A few weeks passed and Cassie had settled in quite well. She had managed to find a healthy balance between her classes, work and her social life. She had taken Annette’s advice on board and the pair had dinner had at least once a week, sometimes more; it wasn’t always Annette that cooked. If Cassie was cooking, she’d always tell Annette and ask her to join her. It began as a way to repay the favour and eventually ended up as something that the pair did instinctively, unless one of them were out or working. Nathan sometimes joined them afterwards and Cassie had even started talking with Stephanie as well. She hadn’t seen Taylor since that first meeting and she had been trying her utmost best to keep away from her; she reckoned that the brunette was doing the same with her as well. She spoke to William every other day; if not a call, then they at least texted one another. He was coming up during November; Cassie turned 19 on the 19th of October and William was visiting a few days later, as their parents were visiting on the 19th. William was trying to avoid them like the plague. The Winters siblings never got along with their parents and so having all of them in one place was never a good idea; their Christmases were always horrific.
Cassie was sat in her dorm on the MacBook, searching through her emails when she paused, coming across one from a society. She hadn’t quite realised how many that she’d joined that first week; the LGBTQ+ society, the Feminist society, a History society, even a Disney society for god’s sakes. Cassie had already been to a few, (the Disney society not one of them) but the one that caught her eyes as she was scrolling through her emails was one for a Music society. The meeting was for later that day, at four that evening in the Student Union and Cassie debated whether or not she should go. She thought back to what Nathan had said that day, when she showed him the video of her winning the singing competition.
‘You could pursue that’, he’d said. Cassie had dismissed the thought, thinking about her parents. They hated that she’d taken part in the singing competition, tried to pull her out of it but she refused; she may have won but that didn’t make a difference to her parents. Singing was not a career choice, it wouldn’t help her be successful; academic success was the only type of success that her parents accepted and only the very top of academic success. Anything other than academics and they lost interest or got angry. Cassie could remember the arguments she’d had with her parents, most about her academics, or not wanting to pursue only academics in her life. Cassie took Music for GCSE and A-Level; her parents were not pleased, not believing it to be a subject worth taking at GCSE, never mind A-Level. Cassie didn’t care. As long as she got good grades, her parents never complained. Well, not much anyway. Cassie looked again at the email before making her decision. Her parents weren’t here and they weren’t the boss of her; she would be 19 in just over a week for god’s sakes! A quick glance down at her attire prompted a wardrobe change; tracksuit bottoms and an old t-shirt from a program she’d done in school. She called Nathan in to help her; Cassie herself was good at choosing outfits, but she wanted an outsider’s opinion for once. She wanted to make an impression with this group and so she needed an opinion that wasn’t her own.
They spent almost an hour choosing an outfit, the pair eventually going with a mini-skirt, black patterned tights with her heeled boots and a band t-shirt tucked into the skirt, with her black leather jacket. Her eyeliner was thin on the waterline, a deep brown eye-shadow coating her lid, her hair left down to fan out around her face and a pale lipgloss making her lips shine.
“So, what’s the deal with this music society anyway?” Nathan questioned, as they left her room and Cassie shrugged.
“I don’t know yet. This is the first one. So I’m going to go down and see what it’s all about.” She grinned and Nathan smiled back at her.
“Have a good time.”
“I will. If Annette asks where I am, tell her.” Cassie told the lad and he rolled his eyes, as she began walking away down the hallway.
“Yes, of course. I’ll tell your girlfriend where you’ve gone.” He muttered and Cassie turned around, hearing him mumble something under his breath, but not sure what it was.
“I’m sorry, what was that?” She asked and Nathan shook his head.
“Nothing! Go to your music thing.” He told her and she smiled, rolling her eyes before walking out of the flat.
It wasn’t hard to find the music society - just look for the group of people with guitars and singing songs. There was a group of about fifteen people sat in the corner of the Student Union cafe, some of them Cassie recognised from seeing them around and others she didn’t; she assumed that they must be the older ones, the ones from off-campus, in their second or third year. One of the girls with a guitar, she knew as Jessica, a trans girl; she was in the LGBTQ+ society group that Cassie had visited earlier in the week. She moved closer to the group, hesitating when one of the lads spotted her, waving her over. There were a few spare seats beside the lad and Cassie sat near to him, smiling shyly at him. Cassie hadn’t seen him around the campus and could only assume that he was a second or third year student. He was pale, with dark, almost shaggy hair that fell to just above his shoulders and brown eyes. He was stocky, with broad shoulders and a round, chubby face. He was dressed in a band t-shirt and jeans with a hoodie.
“You’re a Freshman, aren’t you?” The lad next to her asked and Cassie was shocked to discover that he had an American accent; she stared at him in shock for a few seconds and he laughed. “Yeah, I know. It’s a surprise to many.” Cassie flushed in embarrassment.
“Yeah, I’m a Freshman.” She nodded and the guy smiled.
“Well, Cassie. This is a music society.” He gestured around at the group. “How would you like to take part in a sing along?” Michael had gained the attention of everyone else in the group, some of the kids with guitars picking theirs up and holding them at the ready. Cassie gave a shrug, grinning. A few years ago, this many people looking at her would have panicked her. Now, she wasn’t even slightly fazed. She hastily racked her brain for a popular song, one that everybody would know. She knew that her music, whilst popular with many, wasn’t exactly the most well-known of genres. Cassie smiled as she thought of a song that everyone should know, grinning as she told the group. Quite a few of them were grinning along with her, some of them frowning but no one complained about the song choice, which was a relief. Michael beamed at her, nodding at Jessica, who lifted her guitar and started playing the intro, everyone beginning to sing along.
“I’ll keep you my dirty little secret,
Don’t tell anyone or you’ll be just another regret,
My dirty little secret,”
They sang a few more songs, Cassie enjoying herself. The kids on the guitars were really good and not all of the kids could sing but Cassie just assumed that they had other musical talents that weren’t as easy to carry around as a guitar. Michael kept glancing at Cassie as they sang and after ‘Mr Brightside’, he stopped the group.
“Now, how about a solo performance?” He suggested and the group looked around in curiosity as Cassie frowned in confusion. Every time there were any new members, Michael would pick out which had the best voice and, if he thought that their confidence was high enough, they’d ask them to do a solo. Most of the time, they would.
“Cassie, would you care to do the honours?” Michael asked, a smirk on his face and a playful glint in his eyes. The red-head looked startled for a moment before nodding, a wide grin spreading out across her face. She called over Jessica, telling her the song choice who nodded, starting to play the intro to the song. Cassie’s voice came in a few chords later, light and feathery. Her vocal chords seemed to glide over the lyrics, almost hypnotically and Michael couldn’t help but smile. Cassie looked like a natural, which Michael reckoned she was; her face was serene, eyes wide open as she swayed to the music.
“Even if it’s just in your wildest dreams.’” Cassie finished the song to a round of applause, grinning and blushing. The group continued to have sing alongs and a few more solo performances before the society broke apart, Michael calling Jessica and one of the other lads over as he spoke to Cassie.
“This is Jessica,” Michael gestured to the girl and Cassie nodded, “and this is my twin brother, Dominic.” Cassie raised an eyebrow. Dominic didn’t look anything like his twin, but then, that might be due to his bright green hair, gelled so that it went up in spikes. He was slimmer than his brother, wearing a black leather jacket with biker boots and a black t-shirt and jeans. On closer inspection, Cassie could see the similarities between them; they were both pale and had the same deep brown eyes, a similar smirk gracing both of their faces.
“Yeah, I know. He looks different. Dominic likes to try and make an impression.” He exchanged a look with his brother. “Although what impression he’s trying to make, I don’t know.” Dominic punched his brother’s arm playfully as the three laughed and Cassie smiled. She could tell that these had known each other for awhile, their natural chemistry showing as they teased one another.
“Anyway,” Michael directed the conversation back to Cassie. “Our lead singer left over the summer and we were looking for a new one. We think that you’ve got a good voice, you already sing well with our guitarist,” Michael gestured to Jessica, “and we think that you’d make a good addition.” There was a pause as Cassie stared at the group in amazement.
“We want you to join our band, as lead singer. We’ll give you some time to think about it.” Michael murmured, handing her a slip of paper. Cassie took it, eyes still wide in shock. “We have our first performance at the beginning of November. We’ll keep you in mind until the 19th and then we’ll have to choose someone else.” Michael warned and Cassie nodded absentmindedly, still in a daze. He exchanged a glance with Jessica and Dominic before placing a hand on Cassie’s shoulder as they walked past, smiling kindly at her. Cassie returned the smile weakly, saying goodbye to the group as they passed. She looked down at the leaflet Michael had handed her. The name Four Steps Forward was plastered across the front, a photo of what she assumed to be last year’s band beneath the writing and the date of their first performance of the year. She was still stood there a few minutes later when someone pushed her, bringing her out of her stupor immediately. Cassie only just managed to keep her balance, almost falling backwards onto her arse and she stared at the person who’d pushed her with a cold fury.
“What the fuck was that for?!” She demanded, glaring at Taylor. The brunette was glowering back just as fiercely.
“Listen bitch, that band is my whole life. I have wanted to be a part of them ever since I saw them perform a few years ago but they only take University students because it’s a University band. So you will not take that offer of lead singer, otherwise I will make your whole life here a fucking misery.” Taylor threatened and Cassie rolled her eyes at the brunette; she was shorter than Cassie and although her glare was vicious, her words scathing, Cassie wasn’t even fazed.
“Ooh, scary!” Cassie mocked. “I don’t listen to threats, certainly not ones from munchkins or oompa loompas. Seriously, how much foundation are you wearing? Or is that a failed fake tan?” Cassie smirked as Taylor got angrier; if Cassie kept this up, she reckoned that Taylor would have steam coming out of her ears. “Besides, I’m not planning on taking the offer anyway. Although, if I was,” Cassie leered down at the brunette. “There’s not a damned fucking thing you could do to stop me.” The red-head turned around, flicking Taylor in the face with her hair as she did so, stalking away from the girl with a smirk on her face, leaving a speechless and fuming Taylor behind.