Public stories, Private lives
After Nikki had gone out with Yvonne that evening, Victoria got out her favourite stack of cd's and settled down to do some serious singing. It wasn't often she indulged this little outlet of hers, but having Nikki under the same roof meant that she couldn't get rid of her stress in her normal way. As she worked her way down a bottle of wine, she paced her lounge, glass and cigarette in hand, letting the music wash over her. As the words of Alison Krauss, Jewel, Tori Amos and Allanis Morrisette floated from her, she marveled at how one person's memory could hold so many words to so many songs. She was allowed to be angry when she sang. All the frustrations of the last few weeks plus the deeper issues she'd never successfully dealt with, could come flooding out of her on the trail of somebody else's words. Time stood still for Victoria as her voice was coupled with so many others. The only indication she really had of the passage of time was the amount of wine she got through and the more cigarette ends which appeared in the ashtray. Her taste for song was wide and varied that evening but again and again she returned to Alison Krauss. it was almost as if Victoria felt a clear affinity with this woman's words. At one point, Victoria decided that it was pointless just singing when she could do so much more. She retrieved her violin from it's hiding place behind her bedroom door, tuned it's slightly reluctant strings and lifted the bow. If Alison Krauss could sing and play the violin at the same time, why couldn't she. She broke herself in gently by playing along to many of the songs she knew so well. She hadn't played these violin parts for so long, but her hands knew them like it was yesterday. The task of detaching her mind from what her hands were doing was a lot more difficult. She knew the parts she needed to play and the words she needed to sing, it was just a matter of putting them together. She began hesitantly at first, trying something simple but a song which was far more mournful than she wanted to feel. The more she drank, the bolder she became. It was a bit like sex, Victoria thought later. The more you lost yourself in the experience, the more relaxed with the situation you were. The better you became at something, the more eager you were to do it again and again till your curiosity ached for a new fulfillment.
As Yvonne walked to the bar when it was getting perilously near to closing time, Nikki wondered what Victoria was up too. There was something deeply wrong with that girl, she was sure.
"What's up?" Said Yvonne putting a large scotch down in front of Nikki.
"Victoria's a strange girl, isn't she?" This wasn't what Yvonne had expected but she let the questions go for the moment.
"Yeah. As up tight as a G-string, that one. Wonder what's eating her?"
"Maybe while I'm staying with her, I'll find out."
"Nikki, you only broke up with Tash on Friday, yet you've hardly mentioned her this evening."
"Maybe I wanted to enjoy myself," Nikki said laughing mirthlessly.
"You don't have to hide it, you know." Nikki looked at Yvonne.
"That's it though, Yvonne. I have to hide it because I still have to work in the same office as her. I can't go to work and ignore it because it's staring me in the face every minute of every working day. Every time I see Tash look at Kirstie, I want to rip her to shreds, but I can't." She grinned slightly. "Meyer would saddle me with a carpet cleaning bill for one thing."
"It hasn't really sunk in yet, has it?" Yvonne asked gently.
"No, and it probably won't until I get totally blitzed and end up shagging someone else."
"That isn't the answer," Said Yvonne sternly. "Especially if it ends up being someone you already know."
"Yeah, I know," Said Nikki blowing a smoke ring at the ceiling. "Relationships at work and all that."
"I'm saying it because it's true," Said Yvonne firmly.
"So you think that Mike and Karen's a bad idea, then?"
"I don't know," said Yvonne contemplatively.
"Quite a surprise though. They look really good together."
"That one's been ready for kindling for a long time," Said Yvonne, and Nikki thought she sounded sad.
"Why do you say that?"
"Well, think about it," Said Yvonne downing the last of her drink. "Fenner was an accident waiting to happen and Mike's always had his eye on Karen. All it took was for an opportunity to present itself." Nikki put her empty glass on the table and stood up.
"Come on," She said. "There's something I want to pick up from Tash's and as stupid as it sounds, I don't want to go on my own." Without showing any sign of surprise, Yvonne stood up and followed Nikki out in to the dark street.
"What is it you're after?" She asked curiously.
"I haven't heard you play that for ages," Said Yvonne mildly surprised.
"I haven't been drunk enough to play it for a while," Said Nikki smiling. "Besides," She continued, "I have a hunch that my strumming might find some company tonight."
"Oh?" Yvonne asked.
"Victoria doesn't know that I saw her fitting hers with a new E string when I left."
"She plays too?"
"Yeah. Not just the guitar, she's been keeping her violin a secret as well."
"Jesus! That's you, her, Crystal, Danny and Shaz who play. You could do something with that, you know."
"Yeah, we could. Don't know if we'd all like the same stuff though."
"Only one way to find out," challenged Yvonne. "From what I've heard of you and the other three, you could really get somewhere with that." As they approached the house Nikki had shared with Tash, Nikki was relieved to see that Tash's car wasn't there.
"She's obviously staying at Kirstie's," Nikki said in disgust.
"She's probably as eager to avoid you as you are to avoid her." Nikki unlocked the front door and walked in to the lounge. After fetching her guitar from it's place by the TV, Nikki left Tash a note just to say what she'd been here for.
"You wouldn't think I used to live here, would you?" Nikki said frowning at the note.
"You might live here again, you know," said Yvonne gently.
"Yeah, maybe." Nikki didn't sound all that hopeful. As she slung the guitar case over her shoulder and relocked the front door, she wondered if she'd ever live here again.
When Nikki let herself in to Victoria's flat, she was greeted by the unmistakable sound of someone singing and of someone playing the violin with the skill Nikki was often told she had in bed. She took a quick glance round the lounge door and just stared. Victoria was continuously pacing the distance between the door to the balcony and the computer at the other end of the room. She was utterly oblivious to the rest of the world as she was clearly listening to one of Nikki's favourite singers. Victoria wasn't the only lover of the purity and beauty of Alison Krauss. But these facts weren't what immediately registered with Nikki. Whilst she paced back and forth, Victoria was not only singing many of the words Nikki knew so well, but at the same time she was doing as the singer often did, playing her violin as she sang. Quickly, Nikki ducked back in to the hall and swiftly removed her guitar from its case. She carefully tuned her strings so that the notes she was working on fitted with what was playing next door. Nikki had a sudden urge to surprise Victoria as much as she had Nikki. Once she was satisfied with the result, she slipped back in to the lounge and stood leaning against the door. Luckily, she knew one of the guitar parts fairly well to the song Victoria was currently singing. As she joined in, she felt her spirits lift. She suddenly understood why Victoria was doing what she was doing. Nikki had always loved music with a passion but never before had it felt like such a release. She knew this was probably because of all the built up tension of the last few days. As her nimble fingers leapt between the frets, she wondered what had led both her and Victoria to do this tonight. When the song reached it's end, Victoria approached the stereo, presumably to put on something different. Nikki took her opportunity and began playing the introductory chords to a song she was sure Victoria would know. When the other woman whirled round to face her, Nikki just smiled at her and nodded. Captured by the mood of everything she'd been singing for hours, Victoria let the words flow from her.
"When you came to me,
you said love could not erase,
the ever present memory,
of another face."
When they reached the chorus, Nikki softly added the other voice. Victoria, realising that there was a beautifully haunting guitar solo in the middle of this song, and one which she could play, picked up her guitar which had been lying on the sofa. Sitting down on one end of the sofa, she began to play the lilting tangle of notes that like the rest of the song, resonated around the predictable modulations of G minor, a key always destined to bring out the dark thoughts of any unguarded soul. Somewhere in the middle of the second verse, Nikki joined Victoria on the sofa still playing. When they finally reached the end, they just sat and stared at each other. For a while there was total silence, as if neither wanted to break the mood. Eventually, Victoria spoke.
"Wow!" She said letting out a breath she didn't know she'd been holding. "You're a surprise."
"So speaks the woman with the ability to do two things at once." Nikki was just as overwhelmed as Victoria.
"I never knew," Said Victoria gesturing at Nikki's beautifully sculpted instrument.
"I guess we all have hidden talents," Said Nikki softly.
"Yeah, I guess so," replied Victoria, suddenly realising she had tears in her eyes. "How long were you standing there?" She asked.
"Only for one song. Sorry to break in on you but I couldn't resist playing something we both knew."
"It was lovely. I take it you're a fan of hers as well then?" She gestured at the Alison Krauss cd's next to the stereo.
"Have been for ages," Nikki said brushing tears from her own eyes. It was amazing how music could so profoundly affect you at times, she thought.
"Did you pick that up on your way home?" Victoria asked, not wanting to end the conversation.
"Yeah. I spied you tuning yours up on my way out and thought I'd see if you were up for some strumming when I got back. The voice was a surprise, though. I mean, I caught sight of the fiddle a couple of days ago, but you really do sound as wonderful and pure as she does," again gesturing at the cd's.
"That's a lovely thing to say, but I don't believe you," Said Victoria self-consciously.
"Well, you should," Said Nikki putting her guitar down and lighting a cigarette. "And after hearing you this evening, I'm going to put an idea of Yvonne's in to practice."
"What?" Asked Victoria.
"She suggested that a few of us could maybe make some music together."
"Who else plays?"
"Shaz, and she's got a voice that makes you cry to listen to it. There's Danny, who plays anything from drums to bass guitar and Crystal who's one of the best guitarists I know. I'm certain there's others but that's who I know of."
"Sounds like we could definitely get something going."
"Yeah, I'll put something up on the notice board tomorrow and see what kind of response we get." As they continued to talk long in to the early morning, Victoria reflected that she didn't think she'd ever been more emotionally moved in one day. This morning, she'd started out angry and hurt and feeling like she was totally in her own kind of darkness. But now, sitting on the sofa with Nikki, knowing they shared a love of the beautiful world that music could conjure, she knew that here was something to hang on too, something she would treasure for as long as she could.
Return to Bad Girls Fiction
Return to Main Page