And for the rest of you, an excerpt
“You’re never going to leave this room again, are you?” Jimmy ran his hand over the casing of one of Michael’s new keyboards in a slow, light caress. The setup was perfect, and the sound quality was so much better than that from his other keyboard and pedals set. Of course, he couldn’t do everything he wanted straight away, not until he’d collected his prosthesis and figured out how to use it. But running his fingers over the keys, and playing the full set of pedals with both feet—that was enough to tell him he’d made all the correct choices in his order.
“I don’t know what you mean,” Michael said once he realised that Jimmy was still waiting for an answer to his question.
“I see the look in your eyes. I’ve been there, remember, and don’t tell me you’ve never slept with your bass either.”
“Only when I thought someone might steal it.”
“So go on, give me a show.”
“I can’t. Not right now.” Michael glanced at his watch to be certain. He’d played for a good three hours before Jimmy had come home, and he was running late. “I’m meeting Patricia in an hour.”
“In the evening? Going somewhere nice?”
“About the nicest, fanciest restaurant in Norwich.” Michael grinned, thinking over some of the emails and texts they’d exchanged since that afternoon in the school. “But don’t worry, we won’t be getting up to anything you’d disapprove of.”
“And why not? I really don’t understand you sometimes. You’ve had a thing for this girl since you were both at school, and yet you seem determined to let her slip away from you.”
“It’s complicated. I’ll tell you about it, once I understand it myself.” He couldn’t shake the idea that there was something wrong with Patricia, that there was something wrong with him, that none of what he was experiencing was real. The strange events were all linked, he was sure: Patricia, the other guys, Simon the new guy. They were all changing, and somehow it was connected to Michael’s first two meetings with Monty Summers.
Michael attended all the rehearsals after that. The first time he took his keyboard—now named Junior to distinguish it from Baby, his true love—he and Jimmy borrowed Jimmy’s brother’s van, and carried the keyboard, pedals, and amp in together. At the end of the rehearsal, Patricia figured out how to fit everything in her sporty little BMW; from then on, she collected Michael before each practice session, and dropped him off at Jimmy’s house afterwards.
Not being dependent on Jimmy and his brother for transport was good. Getting to talk to Patricia about how the rehearsal had gone, away from the others, was very good. Yet spending so much time with Patricia, while enjoyable, tended to give her the impression that their relationship, such as it was, ought to be progressing beyond a few closed-mouth kisses. She was right, Michael knew. He liked her, loved her even, as much as he ever had, and they were closer, more open with each other than they had been before the accident. More and more he found himself looking forward to her emails, thinking of stories to tell her in reply, fretting if over an hour went by during the day without her sending him a text.
He just couldn’t get over the fact that she had died, and that some major part of his brain was convinced that she was still dead despite a lot of evidence to the contrary. There was evidence to back up his brain’s opinion, of course, even if he couldn’t be sure that wasn’t his imagination playing tricks as well. It was like the rumours of those guys that fell in love with someone over the internet, based on a bunch of messages and a stock photograph, only to find when they finally arranged a meeting that “she” was actually some big, hairy trucker called Dave. Even then, “Dave,” urban myth or not, was generally not at all dead when the meeting took place, and was totally aware that a deception had been going on the whole time.
Patricia didn’t know she was dead, or that she’d ever been dead. That wasn’t quite the most painful part, though. No one else knew she was dead either, and that really hurt.
A Series of Ordinary Adventures is available in trade paperback form (with included digital downloads) or as a DRM-free eBook directly from the publisher at www.candlemarkandgleam.com, and also wherever fine books are sold.