I'm a daaaay dreamer
I sing wherever I go
I'm a daaaay dreamer
Always trip' over my toes
Spend my life in a haze
While I while away
The dull and grey days in my head…
I'm a daydreamer...
When Jordie finished singing the last notes of their most recent song, she turned immediately to face Callie and the boys.
"Something's off," she commented, "Not sure what, but something." The boys looked stumped and Callie scratched her head.
"It's missing backing vocals," Chase interrupted their brainstorming. The boys turned to glare at him before Callie could say a word.
"Cal's singing the backing vocals," Jo reminded him forcefully. Chase stood his ground however, although he looked a bit abashed.
"I didn't mean it like that. What I meant was it's missing a set of backing vocals. There should be at least two backing singers for this song, and one of them should be male." Jo, Zac and Kevin shrugged.
"We don't sing," chorused Kevin and Zac as one.
"I do," volunteered Jo. Callie turned to him. "Jo, I know this wouldn't usually be a problem but for this track, you, amazing as you are," he bowed, "cannot sing and play the keyboard at the same time. You're a guy. You can't multitask."
"Right you are, O mighty Calster," Chase chuckled at Jo's nickname. Calster. I might adopt that, he mused. "But what are we to – heeeeyyy," he brightened as he turned to Chase. "You're a music teacher."
"So you know harmonies and such."
"So you can sing."
"Yep. No! No I most definitely can't sing. Terrible voice. Yep that's me, terrible," he rambled. He was still whining and complaining as Jordie took his arm, rather forcefully and pulled him to his feet to Callie's mic stand.
"You can sing, you will sing, and you'll do it now."
"Oh no no no, no I'm not singing for your band…" as Jordie glared menacingly at him, he became less sure of himself. "Now? As in…with no practice."
"You heard the song once. How hard can it be? I improvise. You should be able to as well." Callie smirked at the tone Jordie was taking with Chase, amazed that he had pretty much agreed to do it. Not that he had much of a choice anyway, but still.
"Yes mom," he muttered under his breath. If Jordie heard him, she didn't rise to the bait which left Chase looking ridiculously like a juvenile in a bad mood. He glared at Callie and she smiled sweetly back.
"Take it from the top? Okay," sung Jordie without actually checking with the others.
Breathless, Callie and the band members lay about on the floor, laughing.
"That was bloody fantastic!" Kevin exclaimed when he'd regained enough oxygen to sit up and speak. Chase meanwhile had gone to the mini fridge to grab a soda.
"Sounded really good. Did we record that last one?" They all looked at Maddie who had long since mastered the turning on and off of their old recording device. It was nothing special, but enough that when they all went home they could listen to the tapes they had made and fall asleep listening to them and wake up listening to them so the songs were literally drilled into their minds.
"Yep. It was great," she gave them a thumbs up, before turning to Chase. "We're going to adopt you," she told him very seriously and the others cracked up laughing again.
"What's so funny?" he asked indignantly, "I thought I did good!"
"You….did…." gasped Callie. "We're laughing…..with….you…not at you!" she cracked up again. On Chase, the irony was not lost as he wasn't laughing at all.
"Man, she's right," said Zac, who had managed to get to his feet. "What would we do without you Maddie, our little manager," he ruffled her hair before picking her up and slinging her over his shoulder.
Jo and Jordie came over too.
"Let me shake your hand dude, that was some pretty awesome improv. You ever been in a band before?"
"Long time ago," Chase admitted, shaking his head.
"Can't have been that long," observed Jordie, "there's no way you're a day older than twenty five." He puffed up his chest ready to berate this young high-school student for her cheek before realizing a simple fact.
Jordie, nor Zac, Kevin and Jo for that matter, attended his high school. In fact, the only person he had any sort of status over was Callie. As far as the others were concerned, he was a rookie. If he tried to pull the 'teacher' act, they could easily show him the door.
He also noticed that Callie was the only one who had not yet commented on the turn of events. She looked impassive. That, or she was purposefully trying to be nonchalant in the hopes that, like an annoying person, if you ignored the problem, it would go away.
"Maddie's right though. We really could use an extra back up singer. Plus I bet you play a shit load of instruments as well, being a music teacher." He nodded. He did; almost as many as Callie did, before shaking his head.
"You can't be serious though," he laughed, trying to make light of the situation.
"Let's vote," said Jordie. "Hands up in favor of Chase." All hands went up, even Callie's, although it barely reached higher than her ear. Still, it was a hands up. Maddie even put two hands up.
"I can't," he protested, feeling his resolve weaken. Who would know anyway? And what did it matter, playing music with his student was allowed, there was no rule against it.
"Oh yes you can. Just have a go. You know you want to," Kevin smiled broadly at him. He was right too. Chase was desperate for some change out of the ordinary from his dull life. Teaching was all very well, and sure, there were some smart and with-it students who did brighten up his day, but he had no project, no goal to work towards.
"Temporarily," he asked half-heartedly, knowing that this was going to be anything from a half-hearted commitment.
"Sure," agreed the others.
And that was that. Chase was now member of the band. Callie wasn't quite sure how she felt about this. On the one hand, he was a good singer, and a good musician too. On the other hand, he called her California and was annoying. On the third hand, they got along pretty well when the other band members were around; maybe something to do with Jo, Zac and Kevin. Teasing Callie about her name was strictly off limits in that garage and Chase seemed to have picked up on that.
"So. Uh, now what?" Maddie asked them, from Zac's shoulder where she was still sitting, her big eyes wide with anticipation. She knew what was coming.
"Pizza!" chorused everybody but Chase. They then proceeded to run upstairs to the kitchen area and crowd around the island to debate over which pizzas they would order. Funny, Chase reflected. They may be mature musically, but in other respects, definitely still students.
"Movie?" asked Maddie hopefully looking up at her older sister.
"Shit!" exclaimed Jordie and Callie covered Maddie's ears.
"What," she said reproachfully.
"I promised I'd take Stella to see that new movie – life of a…oh what was it?" She was met with blank faces. "Well, whatever it's called, I've got to go. By guys – when's next time? Oh well, text me," and she rushed out.
"Wait!" Chase yelled after her. "My jacket.." he finished lamely.
"Well run after her and get it then," Callie told him, rolling her eyes.
"But…" he glanced down at his stomach. He had relinquished all teacherly responsibilities and was enjoying hanging out with people roughly his own age for the first time in…well, a very long time. At twenty-two, he was fresh out of college and had moved here in search of a change of lifestyle and a bit of an adventure. Well, less than a week after he had arrived and now this, it definitely fulfilled his expectations.
He had also eaten an obscene amount of pizza, and just as well, as he had insisted on paying for it, which Zac, Jo and Kevin had all been fine with although Callie had protested a little.
He had made an almost valid point that he was the only one who worked and earned a salary so it was fair enough.
"Shall we split?" Callie asked the others after a few more minutes of digestion time had passed. "Maddie's got to get to bed, and so do I to be honest."
"Aww baby," cooed Jo, pinching Callie's cheek. She smacked him on the back of the head. "Ouch. Yes, well you'd better get going then. It's dark. Long walk."
"You're not taking me?" she enquired mildly.
"Nah, sorry Cal. Kevin and I are staying the night here."
Chase weighed the pros and cons of offering her a ride back. He felt like he should have left by the time she did; he may be a 'band member', but that did not mean that he was one of the boys, and though he hated to admit it, Callie was the closest thing he had to a friend in their circle. Plus, he couldn't let a young woman like her walk around this sort of neighbourhood in the dark with her baby sister.
Chase, he warned himself, I'm not seeing any cons in this argument. Only pros.
"I'll take you home" he offered before his rationality struck again. Whilst it was improper for a teacher to give his student a ride home, it was even more improper for said teacher to leave his student to walk home when it was unsafe.
"Usually I'd say no, but seeing as I've got Maddie," she glanced outside, "and it's dark, I'll take you up on that offer."
"I'd insist on taking you even if you didn't have Maddie," he blurted out, blushing under his stubbly beard.
"Mmhmm," she responded vaguely, not seeming to have heard him at all. The boys had heard, he was pretty sure of that, because they had begun snuffling and chuckling in the corner. He glared at them, but whilst in a classroom, silence would ensue, this only encouraged their laughter.
"Alright, let's go then." Maddie jumped up and took her sister's and Chase's hands in her own. "Bye Zac, bye Jo, bye Kevin."
"Bye Madster. Oh and by Callie. I mean Calster."
"Ha ha," she responded stonily before waving at them all and walking out the door.
"Radio off," she decided, sliding into the passenger seat after ensuring that Maddie was securely buckled in behind her.
"Radio off," he agreed, and they drove in silence apart from Callie giving him the directions to her house. When they arrived, she hopped out and picked Maddie, who was fast asleep at this point, up out of the truck. Chase got out too.
"Um…Thanks," she told him, smiling ever so slightly.
"You're welcome," he replied mechanically. When he didn't move, she turned and began walking towards the door.
"Why are you following me?"
"I'm walking you to your door," he sounded surprised.
"Oh. Well, there's no need. Thanks though."
"I think you'll find there may be a need. Didn't you forget your keys this morning?" It took all of Callie's willpower not to curse out loud; only the fact that Maddie was sleeping prevented her from doing so.
"Good point. My mother isn't home either. Okay. Well, you hold Maddie," she handed her little sister over to Chase who awkwardly held her, unsure of what to do. His confused expression soon turned to one of concern as he watched Callie swing herself up onto the porch roof with surprising agility, and up again onto her windowpane. There, she slid open the window and maneuvered her way inside.
Thirty seconds later, the front door was opening, and she beckoned Chase inside.
"Thank God I left that window open huh," she smiled wryly to Chase.
"Yes, guess so. What do I do with…this," he gestured at the sleeping girl in his arms.
"Can you bring her upstairs? Jesus I'm exhausted!" she yawned to drive home her point. He refrained from making a remark about her having slept all the way through his class and most of the school day too.
"No problem." She guided him up the stairs and into her own room and indicated that he should put Maddie down on the bed. He took in the contents of her room before frowning. "She's sleeping with you?"
"Yeah, she doesn't sleep well on her own when our mother isn't in the house. Which is pretty much all the time."
"I wasn't wondering about that, I was more concerned about how you sleep, Callie," he remarked. "Is this why you were so tired this morning?"
"Funnily enough she slept in her own room last night," Callie admitted. "My room was messy and I got into rewriting a piece of music, and once I get started, I can't stop. I'm kind of obsessive about stuff like that."
"Okay, cause I know how kids sleep, believe me. They'll sleep through anything. Well, Cobe will at any rate, but they'll definitely wake you up somewhere along the way what will all the kicking and coughing and squirming. You've got to take care of yourself too."
"Yes, O teacher," she saluted him.
"Don't call me that," he reprimanded her before stopping and grinning. "Actually, do call me that. It wouldn't do good for you to call me Chase now would it?"
"It's your last name too," she reminded him.
"Yes well, that's Mr Chase to you. When nobody's around, whatever the hell you want," at this she grinned evilly, "Well, not anything, but whatever."
"Oh I will," her smile broadened. "Anyway, I'm super tired, soooo, if you don't mind, I'm going to show you out?"
"Sure," he agreed. "When is next practice?" Callie almost tripped down the stairs.
"Good question. We just kind of text to find out when a good time is for everybody."
"Right, well count me in," he offered. "Here, let me give you my number."
Before either of them got the time to appreciate how weird this situation was – how often does your AP music teacher give you his number – Chase's number was stored in Callie's phone. With one minor change. She stored it under Elliott. Just in case, he had told her when he'd made the suggestion.
"Well, night then. And thanks for the ride."
"No worries. Oh and Callifornia?"
"Yeah?" she opened the door a fraction wider again.
"Don't be late to class tomorrow." He actually had the audacity to wink at her before running down the steps to his truck.
"Don't be late to class my ass," she muttered, slamming the door. "Shit." She'd realized just then that he'd gotten away with calling her California again.
Chase was pulling into his driveway when he checked his phone and realized he had a text.
"It's Callie" It read.
In her sleep only a few miles away, Callie rolled over in her sleep, smiling.
A/N: Well it's been a crazy year. Hope you liked the update