I groaned as I opened my eyes to the piercing white light of the room. The light spilled through the curtains, only then had I realized everything inside the room was white. Absent mindedly, I patted the empty spot next to me before sitting up. At that moment, Tyler walked in; he always seemed to be there when I woke up.
“Hi,” I said to him.
He started towards the bed, “Good morning, Ana, let’s get up now,” he said once he got near me he grabbed my hands, “come on.”
“B-but, why?” I whined, “the bed is so comfortable, who picked it out?”
We were finally outside the room when he answered, “You did.”
“That’s probably one of the smartest moves I’ve ever made.”
“That really hurts,” Tyler commented. He led me to the kitchen table, which had two plates of food on it, “now we have to keep you on a schedule so you’re going to the studio.”
“Yes, the studio is a recording studio you started with Mac and Ryan. You don’t remember Ryan so you will meet him today.”
“So, eat, get dressed, and we’ll leave.” I ate and got dressed in record time of thirty minutes.
Tyler led me into the studio, I saw MacKenzie first and she squealed. It was odd though, according to Tyler, she’d seen me only two days ago.
She came over and hugged me tightly, “Hi, Mickey, calm down.”
“I can’t, I’m just so happy to see you alive... and finally pregnant.”
I hadn’t forgotten about that. I was up all night thinking about it and thrown up most of the food Tyler had made me for breakfast.
“Oh, please tell me she didn’t forget how badly she wanted to be pregnant.” This was directed to Tyler.
“Yeah, she did.” He responded.
“Oh, perfect,” I turned to the voice, “hey, Anastasia,” a lanky, brunette man had walked in with a clipboard in hand and gave me a hug, he didn’t notice my surprised look as he started to talk, “now that you’re here we gotta head into the booth. Thanks to Kenzie we have to re-discuss the budget before Jennifer Vaughn gets here at noon.”
He began to walk but looked up once he noticed I wasn’t following, “What? Ana, we can’t start late, we’re so booked, we’ve got Jennifer Vaughn, then that band Akon, Kenton Avril, Neverland--”
“--Ryan,” Mackenzie cut in. Oh, so this was Ryan.
“She doesn’t remember you, I told you this already this.”
He let out a short laugh, “What does that even mean? Stop joking around,” he brought his gaze back to me, “come on girly, time is money.”
“Remember everything I told you yesterday about the accident, the kid, the amnesia, any of this coming back to you at all?”
“Um, no because I probably wasn’t listening since I usually just tune you out, but that would explain the crutches and the foot.”
I looked down at the Velcro cast the doctors insisted I wear if I left the house during my recovery, “Yeah, thankfully that’s all that broke.”
“Introduce yourself to our good friend, Ry,” Mac commanded.
He switched his clipboard to his other hand and used his newly free hand to shake mine, “Hey, Anastasia, I’m Ryan Harris and we’ve known each other for approximately-I don’t know-seven years.”
“Hi Ryan,” I replied.
“Great, now that we’ve caught up we really need to go. Follow me, I suppose I have a lot to teach you before noon.”
He walked away with me following behind him this time. He led me down the end a hallway to a black door with a large four graffiti-ed on it. As soon as we stepped into the room Ryan began to talk.
“Alright, we may as well start with the basics; this is the live booth, this is where you and I usually sit and of course that is the vocal booth,” he pointed to the empty room separated by glass, “that’s where the artists record.”
I nodded and pointed to the panel in front of me, “What’s this contraption?”
“That’s a Midas M32, the soundboard, something you should never touch while someone is recording until you’re more acquainted with it again.” I nodded blindly while he continued, even when I barely understood what he was talking about, until finally he asked me to do something.
“I’m sorry, what was that?”
“Start setting up for Jen, she’ll be here in like twenty minutes so I guess we’ll discuss the budget later, setting up is your thing.”
“Well, I’m not really sure I’m adequate for the job.”
“You’re the best, you’ll figure it out.”
Fifteen minutes later, I sat in the vocal booth with and array of microphones with Ryan trying to shout directions from behind that stupid glass.
“No, listen Ana, you remove the Audio-Technica and the condenser because Jennifer doesn’t like that, for some reason she thinks it makes her sound fuzzy, then replace those with the Bluebird Condenser Microphone--”
“Wait, the what goes where? That makes no sense she just switched out those two things for one thing even thought they do the exact same things--what the hell’s a Bluebird Condenser Microphone anyways?”
“T-that blue one. Ana.”
“You say that like I’m supposed to know that or something,” I retorted sharply.
Suddenly, Ryan snapped, “You are! Two days ago, you were schooling me on this stuff and now you don’t even remember what a soundboard is, are you shitting me right now?” he looked down at his watch, then left from view before appearing in the door next to me, “Just- I’ll do it Sia, she’ll be here in a few minutes.”
“Maybe she’ll be late.”
“No way, she’s always on time because she has no label so she is paying on her own, which means if we start late she gets that time refunded.”
“Oh,” that was all I could manage as I watched him fix the mic situation. I made sure to watch closely and watch how he handled the soundboard once Jennifer Vaughn showed up. The session was going great until we got to the middle of it, Jennifer began to lose her... something. I didn’t feel like I had a say anything, but I interfered anyways.
I asked Ryan to cut the music and pressed talk button on my own microphone, “Um, excuse me--”
“What was that,” Jennifer asked as she took the headphones off, “who turned my music off?”
“--Hi, Jennifer, yes that was me, uh--”
“Why would you do that?”
“Well, b-because I don’t know if--I need to ask you a question.”
“Alright,” she sighed and set the headphones down, “shoot.”
“You are a singer-songwriter, correct?” She nodded in response, “Okay, great, well I can tell that this song i-it can from a special place and I just want to make sure that in the end you can feel one hundred percent accomplished and happy with it.”
“What does that have to do with--”
“Just listen for a second Jennifer, I’m gonna play back- well I’ll have Ryan play back- today’s first take and that take from just now.” I looked over at my partner, he pushed a few buttons, and Jennifer’s voice surrounded us, after a second I had him switch it to the second one “Do you hear that?”
“Hear what?” Our artist looked extremely confused.
Ryan moved my hand away from the TALK button, “What are you getting at here, Anastasia?”
I looked into his eyes to show my seriousness, “I have no idea, but there’s like this feeling inside me that’s saying something that is supposed to be there just is not.”
“Like what, can you explain it?”
“No, maybe... it’s like I love this song-of course I do- it has beautiful lyrics and a great voice performing it, but in my gut, I know it isn’t perfect. She isn’t giving me enough raw emotion...”
“That’s why you’re the best you’re the best in the business. You always get this feeling with every really great artist and it always makes their exemplary song or album perfect.”
“Excuse me!” a muffled yell came from the other side of the glass accompanied by a knock on the glass itself.
I glanced at Jennifer then back to Ryan, “What do I do about it?”
“That’s all you, usually you go in the studio, talk to them, then you walk out and the magic happens.”
“Okay, okay,” I nodded and stood up, “be right back.”
I made my way out of the live booth and into the vocal booth, once there I was met with a semi-angry Jennifer Vaughn. Her glossy brown luxuriant was put into a messy bun versus her loose curls from when she first arrived.
“Hey, Jennifer, sorry I cut you off.”
“Yeah, what was that about and why are you acting do different?”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re kinda walking on eggshells around me like we’ve never met before.”
I sighed, “I’m sorry, I’m still trying to adjust... a couple days ago I was in a car accident, hence, the crutches, and apparently I’m an amnestic so I’m sure I have met you before I just don’t remember you.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
“No, I’m fine. The reason I came in here was the fact that there’s something missing in the song-- it’s a personally written song, right?” she nodded, “Who’s it about?”
“Just the normal Taylor-Swift-when- she-was-in-country-ish type stuff, my ex-boyfriend was an ass so...”
“Oh, you know, have to break it off when he’s a cheater.”
I could tell she was angry, “Cry,” I suddenly commanded.
“What?” she looked at me like I was crazy.
“That’s the problem I’m feeling. There’s something affecting your music and I’m almost positive that’s the problem. It feels rehearsed, have you even cried since the breakup?”
“No. No I haven’t cried for that two-timing asshat.”
“You have to mourn your relationship no matter how shitty, no matter who broke up with who. Trust me on that.”
I talked her up a little more and got her to break down. I almost felt bad being so contented by it, but I knew it was definitely going to help her music.
“H-he’s such an asshole,” she cried as I handed her another tissue, she cried freely totally ignoring Ryan behind the glass, “you know what he did?”
“What’d he do?”
“Ye-yesterday he came to my place and he lied to my face. He was all like ‘I love you’ and ‘I still wanna be with you because there’s no one else’ then some chick named Jamie called to ask about their date next weekend.”
“Oh, sweetie,” I hugged her and stole a glance at Ryan who tapped his watch and I rolled my eyes.
She sat up and I realized that she had stopped crying. “Okay, I think I’m ready.”
I smiled and went into the booth with Ryan, “Watch the magic happen.”