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Chapter one: Casa Musica
The coldest day of the winter so far, was drawing to a close. The village Etely Mountain was laying motionless under a thick blanket of snow. The chimneys puffed out thick clouds of smoke, and the streets were deserted. No human nor animal ventured out if that was not necessary. Outside, the Christmas decorations were hanging, which made the streets forming a beautiful picture, as if it had jumped directly from a Christmas card.
Violins lane number 44 was no different, thanks to the beautiful Christmas tree inside, and the twinkling lights outside, there was a cozy Christmas atmosphere hanging around and the upbeat music that came out of the basement, where Michael and Thomas had their rehearsal room and where they intensely rehearsed with their group Casa Musica for months every Saturday night, made sure father and mother Hart lingered in a soothing atmosphere.
“They make such wonderful music in there.” Sighed Maria, as she sank deeper into the sofa while she closed her eyes. Berton sat next to her on the couch, he putted away his newspaper, got up and went to the window that overlooked the street. It was true, he thought, they do make wonderful music. He sighed deeply.
“Do you think they will make it out there? In that big world I mean?” He asked Maria. “I sure hope so, I mean the performances they have done so far were all a success!” said Maria reassuring.
Berton said nothing, he was thinking. In a few months they will sail their first cruise, a few weeks ago they had sent an audition video, and a couple of days later they already had the confirmation that they were selected to set sail. That was already a good start, thought Berton.
Michael was 19 and Thomas 20, they already knew each other since primary school and are used to play along together. In short they were friends for a very long time by now. A while ago, Michael came up with the idea to form a band together, and when they first met for a small jam session, they already had an amount of covers that they could bring together almost immediately.
Meanwhile, they had also written several songs of their own and on the performances they have played so far, both the covers and their own songs had been a great success. On their first gig, a free podium at the local youth center, on which their friends and parents were also present, their own songs had been a great success.
Michael played acoustic guitar, bass, piano, and he could sing amazingly beautiful. Thomas also had a beautiful voice, but his ambitions were not singing. He had learned to play the drums on his own, Acoustic Guitar, Ukulele and Banjo. Together they made many tunes, which they had brought together to their own songs.
When they submitted their audition video, they never thought that they would be chosen, so they were incredibly happy when they received confirmation that they had been selected.
Their parents were very happy for them too, they had always been first in line when they we’re playing a gig and had also done a lot to support them in their band. The fathers were always busy helping them as roadies and their mothers even had created a banner for them with the name and band logo printed on it. That banner they brought with them at every gig they we’re playing from that moment on.
Even their friends supported them in every form possible. They had been present at every performance, and a few of them have always helped their fathers as roadies. Thomas and Michael also purchased a small P.A. System with the money they had earned so far, and one of their friends, who had a disco bar at home, was very excited when they asked him to adjust the sound for them. He did that also extremely well, and they had therefore mutually agreed that he would earn a few bucks at their gigs.
“Well, I think we are through the most important songs,” Michael said, “let’s take a break.”
“Good idea,” Thomas said, putting his guitar away and heading to the refrigerator instantly. “Do you want a beer too?” He asked Michael.
“Yes, please, say what are we going to do with Samuel?” Michael responded.
“I don’t know,” Thomas said. “Samuel does a great job with the sound adjustment, but do you think he would do it? After all we will be long and far away from home.” He added.
“We can ask him, after all he will be paid for it, just like us.” Michael said. We can ask him in a short time, he plays at the youth center tonight.”
“That’s a good idea!” Thomas replied.
For a time it was quiet, while they took a couple small drinks from their beers. A bit later, when they once again went through the playlist quickly and leaving their rehearsal room clean, they went upstairs.
“Mom, Dad! We are going to the youth center, Samuel plays there tonight.” Michael said to his parents when they came upstairs right into the living room.
“That’s good,” Maria said , “but be careful. And behave!” She added.
“Always!” Thomas said with a grin from ear to ear.
“And that is exactly why I said it!” Maria replied with a laugh. “Now go, have a great evening.” “We will!” Michael replied through the garage door.
“Brrr it really is incredibly cold and slippery.” Michael said as he tried to keep himself up.
Thomas was riding beside him and could not resist to play as bogeyman, so he give Michael a little nudge.
“Come on man, race you there!” He said as he began to accelerate.
Michael followed his trail, and so it took only a short time until they arrived at the youth center.
“Ha! Won!” Thomas yelled in excitement. Michael putted away his bicycle.
“Yeah but I have let you win, just wait until tonight when i’m going to Finish you!” He laughed. “Ha in your dreams!” Thomas said, “You could not possibly keep up with me!”
“That was true,” Michael thought, but he was not willing to say that out loud.
A couple moments later they were inside, Thomas was just going to get drinks, and Michael went being looking for a place to store their coats when Elise came up to him.
“Hi Michael! Are you alone?” She asked.
“No, Thomas is getting us something to drink, we’ve only just arrived.” Michael replied. “Are you here for a long time already?” He added.
“Only half an hour, I think, my Father had given me a ride and will pick me up later. He said it was too dangerous for me to come by bike on my own, like I’m still a child.” Elise said.
“Well, at least your comfortable.” Michael replied.
“I hope there will be more people coming.” Thomas said when he returned with their drinks. “Oh, hi Elise, I didn’t know you were here, so I haven’t brought you anything, sorry.” Thomas added when he realized Elise was standing with them.
“Never mind.” Elise said.
“If you want I’ll go and get you something? Want a beer?” Asked Michael.
“That would be great!” She said.
“I’ll be right back!” Michael replied.
“I think he likes you.” Thomas said teasingly. “He’s just getting a drink for you.” “Oh! You bully!” Said Elise while she gave him a smack on his shoulder.
Thomas laughed and when Michael came back he said: “Hey Michael, do you have to tell me something?”
“What? No? Why?” Michael asked slightly surprised.
“You just get a drink for her, Is there a reason for it?” Thomas said teasingly.
“No, I just wanted to be nice? There isn’t a reason needed for, Right?” Michael said. “Oh, of course not!” Thomas said. “But I feel that there’s more behind it.” He thought.
An hour later, more people we’re arriving, also Samuel and he joined Michael, Thomas, and the rest of the gang of friends that was already there.
“Hi Samuel! Everything okay buddy?” Thomas asked when Samuel settled himself right next to him.
“Besides the extremely cold weather, I have no reason to complain!” Samuel replied. “And you? And Casa Musica?” He added.
“Well, its good that you ask because we wanted to talk to you about that. You helped us out a few times, with the sound? Right?” Thomas said.
“Oh, that? That was really nothing, I mean it was not too much work.” Samuel said.
“But it was very good!” Michael said. “And we wanted to ask you something. We are selected with Casa Musica to become a solid music act on cruise lines.” He added
“WHAT!” Samuel yelled Surprised. “You’re joking, right?” He added while his jaw dropped. “Yeah it was just a joke.” Thomas said sarcastically. “Do you think we would joke about something like that?” He asked.
“Ignore him, I think he already feels the alcohol.” Michael said.“Well, to proceed, we thought you might like it if you could join us as our music technician. That means you’ll be doing our sound during the cruises. Now we do understand that you have to think about it,” said Michael, “It is obviously a big step …”
“Of course I wanna do that!” Samuel said in respond. “That would be a dream come true!”
“You will also be paid, of course, just like us.” Thomas explained.
“Then it’s just as if you are a part of our band. But then you also will need to come to our rehearsals a couple times, so that we can rehearse with the installation.” Thomas added.
“Of course.” Samuel said. “Just let me know when you rehearse and i’ll be there.”
“Well, maybe we can meet tomorrow afternoon, now that we are going to do the cruises we have agreed that we rehearse as much as possible, in order to be in shape.” Michael said.
“Alright I’ll be there!” said Samuel. “Two o’clock in the afternoon?” he added.
“Two o’clock is good, that is usually the time that we begin.” Michael responded.
“Okay,” Samuel said, “I’ll see you tomorrow! Now I’m going to get ready, i’ll be deejaying here tonight!” He added while he made his way to the boot.
“Just play a few good songs!” Thomas yelled.
“Absolutely, as always!” Samuel replied with big grin on his face and then he was gone.
“Well, that was arranged quickly.” Michael said.
“Yes,” Thomas said. “But I didn’t expect him to…” He paused abruptly. Michael saw him staring at a place behind him.
“What’s wrong?” Michael asked. “Its as if you’ve seen a ghost!”
He followed his gaze and saw a cadaverous Elise behind him. Apparently she stood there for a while, and it was clear that she had heard their conversation.
“Elise? What’s wrong?” Michael asked.
But Elise ran outside, at the last moment Michael had seen tears filling up her eyes and he also rushed outside, followed closely by Thomas. When they arrived outside, they saw Elise sitting on a bench, she had her face buried in her hands, and from the shocking of her body, Michael could tell that she was crying. He sat down beside her on the bench and put his arm over her shoulder. “Elise?” he asked, “what’s wrong?”
Elise looked up with tears in her eyes.
“… Is it really true … … sob … what you just said … sob … to Samuel?” She sobbed.
“About the Cruises?” Michael asked.
She nodded. Michael sighed.
“Yes, that’s true.” He said, and nodded to Thomas, who understood the hint immediately, and said: “Well, I’m going to take a look at Samuel.” Then he made his way back inside.
“I’m sorry I didn’t wanted to tell you that yet, because … well, I was afraid of this.” Michael said. “So that means that I’m going to have to miss you for a very long time?” Elise asked.
“Yes,” Michael sighed, but before he could continue Elise jumped towards him and hugged him intensely.
He stood motionless and when Elise loosed her grip a bit and looked him straight in the eye, Michael saw it for the first time. Her beautiful blue eyes, so unpredictable and yet it was as if he could look straight through them, right into her soul. So pure. So innocent and especially so beautiful. Without even realizing they came closer to each other and when their lips touched, Michael got a magical feeling, a feeling that he had never felt before. He had never been so close to a girl either, and the most beautiful fact was that he and Elise knew each other for so many years, in fact she was for many years his best female friend. If he was sad about something, he knew he could always talk about it with her.
After what seemed an eternity, they let each other go.
“Wauw” Michael said, but he got no further. Elise putted her finger to his lips in a sign that he should say no more.
“Let’s just enjoy this moment.” She whispered in his ear and putted her arms around his waist.
A few hours later, when they decided to go home, Elise walked with them. She and Michael, walked arm in arm, and Thomas walked beside Michael. They laughed at the jokes Thomas was pulling, but Michael and Elise did not fully realize, which was not so difficult because apparently they only had eyes for each other. Suddenly a snowball flew in the back of Michael.
“Haha that was right into the bulls eye!” Thomas laughed.
“Oh, okay! You just signed your death warrant buddy!” Michael grinned and he grabbed a blanket of snow that whizzed towards the head of Thomas. Soon they stranded in a real snowball fight that could go on for hours. Elise stood there looking at it. “Boys.” She thought. “They are still just kids.” But she also thought it was a pretty picture, two best friends who knew each other for years and still could be entertained with something as simple as a snowball fight, that was a wonderful ending to what Elise had seen as her best evening so far.
In the weeks that followed Michael and Elise were often together, except when Thomas was there, and they rehearsed with Casa Musica, then Elise respected their privacy. During the few weeks they we’re a couple only one time she watched the rehearsal and at the performances she stood in front. They had rehearsed with Samuel a few times, and today was the first time that he would arrange their sound for a real show. The parents of Michael and Thomas had put this show on its feet, as a try out, cause the cruises we’re arriving rapidly. This was also the gig where they we’re gonna preview the playlist they we’re going to take with them on the cruises because in exactly two months from now, they we’re off on their first trip, they had received an e-mail during the week of the event agency where they were located with Casa Musica. That first was therefore a special, for the first time going to make music under a record deal is not something that you do on daily base.
There was some other good news for Michael to. There were two open positions for crew they could take with them and would be paid as well. They had decided to not only take Samuel, who was in any case going to be there as their music technician, also taking Elise with them. She would be taking the part of Roadie, something that she already did and she did not bad. In addition, she would also keep their accounts, something that Michael and Thomas did not choose to do, because they we’re not very good at it. But Elise was and she liked doing it as well. And it also gave her something to do so she wouldn’t be separated from Michael, which they both were happy about.
Thomas also was happy with it, he had thought in the last couple weeks that because Michael and Elise were a couple now, and they we’re going to be long and far away form each other, Michael perhaps would be gone crazy and would like to return home. But with Elise being around everything would be OK. Even though they were a couple for not so very long, Michael felt that Elise was the best thing ever happened in his life and he would never leave her side, and that feeling was mutual.
Chapter two: Hometown showtime
The last two months had gone by in no time. Meanwhile, it was the end of February, and so it became less cold. Last week it also stopped snowing, and began to thaw. And on a beautiful evening, when an early sun, which was shining for a whole day and delivered a tiny amount of heat, quietly slipped away behind the horizon, Michael, Thomas and Elise were sitting on the terrace at Michaels home the night before their presentation of the cruise playlist.
Berton and Maria had invited them to toast on their success, and Berton saw the opportunity here to heat up the barbecue for the first time this year. But that was not the only reason, only one week from now and then they we’re off to Brazil for their first cruise on the amazon river and Berton found that the little time they remained could be best spend together. Therefore he had also invited Mark and Lynnette, the parents of Thomas over to their house and while Michael and Thomas entertained Elise with their guitars, the parents were preparing the food for diner.
“Can you believe it? Only one week remaining and then our son’s will be on the other side of the world.” Lynnette said.
“Yes, I know but we should let them go sooner or later.” Maria replied. “Plus I think they will be save. At least they’re not alone, they have each other, and Elise and Samuel will also be there.
I think they will not even have time to miss us, I mean look at them.” She added.
Michael and Thomas were fooling around, while they played a number, Thomas could not resist to just go a little bit crazy. He stood up, and took a solo while standing on the surface of the table and Michael quickly jumped in here, soon they were together on the table, while Thomas continued his solo and Michael began to scream the lyrics, it was a harder song they were playing and Michael felt really delighted.
To an outsider, it looked like they were putting on a giant rock show to a huge audience. Elise was rolling on the floor laughing, same as Samuel. Maria and Lynnette laughed too, Mark and Berton jumped up and took a broomstick, as if they had a microphone fixed and yelled lustily with their sons.
After dinner Berton had the fire pit outside lit up, and when they were all sitting there together, Michael and Thomas played another few songs. Their songs were so beautiful that Maria, Lynnette and Elise had tears in their eyes. Late at night, Mark and Lynnette stood up and announced that they would go home. Also Thomas and Samuel were preparing to leave, and not much later only Michael and Elise, together with Michael’s parents were outside. Michael had just put his guitar back in its case, and now quietly sipped his beer, which was almost empty. Elise sat next to him and had put her arm around his arm and her head resting on his shoulder.
“Can you believe that in a few days we are on the plane to Brazil?” Elise asked softly.
“Yes, but that’s just because you have reminded me every few hours.” Michael replied with a grimace and Elise came up.
“Are you laughing with me now?” She asked smiling, as she gave him a soft punch, causing his glasses falling from his head. They soon got into a little fight, but it was not taking long before Elise sat on him, and held his arms above his head.
“Well, well, lost to a girl, She said smiling, then she leaned over and was lying on him giving him a kiss. At the same time Michael turned around and sat on top of her.
“Well then, now you lie down so nicely.” Michael said with laughter.
That same moment Maria cleared her throat:
“Hu-Hum, I do not want to be a fun corrupter, but if you two want some privacy, you only have to ask.” She said.
Michael looked up. “Sorry,” He said. He stood up, and helped Elise by also getting up. “Come, let’s go to my room.” He said, and she followed him up the stairs. When they entered his room, Michael closed the door, and when he turned around Elise stood in front of him. She took both his hands and slowly pulled him towards her. Michael looked straight into her eyes and saw a sparkle of happiness. She came closer to him and their lips touched tenderly. He put his hands around her waist, and they end up deeper into the kiss that seemed to last for hours. Eventually they let each other go, Elise pulled him onto the bed, and not much later they were hugging cosy, which ended up in a sensual mooded moment.
Exhausted Michael fell on his side of the bed. Elise came closer to him and said with a soft tender voice: “That was lovely. I love you so very much!” They lay close for another couple minutes hugging, and eventually she fell asleep into Michael’s arms. Not much later, also Michael fell asleep.
The last week flew by in no time. Michael and Thomas had rehearsed every day, including twice in the youth center with the music system, accompanied by Samuel and Elise who helped in the preparation of the stage. She had done a small contribution for that stage. She had made an arrangement that made their set look cozy and invitingly, because in exactly forty-eight hours they were on a plane to Brazil. That is why today they had arranged a concert in the foyer, with the cruise set. At the last moment they asked a friend of Elise to open up for them. She also played guitar and wrote some songs. Thomas had asked her, when they had seen her playing in the youth center a few weeks ago and both Thomas and Michael had been greatly impressed.
“Are you ready?” Thomas asked, when he putted aside his guitar.
“I think so.” Michael said. “Did you liked the sound of it Samuel?” He added.
“Magnificent!” Samuel said excited. “If you play this well in Brazil, Elise must be careful or she is going to lose you. What a voice!” He added even more excited.
“Luckily I trust my man blindly!” Elise said while she came up and stood beside Michael grabbing him tightly. “I’ll never let you go!” She whispered in his ear.
Michael took her in his arms and kissed her on her forehead.
“ Anyone else feeling hungry?” Thomas asked. “Yup!” Samuel called.
“You bet!” Elise added.
“I’m almost dying!” Michael grinned.
“Fries or Kebab?” asked Thomas.
“Your choice, I’m in for both of them.” Michael replied. “I do fancy a kebab.” Elise said.
“Me too!” Samuel added.
“Okay kebab it is!” Thomas and Michael said in unison.
Not much later they were sitting at the local kebab, and they just had ordered food.
“I still can’t believe that, in two days, we’re at sea!” Samuel said.
“Tell me about it, i’m feeling the nerves so hard I can hardly stay in my seat!” Thomas replied. “Better don’t fall off and break something right?” joked Samuel to Thomas while he patted his shoulder. Thomas jumped up when he felt that knock and hit the table with his knees.
“Take it easy buddy, i’m not going to kill you or something.” Samuel said, laughing.
“You see, a barrel full of nerves.” Thomas said with a slightly frightened voice.
Michael, Elise and Samuel laughed their heads off, Thomas looked up and laughed nervously with the rest. When they finished their food, they went back to the youth center, and when they arrived, there was already quite a few people inside. Their parents had also arrived, they were at the bar and the fathers all had a beer in their hands, while their mothers had hung up the banner.
Also Elises friend Yana, who would open up for Michael and Thomas today, had just arrived and was just bringing her stuff to the stage. They saw her drag with the amplifier, and Thomas came to help.
“Wait, let me help you with that.” Thomas said and he grabbed one of the handles.
“Thank you, he’s pretty heavy.” Yana replied.
“I know,” Thomas said, “I saw you carrying that heavy thing and saw your painful grin.” “Anyway thank you for opening up for us tonight!” he added.
“No problem at all, thank you for giving me this opportunity. I only stood on a podium once, so I hope I can control my nerves.” Yana said with a blush on her face.
“It will be great,” Thomas said, “I can tell you for sure!” He added and smiled.
“Thank you.” Yana said with a shy smile.
“Do you see it too, or am I mistaken?” Michael asked Samuel.
“Thomas is playing with cupid?” Samuel replied.
“Yes, I think our Thomas is falling in love.” Michael said. “And a few weeks ago, he was laughing with me!” He added.
“So now it is our turn to laugh.” Samuel joked with a wink of an eye.
“Oh yeah we sure will.” Michael grinned.
Thomas helped Yana with the full setup and so she was ready in no time. After the soundcheck she came up to Michael, Thomas and Elise and stood with them.
“Hi Yana! How are you feeling? Not to nervous I hope?” Elise asked.
“I’m cool for the moment, I sure hope it’s going to stay that way.” Yana said.
“No worries.” Thomas said. “We had it too the first time, right Michael?” Michael nodded,
“Be sure of that, barrel full of nerves, but the moment you start playing, they’re gone.” He replied. “Yes, my first gig went the same way, but that was different, back then I was only playing for my family, and there was not so many people.” Yana said with a little spark of nerves in her voice.
“It will be alright, I have confidence in you and your music!” Thomas said with a wink, and Yana blushed.
Michael watched the whole scene, and when his gaze crossed Elises, he knew she was thinking the same as he was.
“I think Thomas is in love.” Elise said as she came closer to Michael and gave him a kiss on his cheek.
“I also noticed it.” Michael replied. “That’s the first time I see him that way.”
Elise gave Michael a kiss and then went to Yana.
“Are you ready?” Elise asked.
“Yes!” Yana said firmly, she took another sip of her drink, and then went to the stage. “Good luck!” Thomas said with a wink as she passed him.
“Thank you, you too later!” She said to Thomas, then hugged him tightly.
Michael and Thomas followed them to the front of the stage, and when they arrived Michael said: “So, You and Yana?”
“What about it?” Thomas asked in return, but Michael had seen that he was getting red cheeks. “I’m your best friend.” Michael said. “Do you think I didn’t noticed? You, pulling out so many favors, I think you’re in love.” He added with a grimace.
“I admit that I like Yana, yes.” Thomas said. “But I know we just met each other and in two days we’re on the other side of the world, so there isn’t much time to get to know each other.” He added seriously.
“That’s true, but never say never!” Michael replied with a wink.
“Poltergeist.” Thomas said with a soft smile and gave Michael a little push.
“Exactly what you did to me!” Michael said as he pushed him back.
“That was true.” Thomas thought, then silence took over for a couple seconds and Yana started playing.
Thomas wandered away in thought, “she has such an amazingly beautiful voice and her songs are even more breathtaking.” He thought.
He was so lost in his imagination that he didn’t even notice that Michael was talking to him. Only when he was shaken, he came out of his thoughts.
“Ah!” said Michael. “Welcome back to earth which planet were you on?”
“I …, sorry!” Thomas said. “Did you say something?” He added.
“Yes, I said she has a beautiful voice.” Michael replied.
“Yes,” Thomas said. “She is very beautiful…”
He saw Michael looking at him with a strange look.
“The voice I meant!” he added hastily.
“Yeah, it certainly is her voice.” Michael grinned.
Suddenly it became very quiet when Yana began to play her last song. This song she had written in memory of her deceased father, who died several years ago on an age way too young. It was a very emotional song, and so wonderful that it gave both Michael and Thomas goosebumps and at the end of the song the audience burst into thunderous applause. Yana was not used to it and was a bit shy, Michael looked at Elise, and saw that she had tears in her eyes.
“So beautiful!” She said and she putted her arms around Michaels waist, who ran his hands through her hair and gave her a kiss on her forehead.
After a while the applause died away and was replaced by stairway to heaven, Samuel had this number set as a token of a tribute, because Yana’s father was also a common face in the community of Etely Mountain. Thanks to his fighting spirit that he had acted out as president of the Youth Council, the mayor had been corporative to open the youth center instantly and that’s why this man had his place in the hearts of the youth population of Etely Mountain more than earned conquered. That’s why it has been a heavy shock to everyone who knew Gus Elder Mountains, when he was found dead in his bed that disastrous morning by his daughter Yana, who had this song dedicated to him right here, right now.
The arrangement of Michael and Thomas took a little longer than Yana’s arrangement, Thomas noted. Half an hour after Yana had cleaned up her act, they were almost finished, but they still had to soundcheck. This lasted fortunately not so long, and when it was nearly ten o’clock, they were finally ready.
Now they stood still for a moment with Elise, Samuel had also joined them.
“Ready?” Samuel asked.
“I do!” Michael said and he pulled Elise closer to him and gave a kiss on her cheek. Yana also had joined them, and complimented Samuel on his work as a technician.
“Well, thank you, but it wasn’t really a big deal!”
“Your set was very good!” Thomas said with a wink of an eye.
“Thank you!” Yana replied. “Good luck you two.” She added.
“That will be no problem at all!” Michael and Thomas said in unison.
“I do not doubt that.” Elise said and gave Michael a kiss on his cheek.
“If they are half as good as playing at rehearsal, they play the roof off!”
“Let us hope they don’t do that, if it rains we will all be as wet as a diver during his job!” Joked Samuel. “And our material is not exactly water resistant.” He added.
The girls bursted out laughing at this remark.
“You, you always with you’re silly jokes!” Elise said between her laughter through.
Michael and Thomas laughed too.
“Come on, let us get started before we can’t take a breath anymore.” Michael said. “Ready brother?” He asked Thomas.
“I’m as ready as cloudy water, after it has been filtered.” Thomas replied.
“Well, then let’s begin!” They gave each other a high five and went on stage. Michael sat down at the piano, and waited until Thomas had his guitar. The music of Samuel died away, and Michael started playing. Soft and tender, as if he wanted to do the piano no harm, in the right size but the same note over and over again, and then he began to sing:
Some say love, it is a river That drowns the tender reed, Some say love, it is a razor That leaves your soul to bleed, Some say love it is a hunger an endless aching need,
I say love, it is a flower and you it’s only seed.
Berton and Maria looked at each other. “Now that brings memories back to life!”, Berton said. “Would you like to dance, malady?” He added while he offered Maria his arm.
“I would be delighted.” Maria said with a soft nod and she picked up Berton’s outstretched hand then headed to the open space in the crowd and started slowing. Mark and Lynnette followed their example and Elise was gently rocking out of sight, she had her eyes closed, and sang softly. Yana stood beside her, and put her arm around Elise’s shoulder. “We’ll dance?” she asked.
“Certainly!” Elise said and they both went to the dance floor.
When the song was over Michael sat down at the piano and putted a swing in and the dance floor was filled immediately. Everyone was shaking and swinging. After a few faster and harder songs while Thomas was sitting down behind his drums, he stood up and grabbed his banjo.
Michael took his guitar and began to play.
“ELISE!” Yana yelled out loud, “Listen, Mumford and Sons!” She added still yelling.
They walked forward to the podium and began to sing loudly along with Michael and Thomas:
I Will Wait,
I Will Wait, for you.
They jumped and sang along the entire song. Michael and Thomas had decided to play one more song and that one they dedicated to Yana’s father, they chose their own song called: Forever. Michael wrote it himself, exactly one year ago, and it was about a man who gave his life to rescue his one true love. They had rewritten it together, and found it worthy to carry out in dedication to Gus. It brought tears into the eyes of Yana, but the tears were mixed. Partly because she missed her father, but also because of the fact that these guys had written a song for her father, and it was a wonderful song. On the last note, again followed by a deafening applause, Samuel started the music again and began with the song Always by Bon Jovi.
Michael and Thomas, had already started packing when Berton came on stage and took the microphone.
“Test, test.” He said.
“Good evening everyone, the musical program for this evening is over, but feel free to stay as long as you want, Samuel will go on for a while. I’d just like to ask Yana on stage.” He added.
Yana came on stage and joined Michael and Thomas.
“These three have made sure that it was a memorable evening, I am extremely proud of my son and his best mate: Thomas.We will wish them all the best in the adventure that they will soon experience and we hope they surely will keep thinking of us just a little bit. I know we will think of them very much. But I would also like to ask for an extra hearty applause for our opener tonight, Yana, you’ve done very well and we hope that you will also get your place in the music industry too, you truly deserve it.” Berton ended his speech.
There was a deafening applause, and Samuel put the music back on. When Michael and Thomas we’re done loading their stuff they joined the rest of their friends. From all sides came congratulations and everyone wished them success. It was late in the evening when the last guests we’re leaving. Yana also went home and so only Michael, Thomas, Elise, Samuel, and the parents of Michael and Thomas we’re left. Not much later Berton and Maria and Mark and Lynnette went home. And so it was only them four still remained, those who we’re heading to sea.
Chapter three: Going offshore
It was a hectic morning at the Hart household. Michael and Elise woke up very early and Berton and Maria were also already up and running. The flight to Brazil took off at six o’clock in the morning but Michael, Elise, Thomas and Samuel had to be at the airport one hour in advance. Elise had spent the night with Michael and she had been risen at three o’clock to check everything and get themselves ready. Even Berton and Maria were already out of the springs, along with Mark and Lynnette, they had agreed to take them to the airport.
About half past Three the bell rang and when Herbert opened the door he saw Mark, Lynnette, Thomas and Samuel standing.
“Good morning Berton.” Mark said.
“Good morning.” Berton replied. “we are almost done, but please come in we still have some time. Fancy a cup of coffee?” Asked Berton.
“Yes please.” Mark and Lynnette said in unison.
Michael came down the stairs and into the kitchen, where he saw Thomas and its parents along with his father and Samuel.
“Good morning everyone.” He said when he walked in.
“Morning, Michael” Thomas replied.
“Mom and Elise are in the bathroom, Mom had to help Elise with her hair.” Michael said. “Women.” Thomas grinned against Michael, who gave a nod as a sign of understanding.
Not much later, Elise came into the kitchen, followed closely by Maria. They all drank another cup of coffee and at four o’clock they all left towards the airport. Upon their arrival, it was still pretty quiet, and when they were all inside, with their cases, the time was there that they had to say goodbye. Lynnette and Maria we’re sobbing. They hugged their sons, and also Elise and Samuel. Then they both began to cry. Berton and Mark gave the foursome a hand, but they also had difficulties to restrain their emotions.
“Well, this is it, I will miss you very hard son.” Berton said to Michael.
“I’ll miss you too Dad, but we see each other every week, huh? Even though it is arranged with a webcam, but we stay connected!” Michael replied.
“Absolutely, Take care of yourself buddy!” Berton said on an emotional tone.
He also hugged Elise and gave Thomas and Samuel a hand and when they went to the counter, they looked back for the last time, waved and then they were gone.
Maria fell into Berton’s arms and began to cry. Lynnette also sought solace with her husband, Mark, who in turn had also tears in his eyes.
“One very long half a year we will not see them.” Mark said.
Berton nodded. “Yes, for six months it will be so quiet at home!” He said. “But we still have each other, we meet up just once more in order to do something together.” Berton added.
“Be sure of that.” Mark replied.
Around noon, the foursome arrived at the airport in Rio. There, a taxi driver was waiting for them to take them to Tefe, a lake that borders the Amazon River. Upon their arrival at the port lay their cruise ship: Costa Alverdia, ready to ship in crew and passengers. When Michael and Thomas saw the ship, their jaws dropped in surprise, even Elise and Samuel drew their eyes wide open.
“Waauw! This ship is huge!” Elise said.
“Indeed it is.” Michael replied while he stood next to her, and took her hand. “Come on.” He said and took her to the terminal.
“Buenas tardes, y Bienvenidos a los Costa Alverdia an nombre de toda la costa del equipo les deseo una estancia agradable.”
“I’m sorry, unfortunately we did not had the time to learn proper Spanish.” Michael said.
“So, I am, Juanes, I am here to welcome you on this fantastic cruise ship, and i’ll hope you’re gonna have a great time, and enjoy your stay here. I suppose you are the formers of Casa Musica? One of the musical acts on this ship?” Juanes said.
“That is correct. Thank you very much.” Michael replied.
“Well, if you wait here for a moment, someone is coming to get you to your rooms, and your gear will be escorted to the rehearsal room that is set up for you.”
“Thank you!” they all said in unison.
Not much later, someone of the crew took them to the rooms and when they were settled, they agreed to meet each other on the deck to explore the boat. After having explored the boat, Thomas said: “I suggest we go for a drink? I got a little bit thirsty.”
“Good idea!” Samuel replied. “Look that one seems like a cozy terrace!” They took place on one of the tables and when they had ordered a drink Elise said: “Guys, I want to propose a toast, on a wonderful adventure, and the success of the best musicians on this boat, Michael and Thomas. To Casa Musica!”
“To Casa Musica!” they all said in unison.
“That we may spend a nice time together!” Michael added and Elise putted her arms around his waist and said: “Be sure of that!”
The next days however Michael and Thomas were busy with both the regular and the dress rehearsals, which caused that they could spend very little time with Samuel and Elise. Samuel was usually busy with the sound, and so Elise often remained alone.
Though she was not really desperate about that.
She had in recent months been greatly preoccupied with both a new banner, and making other work for the band and in between she also kept the accounts, so she was happy that she had a little bit time to rest now.
In the last months before their departure, Michael and Thomas often had been playing gigs, and so they had already a nice level of starting for Casa Musica. Elise was fully aware that that amount would be nothing compared to what they would earn from the cruises.
They had in the last month before departure also recorded a demo CD with four own songs. For this one, Elise had also designed a cover, and so they took a few dozen of finished demos for possible sale. This they had also agreed with the people from Creative Productions, the event office where Casa Musica was located, but beyond that they had also received studio time, in order to record their first full album. However Michael and Thomas had not agreed yet when they would do this. After a week of full days rehearsing, Michael and Thomas felt they we’re fully ready, and that was a good thing, because the next day the first guests would arrive, and their musical adventure would start.
That night they played a welcome appearance in the main bar. The people who settled the performances had made a sort of welcome festival, Casa Musica played together with six of a total of nine music acts who were present on the ship.
The groups ranged from covers to classical music and the evening ended with a theater group, playing Romeo and Julliet.
When it was Casa Musica’s turn, as the third act, the bar was well stocked and Thomas spontaneously had to think back at their benefit concert in their village just before their departure. “Ready buddy?” Michael asked, while he was standing behind Thomas.
“Sure.” Thomas replied. “Not too many nerves?” He asked Michael in return.
“Remarkably, no nerves.” Michael replied.
“Top!!” Thomas said. “Come on, we’re going to have some fun.”
It was finally there, the moment they had both eagerly awaited.
Michael sat behind his piano, Thomas took his guitar and then it became very quiet.
At the first note Michael played, Elise knew immediately that they were going to play The Rose, and she got tears in her eyes. She thought this was a stunner, and Michael’s voice was really perfect for it. She rocked back and forth, with her eyes closed, and when the song was over, she applauded the loudest.
The set went on with songs as I Will Wait and Danza Kuduro.
But they also played classic songs including: Hotel California, House of the rising sun and the original Dolly Parton version of Jolene.
There was exuberant singing and dancing and so the hour passed rapidly. Michael and Thomas closed their set with When You Say Nothing at All, a very beautiful song by Ronan Keating.
The band that followed them was ready to draw, when Michael and Thomas had just cleared the stage. The singer, a man of about 35 years old thought Michael, gave them a hand and said: “You guys did an amazing job out there, for two young guys, I can finally say that there is still hope in the younger generations! Hats off fellows!”
“Wow, thanks.” Michael said. “Well, we wish you too the best of luck out there, and we will stand on the front row!” He added with a smile!
And when the next band started with the song La Bamba, Thomas, Michael, Elise, and Samuel waved their hands on the beats of the song.
After several swing numbers, the singer took some time to thank the entire cast of the cruise ship and all the bands that played here tonight.
“And I like to have the formers of the band that played before us on stage.” He said while pointing to Michael and Thomas, who entered the stage again a little bit stunned.
“These two young guys,” the man continued. “They have proven tonight that there is still potential in the younger generations and I want to ask you all, to give these boys a special, and very loud round of applause, Because They deserve it! Well done guys.” He said and also began to applaud. A deafening applause followed. Michael looked at Thomas and saw that he had tears in his eyes. He grabbed him by the waist and hugged him dearly. “Well done mate!” He said softly to Thomas and he replied also softly: “You too buddy.”
“Thank you very much everyone.” Michael said, but he could not release more.
The evening progressed quickly and after the last act, followed by a word of thanks from the organizer for all the acts, his speech was followed by a few hours of a DJ until late in the night.
Michael and Thomas stood for a long time with the people of soul generation, the band that asked them on stage and they exchanged contact details.
The singer, Eric Pearson, invited Michael and Thomas to jam together again, and they gladly accepted.
Eventually they went to bed, exhausted but happy and when Elise was laying into Michiels arms he felt the happiest person on earth.