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    Nephylim
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Weeping Lily - 24. Chapter 24

The day of the performance was high octane as usual. Cal tried to spare Jayden as much stress and pressure as possible and for once he was glad of it and tried to avail himself of the chance to kick back a little and take the pace more slowly than he would have done before.


While the boys helped with loading the van Jayden sat listlessly in the back of the car and he was quiet, although personable enough, throughout the journey.


“Are you okay?”


“Just a little tense. I know I was okay in practice but the studio with you guys is a whole lot difference than a stage with thousands of people. You know how I feed off energy. I’m not sure... I’m afraid...”


“It’ll be okay Jay. I'm there. I’ll be with you all the way. If you feel ill let me know and we’ll get the hell out of there.” Jayden smiled warmly and squeezed his hand and then settled himself against his chest and fell asleep.


“Is he okay?” Rik asked softly.


“He didn’t sleep last night. He was up walking in the garden again and he couldn’t eat this morning.” Cal sounded worried.


“You know what he’s like before a performance.”


“Yeah but this time...”


“I’m sure he’ll be fine.” Rik interjected. “And we will be there to catch him if he falls.” He added sternly almost glaring at the others. “So you had better keep you eyes open and at the first sign he’s struggling we get him off the stage p.d.q.”


“But what if...?”


“There are no ‘what ifs’. I don’t care if the Queen herself wants to shake his hand; if Jayden starts to struggle we get him out of there.”


Cal smiled at the fierce protectiveness in his voice. The other two nodded seriously. Secretly Jayden smiled.


When they got to the festival field they were surprised by how professional the set up was. Although they were in a field, the stage and backstage area were sturdily constructed and rivalled anything they would have found in a stadium.


As well as the stage and immediate backstage area there was a small village of trailers containing dressing rooms, make up, rest rooms etc. This was where they would be spending the night after the concert.


As the car pulled up, it became obvious that they were not needed for unpacking as the van was already mostly unloaded and their stuff carried off to be set up on the stage alongside that of the band they were supporting. Of course everyone, fans and participants alike, knew full well that it was Weeping Lily they had come to see and that in reality it was Solid Fury who were the supporting act even though they were playing a much larger set.


When the car drove away they stood looking around, feeling lost. A youngish man with a bright smile came hurrying across the grass.


“There you are. I’m so pleased to meet you. The boys are excited as hell about this. Has anyone told you what’s happening?”


He continued chatting enthusiastically to Jeff as he led them towards a large trailer which seemed to house some kind of office. When they reached the steps he paused.


“Why don’t you go and find the boys? I’m sure you don’t want to be talking details with the old fogeys. They’re in the entertainment tent.” He waved them across to the far end of the’ village’ where an enormous marquee had been erected. They could hear the sound of many voices raised in animated conversation even at a distance.


The tent was half empty as many of the ‘villagers’ were busy setting up the stage and equipment. However, it was immediately obvious that this was not an exclusive facility for the bands alone as all kinds of people were mingling, shoulder to shoulder, many clutching cans of various kinds of alcoholic drink.


Solid Fury and Weeping Lily weren’t the only bands playing at the festival and most of them were relaxing in the marquee. Seeing faces they knew, they wove through a crowd that all seemed to know them and want to offer their best wishes, and were quickly absorbed into the general throng. It was easy to relax and lose themselves in catching up with old friends and making new ones.


About an hour later when the crowd was thinning and the bands heading off for sound checks Cal realised that Jayden wasn’t there. For a moment he panicked, before realising how stupid that was.


“Are you looking for Jayden?”


Cal spun round to see Justin, the singer with Solid Fury, the band they were sharing a set with. “Yeah, just thinking I haven't seen him for a while. He’ll be needed for a sound check soon.”


“Yeah right; a sound check; that’s why you need him.” Justin smirked and Cal bristled until he saw the twinkle in Justin’s eyes and then he grinned.


“Yeah well... you know.” He grinned and shrugged. “Jayden never was the easiest to keep tabs on.”


“You should get him a collar and leash.”


“Nah. He’d enjoy that too much, besides it would probably end up going on me.”


“Bloody hell Cal... never thought I’d see you on a chain for anyone, not even Jayden.”


“Ah well...Jayden isn’t just anyone. He’s one of a kind and if being chained to him meant I’d get to spend one more minute in his company I’d turn the key myself.” He was grinning but then his face grew serious. “I don’t know Justin, I never thought I would say this, especially not about a man, and totally not about Jayden but... I feel as if I can only be happy when I’m with him; as if all the colour leaks out of the world when he isn’t there.” He smiled and shook his head.


“God Cal you’ve got it bad. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a worse case of love sickness. You’d better go straight to bed with a magazine and a box of tissues.”


Cal grinned. “Jealousy is a terrible thing Justin. You’ve known Jayden for a long time; tell me that I am not the luckiest man alive to be blessed with his heart.”


“Gods you’re poetic tonight Cal. You should try writing lyrics before you lose the muse.” He dropped the playfulness and looked at Cal thoughtfully. “You know... I’ve known both of you for a very long time and I have never seen either of you so...alive. Clearly love suits you. And yes... you are lucky Cal. Jayden’s awesome. Hell I’m straight as they come but I’d sleep with him in a minute if he asked me. At least...” he added quickly seeing the look in Cal’s eyes. “I would have if I hadn’t known he was involved with a freak like you.”


For a moment Cal glared at him but he couldn’t maintain the farce and had to laugh. Justin slapped him companionably on the back. “You might want to start off looking down by the river.” Justin motioned with his head away from the stage area. “I saw him head off that way, maybe twenty minutes ago.”


“Thanks dude.” Cal grinned and started walking towards the river while Justin headed off in the opposite direction.


Between the tent and trailers the field sloped gently down towards a line of trees that marked the river’s edge. When he reached the water he turned left for no other reason than that it looked more interesting that way. He’d gone maybe 200yards when he found Jayden sitting on a rock with his knees drawn up staring pensively into the water.


Cal stood for a while just staring at Jayden, his breath catching in his throat. Jayden looked like a creature of fey, hovering over the water; wild, elemental and oh so very beautiful. Cal was enchanted and could not stop staring.


“Are you going to just stand there and stare at me all day? Or was there something you wanted?” Jayden said at last without looking up.


“I was just wondering if you were real, if you had ever been real, or if you were just some figment of my imagination. You’re just too impossibly beautiful to be real.”


Jayden looked up and smiled thoughtfully. “You really mean that don’t you?”


“Of course I mean that. Why would you think I didn’t? I’m not in the habit of saying things I don’t mean.”


Cal sat on the rock, behind Jayden and wrapped him in his arms. Jayden leaned back into the embrace with a contented sigh.


“I really am lucky to be loved by someone as wonderful as you.”


“No.” Cal said softly. “I’m the lucky one.” Jayden turned in his arms and they kissed.


“So why were you hiding away down here?” Cal asked eventually.


“Just thinking.”


“I know you Jay. You weren’t thinking, you were brooding. What was it?”


“Nothing.”


“Jayden?”


“Nothing just...” He sighed. “I’m just worried. It’s the first time I’ve been on stage properly. There are far more people out there to see us...to see me, than Solid Fury. I don’t want to let anyone down.”


“And you won’t. How could you? You’re here for God’s sake. They know you are going to do your very best... and you are going to be awesome. And if you do start to struggle we’re all there, right behind you. If you’re not feeling well step back and I’ll take over, you know that won’t be a problem for me.”


Jayden laughed. “You’re not still trying to take over vocals?”


Cal kissed him again. “Give me half a chance.” He murmured and Jayden giggled. “Feeling better now?”


“You always make me feel better.”


“So how are you feeling really?”


Jayden frowned. “You know how I always get strung out before a performance, but apart from that I’m okay. I think I’m finally being forced to admit to myself that I’m still weak. I’m nowhere near as fit as I used to be and it scares me.


“I’m desperate to get out there again, to feel the incredible buzz of people singing along to words I’ve written, calling my name. It’s the best drug, the greatest high. I am wildly excited but scared this time. I’ve never been scared before. I have always known exactly what I’m capable of, gone out there and given them all of me, but I can't do that this time.


“I don’t know what I’m capable of. I don’t know what I can give them. I don’t want to sell them short. And I don’t want to let myself down either. You know what I’m like Cal; I hate feeling helpless and weak. I need to go out there, I need to push the envelope, to feel alive in a way that only performance can achieve...and I’m scared of what will happen if I fail.”


“You can’t fail Jayden. Whatever happens you are Jayden McConnell, you are the one they have all come to see. They all know what happened and they know you’re still not well. They’ve all seen the interview and they are eating out of your hand. If you walk on stage tell them all you love them and you’re going to sit out the singing but be there for them they’ll love you just as much as if you throw your whole heart and soul into the performance.


“Not that you could ever do that. I know that, for yourself you have to give it your all but you only have to put in what you have to give. It’s just for yourself and no one else. And we’re there, right behind you. Every one of us is prepared to step in and help you if you need it. You are safe Jayden. You have absolutely nothing to be afraid of. I’m with you and you’re safe no matter what.”


Jayden smiled and kissed Cal gently. “You’re wonderful. You keep reminding me why I love you so much.”


“Are you feeling better now?”


“With you around I always feel good.”


“Sure?”


“Positive.”


“We’d better go.”


“Why?”


“We have to sound check.”


“Justin and the boys can do the sound check. We’ll have to do it again later anyway.” Cal looked down into the dreamy eyes and smiled. He lowered his head and they kissed until the first notes of Solid Fury’s first set drifted down to them on the soft evening air.


It was a warm, balmy evening and the sound carried down to them gently accompanied by the symphony of nature; the murmur of the river, the whisper of the trees, the chirping, rustling, calling of the animals. Jayden lay back in Cal’s arms and closed his eyes, a smile on his face.


“What are you thinking about?” Cal asked blowing gently against his closed eyelids.


“Oh, I don’t know, just wondering.”


“Wondering?”


“Whether if what happened had never happened this would ever have been; the two of us here like this.”


Cal considered. “Maybe. It may have taken a catastrophe to make me face my feelings for you but they were always there and I would have figured it out eventually. As for being here, I doubt it. We would have been on a beach in Marbella or somewhere.”


“I’m glad we’re not. When we get back to where we were we will have to make sure that Jeff factors in a few festivals every year, so we can have these times again.”


“I’m with you all the way on that one. There’s something special about open air festivals.”


“Maybe we could do Reading... or Glastonbury.” Jayden laughed. “I’ve always wanted to go, and to actually perform there would be awesome.”


“It certainly would.”


They stayed where they were, wrapping stillness around them like a comfortable old blanket, until the sound of footsteps broke the silence.


“There you are,” came Jeff’s voice; trying to sound stern but with too much of a smile in it.


“Is it time?”


“Almost. The boys were getting a bit twitchy. There’s a packed house out there.”


“A packed field you mean.” Cal said grinning as Jayden climbed to his feet, dusting himself off.


“Are you okay?” Jeff asked with genuine concern. Jayden grinned at him.


“Only one way to find out.”


Now that the time was almost on them Jayden’s nerves had come back with a vengeance and he was shaking as they walked back to join the boys in the tent.


Cal tried to stay calm and focused. Jayden was always like this before a performance, always had been; big or small. Nevertheless he and the others watched Jayden closely as he separated from them and worked himself into a fever. He couldn’t bear the presence of others or any attempts at conversation at times like these.


But it wasn’t pleasant for the others to experience, especially not now. It was like watching a spring closely coiling so tightly it reached breaking point and then...it was time.


Solid Fury bounded off stage, full of energy and hyperactivity. High fiving each other as their paths crossed they bounded in opposite directions. When the stage was empty technicians swarmed on to re set it for Weeping Lily. And then Cal was squeezing Jayden’s hand and leaving him with a worried frown on his face.


Jayden ignored him, didn’t even see him. Jeff put his arms around the slender shoulders but Jayden was oblivious to that too.


As soon as the boys stepped onto the stage the crowd erupted. A huge back cloth of a black lily had been unfurled and was lit with deep purple light. The sky was darkening in earnest and the stage area was perfectly atmospheric.


The crowd cheered and yelled while they ran through a quick sound check and then there was a pause while they waited for the tradition drumstick signal to launch them into the first chords. In the pause the crowd began to chant. “Jayden, Jayden, Jayden.”


The chant rose to meet the first chords of the song, to explode into a gigantic roar as Jayden burst onto the stage in his usual way. It would have been surprising if anyone in the audience heard anything of the first half of the song, which was why they had chosen one of their old favourites.


When the song finished the crowd roared again and then fell silent as the first haunting notes of ‘China Doll’ floated over their heads to settle on their ears.


As Jayden began to sing an almost preternatural hush fell over the entire field and his crystal clear voice rose into the night sky to meet the stars. The silence continued until the last note fell, and for a heartbeat after, in which it became so complete it was almost holy. And then a wave of sound hit the stage that was louder than anything they had heard before.


Jayden turned to Cal and grinned, his eyes glowing in the eerie dark light, and Cal sent it right back.


The crowd didn’t quite achieve the same reverential silence for their next song, which was supposed to have been the last but, when it was over and Jayden had taken the mic, thanked everyone and said goodnight there was an almighty explosion of sound before the chant was taken up again.


Every member of the band turned to look at Jayden who nodded, carried on the energy high. No one knew as well as he did that when he came down he would crash but for now he was soaring, invincible.


After a moment’s hesitation he turned back to the crowd and stood perfectly still until they fell silent. Then, behind him the instruments came in one by one to weave an eerie, haunting melody that had the same deep silence fall as the audience realised that this was going to be something special.


It was another song from the new album that no one had yet heard and had never been performed. Jayden’s voice was soft and pure, rising in a crescendo then breaking over them in a wave, crested in moon frost, filled with tears; cold as a glacier, deep as an ocean but at the same time filled with hope and strength.


The first verse was spoken, softly and dreamily but with chilling impact. The singing when it began was haunting rising verse by verse until he was practically screaming ‘save me’ in fear and despair, then falling with wonder and uncertainty before ending with hope and joy. Jayden took the audience through every one of those emotions and beyond


Twilight World

Here in this twilight world

I watch the world move past me darkly

No sight: no colour: no rainbows

No anchor in the seas of darkness

Drifting in the cold world of in between

No fires to warm my bones, no arms to wrap around me

Alone in my twilight world

*

On the outside looking in it is impossible to see

How slow the stars are drifting on a depthless, icy sea

A hand, one hand I search for through the endless night alone

To pull me from my twilight world and bring me back to shore.

*

The world is moving round me but I am bound and lost

In the whiteness of forever iced with cold metallic frost

Needle sharp with icy breath

I am drawn so very gently, step by trembling step

To the land of no tomorrows and the reaching arms of death

*

On the outside looking in it is impossible to see

How slow the stars are drifting on a depthless, icy sea

A hand, one hand I search for through the endless night alone

To pull me from my twilight world and bring me back to shore.

*

The hands I see are reaching up when they should be reaching down

I am slowly slipping under: save me, save me, save me now

*



On the outside looking in it is impossible to see

How slow the stars are drifting on a depthless, icy sea

A hand, one hand is holding on, will never let me go

Why have I never seen it, never seen it there before?

*

The sea is ebbing backwards, the morning coming fast

The hand will never leave me, I see it clearly at last

Now I have no fear of falling back into the twilight world below

For there are arms around me that will never let me go

*

Hold me now; hold me now, save me from the night

Hold me now; hold me now, flood me with your light

*

The twilight world is gone now

Left far behind

The twilight world is waiting

But when next I walk its shores

It will not be with fear or doubt

As I will not walk alone

No more alone

Never alone

As the last note faded Jayden faded with it and didn’t even pause to say goodnight before striding from the stage to a cacophony of voices screaming his name. He seemed strong and purposeful but Cal knew better.


Following him off the stage Cal tried to stop him with a hand on his arm but he shook it of with a shake of his head and powered on.


“Jayden, what the hell are you doing? Where are you going?”


Jayden shook his head again and kept on walking until he reached the first trailer. Then he climbed the steps and wrenched open the door. Cal was a step behind him. He closed the door and turned to Jayden.


“Are you going to tell me what’s...?”


“Photographers.” Jayden murmured dreamily before he passed out.

Copyright © 2010 Nephylim; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Chapter Comments

Photographers? huh.png

 

Damn. That song alone had me misty-eyed. I would love to hear it actually sung by somebody (a guy). I can almost imagine a deep, haunting voice singing it... *Shudders*

 

Great chapter!

 

..And again. Photographers? huh.png

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On 08/24/2012 08:59 PM, SoullessCynner said:
Photographers? huh.png

 

Damn. That song alone had me misty-eyed. I would love to hear it actually sung by somebody (a guy). I can almost imagine a deep, haunting voice singing it... *Shudders*

 

Great chapter!

 

..And again. Photographers? huh.png

Photographers? I enjoyed writing songs now and again. Who knows one day when I'm rich and famous I'll get someone sexy to sing them
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