/ All right, here's the next chapter, at last!
I was having issues with the lyrics to Derek's song, I haven't really written lyrics, so honest opinions and whatever tips you have to offer, please!
"Come on! Why won't you tell me?" Achelle leaned sideways in her chair to pester Harlan easier, "It's not like you can't tell me! I'm your best friend!" She clung to Harlan's arm, while Harlan sat, facing the front of the room without even trying to get rid of Achelle.
"It's not that I can't, it's that I don't want to," Harlan answered her harshly.
"Ouch, that's rude!" Achelle sat up in her chair, her lips puckered as she pouted, "I can just follow you! If you don't tell me, I'll figure it out for myself!"
"I think I'd be able to get rid of you easily." Achelle had been pestering her all afternoon, after Harlan declined her proposal to hang out after school. At first, Achelle thought Harlan was planning to go to the black market, but she realized Harlan would have just said so.
"I don't care! I'll figure it out somehow!" Achelle exclaimed, making a few of the students around them jump, she didn't seem to care for their attention, "I'll tell Sterling you were up to something!"
"Really? You'll go to Sterling just because I won't tell you something?" Harlan retorted, "He doesn't control me, and I don't think he'd have a problem with this anyway!"
"Then why won't you tell me?" Achelle moaned.
"'Cause then you'll want to tag along."
"I won't! I won't! Just tell me!"
"I'm just going to meet a friend," Harlan finally gave in.
"Do I know her?" Achelle pried, Harlan didn't answer her, she kept facing the screen at the front of the room, "Is it a guy?"
"Yes," Harlan sighed.
Achelle gasped and a mischievous grin ripped across her face, "Harlan's going on a date!" She squealed, "I never thought this day would come!"
"It's not a date!"
"Really? Well, you're a girl. He's a boy. You're meeting somewhere to hang out. I-"
"That doesn't make it a date!" Harlan was quick to interrupt her.
"So, you wouldn't mind if I went with you to meet him?"
"Just to meet him!"
"You said you wouldn't."
"But I didn't know..."
"Oh well, you're not coming."
"That's not a real reason."
"You won't like him."
"Of course I will! If you're friends, then I'll definitely like him!"
"I met him at the market, Achelle!" Harlan blurted out at Achelle. Harlan felt she wouldn't have patience for Achelle much longer.
"Oh, all right, then," Achelle went back to sitting upright in her chair, like she should have already been doing. They were quiet throughout the remainder of the class. Harlan felt bad, like she always did after snapping at Achelle, she was, after all, the only one that tried to be Harlan's friend.
As they packed up their things when the dismissal bell rang, Achelle turned to Harlan, with a smile on her face once again, and said; "Well, I don't know why you think Sterling would approve."
Harlan chuckled as she followed Achelle out of the classroom. She allowed Achelle to accompany her to the cafe where she was to meet Derek, as long as she left them when they were ready to go to Harlan's. Harlan knew that's what Achelle had been hoping for when she made the remark about Sterling, but let her tag along anyway. Besides, what could she do to make the entire situation go down the drain?
They quickly made their way to the cafe where they had agreed to meet. Across the street, Harlan could see the alleyway where the black market was hidden. The girls found a table inside where they could wait for Derek to arrive. Eventually, to keep the employees from getting angry, Harlan purchased a bagel and a steaming mug of hot chocolate.
Derek walked into the cafe much later than the girls, Achelle almost had Harlan convinced he forgot. When he finally arrived, Harlan waved him over. He was carrying a large suitcase, Achelle eyed it suspiciously, but Harlan knew it contained his guitar.
"Hey, Harlan," Derek sauntered over, "Who's this?"
"My friend, Achelle," Harlan stood up and collected her bag.
"Oh, is she a mechanic, too?" He turned to Achelle, she looked at him as if to say, "work? Ew."
"No, she just came to keep me company while I waited."
"Yeah, sorry, I took a bit longer than I expected. I couldn't really bring my case to school, so I had to run home," He told her.
"It's okay," Harlan led her friends back outside. Once they were back on the street, she turned back to them and waited for Achelle to leave.
"Okay, I'm going to go now," Achelle said when she recognized the look on Harlan's face, "It was nice meeting you, Derek. Bye!" She waved at them as she skipped down the sidewalk.
"You too!" Derek yelled back, then turned to Harlan, "So, which way to your house?"
"This way," Harlan said and began walking in the direction of her home, the opposite of Achelle. They walked in silence, neither of them could think of a topic they could speak about in public.
Sterling was working late again, his car wasn't parked in the driveway next to their house. Harlan unlocked the front door and led Derek to the living room instead of her bedroom, since Sterling wouldn't be home for a few hours.
Derek quickly made himself comfortable in the living room. When Harlan returned from the kitchen with a couple glasses of juice, he already had his guitar out. Harlan set one on the table in front of him, but he barely acknowledged it. Harlan sat on the cushion next to him, she watched him fiddle with the strings and pick.
He began coaxing a tune from the strings, he began singing along with it without a go-ahead from Harlan. She didn't care, it was amazing to just hear live music. Harlan leaned back into the softness of the couch, she closed her eyes and soaked up the music. The music made her calm, but at the same time, it became saddening, it dampened her happy thoughts.
Derek played a couple songs from the album he helped create, after the fourth, he stopped. Harlan thought he was just getting ready to play another, but she didn't hear a single sound from him. She opened her eyes to see him waiting for her to respond to his silence.
"Unknown World," He grinned at her mischievously.
"Yeah, what about it?" She already knew what was coming.
"You're going to help me sing it. You're the teen," He told her, and began playing the tune.
"No way." Harlan crossed her arms.
"Why not?" He stopped playing, "I bet you're a great singer."
"No, I'm not."
"Even if you're not, you can still help me sing it. I can't sing it myself."
That was true, though no one had ever told her, it was obvious that the song was being sung by two people. A rebellious teenager and an adult, most likely a government official. The teen wanted to live in a freer world, where he could do whatever he pleased, but the adult kept refusing him that, implying that he couldn't make his own choices until he was older and completely brainwashed, like all the adults in the city.
"Fine," Harlan sighed, Derek smirked victoriously, but it slipped from his face when he saw Harlan's eyes hinted she would refuse again at the slightest provocation. He focused on his guitar once more. The music swirled in the air around them for a moment before Harlan began singing the first verse of lyrics softly, like she heard Derek singing in the original song.
"It's seems like the only place I belong,
is inside my head with
a world of my own."
In the beginning of the song, the teen seemed to be ignoring the adult, while the adult tried to tell him what he should be doing. A couple seconds after Harlan finished her first verse, Derek joined into the song. His voice was louder, more harsh, portraying a controlling type of adult.
"Inside your head,
there is nothing to trust,
you can't stay there, anymore."
"The world is of music,
there's nothing else here,
to make the world a living hell."
"If you think so,
you've got it all wrong,
As I say, you can never trust a kid."
After that, the teen seemed to turn on the adult, he stopped ignoring him, and started arguing with him, telling him that the world shouldn't be run by people like him, but by people with an open, creative mind.
"But then here you are,
like you own the place.
This is a world where you don't belong."
"Who are you kidding?
I run the show,
You can't say a thing, when it comes to this."
"I only want to see
the world as it is.
Not your ideas of what it should be."
"What is the world?
An endless war zone that doesn't play fairly.
Do you really want to get torn apart in it?"
"The world is a place
where I should be free,
free to be who I choose.
That is the world I should have,
a world I made myself.
A world I don't know."
The lyrics may not have been as well written as all the songs they were supposed to be listening to, but these had more meaning to them, especially to people like Harlan, Felitala and Derek.
"You're a liar," Derek announced when he finished the tune.
"Why? What did I do?" Harlan gasped in surprise, she tried to recall any lie she told Derek. There was only one she could think of – her being a mechanic. But how would he have figured out she lied?
"You said you're not a good singer."
"Oh, really? Who told you so?"
"So, have you ever sung to some one?"
"Well, when I was a kid, I would sing to Sterling, and my parents..."
"But not recently?"
"So, how are you supposed to know you're a bad singer to other people?" He asked as he stood to return his guitar to it's case, "It would amaze you how many talents one person can possess."
"Right..." Harlan sighed, subconsciously deciding that staring at her feet was the best thing to do at that moment.
"Are you going to show me your mechanic skills?" Derek wondered as he took his seat next to Harlan.
"I'd like to..." Harlan thought for a moment, she was unsure whether she could trust him with her new talent or not, stuck between trusting him or not, she said, "But I think I lost them somewhere. They kind of have minds of their own. I guess that's a little glitch I should fix once I find them."
"Isn't that one of them?" Derek pointed towards the pile of books Sterling had piled on the table, the ninja was peeking out from behind it. Harlan jumped to grab it, spilling her glass of juice in the process. The juice flew out of the glass, straight towards the ninja.
It soaked him almost completely from head to toe. Harlan tried to pick him up anyway, but he disintegrated in between her fingers, like soaked paper.
Derek didn't say a thing. He stared at the watery paper in Harlan's palm, and questioned her silently with an expression of confusion.
"I told him he wasn't a very good ninja," Harlan chuckled nervously.