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Losing North - Unpleasant Surprise (Chapter V)

5th Chapter of my novel Losing North. Have fun ;)

UNPLEASANT SURPRISE

Adam’s smile covered his entire face, from ear to ear. “What are you so happy about?” Charlie asked, coming home from work.

Adam put his phone on the living’s room table and went on to reply, “I’ve just spoken to the dean of Columbia University. They want to interview me.”

Charlie smiled and laughed a little as he set his bag down. “That is great!” He exclaimed. After going to the kitchen and grabbing a cold water bottle from the fridge, Charlie came back to ask Adam, “When are you thanking Page for this?”

There was some silence, Adam had just lost interest in the conversation and watched television for a few seconds before coming back to the moment. “I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll call her soon.”

“Well…” Charlie started, before sitting down on the sofa. “Today is Thursday, and you might want to go out with her tomorrow, huh?” He asked, looking at Adam’s face, who just stared at Charlie with a look of discontent as if wishing to kill him.

Sigh. “Why do you keep trying to hook me up with her? Can’t you just accept we are not going to be together?” Adam asked Charlie, trying to convince both Charlie and himself that he wasn’t interested in Page.

“Maybe with time, you guys might start liking each other, don’t you think?” Charlie asked Adam, who simply rolled his eyes and went on to hide inside his cave – also known as his bedroom.

The sun was gone, the cold breeze that followed the moon had arrived. For some reason, tonight the sky was clear, the stars were bright and the mood seemed quite calm.

Alright, see you then,” Adam spoke into the phone, just before dropping it to the bed once the call had ended. He closed his eyes and thought if he was making a mistake or not. “There is no way of being sure, is there?” He asked himself, whispering inside his room.

Tomorrow evening would certainly be interesting. Finally having an idea of what he was dealing with, Adam would be able to know what Page’s band looked like. Adam preferred not to overthink the situation, leaving his mind free of any thoughts at this point. The dark, lightless room combined with Adam’s free mind was all that he need to fall asleep in a few seconds.

It was still 7 PM but already Adam’s snoring reverberated in the entire apartment. Every night Charlie had to deal with the same noise, which almost drove him mad for the first couple months but now had made him used to it. Charlie barely even noticed the snoring that kept coming from Adam’s room even after he left for work the morning next.

Beep… beep…” Would be the sound Adam heard if he actually had an alarm. But instead, the silence just kept him cozy and sleepy until the middle of the afternoon. Finally, his eyes opened, in a flash. The sunlight coming in through the window burned like salt in a wound. “Shit!” was the first thing to come out of his mouth. Once his blurry vision cleared, Adam looked at his phone’s screen to discover it was already 2 PM, and he had slept for over nineteen hours.

At least, another half an hour went by before Adam got up. When he finally did, Adam also opened his bedroom window, to let the stink go away and fresh air fill the room. Adam cleaned everything, leaving no spot of dust inside those four walls. Afterwards, he had a bath and cooked something to eat. It had been long enough since the last time his mouth had felt some actual food being chewed.

Almost the entire afternoon had gone by, and it was already 4 PM and soon enough Adam would go out, so there weren’t many alternatives besides waiting for the time to pass. Adam sat down on the sofa and grabbed his guitar, a few moments later there was the buzzing from the amp being heard in the entire apartment.

His fingers slid on the entire fretboard, the notes flying off the guitar. The sweet, warm sound of Adam’s improvised sound was much better than anything he had composed in a long time. He felt an inspiration unlike anything before, a burning feeling running through his veins.

Adam closed his eyes and let his hands express everything he needed to say. Soon enough more than two hours had passed, and Charlie was walking in. Once his feet were through the front door, Charlie simply stopped and observed.

After a few seconds, Adam finally noticed his roommate standing there, so he stopped playing. Charlie smiled before saying, “That sounds so good! Is this a new song you’re learning?”

Adam chuckled, a bit happy for the comment. “Actually, it’s just an improvisation I’ve been playing…” Adam looked at his phone and raised his eyebrows once he realized how much time had passed, “For a couple of hours already.”

“That is great!” Charlie said, finally closing the front door and putting his things down. Charlie looked at Adam and saw him wearing jeans and a nice shirt for a change, “Are you going out?” He asked.

“Yeah, I’m meeting up with Page and her band… Just like you told me to,” Adam replied, in a tone of contempt.

Charlie raised his eyebrows and exclaimed, “Very good… It could be just the two of you, though.” He added, still trying to push Adam to like Page.

There was no response to that comment. Adam knew it would be useless to argue. “Well, I’m going out in about an hour, feel free to join me,” Adam said instead.

Charlie was a bit confused, and the sun had barely left, and Adam was already going out. “Why are you going out so early? It’s barely evening yet.”

The guitar was left leaning on the couch as Adam walked into the kitchen, grabbed an energy drink and came back to the living room. “Well, I’m going out to buy a new guitar first, then meeting Page in her place so we can all go out,” Adam explained.

Once again Charlie was smiling, “Back to her place, huh?” He asked, before sitting down on the couch to watch some television. Without intending to, Charlie almost dropped the guitar if it weren’t for Adam’s quick reaction.

Adam looked at Charlie with a face of contempt, this time because Adam loved that guitar. “Shit Charlie, be careful…” Adam said, grabbing the guitar and putting it inside the hard-case. “Yes, I’m going to her place… So we can go to her friend’s house together. That is it.” Adam explained to Charlie, trying to make him understand there was never anything going on between Adam and Page, but Adam was almost giving up on that.

“Right, just so you can go together,” Charlie said, in a sarcastic manner. He was going channel by channel on the television, trying to find something entertaining to watch, but failing miserably on every attempt. Finally, his sometimes-childish mind decided to leave the TV on a famous cartoon he liked watching.

A look of discontentment filled Adam’s face once he saw Charlie had put something so intellectually unchallenging for them to watch. “Really? This children’s demeaning show? Isn’t there anything better for us to watch?” Adam commented, just before sitting down on the sofa again.

Charlie seemed to be having a bit of a hard time understanding Adam’s discontent on the choice, replying, “What is wrong with it? It’s funny.” Right, when a ‘funny’ joke was said, making Charlie laugh out loud and Adam cringe.

“Alright, just leave it on then.” Adam said, rolling his eyes and wishing time could be fast-forwarded.

The hour had passed, Adam had already taken a cab to ‘Musos Scene’ and was both happy, and a bit disappointed Charlie refused his invite to go out, as he wished his friend would have come along but also relieved no one would be annoying him tonight.

In Adam’s opinion, the last hour before Musos Scene closed was the best moment to buy a new guitar – or anything from them to be honest – as most people would be gone and the store would be empty. Usually, John or Zakk would be working at that time and Adam was already familiar to the two, making his visit to the giant instruments store even more pleasant.

From the moment Adam stepped inside the store and looked at the hundreds – maybe even thousands – of guitars, basses, drums and every possible instrument on the walls and ready to be played, his heart would be a river of joy as Adam imagined himself playing all of them.

“Oh, hey Adam!” Zakk shouted as he walked from far inside the store to the front door, ready to cater for one of his usual clients.

Adam saw the blonde, bearded man walking towards him and exclaimed, “If it isn’t the blondest guitar player in the world!” Adam extended his hand, ready to shake Zakk’s. “How are you doing?” Adam asked once Zakk shook his hand.

“Doing great, here to buy something expensive? Am I that lucky?” Zakk said, giggling a bit.

“In fact, I am!” Adam said loudly, “I want a new guitar.” He told Zakk, making the two start to wander around the store, in search for the best looking and best sounding guitars in stock.

Almost half an hour had gone by, and Adam was still looking when he saw it at the far end of the aisle. That beautiful, shiny green guitar with an amazing texture, the glossy finish on top of the wood making it outstand all the other models near it.

Rushing Adam walked up to the guitar, “Oh, I think I’ve found what I want!” Adam said taking the guitar off its stand. Adam didn’t even ask to test the guitar. He was so much of a regular in the shop that he simply took the guitar to an amp and plugged it in. Seconds after turning the amp on, Adam was smiling because of the sound of that guitar. “Shit, this is amazing!” He shouted to Zakk, who was trying to keep up with Adam’s movements.

Suddenly, the thought of Adam’s financial situation came to his mind, “Should I really buy this?” He thought to himself, but the sound was so heart-melting, and the visual was so gorgeous he didn’t overthink it. “I’ll take it!” He said, knowing he could sell one of his other three guitars if the university job didn’t pan out.

Zakk smiled, a nice commission was in his thoughts now. “Alright, let me pack it up for you!” The blonde salesman took the guitar from Adam, who was eager to play it again and put it in a hard-case.

Adam walked to the front desk, waiting for Zakk to finish his order. After that, he took another cab and was finally on his way to Page’s place. It was still 8 PM and the evening was just starting. Adam couldn’t stop smiling every time he looked at the hard-case, knowing his sweet-sounding new guitar was inside.

“Here we are.” The taxi driver said once the car stopped. Adam paid the driver and carried on into the building. The intercom buzzed once he called Page’s apartment.

“It’s Adam!” He informed once Page asked for a name.

Come on up!” Said the satisfying voice over the intercom.

Adam thought he would just meet up with Page, and they would be off to her friend’s house, but instead, he got invited into the apartment. “Oh boy.” He thought, remembering the last time he was in there.

“Have a seat.” Page said, directing Adam towards the living room. “Good thing you remembered to bring your guitar,” She said, in a sarcastic tone.

The hard-case was put down on the floor before Adam sat down on the sofa. “Actually, this is a new guitar. Bought it less than an hour ago. And I figured your friends would want to hear me play.” He explained as Page walked around, getting ready.

Page put her earrings on while asking, “Do you want some wine?” Even before Adam answered, she already walked to the kitchen and found two glasses.

“No, thank you,” Adam said, loud, clear and short.

There was a smile on Page’s face, and she wouldn’t take a no for an answer and carried on to open a bottle of wine. “Come on, just one glass. It can’t hurt.” She said, pouring red into the glasses. And certainly not controlling how much was put in those recipients either.

“Alright, alright. Just one glass.” Adam succumbed. He grabbed the glass of wine from Page’s hand and took a sip. “Oh, this is really sweet,” He mentioned after tasting the drink.

Page chuckled a bit, “Good.” She replied. “And what did you think of your new guitar?” Page asked Adam while making a gesture as if asking to open the guitar case. Which she did after Adam nodded his head.

“It’s really good. Great tone. So easy to play. It’s already my favorite.” Adam replied, observing as Page grabbed the instrument and sort of inspected every bit of it.

As Page played a few simple chords, she said, “I think I might have a small amp somewhere here. It’s not very good but should be enough for you to play me something nice.” She handed the guitar over to Adam and went on searching for the amplifier.

A couple of minutes had gone by, and Adam played a few riffs on the unplugged guitar while waiting for Page, who finally came back. “Here it is!” She said, carrying the small cube to the living room. Page plugged the power cord into the power-point and a buzzing came from the already switched on device.

“Alright. What do you want me to play?” Adam asked, simply playing a few bluesy chords while waiting for suggestions.

Page was silent for a few seconds, just humming as she thought of something. “I have no idea,” She told Adam. He smiled for having something in mind already. It was the most cliché guitar piece, as any guitar player knew, at least, the first thirty seconds of the song but Adam played ‘Stairway to Heaven’ regardless of its popularity.

Page sat back on the couch and smiled as Adam played one of rock’s classic pieces. Page just enjoyed the sound coming from the lousy amplifier, closing her eyes and imagining herself looking at the stars at night. “That was beautiful,” She said once Adam was done.

“Thank you,” Adam replied smiling as he put his guitar back on its case. “This is something like the official song for when girls ask you to play guitar,” He said, laughing afterwards.

Page chuckled before saying, “I can see why.” She got closer to Adam, “You are so good with your hands.” She softly said. Page was getting closer and closer, or maybe it was just the wine, Adam wasn’t sure if his immunity to alcohol was gone or not.

The next moment, Page and Adam were kissing. Page’s hand started going down Adam’s chest, when she almost got to Adam’s pants, he held her by her shoulders and stopped whatever this was. “I’m sorry, we shouldn’t,” Adam said, close to Page’s face. Besides trying to hold Page back, it was even more difficult for Adam to hold himself back.

“I don’t see why not,” Page said, leaning forward to kiss Adam once more, and once more being stopped by him.

There was some silence, as Adam tried to find the right words. “If we are going to be working together and seeing each other every week, we are better off not doing this,” He finally said.

Page didn’t understand how that would be such a big problem, “Why shouldn’t we? This won’t change anything.” She told Adam, once again trying to kiss him.

“Page!” He shouted. She finally stopped and looked at him. “You don’t understand. I don’t do relationships… and I also don’t keep in touch with people I’ve slept with. You’re an exception already.” Adam tried to explain to her. “Can we please go now?”

There was a nod of Page’s head just before they got on their way to her friend’s house. Adam put his guitar in the trunk of Page’s car and the two shared a semi-awkward ride.

Adam was holding his guitar while Page buzzed the intercom. “Julia! Open the door.” She shouted into the intercom after a woman answered. There was a click and the building’s door opened. “Come on,” she said to Adam, smiling. Things had gotten less awkward after spending half an hour inside a car.

The door to the apartment was opened, Page simply opened it and invited Adam in. “Come on. She always does this,” Page told Adam, as she was used to Julia’s perks. The two entered the apartment, immediately seeing Thomas sitting on a large recliner in the living room, watching a game of basketball. “Thomas! Darling! How are you?” Page shouted.

The man got up and gave Page a hug, “Wonderful as always, dear.” He said, with a smile on his face. “And this must be Adam!” He said, before extending his hand to Adam.

“Yes, let me guess… Thomas?” Adam joked as he shook Thomas' hand.

The three laughed, “You’re most certainly right.” The man said while Adam thought about his heavy British accent. “I see you’ve brought a guitar with you, good man!” Thomas’ energy filled the room. He looked so happy and ready to do anything.

Page stepped into the conversation by saying, “Yes he did. He also just bought this guitar and it sounds so good.” The three carried on to the living room. “And where would Julia be?” Page asked Thomas as they sat down.

“She is having a bath. She must be out in a second.” He answered. Thomas looked at Adam again and asked him, “Are you just going to stay there or play some guitar for me?”

Adam raised his eyebrows. He wasn’t expecting to be asked to play so soon. He hummed a bit then answered, “If you can find something for me to plug it in, I sure will.” Adam started taking his guitar out of its case and getting ready to play.

Thomas got up, said “Sure… I think Julia has a guitar amplifier somewhere.” Then he carried on to find the amplifier, coming back in a few seconds with a slightly larger cube than Page’s. “Careful, this is almost an antique. From the ancient times when Julia played guitar instead of bass.” Thomas explained, powering the amplifier.

“Oh, alright, I’ll be careful then.” Adam said and added, “I once knew a Julia, who played guitar, nice girl,” as he plugged the guitar into the amp. “I’ll just play some random riffs then,” Adam explained, as he started to play some fast licks on the guitar, combined with a few melodic passages on occasion.

It had been about five minutes, Page and Thomas were enjoying Adam’s guitar playing when Julia entered the room drinking a beer. “Adam?!” She shouted. The guitar stopped, the room was now filled with the low sound of the basketball game.

“Julia?” Adam asked in reply, surprised by seeing the same guitar player he had mentioned earlier. He unplugged his guitar from the amp, put it in the case, forgetting to close it in such confusion.

“You guys know each other?” Thomas asked, still with a smile on his face, without understanding the situation in quite the correct way.

Julia quickly exclaimed, “Of course I know him! He slept with me, left me in a hotel room the next morning and never called again!” Less than a second after finishing her sentence, Julia’s beer bottle was flying across the room, grazing Adam’s left cheek and shattering on the white wall behind them. Adam didn’t even have time to grab his guitar before running out of the room because Julia advanced towards him, only being stopped by Page and Thomas.

Adam was standing outside the building, looking up to Julia’s window and hoping Page or Thomas would come down to talk to him soon enough. Five minutes went by, then ten, then on the fifteenth minute Adam’s cab arrived, and he left, with a bleeding cheek and no guitar.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

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