Chapter 2

I spent the remaining week with boring introductory lessons teachers tended to do. It was quite pathetic, especially since I wanted to do more in class than listen to my music. The most enjoyment I got was me and my friends telling tales of the times we traveled during the summer.

"Well," I started one day, "as usual, I travelled to Japan to visit my dad's family during Tanabata. The festival was magnificent. The streets were lined with bamboo, the street food was excellent, and we all made our wishes. We tied them onto the special bamboo trees; it was magical."

"Well, that's wonderful," Felix gorged on a handful of potato chips, "but do you know what's better? Visiting my dad and his bimbo of a girlfriend in Montgomery."

"Hey, family is family." Lisa snapped back, pointing a nut bar at him."My mom may be a bit of a jerkass, but I still look forward to visiting her every summer."

"Your family is not my family, dear Lisa. Your family actually has morals."

"Lisa's right, though," I casually popped a grape into my mouth, "y'all have hear me talk about Aiko, right?"

"Isn't the sister of yours that hates your guts?" Felix cocked his left eyebrow.

"Well, that's stretching it." I digressed. "She pretty much hates what Esme and I like. It wouldn't be a problem if she didn't shove it in our faces. Oh boy, I pine for the daty where she doesn't rant about classic rock or Japanese pop being manufactured horseshit. But, she is family and I love her."

"I agree, honeybuns," Sophie cooed, "sometimes, you just have to love the people who annoy you."

"You can say that to the people you flirt with." Ginger pouted.

"Hey, Ginger dear," Sophie flirtatiously wrapped her arm around her, "you know that I'd never betray you. Out of all the people I love, I love you the most."

"It doesn't seem like it sometimes."

"When in our 11 months together have I ever put anyone else above you?"

I awkwardly watched the two continue to play fight, weirded out at the sight of it. Their antics weren't new. They've been playfully volatile since the day they got together, but how could they act so casually? I never considered accusing someone of being some sort of coquette could be a joke.

"And there was that time you almost kissed a boy at that anime convention." Ginger finished, "I literally had to pull you away."

"Ginger darling, you know me." Sophie shrugged, "I love you the most. I don't like how you accuse me of being unfaithful. I'm no Jimmy Page, hun."

Ginger quivered and turned to me, her makeup-covered eyes looking confused.

I sighed. "Jimmy Page was the lead guitarist for Led Zeppelin. He slept with a shitload of women in his heydays."

"Oh." She turned back to Sophie.

Sophie softly kissed her forehead. "You know I wouldn't do that to you. I love you."

"I love you, too." Ginger mouthed, her eyes staring at the ground.

On the following Saturday, I woke up to my phone blaring a J-Rock song I barely remembered. Having no choice but to answer it, I drowsily picked it up, "Hello? Hello?"

"Hey, Ash dear." The voice on the other end cheerfully responded, "It's Sophie."

"Oh, Sophie, hello." I jolted from my bed in an awkward fashion, "Are you calling me to save me from my boredom?"

"If asking you for a favor counts." She chuckled.

"Well, that depends. What do you need me to do?"

"So…you know that Ginger and I's 3rd anniversary is coming up next week…"


"And I want to make this year be extraordinarily special…"

"So, so, what do you want me to do?" I smiled.

"Can you write a song for me?" Sophie briefly asked, "As in, you write the lyrics for me to sing?"

"Oh…" I paused, "do you think I'm capable of such a feat? I've never been commissioned to write a whole song before…"

"I have faith in you, hun. I've heard your songs before and I just know that you're perfect for the job."

"Alright, I'll do it." I nodded and quietly yanked a worn leather notebook off of my desk, "Hell, I might as well write some guitar chords for it."

"Thank you so much, Ash." Sophie beamed, "Let me know when you're almost done."

"I will, I will." I smiled and hung up.

I opened my notebook to the first available page, took a pencil out of a nearby drawer, then froze in place. Shit, I panicked, What am I going to write?

I scribbled verses from songs I grew up with, ranging from 'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings to I'm still chasing those dreams that I told you of before. But, my vast brain couldn't think of anything original. I could only continue to rewrite lyric after lyric, rhyme after rhyme.

And then, while I was looking at my cherry-red walls in frustration, an idea struck my head like a baseball. I jotted my thoughts down, afraid that I would suddenly lose my inspiration. After all, I didn't want to return to square one in the creative cycle. After a few minutes, I excitedly inspected my work:

Dear, sweet Kathleen

It's been a while since you've seen me

My tiny scars have gone away

But would you have cared anyway?

After all, I was quite upset

When you decided to take that bet

And kiss the man who had wronged me

And that was something you couldn't see

'Cuz you still wear that veil over your eyes

And convince yourself that everything's alright

When the girl in front of you is feeling depressed

If only you didn't take that silly bet

I frowned, Where the hell did I get this? I thought, this has fucking nothing to do with adoration. Hell, this is the most depressing thing I've written; where did I even get the idea for this?

"Well", I mumbled to myself, sighing, "at least this has some potential to become a song eventually."

I flipped to the next page in my notebook, and returned to square one of my creative process. I filled my paper with more lyrics such as Love of my life, don't leave me and If you can hold the stars in place, You can hold my heart the same. I even tuned my fucking guitar, but nothing that I needed was coming to me. I was ultimately forced to slump downstairs and make lunch while feeling defeated.

As I finished eating the "meatloaf" part of my dismal-looking TV dinner, I heard a weird noise. I raced over to the kitchen window to investigate and saw a downpour of water right in front of me.

Welp, it's raining now. I thought, showing a small smile. It's actually pleasant to see. Too bad Esme isn't down here to appreciate it with me. But, Ginger and Sophie can be together no matter what the weather-

I paused, feeling struck again, "That's it. That's the song."

I quickly ran back upstairs and yanked my notebook off of my desk, hastily writing the lyrics for the couple. I was laughing and smiling during the whole process, attracting some attention.

"Ash," My dad popped his head into my doorway after some time, seeming worried for me well-being, "are you okay?"

I looked at him, grinning, "Yeah; I got an idea I needed to write down and got excited."

"Oh, okay, I thought you were freaking out." He smiled, relieved, and meandered away, leaving me to turn back to my work. I was content with what I accomplished:

Whenever the sun comes out, I see

Your charming face smiling at me

The great blue sky reminds me of

Your sweetness, tenderness, and love

And when that sun turns into rain

I see your heart all over again

And inside of your heart I see

All our precious memories

No matter what the weather is

I see us together in bliss