A/N: I've actually been productive today! You should be proud of me. I cleaned my clothes, my car, my room... I ran an election and I wrote music... And now I'm getting around to writing more of this! All is happiness.
(I can't stop giggling over the closing of a mass. "The mass is ended; go in peace." "Thanks be to God." It's like, "IT'S FINALLY OVER." "THANK GOD.")
Um. I'll stop being sacrilegious now and get to some cuteness. I think it's time for some David POV...
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The fact that it was three in the afternoon did nothing to make David feel any less tired. For the last few days, those dreams had been driving him crazy. He'd been struck by some kind of insomnia and couldn't manage to get to sleep before two or three in the morning at the earliest. That, of course, led him to sleep later and later into the day. He'd tried setting different alarms for himself, but the dreams kept him asleep for some reason.
David knew it was always the same dream, or the same kind of dream, anyway. All he could remember when he woke up, though, was the voice. Someone's voice. Whoever it was couldn't hear David, but he could hear every word the other person said. Even though the voice was comforting, a strange harbinger of unease looming in the future made itself clear to David for moments at a time -- flashes so brief David couldn't quite see what it was but long enough to show him that he needed to keep listening.
He'd just woken from one such dream. Or maybe he hadn't; he had no idea, the way time passes when one sleeps. His first thought upon waking, however, was of that voice in that dream. For some reason, he thought it was talking about him. His best efforts to remember any more detail than that only resulted in a dull but persistent headache.
Partly to relieve the headache and partly to caffeinate himself into a state of acceptable wakefulness, David had decided to drown himself in coffee at the Starbucks a few blocks from his aunt and uncle's house. He was finally able to escape the sun, hot despite the snowdrifts lining the sidewalks, as he pushed open the door to the dimly-lit coffee house. The smells of sugary syrups and freshly-roasted coffee beans attacked his mind, making him smile faintly.
He stepped up to the counter and glanced briefly at the menu hung overhead. Why, he wasn't quite sure; he practically lived at the Starbucks back home. He supposed it was just to verify that they could, in fact, make the horrifying concoction he liked to drink.
"What can I make for you?" the barista asked with a plastic smile.
"Triple grande upside-down breve caramel macchiato." David could feel his arteries threatening to shut down even as he ordered it, but it was worth it. It was Christmas; he could afford to splurge, right? The barista, to his credit, didn't skip a beat, immediately grabbing a cup and marking down the standardized Starbucks hieroglyphics that told his fellow baristas what to put inside. David handed a five dollar bill to the barista, who took it and gave him his change.
"Thank you. It'll be ready in just a minute."
David smiled back and looked around at the standard décor. It was comforting in its familiarity. People chatted with hot cups of coffee in their mittened hands over the small round tables lining one wall of the coffee shop. Near the adjacent wall was a ring of more comfortable couches and chairs surrounding a larger, lower coffee table. Someone was leaned over the table with a guitar, his back turned to David, plucking out notes and chords and every once in a while scribbling a few notes down on the mess of papers in front of him. David walked over, intrigued by the guitarist. It was just as well because all of the other seats were occupied.
He walked around to an opening in the ring of couches and made to sit down when he glanced at the guitarist. His breath stopped short, and he froze in mid-action. Gulping down his shock, he asked, "Mind if I sit here?"
Jake looked up in surprise to find someone there. His surprise redoubled when he saw it was David. "Of course!" he replied quickly. "I mean, I don't mind. Go ahead. If you don't mind my horrible guitar playing..."
"It can't be that bad. What are you playing?"
Jake sighed and blushed. David noted how becoming that little red flush was on him against the gentle pallor of his cheeks. "I'm actually writing a song. I'm just having a lot of trouble with it. More to the point, I've been having a lot of trouble with it for the last few months. I can't get more than a few bars of it here and there."
"How come?" David asked as he sat down and sank into the plushy leather cushions.
"I don't know," Jake admitted. "I just don't like most of the stuff I come up with for this song. It just seems like it's not nearly as good as the stuff that I do like." He sighed again. "I'm sorry, I'm not making a lot of sense."
"No, I know what you mean," David said consolingly. "You really want it to be perfect." He paused briefly, trying to mask the increasingly rapid flutter of his heartbeat, before asking, "Would you mind playing what you have so far?"
Jake's blush deepened yet again, and this time David couldn't hide his grin. "I don't know. It's really not that good, and I only have pieces here and there, but... Oh, fine." He pulled one sheet of paper from the stack that looked to have been among the oldest if one could judge by the eraser smudges, worn edges, and wrinkles that threatened to hide the pencil markings sketched across it.
Jake took a deep breath, glancing up to meet David's eyes for a second, and then strummed the guitar softly. He hummed a smooth, flowing melody over the sweet chords coming from the guitar. Every once in a while, he had to stop where his songwriting skills came up empty-handed and pick up again at a later point in the song. David leaned back and listened happily to Jake's music. As he followed Jake's fingers with his eyes, he could see that the chords were simple chords in an easy key. The melody Jake was singing, though, colored the unassuming accompaniment and lent it a genuine sort of grace. David was impressed.
"And... That's really it," Jake laughed. "You see what I mean?"
"I love it! You'll have to tell me when you have more. It's beautiful. I think--" David was cut off as the barista yelled out that his drink was ready. "Excuse me." He retrieved his drink as quickly as possible and returned to sit with Jake, who had set his guitar down next to him and taken his own drink back into his hands as he sat back.
"What's that?" Jake asked as he quirked an eyebrow.
"Triple grande upside-down breve caramel macchiato?" David offered.
Jake gave him a look. "I heard. What is it?"
"Espresso, vanilla syrup, and caramel with half-and-half instead of milk." He laughed as Jake's jaw dropped. "I only have it with half-and-half every once in a while. I decided to treat myself today."
"You're going to have a heart attack," Jake admonished quietly as he took another sip of his coffee.
"Yeah?" David retorted. "Well, what's that?"
Jake quirked an eyebrow. "White chocolate mocha with cinnamon dolce syrup."
"That's nothing but sugar!" David scolded. "You're going to get diabetes or something!"
"I decided to treat myself today," Jake replied smugly, mocking David. David huffed dramatically as Jake re-leveled the playing field.
David stared at Jake's guitar for a moment, idly sipping his heart-attack-in-a-cup. "Can you teach me that?"
"What?" Jake said as he swallowed his coffee a little bit too quickly.
"The song you wrote. Can you teach me? What you have, anyway?"
Jake hesitated. "I guess... If you want." David nodded enthusiastically and took the guitar tenderly as Jake handed it to him. He rested the crook of the guitar on his knee, wrapped his left hand around the fingerboard, and rested his right arm over the hump of the body. "You play?" Jake asked, noting with surprise David's apparent familiarity with the instrument.
"A little," he admitted; it wasn't quite the truth, but it wasn't really a lie, either. He played a simple cadential chord sequence, highlighting the key of A major. "I know a few chords. That's it."
"That works," Jake said. "Okay, let me think. I'll put this in an easy key for you without a lot of bar chords." He leaned forward to pick up the sheet of paper off the table and stared at it for a few seconds. "G major," he said at last with an air of decisiveness.
David chuckled. "That's nice and easy."
"Exactly. Now, the chord progression is really simple. It's just a I-vi-ii-V, and then to finish it off, you can close the half cadence with a I." David stared back at him blankly. "I mean... G, E minor, A minor, D."
"That I understand," David said as he turned his eyes to the fingerboard. He hadn't touched a guitar in a while, so making his fingers form the correct shapes to press the strings down in the right places took a bit more effort than he'd liked. He slightly winced internally as his fingers stretched across the wood, the steel-wound strings pressing into his fingertips as he pressed back against them. He slowly strummed the first chord, then moved on to the second. Jake smiled encouragingly as David completed the pattern.
"There you go. Just repeat that, and there's the chorus."
David played the four-chord pattern again, strumming each chord with increasing confidence. He played faster and faster until he'd nearly reached the tempo Jake had originally taken. After a while, though, his fingers slipped up, combining chord shapes and putting them in the wrong places so that the notes coming out of the guitar were obviously wrong. He sighed in resigned frustration and moved to hand the guitar back to Jake. Jake, however, was looking back with a look of shock on his face. David winced again.
"Sorry. I didn't mean to do that."
Jake was silent for a moment. "Really?" His look faded to one of disappointment, and David stared back in mute confusion. Jake's questions came in a hurried flurry: "Do you remember what you did? Can you do it again? I wasn't completely paying attention to your fingers."
"Here, let me see," Jake said quickly, taking the guitar back from David. His left hand moved across the fingerboard quickly, trying to find the chords David had played again before they left his ear. David watched in amazement as Jake tried chord after chord, sometimes humming to himself as though the chord he'd found was a little bit closer to what David had played.
Finally, he hit it. "D minor!" he shouted triumphantly. "Of course... The modal dominant!" Grinning like a maniac, he scrambled to the sheet of paper and jotted down a sequence of new chords. As he wrote, more and more ideas came to him as though David's accidental chord had been the crack in the dam he had been waiting for. He picked up the guitar at intervals, trying out combinations of chords. Some made him roll his eyes while others made him race back to the sheet of paper with yet more ideas.
Leaning back and pulling his knees to his chest, David smiled as he sipped his coffee and watched Jake. The musical furor he had induced in the other boy was intoxicating to watch. The passion with which Jake strung together chains of chords, seeking out one beautiful sound to follow another, instilled a sense of deep awe in David. This was creation as God intended it, he thought. Passion. Inspiration. Creation.
At long last, Jake leaned back with a triumphant sigh. His smile faded as he looked up at David, though. "I'm so sorry! I completely forgot..." He trailed off, blushing again.
"You forgot I was here?" David suggested. Jake nodded solemnly. "It's fine. That was intense. I'm glad my mistake helped you."
"Thank you so much!" Jake glanced down to the sheet of paper, now even more covered in pencil marks. "I'm gonna have to rewrite that on a cleaner piece of paper," he laughed. "Seriously, David... Thank you. I've been trying to find that sound for months. I don't know how you did it on accident, but I'm so glad you did."
"God works in mysterious ways sometimes," David said.
"He certainly does," Jake agreed, still grinning widely. "Wow." He was still speechless and high from the flood of music that had just come forth.
"You should have the choir sing that when you finish it."
Jake laughed. "This is too pop in style for the choir. I was originally writing it to be a love song. I guess it's kinda hard when I've never had a girlfriend before, though, huh?"
David's hand stopped short, clutching his coffee halfway to his mouth. He continued the motion, trying to mask his pause before he spoke. "Really?" he said vaguely. "Ever wanted one?"
"I've never had the time, I guess," came the quiet reply. "There are plenty of girls around here who are pretty and smart and fun and talented. Between school and church, though, I've never really put any thought into it." David nodded silently, drinking his coffee as he listened to Jake. "I don't think I'm opposed to the idea, now that I really think about it. I'd just have to find someone I really like." He shrugged, picking up his coffee again.
"But you do like girls?" David probed, terrified of Jake's answer and reaction.
"Sure," Jake said, not catching the fact that there was another half, another angle to David's question. David realized this from Jake's quick response and decided not to press the matter further. "Whatever," he said with a shrug. "It'll happen when it happens. I'll leave it to chance and chemistry."
"Chemistry?" David asked.
"Yeah," Jake replied dreamily, "chemistry." David couldn't help but smile at the look of fantasy and bliss on Jake's face. He could tell Jake was a complete romantic at heart, and he felt his own heart melting a little bit as he realized it. "So I'll let it happen when it happens. God has a plan, and I'm not one to argue with Him."
"You believe God has everything planned out? You believe everything is pre-destined?" David eyed Jake skeptically.
Jake had to think for a second. "I think God has his way of making everything work out for the best. He doesn't make our choices for us. He's just there to guide us along the right path and help us get back onto the right path when we stray from it. It's our responsibility to listen to Him."
"And how does He speak to you?"
"The Bible, for one," Jake answered simply. "And through Father O'Hara and other people who speak for Him. And through all the random, day-to-day things He does to show us He is always a part of our lives." David nodded, satisfied.
"Oh, no!" Jake said suddenly. "What time is it?" He pulled out his cell phone to check before David could even turn his wrist over. "Whew! I have six minutes. I'm really sorry," he said to David, who sat looking back perplexed, "I have a choir rehearsal. I should go before I'm late."
"Okay," David said as he sat up. "Let me help you with that." He pulled Jake's papers into a stack and put the guitar into its case.
"Thanks." He took his guitar and his music before turning to David with a smile. "Thanks a lot. Really."
"No problem." Jake stood awkwardly for a moment before reaching out his hand. It was all David could do not to shout with joy as he took Jake's hand in his own and shook it. The simple sensation of Jake's skin against his was more than his mind knew what to do with. "I'll see you later, Jake."
"See you later!" Jake ran out of the coffee shop, the bell on the door ringing as it swung shut behind him.
David sighed contentedly and sat back down in the soft leather armchair. He sipped the last of his coffee as he watched Jake's form walk quickly around the corner.
"God does indeed work in mysterious ways," he mused to himself. "I'll have to come to Starbucks more often."
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Getting progressively closer to the fluff, haha. I can't wait. And now that it's 3 AM, I'm heading off to bed. Good night, darlings! Please review.
This chapter is dedicated to TJA for being the most adorable little prick on the planet.