Tattoo Book 1.3
Posted by harmony0stars on May 18, 2008
“I’d really rather not do this…” Glory hung back as they approached the door. A gust of wind slammed it against the wall as he opened it, making her jump in surprise.
He caught her gently by the wrist and tugged her inside. “Come on. It’ll be fun. You have a beautiful voice. It would be a shame not to share it.”
Inside, only the stage was lit. If nothing else, Glory was glad to be out of the wind which tended to knot up her hair and always made it feel coarse. They paused at the door to let their eyes adjust. “You could sing instead…” she offered feebly as she combed through her knots with her fingertips. Because he had intimated that a fee was paid to get her in, she couldn’t just outright refuse to participate without feeling immensely guilty about the waste of money on her behalf, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t going to try to get out of it by other means.
For a moment he looked pained before giving a sharp laugh. “Oh no… I don’t sing.” His smile faded just a little though as he turned away to find somewhere to sit. Weaving through the crowded room, he led her towards the stage and an open table.
Frowning at the booklet her offered her from the table as if it might bite her, Glory took it and began leafing through it unenthusiastically. “They have the lyrics to every song on this list. When you go up on stage, you just read them from the prompter.”
Glory sighed. Her only consolation was that after tonight he would have no more opportunities to humiliate her. She cautiously glanced around her as she tried to pick out a song. Though she doubted anyone who knew her was in the audience, as karaoke wasn’t exactly Lori’s scene either unless she was really drunk, Glory couldn’t rule it out either. No matter how much Aaron might beg for another date, if he did, after tonight, the answer would be no.
He stood up as she paged through the pamphlet. “Do you want something to drink?” he asked awkwardly as if sensing her foul mood.
“Water, please,” she replied without looking up. She realized she wasn’t being a very good date, not that she had much experience, but hopefully it would discourage him from ever asking her out again. At least it was a public place. If he got weird, she could still call a cab to take her home.
“Sure you don’t want something stronger? Help you relax?” She gave him a withering look before returning to the book. “OK, OK, water it is.”
She had already discarded the booklet when he returned a moment later, bottle of water in hand. Glory was relieved to see it was still sealed. It eased some of her paranoia about their “date.”
“Done already? I thought it would take you longer.”
“I would just as soon get this over with and go home, thank you,” she replied, staring at the stage with loathing.
“Come on! That’s not fair. You have to at least stay until they announce a winner.”
“Hrrumph,” she grunted and hunched down further into her chair, sipping her water.
“Sooooo…? What did you pick?”
“Beatles,” she replied without elaboration.
After an uncomfortable moment of silence, he tried a new tack. “So what are you always reading? It must be riveting if you don’t even know when a customer comes in.”
Turning red, she glared at the stage and replied, “You wouldn’t be interested.”
“You think I’m not smart enough maybe?” he asked, adopting a hurt expression. “Well that’s just mean. I wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t interested.”
She looked away from the stage for the first time to stare at him helplessly. Was he being serious or just facetious? Fortunately she was saved from further discussion as they announced her name.
“Next up, Glory Alexi.” Guh…. he even knew her middle name. Making a face, she reluctantly climbed the stairs. Luckily the lights were bright enough that she couldn’t really see the audience or she might very well have thrown up and embarrassed herself further. She closed her eyes, not even bothering to look at the teleprompter bolted to the ceiling. When she was small, she’d often listened to her mother’s old 78s when no one was home and pretended to be a Beatle. She didn’t need the teleprompter to give her the words.
Blackbird singing in the dead of night…. She sang through the entire song without once glancing at the screen or the audience. As the song ended, she quickly stepped from the stage, more than ready to give it up to the next contestant. Though the applause sounded sincere, she still would much rather have crawled under the table when she got to it than sat in the chair.
“That was great!” Aaron enthused, touching her shoulder. She flinched away from his hand, not used to being touched, especially by strangers.
He was being so nice, and Glory was starting to feel ashamed of how she was acting. No one had ever tried this hard to please her. It was disconcerting, but flattering as well. “Thanks,” she said gruffly, looking away towards the stage where some guy, more than half drunk, was mangling Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. His friends were obviously also quite drunk and singing along from their table. Ugh… Wayne’s World had ruined the song forever.
Aaron laughed. “Was that so hard?” he asked. Frowning, she glanced at him. Was that sarcasm? Was he making fun of her like everyone else did? No, he was smiling. It was an expression of complete innocence, but still, she couldn’t tell if he was referring to her performance or her rude gratitude. “You should pick out another song. You’ll probably be a finalist.”
“A finalist? I don’t want to do that again,” she whined.
“Come on,” he cajoled her. “It’s not like you’re ever going to see any of these people again. Besides, you’re really good. It’s not like they’re going to boo you off the stage. You should pick something more difficult though. Show off.”
“… I just… don’t like being the center of attention.” she replied after a moment. “You could sing too. You have a nice voice.”
He looked thunderstruck. “Oh wow!” he gasped, clutching his chest dramatically. “Was that… a compliment? I may go into shock here!”
“Don’t let it go to your head,” she answered, smirking despite herself. “Or it may be your last. So… about what I was reading… am always reading…”
Authors note: I’ve never done karaoke or been in a karaoke contest, so I’m not sure if this scenario was entirely accurate. If you have any experiences, feel free to set me straight on how it works.
Also, are these posts a comfortable size for you readers? Would you prefer more or less, or is it just right? At the moment, the posts run to about 1000 words, more or less. I have no problem writing more if that’s your preference, though less might be difficult. I am not adept at writing short, short works.
Also, feel free to point out my errors. Criticize me! I can take it. It’s all for the good, right?