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The Phantom Rangers

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Power Ranger teams have fought against evil for centuries, protecting the lives of millions of innocent people. Now with a new enemy rising, threatening to destroy the world as we know it, a new team must rise up and defend humans from a new threat. With the help of the legendary rangers this team must learn what it really means to be Power Ranger. They are: The Power Rangers: Phantom Force!

 

Julie woke up to the very sound of her phone alarm shrilling in the air. She groaned, then reached her arm out to shut the offensive device off before her brother took it upon  himself to break into her room and turn it off himself. Her heart was heavy with grief as her dream washed over her in waves. She didn’t just dream last night, she saw memories. Happy memories from when her mom was still alive.

 

Them playing music together in the studio, Julie’s fingers fumbling over new chords. Julie’s first piano concert, she played Somewhere Over The Rainbow, her mom smiling proudly at her from the audience. Halloween where Flynn would join the Molina’s in a group costume, they were the Power Rangers one year, an assortment of Toy Story characters the next… 

 

Someone knocked on her door, pulling Julie out of her thoughts. She buttoned up her pajama shirt before climbing out of her bed to open her bedroom door to reveal her dad. He smiled at her, obviously having a good day. “Good morning! Breakfast is downstairs if you have time to eat,” he said pointing his thumb over his shoulder “I can drop you, Carlos, and Flynn off at school then my day is swamped with editing jobs.” Julie smiled back, but couldn’t help but worry her dad was stretching himself too thin. He did that sometimes, especially after her mom died. Julie slid her feet into her bear claw slippers and crossed the room, hugging her dad in thanks.

 

“Is it okay if I hang out with Flynn at Ernie’s after school today?” She asked, hoping he’d say yes. Ernie’s was the local place. The building was run down, but the owner, Ernie, sold really good fro-yo. Plus he had a small stage pushed to one side of the room, used for open mic nights Julie used to perform there all the time before her mom died… Without her mom there to cheer her on, Julie’s motivation for music disappeared. When her mom first got sick Flynn started taking Julie out for fro-yo to distract her from the world. They both quickly became good friends with Ernie, the man always offered them a free scoop, but Julie always made sure to pay him by the time she and Flynn left. Her dad nodded,

 

“Sure, but Tia will be here when you get back. She’s watching Carlos for me tonight, and said something about bringing a casserole for dinner.” Julie bit back a groan, she loved her Tia, but the woman’s casseroles often solidified into a glob of pasta and whatever else was in it. The sound of a plate shattering sounded up the stairs and her dad let out a tired sounding sigh. “I’ll go help your brother, get ready quickly okay?” He asked, and Julie gave him a thumbs up. He shut the door behind him.

 

“It’s okay,” Julie said to herself as she eyed the trunk of her mom’s old clothes. “One day at a time, right?” She asked, bypassing the old trunk and digging in her closet for a sweatshirt. Her eyes were pulled to the back of the closet, to a shoebox stuffed with things from her friendship with Carrie. Old half-finished songs, movie ticket stubs and pictures from dance recitals.

 

The image of five people fighting weird monster-looking things flashed in her mind.

 

Julie blinked, and she was back in her closet. “Weird,” Julie muttered as she pulled on a purple sweatshirt. Something deep inside her stirred, like her soul was waking up, trying to tell her something. The feeling was warm, wrapping around her heart, protecting her. Julie shivered slightly, suddenly uncomfortable in her own skin. She checked her messages and rolled her eyes at the comically long strand of emojis Flynn sent after a picture of two cups of coffee.

 

Julie: Good morning to you too!

 

Flynn: Did your dad say we can hang out at Ernie’s after school?

 

Julie: Yeah! We’ll pick you up for school soon.

 

Flynn: Bring me a few pancakes.

 

Julie threw her phone into her backpack and grabbed the strap. Slinging her bag over her shoulder, Julie braced herself for the day to come. Her footsteps thudded on the stairs and she got to the kitchen in time to see her dad throw a pile of glass into the trash. “Everything okay?” Julie asked, eyeing Carlos to make sure he wasn’t physically hurt. Her dad nodded then reached over the counter to hand her a stack of pancakes.

 

“Yeah, mijo just dropped a glass. Nothing end of the world worthy,” her dad said with a wink. 

 

“Hurry up and eat will you?” Carlos asked, obsessing over something on his tablet. “I promised my friend Kevin that we’d go Power Ranger hunting before school started.” Julie looked to her dad.

 

“He’s still in that Power Rangers phase?” Julie asked, her dad nodded and crossed his arms, leaning against the counter. It was cute at first, Carlos taking up a new hobby in researching all things Power Rangers. Personally, Julie didn’t believe in all the ranger lore, if some sort of all-knowing force was in control of the universe, why didn’t it help heal her mom before the cancer got too far? Carlos was obsessed though, trying to figure out how the rangers worked, who was a part of which teams, why certain cities had teams and others didn’t. She watched as it slowly became a coping method for her little brother, even if he wasn’t aware of it himself.

 

“He’s right here you know,” Carlos said through a mouthful of food. They quickly finished their breakfasts, and piled into the car. Julie texted Flynn and soon her friend joined them in the van, climbing into the back seat next to her.

 

----

 

“You know how Homecoming’s at the end of the month?” Flynn asked as Julie spun the dial on her locker. They’ve had this debate before, Flynn wanted to go for the food, but Julie argued they would have to spend the whole night watching horny teenagers grind on each other and suck face all night. There was always the next dance, Julie argued trying to put off the debate for another day.

 

“I told you, I’m not going to some stupid school dance just to spend the whole time watching Carrie fondle some poor dude.” Julie said, grabbing her textbooks. Flynn rolled her eyes,

 

“Well you’re going to want to go now Jules,” she said, looking at something past Julie. Julie sighed and turned around to see what Flynn was looking at. Her eyes widened and she reached out to grab the dance flyer off the locker next to hers.

 

“They got Sunset Curve to play at the Homecoming dance?” Julie asked, voice pitching when she said the band’s name. Since before Sunset Curve got their name out there, Julie had been crushing hard on Luke Patterson. He was way out of her league though, and he was in the music program like them. He was so talented , but a year above them, so he probably had no idea she even existed. Especially after she avoided anything that had to do with music for a full year. Flynn just grinned at her,

 

“That means Luke Patterson will be there, and you can finally grow a pair and ask him out!” She exclaimed. Julie could already see the gears turning in her friend’s head. As if on cue, Luke and the rest of his guys in his band walked past. Julie blushed when Luke smiled at her, paying more attention to his sleeve allergy than anything else. His muscle shirt today was a white band shirt, Rush , was written on it in red decals.

 

“He is dreamy isn’t he?” Julie asked, leaning against the lockers as she watched Luke turn the corner and walk out of sight. “Those little golden flecks in his eyes, and the way his cheeks wrinkle when he smiles.” Julie sighed dreamily, a wide smile stretched across her face. “And those arms Flynn, his arms ,” Julie said, wrapping her own around her chest. Flynn snapped her fingers in front of her face,

 

“Hello! Earth to Julie!” Flynn said, a smirk growing on her face. Julie jumped when Flynn slammed her locker shut, pulling her back down to the real world. Julie glared at Flynn,

 

“You aren’t going to meddle in my love life are you?” She asked accusingly, thinking of the time in fifth grade when Flynn sent Julie’s crush a note that said will you go out with me, marked with three boxes labeled as yes, totally, absolutely . Flynn claimed she rigged it, but Julie was just embarrassed by the whole thing. The school bell rang out and Flynn wrapped an arm around Julie’s shoulders and they both walked to the music room together.

 

They both sat in the back of the class, watching as the rest of their class performed their solos. When it was Flynn’s turn, she played a DJ track she spent weeks programming. Reggie, the bassist for Sunset Curve, had played a country song on a banjo. He wore a yellow flannel, his signature leather jacket tied across his chest. Reggie winked at one of the girls in class making her giggle. He had a good voice for the country, Julie noted, it had the right sort of twang to it. She couldn’t help but wonder why Sunset Curve didn’t let him sing more country during their gigs. It definitely looked like something he enjoyed doing, but as far as Julie could tell he only played his banjo for class assignments. He wrapped up the song, sustaining the last note and the class clapped for him. Julie glanced at Carrie, who was acting like the entire performance was below her. “Right,” Ms. Harrison as Reggie sat back in his seat. “Everyone’s performances have been impressive so far today! Julie Molina?” She asked, and Julie looked down at her feet, wishing the floor would swallow her up whole. “Are you ready?” Julie nodded in response, and tried to gather the strength she needed to play again. It was hard, just so hard to play without her mom there cheering her on. Julie was on thin ice with the music program though, and if she didn’t play today she was going to get kicked out of the thing she spent her entire life shooting for.

 

“You got this!” Flynn whispered, giving her a double thumbs up. Julie slid onto the piano bench, lightly placing her fingers on the keys. A few snickers sounded from her classmates, like they knew she was going to fail. You can do this, Julie thought, trying to get her fingers to play. Come on, you can do this! Julie’s hands started to shake, and she knew she was going to fail. Her eyes filled with tears as Carrie made a sarcastic comment about clapping. Julie choked back a sob and wiped her tears off on her sweatshirt sleeve. She shot her teacher an apologetic glance before bolting out of the classroom. She heard a pair of footsteps follow her out and ducked her head into a trash can just in time for her to throw up the bile rising in her throat.

 

“Julie!” Flynn exclaimed, immediately reaching out to hold her hair back for her. Julie shook as she leaned against the wall and sunk to the ground next to the trash can. Flynn sat next to her, a silent supportive force in the chaos of Julie’s life. Flynn was her best friend, she was always there for Julie when she needed her, and Julie was always there for Flynn.

 

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Julie said hoarsely when she finally found her voice again. Flynn hummed in response, then wrapped an arm around Julie’s shoulders.

 

“Fine, but we’re still getting fro-yo after school right?” Flynn asked, eyes still shining with concern. Julie shook her head,

 

“No I - I should probably go home.” Flynn frowned, looking slightly disappointed. She didn’t say anything though, and they settled into a comfortable silence. “Tia’s coming over tonight, wants me to start cleaning out the studio… said it’ll help me move on,” Julie said resting her head on Flynn’s shoulder. Flynn sighed,

 

“It sucks that you guys still have to move.” She said, wrapping Julie’s hand in hers. Julie hummed in response, eternally grateful that Flynn was such a good friend. The school bell rang in the hallways, making both of them startle out of the comfortable silence they settled into. Julie and Flynn helped each other up and watched as students filled the halls. “Let’s just get through the day, yeah? I’ll meet you for lunch?” Flynn asked, still petty about the fact that the only class they shared together was the first hour of the day. Julie nodded and they exchanged a complicated handshake.

 

“I’ll be there,” Julie promised, giving Flynn a hug. Flynn wrapped a hand around Julie’s wrist, finger running over the friendship bracelet they made when they were ten. Julie let out a weak sounding chuckle as she remembered the day the made it.

“Hey,” Flynn said, tipping Julie’s chin up. “You’re strong okay? You can do this.” Julie nodded and gave Flynn one last hug.

 

“I know, you won’t let me forget it,” Julie said with a smile before walking in the direction of her next class.

 

The rest of the day went by without incident, but that didn’t mean Julie wasn’t on edge. By lunch she was itching to see Flynn again to complain about the amount of chemistry homework her teacher assigned. She was a music student, why she still had to take STEM classes Julie would never know. 

 

The cafeteria was always daunting, but even more so after her breakdown during music class. Rumors of her breakdown grew through the gossip grape vine, and soon enough she wasn’t able to get anywhere without a few people snickering at her. Ignore them , Julie thought to herself as she wrapped her arms around her chest. Julie was three tables away from the one she and Flynn shared when suddenly she tripped over a backpack, landing on the gross cafeteria floor with a grunt. “Oh my god, are you alright?” Someone asked, Julie turned around to see Luke Patterson’s concerned eyes (did they always have those little golden and hazel flecks in them?). Julie tried to say yes, I’m fine thanks for asking, like a normal person, but instead what came out of her mouth was,

 

“Uh - you - I - Reggie - class.” Luke let out a laugh, the sound warm in Julie’s heart. He reached out and Julie took his hand, letting him pull her back up. Reggie smiled at her apologetically.

 

“Sorry about this,” Reggie said, not at all acting like the confident country singer Julie saw in class. Julie shook her head with a smile on her face.

 

“Don’t uh - worry about it,” Julie said, awkwardly starting to play with her hair. Reggie smiled back at her, realizing she wasn’t upset at him. Luke smiled at Julie, still holding her hand. Julie chuckled nervously, dropping Luke’s hand. Her nose felt warmer and she realized she was starting to blush. Luke sat back down at his seat, between Reggie and the drummer from their band. “Luke, right?” She asked, trying to play it cool. Luke nodded then lightly shoved Reggie’s shoulder.

 

“This dude here said you’re the legendary Julie Molina,” Luke said with a dopey looking smile on his face. Julie winced, hoping Luke didn’t read too much into gossip and rumors. “You were one of the best performers in sophomore year last year!” He exclaimed. Right, Julie thought, Reggie was in my performing arts class last year too. At least he didn’t seem to believe the rumors Carrie was spreading about Julie being a talentless hack taking advantage of the school’s policies.

 

“Yeah, that was me,” Julie said, trying to find where Flynn was. They were supposed to meet up ten minutes ago. “I played piano and sang, and auditioned with an original song.” She didn’t know why she was telling Luke, but something about him felt… safe. Like, when he helped pull her up the stars aligned and they were destined to meet. Luke frowned,

 

“Why’d you stop playing?” He asked, looking like a confused puppy dog. Why did all the cute ones have to be so dumb? Julie thought as she shifted her eyes to the ground, staring at her feet.

 

“My mom, she was the one who pushed for me to connect to the music, to the audience… but she died last year. I was going to meet with someone during lunch, excuse me,” Julie said, pushing past Luke. Her eyes threatened to spill with tears but she refused to have two breakdowns in the same day. Blinking her eyes she held back the waterworks then sagged into her usual seat next to Flynn.

 

“Did you just have a conversation with Luke Patterson?” Flynn asked, staring at the direction of Sunset Curve’s lunch table. “Julie, he’s still looking at you,” Flynn said, giving Luke a small wave. Julie groaned, embarrassment flooding under her skin.

 

“Flynn, don’t make this a big deal,” Julie said, trying to tame her friend before she did anything Julie was going to regret. Flynn gasped,

 

“Okay, now you have to go to the dance. It’s this Friday, tickets are still available!” She exclaimed, pointing at the ticket table at the entrance of the cafeteria. Julie shook her head,

 

“No way Flynn, I’m not going to Homecoming.” Julie snuck a look back at Luke’s table and saw that he was, in fact, still staring at her with those dumb dreamy doe eyes. Julie let out a soft giggle when Luke winked at her. Ducking her head Julie turned back around to see Flynn with her arms crossed and eyebrows raised. Julie caved with a dramatic sigh, “fine, I’ll buy a ticket.” Flynn punched her fist in the air in victory,

 

“Yes!” Julie glared at her as Flynn pushed her to the ticket table.

 

“I’m not promising I’m going to like it though,” Julie warned. Flynn didn’t seem to care, she just waved her hand towards the ticket table. Walked across the cafeteria to buy her ticket, then almost immediately turned back around when she saw Carrie was sitting on the other side. Julie braced herself for the insults Carrie was sure to have thought of beforehand, and approached the table under Dirt Candy’s scrutinizing glare. Carrie’s eyes narrowed as Julie pulled out her wallet and used the money Tia gave her at the start of the year for the prom ticket. It’s a magical night mija, Tia said wistfully, I remember Rose’s and I’s first proms. Ooh that football player knew how to move! Julie placed the cash on the table, and Carrie begrudgingly shoved her money into the money box and handed Julie a prom ticket. With a sickly smile Carrie said,

 

“Hope you have a good time at prom Molina.” Julie slid her ticket into her wallet and walked away. She couldn’t help but tense when Carrie called out, “if you’re still around here to go to it!” Julie tensed, suddenly fed up with having to put up with this… New Carrie. Julie whipped around, fists balled at her side.

 

“What is your problem ?” Julie demanded, walking right back up to the ticket table. She pushed aside a few of the people waiting in the line. Carrie just rolled her shoulders back and crossed her arms. “We used to be friends Carrie, remember that?” Carrie’s eyes glanced to the growing crowd around them. Good, maybe now Julie will finally get some answers.

 

“I wouldn’t expect you to understand Molina,” Carrie said curtly. Her Dirty Candy girls backed her up, but Julie didn’t care. By now a small crowd of people arced around them, watching like they were a cage match, placing bets on who was going to throw the first punch. Out of the corner of her eye Julie saw Luke and his band in the crowd, Flynn standing near them. “Get out of the way so we can sell more tickets,” Carrie said, voice dangerously low. Her eyes narrowed and she leaned forward on the table, nails clacking against the surface. Suddenly a rush of strength surged through Julie’s body, rising straight from her core. She pulled her fist back, and slammed it into the table, splitting it in two. Carrie backed up in surprise, eyes wide in a mix of shock and fear. Julie moved to throw another punch at Carrie, but Luke was suddenly behind her, pinning her arms back as she growled and hissed at the girl who used to be her best friend.

 

“Let me go!” Julie shouted, surprised at how angry she was. Luke didn’t let her go though, and she collapsed into his chest, the burst of energy gone. “I’m sorry,” Julie said softly looking at the destruction she caused. The solid metal table now had an indent of her fist stuck in the middle of it. “I’m sorry,” Julie said again, apparently only able to repeat things. She turned into Luke’s chest and he wrapped his arms around her. No wonder he has a sleeve allergy, Julie thought, he’s practically a space heater. Trapped here, in the safety of Luke’s arms she could pretend that her world wasn’t burning down.

 

“What happened here?” A teacher asked, breaking through the crowd. Julie didn’t turn her head, she couldn’t bear to see the look of disappointment on his face.

 

“It wasn’t her fault!” Reggie called out, the rest of the crowd scampered when Doctor Oliver showed up, but Sunset Curve and Flynn stayed behind. Julie felt Flynn’s familiar touch wrap around her arm.

 

“They egged her on Doctor Oliver!” Carrie exclaimed, flipping the story. “They were trying to bully me!” Carrie’s girls spoke up behind her, making up stories about what went down. Julie pulled away from Luke’s arms, exhausted by the burst of power she felt. Doctor Oliver sighed, then looked at Julie and the others. His eyes flickered between Luke and Julie, then Reggie and Alex. Luke shifted, taking a few steps between Julie and Dirty Candy. Doctor Oliver seemed to see something Julie didn’t, and his eyes widened in realization. “Aren’t you going to give them a detention or something?” Carrie asked, swishing her hair back and forth. To Julie’s surprise Doctor Oliver shook his head.

 

“No, because I know how to tell when someone’s trying to lie to me. Julie, you and your friends are free to go,” Doctor Oliver said, running a hand through his hair. He looked a lot more stressed out than before, and Julie couldn’t help but feel like it was partially her fault. Carrie scoffed in disbelief. Defeated, her heels clicked against the tiled floor as her Dirty Candy girls followed suit. Doctor Oliver looked at Luke strangely then said, “you’re Luke Patterson? Lead singer of Sunset Curve?” Luke nodded and Julie watched  as he shuffled his feet. Reggie walked forward and slung an arm around Luke’s forward,

 

“You bet he is! We’re going to be legends!” Doctor Oliver smiled sadly, like they reminded him of a bittersweet memory.

 

“I’m sure you're going to be more than legends,” Doctor Oliver said before pulling out his phone and walking away from them. Flynn hugged Julie, squeezing her tightly and lifting her in the air.

 

“Don’t you dare scare me like that again!” Flynn exclaimed, punching Julie’s shoulder. Julie nodded as she rubbed the spot on her arm that Flynn hit.

 

“That was weird wasn’t it?” Luke asked, staring at Doctor Oliver’s retreating back. Julie shrugged,

 

“He’s a weird teacher. Last month he took his class on an expedition dig even though he was teaching World History.” She turned to Luke, suddenly wanting to feel safe in his arms again. “Thank you, for your help,” Julie said, trying not to mix up her words this time. Luke nodded and gave her one of his signature dopey smiles.

 

“Of course, I couldn’t let a fellow music legend take the heat,” Luke said. Julie noted the ten dollar bill Reggie handed to Alex behind Luke’s back.

 

“How do you know I’m a music legend?” Julie asked, Flynn backing her up. “You’ve never even heard me play.” Luke let out a laugh,

 

“I watched the final performances last year, you sounded amazing. Maybe you’re not playing music right now, but you will again. And when you do the music industry isn’t doing to be ready for it,” his eyes sparkled in the light, those damn golden flecks were back again. Julie’s brain short circuited and she knew she wouldn’t be able to form coherent sentences. Luckily Flynn knew her well enough to know when Julie couldn’t speak.

 

“Julie says thank you,” Flynn said, and Julie could tell she was positively cracking up on the inside. “And that she’s excited to see Sunset Curve perform at Homecoming this weekend.” Luke just ended up looking like an adorably confused puppy dog and Julie wanted to hug him again. Before she could do anything else embarrassing Flynn’s grip wrapped like a vice around Julie’s arm and she pulled her away from Luke.

 

After what was dubbed as the ‘cafeteria incident’ Julie started to notice Luke in the hallway more. He waited for her by her locker (how he got her locker number she’d never know) and he’d walk her to class, sometimes Alex or Reggie would tag along if they weren’t busy doing something else. She learned that Luke had been playing music since he was five, and his parents bought him his first guitar. Julie told Luke that she always loved music, that besides Flynn, Sunset Curve’s music was what helped her get through her mother’s death. She noted Doctor Oliver watching them from time to time, not lurking… more like he was curious about them. She didn’t understand why though, they were both in the music program and neither of them had him as a teacher. Flynn did though, and when Julie texted her about Doctor Oliver’s strange behavior she texted back saying he didn’t seem weird during her class session. By the time their last bell rang Julie found out Luke was a really easy person to talk too… and Luke liked listening to her ramble. He wasn’t Flynn, a best friend she’d known her whole life… he was different. Different like some outside force pulled and pushed at them like a magnet’s attraction. Different like when they collided with each other during lunch their meeting was designed by fate itself.

 

“Thank you,” Julie said, sitting at the piano in the music room. Luke was toying with a new melody for a Sunset Curve song, Bright, Luke had said to Julie when she asked about it. Like the hope you bring whenever you smile and light up the room. He stopped strumming and turned to face her,

 

“I know we just met,” Luke said slowly, like he didn’t want to overstep any boundaries. “But I feel like this was supposed to happen. Is that crazy?” he asked. Julie nodded as he walked across the room, sitting right next to her on the piano bench. He slung his guitar against his back, closing the small distance between them. Luke reached out and lightly cupped her face, she smiled at him, leaning into his touch.

 

“I know what you mean. It feels like… missing puzzle pieces finally slid into place.” Julie said, leaning closer to him. The chemistry in the air was electric, sparks flying between them. Then Luke’s phone rang, and the moment was gone just as fast as it happened. Luke muttered a strand of cuss words and Julie raised an eyebrow at him. “My aunt would have half a mind to wash your mouth out with soap.” Luke laughed,

 

“Remind me to never meet your aunt then,” he said as he checked the caller ID. He grimaced then looked at her apologetically, “it’s Reggie, I should probably take this. We were going to meet up after school ended.” Julie nodded at him,

 

“I get it, you can answer it.” Luke smiled at her then slid his thumb across his phone to answer the call. “Hey Reg, I promise I’ll be -” Julie could hear Reggie’s voice, sounding rushed and chaotic… like something was wrong. Luke’s eyebrows furrowed with worry and she grew more concerned. “ Son of a bitch! ” Luke shouted, loud enough to make Julie jump in surprise. “He’s safe though, right? He’s at the studio?” Luke asked, rushing around the music room to pack his backpack up. “No, stay on the phone - Reg, I don’t care if you have to tie him to my couch,” Luke said, worry seeping into his voice. “Keep him in the studio, my eta is fifteen minutes.” Julie tossed him  his songbook,

 

“Here!” She exclaimed, throwing it to him from the piano. Luke caught it and shoved it in his bag. He zipped up his backpack and shouldered it, snapping his guitar shut into its place. “Luke,” Julie said, grabbing his arm. Luke was shaking, his eyes darting around the room like he couldn’t focus on anything. “Luke, what is it?” Julie asked, running a hand through his hair. The movement seemed to help him calm down a little bit, so she continued to repeat it.

 

“Alex, it’s Alex. His parents found out about something they weren’t supposed to know. He’s at the studio right now,” Luke said, and Julie suddenly understood a lot more about Luke Patterson than she knew before. Sunset Curve is more than just a band… Julie thought as Luke’s shaky breaths filled the air.

 

“It’s okay,” Julie said, trying to comfort him. This time she wrapped her arms around his chest. “Go, I’ll be here tomorrow yeah? Make sure Alex is safe.” Her approval seemed to be the last thing he needed to hear, because he sprinted out the door, guitar case held tightly at his side. Alone in the music room Julie closed the door and rested her head against it, sending a silent prayer for Alex to be safe, for her boys to stay safe. - since when have they been her boys? - She slid back onto the piano bench, and flipped through her old battered songbook, not really reading the lyrics. 

 

She was just… thinking. About her mom, and how she started Julie on her music path. How her mom taught her how to love music, and to write something that had meaning in it. Julie thought about Sunset Curve… and how Luke was trying to achieve just that with Rock ‘n Roll. Some loose music sheets fell out of her notebook, falling on the floor around her. She paused when she realized which song it was...  placing the pages gently in order on the piano she read through the lyrics, remembering the day she wrote it with her mom. 

 

Julie wrote the lyrics, her mom wrote the music. The song was made up of four individual sheets of music, the title Wake Up at the top of the first page, and her mom’s scrawled handwriting in the bottom corner of the last. She took a shaky breath, fingers resting on the first note of the piece. Her mouth moving wordlessly as she scanned the page. Something pulled her to the music, flowing through her like her mom was urging her to play Wake Up . Julie’s fingers played across the keys, fingers expertly playing the chords.

 

Wake up, wake up if it’s all you do. Look out, look inside of you. It’s not what you lost… it’s what you gained raising your voice to the rain…” When Julie sang it was like she let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding. Feeling the music flow through her, a tear rolling down her cheek. She may have lost her mother, but she had Flynn. She had her dad. She had Carlos… she had Luke . As she played she stood up, pushing the bench back, feeling the energy course through her. “Relight that spark, it’s time to come out of the dark… wake up hmm… wake up,” she trailed off, the magic of the moment hanging in the air. She sang, she had actually sat down at a piano and played a song. Julie clutched the music sheets to her chest, memories of her mother running weaving through her mind. A tear rolled off her cheek, soaking into the wood of the concert piano. She closed her eyes tightly, music sheets crinkling in her hand. Julie’s world faded into purple as she disappeared from the piano bench, her mother’s music falling to the floor in her place.