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Smoke On Her Face; and hair in her eyes (Peyote Coyote)
Topic Started: Nov 11 2015, 04:22 AM (1,868 Views)
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Mr. Danya
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Vanessa Stone continued from Pitches))

Vanessa was horizontal, sank into the couch with her feet resting on the table, her boots appetisingly placed right next to the chips. She was fiddling with her guitar, strumming a tune that didn’t really go anywhere, as she waited for Cameron to return.

Cams was pretty excited about the new gal she wanted to introduce, whoever it was. Vanessa had been pretty spaced out when she’d brought it up, if she’d brought it up, but it was whatever. Cams had good taste, and although she thought PC had a pretty killer line-up already, she trusted her BFF enough to know a good opportunity when she saw it.

Well, as long as Cams idea wasn’t like, a banjo player or something. There was being experimental, and then there was maintaining the band’s image. Maybe it was a new keyboardist? No harm in having one of those around full time, she reckoned.

So it was that Vanessa didn’t really have any presumptions about what to expect when Coleen was finally pulled down into the basement, not that Vanessa could remember her name. Yeah, it wasn’t the first time she’d seen Coleen (she stuck out, obviously), but the two hadn’t really had any reason to talk much in the past.

Oh well, that’s what nicknames were for.

“Scarface? That’s who you were talking about?”
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Vanessa instantly picked up on Coleen’s embarrassment over the nickname that had been used, though Coleen wasn't exactly making that difficult to do. A wave of awkwardness washed over her when she realised that, no, maybe not everyone wanted to be recognised by their messed up face.

She chose not to say anything, however, as Cameron went around doing introductions, though she offered a nod when she was pointed to. If Coleen had an issue with it, then she’d apologise immediately, but she wasn’t about to make a scene if Coleen didn’t. Just call it a social fuck-up this time, and move on. Maybe Coleen already had.

“Yeah, we go out in the desert and get inspired by all kinds of shit.” She answered for Cameron, getting up off the sofa and stretching out a little. She’d been lying there for almost an hour now. “I drive us out there, we hang around and practice or talk about music or whatever; it’s a pretty kickass way to spend the day.”

She approached the two, giving Coleen a friendly smile in the hopes of disarming any lingering tension. If offense had been taken over the nickname, then it needed to be fixed before it got worse. She wasn’t trying to make her feel uncomfortable or unwelcome, after all.

“So, what do you play, Coleen?”
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Kay, so Coleen was nervous. Fine, no big deal, meeting people wasn’t always easy for everybody, and better that she be a little on edge than acting like she already owned the place. If Cams was trying to bring someone like that into the circle, there would be some serious eyebrow raising going on. Being a little eager to please was much better, by comparison.

Coleen’s preferred style of music did little to wow Vanessa, though. From what she was hearing Coleen was just into preppy artsy stuff, rather than anything that really stuck with you. Hopefully she wasn’t a drama geek looking to look a little bit edgier by moving in on the Coyote's cred, because if she was then she was going find herself in way over her head as soon as they started getting really real.

Whatever, at least she said she was open to new stuff. Again, better to want to get along than say that she was deciding on the band’s new direction.

She had to wonder, though: where had Cams found Coleen? Couldn’t have bumped into her after a gig: Vanessa doubted that Coleen stuck around longer than five minutes at a house party, much less been to the other spots they played at. So what, had Cams been hanging around theatres when she wasn’t looking?

Actually, she was probably better off if that was the case. School had done a great job of killing her interest in drama and plays and all that shit after the fortieth deconstruction of Shakespeare's work, so she wouldn’t complain if she’d been spared sitting through two hours of “Wherefore art thou Romeo”.

So, all that left was Coleen’s weapon of choice on the stage, which was her voice, apparently, since she was a singer.


Wait, what?
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
“Yeah, Scott Walker, Witch Mountain, go knock yourself out with that.” Vanessa muttered without really paying attention, already heading towards Cams. She briefly tapped towards her arm to get her attention, thumbing over to the other side of the room where the two could talk mano a mano.

Once they were out of earshot, Vanessa turned off the friendly face she’d put on for Coleen, making her confusion at what Cams was going for shine through.

“So she seems great and all, but we already have a singer? As in, me?”

And a damn fine singer she was. She was a great frontwoman, in her opinion, and probably the most upfront person in the band. She got the crowd hyped, got the room jumping, really set the stage for Coyote’s music to rock the house. So what was Cams thinking?

“Like, I don’t think we need a full time backup singer? Maybe you wanted to try out one? But we can do way better than someone who’s come from the backstage of Shakespeare or something. I mean I’m not trying to sound like a bitch, I’m just thinking of her and if she’d be a good fit for what we’re doing here.”

Cams had good taste, sure. Didn’t mean she always thought everything through.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
“The fuck is that supposed to mean?!”

When Cameron spoke without thinking, her true thoughts were usually what came out, and this wasn’t the first time Cameron had pissed Vanessa off in this manner. But this particular thoughtlessly barbed comment had stabbed her right in a sensitive nerve with merciless accuracy.

Vanessa was proud of her singing. She liked being a frontwoman, and she was confident in her skills as the face of the band. The fact that it was now coming to light that her best friend disagreed, and felt so strongly about this that she considered the unholy lovechild of the bride of Frankenstein and Shakespeare to be the perfect replacement for her?

Fuck that!

“You got a problem with my singing Cams, then come right out and say it. Don’t fuck around with this whole replacement singer cutesy bullshit!”

She had been shouting this whole time, so of course everyone could hear her. Didn’t matter right now, didn’t matter that Coleen could hear; this had to be settled before anything else, and Cams could be straight with her for once without having to go braindead for half a second to do it.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Suddenly the room had gotten heavier than a ten tonne anvil, as half the people tried to leave and the other half were telling her to calm down.

And that was supposed to be her fault?

‘Hey Vanessa, we know you like being the singer, but you’re a really bad singer so we brought in this random theatre geek you barely know to replace you. That cool with you?’

Cause yeah, everyone and anyone would react well to that. Fuckin’ tactile as fuck.

That said, Brady was right about the yelling not getting anything done. She didn’t calm down, but she did fold her arms in with an aggressive huff, putting on a juvenile pout for good measure. She was pissed off, but that didn’t mean she didn’t give a shit or that she wanted everyone to be pissed at her. She didn't want to look stupid, either, so once in a while it was better to just pause.

“…fine.” She muttered between gritted teeth. “Hey, Coleen.” She called across the room, spotting her trying to head off before they were done here. “If you’re a good singer then let’s hear you sing.”

And no crap stage songs either. If she was going to do what P.C. did then she was going to show that she could sing P.C. style.

“Sing…” she lingered, looking around the room for an idea. A Deep Purple album, lying amongst a dozen others, caught her eye.

“…Smoke on the Water. Sing Smoke on the Water.”

Because everyone had to at least know how that one went, unless they really were just completely out of touch with good music. Hell, she’d even play along if Coleen needed that kind of hand holding.

And if she happened to fuck up or not know the song, then that would just make this that much quicker for everyone.
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Vanessa wore a smug smirk as Coleen whipped out her phone, desperately scrambling for the words to the song. Of course she didn’t know the words to the song; she was probably wiki’ing it right now to get half an idea what they were even talking about.

Christ Cams, you really knew how to pick ‘em.

“You just do you, Coleen. You do you.” She replied in regards to the range of vocals, the sardonic bitterness being as subtle as Vanessa ever had been. How Coleen would choose to do the song would in itself be revealing, but Vanessa was pretty sure it would wind up being some cheesy opera recreation or overly dramatic Broadway bullshit, rather than how the song should’ve sounded: deep, smokey, and with that low bass that was perfect for chilling out to in the evening light.

Looking around the room, the tangible tension was still present, and she couldn’t help but feel that some eyes were on her when they weren’t on Coleen. This was their band, P.C., full of people she would go to war with at the drop of a hat, and because of that she knew when she was getting a dirty look from them. That shit stung, but it did give her pause.

So, did that make it her fault? After all, she was the one who was getting stabbed in the back here, she was the one who was being kicked out of one of her favourite gigs without so much as a consultation first, and by her best friend no less. She was the one getting the shit end of the stick.

Did that justify her being a total btich to Coleen though? Maybe. But then again, maybe not.

“...just do it how you think would sound good.” she repeated, trying her hardest to sound sincere this time, if still not entirely diplomatic or patient. She had to avoid actually looking at Coleen to pull it off.

This was still pretty fucking stupid.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Vanessa folded her arms as Coleen finished her warm-ups. She knew that Cams was side-eyeing her in between giving her new pet project all the happy go-for-it smiles, and BB wasn’t doing much to hide her anxious feelings either. The air really had grown as tense as it had been in a long time.

Again, that was obviously Coleen’s fault.

She did take Vanessa by surprise when she pushed her hair back, putting her messed up face on full display. Seeing the burn clearly for the first time like that put Vanessa at a loss for words. It looked painful, that was the only way she could think of it. If it was any other time, any other context, then Vanessa would actually feel sorry for her, at how getting something like that must've felt and what seeing it in the mirror everyday must've been like.

At that moment though, there was just too much bile clouding her thoughts to accept that she could even consider feeling an iota of sympathy for Coleen.

As Coleen sang on, Vanessa listened. And listened. And listened…

Shit, this was not the dive-bomb she was hoping for.

Her nails dug into her arms as her muscles tensed, the harmonious notes of Coleen’s performance filling the room and swarming around her head. Of course, Vanessa knew she could sing that good. She was a great singer, always had been, and always would be. As far as she cared, her singing was always pitch perfect.

So why did Coleen have to sound this good?

Vanessa wasn’t going to be able to kick her out, tell her to piss off and then ask Cams just what the hell she was thinking. Her opinon about her own signing aside, she still had enough musical experience to recognise actual vocal talent when she heard it. This wasn’t just some theatre geek trying to cash in on the band’s cred: Coleen actually knew what she was doing.

Fucking Bullshit.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Coleen was done, and so were any chances of getting rid of her.

Vanessa could’ve egged her to keep going, demanded that she finished what she start and not skip an opportunity to fuck up in front of everyone, but that was stupid and she knew it. The room was still reeling from that performance that had blown all of Vanessa’s expectations to shit, and trying to force the vibe to change by getting the music going again would solve fuck all.

Her nails were still digging into her arms, tensing tighter and tighter.

Coleen hadn’t even messed up on the words. She’d only needed to see the song once to know the whole thing, whilst it took her like four tries to even get through the first verse sometimes. Hell, even she couldn’t remember how Smoke on the Water was actually meant to go without reading the lyrics again first, but from sound alone Coleen seemed to have nailed it.

No, no way. She must’ve skipped a line or dropped some words or made some of that shit up. That was the only thing that made more sense.

But she knew that she wasn’t true, and her nails tensed tighter and tighter.

Everyone else in the room looked pretty damn impressed, too. Of course Cams was all smiles, Cams must’ve had the fucking hots for this girl or something with how much she loved Coleen more than Vanessa suddenly. BB was just doing that thing she always did, hanging back and acting all diplomatic, but all she was really doing was staying out of it. Didn’t matter, she knew that she liked Coleen too: BB always did have a thing for freaks. And she didn’t even need to look at Brady to guess that he was all smiles by then, too.

Everyone liked her more than her, and she was going to get shafted right there and then.

She was trembling, and her nails tensed tighter and tighter.

Blood was drawn.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
“Oh, ok.”

She was staring wide-eyed at Cameron now, having completely ignored BB’s request. All the praise of Coleen’s singing had turned into angry white noise until the moment that her “best friend” stuck her face in front of hers and tried to apologise for the gaping stab wound nestled between her shoulder blades.

“As long as you’re SORRY.”

Her expression had turned as stormy as her voice: sharp, gritty, and barely stable in tone, like a badly tuned guitar with strings that had been left too loose. A red filter was starting to creep over her thoughts, and she was trembling more and more by the second.

She needed to get out before she did something she'd regret.

“Oh, hey, look at that! My phone’s ringing!” she practically screamed, pulling the dead silent device out of her pocket, pointedly holding it next to her ear. “Hello? Hi! Yeah! I’m just leaving now! Bye!”

“Welp, this has been fucking fantastic, Cams! Really! But I’ve gotta go!”

She made a move for her guitar and case, picking them up in unison. “Thanks so fucking much for this, Cams! Thanks for being so fucking considerate about this whole thing!”

“And thank you, Coleen, for gracing me with your fucking singing! Hope you like the gig, because I sure as hell fucking did!”

She was halfway up the stairs when she turned back one more time, looking Cameron dead in the eye.

“Just in case that wasn’t clear? FUCK YOU, CAMS.”

And then she was out the door.

((Vanessa Stone continued in Said and Done))
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