BEHIND THE LIGHTS

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Chapter 16

October 29th - November 10th, 2016
Oslo, Norway - Munich, Germany
Cadence of my heart - The relentless

Søren didn’t care about cold weather, he liked it, but not being able to go out for a walk without his balls freezing had put him in a bad mood over the last couple of days. November sure had started as a cloudy month.

The only moment he had time to relax during the last two weeks was when he went to a florist to get the bouquet of lilies he had ordered a few days before. Those had always been his mother’s favorite and, as sad as it was, visiting her and recalling the days when she used to take care of the garden, made him smile even on his worst days.

She had been like a ray of sun during spring time, but not anymore. That man who used to call himself husband and father had been responsible for snuffing out her light, destroying her inside and out—thank God the hospital hadn’t tried to contact him again.

Huffing, he rubbed his hands over his face and looked at Alex. He was blankly staring at his phone while they waited for BLAST’s producers.

He wanted to punch him in the face. The bassist had messed up really bad last Saturday, getting drunk as fuck and then fighting Henrik—Astrid’s boyfriend. The dude deserved it for cheating on their friend for the zillionth time but even after all the drama, she kept going back to the bastard, so why bother?

Søren had helped her a thousand times, listened to her, and tried to support her the best he could. He even broke his nose a few years back.

Astrid was one of his best friends, like the sister he had never had, but everything had a limit. He’d still kill Henrik if he ever was abusive with her, but that was a line he had never crossed. Cheating? It wasn’t the first time and it wouldn’t be the last.

However, the real problem with Alex was that, even if he had never said it out loud, he had always been in love with Astrid. The way he looked at her said it all. Resignation, love, and hatred weren’t a good mix, adding alcohol into it worsened everything.

Did he really think he had that shit under control? Fuck, he had an overdose a few months before and had been locked inside one of those rehab facilities for rich people. But nothing seemed to make him stop.

“Good to see you again!” Angela exclaimed as she entered the room, snapping Søren back into reality. “How was the flight?” She shook Mikael’s hand.

“Good,” Mikael told her. “How have you been?”

“Super busy! We got one of our bands to participate in the Battle of the Bands for the Burn to Rise festival and we’re super excited. Another one’s touring out of Europe for the first time. And well, preparing the tour of three of our biggest bands together for the next year. So much going on!”

“That’s amazing! Congratulations!” Mikael exclaimed.

“Thanks, thanks... Hi, guys! I guess you already know me but, whatever, I’m Angela,” she said as she turned to the musicians.

“Hi!” Søren shook her hand.

Of course they knew who she was. Angela was a former metal singer—one of the first women in the industry to break the patterns and base her singing in growls. Besides, Mikael had already told them a lot about her and her husband since they had known each other for a while.

“It’s so great to finally meet you in person,” she said. “I’m a great fan of your music.”

“That’s a huge compliment coming from you,” Jørn told her, voicing everyone’s thoughts. If they had been dogs, they would have been wagging their tails frantically. Thank God they were all good at keeping a straight face.

The blonde chuckled. “Thank you. Come on in.” She motioned with her hand for them to enter the meeting room. “Want anything to drink?”

“Water?” Ian asked.

“Sure, one sec.” Angela got up and pressed a button in the middle of the table. “Monika, could you bring us some bottles of water, please? Oh! And the contracts on that red folder that’s over Markus’s desk?”

“Of course, Frau Von Brandt.”

"Man, nenn mich einfach Angela.”

“Sorry!”

Angela shook her head with a faint smile painted on her face. “She keeps calling me missis, and that makes me cringe so bad, I’m not a seventy-year-old granny!” She chuckled. “Okay, let’s get to business!”

“Sure.” Mikael nodded.

“First of all, I wanted to apologize, Markus cannot be here today because he’s in another meeting.”

“It’s fine,” Jørn commented. “We understand you’re both busy.”

“Thanks.” She smiled before turning to the screen of her laptop. “Okay... Let’s go to the point of this meeting. We can work with the numbers Mikael gave us in the last meeting, there are some things we need to change for this to be sustainable but still, I think you’ll like it. The advance—”

A knock on the door interrupted her.

“Come on in.”

“Hi...” A petite brunette walked inside the room, eyes fixed on the floor and cheeks flushed. “Here you have the water,” she said as she put a small bottle in front of each person in the room. “And... Here you have the documents you asked me for.”

“Thank you, sweetheart.” Angela smiled at her.

"Falls Sie noch etwas brauchen, rufen Sie mich ruhig an." Monika smiled at her.

"Danke." The producer nodded.

As the secretary closed the door, Angela got up and gave each one of them a copy of the contract with the terms they were offering.

“I think you might find the advance we’re offering interesting...”

Søren frowned when he saw the amount. It wasn’t as ridiculously high as what they got paid with their current discography, but it was enough to live comfortably throughout a whole year if they didn’t waste the money away on stupid shit.

There must be some kind of trick here.

It wasn’t about money anymore, but they didn’t want to be trapped again. That feeling of being a puppet, of abandoning their souls to the netherworld, was dreadful.

Angela studied their stunned faces and after a brief silence, she spoke again, “we don’t use as many resellers, agencies, and brokers as other record labels do. Besides, with the distribution branch we own we can lower the costs a lot, ” she explained.

“So this would be a two years contract?” Ian asked for confirmation.

“Yes.”

“What about the royalties?” Jørn beat Søren to ask that question.

“The rights of the songs written by you will belong to you. So that’ll make the royalties grow to thirty percent.”

“And what about the masters?” Søren asked.

“We’ll check the songs you write. We cannot afford to have a political scandal or any of the sorts, but the decision on the sound completely depends on you.”

“Yeah, makes sense.” Ian nodded.

“And... the rights of the master, which was what you were asking for”—she glanced at Søren—“we’ll give them back five years after the record is out.”

“That’s good,” Jørn muttered.

That was actually amazing.


It was already past seven when they were getting out of that room. Angela accompanied them to the elevator, telling them about how their company was structured.

“Being your own boss it’s a pain in the ass, trust me. Markus and I are so busy that sometimes, even having two assistants each, I feel I need to clone myself. In fact, we’re hiring more people now,” she told Mikael as they waited for the elevator.

“Cloning would be quite nice,” Ian commented. “I could be on tour and with my wife at the same time.”

“She wouldn’t like that, having to deal with two yous?” Jørn quipped.

“Hell no! That’s what she’d say,” Søren added.

“Yeah!” Jørn agreed.

“Oh! I didn’t know you were still here, guys,” Angela said as she turned around, making Søren stop laughing when he looked in the same direction and saw her.

He would have liked to say that he hadn’t thought about her, but that would be lying. Leah had been inside his head—a lot and in the most inappropriate moments. Two fucking weeks, a few one-nights and he couldn’t focus on anything. Sure he had other worries running around inside his head, but still. It was bad, really bad.

He was feeling like a spoiled, stubborn little brat because he didn’t get what he wanted. Fuck, she wasn’t even that gorgeous.

Yeah, right. Keep telling yourself that.

As they approached them, her eyes went wide with surprise but her expression changed to a light scowl a second later, mirroring his.

He was going to be in Germany for less than twenty-four hours. What were the chances of seeing her again in such a short time?

Fate was playing a dangerous game.

She had that I don’t give a fuck what you think of me air he liked so much, a long braid swept over her right shoulder. Combat boots and a tartan red shirt over a black tank top with a low round neck combined with some light grey jeans that highlighted her fit body shape, hugging everything perfectly.

Fucking shit.

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