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On a late Friday night, the band, Baby Blossom, were gathered around the floor, encircling a box of a half eaten pizza and were tossing through old records, tossing ideas around. The annual Battle of the Bands was being held in a few short weeks, and Baby Blossom took this as their big break. The four members had been practicing songs they had in mind, and then they decided if it would be scrapped or not. So far, they had nothing.
-Why don’t we go for classic, a song that everyone knows.- Sayanee suggested, placing a lollipop in her mouth, -Like ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ by the Beatles,.- Sayanee finished, cupping her hand around the lollipop and finishing the job.
-That song is predictable.- Mayu said, shrugging it off -Everyone is going to do the Beatles. I guarantee it.
-We have four more weeks anyway, why do we have to decide this now? I say we just take it easy, go with the flow, and pick the song we do best. We can explore our options,“ Yuki said, and the two other girls agreed.-Jurina sighed.
-Alright, fine. Band meeting ad journed.-Jurina said, standoffish.
This wouldn’t have been so stressing if it weren’t for the prize at hand. Of course, it was a record deal and a starter of $10,000, and Jurina had made this her dream since the first time she heard an 80’s rock song in the car with her mom. Jurina connected with it immediately, and from then on, she “borrowed” her mom’s record player, putting old vinyls on and plastering her walls with vintage posters. This was all she had ever wanted, and for the first time, it was so close. Jurina noticed Sayanee watching the clock, and then he said,
-Oh, Juju, by the way. My cousin is coming down for the summer, and I wanted to know if it would be alright if I brought her over sometimes. We’ve always been close, and I told her ahead of time that I would be practicing with my band, and she thought it was really cool. I just wanted to check with you first, since you had a strict no bystander rule.
-Sure, I don’t care.- Jurina agreed.-Now get out of my garage, losers.- Jurina laughed, swatting Sayanee, Yuki and Mayu away.
-Okay, I was out of here anyway- Yuki said, standing up from his girlfriend’s side, -Sasshi is back from Uni to visit, and our mother wanted me home for dinner.
-Tell Sasshi I said hi- Jurina said, picking up the pizza box on the floor.
Mayu was eying the box in her hands.-If you’re just going to throw that away, by all means, I’ll take it. Mom’s working late tonight.
Jurina obliged, handing the box to Mayu, and then she said -Seriously, get the hell out of my house. I’ll see you guys tomorrow afternoon. We’re going to start making some real decisions, or so help me God.- Jurina warned, her voice half serious, and half playful.
The girls bid their farewells, and left Jurina alone in the dimly lit garage, and suddenly it felt less like home. Whenever the whole band was packed in the tiny garage that smelled like sawdust and sweat, there was no beating how whole they all were as the complete package. So Jurina headed back into the house, ready ditch her ripped skinny jeans and black tank top for a pair of shorts and an old school t shirt. Inside, Jurina wished her mother a goodnight, and trudged upstairs to her bedroom. When she finally tucked herself into bed, with her iPod and headphones in hand, Jurina made herself comfortable, put on some soothing music, and fell into a blissful slumber.
-Jurina, if you don’t stop pursing your fucking lips, you’re going to get lipstick everywhere.- Mayu said, holding up her cell phone so Jurina could see the reflection of her pink lips.
Lauren rolled her particularly lined eyes, -Where in the hell is your girlfriend? Her, and Sayanee, were supposed to get here an hour ago.-Jurina stood up angrily, and walked away from the couch she and Mayu were sharing, -If they’re ditching the band because I want to get serious, they better not do it like this. Not now.- Jurina finished, and right then, the back door opened.
-Sorry we were late.- Yuki apologized, throwing a greasy bag in Mayu’s direction.-Sayanee, Sakura, and I stopped to pick up some lunch. Here, Juju.- Yuki said, handing Jurina a vanilla milkshake.
Jurina glared at Yuki, because she had just reapplied her lipstick, but then again, she had gotten her a milkshake, so, she really couldn’t stay mad at her for long.
Then Jurina registered what Yuki had said, and she asked, “Who the fuck is Sakura?”
-Me.- Said a girl’s voice, and Mayu, Yuki and Jurina simultaneously turned their attention to the girl who had just entered the garage.
Sakura had short, dark hair, and placed neatly in it were different types of flowers, all beautiful and complimenting her soft features. She was pale, in comparison to Jurina, she was as white as a piece of paper. Sakura was wearing a floral crop top paired with a short pair of high waisted jeans, and a cute pair of flip flops to match. Jurina’s body immediately caught fire, like she was a flame and Sakura was the gasoline, innocent, but something seductive at the same time. And from that moment on, Jurina knew she was fucked.
-Oh, fuck, sorry, I’m Jurina.- Jurina introduced herself, trying to keep her cool.
Sakura smiled.-Uh, you already know who I am I guess,.- Sakura laughed, and it warmed Jurina’s icy heart that she spent years perfecting,.-You can totally pull of lipstick, you know? I wish I could do that. Jurina smirked, and was about to reply, but Sayanee followed in behind Sakura.
-So, I’m guessing everyone has gotten acquainted, yeah?- Sayanee asked, holding her own cool beverage in her hand.
Sakura nodded,-I’ve talked to everyone, except for her.-She points to Mayu.-Which I’m guessing is Mayu because Yuki wouldn’t shut up about her god damn girlfriend on the way here.- Sakura added, and everyone turned their attention to where Mayu and Yuki were sitting, disgustingly adorable and cuddled up on the ratty old couch.
Mayu smiled at Yuki and asked with a blush on her cheeks, “Aw, Yuki that’s so cute. I love you.”
“Okay, before you guys start procreating on my couch, let’s get on with the show,” Jurina said, moving toward her microphone, “Alright so I was listening to my pump up playlist, and I was thinking, why don’t we start with something that gets the audience excited?”
“We need to be unforgettable,” Sayanee adds, setting herself up by her drum kit.
“Right,” Jurina smiles, “Mayu, kick up the amp, thanks. Anyway, I think a really good choice would be “Let’s Kill Tonight” by Panic! At the Disco. Just imagine it, flashing lights, the crowd is going wild, and we’re totally ripping it on stage.“
“Sounds like the dream” Mayu adds, getting his electric guitar ready.
Yuki agreed, “We’ve done that song before, so it should be a fairly easy starter. Look at us, Juju, we’re making some progress.”
“’Bout fucking time,” Jurina laughs, “Alright, for the first time for an audience,” Jurina said, opening her invitingly and smiling at Sakura, “Let’s kick it!”
Sayanee starts up on the drums, and then the rest follow in. Jurina sings the lyrics goofily, making cute gestures and faces at Sakura, who’s blushing and picking at the pink flowers lining her hair. Jurina put on a show, indulging herself in the music like she always does, and as soon as the song started, it was over.
Sakura claps, sitting up straighter and grinning, “Sayanee told me she was in a band, but she never told me you guys were this good. Trust me, if I had seen you guys for the first time, I would totally vote for you.” Sakura gushes.
“Thanks, Sakura-chan, we try,” Sayanee accepts the compliment with full superiority, and Jurina doesn’t blame her.
“Do you guys write your own music?” Sakura inquired, “I’m sure if you performed an original and it was fire, you guys would sweep the competition.”
Mayu walked over to Jurina, put her arm around her, and answered, “Yeah, me and this girl right here right a lot on our own. Nothing really monumental, though. One time we wrote an entire song about this macaroni Jurina’s mom makes, it’s the best thing I’ve ever experienced.”
If there was something to be said about Mayu and Jurina, it was that they were inseparable. Mayu never had a good life: she had grown up poor, had a deadbeat dad (emphasis on ‘beat’), and was the only child on the family. The Matsui’s basically took Mayu into their custody and treated her like a daughter , buying her clothes for upcoming school years events and cooking meals for her whenever possible. The poor kid never saw her father anymore, and her mother was so busy working every shift she could that Mayu didn’t see her at all. Mayu would be absolutely forgotten without the Matsui’s kindness, and she was ever grateful for them.
“Yeah, I remember that song! God, we were like twelve. Mom always made us macaroni while we watched reality shows, but she didn’t know that, of course.” Jurina recalled, suddenly being sent back to her childhood.
“Jurina’s mom is the type of mom that leaves a lot of extra milk in the macaroni, so you can slurp the cheese after you eat the noodles, she’s the best,” Mayu bragged.
“Hey, mom’s off work tonight,” Jurina said, and everyone in the room (except Sakura) knew what that meant, “Maybe she’ll cook for us.”
All of the girls started chattering loudly, and Jurina glanced at Sakura, noticing that she looked uncomfortable all of a sudden. Jurina frowned, making her way over to the girl sitting in silence.
“Sakura, you’re invited to dinner, you know,” Jurina said, making sure that her guest knew that she could treat this like her home. Everyone else already did, so what harm was one more addition to the family?
Sakura cracked a grin, the flush of her cheeks matching the pink flowers in her hair, and she responded, “Thanks, Jurina, I appreciate it.” All Jurina did was smile, and the small spark at the pit of her stomach was kindling. She was definitely fucked.
“Ohhhh, little macaroni, floating in a sea, of cheeeeese,” Mayu moaned into Jurina’s microphone, trying to mimic Jurina’s unique style.
Jurina rolled her eyes at the singing, and threw a wad of paper at Mayu, and she yelled back, “Hey! I was getting into it! I was ‘killing tonight’!” Mayu said, and Jurina ripped another piece of paper out of notebook and tossed it at Mayu.
“Stop fucking around, Mayu,” Jurina said, trying not to laugh, “We seriously need to write. Even if it’s a fragment of a sentence, I don’t care, but I’d at least like to make some progress tonight. Please.”
“Okay, fine” Jurina obliged, putting the microphone back onto it’s stand. She strolled over to the couch Jurina was sitting at, and reached for a greasy slice of Pizza that was resting on the end table, “What have you got so far?”
Jurina hands Mayu ‘The Notebook’ (as the call it) and she admires the messy ink writing that she has grown accustomed to in the last few years.
‘before you opened my eyes
i always knew what was right
but with you I’m ready to run
ready to take off into flight
with my heart in your hands’
Mayu reads it once, and again, and then again. She looks up at Jurina, and asks, “Who are these lyrics about, Juju? Come on, I know you wouldn’t write these lyrics if there wasn’t somebody special.”
“Shut up, Mayu, they’re just words on a paper,” Jurina insisted, getting more defensive than usual.
Mayu picked up on this immediately, “If they didn’t mean anything you wouldn’t be getting so mad about it. Come on, who’s the girl?”
‘Who’s the girl?’ Well that, right there, was a question. If she was being honest, Jurina had no idea who the girl was. Jurina knew that Sakura was gorgeous, and nice to the whole band, and more so, Jurina. She was pretty and usually Jurina thought people who put flowers in their hair were stupid Tumblr hipsters, but it fit Sakura perfectly. Jurina explained all of this to Mayu, and even added the bit about how she was definitely fucked, because she didn’t know anything about this girl, and she was already writing songs about her. Unbelievable.
After Jurina stopped babbling, Mayu waited a beat to digest everything she had just been informed of, and then she said, “I think you should go for her.”
“What would Sayanee think? I mean, that is her younger cousin, and she’s really protective of her,” Jurina said, cracking open a tin of pringles, “Besides, she might not even be into girls, and if I tell her I have a crush on her, she might freak out.”
“Jurina,” Mayu said sternly, “If she was homophobic, she wouldn’t have come see a queer core band. Her cousin is the only straight one here, and she knew that. I think she’s definitely interested in you, she kept complimenting you and asking questions that would give her more insight on you. Between me and you, Yuki said she kept talking about you in the car.”
“What did she say?”Jurina screeched, pouncing at Mayu, “Why the hell would you keep this from me? What did she say, dammit?”
“Unclench the claws, Juju,” Mayu laughed, pushing Jurina away, “I don’t know. Yuki was like, ‘You think that girl would lay off Jurina a little bit, or you know, lay on her.’ She told Sayanee she thinks you’re really pretty, and wondered why you guys weren’t dating. So Sayanee told Sakura that she loved Milky and she mentioned that you liked girls, Yuki said she looked smug. You know, the same smug I got when you told me that Yuki was gay! And here we are,” Mayu told, stealing the pringles tin from Lauren.
Jurina sat quietly, and if she and Sakura would end up like Yuki and Mayu, she’d be a lucky girl.