Posted by Lexxie Couper on Tuesday, April 24th, 2012
This was meant to be the prologue to Love’s Rhythm. I wrote it last year flying back from LA (apparently I was the only passenger awake on the plane at the time). I can tell now it’s the product of a sleep deprived mind, but I think it shows the dark side of Nick fame gave him early in his career. I’m glad I decided to cut it because it definitely doesn’t fit with the tone of the book now, but I do really like it as a piece of writing so I thought I’d share. It’s unedited and pretty much untouched since I wrote it on that plane 12 months ago. What do you think?
Thirteen Years Ago
Nick Blackthorne stood on the balcony, the cold night air whipping through his long hair, making it dance around his head and in his eyes. He blinked, watching the screaming crowd thirty stories below. They were here to see him. He knew that. Here to see him, feast on him, devour him. He lived for their hunger and greed. It nourished him and yet, at the same time, drained him. This life he’d found himself in—almost by accident, he often believed—was not for the weak. It may propel him to the heights of the gods, but it cast him into the depths of hell as well. It was a contradiction that often vexed him. How could the life of a simple man of song be so confusing? When had finding the songs of his soul become so arduous? So empty?
When you left her.
The thought made his heart thump harder against his breastbone. He gripped the throat of his guitar and lifted his head into the wild wind. From below, the horde screamed for him. Chanting his name—Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick—until it became not a name but a sound, a tattoo like the repetitious report of a gun.
Nick Nick Nick Nick Nick
He closed his eyes, each cry puncturing his heart, letting what was left of its hope leak from its broken form. He wanted to blame the world for its emptiness, for his pain, but the world was not at fault. He had gladly, no, willingly, let it bring him to this point but it was not its fault. The world had made him a rock star, an idol, but he was responsible for this and only him.
Alone. Wanted by thousands, thousands, expect the only one that mattered.
His grip tightened on the familiar throat of his guitar—the guitar his mother had bought him for his eighteenth birthday. The guitar he’d been playing when the record producer from the US had found him playing in the half-deserted pub down the road from his parents’ home seven years ago. He’d owned many guitars since, worth much more than this one, but none sang for him like this one, none bleed for him like a weeping angel like this one. This guitar…well, he’d written his first song with this guitar. Hersong. And now he was expected to play it for strangers over and over again.
The wind lashed at him again—not wild, but frenzied, pushing at his back, making him stumble a half-step forward. As if eager for that which he contemplated.
Fly for me, Nick, it whispered, Fly for me, lover…
A moan left him, low and tight and strangled. Damn it, he missed her. So fucking much it didn’t just hurt, it rendered him…
The greedy, pushy wind whipped the word from his lips, and as if it heard the very sound, the horde below screamed louder: nicknicknicknicknick
A cry of the feverish for a man cold of core.
His fans, thousands of them, over-running the New York street below, writhing like a single living entity, swelling and growing as his presence in the city became further known. Jesus, how had a kid from Australia come to this? How had it happened? When had it happened?
When you made the decision to let her leave you. When you chose the fame, the adoration instead of choosing her.
A knock came on the hotel suite’s door. Three quick, sharp raps.
They had arrived. The balm he’d told his personal assistant to pick from the eager, lustrous crowd below. The balm that offered no relief even as it feasted on his body and fed his reputation.
Another three knocks.
“Nick,” a man’s voice called through the heavy oak door, simpering and reverent. “I have them.”
Nick opened his eyes, his hair stinging his face, his fingers aching from his choking grip on his guitar. He stared down into the crowd, the thousands of screaming, demanding, ravenous fans—his fans—and saw her. Only her. Smiling at him, her lips soft and swollen with his recent kisses, her eyes shining with love.
Shining with tears as she said goodbye.
As she said—