Ein Herz und eine Seele sein
As usual, Armin had set up a strict schedule for us: start recording by nine, a one hour break at one, then back to recording until seven, then we were done. We didn't mind though, it kept things moving and made sure that we kept on track. Sure we could have recorded closer to Berlin, and that would have been convenient for us, but of course management had found this place to be cheaper than anywhere else and so they suggested that we go here. We did not put up much of a fight, don't really have the authority, and we are grateful to have management at all.
The recording studio was set in the basement of this guy's house, at least his old house, he had moved out a few years ago and gotten a larger house about eight kilometers away. Thus he offered up the smaller house for whichever unfortunate band ended up staying there. The place was rarely occupied. Had none of us been particularly good with technology, he would have come in and done the recording himself, but as Rambert and I actually knew how to work a studio, we were deemed self-sufficient and allowed to do whatever we wanted.
We had gotten in very late, probably about four in the morning, but Armin was still determined to continue with the schedule even if it meant having to put up with a cranky and sleep-deprived band. Alarm clocks went off promptly at 8:30, but no one bothered getting up, we were much too tired. Except for Armin, he had apparently been awake for quite awhile, and when he discovered that we were attempting to throw off his schedule, he quickly set about to wake all of us. I assume that he had saved me for last, as after he literally pulled me out of the bed and gave me a cup of coffee, and I was awake enough to make it to the main room, I discovered that the rest of the band was already there, looking just as miserable as I. At nine sharp we went into the studio, in shifts so as to make sure that the sound was cleaner, getting through about one instrument per song per hour. Sure some bands are faster (namely the Ramones, who should probably have a world record for fastest time recording a track), but we are all perfectionists, at least we like to think that we are all perfectionists.
I stayed in the booth, while everyone who was not playing lurked over my shoulder, as if they might learn all the secrets of recording an album just from watching me. I had yet to wake up, but that was all right, I could function while nearly asleep. At least I could record and play, and that was all that was needed of me.
Everyone except for me had been recorded by the time the clock struck one. The others had abandoned me, eventually finding their way to sofas and chairs where they could get a little more sleep. Armin remained, he was the last sans me to be recorded, so it would not have made much sense for him to disappear. Once we were finally done for the afternoon, I left the group and headed up towards my room.
"Lenz! Hey Lenz, don't you want to get some lunch, we only have an hour. Do you really think it is worth it to sleep now?" I could hear the concern in his voice, but for now I did not care too much.
"I'm tired. Sleep would be best now. Please wake me up when appropriate." Of course I had not needed to mention that I was tired, he had figured that out, but I figured it could potentially reinforce the statement. I am not sure if I fell asleep prior to hitting the bed, or shortly after, either way the two were nearly simultaneous.
I awoke to someone shaking my shoulder somewhat viciously. I didn't bother opening my eyes. "Armin, I'll be down in a minute, you don't have to rip my arm off."
"I'm sorry, I have been trying to wake you up for nearly five minutes already. Are you alright? I hadn't thought you were that tired, if so, we can wait until tomorrow to record." He sat down on the edge of the bed, one hand resting softly upon my shoulder.
"I'm fine enough." I slowly opened my eyes and was confronted by the worry in his eyes. "You don't need to worry so much." I sat up, then proceeded to move around him so that I could stand up, nearly losing my balance in the process.
"Yeah, you're alright…" he stood up and stormed out of the room.
Bastard, my brain hasn't woken up yet, that is all it is. Why the hell does he think he needs to watch over me like I'm some kid that doesn't know how to take care of myself. Armin was still annoyed when I went downstairs, but he said nothing nor allowed me to speak, so I attempted to ignore the whole matter. That's hard to do when the person has been your best friend for about thirteen years. Ramther offered to continue working the board, but I told him to go in and work on his bass or get some rest, I could take care of this. I could see Armin's glower, despite the fact that he was trying to hide it. He left the room once more, presumably because he was still mad at me. We managed to get through two songs that day, that is really not a good pace, and we knew that it would be necessary to speed it up significantly if we hoped to ever finish the damn album.
"You aren't going to run off on us are you?" Gunther shouted from across the building. He was just about to set his drumsticks down.
"I'll stay. It seems I need to teach you to play better anyway." I wonder if he understood that to be a joke, I doubt he did.
"Shit, I'm taking advise from a keyboardist? Since when did you guys get a place in metal bands?" He knew that sincerely pissed me off.
"Since Rammstein. Flake made it official that keyboardists can only improve metal bands. We've just learned that we are not the focus of the band, and so we do not need to make ourselves known."
"Seriously guys, do we need to go through this argument for the thousandth time? Gunther, you are a good drummer. Lenz, we know that keyboardists belong in metal bands, you have made that very well known." Manfried hated conflict.
Rambert entered the room, "Hey Lenz, would you mind taking the notes tonight?" As he did not see a change in my expression, he continued to explain, "I mean, you are the best one at it."
"Fine. I'll start now." Taking notes on recording is not like taking notes in a class, this meant listening to everything we had recorded that day and figuring out what all needed to be worked on. It was a job from hell, but someone had to do it, and it was usually me.
Armin peered from around a corner, "Aren't you going to wait until after dinner? I'm rather sure you haven't eaten all day today—"
"—How cute, have you adopted a mother now? I would have suggested someone older than you, but if it makes you happy—" Gunther was abruptly cut off as I slammed the door to the recording studio.
It was only ten and I had not quite gotten through half of the tapes, but I was already deeply regretting having started the job when I did. Armin was right, I should have stayed until after dinner, that and I hadn't eaten at all that day or the day before. I was tempted to forage in the kitchen, but I was right in the middle of a tape. Besides, the others would probably still be out there, and I certainly did not want to face them. I am not sure how much later, but Armin walked in with a plate in his hand. He set it down beside me, saying nothing, but still waiting for me to say something. I slid the headphones so that only one earpeice was still on, and nodded a thank-you.
"I'm sorry for what Gunther said. I know he would not have said it had he known how much it would have bothered you." He had his hand resting upon my shoulder, and was using his seductive voice. That voice had gotten him out of trouble so many times.
"It didn't bother me much, more so just pissed that he got a reaction." I had already dug into my plate, there was no point in hiding the fact that I was starving.
"You really should take better care of yourself. What would you have done had I not brought in anything for you?" He was getting that goddamn motherly tone again, thirteen years had taught me to hate it.
"I would have gotten something when I had a chance." I refused to look up at him. He did not deserve such respect.
"Yeah, I'm sure you would have." He laughed slightly, a response I had not been expecting. I looked up, questioning. "You are cute Lenz." He quickly kissed me upon the lips and left the room.
I was shaking –no trembling – as he left. In all of my twenty-one years of existence I had never been more terrified, not even when my father was mad at me, as he was most of the times I remember him. I wanted to be mad at him, yet I found that I…I had not hated it. Was it possible that Armin had just done that to fuck with my mind, that he wasn't really flirting with me? "What the hell are you getting yourself into Armin?" I returned to the tapes, even if I had just come upon a revelation, I still needed to get my work done. I ended up finishing around one or two, and immediately fell asleep on a sofa in the main room, too tired to even consider trying to fight my way up the steps.
The next day was its own special type of hell. To start things off, I awoke to the lovely feeling of Gunther plopping down onto me. He claimed that he thought I was part of the sofa. I told him he needed to lose at least twenty kilos before he could even think of doing that to me again. Armin kept trying to be alone with me, but I always managed to be in the company of someone else. I could see that it was hurting him, which killed me sevenfold, but I could not talk to him now, I had no idea what was going on between us, and I was afraid. I volunteered to take the notes again that night, it would give me time to think, and hopefully the others would be able to keep Armin busy while I worked.
My plan worked, until about midnight.
"Lenz, I know you are busy with the notes and all, but I really need to talk to you. It shouldn't take too long, so you would only need to give me a minute or two." His voice sounded more sweet and depressed than I had ever heard it before, and I nearly showed pity, nearly. Still, my heart was reinacting a pinball within my chest, and I was afraid that maybe he could even hear it.
"I'm listening." I needed to remain calm, that was how I always was. No emotion, no bullshit, just a straight face and an even tone; that had gotten me through life thus far.
"I'm sorry if I have scared you. I know I should not have assumed that it was alright to kiss you. After all, you are my closest friend, and that could be seen as inappropriate. That said, I still think you are being overly cruel towards me. You could have just told me you did not approve of last night, and I would never do it again. But to keep running away from me? Are you really that mad at me?"
How the fuck could he say it that callously! He sounded as if it was my fault that he had all of a sudden kissed me! "I'm not mad at you." That much I knew for sure, and maybe if I was lucky he would be satisfied with that. Have I ever mentioned that I am not lucky?
"I'm glad to hear that." He paused a moment, the silence nearly fatal. He slowly reached over and held onto my hand, his eyes stabbed straight into mine. "Do you love me, or should I just give up on that?"
I wanted to turn away, say I had too much work to do and I could not chat, but his eyes held me in place. "I don't know." I could not look him in the eyes, rather I had to stare at the floorboards, and my voice only escaped as a paltry whisper.
He beamed up at me, "Good." He snaked his fingers around the back of my neck and pulled me in close. My mind was telling me to break the grasp and run, and yet a part of me wanted this. He gently kissed me upon the lips, and as I did not resist, his tongue slithered between my teeth, forcing them to make way for him. I was able to enjoy it for a little while, until the fear overcame the pleasure and I was forced to retreat.
"I'm sorry Armin. I know I could do better." I knew it was entirely logical for me to be afraid, and yet I felt that it was necessary for me to apologize. "My father would not approve."
"Your father is an abusive bastard, whom you do not live with anymore. Fuck what he has to say, it is all about what you want. But I understand, it is going to be hard on you. I promise I will take things as slowly as you need me to. I will never pressure you into anything, or make you feel uncomfortable, okay?"
"Alright." I had never known my voice could become that infintesimal.
"I'll leave you to work. Feel free to visit my room when you are done. That is, if you feel like it." He kissed me once upon the lips, then left without another word.
"Fuck it. I love him." The statement was to myself, and yet I figured the walls might as well hear it too, as if they could not figure it out already. I finished all of the notes by three, and though I was tired as hell, I could not decide whether or not to join Armin. Was I more inclined to insult him and get some sleep, or did I want to be dead tired tomorrow and satisfactorally terrified tonight? It felt like 'to be or not to be' just the gay porn version. I sighed as I awkwardly stood up, figuring out as I nearly staggered into a wall that I had been sitting down for way too long. I snuck up the steps to his room and gently knocked on the door (I didn't want to wake him up in case he was asleep). I heard some muttering from within, and so I silently opened the door just enough to see if he was awake. He was sitting in an old wooden chair in the corner, reading a rather thick book that I knew he had read before. He let the pages fall closed as I walked in, "I hope I am not too late…" I was not going to mention too late for what.
"Not at all, please come in. On the contrary, you have perfect timing." That was the end of my life as I knew it.