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Charlotte King

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a character in “Living in the Limelight”, as played by Armageddon

Groups

Power-prog-metal quartet in flux.

Description

Full Name: Charlotte May King, and no she is not in any way related to Kerry King of Slayer.

Stage Name: Just Charlotte King.

Age: 28, but she has always looked young for her age.

Birthday: May Sixth.

Appearance:

Image

Charlotte is approximately 5'4" and slender with just the slightest bit of curve to her hips which most men seem to find attractive. She has long, curled blonde hair which frames her blue eyes. She always keeps her hair neatly trimmed and styled, never leaving the house with it being a mess. She tries her hardest to keep up with the latest trends and fashions - some might call her a priss because of this but she just calls it being 'fashionable' and 'prepared for anything', although her high heels might kill her first if she ever needed to run from anything (However she actually has a bit of a talent for dancing in heels, so it's been noted, probably something she picked up after wearing them for so long).

For every day wear, it really switches up quite a bit - one day she'll be wear a nice dress or skirt and heels she just picked up from the mall and the next she'll be wearing something edgy and almost rocker looking however she makes sure she never travels over into the grunge look (Although at one point she did dress in a punk fashion, but that was a few years ago and she never went completely all out with it and also never pierced or tattooed her body.) and that it compliments her. On stage, however she can't rock her everyday look and so she generally resorts to wearing comfortable yet 'cute' pants, converses and some sort of shirt which pulls the outfit together a little more. She also always seems to have to be wearing some sort of makeup, as she says she feels naked without it although she is often considered naturally attractive thanks to her youthful complexion and nearly flawless skin (she only has a few scars on her arms and legs; most of which no one would see unless someone pointed them out. They're from incidents when she was younger.) and so she doesn't really need to line her bright blue eyes or paint her natural peachy pink lips with lipstick or gloss. There's only ever been few instances where she's been without it and those were when she either didn't have time to do it or when she lost it to her complete and utter horror because she felt unconfident in her appearance.

Role: Drummer of Band 2

Musical Style: Until she was approximately sixteen years of age, Charlotte never played an instrument. The fact that she chose drums, still doesn't make any sense to her or anyone who knows her really because she doesn't really look like a...rock 'n roll kinda gal however once she started playing, she took to it immediately and began on her quest to learn as much as she could about the instrument and how to achieve that hard-hitting sound of her idols after doing covers of the Sex Pistols, The Dead Kennedys, Social Distortion and Judas Priest. Some of her greatest inspirations were people such as Dave Lombardo of Slayer. From there, she kept finding more and more inspiration from bands such as Death. She is now heavily influenced by bands like Cannibal Corpse, Deicide and Obituary.

Instruments: Image

Personality: Charlotte is generally considered happy, bubbly (occasionally airheaded depending on who is talking to her) and not...metal or hard rock physical appearance or personality wise although she loves heavy music. She is generally sweet, friendly and very open albeit a little gossipy at times. She's basically your stereotypical Southern California gal - and a rich one at that as one can tell by the way she spends her money on clothes and things like that as if she hasn't a care in the world - which she doesn't really, considering it isn't her money she's spending on new gear for the band or something for herself. She was spoiled as a child, but you can't really tell since she isn't one to wave her money in your face and is actually very caring toward others around her. She loves to talk and can do it for hours, especially when she has something in common with someone and so she's great at interviews and things like that. Her bubbly personality can sometimes get the better of her and others can perceive her as being fake because of it, which she isn't. She just is very concerned with how others see her - most people see her as being very confident and sure of herself, almost conceited at times but really she is quite insecure about herself and so she constantly feels the need to try to improve herself, either musically or physically and she doubts she will ever be quite satisfied.

When she was about thirteen years old her best friend told a boy she liked that she was interested in him and when Charlotte walked by him the next day on her way to class when he was with his friends he started teasing her and telling her that she wasn't pretty enough. He probably didn't mean it and was just trying to show off and be cool but Charlotte had taken it rather harshly because she almost always takes what people say to her to heart. Really, she hadn't been a particularly ugly teenager - a little flat-chested then and gangly but all of her problems were normal problems for a young teen. Right after, Charlotte went out and bought some makeup, trying to make herself look better and has done so ever since.

While she has gotten over that she hasn't quite stopped comparing herself to the women on the covers of magazines who appear flawless and those around her thanks to her insecurity. She'll often become jealous when she feels rivaled by another woman, however there has only been one situation which she has actually said something and started a bit of a bitch fight in a bar.

Biography: Charlotte grew up in what would practically be considered a mansion in Southern California, she was an only child and was spoiled rotten by her mother and millionaire father. She was 'daddy's little girl' growing up and never really learned the value of money since she's still doted on to this day and so she never has to worry about money.

She had the childhood most people would kill for, always receiving what she wanted although she spent most of her time learning to dance ballet up until she was about fifteen or sixteen when she gave it up because she was bored, tired of gossiping with the other popular girls, shopping and dancing. Her life had gotten quite dull, or at least so she thought and so she decided she needed to do something different and took up playing the drums, no problem. She didn't quite get it right away and it took a lot of practice but she quickly fell in love with heavy genres of music, including punk.

After a while, she got involved in the punk scene much to everyone's horror when she started mimicking the style and ended up roaming all around the states, meeting many different people who shared the same taste in music as her. Eventually, she met Cormac McMurphy of Band 1 and his little anarcho punk group when she first decided to give squatting a try much to her family's horror - once again - because they thought that surely she was going to die, which to be fair she very well could have. She had thought she was going to anyways.

Immediately, she decided that squatting just wasn't quite for her - but hey, she made it and must be tougher than what people give her credit for since she actually stayed with Cormac for a while and joined his band as a drummer, thinking it was fun. After a good couple of months though, Charlotte left as she simply couldn't stand living like that anymore and went home where she practiced and played a couple of small, unsuccessful shows before finally meeting Ted Marubini.


By the way, Rock of Ages.

So begins...

Charlotte King's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Izzie Martinez Character Portrait: Bey Jackson Character Portrait: Charlotte King
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A phone buzzed loudly on the nightstand next to Bey's head. She grumbled and shot her hand out, searching for the phone to turn it off. Instead, Bey managed to flip the switch from vibrate to ring; Break Stuff by Limp Bizkit blared loudly from the iPhone. The body twisted in the covers next to Bey flipped over and mumbled in protest. Bey tried reaching for the phone again, only to swipe it off onto the floor. It stopped ringing only to begin again seconds later.

"Will you get that damn thing already?" a gruff voice muttered in annoyance. The guy sharing Bey's bed pulled a crumpled pillow over his head and flipped again, grumbling more. Bey rolled her eyes and pulled herself over the edge of the bed. She reached down and snatched up her phone, silencing it. "Finally."

"Big baby," Bey said under her breath as she sat up on the edge of the bed, stealing the sheet and wrapping it around her naked form.

"I heard that." The guy lifted his head out from under the pillow and faced Bey, a good humored grin on his face despite having been woken up so early.

"I don't know how. You've got such a thick skull. Plus that pillow on top?" Bey put the phone back on the nightstand and turned on her hip towards the scruffy faced young man. "I'm surprised you hear half the things I say in bed."

"That's because the majority of the noises you make in bed," he paused and reached across the mattress, hooking his arms around Bey's waist pulling her towards him, "are strictly sexual." Bey laughed as she fell back.

"You know, I think there's a movie called Strictly Sexual. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've seen it."

"Is it any good?"

Bey bit the corner of her lip and scrunched her eyebrows in playful contemplation.

"No. No it it not."

"Well that's too bad. But that's okay, you're strictly sexual actions and noises and whatnot are just fine with me." The young man flipped himself and Bey over. She laughed as he kissed and playfully bit at her neck, his hands reaching to unwrap the sheet separating their bodies.

Break Stuff blared from the nightstand once again.

"Ugh... I need to get that," Bey told her partner.

"Ignore it." He continued peeling away the sheet and kissing down Bey's chest. The phone continued ringing.

"Seriously Jack. If it's one of my band mates then I seriously have to get it. Besides, I have to leave soon anyway." Bey gently shoved Jack off of her and moved back to the side of the bed. She grabbed her phone as it stopped ringing and stood, the sheet falling to her ankles. Jack whistled; Bey just rolled her eyes. "As if you haven't seen me naked before."

"No. But it's still a sight to see every time." Jack grinned lazily, his head propped up in his hand.

"Whatever." Her comment is off-handed, but the brunette couldn't help but smile. Bey slid her finger quickly across the screen of her phone, checking her missed calls. Bey frowned at the screen.

"So? Who was it? Someone of importance I hope. Whoever it was did interrupt our beginnings of sex after all."

"I believe that's called foreplay. And it's actually a number I don't recognize," Bey lied. She cleared the call history then put her phone down on the night stand once more. "But, like I said, it doesn't matter. I have to meet with my band members here soon. As in now. I didn't realize what time it was and now I'm going to be seriously late."

"Where are y'all meeting?" Jack's old southern twanged roots slipped in subtly.

"The studio," Bey answered as she picked her bra up off the floor and slipped it on.

"Isn't that just a few blocks away from here?" Jack asked, sitting up.

"Yeah it is, but I'll bet you dinner tonight that everyone's going to be there already by the time I arrive. Besides, I have to take the car because I'm taking both my guitar and my keyboard today. Ted didn't specify which he wanted me to bring today so I'm bringing both. Chances are we're going to end up not using either." Bey buzzed about the room as she talked, dressing until she just has her top and shoes left to put on. "Did I mention that we're also sharing the studio today with another band? Ugh. Where is my shirt? I can't find it."

Jack chuckled from the bed at his girlfriend's antics.

"Will you relax Bey? God. I just saw you go from sexy goddess that I was about to have sex with this suddenly would up chick in thirty seconds. I think that's a new record. And you can borrow my shirt. I like it when you wear my shirts."

"Really? Awesome." Bey picked up the charcoal grey v-neck lying at the end of the bed. "Is this it?"

"Yeah. Now promise I'll get it back in one piece at the end of the day?"

Bey slipped on the shirt then cocked an eyebrow at Jack, her eyes dancing playfully in the morning light.

"I'll take that as a no. Shoulda known."

Bey grinned and slid the tip of a finger into a small hole on the side of the shirt. She pulled down on the hole quickly. A ripping sound filled the room. The hole became a slash which Bey then took hold of and pulled across her stomach then around.

Jack dropped his face into his hands and shook his head.

"I can't believe you just did that. You just ripped off half of my shirt. You're lucky it wasn't one of my favorites."

"Yeah, but now it looks so much better. Don't you think?" Bey dropped the torn material to the floor then put her hands on her hips. Jack surveyed the girl in front of him in her new, makeshift crop-top and black, safety-pinned skinny jeans. He nodded his approval.

"What about shoes though?"

"Oh that's easy. My Docs of course."

"Of course." Jack scooted to the end of the bed and pulled Bey to him, kissing her firmly on the lips. "Now, about running off to this band practice thing. Are you sure you have to go? At least, are you sure you have to go now?"

"Yes, Jack. I'm one-hundred percent sure I have to go. And if you don't let me go, I'm going to be even later than I already will be."

Jack's grin faded into a more serious look.

"Bey-"

"Oh, God, Jack. You're not about to propose or anything are you? I mean we've only been dating for a few months. Don't you think-"

"Bey!" She stopped talking. Jack laughed shortly. "Maybe if you hadn't cut me off I could've finished what I was saying. I don't even know where you got that idea from."

"Okay. I'm sorry. Please continue."

"What I was going to ask was, have you considering my offer about joining my band?"

"Really Jack? You're going to ask me that now? C'mon. You know I'd never leave Cor Leonis."

"Cor Leonis or Ted?"

"Both. The group is like family to me and you know that."

"Yeah. Yeah. I was just hoping that, I don't know, maybe you'd change your mind."

"Never."

"Even though y'all are still being beaten down by the critics? And still haven't released a good single? And still haven't-"

"Okay, Jaxson, I get it. We're not the best band ever - yet. I'm not a groupie. I am in the band you know."

Jack and Bey both chuckled at her pathetic joke.

"I know. I was just thinking that maybe you'd consider signing on to a band that has had some real success after y'all finished y'all's tour and whatnot. I know it wasn't a great success or anything. I mean, why wouldn't you want to be part of a band that already has not just one, but two well selling albums? And we've already been on several successful tours so far, both as opening acts and main acts ourselves. Just think about it Bey. You and me jamming on the guitar together. Your voice with our current vocalist? It'd be so awesome!" Jack's enthusiasm showed in his entire face. Every word was sincere and honest. "You already know all the other guys in the band and they're down with the idea. Bey. You have to think about it."

"And Jack! You have to think about what I've been telling you. Cor Leonis? It is my family. I cannot just abandon Ted because our music isn't doing so great on the market. Every band struggles in the beginning. You know that. What you are offering? Yes, it is nice. Yes, it is extremely tempting. But it's also the easy way out. And I don't want that. Maybe there will be time for some collaboration pieces in the future or something. But for now? I have to go meet my band and hope Ted doesn't chew me out too bad for being so late. Okay? I love you, but I have to go."

Bey kissed Jack then pushed his chest. He plopped back down on the bed in defeat. She turned and put on her Doc Martens, zipping them up quickly.

"So what am I supposed to do about this problem?" Jack asked as Bey grabbed her guitar.

"What problem?" She turned back towards Jack. He motioned towards the lump in his lap. "Oh."

"Yeah."

"Just watch the porn channels I'm subscribed to. Here." Bey grabbed the remote off the coffee as she grabbed her keys and tossed it to Jack. "They're in the six-hundred-something channels."

"You have those?" Jack asked in shock.

"What do you think I do when you're not around?" Bey tossed Jack a coy grin and turned to leave the apartment.

"Oh man I love you."

Bey just laughed.

"Oh, uh, Bey? You may need this."

"What?" Bey turned in time to catch the hairbrush Jack tossed her.

"You might want to do something about that sex hair of yours. It's, uh, pretty bad." Jack laughed at Bey's eye roll.

"Bye, Jack. I'll see you tonight."

"Bye, Bey. I'll enjoy your tv and try not to break anything while you're gone."

"Please do."

Bey shut the apartment door firmly behind herself and turned to lock it when she realized she forgot her phone. She sighed and opened the door.

"You forgot these." Jack was standing just on the other side of the door, blanket around his waist, phone and leather jacket outstretched to Bey.

"Thank you," Bey told him sincerely, taking both items. She held her guitar case gingerly between her knees as she put her jacket on.

"Don't mention it. But, I thought you were going to take your keyboard, too?"

"I changed my mind. It'd slow me down too much. If Ted decides he wants to use a keyboard today, we'll just have to suffice with whatever is in the studio today."

"Ah. Well, have fun then. Bye."

"Bye."

Jack gave Bey a farewell wave then closed and locked the apartment door.

Bey tucked her keys and her iPhone into the pockets of her jacket then pulled the strap of her guitar case on over her chest. Very conscious of what Jack said about her hair, Bey ran the brush threw it several times as she walked. She had to pause in her walking on a couple of the snags but was able to fully brush out her hair before reaching the studio.

When she noticed all the cars already in the studio parking lot, Bey swore silently to herself. Not one to carry a purse with her, Bey had nothing to do with the brush, so she tossed it in the nearest trash can, not wanting to look like a fool walking into the recording studio late and with a hairbrush. That'd be about as bad as a very public walk of shame on the embarrassment scale. She readjusted the straps of her guitar case and hurried inside the studio, hoping she wasn't as late as she felt.


Stepping into the actual recording and practice area felt like stepping into a miniature war zone. A musical war zone anyway. Someone was playing his or her guitar very loudly in one of the adjoining rooms - Bey recognized the style as Ted's after a few bars - and everyone else seemed in some sort of state of confusion or intimidation. Bey couldn't discern the source of intimidation, but the confusion was understandable.

There were several people in the main holding room, as she called it, of the studio. Only one of them, the pretty, perky, bombshell, blonde, she knew.

Charlotte she had always been jealous of. When Ted had first introduced Charlotte to Bey, Bey thought it had to be a joke, that the only reason Ted even recruited Charlotte was because of how gorgeous she was and he really, really wanted to have sex with her. Bey assumed Ted had offered Charlotte a chance to audition in exchange for a night of pleasure. Needless to say she was extremely and honestly impressed with Charlotte when she turned out to be the real deal.

The other two in the room, both guys, she had never seen before. Bey assumed them both to be part of the other band they would be sharing the studio with. Figuring she'd have plenty of time to get to know them later, Bey put her guitar case down then strode to the room the music was streaming from, wanting to check in with Ted. She stopped short in the doorway when she saw the towering woman before her band founder and friend. Unable to stop herself from gawking ever so slightly, Bey's eyes traveled up the height of the woman then back down. She didn't even notice the other girl in the room.

"Um. Hey, Ted," Bey said, with a wave, her eyes reverting back to the guitar player. "Sorry I'm late."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Izzie Martinez Character Portrait: Bey Jackson Character Portrait: Charlotte King
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Ted heard the door to the studio open, but ignored it. Probably either Bey, Charlotte, or someone from Psychosis. No matter who, it was good: either a familiar face to work with, or a new face to meet and get to know. He had never been a huge fan of the death metal genre, beyond the band Death itself, and that was mostly for their jazzy influence and acute sense of melody on their later material. However, they would be sharing a studio, and would have to get along. Maybe he could figure out how to roughen his vocals some. His voice was somewhat rough, as he had rarely used it, but if he could get a growl, he and Bey would have a dynamic not unlike many European symphonic metal bands. Alternatively, he could hone his voice for a smoother sound. They'd have to see what worked. Always serve the music.

The door burst open, loud and sudden. Ted looked up in irritation as he flubbed his improvisation and stopped playing. "Look, if I was too loud I can..."

Oh.

That was...

Hell no. She was with Psychosis? Was it her band?

This day was just going to go downhill from there, wouldn't it? Where were Charlotte and Bey? Oh, there was Charlotte, along with what Ted presumed to be the rest of Psychosis. A motley bunch to be sure, Charlotte sticking out like a sore thumb with her bright and admittedly ever-changing style. None of them could compare to Izzie Martinez, though, a towering terror of a woman. Ted did not mean that in a shrew-like sense, but rather in that she was simply tall and terrifying.

"...y'know what, fuck this. I'm never arriving at anything early ever again. Nothing good comes of it."

Yup. Definitely Izzie. Ted stomped on the pedals, turning them off before he clicked the amplifier off and unplugged the Hagström.

"I guess this is your studio, Izzie," he said after the pause. "I just brought my gear here; if you'd rather it be someplace else that's fine." He kept his tone guarded, but as civil as he could.Blessedly, the third member of Cor Leonis then arrived, giving Ted more or an excuse to busy himself with something or someone other than Izzie. "You're fine, Bey. I never gave a specific time for today. Good to see you and Charlotte found the studio without too much trouble." He placed the guitar back into its case and closed the case gently before he turned to address the band behind Izzie. "I guess I should introduce myself. Edward Marubini, guitarist and now-singer of Cor Leonis, alias Edward Sturm. You can call me Ted." He smiled, realizing that he had to be civil now, especially if they were to get along in this studio.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Bey Jackson Character Portrait: Charlotte King Character Portrait: Edei Delanore Character Portrait: Victor Holden
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Ted put his head in his hands. "Christ, don't tell me they booked this place for three! Or is Psychosis a quintet? Or do we just have a trespasser?" He wouldn't normally be this...prickly, but he was a bit annoyed right now. There was still no response for his call for bassists, he was going to be sharing a studio with the most volatile guitarist since Dave Mustaine, and now this...person, at the door. What on Earth did he want? Was he visiting Edei? Was he confused? Or was he part of a third band?

Ted had no idea of the answers to any of these, and if there was one thing he hated, it was not having a single damn clue what was going on. What was he to do? Why, ask, of course. He stepped around Bey to the door. "It seems you and...Edei...know each other," he said carefully to the new arrival. He glanced down and noticed a long case. Too long for even a guitar. Was it even possible? "Are...are you with Psychosis? Or are you here about the advertisement for a bassist?" Ted glanced back over to Charlotte and Bey, then back to the newcomer. He seemed unaffiliated with the other band, so it was possible. Before he could get a response, Ted walked over to his two bandmates. "Alright, ladies," he announced, hating how pimp-like it sounded, but having no other real way to address them, "I think we might have someone new. I'm going to talk to him; I want you two to start warming up. If he's here to audition I'm going to ask for a full band rehearsal. We'll do some jamming, maybe run through some songs from the first album with him. Cool?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Bey Jackson Character Portrait: Charlotte King Character Portrait: Victor Holden
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Ted smiled. "Sorry, no Orange in the bass area, though I'm a big fan of them. The only bass amp we have right now is a Hartke combo; that was the only thing our old bassist didn't own. You can borrow my distortion pedal if you need it; I can get by on the amp drive for an audition. C'mon." He led Victor into the rehearsal room where he saw the rest of the band getting ready. "The Hartke's over there," he said, gesturing vaguely at the black combo amp. They'd have to get something better for him later. Not to mention some stuff to tidy him up at least a bit. Assuming he wasn't crazy; with every passing second Ted's doubts about his intelligence and the bassist's mental stability grew. He wanted to get on with this audition so he could know if he ought to give Victor money to tidy up or a boot in the ass. Hopefully the former, but he would not hesitate to give the latter; he had done so to plenty of cocky "I'm totally as good as Steve Harris" types.

He unplugged the Rat from his board and placed it near the bass amp. "Tweak the settings all you need; I'm not attached to any setting." Not entirely a lie; though the pedal had been integral to his initial sound with Cor Leonis, he was experimenting to make it less of an "always-on" pedal. To that end he had nearly fiddled the three knobs off, not to mention the gain and EQ knobs on his amp. He was satisfied with the amp now, but not so much the pedal. But never mind that. He had an audition to set up. He took out the extra connector and tidied up the simplified pedalboard. Close enough. Now, what to do first. Free jam would work best, he figured. He closed the door to the rehearsal room, hoping it would keep the sound down in the rest of the studio (judging by Izzie's reaction—wait, she was always like that), then opened his guitar case to pull out his Hägstrom. Might as well use it; it was lighter and most of the current settings were optimized to it anyhow.

He shouldered the brown guitar, and looked over at Victor. He nodded in appreciation of the Thunderbird bass, a fine instrument indeed. Back to business."Alright, let's do a quick jam first, get warmed up. Charlotte, start us off if you please?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Bey Jackson Character Portrait: Charlotte King Character Portrait: Victor Holden
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Ted smiled as he heard the familiar hard-hitting drum pattern, and quickly tried to think of something to play. He could play anything out there, a whole cornucopia of various chord shapes and modal licks. All of it was possible so long as he fit it to the rhythm. Oddly, though, only one idea stuck out to him, a simpler power-chord based riff. With a short melodic lick to cap it, his little contribution was finished. He nodded to Victor as he played, inviting him to help lay down the rhythm. He looked away from the bassist briefly, realizing that he was probably putting the (presumably) younger man under tremendous pressure by watching him so hawkishly. He focussed on the ceiling, noticing that a small piece of drywall up in the corner seemed to be moving with the rhythm of his riff. He then heard a clear but powerful growl from nearby, and recognized it as the Hartke doing its magic. He noted immediately the sense of groove in the newcomer's playing: it was uncannily organic. Ted had learned his rhythmically complex riffing over several months at least, and in theory several years, as he had always felt his playing expanding daily since he dedicated himself formally to the guitar, about 20 years ago now that he recalled.

But this, this was not learned. Hell, given his condition, Ted would have been surprised if the guy had taken a formal lesson in his life. Lessons could get pretty pricey, he mused, remembering the absurd amounts he had either shelled out for lessons or considered shelling out before his parents told him better. But with all that money, Ted knew he could not have bought the feel that Victor unmistakably had. That was innate, rare, valuable. At that moment, Ted's esteem for Victor went up tenfold. But he wasn't sold yet. Some bassists fit the jam environment better, and Cor Leonis was definitely not the Grateful Dead. Though we could use fans like the Deadheads, Ted thought to himself before he came back to reality and let the jam continue for a minute or so. Finally, he stopped playing and motioned for quiet. "All right, good, good. Now the fun part. Charlotte, Bey, you pick. Anything off the first album. Just not the friggin' drunk song."

Ted despised that song, actually titled "Tack". He called it "the drunk song," mostly because the lyrics had been written after Ted had drunk half a bottle of a drink twice as alcoholic as he had suspected. God, the hangover after that night was awful. Worse, the record's producer loved the schizophasic nonsense Ted had penned, though about a third was lost to the Evil Demon of Illegibility. What was legible, the producer pestered them into making into a song. It had, of course, become surprisingly popular at shows, which only contributed to Ted's hate for it. He intended to play it as little as possible (once playing "Freebird" instead, to mixed reception), and just hoped it would die a quick death.

Of course, though, before Bey or Charlotte could say anything, a detuned and massively distorted guitar sonically pierced the wall, startling him. Guess the walls weren't so soundproof, Ted noted ruefully as he calmed himself and covered his ears against the continuing playing. Sounded like Psychosis had similar ideas to his own. He sighed, realizing that things were not going to improve. Might be best to get out and at least talk with the prospective bassist. If he could get along with the others in the band, that improved his standing even more, though it was already pretty good, at least for Ted. He announced his plan as loudly as he could. "It looks like Izzie wants to loudness-war us out! Well, she can win for now! Let's get clear for a bit and get to know the prospective member better!" He removed his guitar and turned his amp off, hoping they would at least get his nonverbal message if they couldn't hear him. He wouldn't blame them if they couldn't hear him, over all that...noise. Dear God, the atonality.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Bey Jackson Character Portrait: Charlotte King Character Portrait: Victor Holden
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Ted shrugged at Victor's suggestion. To be honest the idea had occurred to him, but he wasn't going to broach it unless the others seemed genuinely uncomfortable. And...well, they did, so he took the opportunity to make a command decision. "Alright, let's head outside. The weather's nice if I remember right." He led the way to the door, holding the door to let the others out ahead of him. As he closed the door behind him, he listened a moment for the buzzsaw guitar jam, now at full volume and in full force. Regardless, he could actually hear himself think now, and made a mental note that the studio's sound insulation was godawful. He would need to have a word with the manager about that. Unacceptable, especially with a band like Psychosis grinding away. Christ.

He tore himself away from his bitter irritation, and turned to the prospective recruit. Time to play job interviewer. What question ought he bring up first? Boarding? Nah, experience would be better. "Victor, that was some damn fine playing, especially for a warmup. How long have you been playing the bass?" He was tempted to ask about where he studied, but had a feeling he knew the answer anyway, and didn't want to intimidate him with too many questions, or make him think he was a snobbish type more suited to professorship than recording. Which was half-true; Ted had taught before, but the ship of any possible teaching positions, at Berklee or anyplace else, had long since sailed, pretty much since he collaborated with Izzie Martinez. Regardless of his personal thoughts on the collaboration, it seemed that it would haunt his career for a while, unless he could knock it out of the park with Cor Leonis. He had a good feeling about the present lineup and the possibility of adding Victor to it. If Victor gelled with the band, they might have a veritable powerhouse of a lineup. But back to reality, and back to Victor's response...whatever that would be.

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Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Charlotte King Character Portrait: Victor Holden
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Ted quirked his lips at Victor's response. Astonishing. He was out of practice? There had to be a catch. Jaco Pastorius wasn't a terrific bassist AND mentally stable. Ted had to admit he placed a slight emphasis on mental stability over musical prowess; after all, musicians grew in bands. He himself knew that; recording the first album had forced him to develop a lead style that would both contrast with Bey's and fit the genre. Admittedly reviews indicated that had backfired, but plenty of bands had had weak debuts and went on to great things. He'd learn. He'd improve. They all would. And unlike getting mental help, that would be relatively free of charge, and free of stress...well, not free of stress. Ted always pushed himself and others to stress in the pursuit of perfection. It may have driven Jackson away, it may have ended plenty of collaborations, and he probably should stop doing it...but he was too much of a perfectionist in the studio.

But he was getting off-topic. The point was, if Victor was a mad genius, he was probably getting the boot. He had to ask why he was in such an...unfortunate...condition, but he decided to wait for Charlotte's question to get answered. Though after a second, he realized the din seemed to be ending. He had half a mind to go in and check, but decided not to. Izzie was like a black mamba, he reminded himself. Don't cross her or you'll get bit, and if you get bit you're in deep shit. The analogy even had a half-assed rhyme to it. Probably why he remembered it.

He blinked and licked his lips. He needed to focus on the people at hand. And probably give a call to the manager, have a word about the atrocious soundproofing, not to mention the personal troubles.

Speaking of which...where had Bey gone?

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Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Charlotte King Character Portrait: Victor Holden
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She was here a minute ago...how did she get away without anybody knowing? WHY did she leave? Where did she-

"Ted?"

The guitarist started before answering. "Hm? Sorry, spaced out a bit there. Well," he paused a moment, leaning his head back to listen for the silence, "Firstly, I can sympathize with the need for finances. Rest assured we can work with that. Secondly, it sounds like Psychosis stopped making noises, so we can probably go back in and play some. In the interest of courtesy to them, even to Izzie, maybe we should try something...quieter. I'll turn down my amp, and we can try to do something like that one song, Sun Caravan or whatever. Rest assured, you've got a million steps up on every other bassist we've seen so far, something I'm sure Charlotte will agree with. The sooner we get in and do this last jam session, the sooner we can welcome you as a member, or at least put you on the payroll for studio time, and start the business of writing music and playing it. On that note, let's jam."

Waiting only an instant to see they understood, he fairly hopped inside, eager to get back to playing. As they passed the other practice room Ted glimpsed the members of Psychosis chatting idly. At least they seemed unlikely to get back to noising, which meant they could make some music. Inside the practice room, Ted quickly walked over to the case with the Hägstrom inside and pulled it out before turning to his pedalboard and unplugging the cable to run the guitar straight into the amp. He turned the volume and gain down, then played and listened to a few experimental notes. Satisfied, he turned to regard those who remained of his bandmates. At the moment Bey still had the plausibility of having gone to the bathroom or something similar, which reassured him some. He couldn't shake some darker suspicions, though.

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Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Izzie Martinez Character Portrait: Charlotte King Character Portrait: Victor Holden
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Ah... Jazz... He shrugged and bobbed his head along to Ted'd playing. When Victot thought, he looked very very serious. He cracked a smile though when Charlotte spoke up and shrugged again. "I think their amps ho to eleven." Soon after, the serious expression returned. A raised eyebrow and a focused stare on Ted's fingers, figuring out what key he was in and listening. Victor had not played jazz in a very long time. When he finally started playing, he picked a note at a time, then threw an Octave on to get his bearings. The bassline he eventually came up with was not what you would have expected, but then again, it was Victor. It was jazzy, but with a few slides here and there. As they played, Victor looked down at his hands and realized that it sounded pretty decent, though it still needed some work.

This piece is pretty fucking cool... Victor had never played with anyone who sounded like this. Like Ted did. Granted, he's jammed with the man for maybe an hour and a half. How long had he actually been there? Anyway, something told him that he would be able to tell when it was Ted that was playing. As he stood there and thought to himself, Victor plucked a wrong note that sounded just plain dreadful. "Aah, you fucking gobshite.." His accent flaired up even more when he was mad and when he swore. The grungy looking man brushed his hair back and looked around at Ted and Charlotte, unable to help but chuckle. "Pardon me..." Followed his cursing. He let the bass hang and looked at Ted, waiting for a silent moment, just to ask him what he thought of it so far. Maybe he wanted Something different than that.

If he was to come up with Something else, it was clear to him that it was going to take some time. He would need to dig into the whole part and mess around for a while. Also, he wondered how much time they had before the doomsday machine in the other room decided to begin. It wasn't that it was horrible Music or anything, but it was just so loud. Victor realized that he hadn't even exchanged a word with the Psychosis frontman. Well frontwoman. She's was a woman right? Anyway, he realized that he already didn't like her very much, and that was based on what he'd heard Izzie say and the fact that her band was so fucking loud. "You..." Victor pointed at Charlotte as he spoke. "I like you. You're easy to follow..." And she was. Charlotte was easy for him to work with. "Was this kind of what you had in mind?" This question was directed at. "I can change it and come up with some other stuff, but I think that would require some more time..."

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Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Charlotte King Character Portrait: Victor Holden
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Ted listened carefully to Victor's playing. Very unique, with an admittedly heavy use of octaves. It still sounded miles beyond any other bassist who had auditioned. He had a definite sense of syncopation that few metal bassists had, and which Ted liked more than he really should have. It just seemed so...fresh, so unique. Maybe it could be an interlude on the new album—

As if the universe had read Ted's thoughts, Victor suddenly hit a sour note. His thick Irish accent came through as he swore at the error, then as he apologized for the profanity. Ted stopped playing a moment later, realizing that he wasn't going to go past the mistake. At least he wouldn't try that in the studio...presumably not, anyhow. You couldn't exactly run with a sour note in the studio. Well, you could punch the right note in over it, but that was lazy, and if the damn studio didn't have soundproofing, they sure as hell wouldn't have equipment able to punch a note in that precisely. Best to get the take right than to try and post-fix it. If you could get it right in the studio, you could get it right on the stage.

The guitarist gave a quick thumbs up to Victor as he laid his Hägstrom in its case, then turned to Charlotte as she spoke. He smiled at her suggestion. "Sounds good. Let's hear some of what you had in mind," he replied, gesturing to the kit. "Victor, let's see how you do with whatever she has in mind."

With that, Ted leaned back, turned the amp to standby (probably should have done that earlier), and waited to see what Charlotte had in mind.

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Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Izzie Martinez Character Portrait: Bey Jackson Character Portrait: Charlotte King Character Portrait: Victor Holden
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Ted watched Charlotte's playing, noticing the nuance, the swing, the syncopation. He wouldn't have believed it if he wasn't seeing it right now. She was playing...jazz? No, not quite jazz, not with that grip...but it had that swing. It reminded him a bit of...well, he couldn't think exactly what, but he couldn't suppress a grin at hearing it, remarking, "Charlotte King, playing jazz? I'll be damned!" He flipped the amp back on and carefully eased the gain up while letting a single low E ring out...and unexpectedly feed back. Very loudly. "Son of a bitch," he muttered as he quickly muted the string. He stepped away from the amp, played again, and this time smiled at getting a tone remarkably similar to the Rat, but...nicer. He hadn't thought about just cranking the amp before. Well, he had, but he reasoned that if he wanted a clean tone usable, a distortion he could turn on and off seemed imperative. This had decreased in necessity when he didn't really need a clean tone for this music. He wondered what he compatriots back in Nashville, or his old classmates at Berklee would think of him now, cranking amps and sharing a studio with a death metal band. Not that he really cared.

The thoughts had run through his head in only a few seconds, and now he shook them off as he pinched his pick and started to play along to Charlotte's drumming, palm-muting a series of chords more rhythmic than harmonic and syncopating to match her as best as he could. He heard Victor's bass rumble underneath with its own figure, also syncopating, albeit with some difficulty. To be fair to him, Charlotte had a very...irregular and unpredictable sense of syncopation. Ted chalked it up to beginner's roughs (that was a thing, right?) and continued to play the muted chords for a few more seconds, before trying a solo over Victor's bass and Charlotte's drums. He ran the sequence of chords in his mind as he played for a minute more, then realized he was running out of ideas. He stopped playing and held up his picking hand to signal to stop. As the playing petered out, he nodded approvingly. "That was some good stuff! See if you two can work out any more. I'm going to go figure out what's going on outside." He had passed off some earlier altercation ending with an audible thud as Psychosis having an infight, which would be par for a band fronted by Izzie. However, the possibility that Bey was involved had just occurred to him, and the possibility was, to say the least, nasty in its implications.

With this concern in mind, Ted set the amp back onto standby, placed the Hägstrom in the open case, and walked out into the anteroom between practice rooms. Bey was there, but to his surprise, she was packing up her guitar. "Bey?" Ted asked carefully. He wasn't sure what was going on. Had she been the thud? Was there some emergency he had missed in his furor of grilling and auditioning Victor?

Bey looked up, and Ted saw anger etched on her face. Anger at him? Slowly she pointed at the other practice room. "Call me when that Izzie bitch is gone, and when you start giving a shit about the person who helped you start this." With that, she picked up her case and left before Ted could respond. To be fair, Ted was too shocked to respond at the moment. He ran through her statement in his head. Izzie. Giving a shit. Connecting the dots didn't take very long. Ted calmed the fury and frustration he could feel rising in his heart, and strode over to the "Psychosis room", opening the door without knocking.

In a flash, his eyes settled on the frontwoman guitarist. He inhaled through gritted teeth before speaking. "Izzie, listen up. I don't know what you said to Bey, but she just quit my band. I don't care how you conduct yourself as a bandleader, or how you treat your group, but if you ever touch or denigrate Charlotte, Victor, or whoever I get to replace Bey, two things will happen. One, I will take Blue Fire and smash her over your skull, and two, I'll report you for August 24th 2006. You might not remember everything that happened that night, but I do. And the statute of limitations has not expired." Before he could get a response (which would have most likely been in the vein of assault and battery), Ted slammed the door and crossed to the room where Victor and Charlotte were.

He entered much more quietly, having worked out the anger in his little threat monologue. Now he just felt...drained, and a bit lost. "Bey just quit," he announced, in case they hadn't heard the events outside. He crossed to his stool and sat, then slouched, pensive.

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Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Izzie Martinez Character Portrait: Bey Jackson Character Portrait: Charlotte King Character Portrait: Victor Holden
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Playing with these guys were good. It was hard to fit in something that sounded really good, though Victor did okay. There were a lot of things he had to work on though. Added to that, he had a new drummer he was going to learn how to work with. Fortunately, he worked best when pressured and he always grew with the task. If you weren't challenged, how would you ever improve? Victor was dead set on doing his best and still maintain his own style of playing. He tried to work with Charlotte, though he had to get used to the way she was playing. In his mind, she was a little hard to follow, but easy at the same time. Makes no sense, no. After a while of playing, he was sure that she'd be there and on the spot, but it was as like two cards travelling to the same destination, via two very different paths. Fuck it, it makes sense in my head! And with that, Victor turned his attention back to Ted as he called for a stop. Apparently he approved of it all, which sent a flutter through his stomach. Since Victor was Victor, he didn't show it. Or at least, did his best not to.


"If mucking about on the strings makes a bass player creative, then hell yes I am." His accent flaired up as he answered Charlotte and waved after Ted when he left. "And you are very interesting to work with." The Irishman nodded and smirked, sitting down and setting his bass up against the Hartke amp on the floor. "Hmm? Oh yeah, I thought that we were missing somenoe." He remembered Bey from when he had shown up at the studio and all, but where had she gone? Victor ran a hand through his (a little too greasy) hair and leaned back. He was still in dire need of a damn shower, but he wasn't sure where to get one. Maybe if this actually works out, I'll go rent a hotel room for a couple of nights... And that led him to wonder if he would get paid at all, and if so, how much. At the moment, Victor looked exactly like what he was. Homeless.

Muffled voices came from the room next to theirs, which made him raise an eyebrow and look at Charlotte. Whatever was going on in there didn't sound good. "What the hell is going on?" He asked her, shrugging. "Unless you're a professional wrestler, I don't think it's a good idea to go up against the fuckin' behemoth of a woman in there." And who else but Izzie Martinez could that be. A moment later, Ted came back into the room looking less than pleased. "What?" Victor said, frowning. What the hell did she leave for all of a sudden? "What's going on here, mate?"

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Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Charlotte King Character Portrait: Victor Holden
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"...and when you start giving a shit about the person who helped you start this."

Those words still echoed in Ted's mind. Who had started Cor Leonis? Was it really his band? As much of the first album's material came from her alternative influences as from Ted's jazz, after all. She took most of the leads on that album, and did a sizable portion of singing. Sure Ted had "led" them in the sense of getting gigs and working with management, but the writing had been largely a group thing, at least before the Roberts brothers left. That had always seemed suspicious, and Bey refused to discuss the "difficulties" Carson had claimed, adding to Ted's suspicions at the time. However, gradually he brushed them aside in favor of trying to get a suitable replacement lineup. And now that seemed to have exacerbated the problem. Maybe he shouldn't have been a bandleader in the first place.

But as he brought his thought spiral back to Earth, back to the rehearsal room, he realized that he had to do his best now. He refused to let Izzie Martinez wreck his career in metal the way she wrecked his career in jazz and sessions. Edward Marubini was finished, but Ed Sturm's career was just starting. He would get through this, one step at a time.

First among those steps was explaining the situation to Charlotte and Victor. "It sounds like Izzie said or did something that got Bey really torn up. She left just now, telling me to call when Izzie was gone and when I...when I, quote, started giving a shit about the person who helped me start this band, unquote." He shrugged. "I guess there's not much to be done. Izzie's not going to leave her studio. She isn't going after either of you any time soon, nor whoever replaces Bey. But still...I mean, at this point we might as well start over with a new name, 'cause Bey took with her the last thing that made Cor Leonis what it was."

So much for optimism and getting through things. Of course, saying it all out made things that much more real and much more of a problem. Ted sighed and stood up from the stool, then sat back down. No need to stand up.

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Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Bey Jackson Character Portrait: Charlotte King Character Portrait: Victor Holden
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All he could do at the moment was just sit down on the amplifier. With one eyebrow raised in confusion and his head cocked to the side, Victor looked like he had just fallen from the moon. The first thought to enter his head was something along the lines of: I hope it didn't have anything todo with me... And he was pretty sure that it had nothing to do with him that Bey had quit the band. It just came as a shock (probably more to Charlotte and Ted than to him), that she would suddenly leave like that. "Wha-" Victor sighed and brushed his hair back, something that again reminded him that he was in dire need of a shower. "It didn't look like... What?" Quickly, he decided that it was better to keep quiet since he was incapable of saying anything that made sense at the moment. Victor was not going to blow his chance (if he had one) with Cor Leonis, but things didn't look so good now that the guitarist had left as well.

"Aye, that's right." Maybe it was possible to make Ted smile, if only for a moment. "I'm not singing either!" His accent was clear as he spoke, yet Victor merely offered the lead singer a crooked smile and a shrug before it slowly faded. He put his bass back in it's case and rubbed the back of his head, wondering what they should do now. What do people do when someone quits the band? Do they sit and mope or do they go out for a beer and discuss what to do, or do they simply go home? Where the fuck that is... And having that exact thought and really meaning it was sad, but still it was something Victor was used to. He'd slept places most people would puke if they saw. All in all, Victor needed a shower and a shave and some new threads.

The Irishman looked at Charlotte for a moment and sighed. "What do we do now?" He asked and shrugged, wondering what they thought about it all. If it was expected of him, Victor would try to show some support and concern. Still, since he wasn't entirely sure yet if they wanted to keep him as their bassist, he really didn't know if they gave a shit. But, they seemed to kind to just throw him out. Still, you don't know...

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Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Charlotte King Character Portrait: Victor Holden
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"Well, I assume you don't want me to try and sing."

Ted remembered well the many times he had heard Charlotte sing. He did not remember any of them being aurally pleasing. As Victor added his unwillingness, Ted sighed and laughed, only a tinge of bitterness clouding his genuine amusement. "I guess it falls to me for now. Good thing I can sing." Which was partly true: he had handled some of the backing vocal duties when Carson had been unable and unwilling, and had done some playing-singing gigs long ago. That was something he would have to get used to, though. Different coordination. Regardless, he had more important things to worry about, like the long-term stability of Cor Leonis. Actually, he was more concerned about the short-term right now: They had been so close to a recording lineup, and now one of the primary songwriters had left! Ted couldn't write lyrics...not really, anyway. He had penned Tack, but seriously, the hell with Tack. He was not going to give himself cirrhosis trying to write a record's worth of lyrics. Maybe they could go instrumental and kill two birds with one stone...

"So what do we do now?"

Ted snapped out of his idea trance as Victor asked the fatal question. Now what? Ted considered the options. They didn't have much in the way of a recording group, but they might be able to start writing some things, things he could flesh out with a hired gun. He'd post an ad tomorrow. No, today. Maybe he could call a friend in the area. Maybe Mickey down at the store; he was a pretty metal-focussed guy. If Ted could get him to stop detuning so damn low they'd be in business. So maybe not Mickey.

Right now, what they needed, before they went looking for new members, was stability. Ted stood up and walked a few paces away from Victor and Charlotte. He looked at Charlotte, then quirked his lips to point vaguely at Victor. He was employing old trademark of his, quick silent messages. He hadn't had the chance to use them in a while; they only worked well with people who knew his nonverbal code. The message, to those who knew it, was clear, particularly with context. You want him in?

Charlotte nodded after a pause. She had thought, and she had concluded.

Time for Cor Leonis to start its route back to functionality.

"Well, first off, Victor, I'd like to speak in union with Charlotte as I welcome you to Cor Leonis."

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Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Charlotte King Character Portrait: Victor Holden
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To his great relief, Ted informed them that he could sing. Charlotte probably knew that already, but Victor didn't. At least that meant they could have some vocals when they rehearsed. Still, Bey leaving had struck a great blow to Cor Leonis. I show and want to join and someone fucking leaves... It was impossible for the bassist not to feel bad about that. He hoped that he didn't bring bad luck to the band. It would be a shame if they had to make do with some studio musicians if they had to record something. In his experience, it had always worked better when it was the band - the full band - that went into the studio. They played together so they should go to the studio together. It always differed to much in sound when something was recorded with a person that wasn't a regular part of the band.

Okay, something's going on here... The thought struck him as Ted looked at his drummer. Some sort of non-verbal conversation was going on there. Charlotte nodded, they both turned to him and Victor tilted his head, looking worried. When Ted opened his mouth and spoke, he smiled though. This was what he had hoped for when he'd gotten the crazy idea to actually show up. Victor smiled at the two of them at first. Then his face turned serious. "If this is some bad joke, then fuck you Ted." The Irishman said and pointed at the Cor Leonis guitarist and now singer. It still hadn't really sunk in though, that he was a part of the band now. It would take some getting used to.

Before another thought could enter his mind, Charlotte welcomed him as well. A nod and a smile was what he gave in respons. Victor was kind of at a loss for words. What did you say to that? 'Thanks?' For one, if he said it, he'd probably sound a little too excited. Secondly, Victor had a problem with saying Thank you. Next thing he knew, Charlotte was headed towards him. It wasn't until she was pretty close that Victor realized what she was going to do. Oh boy she's going to regret that. But she said nothing, though the hug was pretty short. She made it obvious that she meant it though. That was all that mattered to Victor. "Hmm?" And now he had to think up another lie. "Oh, uh..." His eyes went from Charlotte to Ted and back again quickly. "Not really. Not.... In town." Well.. That was easy to see through, but it was the best he could do.

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Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Charlotte King Character Portrait: Victor Holden
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Although he'd been given some money, the Irishman had chosen the cheapest hotel he could find. It had only been very reluctantly when Charlotte gave him the money, that Victor had accepted them. And it still nagged at him. Whether or not he could repay her, he didn't know. It had been a very kind (and unexpected) thing to do. Something he appreciated very very much. "Whoops, better get going." The time on his watch reminded him that he should get going. On the down side, the hotel was shitty and the room was small. And the walls were thin. Too thin. On the other hand, it had a bed and a pillow and it was a short walk to the studio. With a shrug and a sigh, he headed out his door and downstairs.

Concentrating was becoming harder and harder. Dealing with the drug addiction was harder than he had thought. Back when he had announced that he didn't want to take drugs anymore, he had gradually stopped it. Still, it was hard as hell. The only thing that helped a little bit was having something to do all the time. Reading, running, playing, talking, drinking. It didn't matter, as long as it occupied his thoughts. That was also why he - in case of emergency - had a small bag of white powder in his jacket. It was so easy to just reach in and take it, but Victor had managed not to. And that was something he was proud of.
Slow steps and a cigarette hanging from his lips, Victor neared the studio. There he spotted Charlotte and Ted outside, wondering why Ted looked kind of surprised. Or what does that look mean? He might be good at reading people, but he had a hard time with Ted.

"Hi!" A wave and a smile. Victor stopped as he got to the two of them, looking from on to the other. Smoke came out from his nostrils as he exhaled. "You look like you either just recieved really good news, or really bad news." He chuckled and shrugged, wondering what it was that made Ted look like that. There was a small shimmer of hope that he had found someone to replace Bey, but he dared not bet his money on it.

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Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Charlotte King Character Portrait: Victor Holden
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Ted loked up at Charlotte. He hadn't expected to see her so soon after the lucky call. He tossed his phone in the air, caught it, and grinned as he pocketed it. "You...might say that. I about ran out of guitarist friends today. They all hate my guts ever since I tried teaming up with Izzie." He shrugged. "But! I just got off the phone with an old friend of mine, named Eric, Eric Morley. I helped him get a job at the studio way back when, and we've been friends since then. He plays fiddle on pretty much three-quarters of the Nashville stuff, and he does busking on his own too. Great guy, great player. He's flying out here tonight to try and join us. Just on a trial basis, nothing too committed. I think it could work, though."

Of course, just as he finished explaining, Victor showed up, asking about the same thing. Ted sighed, suppressed a bit of laughter at his luck, then turned to Victor. "Evening, Victor. I just got off the phone with an Eric Morley. He's going to be flying out here to play violin with us. I figure at this point we might as well go with what we can, and nobody who plays guitar wants anything to do with Ted Marubini. It's ridiculous. But anyway, it's good news. Very good. Going to go all Mahavishnu on this shit." He grinned again and rubbed his hands together in a mockery of every world-conquering villain ever. Yes, Ted, putting jazz into metal is going to take over the world.

If that were the case, Paul Masvidal would be president of the universe...

Whatever. Stay in the now.