Part VII: Lost in Sound
By the time we were dressed and had our makeup done, the others had congregated in the common room. In addition to Sage and I there were Charlie, Caroline, Annabelle, Amber, Caroline’s sister Jenna, Jaeger, some androgynous teen from another class I didn’t know but who presented himself as Harley, Mace, Yougen and most surprisingly Yikaru.
In the last month, Yikaru had remained away from everyone else as far as I knew, I wasn’t sure if she was just shy or not interested in making friends, but now she was hanging about Yougen and wearing a jacket I’d seen Yougen wear before.
The other surprising thing was that Amber and Annabelle were holding hands, although I didn’t ask questions.
“Bus is leaving in eleven minutes.” Charlie called. “Let’s go!”
Sage made sure to drag Allen with us before he could change his mind for some reason.
We followed her outside and through the main gate where a bus bearing the emblem of the school was waiting for us. We climbed on board and waited a few minutes for it to drive off and bring us to town.
Havenport was a small seaside island town, mostly detached single family housings with aluminum slidings with the occasional brick building holding a commerce or office. Thankfully Charlie knew the way through the maze of disorganized streets. We reached the industrial side of town, right by the harbor and on the edge of it was a large building proudly bearing an illuminated logo.
From the outside the Annex was a big brick box with those industrial tile windows, definitely being a converted warehouse. There was a small line at the front and a pair of guys, one impossibly big and muscular and the other slender, slowly getting people through, making them sign something. We went in line and our turn came soon enough.
“First time here?” The slender one asked.
“Entry is two dollars, we take Ravenhold cards. Lockers need to be paid for separately, no alcohol or drugs allowed on premise.” He said, reciting it like he’d done it many times before. “The Unkindness is playing tonight, so you’ll have to sign a waiver.”
“Waiver?” Sage asked.
“They’re a parahuman band, so you have to sign this accepting the performance’s effect, that way nobody can claim they didn’t know about it. We’ve had problems in the past with complaining parents.”
He gave us a pad which he had us sign after checking our IDs. The disclosure form he gave us mentioned the Unkindness’ music incorporated emotional and psionic powers. Once that was done, he let us in and we checked our things at the locker, Charlie paying for it for everyone with cash.
It didn’t take long for our little group to disperse, individual dates going their own way together; Charlie with Caroline, Annabelle with Amber, Yougen with Yikaru, Jaeger with Harley. Only Mace, Allen and Jenna were alone.
“I noticed you didn’t invite Sheila.” Sage pointed out as we waded through the crowd.
“That’s because I wanted tonight to be our date. I’ll have plenty of time tomorrow to see her.”
“Works for me.” They answered with a grin. “And now to dance…” They said a little discouraged. “It’s not too late for you to ditch me.”
“As if I’d ever do that.”
I started dancing and Sage joined me, mostly trying to copy my movement and doing an adequate job. After a few songs, the music faded away and our attention was directed to the stage where the band had settled, they had a bit of a punk-emo aesthetic. One of them came to the standic mic and tapped it. He was tall and slim, dark skinned with long shaggy hair and plenty of silver piercings.
“Good evening everyone.” He declared. “My name is Zayne and this is the Unkindness’ first performance of the year, glad to see the house is packed.”
“What’s up with the Unkindness?” I asked coming close to Charlie who was nearby.
“Unofficial Ravenhold band, they’re all students.”
“Are y’all ready to dance?” Zayne asked.
The crowd cheered and the band began playing, starting with an energetic piece but the true magic of the performance only started when Zayne sung the first word of the lyrics. His words electrified the air, adding an unshakable energy to the club which seeped into every fiber of my being and I wasn’t the only one to feel it.
I saw Sage next to me, their initial hesitation at dancing having vanished, taken by the rhythm. I came closer to them, joining them and under the influence of the music our movements were in sync, our eyes meeting every time our bodies got closer until we became one person, holding and kissing breathlessly as we danced.
“I better hit the bathroom.” Sage said between two songs, clearly a little uncomfortable. “Darn HRT meds…”
“Go for it. I’ll get a drink.”
We went our separate way and as I’d said, I went to the bar, using my Ravenhold money card to order a lemon-lime soda. My allowance wasn’t huge, about fifteen dollars a week, plus an extra every month to cover certain afab-biology related hygiene needs. Allegedly there was going to be a bonus every season for new clothing, but it was too early in the year for that.
As I sipped my soda, Mace came over, having finished talking to Caroline’s sister who went toward the dance floor. Although a new song had started, it didn’t affect me as much as it had, seemingly its effect was concentrated on the dance floor.
“I’m starting to think I have a new superpower.” Mace joked, leaning against the counter.
“What would that be?”
“Lesbian magnetism. Seems every girl I meet these days is gay.” He said with a chuckle. “Maybe I could start a gay girls matchmaker service.”
“Well, you’ve meet me, so I’m sure somewhere you’ll notice a straight girl for once. Unless you’re asking for a spot with Sage and I.” I teased him.
“Eh. I’m glad you found what works for you, but I don’t feel like it’s for me.” Mace answered. “Just one nice girl is all I want.”
I nodded. I was still getting used to the idea myself, so I wasn’t going to preach the virtue of it.
“What about Jaime? You two seem to have gotten close.” I asked.
“We knew each other before, it didn’t really go anywhere back then. And don’t tell her, but she’s only marginally more approachable than a porcupine.”
I let out a chuckle, he was right though. In the last month, she hadn’t exactly made friends with anyone, but outside of her slip up with calling Ahti an ‘it’ on the first night, she hadn’t made any enemies either. Mostly she kept to herself and kept conversation as brief as possible.
“Hey, I’m back.” Sage said, coming up to us.
“Glad to see you again.” I gave them a smile. “Join us for a drink?”
“I’d love to.”
So Sage joined us, ordering a cranberry cooler and sitting down. We spent a while chatting, flirting and kissing, Mace being not too shy about it, until we decided to go back for a second round of dancing.