Announcements: Universe of the Month! » Finding Universes to Join (and making yours more visible!) » Guide To Universes On RPG » Starter Locations & Prompts for Newbies » RPG Chat — the official app » USERNAME CHANGES » Suggestions & Requests: THE MASTER THREAD »

Latest Discussions: Nihilism » Strange Tales From Hadean » Art Gulag [ Come get this Commish! ] » Visibility of Private Universes & Profile Customisation » Presuppositionalism » Aphantasia » Skill Trees - Good, Bad & Ugly » In-Game Gods & Gameplay Impact » Cunningham's Law » The Tribalism of Religion » Lost Library » Game Theory » The Hidden Void » Removing CS From an Indy Universe : Solution » On the Matter of New Players and Orphaned Plays » STOP BLAMING US FOR RPG BEING SLOW! » Polytheism » The Game of Life » Just War » Science and Philosophy »

Players Wanted: 18+, 1x1 Multi. Para to Novella Writers please! » Looking for 1 on 1 roleplayers » Fun tale full of angels, demons, and humans » Looking for roleplayers » A Fairytale World in Need of Heroes & Villains! » Are You a Crime Addict? » Wuxia RP » Looking for roleplayers » New Realistic Roleplay - Small World Life ٩( ´・ш・)و » Mentors Wanted » MV Recruiting Drive: sci-fi players wanted! » Veilbrand: The Revolution » Gonna do this anyway. » Looking for Kamen Rider Players » Elysium » Looking for roleplayers for a dystopian past! » Revamping Fantasy Adventure RPG, need new players » Here, At the End of the World (supernatural mystery drama) » Seeking Role Players for a TOG Based RP » so I made a Stranger Things RP idk why not come join »

Win Hands Down

Baltimore, Maryland


a part of Win Hands Down, by Erik7622.


Erik7622 holds sovereignty over Baltimore, Maryland, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

812 readers have been here.


Default Location for Win Hands Down
Create a Character Here »


Baltimore, Maryland is a part of Win Hands Down.

8 Characters Here

Lionel Anderson [34] The snarling axeman and co-founder of Sturm
Ted Marubini [29] Axeman of Sturm by way of jazz
Rick Silva [25] Zenlike bassist of Psychosis
Ada Rae Leveque [24] Drinks!
Zack Walker [22] Rumble-man of Sturm.
Valentina Diaz [21] Somewhat misanthropic lead guitarist of Psychosis
Isabel Martinez [20] Enigmatic founder of Psychosis
Christina Kjaer [15] Miniature Dane and supremely laidback drummer of Sturm

Start Character Here »

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lionel Anderson Character Portrait: Valentina Diaz Character Portrait: Ada Rae Leveque
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by iCakez
For the briefest of moments, her cheeks flushed a pale shade of red. She had known Valentina for a while and knew that she didn’t have the most inviting and welcoming sort of personality. Still, her remark struck something in Ada and she realized that it had actually hurt. And it had been delivered in a monotone, which was unsettling. It had been easier to handle if Val had been angry with her and shouted at her instead. It hurt and angered Ada that Valentina looked away and did not meet her eyes. What did that mean? Did that mean the guitarist regretted what she said? She reminded herself that this woman was incredibly awkward in social situations, but that didn’t help her none. So instead of starting an argument or coming up with a clever retort, she decided to not let it ruin her night. Hell, it’d take a lot to ruin her mood when they’d had a few more drinks. Not to mention, that it might actually be incredibly dangerous to annoy Valentina right now. Ada took a sip of her beer and the red left her cheeks.

“Oh my, someone could do with some good-“ She muttered under her breath, but stopped abruptly. That was exactly the kind of comment she was supposed to refrain from. Ada shot Valentina a sideways glance and in a panic her mind raced to find something to say. “You can’t sit there and tell me life is oh so great and that it’s not fucking depressing. Being human is a condition that requires a little anesthesia.”

While that statement wasn’t particularly uplifting, it was very honest and exactly how Ada saw things. She shrugged and took another sip of her beer, raising an eyebrow. “Besides, we’re in a band because this,” she gestured to their surroundings, not really caring if Val was listening to her by now or if she was going to punch her with that empty bottle she had, “This ain’t enough.”

Having prepared herself for a few moments in awkward silence, Ada instead was slipped a napkin from the bartender as well as a drink. At first, she looked confused as the man did not reveal who it was from, but merely left it in front of her. She dragged it across the bar and placed it so she could see it and read what it said. “TRADE?” A smirk appeared on her face – it was obvious who it was from now. She hadn’t expected the napkin note. Ada didn’t even get the words out before the bartender placed a pen in front of her. She looked at him and though the man looked slightly amused he also looked tired of their note-passing. Ada bit her lip and didn’t write anything. Instead she stood up and turned to leave her seat at the bar.

Maybe someone dressed in L.B Johnson-era clothes might decide to approach Val while I go talk to this guy.

“You god damn kids…” Ada was pushed back into her seat. “Why does everything have to be so,” The man gestured wildly with his hands in front of her face, causing Ada to look very confused. She recognized him by smell and by his swaying. It was the man who’d been sitting next to the napkin guy. It was unsure whether he had actually found the bathroom or if he’d relieved himself in an alley.


“No, don’t even st-“ The man waved his hands again and hiccoughed. “Start. I know, okay? I know how to say all the right things. I could pick up any woman.” More hand gestures, this time accompanied by twitches at the corner of the mouth. This man really smelled of alcohol and sweat. It made Ada wrinkle her nose.

“Listen, I was just on my wa-“

“I just don’t get why it’s that d-difficult. You should just get going!” He gestured from Ada to the napkin man and looked almost frustrated. “No effort involved anymore. He’s a good lookin’ fella, you’re good lookin’. The pair of ya.” He looked at Valentina and smiled. “The pair of those are good lookin’ too.” He gestured toward Ada’s chest.

Ada moved in her seat and began to turn her back toward the man. But as soon as she did, she felt a hand on her arm. His grip was tight and he probably couldn’t feel how hard he was squeezing her because of the levels of alcohol in his system. “Ow..” Her head whipped around. Ada wasn’t sure how drunk he actually was and if this was normal for him. He seemed like a regular and maybe this was just how he was when he got drunk.

Characters Present

No characters tagged in this post!

Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

“That’s it?” Rick said, with not a little skepticism, and the corners of Izzie’s lips quirked ever so slightly into the faintest ghost of a smirk.

“Well,” she began again as folks began to clamber up to their feet. “That solo was ten different kinds of all over the place. Listening to poorly-executed improv is a kind of torture in my book.” Everybody had their off nights, though—and Ted had always been a talented improviser, going back to the Sturm&Drang days. Izzie, who had never been much of a lead guitarist anyway, would spend hours meticulously constructing each composition, making no compromises, hammering every piece out until it aligned note-for-note with what she was hearing in her head. And then Ted would walk in, limber up his fingers, and come up with leads for each composition on the fly. Really, you’d have thought it was a recipe for success.

“That guitar-bass interplay was a thing of beauty, though,” she allowed. “Just about makes up for putting me through the Naraka that was that solo.” She stood up, shrugging her jacket onto her shoulders as she did—she’d left it hanging over her chair—and finished, “You good to get going?”




Valentina stared down the neck of the bottle in her hands as intently as if she were trying to set its contents on fire. All the while, Ada talked—and Valentina pretended she wasn’t listening, that she was letting every word go in one ear and out the other. Didn’t matter. She’d said what she’d said. And she hoped what she’d said had hurt Ada’s feelings, too. She hoped the drummer had concluded that inviting Valentina out tonight had been a mistake. She hoped whatever had prompted her to think it was a good idea in the first place had been thoroughly crushed.

Eventually, Ada joined Valentina in her silence, which meant Valentina could stop pretending to ignore her, and commit some of the energy she’d been putting towards that into more important things, like worrying, and being generally unhappy. She lifted the bottle to her lips gingerly, as if she were handling a live bomb, and took a sip. Ada had been right—it certainly wasn’t the same as just downing the entire thing in one go. For one, she could actually taste the stuff now that she wasn’t acting on impulse. She swallowed, set the bottle down on the bar, stared back down at it again, and decided it tasted horrid. Was this considered good beer? Was there even such a thing as good beer? There had to be, Izzie drank beer. She tried to imagine the kind of beer Izzie would consider good—something with a really long German name, she decided, with a bunch of umlauts, brewed by monks in the remote mountains of Switzerland.

She glanced down at the label on her beer. ‘Budweiser’ probably wasn’t it.

Ada stood up beside her—Valentina heard her stool shift beneath her, saw her stand out of the corner of her vision—and for just a second, Valentina contemplated making a break for it. The prospect was dashed almost before she had a chance to really entertain it. For one, even this disaster of an evening wasn’t going to impel Valentina to walk ten miles back to her place. For another, Ada didn’t actually leave, depriving Valentina of her opening.

When the drummer plopped right back into her seat, a faint glimmer of curiosity managed to cut its way through all the bitterness and irritation, like a sliver of sunlight through clouds. Reluctantly she tore her gaze from the bottle and up to Ada and her… new friend? Whatever he was slurring about sure seemed friendly. Maybe a little too friendly, actually. Since when were drunk people this friendly? She frowned and looked back down at the bar in front of her, but her resolve withered in seconds, and she glanced back up at the pair. The drunk guy had his hand on Ada’s arm—she saw his knuckles go white with how tight he was holding on, and she heard the drummer grunt in discomfort.

Oh jeez. Valentina had seen movies. She knew how this went down. Some meathead who’s had one too many Pabst Blue Whatevers starts trying to get into a lady’s pants, he gets a little handsy, somebody’s got to step in and be a hero. Usually by, I don’t know, smashing a bottle over the asshole’s head. She looked at the bottle of beer in front of her, and tried to imagine herself railing the guy over the head with it. On the cinema screen of her mind, the bottle bounced harmlessly off his noggin, a bouncer came by to dropkick Valentina out of the bar, and she wound up walking ten miles back home. Not an acceptable outcome, for a number of reasons.

So then what? Would threatening to introduce him to the taste of his own liver do the trick? Would he interpret that as some kind of weird sexual innuendo? And then—restraining the urge to look at Ada and see how she seemed to be taking it all, if she seemed amused or afraid or annoyed—the question became, what does Ada want me to do? The frown became a scowl. She never knew what people wanted.

In the end, she sat there, staring at her hands, and didn’t do much of anything.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Isabel Martinez Character Portrait: Lionel Anderson Character Portrait: Valentina Diaz Character Portrait: Rick Silva Character Portrait: Ada Rae Leveque
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

Rick couldn't resist grinning at Izzie's expanded commentary. She sounded like a talent scout, or a producer, or a bandleader—which she was, of course. He wondered if she could have been anything else. Could she have played the sidewoman to another? Maybe not with her stature—then again, Dio had played with taller men and never lost command of the stage. He was a born frontman, with a golden throat powered by aetheric lungs that could make the stuff of Michael Whelan covers sound like Renaissance art. And Izzie, in turn, was a born leader, with a clear vision of what she wanted, a keen ear to hear what suited it, and an iron determination to leave behind that which didn't suit it.

Then again, all of that could also apply to a world-class dictator. Perhaps he ought to be more cautious. But for now, there were more important things, like talking shop.

"Good? No, I gotta pay. And talk to the bassist. Hablamos bajista, ¿clara?" 'Bassist-talk' made sense in his head, but not so much out of his mouth. Still, he would stick to it.

It didn't take long to flag down the server for the cheque, and even less time to flag down the bassist, a skinny muchacho who seemed in no hurry to leave. In their low-end discussion, neither of them noticed as the quarter's guitarist quietly made his way to the bar, to a particular young woman with fair hair and a flowing caftan dress.


For a brief moment, Lionel felt a pang of jealousy for Ted, and could not say why. That was a lie: he was jealous because Ted was at a jazz club, the sort of soporific place where people went to relax after a hard day. A bar such as the Anchor, on the other hand, was for a bit of excitement after a long day of modern ennui. Normally that was more Lionel's thing than the jazz club. But this was not a normal situation. The drunk sumbitch was not only drunk and vicariously horny, he was getting violent. With a woman.

This never ended well. Danny had seen that too, if Lionel interpreted his quick bark for "Elliot" correctly. Presumably he meant the large man edging his way through the crowd. Lionel had seen this scene a few times before. Swing and a miss, a forward pitch, then either a strikeout or an intentional walk. And sometimes that happened in the baseball game instead!

Time for a curveball. "Ayo, let her go!"

Drunk Sumbitch froze, still holding the woman's wrist, but his attention on Lionel, bleary eyes narrowed. "Why d'you care?"

"'Cause she don't want none of you, old man!"

Lionel expected that to be a serious aggro-draw, but instead Sumbitch grinned. "Whatcha gonna do about it?"

For the first time that night, Lionel realized he might have fucked up.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lionel Anderson Character Portrait: Valentina Diaz Character Portrait: Ada Rae Leveque
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by iCakez
His grip was hard enough. Ada wasn't going to get out of it easily. She may be a drummer, but she also smoked and drank a lot. And the man was bigger than she was. Her skinny wrist in his clasp seemed almost like a child's. Ada didn't like the way it looked. Looking to Val for help, she realized that she wasn't going to get any. There were a few emotions flickering over her face, though most of them she couldn't quite make out. But it appeared the guitarist was conflicted. Ada wasn't completely sure why. Usually when your friends were in trouble, you helped them out. In her mind, their brief quarrel moments ago had not been so serious as to make Valentina unwilling to help her now. No, it had to be something more than that. Quietly the reality of just how uncomfortable her bandmate was in their current environment crept up on her.

But the time to dwell on that particular issue was not now, however. Ada's eyes shot back to the drunkard. She looked determined. Angry. The muscles that clenched her jaw seemed to unclench as she was about to speak. But someone beat her to it. The bartender had noticed what was going on. As had several other people at the bar. Hopefully, it would deter the drunk from continuing down the path he was on. Napkin guy chimed in as well, and for a few seconds the two of them exchanged less than friendly sentences. Napkin guy's words seemed to do very little, which surprised Ada. The drunkard was such a cliché that she had expected him to let her go, and challenge napkin guy to an exchange not in words, but in punches. Alas he did nothing but keep Ada's wrist locked in his.

"You fucking cliché." Her words rang out low but piercing. She shook her wrist. With disgust painted clearly on her face, she looked him up and down. He seemed to find her resistance amusing.

"Oh, so th-" He paused and blinked asynchronously. "The little girl speaks!"

"You couldn't pick up a five dollar hoe if you had all the meth and money in the world." Now she definitely had his attention. She half expected his grip to tighten even more around her wrist, but that never happened. Instead, a multitude of emotions seemed to wash over his face. He seemed as conflicted as Val had a few moments ago. Anger, frustration, sadness. All represented. Ada had meant what she said. Long ago she had learned that the way she presented herself in most social situations might lead some men on, and with that came those of that gender who had trouble understanding the word no. Still, it annoyed and disgusted her when men thought they could take liberties like this. After a few tense seconds his grip loosened. Perhaps it was the combination of both the bartender and napkin guy speaking up, as well as the attention their confrontation had gathered, that he seemed to back off. The emotions on his face lastly resulted in something that was somewhere between shame and frustration. All of a sudden he didn't seem so dangerous. He even seemed to shrink an inch. In the matter of a few seconds a different man stood swaying on his feet in front of her. Ada felt something in her heart. It was pity. It surprised her.

"Aaaaaah..." He let out, sticking one hand in his pocket and taking a few awkward steps back from Ada. He watched all of them and sighed, shaking his head. "You can all..." It wasn't an easy task to finish sentences.

The bartender looked to napkin guy and then back to the evening's main belligerent. "How about you go home and sleep it off, huh buddy?"

The drunkard waved dismissively. "Aach, go to hell." He let out and stumbled off toward the door.

With a puzzled expression Ada sat and rubbed her wrist. She had not expected him to turn so quickly. It didn't seem like he was such a bad guy now. But he had grabbed her nonetheless and she wasn't prepared to forget that. Turning on her stool she looked at the bartender and nodded. "Thank you." She said and flashed him a smile.

"Don't worry about it." The bartender said, shaking his head.

"What about his tab?" She asked curiously.

The big man chuckled and shook his head. "He'll be back in a few days to close it and start a new one." He said. Apparently this was not the first time something like this had happened. The bartender made it sound like this particular client sometimes did things like this but would always come back. It was a little sad.

Ada nodded and shrugged. She grabbed her drinks and stood from her stool once more. "Thank you." She said once more and then looked at Valentina. "You know... If you can play nice, you're welcome to come over and hang out with us." She pointed at napkin guy and tilted her head. "But only if you can play nice." Ada was there to have fun. Valentina didn't seem like she wanted to take part in that. With those final words, she approached napkin guy.

"Thank you." Were the first she spoke to him. Ada bit her lip and set her drinks down on the table. "So should we start over maybe? I'm Ada."

Characters Present

No characters tagged in this post!

Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

Izzie snorted. “Of course,” she answered in Spanish as she raised a hand to flag down a waiter for her check. “How could I forget the time-honored tradition of bassist-talk? Well, just let me know when you’re done. I’ll be outside.” She paid off her tab and headed for the door. She caught a glimpse of Ted in the crowd as folks began to get up and mill around—it wasn’t hard to notice a white guy decked out in business casual on a Baltimore evening—and they made eye contact for just a second.

She raised an eyebrow, as if to say, the coincidences truly never cease, do they? Otherwise, though, she offered only a raised hand in greeting before she turned away and continued for the door, phone in hand.




Just like that, Valentina’s moment of potential heroism came and went—or rather, it was snatched up from right under her nose. She heard the man’s voice—“Hey, let her go!”—but she pointedly refused to look up and identify Ada’s savior. She forced herself to tune out their voices, too, as she stared into the bottle in her hands, peering down the neck at its contents. This stuff was supposed to make you feel better, wasn’t it? Hell, she couldn’t think of any other reason to drink it—least of all the taste.

Like medicine, she supposed. It wasn’t supposed to taste good, but if you stomached enough of it, it wouldn’t matter.

So she drank it like medicine. She closed her eyes, tipped her head back, and drank, and drank, and drank, until the flow of liquid down her throat had subsided and left behind only a dull, rank aftertaste. She set the empty bottle down beside the first, and pressed her hands against the surface of the bar, staring down at the lacquered wood between them. How long did it take for this stuff to work? For that matter, how many would she need to drink before it started to work? Was it already working, or was she just imagining the fuzzy feeling at the edges of her perception?

She wiped the back of her hand across her lips, and glanced up at the bartender. She caught his eye as he turned away from another patron, and wordlessly lifted one of the empty bottles in one hand. With the other, she raised a single finger. He gave her an odd look, but a moment later, a third bottle was sitting uncapped in front of her. She appraised it silently, and then knocked it back as well.

By then, Ada had wandered off—Valentina finally consented to look up from the bar, saw her chatting away with that guy from the band they were splitting the studio with. She felt something churn in her stomach, though she wasn’t sure if it was irritation at being dragged out to a bar only to be left alone, or the consequences of downing three beers in about as many minutes, and directed her gaze squarely back to the bar. When she looked back up, the bartender was standing in front of her, something like concern on his face.

“Everything okay?”

“Oh, I’m super,” she shot back in a monotone. He raised an eyebrow, as if she had imparted some unspoken information through her answer.

“You might want to slow down,” he cautioned, with the tone of somebody who was used to having his advice ignored. “Three beers is a lot for a first-time drinker.”

“Ha,” Valentina droned. “I’m afraid you’ve—misapprehended me, pal. Three beers is my pre-bar routine. That’s my warmup. You’re talking to a pro here.” She pretended not to notice the mingled skepticism and exasperation in his eyes as he shrugged and turned away, leaving her with an odd feeling of something like victory. She grinned, baring teeth at his retreating back, as if she were a predator taunting a defeated challenger.

Without thinking, she glanced back over at Ada, still shooting the breeze with that… one guy. Her smile vanished, but the inexplicable feeling of triumph didn’t. She could salvage things. She was still in the lead. In the lead of… something. That part didn’t matter very much. She turned back to the bar and snapped her fingers at the bartender repeatedly. The sound was drowned out completely by the hubbub of the bar, but he eventually turned of his own accord and saw her trying to catch his attention. Looking rather wary, he approached.

“Get me a glass of your finest alcohol,” she demanded.

“… our finest alcohol,” he repeated, with something between amusement and bemusement.

“Yeah. Like, the Maserati of booze.” She paused, trying to remember just how much money she had in her bank account, and added, “On second thought, make that the BMW of booze. Just get me something that’ll impress without putting me in debt, okay?” She waved him off, drumming her fingertips against the surface of the bar, searing with a nervous, exultant energy.

He returned with a shapely little glass of what looked like exactly one sip’s worth of bronze-colored liquid. She frowned as he set it down in front of her. “One Balvenie Doublewood,” he said, looking like he still couldn’t quite tell if he ought to be entertained or concerned. “The, ah, BMW of booze.”

She lowered her face until it was level with the bar, peering dubiously at the glass and its modest contents. “Is… there supposed to be more?” she ventured from that vantage point. She concluded from his expression there was not. She straightened up and glanced back over at Ada’s little corner of the bar, waiting for the ideal opportunity—waiting for a break in her conversation with that… one guy.

The moment she saw it, she seized it. She cruised straight for the drummer, tapped her on the shoulder, and held up the glass, her other hand at her side mussing about with the fabric of her skirt. “Hi,” she said, feeling strangely light on her feet. “Buy you a drink? I mean, I already did. If you don’t want it, I can find somebody else to give it to.” There was a bizarre note of pugnacity to her usual monotone, as if the words were a dare—maybe to Ada, maybe to herself.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Lionel Anderson Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Valentina Diaz Character Portrait: Ada Rae Leveque
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

The woman turned, following Ted's gaze. "Who was that?"

"Friend of a friend, sorta," he responded. He sipped the Blue Moon like a buffering animation, then added, "I told you about the other band in the studio?"


"She's their bandleader."

"Bandleader," the woman snorted. "Does that mean you're a bandleader, too?"

"Not the same way," Ted responded, shaking his head. "She's...different."


"She's very exacting. It's her band. Like Maurice, but more so."

The woman scoffed. "Sounds like the kinda guy Jack and I got rid of."

"Not quite," Ted replied, sipping his beer again. "That guy, from what Jack said, wasn't nearly as good as Izzie was. Probably still is."


"Isabel Ana-Maria Martinez de la Cruz," he intoned with all the solemnity of an ancient prayer. "Isabel Martinez for short, Izzie for shorter."

The woman chuckled. "She sounds like a character."

Ted smiled too. "You're not wrong, Steph."


The front door of the Anchor slammed, and Lionel released a breath he didn't know he'd been holding. Somehow, Drunk Sumbitch had got told by a chick two-thirds his size, at a generous estimate. The fact was nothing short of astonishing.

"Awright guys, show's over." Elliot's proclamation worked like a geas. No doubt many of the conversations that started up were nervously noting how close that came to a full brawl, but they were still conversations, in the same way that a pacemaker still induces a real heartbeat. The life they brought back to the establishment was no less real for how forcedly they were induced.

Perhaps it was that change in atmosphere that had incited this lor lady to approach him. And thank him, though for what he wasn't sure. Maybe prompting a chance for them to meet? He wasn't sure, but he wouldn't complain. Talking to a cute chick was better than mulling over how close he had almost come to getting his lights punched out.

"You're a badass is what you are," he said before he could stop himself. Making a face, he held up a cautionary finger and took a healthy sip of his cocktail. "What I meant to say is nice to meetcha, Ada, I'm Lionel.

She gave him a wink and a smirk, taking a sip of her own drink as well. Now that she was sitting so close to him, and she wasn’t being semi-molested by a drunkard, Ada was sure that she had been right. He was the guy from the other band. “Likewise.” She said and leaned on her elbow on the bar. She looked down at the wood and shrugged. “Can’t afford to have rumor going around the studio that I can’t take care of myself, can I?” Ada wondered if he had recognized her as well.

“Studio,” he repeated dumbly, putting that together with that feeling of deja-vu from earlier. The realization hit him suddenly. “I thought you looked familiar! You’re one of those peeps in Psychosis,” he concluded. Chuckling to himself at the coincidence, he took a glance past her, at the stone-cold dead serious chick now talking with Danny, three empty beer bottles in front of her. “She with you, right? Somep’n happen?” he asked, indicating her with a half-nod.

His reaction was amusing, but Ada decided not to give him any stick for it not recognizing her. They hadn’t spoken much anyway and besides, she wouldn’t be offended. “Uh…” She began and looked over at Val who was now in conversation with the bartender. “She is… Was.” Ada was unsure and shrugged, but still smiled. “I’m not sure, really. She’s been miserable since the moment we got here.” She took another sip of her drink. “But she agreed to go out, so I don’t know what the deal is.” Ada returned her attention to Lionel. “She’ll come ‘round.”

I hope.

Ada had truly no idea if Val was going to ever stop being mad at her. She had never experienced Val being mad at her ever before. It was frightening, somehow. Not in the same way it was scary when Izzie got mad. No, this was different. It freaked her out. “So how are things going for you guys in the studio?” Conversation would be her best distraction from the graphic images of what Val might do to her once they left the bar. That is, she assumed she would wait that long.

“It’s alright,” Lionel said, taking a sip of his Libre. “We’re gonna start drum tracking tomorrow. Past few days have been mostly writing a new song to fill it out and recording demos.” He left out that their original plan had been to lay down drum tracks earlier that same day, before Ted started “experimenting” with an alternate bridge riff for “Under the Lash”, which was quickly turning into “Under the Uneven Time Signatures”. By the time Lionel and Zack had wrestled him back from that tangent, it was three in the afternoon. Rather than set up for only an hour of tracking, they called it early with intent to start recording tomorrow. Of course, that was granting that Ted didn’t get sidetracked something for “Defiler of the Mind,” but then again, he seemed to hold that song sacrosanct except for his own solo, ever-changing like his others.

Her eyes widened with excitement. Ada loved the grinding you did in the studio. Sure, you practiced until you had yours songs down before you went in, but there was something about recording them. She settled for nothing less than perfect, so it was a lot of work, but Ada found that she learned so much every time she went into a studio.
“Exciting!” She said, genuinely. “Here’s hoping it goes well.” Ada raised her glass, not really bothered that they had both been sipping drinks while chatting. “So are yo-” the brunette trailed off as she felt a tap on her shoulder. “Hmm?” She let out as she set her drink down and turned on her stool.

"Buy you a drink?"

Lionel blinked. Wasn't this the mopey chick Ada had brought with her? Why was she so chipper? Out of the corner of his eye, he caught Danny gesturing. Open-palm thumbs-up, tilt the hand back, then three, then throat-cut. Lionel immediately decided he hated charades. Danny made the gestures again, slower this time. Thumbs up, tilt back...drink? Three drinks? Cut-off?


Ohhhh. Great.

"Uh..." Lionel hoped he could help the situation with some half-feigned casual talk. "What's the drink?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Isabel Martinez Character Portrait: Lionel Anderson Character Portrait: Valentina Diaz Character Portrait: Ada Rae Leveque
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by iCakez
Sighing with annoyance, she turned on her stool. Ada had no patience for that drunk prick anymore. It was starting to get on her nerves, that he couldn't leave her alone and let her have a good time. Ada had gone out in the hopes of getting buzzed (potentially blitzed) and have fun with her bandmate. One of those seemed unlikely to happen so far. But when she turned and saw Val, her expression turned more curious than anything. There was a smile on her face. Val didn't look like she was on the warpath, no, instead she brought a peace offering. The way she handled the situation amused Ada, but it was also quite endearing. Val was really no good with people.

"Val," The name came out softly. Ada didn't know what to say for once in her life. On her lips was a rare smile. It wasn't flirting and it wasn't because she wanted something. It was just genuine. The way Valentina was fidgeting and messing with her skirt made her heart flutter. Ada was surprised that she had such a reaction to the woman before her, and decided to shake it off. For the past many years she'd been a fast-paced, hard-partying drummer girl with little time for genuine emotion and she was quite content with keeping it that way. There was no idea in pointing out to Val how adorable she was, as she was certain she would never forget that. And they would have to get back into the studio, and Val would still speak in her monotone and be back to her normal self. In her mind, she imagined that the fact that she was witness to the scene unfolding, was like knowing a deep and dark secret about a high-ranking politician. Ada would pay Valentina the respect of keeping it secret. As secret as possible anyway, with Lionel sitting right next to her.

Grabbing the hand that was toying with her skirt, Ada gently pulled Valentina closer. She then accepted the glass of whiskey and locked eyes with her bandmate, as if accepting the dare that was hidden in the undertones of her offer. Ada took a sip. The liquid was sweet on her tongue but burned delightfully in her throat. She liked whiskey and rum, but always faced the issue that she was skinny and would get very drunk, very fast. She held the glass up eye-level and inspected the liquid for a moment before shifting her gaze to Valentina yet again. "Apology accepted." Ada said, though no apology had been offered. Not directly, at least. The glass in her hand would be as close as she'd get and that would have to do.

"Now!" She announced and turned to introduce Lionel. "Valentina this is Lionel, Lionel, Valentina." She set the glass down on the bar. "He's in the other band at the studio." As she spoke, her mind raced to remember the name but unfortunately that was one of her flaws. Ada seized the moment while the two of them greeting each other, to look over at where Val had been sitting to see if she had been drinking any more. Three beers. She looked at her again, trying to gauge if she was drunk.
"So can I buy you another drink? Or are you good?" Ada offered her a smile, pointing past Val toward where she had been sitting. Somewhat mirroring the tone in Valentina's words from before, there was that tone as if she was daring her to have another drink.

If she hurls, what's Izzie gonna think?

Characters Present

No characters tagged in this post!

Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

Valentina hadn’t expected this. Really, she hadn’t expected anything, because expectations required thought, and she had absolutely not thought any of this through even a little. She didn’t know what to expect from the way Ada said her name, from the way she looked at her with that weird smile, didn’t know what any of it meant—she also, for that matter, found that she didn’t particularly care. There was an anticipation, a breathlessness, eager and almost aggressive, that chased away any thought of worry or anxiety like an unchained bulldog barreling after a trespasser. Even when Ada reached out to take her by the hand and tug her closer to her, the little jolt of energy that coursed through Valentina’s veins that normally would have converted itself into nervousness instead became more of that vivid, combative fervor that Valentina didn’t have a word for just now.

And then Ada raised the glass to her lips, and she drank, and it was like the release of a bowstring under tension. The same triumphant grin Valentina had hurled at the bartender’s back earlier crossed her face again. She stifled it quickly, reasserted control over the muscles of her face and marshalled them back into neutrality, but the feeling didn’t go away. She’d snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Or, uh, she’d grabbed the jaws of—point was, she’d won. Why bother overthinking it when she could just bask in the sensation of having triumphed?

Heck, she was so pleased with herself that when Ada introduced her to Lionel, she managed to handle it somewhat like a normal human being. “Yeah, I remember you,” she said. She didn’t notice it herself—she wasn’t exactly at her most observant just now—but, three beers down, the southern accent that always seemed to haunt her words was out in nearly full force. “From Sturm. I’m Valentina Diaz.” She stuck out a hand, but Ada turned that strange smile of hers back on Valentina at just about the same time, and if the way Valentina instantly withdrew her hand and turned to face Ada was any indication, she pretty much immediately forgot Lionel existed.

Somewhat like a normal human being.

“So can I buy you another drink?” Ada said—and it didn’t escape Valentina’s notice that Ada’d turned her little dare against her, was challenging her just as she had challenged Ada. “Or are you good?” Valentina turned her head slowly, almost mechanically, to follow Ada’s finger to the three empty bottles at the bar. Then she turned her head, just as slowly, back to Ada.

“Hell yeah,” she droned. “Let’s have another drink.”


Later that night, having become far more intimately acquainted with the inside of her toilet than she was comfortable with, Valentina decided she had made a series of terrible mistakes. The skull-fracturing nightmare of a headache that ensued the following day only lent further credence to that assessment.

She sat in the passenger’s seat of Izzie’s car, her guitar case between her legs and her forehead pressed against the headstock, as if in hopes that it could relieve the pain. Her recollections of the night before were hazy at best, and she was confident in saying so, because she’d spent the entire morning in a state of borderline panic racking her brains for embarrassing memories. None had surfaced, which was clearly not evidence that they didn’t exist, because Valentina knew herself, and she knew she was perfectly capable of making an ass out of herself without alcohol lending a helping hand.

Her doldrums hadn’t escaped Izzie’s notice. Hell, it had been damn near the first thing Izzie had asked when she had pulled up in front of Valentina’s apartment building to find the younger Martinez standing out front with an expression of biblical suffering on her face. Even now, as she sat caught between anxiety over last night’s potentially catastrophic events and a pounding headache that seemed determined to occupy her every waking thought, she could see Izzie glancing at her out of the corner of her eye.

“Okay, look, you’re obviously not alright,” Izzie finally spoke up. She’d shown Valentina the tender mercy of sparing her any NWA—or any music at all, for that matter—and Valentina almost didn’t register her voice over the roar of the Chevy’s engine. “Something’s bothering you, and if I didn’t know better, I’d say you were hungover to hell and back on top of that.”

Somewhere underneath the churning maelstrom of anguish in her head, Valentina felt a muted pang of fear and guilt. She’d managed to wriggle out of answering Izzie the first time she’d asked, but she wouldn’t get away with that again, and she certainly wasn’t going to lie. “I don’t wanna talk about it,” she mumbled into her guitar case without looking up. “Okay?”

“Alright, I’m not forcing you,” Izzie said. “How about this, though—join us for dinner tonight. I’m cooking.”

Valentina forced herself to raise her groggy eyes up to meet Izzie’s. “What’re you making?” she asked blearily, and Izzie snorted.

“I assure you, it’ll be at least on par with the five-star meals you’re accustomed to having for dinner.”

There was certainly a part of Valentina that wanted to demur—a part of her that fully intended to spend the evening curled up on her couch, groaning and moaning and generally trying not to think about Ada and alcohol and Sturm and a myriad of other things. She chose to override that part of herself for a number of reasons, not least of which was that Izzie’s cooking was pretty good, both by normal standards and by Valentina’s ‘Safeway doughnuts for dinner’ standards. “Okay,” she muttered. And then, for reasons she could only attribute to her headache and general state of discord, she added, “Thanks.”

Sure enough, Izzie gave her a weird look. “I’m not doing you a favor. You know you’re welcome any time.” The words brought with them another twinge of anxiety underneath the headache—that familiar old fear, that haunting possibility of a time that she wouldn’t be quite so welcome. She closed her eyes and pressed her forehead back into her guitar case. Why couldn’t she stop feeling like this? For the first time, she found herself missing the way she’d felt the night before.

“Yeah,” Valentina said quietly, as Izzie pulled into the studio parking lot. “I know.”




Christina awoke to a phone call.

That in and of itself was distressing, since the last thing Christina was ready to do right after waking up was talk to people. She liked to take her time waking up—which was to say, she liked to repeatedly reset her alarm and go back to sleep about a dozen times before conceding defeat and dragging herself out of bed. Even then, she didn’t consider herself in a state to be interacting with other human beings until she’d imbibed copious amounts of coffee. In the case of this particular phone call, she’d had the opportunity to do neither—mostly because of the second reason the call was distressing, which was that it woke her up at half past six in the morning.

The third reason made itself manifest when, groaning, she slapped at the bedsheets around her until she found her phone, brought it in front of her (very reluctantly open) eyes, and read the words ‘Rasmus Kjær’.

For just a second, she considered rejecting the call and going back to sleep. Heck, her fingertip was already on its way to doing just that. But no—she’d done that the last couple of times Rasmus had called, and the last time she’d actually accepted one of his calls, he’d taken her to task for it. Frankly, that only made her even less enthusiastic about accepting this call, but after a couple of seconds’ deliberation, she finally bit the bullet.

“Brother dearest,” she intoned pleasantly, doing what she personally felt was a very good job of sounding awake and alert. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“I’d say that’s an oddly formal way to greet your twin brother, but you take my calls so infrequently I don’t have much to compare it to.” She could hear the thrum of the occasional car in the background—on his way to or from a meeting, no doubt.

“Yeah, sorry about that,” Christina said. She laboriously heaved herself up to a sitting position, and then hoisted her legs off the bed so she could stand. “Things’ve just been so busy since we started recording the new album.”

“As they always are,” he replied, unconvinced. “You know, Mom and Dad get worried when you don’t return their calls. They start fretting about whether or not you’re making enough money to eat.”

Phone balanced between ear and shoulder as she hopped on one foot and tugged a sock onto the other, Christina rolled her eyes. “Well, Rasmus, I am twenty nine years old and I have been living on my own for the better part of eleven years. While I may not be living the high life like you are, I promise you I’m not at risk of starving to death.”

“Still, if you could bring yourself to take their calls every now and then—”

“Did you call to talk about something or did you just want to lecture me?” she cut in, injecting the words with as much good humor as she could muster. She dug around the piles of clothes arranged around her bed for a clean shirt.

“Mostly to lecture you,” he quipped, earning him a good-natured ‘go to hell’. “But also, I did just want to catch up—ask how the new album’s going, how things have been since we last spoke back during the reign of Frederick IX.”

The chuckle that joke earned him was genuine, at least. “Sure, sure,” she said, putting the phone on speaker just long enough to tug the shirt on. “But look—I was just about to head over to the studio as it is, so it’s not a good time. I’ll ring you later in the evening, okay?” When his only response was a skeptical silence, she restrained the urge to scowl, and added, “Really, I will. As blastbeats are my witness, I promise.”

“I have no clue what that means, but I’ll hold you to that. I’ll even stay up for it. Give me a ring around… six, your time?”

That’d be about midnight back in Aarhus. Man, he really is determined to talk to me, she mused, feeling rather like he was a puppy who wouldn’t stop licking her—annoying and endearing, but mostly annoying. She never liked talking to the same people over and over again. Considering she and Rasmus had grown up as twins without any other siblings, she figured she’d gotten her fill of talking to him in the womb.

“Sure,” she said. “Talk more then. See you!” She hung up, looked down at the clothes she’d just finished putting on, and collapsed back into bed.

The extra sleep helped: she was back to her usual high spirits by the time she arrived at the studio. Ted’s car was already there—couldn’t win every time, she supposed—and so was the big old muscle car that, she had since gathered, belonged to one of the members of Cirrhosis. She parked her Honda next to Ted’s car and headed in to start the studio session off right: with a metric ton of caffeine.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Christina Kjaer Character Portrait: Lionel Anderson Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Valentina Diaz Character Portrait: Ada Rae Leveque
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

"Nice to meetcha," Lionel said, pondering whether any of this was a good idea. Surely she had a good reason to be getting this drunk—a bad breakup came again to mind. Though perhaps there was something more going on there. They obviously had a connection; their interactions were proof enough of that. Was she in Psychosis, too? He couldn't remember anyone else in that band except the titaness frontwoman. As they resolved to more drinks, the uncomfortable feeling settled that he was interrupting something important.

Fortunately, the game was starting, so Lionel turned his attention back to that. Sometime in the fifth inning, after the ladies had at least two more rounds, Valentina announced she was going to the john. Lionel broke off from the game to watch Ada escort her more-inebriated friend off to the proper facilities, wondering how their conversation might have gone without Valentina's interruption.

Neither of them came back out. The Orioles lost. A bitter cloud hung over Lionel as he took the bus home. Back home, he stayed up a while with a tall glass of water and SyFy. It had really gone downhill since the name-change. Since when was a dragon sci-fi? Or was the "fy" for Fantasy? Who knew?

Even heavily compressed, the opening riff to "Heartwork" was inimitable, which was partly why he had chosen it for his ringtone. The number was unfamiliar. He hit the end button and cast the phone aside. Aw shit, the dragon was poking its head in the bar now. It could set the whole place alight, with all that—there was "Heartwork" again. Grumbling, he picked it up again, ready to turn it off for the night.

It was Ted.

The dragon went on mute. "Yeah?"


He frowned. "Steph?" They'd met once, enough that he recognized her soft contralto even when it was marred with distress.

"Yeah. Ted told me to call you. He's in the hospital."

Lionel sat up straight. "The fuck?"

"He hurt his hand real bad. They're working on it now, but I dunno if he's going to be able to make it to the studio tomorrow."

"Well...shit." Lionel sighed, deflating a little inside. "What happened?"

"Tripped, fell, beer glass broke in his hand."

Lionel sucked in a hissing breath. "Fuck that shit. Fuck that. God damn."

"Yeah. He also wanted me to tell you that Izzie should have the place open when you get there, and just explain to her. I might be able to stop by and get you Ted's key tomorrow. Alright?"

"I-uh...erm-Imean, sure?" Lionel didn't really know what else there was to say.

"Kay. I gotta see how he's doing."

Lionel grunted, and the call ended there. There wasn't much else to do but turn off the movie, piss, and go to bed. Which he did, in that order.


Zack was giving Lionel a ride into the studio, so Ted felt no compunctions about coming in as early as he wanted. He hadn't slept more than a couple hours with the pain in his hand. He still brought the new guitar (which still needed a name), even though he knew he couldn't play it. The doctor had demurred on when he'd be able to play again.

He left his guitar in the rehearsal studio and went to the kitchen, hoping against hope there would be some damn good coffee. Even that black sludge would be fine if he could get enough milk in it. Rather quickly, though, the difficulties of basic fine-motor tasks like getting a coffee cup left-handed became apparent. This was going to be a long day.

It was the black sludge today. Making some mental calculations based on the smell of it, he poured it to fill the cup by only a third, then would fill it the rest of the way with creamer. This plan worked remarkably well until it came time to pour the creamer. The annoying single-serve cream-cups were bad enough until one had only one hand either to hold the cup or peel the plastic cover. Unable to move his thumb for the wrapping and splint on his wrist, Ted tried balancing it between forefinger and expressive finger, but misjudged the force needed to peel it open and ended up spilling most of it on the counter.

"Dammit," Ted growled, noting that, of course, Christina chose that moment to walk in.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lionel Anderson Character Portrait: Ada Rae Leveque Character Portrait: Zack Walker
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by iCakez


Strands of brown hair flew through the air but eventually settled around a face that expressed complete confusion. Make-up from the night before now looked more like tribal warpaint, only adding to the possibility of mistaking Ada for a witch out of a horror movie. Something hit the floor. A bag of chips from a few hours ago when she had crawled into bed. Ada moved her tongue around in her mouth and grimaced. So that was what that taste was. She put her hand down beside her, wanting to lean on it but found that it never hit the bed beneath her. Instead it kept going, and shortly after Ada tumbled out of her bed. Her hand eventually made contact with the floor, quickly followed by her head and the rest of her. Greatly annoyed with the fact that this was the start of her morning, when she could hardly open her eyes yet, Ada growled. Though struggling to figure out what was up and what was down, she eventually got up into a sitting position. "Every fucking time." Her voice was hoarse. Daring to open her eyes more, a giggle escaped her. In her miserable, hungover state she was able to find some amusement in her situation. It quickly disappeared, however, as her stomach turned and promptly threatened to make her throw up. She covered her mouth and waited, focusing with every fiber of her being on keeping it down. A few seconds passed and the hand left her mouth. "I'm okay." She mumbled and pulled herself back onto the bed, the nauseous sensation gone as her stomach had settled somewhat. Ada thought of Valentina and how sick she'd been and felt a pang of guilt. But mostly, she smiled at the thought. "I'm okay."

Racing the clock, it didn't take her long to disrobe and shower, apply a fresh face of make up, dry her hair, find a new set of clothes and eat a few pieces of toast and a banana. In fact, Ada was pretty sure she had set a new personal best. The shower and the little bit of food helped. Showers always made her feel so much better when she was hungover. Ada looked at her apartment and realized how much she needed to clean the place. Not now, though. Later.

The trip to the studio didn't take long, traffic was smooth and the taxi driver made good time. Still, Ada found the Chevy parked out front waiting for her. She paid the driver and got out, took a moment to breathe in the air and balance herself. Then she made her way into the studio and headed straight for the kitchen, going for a cup of liquid cocaine. If the strength of the coffee for the past few days were any indicator, that wasn't a half bad description, she thought. "Good morning!" She called from the hallway, chipper and upbeat as usual.

Zack brushed a strand of blonde hair back and switched the turn signal. For once, his hair was not tied up behind his head. He kept it loose, much like his general feeling for the day. He was relaxed, fresh and very much looking forward to a productive day at work. Whether or not it would be, he couldn't know, but one could hope. Zack would like to get some work done.

The drive with Lionel had been pleasant. He always found that he could talk easily with him. It came naturally and they always seemed to find something to chat about. Lionel was a good guy, Zack thought. He got on well with all his bandmates, but personalities were different and thus relationships differed accordingly. He couldn't be in a band were he didn't get along or had some sort of chemistry with his fellow musicians. Some people could play in bands and see it as just work, but that had never been possible for Zack. Music was a deeply personal thing to him and he needed to be able to work on a somewhat personal level with the people around him.

"Alright man." The car halted to a stop and he turned the key in the ignition and pulled the handbrake. He got out and stretched. They were not the first ones to arrive, but that was not a surprise. Neither were they late, however. Zack fished his bass out of the backseat of his car and leaned it against the vehicle as he locked it. "Let's get some coffee?" He smiled at Lionel and nodded toward the studio, turning around to go inside.

Characters Present

No characters tagged in this post!

Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

As a hangover neophyte, Valentina could turn only to those remedies she’d seen or heard of in the movies. Like, there was that, uh… hair of the dog? Obviously that was out of the question, since there were no dogs in the vicinity, and Valentina wasn’t sure what you were actually supposed to do with the dog’s hair once you had it. There was also that thing where you got rid of the hangover by drinking more, but Valentina wasn’t about to trade having a hangover for getting kicked out of the band. She remembered what’d happened to Patrick. Granted, aside from drinking on the job, he’d been five minutes late to rehearsal on top of trying to sexually harass Rick, both of which were things Valentina was 100% not going to do, but to this day, she really wasn’t sure which of the three had annoyed Izzie most. Better not to take risks.

That left the third remedy she’d seen in movies: coffee. No sooner had Izzie led the way into the studio than Valentina was making a beeline for the kitchenette to brew up the strongest pot of coffee a human could imbibe without risking severe internal injuries. She usually liked her coffee strong enough to burn through solid surfaces if spilled. That wasn’t going to cut it this time.

By the time she heard the door to the studio open again, she had a steaming mug of what she was half-convinced no longer qualified as ‘coffee’ in her hands. She took a sip and made a face. If coffee was supposed to make hangovers better, then this was sure to do the trick—although knowing my luck

“Good morning!” And there was Ada in the hallway, bouncing her way towards the kitchenette. How the hell does she sound so… not-hungover? the junior Martinez thought dourly, raising the mug to her lips again. She drank at least as much as I did last night. Do you get less hungover the more you drink? She decided to set that puzzle aside, if only because thinking about it too hard made her headache worse, and stepped out of the kitchenette.

She saw Ada in the hallway looking positively chipper, and restrained the urge to groan, or to ask if she’d done anything embarrassing the night before. But she wasn’t sure what else she was supposed to do, so for about five seconds she just stood in the doorway, staring at Ada as if she were some kind of alien lifeform. Eventually, her brain caught up to her, and it came to the conclusion that all her travails, both at this very moment and in general, were in fact Ada’s fault. So decided, scowling, she pushed past her with renewed vigor to join Izzie in the recording booth.




Christina was not surprised to find Ted already in the studio, if only because Christina was never surprised to find other people beating her to her destination. She was a little surprised, however, to walk into the kitchenette just in time to see Ted dump the contents of a cup of cream all over the counter.

Something about that disgruntled, defeated little ‘dammit’ amused Christina to no end, and she smirked as she approached the cream-covered counter. “Jeez, Ted, you don’t have to—” She stopped short when she saw the splint on his wrist, and her smile abated—though it never quite seemed to leave the corners of her lips, always seemed to be on the verge of breaking out. “Whoa. Sorry, man, didn’t see the cast.” She peeled open another cup of cream and set it on the counter for him, and then grabbed the roll of paper towels at the end of the counter so she could mop up the cream from the laminate countertop.

She’d just tossed the paper towel and the remains of the first cream-cup into the trash by the time Zack and Lionel saw fit to join them. She waved at them both and then turned to fix herself a cup of coffee before she actually caught a whiff of the stuff. Her nose scrunched up. Yeah, maybe she’d pass on the coffee today.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Christina Kjaer Character Portrait: Lionel Anderson Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Zack Walker
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

The phrase thank God she can be serious ran through Ted's mind for a full second before he checked it and reminded himself of her year's tenure. She had proven herself much more than a hired gun with a blast-beat fetish. She had a way of knowing when a song needed Joe Morello and when it needed Buddy Rich. Moreover, her intuition seemed so basic it was second-nature to her. By the time he'd learned a similar sense of when to be, say, Eddie McFadden instead of John McLaughlin, he'd already built a reputation that took five years as a sideman to Maurice Anderson to quell.

Christina, meanwhile, was helping Ted, despite all the ribbing she gave him. It was a weird feeling for Ted, but he had to roll with it. "Thanks," he said. "I'll explain when Lionel and Zack get here." He poured the cream-cup into the coffee, watching it go from black to merely dark brown. For a half second he considered asking Christina to help him get another, but he wasn't gonna push it, especially since she needed her coffee too. Though he was starting to doubt whether this qualified as coffee, if he needed twice to thrice as much cream as his usual brew. Guess whoever brewed it was going to milk those beans for all they were worth.



"I wonder," he murmured to himself, going to the kitchenette fridge. Sure enough, there was a half-gallon jug of milk, still three-quarters full. Whole milk too, which was basically a few degrees off cream, right? That was fortunately easy to open and pour until the cup was full. "Maybe that'll help," he said. He stirred the concoction, then took a sip.

The milk had cooled it enough to make it easily drinkable on grounds of heat, at least. But drinks were not drinkable on temperature alone. Mere milliseconds passed before he began to regret the decision. No doubt Christina would garner considerable amusement in the face he was making as he swallowed both his regret and the cause of his regret, leaving behind the bitter aftertaste of betrayal. Milk was supposed to blunt both the heat and the taste of coffee; why had it done but one?

Naturally, Zack and Lionel entered around that time. Ted was starting to get convinced the universe had it in for him at this moment. "Hi guys," he rasped, coughing to clear out the residue in this throat. "Hi," he repeated, clearer this time. "This drink might be illegal in California."

Characters Present

No characters tagged in this post!

Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by iCakez
Ada had often wondered what went through the minds of deer, when they were alerted to the presence of a hunter and the two would lock eyes. Those fractions of a second just before the shot rang out were filled with nerve wracking anticipation. It always seemed like the deer would look at the hunter, debate whether or not to make a run for it but fear always won out over despair and they would dart through the undergrowth, if the hunter was not fast enough.

She wondered no more. The entire morning, she had wondered how Valentina was doing and what she was thinking. She had also been wondering what Izzie was going to say, when she learned that the two of them were hungover and that it was Ada’s fault. Was she pushing her luck? She would have to work extra hard today. But before her stood, for a moment, a body savaged by alcohol. Valentina gave her a stare that stopped Ada dead in her tracks. It spoke volumes, though her bandmate didn’t say a word. And the shot never fell. Instead, she stormed past her and headed for their section of the studio. A sigh of relief escaped her. It was still difficult for Ada to figure out what Valentina really thought. Judging by her demeanor and their most recent encounter, Ada was pretty sure she hated her. But she had thought that last night as well. Then Valentina had come back and offered her a drink, which she had seen as a peace offering. Now they were back to hate? Whatever the case may be, Ada found it irresistibly funny to tease and prod at her bandmate.

The petite drummer shrugged and headed into the kitchenette, poured herself half a mug of doom sludge and added a good portion of milk. She took a whiff of it. Even with milk she was pretty sure it had burned the hairs in her nose. “Fuck me.” She let out, then filled the mug the rest of the way with milk. Better.

A few moments later, the door into the recording booth swung open. Ada walked in, smiled at her bandmates and took a sip of her coffee. She glanced at Valentina and suppressed a smirk. “Good morning!” She beamed and looked around “Where’s Rick?” The bassist was no where to be seen, but he was not the type to be late either. Not that Ada had noticed anyway. She did her best to figure out if Izzie was pissed or not and had decided that she was not going to bring up the events of the night before. Would a bank robber turn himself in? ’Fuck no’

“Morning, guys.” Zack said and offered both Christina and Ted a smile, setting his bass down up against the wall. He reached for a coffee mug but heard Ted’s warning. “Oh yeah? Must be one of the guys from Psychosis that make this stuff.” He said and poured himself half a cup and took a whiff of it. Zack nearly recoiled. His face screwed up and he reached for the jug of milk, filling the mug. “Holy shit.” He added and took a sip. It was drinkable but he was pretty sure it was also corrosive. He gestured toward Ted and then toward his own face. “So that was what that expression on your face was, when we came in.”

Zack liked strong coffee, but there were limits to what his internal organs could handle. It was half and half milk and coffee now, and it was still quite strong going down. At least it wasn’t too hot to drink anymore. “I’m guessing this is what they feed their drummer. Christina, keep drinking this, you’ll be playing faster than ever before.” He looked up and gave her a smirk, wondering how anyone was able to drink coffee this strong on a daily basis.

“Hold up…” Zack pointed at the splint on Ted’s hand, his face serious. “What the fuck?” A myriad of worries entered his mind. Was Ted able to play? Would they have to reorganize? How bad had he been hurt? What had actually happened? It took a mental slap on the cheek to calm down and wait to hear what Ted had to say.

Characters Present

No characters tagged in this post!

Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

By the time Valentina had found her way back to Psychosis’s little nook of the studio, Izzie was plugged in and ready to go. The elder Martinez sat hunched over that battered old SG of hers, eyes glued to the tuner on the SG’s headstock as she went string by string. She didn’t seem to take notice of Valentina’s entrance until she heard the door swing shut behind her, and then she glanced up at her-- first with an impartial expression, and then with one eyebrow faintly arched.

“What’s so funny?”

She had, Valentina realized belatedly, been smiling-- or, well, as close to smiling as Valentina ever got without any alcohol in her system. She immediately banished the expression from her face, forced her lips into a thin, flat line. She took another sip of coffee and then set the cup down by the soundboard so she could yank her sweater gracelessly up over her head and off. “It’s just…” she began, fidgeting uncomfortably with the sweater in her hands and struggling not to break into her Frankenstein of a sober smile again. “I still can’t get over how tiny that SG looks in your hands. It looks like a freaking toy.”

Izzie snorted, turning her gaze back to the tuner. “This guitar’s seen more years than you have, parcera. And God willing, it’ll see many more to come.”

“I’m just saying,” Valentina grunted, draping the sweater over the back of the nearest chair and then plopping down into it. “They do make guitars more suited for, you know, people who are half-Sasquatch.”

“Oh? Like what?”

“I don’t know, I guess you could just put a strap on an upright bass and play that.”

“The Peter Steele method, eh? I’ll take it under consideration.”

Valentina grabbed the cup and took another healthy gulp of the devilish concoction within. “Just don’t use the Peter Steele method for anything else,” she mumbled, looking down at the floor. “If you start writing lyrics about how your goth girlfriend left you for a box of black hair dye, I’m quitting the band.” She glanced up and caught the faintest upturn at the corners of Izzie’s lips.

“Damn, there goes my concept for Psychosis’s next record.”

Ada chose that moment to join them, which was too bad, because Valentina had just managed to forget to feel awful by the time she heard the door swing open again. “Good morning!” she effervesced. “Where’s Rick?”

“Stuck in traffic-- said he’d be here soon.” Izzie strummed down the strings in unison and then plucked the tuner off the headstock. “I’m of a mind to get the rhythm tracks done today, so hopefully we’ll start laying down your leads in the next couple of days, Valentina.”

“But not today,” Valentina droned, suddenly and acutely aware once again of her headache. “So really, there’s no reason for me to be here.”

“Got something better to do? And--” Izzie added as Valentina opened her mouth to fire back. “Don’t name a video game.”

“Hmph.” Valentina scowled and slumped back in the chair.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Isabel Martinez Character Portrait: Christina Kjaer Character Portrait: Lionel Anderson Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Rick Silva Character Portrait: Zack Walker
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

Numerous words coursed through Rick's mind as he pulled in at the studio. About two-thirds of them were in Spanish. None of them were suitable for print or primetime television. He still brought his bass and the "efectos" bag with him, just in case Izzie wanted to re-track any parts, but that was unlikely. The contrapositive of her infamous perfectionism was that perfection needed no re-takes. Once she had the perfect take, whether her own or her bandmate's, she never asked for more. It was a fair tradeoff.

One whiff from the kitchenette was enough to make him glad he'd decided to grab a cup from elsewhere. That was the real reason he had been late, in a sense. The side-trip to Abaddon's had forced him to take a route notorious for traffic hangups, and this morning had been no different.

"Saludos," he said upon entering. "Sorry I'm late. Did you already soundcheck?"


It took a moment for Ted to acknowledge Zack's question. Lionel supposed he hadn't gotten much sleep. Perhaps that was why he was risking such memetically strong coffee, even if he wasn't playing. That much was obvious from the splint, all the way from mid-forearm to thumbtip.

"Oh, this," Ted said, indicating it. "Yeah, about that. I had an accident last night. Overextended the tendon or something like that. Hurts like hell. I gotta ice it every day, then I'm seeing a doctor next Tuesday to get a better prognosis. They..." He faltered, took a sip of coffee, then continued: "They didn't say I'm not going to play again, but...they didn't seem to be able to say a lot. I'm gonna have to wait until I talk to the doctor. Maybe then I'll know. For now...I can't play on the record. We'd have to push everything back by a couple months, and we already have the studio time, so..." Shrug. "Say hi to the new producer?"

"Hi," Lionel said, feeling pressure settle in over him like never before. He'd expected some of this since Steph's telephone call last night, but only now was it all falling on him. All of the guitar work on this record would fall to him. The riffs weren't a problem; he might even enjoy the chance to play both his parts and Ted's elaborations, but what about the leads? Ted played a solid majority of those, and they were always so different. How could he equal that?

"Fuck," he muttered to himself. Not having much else to say, he picked his guitar case back up from where he'd left it and headed for the rehearsal room. If he was going to have to play for two guitarists, he had best start warming up.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Isabel Martinez Character Portrait: Lionel Anderson Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Valentina Diaz Character Portrait: Rick Silva Character Portrait: Ada Rae Leveque Character Portrait: Zack Walker
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by iCakez
"Would Doom count as jamming? That has a pretty badass soundtrack, although a little more mainstream than our little shop of horrors here." Ada shot in, taking a sip and looked from one Martinez to the other over the rim of her mug, expression non-revealing. It was one of the very few video games she knew of. Not because she had played it, but because she had been recommended its soundtrack by a friend. Ada enjoyed the idea of video games but she had never had the ability to sit down for long enough to play them. Apparently, it was possible, for a few people, to make a living playing video games nowadays. That had come as a surprise to her.

While entertaining the thought of purchasing a system to play video games on, thus giving her a little hobby aside from playing music and drinking, Rick walked in. Ada looked up and smiled at him. "Speak of the devil." She murmured, sipping doom sludge again. She leaned forward in her seat and sighed. "Anyway, I think this might actually be altering my brain, so run me through what we're doing today again?" As she was quite a distracted person, it was hard for Ada to keep track of what they were doing from day to day, if she wasn't directly involved. She knew that Rick had been tracking, but she was not sure he was done. That was sort of up to Izzie, and Ada was not particularly interested in challenging her authority. The frontwoman was not opposed to any input, but it had been made clear from the moment Ada had joined the band that she was in charge. Which was fair enough, it was easy for Ada that way, though perhaps harder for Izzie as she was so distracted and had such a hard time sitting still for extended periods of time.

"Huh." Was all that escaped through thick beard. Zack was not enjoying the solution to their problem, but he realized that it was their only option. If Ted was so injured that he couldn't play, he shouldn't. But Zack wanted Ted on the record. He wanted to have him play the parts. On the other hand, he was pretty sure Ted would guide Lionel well enough through playing his parts that it would work out fine in the end. "Shit man." The bassist's shoulders slumped, disappointment clear.

Clearing his throat, Zack leaned against the wall next to the door and watched Ted. "Not digging it, but I think you're right. We already have the studio so let's work with what we've got." He said, pursing his lips and nodding. Zack gulped down some of the ridiculously strong coffee. "That stuff aside though, how are you? Can you manage the pain?" He didn't want to dwell on how it was going to go, recording their remaining work. But Lionel didn't seem to be able to help himself. It was hard to blame him, though, as it would probably be him that'd record Ted's material. Zack would have felt pressured as well.

He watched the guitarist head out the door and toward their rehearsal room. "Go easy on him, yeah?" Zack said with a smirk that became a chuckle, now kind of looking forward to see the two of them work together so closely.

Characters Present

No characters tagged in this post!

Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

Valentina greeted Rick with the briefest of glances before her eyes returned to the engrossing task of scrutinizing the floor in front of her. She sat slouching back in her chair, hands tented on her belly, doing what she felt was a phenomenal job of pretending her head wasn’t about to implode.

Naturally, that lasted all of about a second before Rick decided to go and start talking, as if that was something normal people did.

“Saludos,” he said as the door swung shut behind him. Valentina’s brow furrowed. “Sorry I’m late. Did you already soundcheck?”

“Nope,” Valentina heard the elder Martinez answer. “Just got done tuning up. I’m about ready to get going if you want to get behind the sound booth.”

Quite unexpectedly, the next voice Valentina heard through the haze of her headache was not Rick offering assent-- it was Ada. “Can somebody run me through what we’re doing today again?” the drummer chirped innocently. Somehow, through the pounding ache in her head, the words-- and the innocuous tone in which they were delivered-- pricked at some simmering spite in Valentina.

“We’re tracking guitars,” she grumbled, in a voice that was somehow both monotone and venomous. “Izzie just said so, like, a minute ago.” The moment the words had left her mouth, she felt even more annoyed-- as much with herself now as anything else. She glanced up just in time to catch Izzie looking at her with the faintest quirk of the eyebrow, and then immediately looked back down at the floor.

Today couldn’t possibly end quickly enough.




“I had an accident last night,” Ted began by way of explanation. “Overextended the tendon or something like that. Hurts like hell. I gotta ice it every day, then I'm seeing a doctor next Tuesday to get a better prognosis.” Christina restrained the urge to wince, but she couldn’t help it when Ted seemed to falter and covered with a sip of coffee. Poor dude-- shoot, she didn’t know what she would’ve done in his position. The very notion of an injury that might permanently cripple her ability to drum was too harrowing to contemplate.

So, quite sensibly, she decided not to contemplate that. She pushed that thought aside and offered Ted a smile that was marginally less fiendish than usual, maybe even-- if one squinted hard enough-- sympathetic. “Hope the doc’s got some good news for you next time you see ‘em,” she said in an unusually earnest voice. “Our stage presence just won’t be the same without you up there dressed like you’re there for a job interview.”

She patted him on the shoulder (the one with the uninjured hand, she didn’t want to take any chances) and then made to head out of the kitchen. Their recording process was about to take a hell of an unexpected turn: might as well get started.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Isabel Martinez Character Portrait: Christina Kjaer Character Portrait: Lionel Anderson Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Valentina Diaz Character Portrait: Rick Silva Character Portrait: Ada Rae Leveque Character Portrait: Zack Walker
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

"Claro, claro," Rick said, both to Izzie's implied request he get set at the console and heading off the little interaction between Ada and Val. Maybe Ada had drummed herself a little too hard the other day, or maybe something else had happened. Izzie wasn't making a problem of it, so neither would he. "What kind of tone we going for on the guitars, jefe?" Psychosis was certainly—and intentionally—not on the sonic cutting edge. Izzie's stubborn insistence on using her old SG for pretty much everything lent their riffs a sludgier quality than most other bands of similar technicality, and sometimes they didn't saturate the tone as much. Last album had been pretty heavily distorted, but not wholly devoid of dynamics.

Izzie had the idea of where she wanted to go with this, what would work best with the clean-but-growling tone Rick had already recorded. He was less an assistant producer than he was an extension of her producer's brain, more ears to listen and more hands to work the desk while her own hands worked the guitar.

Before Izzie could respond to his query, the door opened quietly. Rick turned around, wondering who on Earth could be coming in, and recognized the guitarist from the other band. Both the band's name and the man's name escaped him for the moment, but he could tell the man wasn't in great condition. His right hand was wrapped up in some kind of splint, and he had the distinctive dark-eyed pallor of someone who hadn't gotten much sleep.

"I won't be a bother," the man said quietly. "I just wanted to, uh, watch." His lips quirked in a half-smile as he took the situation in. "Not much changes, eh Izzie?"


Some time later, Ted had explained the situation to his own band, just in time for them to be finishing up the scratch tracks before tracking for real. It was some stupendous timing, if by stupendous one meant horrendous and aggravating. Half of what made Sturm unique (at least in his mind) was the harmonic play between the two guitarists, or more accurately the ornamentation Ted added to Lionel's bedrock. Since Lionel had to sing live, it only made sense that Ted played more complicated parts, but now Lionel would have to play both. And sing. At least it wasn't at the same time.

Christina came to the rescue from that morose tangent with one of her typical quips. It worked for Ted, eliciting a chuckle. His semi-formal style had started in his emigration from jazz clubs, but now he supposed it was as much part of Sturm's image as Zack's mountain-man look on the opposite side of the stage. Under the funny part of the quip, he could tell she was feeling for his pain—hard to miss how she reached across to pat him on the shoulder farthest from his injured hand.

Zack was more conventionally reassuring. "He'll do fine. We'll get through this. It won't sound totally live like I'd hoped, but we'll do what we can." What else could they do?

"Anyway," he said, now addressing the band at large as he took up his coffee and followed Christina following Lionel to the rehearsal room. "If I remember right—and I'm running on maybe two hours of sleep, so maybe I'm wrong—but I think we just had to make a scratch track for Under the Lash with the new instrumental, then we'll be ready to start actually recording. Maybe we can get Christina's drums set up; Psychosis finished up their drum stuff a while ago so there's at least one room free." He smiled to himself. "I've got an idea there, too, but one thing at a time."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Isabel Martinez Character Portrait: Lionel Anderson Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Valentina Diaz Character Portrait: Rick Silva Character Portrait: Ada Rae Leveque Character Portrait: Zack Walker
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

#, as written by iCakez
At Valentina's reply, Ada's eyes widened. She was in quite the mood, the drummer thought but couldn't help smirking to herself. She was hungover and understandably so. Added to that, it was probably a feeling she was not used to. Their little night out had been a mixed experience. It was both very enjoyable and amusing, but at the same time extremely frustrating. Valentina was the most anti-social person she had ever met, but it was fascinating to watch her in social engagements. Ada sat and wondered these things and thought of how she fared when men came up to her. If that ever happened. Firstly, it required that Valentina went out which was already unlikely. Ada was pretty sure she was either here or back home playing Halo or something. Secondly, the guitarist was the inventor of the resting bitch face. Valentina would also have to speak to whoever dared come up to her. Ada realized that most men would probably be much too intimidated to make a pass at her bandmate. She pitied the poor guy who'd asked her to go to prom. Ada stifled a laugh.

It was always good fun to listen to Izzie - or any of her bandmates - track her stuff. Ada could listen along and in her mind she would always think of drum-parts, fills, blasts and other little things that she thought would add to the song. She rarely added any of them to the finished version, but saved them for their live shows. In the studio, she usually did what Izzie asked her to do. Their supreme leader was not impervious to suggestions, but Ada knew not to launch too many at her all at once. She'd only suggest something if it was thought through and something she really wanted to try out. When they played live, she didn't ask permission so much. It hadn't been a problem so far. If Izzie didn't like it, Ada had no doubt she would let her know.

Her head turned as the door opened. She remembered meeting him and the rest of his band when they arrived at the studio, but his name failed her. Ada's eyes followed him as he entered, a curious and intrigued smile on her face. She picked up a drumstick from the table to her left and began twirling it through her fingers. She didn't feel like trying her luck anymore with Valentina, so this new arrival was a fresh opportunity to engage in conversation. Rick and Izzie would be busy enough and she knew better than to disturb. "You know each other?" The question was obvious, though perhaps Ada was the only one inclined to ask. If she had been informed of how the two of them were acquainted, she couldn’t remember. But then again, she had issues remembering what they were tracking today as well, so perhaps that didn’t really say much.

Despite the gravity of his situation, Ted didn’t seem completely thrown off. It was a big problem and it was worrying to think what the doctors would tell him next Tuesday, but for now they would manage. There was nothing else to do. Zack followed his friends into their rehearsal room and leaned against an amp. He ran a hand over his beard and took a sip of coffee and listened to what Ted had to say.

He nodded along, agreeing with what he said. “Sounds right.” He said, voice coarse. He cleared his throat and sipped the coffee again, unsure if that would help or make it better. It was good to know that Psychosis were done, so that Sturm could get to work. Being able to lay down some drums meant that they have plenty of work to do, but most importantly it meant progress. So far it had worked out, sharing the studio with the other band. Initially, he had been worried if they would get in the way of each other, but it had gone pretty smoothly. But since that was not an issue, fate decided to maim Ted and cause them trouble on that front instead.

“Come on.” Zack said, shaking his head in mock disappointment. “You can’t tease stuff like that.” It was always interesting whenever Ted had ideas, especially when they came to him after the original framework of the song had been hammered out. Zack himself often had ideas, but was very critical in choosing which ones to present. But that was part of the whole creative process in the studio. Everyone had ideas for songs and so it was their job to figure out which to implement. And they wouldn't know if they had chosen wisely until the record was done.

Characters Present

No characters tagged in this post!

Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

Valentina Martinez did not believe in luck. If she had, she might have been inclined to think she hadn’t had much of it in life. There were any number of reasons for that, and the world seemed all too eager to provide her with more whenever she started to forget about them. For example, no sooner had Rick and Izzie turned their attentions back to producing than another such reason opened the door marched its way on in.

Valentina looked just long enough to realize that it was that one guy from the other band, from Sturm-- just long enough, also, to notice the splint around his right hand. Her gaze didn’t linger long before she turned away again, glancing askance at Izzie. The elder Martinez had most certainly noticed the splint as well-- Valentina might’ve been the only person in this studio who knew her well enough to notice the almost imperceptible upward quirk of the brow, that touch of curiosity.

She’s not gonna ask about it, Valentina predicted.

Sure enough, Izzie merely nodded, one hand resting on the strings of her guitar to silence them. “You’re welcome to, by all means,” she intoned with just the faintest hint of warmth to imply the words were sincere. Valentina had never known her to ask personal questions, even the obvious ones, even the ones that probably weren’t all that personal anyway. Dude coulda walked in here with one arm missing and an eyepatch and she’d probably have reacted no differently. She turned her gaze back down to the floor as Izzie and the others began to talk once more about recording, and then closed her eyes, allowing their voices to dissolve into a mildly annoying but otherwise harmless morass.




Christina, for her part, followed along as Ted led the way into the rehearsal room, plotting and scheming all the way. “Maybe we can get Christina’s drums set up,” he mused, coffee in hand. “Psychosis finished up their drum stuff a while ago, so there’s at least one room free. I’ve got an idea there, too, but one thing at a time.”

Christina’s ears perked up. “Well, now you’ve piqued my curiosity,” she said with a smirk of her own. “But sure, one thing at a time. You know I’m always ready to set up and get blastin’. Just give the word, chief.” She made to give him a friendly punch on the shoulder, immediately reconsidered, and played it off mid-motion by running her hand through the short bristles of her hair. Real smooth.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Isabel Martinez Character Portrait: Christina Kjaer Character Portrait: Lionel Anderson Character Portrait: Ted Marubini Character Portrait: Rick Silva Character Portrait: Zack Walker
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

0.00 INK

Not without trepidation, Rick turned back to the console, back to Izzie. He suddenly felt rather conscious of the new arrival's eyes on him, on the console, on Izzie's mic'd setup in the next room over, on everything. Was "observation anxiety" a thing that existed? Working to Izzie's standards was bad enough; now he had to work under the gaze of this nosy lisaido? ¿Por qué? What had happened to him, anyway? And why did Rick care?

"En fin," he murmured, "Where were we?" And with that, he let the aural minutiae keep him focused. He wasn't letting any observation anxiety get the better of him.


Admittedly, Ted hadn't intended to arouse his bandmates' curiosity with his suggestion of having an "idea" he'd bring up later. He really did want to have all of their songs scratch-tracked for reference before they started the delicate work of setting up, but now they were curious, and it couldn't hurt, really, could it?

"Alright, fine," he said, his mock-irritated tone belied by a half-smile he was pretty sure he'd picked up from Christina. "Let's take a look at the spare recording room." This time he led the way a bit further down to the mostly empty room, a half-stack he presumed belonged to Izzie miked up in one corner, the other mostly empty.

For a few seconds he looked, wondering. Then he said, "Christina, how much room do you think we'd have if your whole kit's in here ready to go? Think we could fit it in with that half-stack?" The question was half-rhetorical. Psychosis had fit their drummer's kit in there before. But his idea involved a little bit more.

"Here's the idea," he began. "We recorded the scratch tracks as a band. It's got a cool live sound to it, even if it's a bit rough. But I don't think we can fit the whole band in here. Can't do it now anyway because of my hand, and I wouldn't want to anyway because apparently you're supposed to double track guitars. We'll see about that. But anyway, you don't double track drums. Or bass. So why not do those together? It'll take half as long as doing them separately, plus you're locked in with each other easily." He pursed his lips, looking in the live room again, thinking. Would Zack's amp fit in there? Would they have to DI it? Hopefully not; he knew Zack liked his Orange amp, and it did mesh well with his and Lionel's own setups.

"So what do you think?"