Chapter 31:

Fly With Me

Grace Dances Upon the Clouds


Haru and the rest of BUST spent the next week tweaking the new song to their liking. Before he knew it, the next live on Sunday night was upon them. It was the last one of summer break. A final chance to make something of himself before school began again.

“Isn’t there much, much more people than last time?” Haru noted, staring at the dark cluster of forms in the audience. They stood in the dark, waiting for the show to begin, densely packed like sardines. He didn’t recall it being so cramped before.

“Hey, that’s a good thing. That means more money for us.”

“They all came for my beastly voice. You know it, guys.”

“Shove it, before I stick my drumsticks up your ego.”

“C’mon, guys. Focus. We’re trying to be professionals here.”

The chatter next to Haru served to ease the tension in the air, built up as Haru knew what was coming up. The lights all turned on, and the music fired up, diving right into familiar BUST territory. This part didn’t make Haru nervous at all. He could easily lose himself in the melody, rocking out on the right side of the stage.

Haru stared at Mephisto serenading the crowd. He was only half joking about them all coming in droves for him. A certain magnetism exuded from his personality, even if it was all an act. Unlike Haru.

The spotlight wasn’t something he was used to. But the members of BUST came to a unanimous vote and prepped him for that role, front and center.

Haru looked back into the crowd. Between the waving arms and dancing, he spotted Kasumi way in the back, a smile on her face, oblivious to their plans. After jamming to several songs, it was finally time for the finale. Haru crept toward the center as his guitar solo winded down.

The crowd was surprised when Mephisto stepped back, plopping the mic stand in front of Haru. Kasumi even more so. All eyes were on Haru as the normal expectations of BUST took a hard left. The pressure of eerie silence started getting to Haru, but then, Koichi chimed in.

“What’s up, everyone?! We’re going to change things up again today! Got a new song for you, straight from our newest member, Harucchi the Rock!”

A few chuckles filtered through the audience. Even Haru laughed too. Somehow, that eased his nerves. With a sigh, Haru felt a bit of confidence return. He had Koichi to thank for knowing him too well.

“Here we go. This is called Endless Sky!”

The music started up, a speedy rhythm led by Haru. It instantly brought everyone in the house to their feet, like running through sunshine on a cloudy day. As Haru stepped up to the mic, Koichi and Mephisto took over the melody. It was now or never.

I sleep,

Wonderin’ when my problems end.

To you,

It’s not something to comprehend.

Haru’s voice echoed, loud and clear. Boyish compared to Mephisto. A sense of innocence carried upon his words.

But if I never wake up, I’ll still be okay.

The dreams I have is more than I could say~~

And then, they all jammed together, the melody turning into a frenzy. Their guitars played off each other like they were fluttering in each other’s faces. The entire band joined in with their voices, harmonizing as one. The crowd fell in love with it, bouncing on their feet, cheering them on.

In this endless sky,

On that lonely cloud,

Our hearts way up high.

I hear you clear and loud~~

Fly~~~ with me!

Let it ne~~ver end!

It’s the road~~ we see,

Our true pretend~~~

And then, the music slowed down. This was a last-minute change to the melody, but it felt right to Haru. The whimsical nature of Grace came to his mind. Everything that she had done for him. Every night that they shared. If there was any part that Haru wanted to put his soul into, it was this one. He, alone, belted out to the crowd, almost in desperation.

I don’t wanna fly alone.

Not with everything that’s been shown.

As long as you can guide the way.

I’ll never need to begin the day~~~~

With that, the rest of BUST joined in once again, to finish out the chorus.

In this endless sky,

On that lonely cloud,

Our hearts way up high.

I hear you clear and loud~~

Fly~~~ with me!

Let it ne~~ver end!

It’s the road~~ we see,

Our true pretend~~~

The final note left an echo across the live house. Haru was dripping with sweat, the last song taking a toll on him. But then, the room erupted. The reaction made Haru’s knees weak, but a strong arm kept him from falling over. He looked up to see Mephisto, giving him a hearty grin.

“That was a banger performance, Harucchi. Couldn’t have done any better.”

Haru turned toward the crowd. One that had given him skeptical looks at the start. But now, they were cheering just as hard if not harder.

Tears formed in Haru’s eyes. He never felt better. His efforts had paid off. And as the members of BUST gathered for a bow, Haru couldn’t help but sob for a moment. He felt himself led by the hand off stage and right into the thin arms of Kasumi, who was ready with headpats of congratulations.

“That was the song you’ve been wanting to convey, wasn’t it?” she asked.

“Y-Yeah, it w-was,” Haru spoke, still teary eyed. “What did you think of it?”

“Like I was dancing upon the clouds.”

Haru’s eyes widened, and then, he drew Kasumi in for a big kiss. It was exactly what he wanted to hear. It was the same feeling he had when he was with Grace. The only thing left to do was play it for her, a concert created for the dream girl in his mind.

And then, he would no longer stop doubting it.

Real or not, Grace would always have a place in his heart.

Taylor J
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