Everything He Wanted

He let his fingertips press down gently on the cold keys of the piano. He wasn't playing anything in particular, but it always helped clear his mind when he played his instruments. Today, it was the piano and today, today- he had to think. For this day, this one crucial day, could determine his future in its entirety.

"Hey, Mac!" someone yelled from behind him.

Another one followed. "Shut up, you idiot! He's at the piano for a reason!"

The other voice got quieter. "Sorry Mac!" he whispered loud enough for him to hear it.

Mac didn't answer, although he had heard the short argument faintly. He smiled to himself. Was this really happening? He'd only dreamed of this day since childhood, so why was he having such a hard time? The answer had seemed so clear then.

But that was then.

The sun had long since sunk over and then behind the horizon. The picture still remained in his memory. The colors, stunning. The jagged pink streaks across the sky, the oranges bouncing off of the golds and- God, it was so beautiful. It always was.

Everyone had always said that he was the best that they'd seen- or heard, more to the point. With the piano, words like "extraordinary" and "marvelous", were often uttered. With guitar, words like "wicked", "vicious" and "smooth". The bass and drums were always somewhere in the middle, depending on the time and place. It was funny how diverse the reactions could be, but then again, it all depended on the crowd. He hated playing for the "financially fortunate", as his mother called them.

All of the rich pricks with their fancy wives in satin and taffeta dresses. It seemed like no matter how good he decided to play, he was never physically capable to live up to their standards. They were always better. He was never good enough for them.

He only played piano (never guitar) for those crowds for his mother. She was always in those 'country club' types of crowds with her husband, Mac's stepfather, whom he didn't think too much of. At their wedding two years prior, he wasn't even allowed in it. He wasn't good enough for him either, and he was quickly losing approval of his mother as well. This decision could put an end to that, or it could broaden the rift that already existed.

Mac's father, his biological father, was almost the exact opposite of his mother, her husband and the crowds that hovered at his every step. His parents' distinct differences had always made him wonder about how they ever fell in love in the first place. All he knew was, for whatever the reason they fell in love, they just as quickly fell out. Which was alright, they made a mistake, he was willing to forgive them for their mistake- even if it was him.

Y'see, Mac at the moment, is eighteen. He's a senior in his last year of high school and has been considered a musical prodigy ever since starting the piano at the age of five. At the age of eight, he started the guitar, proving himself as equally talented at that as the piano. At ten, he began bass and drums. He began writing at age twelve, and composing far before that. So basically, music was his life.

Mac's parents had been eighteen, as well, when he was conceived. Being young and in love against their parents' orders, they pulled the runaway card, got married, and went to New York from New Jersey. Eventually, things found their way in to break up the relationship, just about the time his incredible talent was discovered. That was two years shy of fifteen years ago.

Mistakes. Or more to the point, mistake. That's what he was. It was now what he was trying to avoid. Another mistake.

This choice, this opportunity- it might not come around again. He could get an education anytime, right? But maybe not at NYU. But then again, when could he get optimal exposure to these studios, musicians, contracts- everything. Everything he wanted. Or thought he wanted.

Was he really going to leave his father and mother, his mother's children? Did he want to leave them? Did he want to leave Emma?

He'd been in love with Emma since, well, since forever. The unbearable thing was that she knew. Of course, she had a good reason. She refused to love anyone that way. She had "been broken too many times" to love that way, as she had put it. And, of course, "You're my best friend, Mac, I couldn't do that to you."

Best Friend. Broke his heart, those two words. She'd be with guys all the time. Big, masculine looking blokes with the cash to back it up. The fact that he had decided to live with his father at sixteen had lost him all hope to any free flowing money, as it turned her away from him. She turned her back on him.

He remembered back. Prom night. She was so beautiful that night. And he just couldn't stop beaming, the whole night. She had actually chosen him over Billy Treehill, just because he hadn't found a date.

He had kissed her that night. She had this sort of pitied look on her face saying, "Oh Mac, you know I don't feel that way-..." Blah, blah, blah.

"I know," he remembered saying, looking down.

Maybe if I go, he thought. Maybe if I go, then she'll realize how much I really mean to her. He smiled to himself. Yeah, like that'd work. But it was worth a try- he'd tried everything else. Just leave her alone without you, see what happens when you get back, he thought. Go for the girl.

Slowly, he stopped playing and looked at the keys for a while. He was thinking of how a simple design could produce such beauty. Like Emma.

He walked out of the empty room. Everyone had cleared out after seeing him walk straight for the piano- they knew the drill. He went out the doorway where he heard someone say, "Hey, Mac's out."

"Hey guys," he said walking into the next room. His three best friends turned around to face him:

Kyle, Joe- and Emma, brown hair pulled back in a ponytail, a few strands of hair hung loosely over her hazel eyes.

"I'm goin' for it," he announced.

They all got up to congratulate him. Emma got up last, walking over to give him a hug. "We're gonna miss you, Mac Taylor."

He smelled her hair, holding her close. "I'm gonna miss you too."

She knew he was talking to her alone.