I pull my hair into a half ponytail, half bun, slipping on much hated glasses to try and make more sense of the notes I've written on this paper.
Lots of high notes, with an underlying base of a deep tap, tap, tap.
Footsteps, one might say.
A metronome? A beat? A march?
Two sets of footsteps, I think I was trying to get across.
The notes are high, but not too high, confined to the staff.
No ledger lines to raise them to a higher being, nothing to help them become more than an F to an E.
Why was that again?
I hum through the tune and being back the subtle tapping of footsteps.
I'd written the song on telephone wires, not enough imagination to let those notes soar into the stars.
I catch myself going to adjust my glasses, to push them up on my nose victoriously.
I let my hand fall before I can and tap my pencil methodically on my desk.
What is the subject of this serenade?
A lover, one might say.
The moon? Law? The nighttime air? Birds that were on the telephone wire of which became my staff paper?
None are quite right.
If not a lover, then what?
We'll call him an almost lover.
Names are usually a big no-no from big scary managers.
Keep it vague. I'd also like to protect him from the public, if possible. So no names.
Thats okay, I'll just use pronouns.
Though I am so itching to make sure he at least knows the song is for him.
"For my God of music," I hum. "For my muse? For Justice. For Justice!"
"For justice," I murmur, scribbling it down. "Keep with the law theme, piano, keep with it."
I scrunch up my nose and tap my forefinger against my thigh.
"Where have I heard that?"
My empty apartment doesn't reply.
"Keep with the law theme, piano," I repeat, curling my lips over the words. "Law theme, piano. Piano. Oh."
I laugh bitterly at myself.
And I push it aside and keep working.
"For justice, keep with it, keep with it." I nod, tapping my feet and fidgeting with my pen. "Bring-god, Jesus Christ."
I swallow and shed the glasses, tucking them in the drawer where they belong.
"Play piano on your thighs under the table," I whisper fondly. "That's stupid. Not that."
"Okay, pia-okay Klavier. If he was here what would you say? Nothing, because you're a coward. Okay if you had confidence and he actually liked you, what would you say?"
I rub my eyes and laugh, bitter poison in my mouth.
"You still wouldn't say jack shit. You'd say, 'This is the first time I've felt this way with a man' you'd wink and play with him and disconnect yourself. So write that down for your serenade to someone untouchable. Serenade to the Sun."
So I do.
Serenade to the Sun is a single, the first bit of music I've put out since...everything.
It sings, it laments-of cowardice and longing and burning and passion and maybe a little of love.
It's a hit, predictably.
I hate the song.
Every time I hear it I want to throw up, all I can hear is how desperate and pathetic I am. On the bright side, my Sun seems to kind of enjoy it. At least he doesn't hate it, and at least he doesn't know it's about him.
"Klavier Gavin, you don't usually write love songs, so what prompted this?"
"Footsteps," I respond vaguely, snapping my fingers. "A pair of footsteps on an autumn night, chill in the air."
"You wrote a serenade to the sun during the night?"
"Ja, well you see, my Herr Sun, he shines especially bright at night, besides, the moon only is visible because of the sun anyways." I shake myself out of a whatever mood I was just in. "Sorry, I can't take anymore questions. I have a trial about to begin."
I knew the defendant was innocent today, knew it the moment I saw who was on defense. Still, I fought as valiantly as I could muster, even as I wrote more music, my staff paper this time being replaced by the creases in his forehead.
I should tell him he'll get premature wrinkles if he keeps worrying this much.
I shouldn't tell him the truth, that I want to smooth those wrinkles with my thumb and kiss them down.
I walk out of the courtroom humming the beginning of another song, more about my Herr Sun.
At this rate, maybe I'll be able to put out a whole album for him.
Wouldn't the media just eat that up?
I wonder how borderline I can get.
Can I cite a forbidden attraction without people realizing what I mean?
Obviously, people are very incompetent. They'll assume "Guilty Love".
An angel looking like a devil?
I may be the only one who thinks he's an angel, and I'm the only one who ever will if he doesn't change that hairdo.
No names, can't talk about his profession.
I could use Herr Forehead, no one but him would know.
Yet...no one but him would know.
I self consciously start pulling up my hair, before realizing too late I don't have anything to hold it up with.
"Here, Prosecutor Gavin," Ema sniffs, pulling up her coat to reveal an arm of colorful hair ties. "I have some extra."
"Thanks Ema," I murmur, going for the neon pink one.
"Don't think this means we're friends, fop." She clears her throat. "It's just a hair tie."
"Whatever," I mutter, pulling my hair into a high ponytail.
"But seriously, who's Herr Sun?"
"Didn't know you liked my music, thought it was too glimmerous for you."
She sticks her nose up, "If you didn't notice, Serenade to the Sun is way different than anything you've ever written before. It's actually good."
"Well, Detective Skye, you'll fine out who Herr Sun is when we become friends, a.k.a, quoth you, 'when hell freezes over'. Thanks for the hair tie, I'm going to head home now."
Do I wish we were friends?
I don't know, I wish I had any friends at all, so maybe it's desperation!
Ema Skye's repeated insistence we aren't friends and she hates me does nothing to heal the wounds of losing everyone I ever cared about in the span of a few months.
No, I don't really wish we were friends.
I wish I wasn't alone, though, and that's close enough.
Quoth the Ravenous is the next song I write. I write it fully intending Ema to know it's about her.
I plead innocent to every crime she has ever accused of me and hope she feels guilty when she hears it.
Keep with the law theme, piano...
Now I'm trying to capture that court trial perfectly, something lilting, every theme fleeting, everything always moving and changing.
Loud and frantic.
I title it "Objection" and wonder if he'll know it's about him without realizing the serenade is about him too.
"Fuck, fuck, fuck!"
I tug at my hair, tugging pieces loose from the bun.
I just take it down completely, setting the neon pink hair tie on my desk.
"Herr Sun," I murmur. "I wish it was only you."
Keep at it. Keep fighting, you are strong, you can do it. Keep with it, keep with it, keep with it.
"I get it!" I shout at my desk. "I get it! He was a good brother and I love him! But he's not a good brother anymore and he's not a good person anymore! So whatever the hell is going on in my mind needs to fuck off so I can write this album and take a break."
I sit back down, unaware I had stood up at all.
"Piano, my dear brother, you've got to forget," I sing brokenly.
I can't do this, I can't write a song about him...
"You know what has to be done," I spit. "Fine!"
A few hours later finds me in a recording booth.
"This track is titled 'Fuck' and I'm not happy about recording it at all, but my manager said I had to. So fuck."
I feel like I've tied up lose ends.
Thusly comes an instrumental piece, originally meant to be composed digitally or with an orchestra, I decide against it.
I play it on my piano and record it just like that, no fancy studio, just a voice recording on my phone while I play piano.
My manager hates it at first, but eventually she gives it and says it's a good "raw" piece that fans will eat up.
It's titled "Chapter One" and at least I know I'll be privy to what it's really about.
I catch him on a bad day, crying as he slams the door in my face and the next song is another loose end.
Everyone will know who this is about, and that's perfect.
I hope Clay would've liked being immortalized in song like this.
This album is a mess, there's no focal point and not all the songs are for myself.
So I decide, screw it.
In an attempt to capture the feeling perfectly, the background is dark and foreboding, and the lyrics sweet and careful.
Salt and Magic
Upbeat and slow with a weird theme of noodles.
It speaks for itself.
The last three songs in my album are about him.
"Objection" wasn't about him. It was about that almost lover, disconnected and vague.
These last three songs follow an order.
The first is Interest.
Herr Horns and Fräulein Magician. It's slow and bored, until a jarring like, spoke with no music;
"I've never felt this way with a man before."
Then there's a slow build, a giant crescendo before the song just stops before we hit the top.
The second is Falling.
This is Herr Sun, beginning with the top of the crescendo of the other song before it.
It's loud and boisterous, it's happy and curious and shy all in one.
It's an absolute frenzy, as falling in love should be.
It abruptly cuts off at the end, instruments all cutting off at random.
There are ten seconds of complete silence at the end before the next song.
The last in this trilogy, the last in the album, is Let Me Breathe.
Very simply, there is no accompaniment. No beat in the background.
Like I've stuck in headphones and am singing to an invisible beat. It's less of a song and more of a plea.
"Herr Forehead, I wish it was only you, Herr Almost Lover I wish you would call yourself mine, Herr Justice I don't want to keep with it and you helped me diverge from that path, Herr Sun, Herr Sun do you hear the lament in my voice and do you hear the beat I'm alluding?"
There's a gasp I take here, it's a shaky, trembling breath in.
"Herr Sun let me breathe."
I title the album "Piano" and the cover is my hands in the middle of playing "Chapter One".
I release it without permission from my manager and turn off my phone for a week while I camp out in my apartment and listen and re listen to my own album.
"Quoth the ravenous," I murmur to myself, picking at the hair tie on my wrist. "Ema deserves better than that."
But that's just how this album is.
It's imperfect in every way, captures almost nothing accurately besides my own impulsive feelings.
Such as dropping said album at midnight without telling anyone.
For the first time in a week I check my phone.
Manager, head of marketing, old Gavineers, Apollo, Herr E-
He left a singular voicemail.
"Who the fuck confesses their love in an album?! Who does that?! The next time I see you I'm going to kiss the hell out of you. Is Fuck about Kristoph? Also your manager said to get you out of your apartment and you also have to take me out on a date, but priorities. I swear if you let reporters get to you before me I'll never forgive you...Call me back ASAP, okay?"
My finger twitches and I'm calling Apollo back.
"It's been a week Klavier Gavin you better have a damn good excuse-"
"I've been wallowing in self deprecation."
"Pleasant. Go out with me."
"Is that a request or a command?"
"Don't play coy with me now!"
"Come to my apartment, I'll make you noodles."
Apollo sighs, but it's too playful, "And you'll kiss the hell out of me right-?"
"Straightforward, aren't you Herr Sun?" I cough, trying to cover up how embarrassed I am.
"Is that a yes or a no?"
Apollo laughs and I perk up.
"Okay, hot stuff."
Laughter fades and suddenly it's just the sound of us breathing.
"In response to...all this. I love you too."
"You shouldn't be."
"Nein, Apollo, I should've just told you normally. It was childish to confess like this."
"Well, it's okay. It was actually romantic."
"Ja," he imitates. "It was good."
"Thanks, it means a lot."
It's only after I hang up that I realize how much of an idiot I was.
I wasn't scared to tell Apollo I love him, that's the easy part. I was always more afraid of rejection. Though I should've just taken the chance, live a little.
At least now we have the best "how we got together" story.