“No, we have Reminiscent booked in that week, full ten-hour days.” I sighed, looking at my screen with the calender open with various colored blocks across the screen. “I can’t do anything that week, or I have no chance to eat or sleep. Harry’s fully booked that week too. Lyndsay is on leave for another couple weeks to recover from her operation. How long do they need?”
“It’s a four-track EP. They’re looking at either three full days, or smaller days, spread out over a week.” Tyler, the guy who basically ran the place so I could focus on recording, explained.
“Can they spread those three days out over a week? So rather than five days at six hours, I can do three full days, but not in a row.”
“Yeah, I believe they can.”
“Okay, best I got around that time, is the week after. Monday, Friday and I suppose I can pull a Saturday, although that’s going to peeve Sarah off.”
Right now, my studio only handled unsigned and some minor label bands, but I wanted to pull bigger groups, ones on major labels. The band Tyler was talking about was signed to one of the more well known minor labels, so we couldn’t afford to turn them away.
“Okay, I’ll let them know, and if they’re cool with it, I’ll book them in. Good luck explaining this to Mrs.”
I chuckled softly, although my feelings didn’t match the laugh, it was a fake laugh like most of my laughter was these days, “Thanks, talk later.”
I looked around my office, my very own office in my very own recording studio, just like I’d always dreamed.
After college ended, I took up full time in the cafe while applying for intern jobs at studios. After six months, I got offered a weekend gig at a local music practice room with Caleb’s help. It wasn’t anything special, just operating the desk, taking bookings, setting rooms up, helping bands with sound levels during practices. But eventually, that led on to me being promoted to a junior recording technician.
Payton’s band had taken off once the other three finished Uni, and I acted as their lead sound tech. After a small summer festival in Newquay, her group got signed. We made it work with me still as their lead sound tech, but they soon offered me a considerable role in a studio in St. Ives. I would run the place along with the owner, and Payton urged me to take it. She was following her dream, and she wanted me to follow mine.
We talked and debated it a lot. I knew they were going to succeed, and I knew they’d get a new, more significant contract. However, we both felt we were strong enough to make it work, so I took the offer. The girls quickly became huge after that. After a few months, I got sent to run their sister studio just outside of Newquay, and her band got bigger still. I was so proud of her and the three girls.
We made it work; it wasn’t easy, but we did everything we could when she was away. We talked and laughed all the time on the phone and Skype. When she was home, we’d go on road trips, dates, spend a day in bed tearing each other’s clothes off, and watching our favorite movies.
But it got harder. The bigger they got, the less she was home, and then my mom died. That broke me beyond compare. She’d come back, which I was thankful for, but she had to leave again. I understood, I did, but I’d just lost my mother, I needed her. I needed the woman I loved, the woman who was due to be my wife. I’d asked her to marry me a few short months before.
That’s when we started fighting, really fighting. We’d had a few fights before, but nothing major. However, I was grieving; I needed Payton, but she wasn’t there.
We worked through it, though. I started healing from my grief, and things got better. Then she told me she was pregnant, and I’d never been so damn happy.
It was like life’s way of apologizing to me for taking my mother away. A baby of my own, with the woman I loved, it was perfect. We’d spend hours talking nappy duties, sleep schedules, cribs, feedings, decorating, baby proofing. We discussed how she was going to step away from the band, just before the baby was born and go back to doing her art instead, and the girls and label were okay with that. Things were finally going to fall into place for us.
That was until she miscarried. The grief that was far more intense than from the loss of my mother. It consumed me. I felt guilty, and I felt rage; I felt every horrible emotion I could think of. I felt awful for it, but I wondered if the stress of the band had played a part of it. I tried not too, but I couldn’t stop it, I started blaming her without meaning too.
**End of TW**
We never recovered from that, especially as she went back, renewing that contract with the girls and label, almost without telling me. Bouncing around like the loss of our child didn’t tear her into a billion pieces, smiling, laughing, doing press, tours, everything. I got angry, and I took it out on her, even though I hadn’t meant to. I realized now just how badly I messed up.
I sighed and minimized my screen, letting the picture of Sarah and me sit in front of me on my PC screen, both of us smiling. I shut my monitor off instantly. I couldn’t handle it today. I’d been browsing through Facebook earlier, which had been a big mistake.
A friend had posted an article about Guilty Crown, or well, shall I say their tour and their lead guitarists blossoming relationship with the frontman of their main support band. Old wounds ripped open and my heart shattered all over again as I saw the picture of her with the small-time band’s frontman. She moved on. I guessed it was fair. I’d moved on too, or at least I tried too.
Sarah was great. She was pretty, tall, dark brown hair, dark caramel eyes, a small button nose which matched her small, thin lips. A bright smile, curved body, always well dressed in a casual sense. She was sweet, funny, loving, but she wasn’t Payton. No one could ever be Payton, there was only one Payton, and she left me.
My mind went back to that night she walked out. I always followed her out when she did that, like she had done with me when I was the one to storm out. It was a horrible habit we both developed. When things got too heated, one of us would walk out of the door, but that night, I don’t know why I just couldn’t.
I told myself to get her, bring her inside, kiss her, hold her and find a way to put us right again. I missed her, and I missed us, I missed the way we were. But my feet wouldn’t move; I was tired of feeling like I was the only one fighting for us. I felt like she’d given up on us, on me, so I just stood paralysed. I tried to call, but then I remembered she was the one who walked out. If she still wanted us, she’d call, but then she didn’t.
I moved a month later, here to London. I couldn’t stay in Newquay any more. It hurt too much, and I stumbled over a rare chance and ended up opening my studio. I threw myself into my dream, the only dream I had left to hold on to as Payton took all my others with her when she walked out that door.
Five months later, I met Sarah when she came to help at the studio temporarily. Five months spent weeping, wallowing, letting myself become depressed. Tyler ran the studio during that time mostly, although it was my dream. I decided enough was enough, Sarah made advances at me, and I finally gave in and took her out on a date. I loved her, but she wasn’t Payton.
“Seriously Reid, are you kidding me?! You promised me!” Sarah sounded angry on the other end of the phone as I called her to break the news of me working a Saturday.
“It’s just one Saturday babe, and they’re a band signed to a medium-sized label. We can’t afford to turn them down, and they requested me personally. I’ll make it up to you, I promise.”
“You damn well better, you promised you’d stop working Saturday’s so we actually could spend time together!” She huffed, “What time are you picking me up tomorrow?”
“Be about six, I should be done at the studio by half five. I’ll take you out to your favorite place?”
Sarah sighed and chuckled softly. She had a pleasant laugh, but it wasn’t hers. “Alright, sounds good. You’re lucky I love you; otherwise, I’d be kicking your ass right now.”
“Like you could,” I scoffed playfully, “you know you’d lose that fight, babe.”
I hadn’t told her I loved her, I tried, but just thinking about saying it made me want to vomit. I felt like it was a lie and like I was betraying Payton somehow. Sarah never really said it either, just two or three times in ways like that. Never really saying it outright.
“I could try, though, that’s always fun. I’ll see you tomorrow, yeah?”
“Sure, later babe.” As I hung up, placing my phone carefully on the desk, a knock sounded against my door.
Harry gave a small crooked smile as he poked his head through the door, “there’s someone here to see you.”
“Sure, I’ll be there in a minute. Did they say what they want?”
“He’s said he’s just some guy from a band, looking to book in but wants to see the owner.”
“Alright, let me just grab a coffee, and I’ll be out.” Harry nodded before he turned and left. I slumped back in my chair, my hands running through my messy long hair before flicking on the coffee machine. I needed a coffee before dealing with anyone else today.
As I stepped out of my office, my eyes instantly found a figure standing, staring at a poster board full of flyers from bands we’d promoted and recorded. He had his back to me so I couldn’t see his face, but he was tall and board, dressed in a leather jacket, slim fit jeans with a head covered in neat, short dirty blonde hair.
“Can I help you?” I asked politely, causing the guy to pull focus and turn to face me.
My heart stopped for a moment as blue eyes shone in the dim light and a white toothed wide smile looked at me, “Don’t suppose you got time for an old friend, do you, bud?”