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Smoke On Her Face; and hair in her eyes (Peyote Coyote)
Topic Started: Nov 11 2015, 04:22 AM (1,718 Views)
MK Kilmarnock
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((Coleen Reagan, continued from some intermittent events))

She pulled anxiously at her skirt.

No matter how many times she tugged or adjusted, something just didn't seem to sit right. Logically, she knew everything was fine with her clothing. Her mind just had to manifest something wrong physically to explain why something just wasn't working emotionally.

I'm supposed to be here. I was invited.

So it was true; Cameron had invited Coleen to her house to meet up with her band. It was a strange request. At least, Coleen figured it to be somewhat strange at the time. After their bumping into each other at Cheryl's, Coleen invited Cameron and Enza to last Thursday's performance of Fiddler on the Roof. She had been expecting to foster an interest in theatre and, just maybe, wanted to show off to somebody other than her circle of friends in the theatre program. Instead, it led her here, standing awkwardly at another girl's doorstep, wondering if she really should knock on that door.

Her hand decided for her, knuckles rapping slightly, timidly.

Shoot shoot shoot, that wasn't loud enough. She'll never hear me. I'm going to be outside forever like an idiot.

She knocked harder.

Crap, it's only been like... two seconds! They're going to think I'm a weirdo! You're acting like a weirdo! Shoot shoot shoot! OoooooooOOOOoooooh...

Coleen squinted her eyes shut.
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"Oh!"

Coleen jumped just a little bit when the door opened. Cameron almost immediately called her out on being so nervous, which was to be expected. It seemed to be offset by her usual brand of vibrant... friendliness, maybe? Cameron wasn't what Coleen would describe as a sweet girl but she was nice enough. 'Chill', maybe. Seemed like a good word.

Coleen stepped through the doorway, took a second or two to look around, and was about to remark on Cameron's... unique description for her hand when a hand clamped down over her wrist and began excitedly walking away with its owner.

"O-Oh, okay!" Coleen said, having to go with the flow, taking stuttering steps after Cameron. She caught up near the basement door, using the railing so she wouldn't fall down like a putz and take Cam with her.
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Meeting new people was always something of an awkward experience, yet Cameron had a fashion of making it seem so casual, so lah-zay-dah. Coleen truly appreciated this quality in her and, to a point, already considered Cameron a friend. With her efforts, it wouldn't be too long before...

“Scarface? That’s who you were talking about?”

Coleen chomped down on her lip and tucked her chin, letting her hair fall over the side of her face until she was absolutely sure EVERYTHING to do with the left hemisphere was good and gone. Cameron didn't say anything to the girl in response. For a moment Coleen wanted to protest this but... well, no, maybe it was best that it went unaddressed. The quicker that whole ordeal was swept under the rug, the quicker everybody could move on. It was possible that they could still all be friends, even the girl who just identified her by her disfiguration.

Cameron identified BB, probably the only person in the basement that Coleen had never seen for any decent period of time, as the band's bassist. She was surprised to learn that Brady was the drummer, looking his way once or twice and recognizing him as 'pretty cute', but never thinking about him beyond that. Vanessa was probably the one that Coleen knew best... and, of course, she was the one that had to go and say that. Surely she didn't do so out of cruelty; it was just how this band, this group, treated things... all without a care and such. With all that said, it was going to make things a little awkward how she was the girl Coleen was supposed to replace as the singer. Well, she still had lead guitar, right?

"I-It sounds awesome," Coleen nervously said with a smile. "... Wait. Hold on a second. The desert?"
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"Inspi- ... o-oooooh..."

Here she was feeling like a prude, because Coleen wasn't exactly the kind to get herself mixed up in drugs. Maybe they wouldn't force her to do any? She sincerely hoped so, because Cameron certainly seemed like the kind of person who wouldn't force her to get mixed up in anything they didn't want to. The allure of spending time with a brand new group of friends and maybe even making something productive out of it was too much to bear, and she'd hate for anything to ruin that.

"Okay, um, l-lots of questions," Coleen said, punctuating her sentence with a half-staged giggle in order to show she wasn't really all that stressed out. Just, so many new people and meeting them all at once could be a bit of a strain. In a few minutes the novelty of her being the new girl would wear out, she prayed, and she could be right on that couch or in a comfy chair or... gosh, somewhere, relaxing and talking about music. "How about I answer those in reverse order?"

Coleen pointed a finger on each hand at Cameron. "Pterodactyl," she told her, then switched the direction to BB. Her fingers hung in pause. "I, uh... musical stuff. You know, like... some opera, stage numbers. Also like some soft rock, maybe a little pop... um... but I want to expand!" She added that last bit as her one uncovered eye desperately read BB's face. "I'll listen to anything you want to subject me to. Absolutely anything. O-Open mind and all that!"

Finally she turned back to Vanessa, trying to wear her friendliest smile. What was it that Vanessa did again?

Ooooooh shit, I really hope Cam talked about this...

"I'm, uh... I'm a singer," Coleen said meekly.
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"O-Oh my," Coleen stammered, though laughter was splashed in with her words. There was an awful lot to take in even in the small environment that was Cameron's basement. Her eyes settled on the stack of CDs that Cameron had pointed to before, trying to remember as many of the band names as had been rattled off. Witch Mountain, Mastodon... something... the rest became a jumble in her head, but she stepped over to the pile and began idly sifting through.

"Really though, um, I don't mind. I know I have a lot of catching up to do to get up to you guys. I haven't heard of Scott Walker either," Coleen added, picking up one of the CDs that she was to listen to as though it were her homework. It was marked 'The Sword'. "I know these are supposed to give me an idea about your style, but since you mention it... um, I could give the mix tape a listen. Do you want me to emulate the vocals too or...?"

She trailed off, standing up and looking over the group with clasped hands.

"I'm, u-uh, super glad that you considered me for this, by the way. I won't let you down."
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"I'll probably take it home and listen to it," Coleen admitted. "It's an awfully high stack of music. Plus I wanted to talk to all of, uh..."

Coleen looked from the corner of her eye to where Cameron and Vanessa had stalked off to. It looked like a sorta heated discussion. Cam had brought her here, so maybe Vanessa took issue with her being here? Coleen chewed on the inside of her cheek as she mulled it over and resumed looking at BB, even if the bassist no longer had her full attention. She didn't want to cause any problems, but Cameron thought she'd be a good fit, and this band seemed like it could be a lot of fun. Something to do with her time that wasn't school or theatre... according to at least two of her friends and one of her parents, she needed that.

"Uh, something about demos..." Coleen apologetically smiled and ran her fingers through the right side of her hair to push it behind her ear. The left could stay exactly where it was; she had grown accustomed to not seeing very well in her left eye anyway. "Sorry, I guess I should listen to those first to get a good idea of what you guys are all about." Coleen stepped to the coffee table and rummaged, picking up one of the CDs that seemed to have a less-than-professional labeling job, but a pretty one considering what she was looking at. The design on the cover was a floral, even slightly trippy design with a green wolf-like figure howling. The title, above and below, read 'Peyote Coyote'. Right, that was the name, duh.

"Yeah, we could pop this in?"
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When Coleen thought things couldn't get any more awkward, fate had to go and prove her wrong. BB tried to pull her aside and distract her with something, but Vanessa and Cameron weren't exactly whispering. It was clear as day what their argument was about, and it appeared that perhaps Cam hadn't put everybody on board with this whole singing thing as much as Coleen assumed she had. Her better judgement was telling her to book it. She could run, see Cameron at school tomorrow and tell her that the 'rock and roll life' just wasn't for her, thanks but no thanks, she'd stick to Broadway.

That was her better judgement anyhow. Coleen was currently going against it to try and ride out the wave. "A... drink sounds lovely," she murmured to BB, hugging her chest. "Things aren't always like this... are they?"

Brady, who had been quietly chilling on the couch before, decided enough was enough and was trying to douse the fire blazing in the corner. It was the cover Coleen and BB could use to get upstairs and catch some fresh air, an opportunity which Coleen took, gingerly taking the first few steps up.
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Coleen could almost feel the spotlight on her face. Wasn't much of a secret around the theatre kids and her teachers that she had some pretty nasty stage fright despite her interests and possible career choices. The crowd was much smaller here in Cam's basement to the tune of four, yet it felt like four thousand after all that ruckus from Vanessa. So this was it; she was being put to the test for her singing ability and if she screwed up, even just a little bit, that was probably the end of it for her.

"A drink to start..." Coleen nervously said, already wracking her brain for whatever she could dig up on 'Smoke on the Water'. She knew the song, of course. Anybody who had ever listened to rock music or a radio station playing anything between '69 and '85 would know at least the riff and probably the words to the chorus. The only problem was anything else. She frowned and furrowed her brow as she thought, pulling a few more strands of hair over her left eye and cheek.

If she had to be terribly honest, she wished Cameron hadn't spoken for her just then. She meant well, but Coleen was going to insist herself that she sing, disregarding BB's equally sweet attempts to get her out of this sticky situation. Now, she feared it looked like she was searching for a way out when all she really wanted was for an opportunity to prove herself. Her one uncovered eye stayed locked on Vanessa's feet. Loathe as Coleen was to admit it, right now that girl had her intimidated like 'woah'.

"Ah, um, alright. I think I've got this," Coleen said as she slid her smartphone out of her bag. She'd use the phone to search for the lyrics so she could get all the specifics. As for the rest of of the vocals, like melody, inflection and tone...

Coleen thought back. Her little brother Ronnie was pretty into the first two Guitar Hero games, and when he took up the living room TV to play it, she got to listen to him struggle to play a cover of Smoke on the Water over and over again. It wasn't enough to drill the words into her head, but she had a good enough idea to imitate their vocalist on highs and lows, when to hang onto a note and let it dangle. "Yeah, alright..." she muttered, mostly to herself. Psyching herself up came before any good performance, and this would be a performance as fine as any other.

Coleen lifted her head and walked around the couch so Brady and BB were the closest, leaving Cam and Vanessa further away. That kept people at a good comfort zone for her. "So while I'm waiting for that water," she said, looking at a nice neutral point between everybody, "do you want this as accurate as possible? Like, am I shooting for a low tenor or am I allowed to take this as high as I want while sticking the melody and key?"

Keep talking. Keep out of your shell.

You're gonna kill this.
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Each step BB took down those stairs was like part of a countdown to this do-or-die moment of performance. Coleen had mentally prepared herself to play for a sold-out arena of four, with her instrument of choice still warming up and being tuned.

"Thanks," she said quietly to BB as she took the glass of water from her hand and sipped it, moving her phone to the side so she could still look at for those last few precious seconds of review. The chorus was easy and there was a big chunky solo making up the song so the lyrics were, generously put, light. Still not the easiest song to sing, especially somebody in her register; Coleen would have fared a little bit better with Heart or Evanescence or something that actually had a female vocalist but... whatever. Vanessa wanted Smoke on the Water? Vanessa was going to get her Smoke on the Water.

Coleen coughed, cleared her throat, took another sip of water and finally set the glass of water down on the coffee table. 'I'll fucking do it, darling!' she thought to herself. She took a breath and threw her hair back, hastily straightening it with the fingers on her left hand so it tucked neatly behind her ear and shoulder just like the other side did. She couldn't have her hair getting in the way of her voice. Besides, being thrown out of her comfort zone and onto the 'stage' was step 1 in getting her singing/acting chops a-flowin'.

'Nnnh nnnh nnnnnnh, nnnh nnh n-nh...' Coleen hummed lowly to herself, letting the beat build in her chest. She shut her eyes while doing so and avoided thinking about anybody's facial expressions. The stage is dark; the audience cannot be seen. They don't matter. The part where she looked silly was about to be over soon.

"We all came out to Montreux!" Coleen belted, her eyes opening on the cusp of that first note. Her phone was also her microphone, held just below her chin. She'd tilt it back every now and then to consult the next line. Good thing she looked these up first... she never was quite sure about the last word of that first line. "On the Lake Geneva Shoreline... to make records with a mobile... ... we didn't have much time! Frank Zappa and the Motheeeeeers-" Coleen let that one carry and wobble with a tiny bit of vibrato. Whoever Deep Purple's singer was probably didn't put that much power into that one, but some basic memory of the guy who covered the song for Guitar Hero seemed to remember it being there so, damn it, she was putting it there.

"... Were at the best place around," Coleen continued. "But some stupid with a flare gun, burned the place to the ground."

Here it comes.

"Smoooooooke on the waaaater - and fire in the sky!" Coleen was getting into it at this point and obviously didn't need the phone for this part, so she let her head swing. She wasn't much of a rocker, yet there were a few energetic portions of plays she had been in here and there and she had considered being Sandy for Grease, so it wasn't the strangest of concepts for her. A little alien, but if there was a part to play, she could most certainly play it. "Smooooooooke on the waaater..." Coleen sang into the imaginary chorus fill.
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The soulful riffs of the hook and bridge bounced around in Coleen's head, her hips and head rocking to a beat only she could hear. After a few seconds, her eyes shot open.

"So... yeah. Is that enough of the song?" Coleen asked, allowing herself to slip out of the zone and look about the room. She was being stared at, which was uncomfortable in its own right, enough so that she worked to reset her hair and cover the scarring. She kept her other eye dancing between BB, between Cameron, between Brady and... of course, Vanessa.

Cameron was easy to gauge the reaction of. She was clearly pleased and wasn't doing much to hide it. BB and Brady were tougher, but Coleen felt positively. There was still the issue of Vanessa, though. Coleen's cheeks felt a bit hot and, once her hair was completely back in place, she stooped to pick up her water and take another sip.

"I, uh," she stumbled to find the perfect way to begin. "I can sing whatever you really want me to. I mean... I've never written songs before but you guys have." She needed something... anything to get Vanessa's eyes off of her, or at least to erase that scowl. "S-So, uh, that's me, but what about you guys? You jam, right? I really want to see how that works!"
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Most of the band had taken to Coleen's suggestion like a duck to water. That was good, but Vans was tough to read. Granted, she was tough to read because Coleen was too afraid to look at her directly, but the hardest book to read was one you... uh, couldn't. Couldn't look at. The metaphor kinda fell apart, but there was nothing else to be done, except pray.

Now was the time to watch the band in action, the band that Coleen would hopefully be playing with in short time. It seemed like a fun thing to do and a good way to make friends, something her parents and counselor alike were always badgering her to do. And yet even here she seemingly had made an enemy in Vanessa. Ordinarily such a stressful situation would cause Coleen to back out, hanging her head in apology. Here, however, the damage had already been done and leaving would accomplish nothing. A certain dynamic of peace had already been interrupted; it was something she'd seen before with somebody leaving a leading role and an understudy taking over, but she hadn't been a direct participant in that event. Seeing things from this side of the coin... yeah, it was definitely tough.

Coleen parked her butt on the couch and timidly folded her hands in her lap, resisting the urge to chew on a few stray strands of hair as a nervous tic. She took her eyes off the musicians tuning and setting up their instruments to look at the gear they were using. She was sure they could prove her otherwise, but to her it looked like an expensive and complicated mess of boxes and wires, occasionally featuring a colorful guitar laden with stickers or the drum set that Brady certainly must have used. Even if it was plainly garage band material (or high school 'Battle of the Bands' fare at best), being here and seeing it in such a visceral sense made it appear so much more. Peyote Coyote could just as well be playing to the University of Phoenix Stadium's capacity crowd in Coleen's mind.

She was ready to hear them.
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