stop chasing your damn dragon."
"and you yours," he smirked, pawing open the magazine again.
"the 1975 fender telecaster blonde, now she's a beauty," said michael, pointing to a particular guitar. if i was ever going to buy something that expensive, it better play itself!
"so you do have a thing for blondes," i smirked, tugging my bleached hair.
"fuck off, atta." michael was laughing and his soft lips parted and suddenly i didn't feel so bad. we were laughing, and the small flat seemed to get a lot bigger. the louder we laughed, the further the walls would expand.
"i can't do that, little fella," i laughed, "cause then your headache would go away."
"god, you're the worst. get out of my house!" michael pulled a pillow over his head and i ran my fingers over his chest fast enough to tickle him.
"it's mine until you pay the water bill!" i walked out of the bedroom smiling, forgetting how my music notebook had felt like a brick in my hands when mr. o'hara had started laughing.
i squeezed half a lemon into a cup of hot tea and looked around for some sort of headache pill. the medicine cabinet was more barren than the refrigerator, and that was really saying something.
"atta! is that hot chocolate?" michael popped his head up from under the pillow, pushing his hair from his face. he turned to look down the cup, his gently curved jaw and slopey nose catching the light.
"it's tea, michael." he reached out for it anyways, skinny arms jangling with silver bracelets he'd nabbed off me. he was wearing a colorful patched top that he'd not bothered to button up and a pair of weird leathery pants. but the charity shop look did him well.
i was still in my smog parlor getup, with real flowers poked through my curly hair. they were going to be such a pain to untangle. among the flowers were brambles. i knew i should have considered that before weaving them in, but the only thing on my mind had been success. wowing mr. o'hara like he'd never seen.
smog parlor was going to score for us, michael and i, and she was gonna sing. but i'd not made it. i'd pricked my heart for no gain.
"love me a nothing sandwich, ay atta?" michael looked into the refrigerator and then back at me. "it's like fairy toast, minus the calories." i knew our stubborness to quit music would inevitably kill us, but i just couldn't quit it, not when it had been my dream my entire life. not when it was the very thing that gave me wings and a voice and a name. not when i'd promised myself at thirteen.
"i love how the rain sounds tonight, like a really dramatic guitar," i said. we were back in our room. "that's my record, you absolute drongo. mister twig and the big pig." i looked to our secondhand record player, and yep, sure enough, one of michael's beloved records was playing.
"it's still raining, though. so i'm not completely wrong."
"but you are. that's my favorite mister twig song, 'memoriam day.' i know that guitar like i know you, atta. it's not the rain, the rain has nothing to do with it."
he rewound the record to play his favorite song. "shut your big grotty lips and don't talk through it this time," he giggled. "fuckin' arsehole!" but i kept quiet.
the room was silent, besides the song, and i was positive–some light rain.
michael turned to face me and kissed me, gripping my jaw with his big hand. i ran my hands through his long hair and pulled it, hard. he smiled at me as if to say, "hey!"
his favorite song was horribly erotic, i decided. the simple way the guitar sounded was enough to make our heartbeats swell. "can't even give me peace of mind in my own house, it's always music from you, isn't it?" i teased him, bringing my mouth away from his lips.
"but you like the music i play. you think i'm cool as." he stroked my cheek and i blushed.
pure primal rage filled him, i was sure of it. and i liked it. the sheets tangled around our legs, and the violin in the song was so weak, whimpering, moaning from underneath. when i wasn't catching my breath, i could hear every instrument heighten and fall.
i could feel the rhythm of his favorite song each time michael touched me, each time i leaned over and pushed his hair from his eyes. i'd be damned to miss the best sight. my cocky, pretty boyfriend, come undone.
"michael," i whimpered, scratching my long nails over his chest.
"atta," he praised, "go on. say."
i pulled a piece of his hair. "you're beautiful and i love you," i whispered into his neck,
delicately kissing his prominent collarbones.
"aw. little fella." his eyes were half-mast, long lashes fluttering wildly.
"so much. i love you so very much. you give me a reason to stay true to my dreams, 'cause, i get to share them with you."
he softly kissed my lips, his silky cheek resting against mine.
"love you too, princess atta," he smirked.
i was certain there was no love stronger, nothing in the world. not when we'd find our high in such a way. nobody else made me feel like that.
he ran his hands over my chest, where my skin glittered in persperation. we caught our breath, he stilled his hands, and somehow, i blushed even more when he was simply holding his hands against me.
"you're my favorite song," i whispered into his ear. he looked at me, jolting his head up from where he'd nipped all over my collarbones.
"and you're my star," said michael.
and i was convinced i had not disappointed little thirteen-year-old atta. the rain started coming down heavy, and i pulled the blinds open so we could watch. lying in the muse of our afterglow.
"i'm not going to pay for auditions anymore," i said.
"why's that, doll?" michael asked, fixing a funny button on my shirt.
"cause i need to get somebody a really special guitar."
this is my story for the shes-got-a-story contest, and hey, i love writing terrible romance stories, so of course i had to partake in this! as a genre romance means a lot to me. please don't take offense to 'vulgar language'. my writing style isn't everyone's cup of tea, but i put my heart into my words, or at least i try to. much love...or something ;)
i'm having a contest bc catlover is inspiring