Veronica led us down the hall, and I saw a door marked "Studio One, do not disrupt". She pulled out a key and unlocked it. We walked in, and I saw a clear wall that divided the room into two sections. On one side was a chair, and in front it was of a table covered in different buttons and knobs. One the other side was a microphone, headphones, and a wooden stool in the corner. Veronica gestured that I should go into the side with the microphone. I walked in, and hesitantly put on the headphones. Immediately all background sound was blocked out.
"Okay Mel, I'm going to play some notes, and I want you to sing them back to me," I heard, and saw Veronica speaking into another microphone, which was apparently connected to the headphones.
I soon realized that the exercise was just a warm- up so that we could start with the actual recording.
"You ready to start?" Veronica asked.
"I think so," I answered nervously.
"Alright, what I'm going to do is play a piano recording of your part. Listen to it a couple times, and then sing along with it," Veronica told me.
"Okay," I said.
We went through the process a couple times, and after each take Veronica would offer critiques, such as "Sing that last note a little bit quieter", or "Make sure that high F isn't flat". By the fourth take, I had it. We did it a couple more times, though, just so that the editors had some choices to choose from.
"Okay Mel, I think we have enough," Veronica said. "You can come out of the booth if you want".
As I walked out of the recording booth, Nick and Gabe came back into the studio.
"You guys are done already?" Gabe asked.
"Yes, we're done a lot sooner than I would have expected," Veronica said.
"What are you guys talking about?" I asked, "I had to record the harmony almost ten times".
"That's it?" Gabe laughed, "I had to record my first part almost twenty times because I was so nervous".
"Well, that was just because you were so young," I argued.
Nick and Gabe suddenly began laughing uncontrollably.
"What's so funny?" I asked, annoyed.
Veronica had to answer for them, because they couldn't stop laughing long enough to communicate effectively.
"Actually, Gabe didn't have to do the most takes on the first day," she said. "Christian did".
"He kept singing the wrong part," Nick managed to make out.
I laughed, imagining how embarrassed Christian must have been. Since he was the oldest, he often thought that he should be able to demonstrate things for us, because we were younger than him.
"Oh, it's pretty late," Nick said. "Mom wanted us to be back quickly".
We walked out of the studio, and Veronica walked with us to the car. I hopped into the back seat, but Nick and Gabe waited a minute to talk to her about something.
"What was that about?" I asked.
"Oh, she just had a credit question, I told her to talk to Xavier," Nick said.
I didn't know what a credit question was, and decided to ask Xavier when we got back. Gabe and Nick started talking about some girl Niall had been introduced to at the "San Jose Live!" interview. I didn't really care very much about Niall's new crush, so I busied myself, reading a book I had just checked out from the library.
When we got home, I saw Mom's car was in the driveway. She was usually still at work, even this late. I wondered why she was already back.
"Mom?" I called as I walked into the house.
"She's in the kitchen," I heard Niall call back.
"No, she's in the living room," Xavier called back.
"I'm in the office," Mom called out.
I walked through the house, and knocked on the office door.
"Come in," Mom said, and I walked in.
"Why are you home so soon?" I asked.
"I had some things that I needed to do at home. I was hoping it would be a bit quieter, but Niall is convinced that Christian stole something of his, so I've been locked up in here for a while".
I laughed, picturing Niall and Christian, and Mom locked in the office.
"So Mel, I hear you agreed to record for your brothers," she said carefully.
"Yes," I said.
"Are you going to sing with them again sometime?" Mom asked me.
I didn't answer. It was a question I had been thinking about since I agreed to record the harmony. I missed being able to do things with them like singing, or just hanging out on the weekends.
"Maybe," I said lightly, and quickly walked out.
"Niall?" I called through the house.
"In the dining room!" I heard him call back.
I walked in, and saw him sitting at the table, listening to his iPod.
"What's up?" he asked me.
"Can I ask you something?" I asked him.
"What about?" Niall asked, pulling out his ear buds.
"I miss having brothers," I blurted out.
"What do you mean?" he asked, concerned.
"I mean, I want to be able to tell my best friends that I'm not an only child. I miss singing with you guys at cafes. I miss being able to walk down the street and buy ice cream with all of you," I told him.
Niall looked at me sadly.
"Mel, we miss you, too," he said quietly. "We wish we could talk about you in front of other people, we wish we could sing with you, and we wish that we didn't have to lie about you every time someone asks us about family".
I looked at him sadly, thinking about all the fun times the seven of us had had together, before Pop Six had become famous. Niall stood up, and walked over to me.
"We're going to be fine," Niall said, and hugged me.
"I just don't know how much longer I can keep up the lies," I said sadly.
"I know Mel," Niall said, "I hate lying, too. All of us do. And we miss you, Mel. We all miss our little sister".