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Author's Chapter Notes:
alright, bonus round.

I'm really mean in this one, but I like the chapter. I think it stirs up some emotion ^^
Why do you yell, you can whisper as well, walk away. These teardrops of rain, they’re masking your shame, you walk away. There’s a midsummer storm, you see a midsummer fight, put your head in the sand if you can’t make this right, walk away.

Looking up, I saw Simon smile brightly, giving me a thumbs up. The adrenaline coursed through my veins when I realized this was the best take of these lines yet.

In fact, the whole song was going great.

“Wanna do it again?” Simon questioned, the grin still apparent on his face.

“Yes!” I confirmed eagerly. This was shaping up to be a good day. I needed a good day.

“Alrighty,” Simon said, carefully pressing the button that I had told him to press. Simon Clance was one of my best friends that happened to live four houses down the road. He owned a huge car dealership and his house was ginormous; bigger than mine. He also knew nothing about music, and to be honest, I quite liked that about him. He still loved to mess around in my studio though.

It was often quite funny, actually. In return, he let me mess around in his Bentleys, and that, in my opinion was more than a great deal.

I heard the soft, warm acoustic sounds of a guitar flow through the headphones into my ears and closed my eyes.

The song was soulful, an easy invitation for a singer to put their heart and soul into when singing it. I swallowed before I began. “Cover your eyes, if you can’t stand the sight, walk away. You cover your ears, so you don’t have to hear it, walk away.” The song was mid range mostly, my great weakness. But not today; today I didn’t crack once, the notes flowing into the microphone with ease, a feeling I had been missing for so long. It felt ecstatic; it was a break I had been waiting for.

“Keep going,” I heard Simon encourage with a laugh and I smiled back, my eyes still closed.

You cover your nightmares, you put them away; cause if nobody knows them they might go away, walk away... walk away... walk away... without me.” Everything went so perfect, I could just dance. In the past, I would have taken a good performance for granted, knowing that that was the standard. Now, it felt like a breath of fresh air, out of the suffocating atmosphere that seemed to hang around me wherever I went. My right foot tapped along to the music automatically and my hands swung around the microphone to guide the flow of the notes; it felt like the old days. “You cover your lies with stories and smiles, walk away. You’re scared what to find, so you just run and hide, you run away.

“Now comes the good part,” Simon laughed and I had to keep myself under control before I laughed too.

If you play with a gun, then you will shoot someone. When you sit in the fire, it’s your ass getting warm, walk away, w-” I couldn’t hold it in and covered the microphone as I burst into laughter.

The original line was It’s Yourself Who’s Getting Warm, but you know, Simon and I were juvenile kids. Our obnoxious giggles filled the entire studio and I motioned for him to cut off the music. After some clumsy searching he finally found the right button and the guitar stopped playing.

“You should totally produce this version of the song, dude,” Simon gasped, still amused.

“Are you kidding me?” I grinned, “I can’t say ass on a Christian record!”

“Why not?” he said in a high voice, “How much do I have to pay you to put it on there?”

“No!” I protested, laughing, then paused, “Well...”

“See, I knew it!”

“Shut up, it’s not gonna happen. It’s not... professional.”

“Right,” Simon nodded, but I could see he was about to laugh again.

“Seriously,” I said, “How would you like it if I sprayed one of your Bentleys purple and gold and you would still have to sell it?”

“There’s not many purple gold Bentleys going round,” Simon replied in all seriousness, “We could make a pretty buck out of that if we sell it smart. I bet there are not many Christian records saying ‘ass’ either, are there? It’ll be unique.”

“The community will totally kill me.”

“Totally worth it.”

“You know what you are?” I said, still smiling, “You’re an ass.”

“And you’re on fire,” he pointed out with a smirk, “This whole thing sounded flipping awesome. Did I mention I love your voice on this?”

“Did I mention I love your Bentleys?” I said, avoiding the compliment.

“You did. More than once, actually. It makes me assume we’re only friends because of my cars.”

“That is so true.”

“See? Nailed it. That degree in psychology wasn’t wasted after all.”

“What wasn’t wasted after all?” I heard my wife’s voice before I saw her. She came in with two huge mugs of tea. She made tea a lot lately. She thought it worked.

Maybe it did.

“Did you know Simon has a psychology degree?” I mumbled as I walked out of the sound booth and flopped down on a desk chair besides Simon at the key panel.

Leighanne observed Simon for a second, then smiled, “Really?” she said tauntingly, “Can’t imagine.”

Simon smiled back at her, then looked at me, “You’re gonna wish you had a degree, dawg. The pretty face and voice are not gonna last forever, you know?”

I looked at him thoughtfully. I knew he meant it as a joke, but I didn’t laugh and I felt my wife shoot me a quick look. Simon immediately realized his mistake and cleared his throat, “Anyway. He nailed Walk Away just a minute ago.”

“Oh yeah?” Leighanne did her best to keep the surprise out of her voice, handing me the mug of tea that was steaming hot. “Did you put that word in there again?”

I nodded effusively, “Very much so.”

She shook her head disapprovingly, but I could see she was smiling, “I’m surrounded by ten-year olds. There’s one upstairs, and apparently, there’s two down here as well.”

Simon grinned sheepishly at her, his long arms stretching out as he leaned back. “Ten year olds are a handful.”

“The one upstairs is behaving better than the two in here,” Leighanne warned him. “You,” she turned, pointing at me, “Are going to be late for rehearsal. It’s not often they agree to come all the way over here.”

“They can wait,” I grinned cheekily. For some reason or another, it had suddenly been no problem for my four bandmates to get all down to Atlanta. I suspected they were kind of afraid of me since I passed out in the bathroom two months ago. They were all too happy to agree to whatever was in my benefit all of a sudden.

“That’s mean,” my wife informed me.

I sighed, “Alright, alright.” I grunted as I got up, “You free tonight? Drinks are on me, or whatever we still have in the cupboards,” I suggested to Simon.

“You’re on.”

“Great,” I said before turning to my wife, “I’ll be home in about three hours, give or take. I love you,” I promised with a kiss.

My hands shook as I fumbled with the door. Gritting my teeth, I finally managed to open it and stumbled inside. I surely lost my balance when I tripped over one of Baylee’s shoes in the hallway. “Goddamnit,” I growled out loud after I fell on one knee. A blond head popped up out of a doorway and frowned at me. “Pick it up,” I grumbled, pointing at the shoe. Baylee knew from the tone in my voice not to argue and quickly shot out of the doorway, picking up the abandoned shoe.

“Sorry,” he mumbled.

“Next time, I’m throwing it away,” I said, making my way to the kitchen.

Baylee followed me curiously, “How did rehearsals go?”

I looked at him and I guess he saw something in my expression as he suddenly stood still, “So... not good, huh?” he said uncertainly.

“Just... go put that shoe where it belongs,” I sighed, not having the energy to deal with his curious questions right now.

Baylee looked at me thoughtfully for a moment before shrugging, “Whatever,” he mumbled, walking away towards the stairs. I groaned, sitting down at the dining table, my hands slowly turning into shaking fists.

It wasn’t fair.

I got up slowly, shuffling towards the sink. I opened the cupboard with a snarl, feeling the anger course through my veins as I searched for a glass, putting it on the countertop with a loud noise. I jumped when I felt her hands on my back just as my fingers circled around the bottle of bourbon hidden away in the back of the cupboard.

“It didn’t go very well, did it?” She asked softly.
I let go of the bottle, letting my hand fall uselessly to the counter. “How would you know?” I muttered.

“Baylee told me,” she said calmly.

“Baylee doesn’t know anything about it,” I grumbled, still not turning around to look at her.

“True,” she said, “But he’s very perceptive. He can tell when you’re in a bad mood.”

“Who says I’m in a bad mood?”

“Brian,” her voice was soft, a hint of sadness lacing through the sound of my name.

“I just wanna be alone,” I mumbled, my stare burning through the countertop.

“Don’t do this,” she whispered, her hands gently caressing my back. “Just tell me what happened, we’ll figure it out.”

I scoffed, “No, we won’t,” I said, my voice catching in my throat, “we never will.”

“Don’t say that,” she said willfully, “Don’t ever say that.”

I felt the tears stinging as my hand curled around the glass, “I don’t know what else to say.”

“Just tell me about the rehearsal, we’ll talk about this,” she almost pleaded with me.

“It doesn’t matter,” I said, my voice low, “It won’t change anything.”

“You never know,” she replied, carefully massaging the sore spot between my shoulder blades, “We might find ways we haven’t thought about yet.”

I closed my eyes and tried to count my breaths. When one of them got stuck in my throat, it sent me over the edge, “I was good!” I yelled as I threw the empty glass across the kitchen. Leighanne gasped when it hit the floor with a satisfying crash, shattering into a thousand different pieces. I wasn’t thinking about the fact that Baylee could hear me. I wasn’t thinking about the fact that I had never been so outraged in front of my family before. I wasn’t thinking.

“Brian,” she began, but I cut her off.

“I was good this morning!” I screamed, my throat flaming in pain at the loudness of my voice, “It worked! Everything worked! I have it recorded, you can hear it!”

“I believe you,” my wife replied quickly.

“Then why doesn’t it work?” I kept screaming, frustration roughening my voice within seconds. “Why did I sound like shit?”

“Oh baby,” she muttered, her hands already finding their way to my back again, but I shrugged them off.

“You should have seen them,” I went on, out of breath, “They were so disappointed. It was laughable.”

“I’m sure they understood...”

“They gave me an extra three months, and I screwed it up,” I growled, letting the tears stream freely now. “There’s no excuse.”

“Don’t do this to yourself, Brian. Please,” she said softly.

“I was really good,” I cried out, “I was better this morning. I thought it was finally gonna work.”

“It will.”

“It didn’t!”

“But it will,” she said sternly, grabbing one of my arms to turn me around, “you have to have faith.”

I looked at her and sighed. Faith. She had enough for the both of us. She never gave up even though I was a terrible husband. “I’m sorry.” I mumbled when I got my breathing under control.

“You don’t have to apologize,” she whispered.

“You don’t deserve this,” I told her.

“Neither do you.”

“I’ll clean up the glass, then I’m gonna go to bed,” I mumbled, not caring that it was only seven thirty.

“You want me to cancel Simon coming over?” Leighanne called as she walked out of the kitchen.

“Yeah,” I said, knowing she couldn’t hear me anyway.

By the time I made it upstairs, there was a warm mug of tea waiting for me on the nightstand.
Chapter End Notes:
so the song is actually a song and can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtSvmGWsCP8 for anyone interested (it's quite good actually, and it fits the story fairly well -and it actually does say 'ass')