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Вы здесь » SACRAMENTO » Доигранные эпизоды » You can still rock in America

You can still rock in America

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Dana Barret & Steven "Steve" Cooper
Sex, drugs, rock'n'roll - it's the 80's, baby! California welcomes you with open arms! Sunshine, seaside, stunning girls and athletic boys, motorcycles and loud music - what a time to be alive! And this wonderful time welcomes an unexpected yet truly peculiar guest...

[NIC]Steve Cooper[/NIC][STA]I wanna rock[/STA][AVA]https://i.imgur.com/Bkib5bP.jpg[/AVA][SGN]There's only one thing I can say to you:
I wanna rock!
profession: party boy[/LZ1]

Отредактировано Anthony MacIntyre (2020-08-05 23:22:19)



Dana Barret was twenty-five, she was born in L.A., and she graduated from Conservatory of Music located there, too. But since in the L.A. symphony orchestra, there were no vacancies, she started to seek fortune all around the country, so it was no wonder she ended up in Melting Pot - miles away from her hometown. Dana was persistent enough to get herself a place in a major orchestra - in the New York Philharmonic, in other words. She was walking all over people, and she seized opportunities created by the fact that her old admirer was already working there. Some flirting, couple of promising and not promising anything smiles were enough to tip the scales in her favor.
Her stage debut as a member was just a couple of weeks ago, and she still had to learn a lot. She had to attend all the rehearsals that were twice a day and to prepare herself for performing every single part within the shortest possible time frame. Every evening she was returning to her flat feeling obliterated and depleted. She was happy, but she was a squeezed lemon.
So that day after the morning round of her personal hell, she decided to peep into 7-Eleven and obtain daily nourishment. Music, of course, was mental pablum, but she was human, and she couldn't live on thin air. Her grocery shopping consisted of a gallon of milk, сream cheese,  some bread,  two packs of macaroni, a dozen eggs, and a big box of candy because every self-respecting woman can't survive without them in a city. Sweets were by all odds more affordable than a good headshrinker, in all seriousness, they were more affordable than any headshrinker. It wasn't enough for the full week, so she added a net of oranges and some other things that caught her eye. Her paper grocery bag ended up filled to the brim. Dana slowly got out, grocery bag her right arm, and a violin case with her left arm. A sedan in the middle of the street braked and honked at her. She wasn't crossing on a red, so she showed the man her middle finger.
Dana lived in room number 2206 on the 22nd-floor of thirty-three-floor building, atop the roof of which a Terror Dog statue has perched. And as it was supposed to be in scary stories, the number of the building was thirteen, and it was on 13th Avenue. A long time ago, when the building was constructed, it was a hotel, but in the late nineties, one businessman has bought it and turned into a block of flats. However, apartments were only on twenty-two floors. The last three, as the remaining on the ground, contained offices.
She took an elevator and was lucky enough to escape a small talk with her tiresome as hell neighbor. She closed her door before he popped his head out of his apartment. Soon it was his fourth anniversary as an accountant, and he was doing his best to invite Dana to a big party for his clients. She was sure he was planning to introduce her to them as his date.  Dana walked into her kitchen and started taking her groceries out on the table: lettuce, a bag of Stay Puft Marshmallows, a carton of eggs. She walked over to a cabinet and put some boxes away, then she turned on the television. There was another annoying show of some spiritists, too loud and boring. Dana smirked. How stupid should a man be to believe in stuff like that? Yet she didn't switch off or change the channel and made herself comfortable on the lumpy couch. She had three hours before the reality was going to kick her again, and she was planning not to move a single muscle during that period.
Dana didn't remember when she let herself slip into a nap, but she was dreaming for sure. A strange man was giving lectures to her, she, for some reason, was screaming at him, but Dana didn't keep in mind even half of the conversation.
But when Dana woke up, it wasn't in her flat anymore. Her black violin case was on her lap, but the surroundings were like traditional scenery of a sitcom she used to watch then she was a child. The music was that loud her ears popped. She was at some party without even a little understanding of where she was. Or with whom she came? Or why everybody was dressed up like it was 1980? It's 1984 - showed the calendar on the bathroom door, she found while she was looking for her phone.
"What happened?" she knew nobody at this kiki, yet he was longing to get an answer. A girl she caught by the arm burst out laughing and pushed a solo cup with something in her hands.
- You look like someone is dead, dear, cheer up!
But if even stone-cold sober Dana couldn't figure things out, alcohol couldn't help. She quickly apologized for leaving too early, after all, she wasn't a rude person and went outside. It was L.A, and she was just a block away from her old flat... but it wasn't her Los Angeles! Yellow lights, old cars, people were smoking right on the street. In was indeed 1984. But how?
She surged forward, and then she was running as far as the eye can see just to bump into a long-haired man.
"Bring me back! I want my life back, you stupid, arrogant bastard!" Dana screamed at the top of her lungs right after that. A couple that was walking down the street dashed away from her. They didn't know what else to expect from a strangely dressed woman. Unfortunately, cathartic screaming didn't help to solve the problems... in fact it invited disaster.
[NIC]Dana Barret[/NIC]
[LZ1]ДАНА БАРРЕТ, 25 y.o.
profession: вторая скрипка симфонического оркестра;

Отредактировано Romana Wilson (2020-08-06 13:10:44)



The night was beautiful, thought Steve, walking a broad sidewalk. Not because of visual aesthetics, stars in the sky or some other bullshit, no way; the night was beautiful because he was heading to a party, and you bet he was going to have a damn good time!
Steve lived for his parties. He was 25, had no education other than basic school curriculum (he certainly was the worst student ever and totally didn't care about his studies), no job and no ambitions for the so-called American dream. Well, he had some low-wage jobs from time to time, he had to sustain himself after all, now when he was 25 and out of his parents' cozy home, and eventually always ended up losing them, since his employers showed little interest in keeping an employee who was frequently late for work, spent most of his mornings suffering from another hangover, lacked both skills and desire to actually do the job and used every chance he could to skive off his shift. In other words, Steven was a perfect disappointment for his family, especially for his strict father, who did his best to make something of the lazy ignorant boy and so obviously failed; his mother, though, a sweet kind woman with that sympathetic heart ready to cry along with everyone who was in pain, secretly sent him money and helped to pay the rent of his cramped apartment when Steve was between jobs, much like right now.
Passing by a disco bar, Steve checked himself in the window, using the glass surface as a mirror, and offered his own reflection a confident smile. He was a pretty boy, alright, and knew how to use his charms, specifically on drunk hot party girls. The 80s gave birth to the whole knew era of the craziest fashion on earth, and Steve eagerly followed its rules. He let his hair grow to look like a rock star and, honestly, deep inside he wanted to be one, probably just like every young man in the world. He even learned to play the guitar but wasn't really gifted, not enough to make a successful career of a hard-rock musician but enough to lure some Motley Crue fangirls into his bed, so he was quite satisfied with his musical talent. 
Now the guy was just a few feet away from the place. Steve was in very high spirits and looked forward to drinking booze, dancing, shouting and naturally having a good party time, when suddenly his excitement was interrupted by a stranger girl who literally bumped into him like a gone off the rails train.
- Woah-woah-woah easy, girl, chill! - Steve raised his hands in a peaceful gesture and stepped back, looking closely at the girl's face. He knew himself quite well and could easily admit that many, many women had good reasons for calling him all kinds of names. "Arrogant bastard" was definitely not the harshest thing he heard.
The girl was furious, and Steven frowned, trying to remember her name. Somehow his memory went completely blank; he couldn't think of a place where he could've possibly met her. Was is it at a party? Which party was that? And when? Now, why was she mad? Did he promise to call and never called as usual? Did he sleep with her sister the following night? Did he... oh God, he didn't get her pregnant, did he?! Is that what she meant saying "I want my life back"?!
- Darling... - Steven sheepishly took another step back. - Hey, let's chill, alright? Let's just talk!
Man, they needed to talk and fast, and women, Steve knew, couldn't think straight under emotions, so he tried to calm the girl down - clumsily, but he tried his best:
- Hey, you look totally hot tonight! - which was true; though she was wearing some extremely weird clothes and didn't look like a party type at all, the girl had a pretty face and nice body, too, but right now Steve didn't feel happy about it. Her hot looks wouldn't help much if she was really pregnant. Pregnancy was this kind of thing only doctors and money could help. This meant that Steve would give up all his savings in exchange for freedom, which in turn meant he would have to find a job to earn some more money to keep partying... Oh fuck you, cruel world! Why is life so unfair and unjust?! Steve loved his life, but it sucked a lot at times.
Why did he start this conversation at all? He could deny everything and make it look like he didn't recognize the girl (and he actually didn't), after all, she's got no proof, has she? Too bad Steve never thought twice! Or maybe he was just over-reacting and the girl meant something else? Oh fuck.
- Okay, uh, let's just, let's just chill and talk, alright? You, uh, you wanna sit down or something? In the park, maybe? - Steven guessed they needed as few people around as possible, so bars and cafes were not an option. - Let's, uh, let's just go and sit and talk, okay?
The party he originally was heading to was forgotten. Steve grabbed the girl by her wrist and pulled it, making her move and follow him on the narrow path between trees and bushes. The park was almost empty at nights because everyone knew it wasn't safe here after dark; black and Latina gangs used this place as their meeting spots, and if one didn't want to get robbed, raped or beaten, one had to stay away, and Steve usually did, but tonight was a special occasion. The wooden bench under the trees looked safe enough, and he stopped there, sat down and waited for the girl to do the same.
- So, uh, darling, what happened? Are you... I mean... you're not... are you? - Steve didn't dare to say it aloud and let the girl do the talking. He still couldn't remember her name and decided not to risk it, using a neutral sweet word instead. Now all he could do was to clench his fists and hold his breath while waiting for the answer.
[NIC]Steve Cooper[/NIC][STA]I wanna rock[/STA][AVA]https://i.imgur.com/Bkib5bP.jpg[/AVA][SGN]There's only one thing I can say to you:
I wanna rock!
profession: party boy[/LZ1]

Отредактировано Anthony MacIntyre (2020-08-14 18:42:13)



It was not difficult to understand why the man she almost knocked off his feet, was acting the way he was: standing and smiling nervously and a little fatuously. 
It didn't really matter what year it was  - was it 1984 or 2024 - the people didn't change a lot in the last, dammit, forty years!  Dana knew that type very well. They were not quite hobos, but they had no career ambitions, most of the time - even no job, they were not rolling stones, but it wasn't possible to track them down, as their address in the city never stays the same for more than a month and so on. Men, looking like him, never bother to call back, thinking that they are new era Casanovas. It was easy to pretend that they were that attractive and charming as to bring any girl home to arrange a B+ grade carnal copulation. If any of them had some balls to actually call, they would be disappointed. Nobody remembers the names of one-night-stands, and it works both ways, especially if you a workaholic with no time for any attached strings or responsibilities.
In any other situation, they would have started on a different note. But right now, Dana wasn't in a mood for anything that was on the table. The usual "how-you-find-the-weather-what-is-your-name-where-are-you-from-come-here-often" mumbo jumbo was left out, yet they were talking, and she was ready to pay a dime for the stranger's thoughts because his facial expressions were changing like patterns in a kaleidoscope.
Being too cocooned in her thoughts, she's lost control of the situation, and he was already giving her a pet name (no name - no chance of mistake) and transporting her somewhere. Definitely, in the eighties, men were less intimidated by feminists. She snorted at her own thoughts and hit the man in the solar plexus with her elbow.
"Touch me again without my permission, and for the rest of your life, you would sing countertenor! Did I make myself clear? " Dana wanted to sound frightening, but in fact, became a little shrill. She didn't know what she should do to return. Getting here shouldn't be possible, and for a second, she panicked. The morning car incident... Had the driver indeed stopped? She pinched herself to make sure she was still capable of feeling the pain because she had to admit this all seemed like some sort of dream or coma hallucinations. Numb.  She did it again. Harder. Dana winced and rubbed a forming red spot on her wrist.
She put her black case between the blackcurrant lollipop color pumps and laid her head on her knees, hugging herself. The stranger sat on the opposite side of the bench, a respectful distance from her.  He was watching her with interest.
"Just shut up. Shuttity shut up!" Dana turned her head away from the man touching the neoprene skirt of her dress with her cheek.
"Oh, goddess!" murmured she. Dana closed her eyes and willed herself not to cry, suddenly tired. Suddenly she was so tired. "If I tell you the truth, you'll think I'm insane. And, in fact, I'm also not far from saying maybe."
Most scientists in her time still would argue that any time travel story is a fantasy, no matter how much technical language you had put into it. It is just a trope for building the conflict. Dana wasn't a fan of physics, but as far as she got it, the general theory of relativity says that it's possible to travel back in time. All you need is faster than the light speed. On the other hand, it was easier to eat a gun than solve all the paradoxes such an act would create. The butterfly effect was the worse of them all. Any word said by her and done could change the whole future. She could wipe out Maroon 5, or Guns N' Roses, she could, well, let's say write as a verb "Let's Get It Started" or "I Just Can't Stop Loving You." But she might have already altered the world that much, that Dana Barret won't be born, just by violating this man's plans, though her mother... Her mother was six now. Dana raised her left hand and held it up to the light. No, she wasn't getting translucent. Not yet.
"I'm not from here... No, wrong words. I'm from here, but I'm not from this when. I know, I don't look like I'm a character from the second Back To The Future... Oh, shit... it's too early for this." Dana exclaimed and pointed dramatically to her dress with a print reminding of Pablo Picasso. "Other reference. I don't look like Kyle Reese, but I'm from the year forty solar circles forward. I had no idea how that scum did this, but I had a concert that evening he ripped me out and... That's ludicrous. Just go... You were going somewhere, so keep going. I've survived worse."
Of course, the last sentence was a lie, but why bother anyone with her problems?  Her problems were her problems, and she wasn't going to inconvenience anyone else with them. She can turn herself into a busker. Easily. She wasn't proud or stuck-up with working in classical music, give her ten minutes, and she would memorize notes of Thrift Shop, give her a week, and she'll arrange a band good enough to play at the weddings. But first, Dana needed to find that man... and to kill him, with making him return her to her hometime in-between. That was a brilliant plan, with one but, she didn't even remember that wizard's face. Oh, hell... that was bad.
Dana opened her violin's case and checked the instrument - everything seemed to be fine, but she wanted to be a hundred percent sure, so she put it on her shoulder and pulled the bow across the strings.
[NIC]Dana Barret[/NIC]
[LZ1]ДАНА БАРРЕТ, 25 y.o.
profession: вторая скрипка симфонического оркестра;

Отредактировано Romana Wilson (2020-08-30 00:00:37)



Steve watched the girl with a mix of surprise and terror on his face. She was clearly distraught; her pose made her bend in half, and Steve actually worried about her spine: the girl looked ready to snap in two, like a dry leaf. Or a toothpick. Or a French fries stick from McDonalds'. Still, he kept silence, because the girl perfectly demonstrated her unnaturally wild ability to bring the fight. Of course, a few blows won't break a guy like himself, but he didn't want to risk it anyway.
So he let the girl crawl and mutter something he didn't quite catch; a minute followed another minute, and Steve was feeling more and more uncomfortable and insecure.
- Hey, uh... you're not crying, right? Please, baby, don't! - he finally disobeyed the order to stay quiet, ignoring the very possible punishment. One thing Steve really couldn't stand was crying women. Like any man, he felt completely lost in front of teary-eyed sad female faces, had no idea what to do nor what to say and typically whenever a girl he was talking to started crying, he just fled the scene. Cowardice? Maybe. Yet, Steve built his own perfect world of fun and parties around him like walls of a magical castle full of grand illusions of a beautiful life and the last thing he wanted to do was to know the life had never been truly beautiful in the first place. He learned to dodge all problems and unpleasant moments like a glamorous ninja but now, when he had to face something he didn't want to, Steve realized he lacked both will and courage to do so.
Perhaps it was not too late to run away?..
Suddenly the girl sat upright, and Steve sighed in relief when he saw no wet trails on her cheeks. Alright, she wasn't crying after all. There was still hope for this conversation.
- You... Sorry, I didn't catch ya. Whatcha sayin'? - the guy leaned an inch closer to make sure he gets the words clear this time.
And then it was obvious. All of it. Pretty much.
Steve almost laughed but kept himself from the inappropriate joy in the very last moment. "Pregnant, ha! Pregnant, my ass! She's shit-faced drunk, 'at's all!" - he immediately felt better. Better than ever. Once again lucky Steve escaped a grim descent! Why did he even bother to take some stranger's words for real? This nuts chick left a fucking party, a place where people are supposed to get drunker than Cooter Brown and higher than the Empire State! No wonder she was acting all crazy and weird, showed all range of emotions known to human beings and now was talking nonsense about here and there and when... Honestly, her speech was so confusing that Steve didn't understand anything at all, even though he heard all the words clearly. Actually, the girl's intonation wasn't slurred, not like one could expect from someone in a drunk state, and Steve couldn't smell alcohol aroma from her even leaning close to her face. Being a party boy, Steve could tell a loaded fun lover from a sober newbie in a matter of seconds, and except for the woolly mind the girl showed no signs of intoxication. 
High. Yeah, she was high, clear as day. All the sex-drugs-rock'n'roll aesthetics brought actual drugs into the scene of all clubs and disco-bars. Steve was wise enough to stay away from heavy stuff like heroine, but these small colourful pills can't hurt, right? You take a handful in your mouth, swallow, wait a bit - and discover a door into a different dimension, a place where all colours are extra bright and all sounds are extra loud. If you're not experienced, you might get confused at first. And that's what happened to the chick.
- Was it meth or LSD? - Steve finally laughed, but his laugher died when the girl didn't join in. She didn't even answer. Instead she grabbed the instrument she was holding all this time, which made Steve a bit excited: it was always nice to meet a fellow musician. He could warm her heart with talks about music and rock bands, calm her down a bit, offer her a taxi ride and finally get her out of sight.
- You must be a true fan, carrying the guitar everywhere, - Steve smiled approvingly, - you have a fav band? I love Motley Crue. They're kinda new, but they're cool, I swear! Ever heard of 'em? Nikki Six and shit? Sis, they're gonna be super famous one day, you'll see!
He watched the girl take the instrument in her hands and quickly realized his mistake; it was a rather normal thing to bring a guitar to a party, and the darkness of the night created some obstacles for one's vision, so Steve naturally assumed a guitar like one would assume, well, common sense. Turned out common sense wasn't common to everyone after all, since the girl owned a violin. A fucking violin. Who brings a violin to a party?! "Damn, she's a freak", - thought the guy, listening to the sounds the musician was making. He knew nothing about violins and classical music, so he wasn't in the right place to judge, but somehow Steve liked what he heard. He didn't enjoy it like he would enjoy a nice guitar solo, but the music sounded... correct. Correct in a professional way. The girl definitely knew what she was doing, which totally made her a freak in Steve's eyes, because who the hell cares about violins in the 80's?!
- You're alright, - he smiled, - I mean, you're nuts and weird, but it's cool. Never heard anyone playing that thing before. It's all about guitars and drums, you know? But hey, nothing wrong with being a bit old-fashioned. You're gifted. Ever tried a guitar? I play that. I could be a rock star too, you know, but... eh... things are complicated. It's a complicated world we live in, am I right? - Steve gave her a wink and did his hair up a bit. Suddenly he became aware of his looks.
- Name's Steve, by the way. And yours?
Now, when they somewhat bonded over music and this bizarre conversation in the park, ignoring the danger of actually being here at night alone, Steve started worrying about the girl's situation sincerely. They didn't become friends or anything, but he couldn't simply walk away and leave her there. She was in no condition to make decisions herself or to even get home safely.
- Look, how about I get you a taxi? You got some dollars on you? - Steve was afraid she didn't. Well... he had some spare cash in his pockets... he would miss a few drinks this night, but at least the girl would get home safe and sound. - Fine, here, take this. It's not much, but the taxi's cheap in this neighbourhood. Where do you live? Do you remember your address? You need to get home, you know, it's not safe here alone at night, we've got gangs and shit walking around this park, and you have this fancy violin... you gotta get home before someone takes advantage, okay?
[NIC]Steve Cooper[/NIC][STA]I wanna rock[/STA][AVA]https://i.imgur.com/Bkib5bP.jpg[/AVA][SGN]There's only one thing I can say to you:
I wanna rock!
profession: party boy[/LZ1]

Отредактировано Anthony MacIntyre (2020-08-29 17:12:25)



It was a hard night, but she hoped that the secrets of all the universe were within her power. Dana wanted to solve the puzzle of her life, and crying wasn't the part of the plan. For now, she was homeless with no money, no job, and no friends to assist her. Double trouble, to be honest.
"No, no... just angry and tired!" she whispered. Tears never came. Tears ruin the makeup, after all. And the man had his own version of what had happened. Being in his place, she would have thought the same. From his point of view, she was a freaking-out stranger with altered levels of consciousness, saying things that are likely being a bunch of nonsense if not the symptom of madness. Drugs were an obvious explanation. Time travel she's just experienced - for god's sake - wasn't even in the first ten. "Angry, tired, and not amused."
She lifted her violin, placed it under her chin, and, silently hoping that her meager audience is enjoying the music, began the piece from memory. Her fingers touched the gut string carefully, but firmly, and extracted the first note out of the violin. It was a sad one, but the sound was bright and rounded, then the other one pulled out of metal string set in the other pegbox, a bit colder and glassy comparing to the first, and soon the melody was ringing in the ears. The instrument was crying instead of her. He was mourning and howling like she wished she could, but her manners were too good for this. And their shared howl was spreading all around the park.
Out of all the compositions, she knew note by note, sound by sound, and touch to strings by touch, she ended up with Dream On because, despite the itch of playing Blinding Lights, she couldn't risk that much - by playing the things that haven't been composed yet. She stopped before the second verse - the chosen fragment was short but hard enough to check both the not disappearance of skills and the integrity of the instrument.
And as her fingers were sliding, Dana was thinking. Motley Crue. New band. They were old, no, ancient as pyramids or dinosaurs for her. Breaking up in 2015, reunited three years later - the elite of glam-rock. They were indeed famous, but mostly for their abominable and hedonic lifestyle. Alcohol, drugs, prison sentences, backstage antics, outrageous clothing, extreme high-heeled boots - it seemed that rockers adored anything but hardworking, and they wanted short-run attention - not their music to be immortalized.
"Old-fashioned? Oh, my..." She put her hand on her chest in not so feigned horror. Actually, this word indeed left some traces of clawed paws on the inner side of her soul. It was a burning sensation that wasn't one to get rid of effortlessly. " It's called classical music! Just two guitars - one of them is bass - and the drums, that's why all the rock concerts sound like on the stage there is a group of teenagers with skillets, pans, and pots and underpants elastic instead of strings, with the singer usually hitting the higher note screaming like a cat whose tail got caught in the mousetrap. Have you ever heard the sound of the celesta, the raindrops falling down on feathers, or the fierce storm of organ, its waves reaching not the ceiling, the stars themselves, or the whisper of oboe, the affectional lover that just been kissed so hard thus lips hurt? Cesar Franck, Antonio Saliery -  have you ever heard of them?  Or those names for you ring hollow? Of course, they ring hollow!"
She was saying too much and too loud, but Dana never could stand people narrowing down the ocean of music to some stream. Guitars and drums, dammit. It was as if the man was blind and deaf at the same time and also did not understand that.
"The surname is not Tyler, I hope," she added to soothe her malicious talk. She bit her lip, felling the copper taste of blood in her mouth. In her time, it would have sounded like a joke, but now she wasn't sure. The good old days were all confused and messed up in her head. She had some periods distinguished, of course: there was Sinatra, there were Beatles and Rollings stones, there was the Foreigner-Whitesnake-Rainbow-and-others period, there were Nirvana and Garbage, there were Imagine Dragons and One Direction, but Dana wasn't a historian. She couldn't tell how old Steven Tyler - the frontman of Aerosmith is in the year of nineteen eighty-four. On the other side, the hair color - some mushroom brown - as well as the length, seemed to be the same. So she had to ask...
But she wasn't quite interested in names, but wherever the man was a good guitarist, as he was claiming, or he was telling porkies and, in fact, couldn't play anything that wasn't the base chords. Most of the girls couldn't tell the difference between the fingerstyle and flat-picking, so the other's opinion didn't count. Even being a professional, Dana wouldn't give herself more the eight on a ten-point Likert scale. Good amateurs usually got a solid six.
"I'm Dana. This morning was the violin in the New York symphonic... Now I'm here and have no idea of how I had woken up in L.A. Life can be simple, you know, but we never fail to complicate it every single time. Show me your hands."
The actual musicians had some professional marks, the position of them depended on what the person played thought years. Violinists like her have small scars on their chins from holding the instrument. Contrabass's players can't sit with their knees touching and so on. If that Steve was actually good enough to become a rock star one day, he had to already have calluses. In the unsteady street lights, blurred by the evening fog, it was hard to get the impression, but the guy didn't seem to be a complete liar. She touched the extended with a lack of understanding hand with her fingers. Yes, the marks of Euterpe were in those places where they should be.
"Perfect!" she pressed her cherry-wine lips to the center of the man's palm and let go of it. "Would you be so kind as to show me how proficient you are in this?"
She was one inch from busting into a lecture about music but was it necessary? Oh, it was a hundred percent mandatory. Dana smiled, showing her well-ordered teeth - thanks to years of braces. "Do you happen to know why Motley Crue is good? They dare to stand out. They are related to rock, but we can see through them, and the mass of rock-copies, how the unique style developed, and what is good about it. These few like them stand out because they are situated within the context of a mass of copies that are not so good.  But that mass of imitations is also enhanced thereby because of the masterworks. One can hear their origin and appreciate the difference. Thus they mutually reinforce each other. Actually, they just stand out from one group while trying to fit into another group. They want to rock, but they are not rockers. Rock is already dead and buried six feet under. Something is creating right now... and the question is whether you a passenger of this train or you'll gonna stay and wave them from an uncovered platform."
From the knowledge of the future, Dana could say that the two main trains were called heavy metal and glam-rock. Both of them had no ticket for a violin, but the symphonic metal had... Was she planning to set the watch twelve years forward? Well, she already said it. Maybe, the public wasn't ready for it, but if they don't try, they won't find out.
"Come on, it would be fun... We can steal the show by bringing something freakish... " or make a joke of ourselves, was the end of the sentence that she did let out of her mouth.
[NIC]Dana Barret[/NIC]
[LZ1]ДАНА БАРРЕТ, 25 y.o.
profession: вторая скрипка симфонического оркестра;

Отредактировано Romana Wilson (2020-09-07 00:02:24)



Steve helplessly opened his mouth just to close it again few seconds later. He was trying to be friendly, after all, he actually felt sorry for the girl; her friends, people she must've taken drugs with, betrayed her like a bunch of pussies! Everyone involved in drugs or alcohol knew one universal rule: look after each other, take care of each other! Damn, you can never be sure how your body reacts to a new drug you're trying with your friends, things can easily go south and when it happens it's not as funny as it sounds in stupid jokes. This poor girl got high as fuck, wandered out of the party venue and no one gave a damn! Whoever her friends were, they didn't really sounds like ones (or at least like good ones), that's why Steve was ready to take it upon himself to call the sad thing a taxi and make sure she'd get home safe and sound, but... Apparently, he triggered something he shouldn't have. The peaceful talk about music turned nasty and ugly.
- Okay, okay, sister, chill! - he had no intention to argue; as a typical party-goer he'd witnessed a lot of people in a variety of conditions and knew better than trying to talk sense into them. Intoxicated minds are blind and deaf even to common logic, so what's the point of having a discussion? He decided to let the girl have things her way and hoped it would calm her down. - Sure, if you say so, classical music rules, right? It's cool. Totally. All good.
The girl finally recollected herself, and Steve smiled back, making a quiet sigh of relief. The very next moment he was bursting with roaring laughter, appreciating the Aerosmith reference.
- Nah, I ain't Tyler - too bad though, right? If I was Steven Tyler... damn, girl! We would be sitting in the most luxurious room in the most expensive hotel somewhere in Florida and sipping champagne, cognac and whiskey, all at one go! - still laughing, he slightly punched the girl's shoulder with his knuckles. - Nice to meet ya, Dana. You're a funny one!
Now Steve started to actually enjoy her company. Dana seemed weird, and while he had met a lot of weird people, she was somehow different. The vibes she was giving didn't seem like anything he'd ever felt before. If anything, Dana looked lost on a much larger scale than someone lost in a stranger neighbourhood; she looked out of place, out of time, out of this world even. An extremely bizarre girl.
- Don't you worry, you're totally not the first person to wake up in a place they don't recognize, - Steve did his best to reassure Dana, - it's oka... uh, what?
Dana's request caught Steve off guard. He stared at his own hands, trying to see what could cause such interest, but the girl looked rather determined, so he held out one of his hands, feeling both suspicion and curiosity. Dana studied his hand for a while, which reminded Steve of fortune-tellers and other crazy psycho esoteric shit. It used to be popular when he was in high school; maybe, still kinda was. Playing with Ouija boards and mirrors is a hobby for teenage sci-fi fans, alright, but things like Tarot cards, crystal balls and various "professional" paranormal equipment are frequently used by people of all ages to drag money out of naive customers' wallets. Palm-reading is a fashionable skill among mediums; if Dana truly was one, Steve wouldn't be shocked. This girl proved to be full of surprises.
Yet, she managed to surprise him once again when she kissed his hand and said a pretty complex thing that Steve could only decrypt as following:
- You mean, you want me to play? - Steve's face lit with childish joy and delight. Of course he will! He loved showing off his skills, especially to young women. How could he deny a chance to pleasure the girl's ear? Oh, if only he had a guitar on him!.. - Absolutely, Dana, you're gonna love it! You'll see you're gonna love it! I just, uh, I need a guitar, uh...
His mind was already circling around places he could pick up an instrument from. The closest one would be that party he was going to... they must have a guitar for sure, since what is a party without a guitar to play?
Meanwhile, Dana started talking again, a long and complicated speech full of long and complicated words silly Steve failed to understand, but none of that mattered. He felt what the girl was trying to say empathically, even though he didn't get the whole picture he clearly saw the main idea. The thrill of the upcoming adventure took his breath away.
- You want us to play together, right? Like, a guitar and a violin? Wow, girl! That's gonna... that's gonna be hella awesome! I'm sure no one's ever done that! - because no one takes violins, or, according to Dana, classical music, seriously these days. No one's ever been crazy - or idiotic - enough to combine things that shouldn't be combined, but hey, didn't it sound like fun? Steve was already having a good time - and he wasn't even drunk yet! But Dana... could she handle it, being high like that?
He eyed the girl with an intense stare for a moment, twisted his lips and spoke:
- Okay, yeah, let's do this! Damn, let's do this, girl! - he laughed. - You surely know how to have a good time! We're gonna r-r-r-r-o-o-o-o-ock! Hell yeah! Just, uh, you tell me if you feel, like, sick or anything, right? We'll get you home. Taxi's on me!
Steve jumped on his feet, grabbed Dana's hand and went to the street area, walking with a triumphant march.
- We ju-u-u-ust need to walk a bit, okay? Since I've got no guitar on me, I gotta ask my friend... no worries, though, it ain't far, just around the corner!
He covered the distance in a matter of seconds, eager to strat their mutual madness, and entered his friend's house, lamost knocking down a small table.
- Hey, Steve! Watch your ass! - another long-haired guy successfully caught the table and managed to keep it in place. - You're gonna spill the beer, dammit!
- So, so sorry! - Steve exclaimed, turned to face the guy and immediately put the widest smile he could come up with. - Yo, bro! 'S good to see ya!
- You too, man! - they made a quick fist bump. - Steve, what the hell? Are you on something already?
- Nope! Just having a nice time, 's all, - Steve said the very truth, - by the way, can I borrow your guitar? Pretty please? Chucky?
Chuck folded his arms:
- Dunno, Steve... last time you borrowed something from me - my cassette player, if you remember - you returned it, the buttons were broken! How am I supposed to trust you with my guitar then?
- Ah, Chucky, forget the cassette player! I told you it was an accident! - Steve was growing impatient. - I really DO need this guitar right fucking now! Please? Please-please-please?
Chuck rolled his eyes:
- You've just come here, man, what on earth do you need the guitar for? Go have some drink, then we'll talk! You're impossible to tolerate when you're sober!
- No! Chucky! - Steve clutched his friend's shoulder. - It's a matter of life and death, I swear to dog! You have to give me the guitar! Come on, Chuck, don't be a bitch!
- Fine, - Chuck made a sniffing sound of dissatisfaction, - but you owe me big time, boy. And remember that: if something happens to this guitar, you're gonna pay with your own ass for that, you hear me?
Steve didn't care. He'd never been so happy to feel the instrument in his hands.
Knochking down the same table, Steve rushed outside and stopped just in time to avoid bumping into Dana.
- Look! Got it! - he proudly demonstated the guitar, holding it high in the air, and winked. - So, how you wanna do this? We could play somewhere, let's say, on the 51st Avenue like buskers, or we could bust into some bar and play there since we basically have our own instruments! Watcha say?
[NIC]Steve Cooper[/NIC][STA]I wanna rock[/STA][AVA]https://i.imgur.com/Bkib5bP.jpg[/AVA][SGN]There's only one thing I can say to you:
I wanna rock!
profession: party boy[/LZ1]



The picture Steven (not Tyler, she was lucky enough) drawn was typical. It was hard to imagine how some stars might stoop to their level - fell from their pedestal - and walk among the mediocre people. But the truth was that all those celebrities didn't have wings with white feathers and nimbus. They didn't have horns and clawed paws as well. They ones were ordinary too, though many, including themselves, sometimes forgot that.
"Me? Funny? You haven't seen the worst of me!" she was laughing with her full lungs. That was that type of hysterical laughter, which often alternates with anguished crying. Dana was not merely disturbed by what had happened. She was completely overcome by it so that all rational control is lost. Dana felt like the enormous as Krakatau volcano has just erupted inside her, throwing out of those umber-colored rocks, vermilion magma rivers, and pumice, and dust and God know what else. But at the same time, all the tension in her has been released. All the impending great danger Dana imagined turned the other way, she hoped it turned the other way.
"Yeap. That's what I've said precisely." she smiled. For this time, she didn't mind grabbing and pulling and didn't even mind them taking the shortcut through the lawn. Yet Dana was walking much more slowly than the young man. Her heels were sinking (even digging) into the grass and leaving puncture wounds of her footprints on the sward. They were almost running out of the shadows, out of the dark, with the search of great unknown.
Steve left her outside of some block building and rushed inside for the instrument. This would take some time - Dana decided and leaned on the brick wall, surprised how her angry mood turned into the cheerful. In the black window, she didn't saw her reflection at first, but when she saw, she swore ... red eyes were the last problem, though they were too.
She looked like a freak with her dress, with the shoes, and with her oversized cardigan. She was carrying a freaking violin, yet everything seemed fine... Out of curiosity, she stopped a smoking man that was walking down the street and asked him for a cigarette. The stranger didn't dash away from her even slightly. While he was looking for his pack, Dana cast a glance on his watch. It was well after midnight... It was weird. It was just after nine while she was leaving the party she didn't belong to. Dana waved it off like it was nothing. She wasn't proud of her bad habit, but her nerves were totally shot, and it seemed the easiest way to calm down. Dana took one from the offered crumpled pack and passed it back.
Careful not to draw the smoke into her lungs—she'd learned that trick back in high school when she'd tried being cool—Dana lit the cigarette with her own lighter she was quite surprised to find in her pocket.
"Thank you very much, you're a lifesaver," Dana said to the man. The thing she didn't know was that the butterfly effect was already doing its best. The man Dana stopped has just escaped a fatal car crash in three days forward in his possible future. By giving one of his cigarettes to her, he ran out of them a couple of hours earlier, and thus he stopped to buy them. That's was it. The man didn't know he was saved either, and he was never to find out.
Dana took a draw on the cigarette and exhaled in the opposite direction. She was watching how the smoke leaked like steam from her mouth and peered around the door. She could see individual wisps of smoke coming from a single cigarette. But her eyes went glassy, as her mind touched the most burning question. Dana was wondering what exactly had happened to her in her own time. Did she disappear without a trace?  Was her vanishing even noticed by someone? One toke, two, the cigarette was ending too fast.
But she didn't have enough time to start another round of nerve storm. It was the moment for her new acquaintance to come out. He was looking like the monkey from Lion King as if the guitar he managed to forage out was Simba.
"I think that my ears will pop out if we waltz in any crowded place." Dana shook her head. Of course, there was a great temptation to do all at once, but it was necessary to test the waters and take baby steps. Yes, baby steps, so the falling won't be great. Steven said something about the 51st avenue, so she took is as a plan A. It wasn't that far from the place they were, so they could easily walk those twenty minutes and discuss the details. "But I'm more interested in what we can play...the Bad Boys from Boston are awesome, but maybe there is something else. The Versatile Three are for sure, not the option... "
Dana knew lots of compositions that sound amazing in such simple adaption, some of them even in original were acoustic, but the problem was in the timing. She had in her head the songs from the nineties, from the beginning of the twenty-first century. But was the point of knowing notes of "The History of Wrong Guys" from Kinky boots or Zoe's "Violet" if they would be written years after today. So, Dana hoped that Steven would suggest something she knew, old and from rock, not Eugène-Auguste Ysaÿe Sonatas.
With her free hand, she pulled out the pins from her updo. There wasn't a lot of them, as she had tons of gel in her hair, she was hoping to rearrange the greek braid in something with the 80-s spirit. A french twist would do if she only could memorize how it's combed.
[NIC]Dana Barret[/NIC]
[LZ1]ДАНА БАРРЕТ, 25 y.o.
profession: вторая скрипка симфонического оркестра;

Отредактировано Romana Wilson (2020-09-29 13:30:11)



Still feeling euphoric, Steve smiled and nodded his head in a gesture of sympathy and understanding; he knew from his own experience very well how bright the colours, how loud the sounds could be when enforced by drugs. It's like entering a totally different dimension, with all your senses hypersensitive, like baring to the point of absolute nakedness, only not your physical body but your inner self. For amateur newbies this could be both a pleasant and extremely uncomfortable feeling, so Steve heard the girl:
- Sure, uh, fine, no crowded places, then, - since they were going to create music, she clearly needed her ears to be in appropriate condition, - let's start with the Avenue plan, it's gonna be fun, oh, I'm sure as hell it's gonna be fun!
To be honest, the wannabe rock star had no idea what music the guitar and the violin players could play together. Dana firmly stated her preferences, but Steve, of course, being an uneducated piece of never-ending party fun, knew absolutely nothing about classical composers, let alone actual music pieces they'd composed. He was a sheep of another flock; following the 80's fashion, Steve specialized in rock music, but what did Dana have to offer? Alright, she might've been old-fashioned, but for sure she must've known some songs of some bands! How do you live in the 80's and ignore rock scene? Impossible!   
- Uh... well... - Steve scratched his head, thinking hard. - Let's see... you're not a big fan of Motleys, I see, ha-ha! Fine, what do you say of the Queen? You must know them for sure! Everyone's nuts over these guys! And for good reason, too; Freddie's a living legend, darling! Ever heard "We Are The Champions" or "We Will Rock You"? Damn, the whole planet lost their minds when these songs came out! And they are still on the radio non-stop, I tell ya, for real!
Steve couldn't quite grasp the phenomenon of Freddie Mercury; he was a pretty average guy of pretty average skills. For God's sake, he wasn't even truly white! Yet all the girls in the world went completely bonkers. Steve guessed it was because of the energy Freddie illuminated on stage; even listening to his vocals on the radio gave the listener vibes of an actual show. There was something, not just a spark, something more like fire, a burst of flame, inside this man. This was the level of charisma Steve wouldn't dare to achieve. Freddie was unique; and as much as Steven enjoyed the idea he was unique, too, deep inside he knew he was just another long-haired guy on another party in another American city.
- Okay, okay, what, uh, what about David Bowie? - Bowie was also a big star you couldn't ignore. You had to live in total darkness or be blind to ignore that light. - I just randomly remembered he and Freddie played together once. "Under Pressure", a damn good song, to tell ya the truth! Honestly, though, I don't think he - Bowie, that is - is as cool now as he used to be. I mean, remember all that Ziggy Stardust crazy shit? That was freakingly amazing! Now he's... - Steve shrugged. - Dunno, he's changed a lot. I think he's depressed. I think he's a perfect example of what hardcore drugs can do to you. So you should never use hardcore drugs - right, Dana? - he winked. - It's a pity, like, the guy's talented as hell, there's something about England, you know? Somehow it's England that produces all these big stars! Years ago Bowie looked like a funky alien. Now he just looks like someone who needs help. Anyways... - he stopped and made the girl stop, too. - That's the spot! We're here!
The street lamps shone unexpectedly bright; the corner of the 51st Avenue looked like one of the places that are always crowded, no matter the time and weather. It was a place you can't miss, with all the bars on one side and a huge concrete square filled with teenagers, chatting, smoking and naturally enjoying themselves under huge palm trees on the other. A place one can't simply walk by on their route home.
- Ready to rock, Dana-darling? - Steve was getting in the perfectly right mood. The guitar in his hands felt a bit weird, since it wasn't his own instrument, yet he quickly found common ground with the unfamiliar thing. Maybe Steve was gifted after all.
As they slowly started warming up, Steve noticed the crowd turning their heads; quite a few girls watched Steve with obvious interest, which brushed up his already polished ego, but then there were some boys who cast provocative glances at Dana, too. And, of course, all of them wondered what the violin girl and the guitar boy were going to do, especially when Steve opened Dana's violin case and left it there, not far from their feet.
And then the music came.
When music came, nothing else mattered. It was a simple law of the natural order of things, as Steve believed; if you're listening to music, all you can do is dancing, moving to the rhythm or just closing your eyes and relaxing, depending on the track. If you're playing music, you focus on the strings, the sounds, the sensation of touch on your fingertips - and Steve considered it the best sensation ever, well, except for the touch of a female body, maybe. And when Dana hit her own string with the bow, it got so much better.
Making music together seemed like another otherworldly experience; it brought the feeling of extremely close unity, so much closer than having a drink or dancing. It felt almost intimate, not as aggressive as physical intimacy, but gentle and touching like first kisses. Steve started knowing Dana - really knowing her, through the music she was creating, - and the image of a stoned lonely girl vanished from his mind. He saw someone else; a strong willful figure, a young woman ready to face any challenge her fate dragged her into, yet a lost woman, a woman who needed help - as much as David Bowie did, perhaps, but for a different reason. The longer they played, the more intrigued Steve was getting, up to the point when he lost all sense of the world outside, of time and space, of the money that was filling the violin case, of the booze bottles kind souls were stacking next to the case so that the musicians could have a drink once they felt tired.
They stopped when their fingers started burning with pain, hurting and pleasant at the same time. Steve looked at Dana as if he'd just seen her for the first time. His eyes were opened wide, naive and shocked, like eyes of a baby who saw a true miracle. His lips were parted, like a mouth of a fish thrown to the dry earth surface.
- What... how did you... - he swallowed hard and smiled, then laughed, - Jesus-holy-mother-fucking-Christ, Dana! What was that? How did you learn to play like that? - never, never ever in his life Steve had listened to a violin; did he really miss out so much? - I mean, I... uh... shit, I... don't know what to say.
Sparing himself of further humiliation, Steve bent down, picked up two beer bottles and handed one of them to his partner. Somehow he believed now she wasn't drugged.
- I guess we deserved some of that, ain't I right? - he smiled and took a big gargle of the peacefully calm drink. - You... you think we're done for today?
His hands felt tired, so he wasn't sure about another round, yet he didn't want to let Dana go. Not now. He really wanted her to stay. He didn't want to fuck or even kiss her; he just wanted her to stay. What a... a weird feeling, God dammit!
- Look, if you want to go home, I can walk you home, - Steve tried to find a reason to keep her company for a little longer. He wasn't a gentleman by all means and usually didn't care about his friends walking alone at night, but he could stay with Dana this way for a while. And also learn her address, - or, uh... - his words flew out faster than he could control them, - ...or we could both go to my place, I mean, look, we got enough cash to buy us some more booze and a pizza, maybe, so, uh, we could, you know, celebrate our little gig? Like, I dunno, watch a cool movie or something... I have a collection of awesome vhs, I'm sure you can pick something you like.
[NIC]Steve Cooper[/NIC][STA]I wanna rock[/STA][AVA]https://i.imgur.com/Bkib5bP.jpg[/AVA][SGN]There's only one thing I can say to you:
I wanna rock!
profession: party boy[/LZ1]



Dana was quite surprised to find out how many things she thought of as old-fashioned and choked by the dust of times were cool right here. Queen? David Bowie? If she had mentioned them in her own time, her interlocutor would have thought she was joking. Especially if she had been talking to the specimen of the same type of guys as Steven.
"Yes, yes... Are you fucking kidding?" she was slowly walking along the too crowded for the night street, and Dana hoped that her jaw wasn't touching the pavement...  "If Hell exists, both "Under Pressure" and "Ice ice baby" are there to torture people. And all songs of Justin Beiber and Nickelback. "
The face Steve had made her understand that she said something wrong, and most certainly in his head, it sounded like one name of some country band. He was lucky enough to never heard those catchy songs that are impossible to get out of the head.
"Cause if you like the way you look that much, Oh, baby, you should go and love yourself,"  she hummed, she was missing every single note, because despite being a musician, she couldn't sing at all and, telling the truth, Dana didn't make a fuss about it.
Quite the opposite. Dana knew a girl - Janet was her name. Janet had a music talent; she was an excellent pianist, yet at the Conservatoire, she took it into her head to study singing. "When I play the piano, I sit facing a foreign, unfriendly object. The music doesn't belong to me  - it belongs to that black instrument facing me. But when I sing, my own body changes into a piano, and I turn into music." It wasn't her fault that she had a voice so weak it ruined everything: she failed to become a soloist, and all that remained of her musical career for the rest of her life was participation in an amateur choir that she attended twice a week for rehearsals and joined a few times a year for concerts.
Janet got married too fast, when it only became possible, but after two years, her marriage ended in ruin, despite all the goodwill she had poured into it. Indeed, her very wealthy husband (well, he was a filthy rich businessman that was at least triple of his six - if Dana knew the full story - wife's age) to get rid of her, had to leave her a beautiful apartment and to pay her a large amount of alimony so that she was able to set up a stylish fur shop. She ran it with a talent for the business that surprised everyone; however, this pedestrian, all too materialistic success was not capable of rectifying the wrong that had been done to her on a higher, spiritual and emotional plane.
Jannet, the divorcee, went through many men; she had the reputation of being a passionate lover and pretended that these loves were a cross she carried through life. "I have known many men," she would often say, in such a melancholy and pathetic way that it sounded like a complaint against fate. Jannet was a true bitch.
"I think that that Thin White Duke just sad, cause he lost the battle to the black side last year. Michael Jackson just had flattened him. Oh, that fast?"
She thought the road would take a lot of time, but they were either running or just were too interested in the conversation. Or both, for sure, it was both. It turned out that Steven hadn't even heard about Electric Light Orchestra and their Mr. Blue Sky, and Prince's Purple Rain was left out because of a lack of confidence with such a new song. ("A new one, my ass," thought Dana fighting with an urge to laugh), yet they managed to set some playlist, and it looked like a crazy patchwork quilt. A bit from here, a sample from there. But no matter how much Dana hated to perform without proper preparation, without any rehearsals, it wasn't that bad. They didn't fucked up. They were not booed by about a hundred demonstrators.
Steven hadn't lied about his abilities to rock. He was a good guitarist, not Jimmy Hendricks or Howard Allman, of course. Steven was a bit more of Eric Clapton - too slow handed for her, that took autotune and electronic sound and tons of takes for granted, packed in a laptop of any single teenager that want to storm the castle of Youtube or Tiktok, while the raw talents were inseparable from fakes. Here live in the center of L.A. nightlife, there wasn't a second chance to make the first impression. She let the man start and choose what's next because she wasn't confident enough in time. Yet they were showing off.
It was a tough start.  At first, there was a bit of mess up because Dana took "Don't Let Me Down" as the song of Chainsmokers, not the Beatles. She had no idea that the second one existed. But then everything was ok. It was like putting on the old pair of shoes, too comfortable to throw away, but ugly. But maybe it was just her taste of music because the others seemed to like. Out of the corner of her eye, she watched their audience... Working in the orchestra, where she needed to obey the Chief conductor as well as take into account the other instruments, has made her a multitasker, so she could play and pay attention to the world at the same time. First, the people were surprised, well, if not shocked, because let's be honest, their duo was weird. Steven looked like a typical frontman of some tribute band with a name like Blood Pollution or Steel Dragon. She was just an alien with a poor disguise in the costume of some cheap sci-fi drama. She saw people frown without understanding. Dana could read the neon letters of "What the heck is going on?" on their faces.
Little Dana had known of any facet of the lives and work of journeymen musicians of the 80's — who they were, what music they played, in what types of ensembles performed, how much were paid, how they were hired, and, most important, how vital their existence was for the next generation. Nowadays, in the eighties, there was a heatwave of new music.  It was the roaring twenties before the great depression of the time she was living in. Seriously, Vocaloids were the last shift, and they were invented in twenty-oh-four. Dana smiled, wondering if she really was there, or it was just a weird dream.
But then the rarified crowd came closer, closer, a bit too much closer, crossing the line of curiosity, so she had to think of the other things. Dana had to dash away from one guy, as his eyes became at risk of getting poked out by her bow.
"Oh, gracias," she laughed with a nice mocking curtsy, her fingertips were red with visible friction traces left from strings, but she was ready to start the  second round until the real blood will come out,  "You were nice, too."
For a second, Dana thought Steven was about ruining the perfect day by musical's cliche - a kiss. But it wasn't that kind of movie where people fell in love at first sight and became blessed by all the stars or eagle-sized-white-winged angels with feathers slowly losing their power (Is Michael with John Travolta a musical or not Dana didn't remember, but she knew the song from it was a good one). They were not in any movie, yet Steven's behavior of an adult, not a foolish dreamer, made her chest ache for some unknown reason as if it was ripped open by some clawed paws.
"Maybe, if you spend that amount of time I've spent rankling the violin, you can play it better... Nineteen years non-stop, my dear. Every single fucking day with no breaks for tea. Musical school, then years in Conservatory. Cheers." 
She clinked the brown bottles with Steven and made a sip. The beer tasted like an armpit, but she made herself swallow with a visible effort. But the euphoria of the small success already faded, as Dana was hit heavily by the reality once again.
"I don't think it's possible to walk me home. I live in New York, and forty years later," she said bitterly. Oh, she really wished the second part of her sentence wasn't the truth. It could be a joke to brush off some pushy guy that was on a hunt for a new barbie-toy for one or two nights, but she indeed just popped out of the blue uninvited. Nowhere to go and no place to call home. She was facing a miserable fate of spending the rest of the night in a telephone box if she finds one.
"Told you that at the beginning of our evening. So...if you promise to keep your hands to yourself... and exclude alcohol, why not?"  she stood on her knees to put her violin back in the case, well, after she pulled out everything the others put in it. The brown wood was still warm from her body when she closed the locks with a loud click. When she was standing up, Dana faltered for a moment and knocked down the half-empty bottle. The beer spilled right on the asphalt, making an awfully smelly puddle.
"But first things first. Aren't you suppose to return the instrument to the owner?"  She was too excited to sleep, honestly on her inner clock, it was the children's time, so she could walk around until the sunrise, and she had the right company.
"As far as I heard from the street, they were partying, I don't have the invitation, but if I walk in arm in arm with you, they won't notice, I hope. Come on, it's cold outside, and I promise to be a wallflower!" [NIC]Dana Barret[/NIC]
[LZ1]ДАНА БАРРЕТ, 25 y.o.
profession: вторая скрипка симфонического оркестра;

Отредактировано Romana Wilson (2020-10-04 17:30:02)



Steve didn't know what else he could possibly say, so he was just standing there, waiting for Dana's answer. Personally, he was okay with both ways: if she agreed to stay with him till the morning, they could have some fun time watching movies, drinking booze and smoking weed, maybe kissing eventually, but to be honest, Dana didn't look like the type to engage in intimacy with half-strangers and she made her point very clear at that, so Steve had little hope but didn't feel upset over it. Otherwise, if the girl had to leave, he could walk her home and learn her address, which would let him check her phone number in phone directory later and give a chance to potential new meetings. One thing Steve knew for sure: he didn't want to lose the trail of this girl.
The response his fellow musician provided, though, wasn't something Steve had expected.
- What do you mean? You're not local? - he looked puzzled, but this expression quickly changed to excitement. - Wait, are you really from New York? Shit, that's so cool! Big city, right? Are you somewhere from Broadway street? Hold on... - Steve frowned, confused again. - Forty years later? How so?
He tried to remember their first conversation. Back then he believed the girl was struggling with her grip on reality, but now his suspicions turned void - no matter how skillful or gifted, no one would ever play like Dana did under the influence of anything even slightly affecting human mind. Jimmy Page himself fucked up his guitar solo when the Zeppelins went on stage high, let alone numerous semiprofessional rock stars desperately reaching for fame and falling into the drug pit instead.
- You, uh... you're not kidding me, right? - Steve was staring at the girl's face, but the look she was giving to him wasn't an evil one. Her whole facial mimics didn't show a single hint of a smirk or a smile; no, that's not how people pull pranks on each other. Dana meant every word she said. However crazy it sounded.
- So you're, like... what, from the future? - Steve folded his arms. - And... why are you here? Did you come to kill someone or prevent a disaster?
Sci-fi movies taught the audience that time travelers usually had a solid reason for making such risky trips; when Steve thought of someone to actually go back in time on an important state mission, he imagined a man, big and strong, some kind of a spy agent armed with enough guns to kill the whole population of California. Dana seemed nowhere near this image. Who would send a fragile violin player to save the world?
- Did the government send you here? Are you on a mission? - Steve was babbling questions so fast he hardly had enough time to breathe. - Why a violin? Is it some kind of a secret weapon? Can it shoot? Do you have a time machine? Hey, girl! I can help you, you know! - certainly Steve was as far from being a good soldier as possible (he despised the US army and didn't own a gun), but since he couldn't immortalize his name in a rock'n'roll hall of fame, he could become famous for helping a secret agent from the future save the world! Of course, saving the world isn't fun like partying - in fact, it must be quite exhausting - but he could get rich! All the girls would love him for his brave actions! All the guys would envy his money and status!
- Shit, Dana, you have to take me with you! I won't tell anyone, I swear! Where do we start with? With that party? - Steve offered a cunning smile. - Are we gonna spy on someone? You got the right person, girl! I know everyone for miles around! Just stay close to me and we'll be cool!
Steve's joy faded quickly when Dana started explaining her situation. No, she wasn't a federal agent. No, she wasn't on a mission. Too bad. The anticipation of great adventures gave space to bitter disappointment, and for a moment Steve looked like a young kid who didn't get the Christmas gift he was hoping for. It took him some time, but the guy finally got himself together, and the disappointment also went away, giving way to concern. Dana was indeed lost, but on a much larger scale then he had imagined.
- Okay, - he took a noisy inhale of the fresh night air and tried to make things clear here, - you just... randomly woke up in a different year? But how is this shit possible? Did you... I dunno, are you sure you didn't see anything strange or weird? Some technologies? Magic? Whatever? Could there be a portal into another dimension? It's just... I believe you, I really do, but it's all just too fucking confusing, you know?
Steve reached for his cigarettes and smoked, still thinking.
- Forget the guitar, I can return it any time, Chuck is a nice guy. I mean, he will probably kick my butt, but he won't be mad forever. He's a kind soul. But you, - he pointed his finger at the girl, - what about you? Like, whatcha gonna do now? You gotta come back home at some point, right? Is there a way for you to do so? Or are you, like, stuck here for good?
Again, Steve had always thought of time travelers as really cool guys who knew what they were doing, but now he was staring at the girl who was none of that. He felt truly sorry for her; just imagine this - being separated from your family and friends, your home, all your stuff and basically everything you know and thrown into the world full of unfamiliar and unknown shit. Must be super stressful.
- I really think it's better if you come with me, - Steve finally said, enjoying the cigarette smoke, - since you've got no other place to go anyway. You need to rest, and then we can figure out our plan, alright? 
[NIC]Steve Cooper[/NIC][STA]I wanna rock[/STA][AVA]https://i.imgur.com/Bkib5bP.jpg[/AVA][SGN]There's only one thing I can say to you:
I wanna rock!
profession: party boy[/LZ1]



One thing always leads to the other, but Dana hadn't had a single thought of why she ended in the middle of the second part of the twentieth century. The only one who could shed some much-needed light on the situation was that man - the wizard or whatever - she was talking in her sleep if she was sleeping and not in some not in timeline Limbo at that moment. Yet he was out of reach, and the only word Dana was sure she heard from him was "perspective." He wasn't talking about drawing, was he?  It wasn't a part of such topics as one-, two-, and three-point perspective, shadows, reflections, and stuff like that. Dammit, the thing that Steven was bombarding her with questions wasn't helpful. First of all, they were childish, she guessed. Did she really look like a Catwoman or a Supergirl? The existence of science fiction, of course, had made the ease with which she was believed to be telling the truth impressive. But she wasn't a spy or a hero, or agent or anyone else. She was just a girl who slipped in time without any reason or objective.
"No, I'm not a robot, and I'm not a Timecop or an agent with two zeros; the world would be a great place if real gender equality was a thing in forty years." she shook her head.  Needless to say, Dana herself would be happy to be an agent in the field with explicit and strict instructions of what she should do: to kill a bad guy, to save a princess, and so on. It was what happened in any time-travel story - a mission to accomplish. But what kind of legation a person like her could perform?
Since she was a child, even a toddler, music was the rotational center of her universe. It was a copy-book maxim: if you want to get something, you should work hard for it. Most people had the opposite view saying: "if you have to work hard at something, you're probably not very good at it," but even Mozart had to be taught music before he became a consummate musician. An she wasn't Mozart, she didn't have even a half of his talent, so the only way was to practice, practice and practice once again until her fingers bleed and until Dana was able to play what was needed from any note of the score. That was her way of living, living for music, and for nothing else. Technically, she hadn't even had friends. Mates, yes, but... was a place of second worth violin nineteen years of some sort of isolation? This morning the answer was: "Hell, yes!" but now she wasn't that sure.
"Yes. I'm sure. Nothing sparkling or old as fuck... Didn't saw the lights either. At first, I thought that I was hit by the car, still not sure that's not true. Then I decided that I'm sleeping. So I tell myself I'm in one of those nightmares and patiently wait for the guns or snakes to show up. "
Dana crossed her hands on her chest, mirroring the protective pose, and shugged... She could spend the rest of her life searching both the way out and that man, like a loony psycho.  But, honestly, with a clear, rational mind, she could come up only with one option of that is needed to be done - she had to adapt to the place she ended up in. No cellphones, no Internet until the rest of her life, but instead, Dana had quite an amount of knowledge. She could put some money into Apple or Microsoft stocks, or wager money on some unpredictable things such as Eurovision winners. In these circumstances, she didn't need to have a job at all. Yet, Dana didn't want to put her violin on the shelf.
"That's finally a good question... I'm planning to buy a newspaper that has obituaries, find there a random name of some dead girl around my age, and claim myself for her. More or less. Get new documents, find a job. And pretend that I was born in nineteen sixty. Everything else is not the major essentials. Being a busker suits me fine but as temporal measures."
She was grateful for the offered help, but she had no idea of the rules of actual time travel. One line, like in Greek tragedy, butterfly effect, multiple universes, spreading like a tree crown - there were tons of options. She had to be really careful with what she does, and whom she's speaking with. Otherwise, at the very least, she's going to change the world, at worse made herself never born, creating such a paradox that the second Big Bang will happen ahead of schedule. Probably, she shouldn't even talk to Steven, because he needed to be somewhere else, while now he was here, smoking Marlboro Lights. Screw them all!
Dana grabbed him by the wrist and took a draw on that cigarette too. It was a small act of rebellion more out of a wish to act like everything is okay. She didn't need another dose of nicotine so soon.
"I wish I knew the answers, but... I hope it's a nightmare, or I'm in a coma, that's the reasonable explanation of how I ended up in the eighties. You know, they say in all dreams our brain uses faces that it has already seen. And there was a tv-show this morning about spiritists that claimed to be able to talk to dead people. I mean, how old you should be in twenty twenty-fourth year? Sixty?... Sixty-seven? Pretty sure your handsome face was on some poster from the music magazine way back in my childhood. Maybe you are a frontman of the one-hit-wonder band with style like that;  otherwise, I'd knew your name, and that whole shit wouldn't work. No offense, man, but the entire situation is insane, and I'm plenty scared of closing my eyes. There's a decent chance the next time I woke up the year there would be a nineteen forty-four or... home, but in hospital."
[LZ1]ДАНА БАРРЕТ, 25 y.o.
profession: вторая скрипка симфонического оркестра;



The smoke was quivering in a graceful line, joined by Dana's little cloud of exhaled cigarette vapor. Steve fought a desperate sigh and swallowed the air down instead of letting it our together with the smoke. The girl was right in every word; the whole situation was reeking of insanity and bad acid trips. Only, they both were quite sober (save for the beer they just had) and more or less sane. Also they both were confused and, to be frank, kinda scared; at least Steve started feeling a rather uncomfortable feeling of responsibility slowly creeping up his spine - the feeling that always scared him half to death.
Steve, this silly guy who enjoyed drinking, having fun and playing music, couldn't keep his own place tidy (and the size of his apartments didn't really matter here, even ridiculously cramped rooms ended up being a total chaotic mess, a mixture of empty pizza boxes, beer bottles and other nonsense junk). He could never keep a steady job for longer than a couple of months; in other words, Steve couldn't even truly take care of himself, let alone a pet and - lest of all - another human being! 
Nonetheless, this is what he had to do now, regardless of his wishes and disrupted peace of mind. Dana was actually thinking surprisingly straight for someone in her shoes, showing much more willpower than Steve had ever had. She had already created a plan, which sounded logical yet super lonely and depressing, because according to this plan Dana was sentencing herself to a life in the past. Which in its turn meant losing everything he's ever possessed and valued, very basic things like friends and family, any achievements and success and so on. One would probably face no problem looking for a place to live here in Los-Angeles, a huge city full of tourists and aspiring young talents; someone was always eager to get a roommate to share the rent, so accommodation was not a big issue - as long as you had money, that is. But what about friends? And family? Even stupid dorks like Steven had some loved ones, those people who sincerely loved him and cared for him - his mom, for instance. Dana, on the other hand, had no one. Sure thing, being a pretty girl like she was, she would surely find a boy, a group of fellow musicians or something, but even Steve knew that finding good friends - real friends, like Chucky - wasn't easy. It would take time, and meanwhile she was still just a homeless girl with a violin.
- Nah-nah-nah, sis, you're not in coma, - he energetically shook his head, making his long hair fly in all directions, - if you had a bad dream, that would make me your hallucination, right? While I'm not a hallucination, I'm a true person, like, a human you know, of flesh and blood, of that I'm sure! But, honestly, that might be the only thing I'm sure of right now...
Steve threw the cigarette on the ground and stepped hard on it, making the burning-red end die out. As he was pressing his shoe on whatever was left of the cigarette, he tried to picture the world Dana was describing - this distant future of 2020, forty years later... Will the cars be flying? Will the virtual reality be a thing? How much will the world change? Imagining the unknown was both intriguing and creepy, especially when it came to Steve himself. Sixty fucking years, that's crazy! Will he even live that long? Steve had to stop right there, since he didn't really want to see himself as an old fart with withered skin and a beer belly. Nope, thanks. He'd rather die young and pretty.
- So you think my face is handsome, huh? - Steve winked and laughed; it was his clumsy way to light up the atmosphere. He wasn't anything close to a psychologist, and his poor vocabulary couldn't provide sufficient words to create a calming phrase containing all the right words, but he wanted to cheer the girl up and tried his best in his own sick manner of typical American youth humour. He hoped it was working its magic. - Hey, - he gave Dana a wide smile of encouragement, - quit thinking of hospitals, will ya? You're very much alive and well, moreover, girl, you're young, beautiful and talented - you know what it takes to hit a jackpot like this? You've got all you need to find your place in life, here or there, and a good one, too! Like, maybe you can become a famous violin player, who knows? 80's is a great time, for real! I mean, we're still in a what they call a cold war with the Russians, so that sucks, but Ronald Reagan is taking care of that, so I hope we'll avoid the WWIII kind of things. Then we have a lot of cool TV shows, and Walkman released their first music cassette player that you can, like, actually put in your bag and take with you! Isn't it awesome? You don't need a radio anymore! Just insert a cassette, push the button and listen to your favourite tracks! You can borrow mine for a few days if you want, no kidding, - Steve showed extreme generosity with that offer, by the way.
- Let's chill for tonight, - Steve elbowed Dana's side with a smirk, - and tomorrow we can think of your plan. All those documents and stuff. I think I know a guy who makes fake IDs...
They started walking towards Steve's place. He stopped to buy a newspaper just like Dana wanted, and they spent some time reading it and discussing the names.
- Here, look at this one, - Steve tapped the page with his fingertip, - Nancy Fishmongers. Fishmongers! What kind of a last name is that? Would be hilarious to have, though! Hey, and what do you think of Deidre Potter? Deidre sounds like Dana in a way... ouch! - he got lost in reading and totally forgot to pay attention to his surroundings. The surroundings were not to blame, anyway - the fall would be exclusively Steve's own fault since he somehow managed to step on his own shoelaces. The fall didn't happen thanks to Dana, who caught the guy by the arm and helped him to quickly get the balance back. They stared at each other and burst into loud simultenious laughter.
Finally they reached his doorstep. Steve felt weirdly uneasy; it was the first time he brought a girl home for a purpose other than spending a night in his bed. He opened the door and let the guest enter first, suddenly becoming aware of the mess and all the trash he was going to take out but never did.
-Uh... - he scratched his head, slightly embarrassed, - welcome, I guess... You wanna eat something? I can order a pizza. But only if you agree to a double cheese topping.
[NIC]Steve Cooper[/NIC][STA]I wanna rock[/STA][AVA]https://i.imgur.com/Bkib5bP.jpg[/AVA][SGN]There's only one thing I can say to you:
I wanna rock!
profession: party boy[/LZ1]



Steven turned out a surprisingly sane person. Maybe, he was a bit doltish, living his life in the vicious circle of partying and hanging around like a plastic bag in the wind, but in some things, he was bloody right. If she is half-dead - she will found it out eventually, if not and really in the eighties, well she's dammed and had to deal with the whole new-old world around. The young man was so furiously shaking his head that Dana has begun to worry that he's going to break his neck. Was it even legal to look like a Hungarian sheepdog and act the same way - like a dog that just has run out of a pond?
"Maybe," Dana said in a reedy voice, and then she laughed fully and long and until she was doubled over in glee and stopped only to just about catch her breath and prevent herself from falling to the ground.
"Do you really think that a hallucination would admit that it is indeed one?" Unfortunately, things don't work this way, and that impassioned speech didn't change her attitude. The situation was, of course, a shitty one, but there was already a silver lining showing.  Honestly, she had to stop caring about her old life and start dealing with all the stuff around. Things might be worse than they were. In less than twenty-four hours, she found herself sort of friend that could help her, more or less to fit right in, which is no small feat, let me tell you. Telling the truth that pep talk had made Dana understand that she has great power in her hands and with the great power comes great responsibility.
"No third war, that's true, but wait for... Oh, I don't think it's right to tell those things, but watch for Apple. They will make themselves
known one day."

They say that big cities never sleep, but any single living being needed at least four hours of nap out of twenty-four. Dana was in such courage that she didn't think she would be able to pass out. She was scared, was shocked, a bit overwhelmed, and telling the truth, she still had no good reason to trust the man she's just met. Her bad-guy radar was silent, though, but it might be as well not working adequately because of sensual overload. She had never traveled in time before.
On the other hand, Steven seemed to be a nice person. He was that kind of dork that is always popular, no idea how or why even in the middle of high school. She never wondered where do they disappear by the time their classmates turn thirty, but she couldn't memorize anyone of that kind. Maybe their paths never crossed, or they all are unofficial members of "Club 27".
Dana was quite surprised to find out that it is no problem to buy yesterday's newspaper at two in the morning. No problem at all, while in her time, it was hard even to find a working newspaper stand in the afternoon. Why would you need one when you can simply google the news up or even scroll down the feed on Twitter to found all you need to know? But there was a lot more life in reading the real newspaper than just a text on the screen. Yes, it helped to save forests, but the pages smelt of history. It was a strange specific smell only cheap, never completely penetrating the paper, heat set inks had. The paint was leaving black smears on their fingers, but it was fine, as it hadn't bothered them.
Dana was amused by the fact that so many people had strange names, but baby-boomers were a completely different generation with a completely different way of thinking. She used to think that the most bizarre name possible is Uther Coldpepper (despite being a king-like, it did belong to jeune homme subtil with the overbite, silly mustache, and thoracolumbar scoliosis), but Nancy Fishmongers had beaten it. Unfortunately, the newspaper ad hadn't had a photo of that woman, but who for now cared? That woman was too old to be pretended as. Steven somehow managed to show the way and to read at the same time - a remarkable skill Dana wished she had when she was a student.
"Oh, come on, you're not that drunk to trip over your own feet!" For some random stranger with a camera them to see, they were. Telling the truth, they wouldn't catch his tired and irritated eye if they hadn't been laughing like the madhouse runaways.
"Honestly, put it down! Otherwise, you'll get a hole in your head." They were standing in the ray of yellow light coming from the streetlamp with a broadsheets newspaper, and they were carrying musical instruments - a strange representation of modern  youth with nothing but the air in brains.  Neither Dana nor her companion heard a click of the camera shutter.
A narrow and steep staircase has brought them to the door. The final destination of the walk was right behind it. All the careless limpness immediately disappeared from Steven, and he started to look like he will soon get his knickers in a twist. He dropped his keys. Twice. And when they finally got inside, he couldn't find the switch. When the light belatedly was turned on, she understood what kind of problem they were about to face. Well, the flat - a small room with a single barred window looked like a den, or for a more precise characterization, Dana would say it was a lair of a dumpster rat. She could see pizza boxes and magazines, and plastic bottles, and all those stuff was creating towers as well as a full dynamic ecosystem. In any other situation as a snub to this hell, she'd started a big cleaning up. The man should feel shame for living like a pig! But this time, the reason was different.
"Whatever. Is there something important in those archaeological remains? Autographs on napkins? Newspapers with your mates' photos? There is a need to clear at least a patch in the middle, to put another box."
Dana rolled up her sleeves and looked at the front of the work. It wasn't too much work to do. But she wasn't sure she won't find a new species right there.
She yawned, surprised to be growing tired so soon like someone just pushed the "off" button, and covered her mouth with her palm. She yawned again, broadly this time, and mumbled half intelligibly behind her hand, "Excuse me."
[LZ1]ДАНА БАРРЕТ, 25 y.o.
profession: вторая скрипка симфонического оркестра;

Отредактировано Romana Wilson (2020-10-14 22:02:07)



Steve felt that Dana wasn't very excited about the place she found herself in, but since she didn't have any other choice she had to play nice, which she did. He sheepishly shook his head:
- Nah, nothing too important, maybe some phone numbers, but it's not like I'm gonna need them anyway, - phone numbers of some naive girls who desperately hoped for another date and a proper romance, not realizing that Steve had already taken from them what he needed. He wasn't going to give Dana that many details, though, - it's just, uh, it's just junk. I know I'm a rather messy guy, you see, hee-hee...
The girl looked like she was seriously ready to start the cleaning routine, and Steve jumped in horror, almost catching his guest by her wrists to make sure she wouldn't touch anything:
- Woah-woah-woah, easy! You're, like, I dunno, my guest? You're not, you know, supposed to... like, clean the shit? I can manage. It's fine, really. All good. You just sit down and pick a pizza. I think I had the menu sheet somewhere around here...
It took him quite some time to find the right paper amongst all the trash pieces, but he finally did and handed the sheet with a list of pizza toppings to the girl. She looked tried, Steve noticed, and who could blame her? Time travelling must be an exhausting experience.
While Dana was going through the list, Steve kept his word and cleared a small part of his table by knocking all the garbage down on the floor. It wasn't something you could call cleaning, but it worked for now, and in a couple of minutes he was already calling his favourite pizzeria to order the delivery.
- Well, let's hope the delivery guy tonight ain't Nick, - he chuckled, - this man is slower than a pregnant snail, and I've worked an appetite! I hope it's Brian's shift tonight. He'll be here faster than you blink. This guy is totally supersonic! 
Fortunately for them, Brian was indeed in charge for the delivery that night, so the pizza arrived shortly, and pretty soon two musicians, two ridiculously different people from two different worlds (quite literally), were sitting on the sofa, eating pizza and joking about silly things - it was a much needed relaxation for both of them, just a casual carefree conversation. Steve, of course, brought a few extra beer bottles from the fridge, since he believed pizza and beer went perfectly together and one couldn't exist without the other, and offered Dana to take as many as she liked, too. All the problems, troubles and worries of today were slowly turning into background noise; they would think about all that shit later.
Leaving the now empty pizza box and beer bottles on the same table, Steve showed Dana the way to his bedroom. He usually accompanied the girls he brought home in bed, but Dana surely was a very different case, so he just let her sleep there and returned back to the couch. Still sensing the aroma from the pizza box, he quickly fell asleep, not bothering to take his clothes off.
He woke up to a sudden loud noise, something like a thunder clap or a gunshot, which made Steve jump and clumsily fall to the floor. Trying to regain his balance, the poor guy hit his head against the table, muttered a bad word under his breath and finally got back to his feet, looking around in confusion. Everything seemed to be in order just like the night before - all the junk was in the same place he left it, the pizza box, the bottles... nothing changed. Yet he could swear the sound came from inside his tiny apartment.
- Dana? - Steve called the girl's name, getting anxious. - Dana, are you okay, girl?
He ventured into the bedroom (he forgot all the manners of living together with someone and never thought to knock first) and stared at the empty, neatly folded bed. The same bed he left Dana in just a few hours ago.
- Uh... Dana, where did you go, darling? - he blinked, shaking off the last trails of sleep, and took a good look around the room, realizing Dana's clothes, as well as her violin, were gone, too. Could she just... leave? But how did she manage to creep by the couch without waking him? And what was that freaking noise then?
- Shit, Dana! - more worried than ever, Steve rushed to the front door and ran outside. His own clothes were messy and his hair was even worse, but he didn't care. He ran, not really knowing the direction, calling the girl's name, until he finally bumped into someone riding a skateboard, almost knocking the rider down.
- Damn, - came a frustrated female voice, - what is wrong with you?! Can't you see where you're going?
Steve turned around only to face a pretty black girl, who was kneeling to flip her skateboard back on its wheels.
- Shit, I... - Steve nervously licked his lips, - I'm sorry. I just... lost someone, and...
- Who did you lose? - the girl didn't look that angry anymore.
- My friend... a girl, like, your age maybe...
- You lost a girl? - the stranger frowned in confusion. - Okay, what did she look like?
Steve tried to remember the clothes Dana was wearing, but suddenly all he could think of was this cute tanned face with enormous deep dark-brown eyes. After all... he enjoyed the crazy, mind-blowing adventures he shared with Dana yesterday, and his understanding of this reality had to change a little, but still if she left... well, she made her decision then, didn't she?
- Nevermind, - Steve casually waved his hand and smiled at the girl, - I think I've just found exactly what I was looking for.
- What? - the girl laughed, covering her mouth with a charmingly petite hand. - This is the worst pick-up line I've ever heard. Really.
- But it made you smile, - Steve knew his ways around conversations, - totally worth it.
The girl could be thinking whatever she wanted about his words - nothing could change the obvious interest in her eyes, so Steve went on:
- What's your name?
- Angela, - she replied without much hesitation, confirming her friendly attitude.
- Cool name, Angela. Nice to meet you. I'm Steve.
They continued the route together, Angela slowly riding her skateboard, so Steve could walk in a comfortable pace beside her.
[NIC]Steve Cooper[/NIC][STA]I wanna rock[/STA][AVA]https://i.imgur.com/Bkib5bP.jpg[/AVA][SGN]There's only one thing I can say to you:
I wanna rock!
profession: party boy[/LZ1]



When Steven was saying he's a messy guy, he was for sure playing down because Dana had seen only really rarely such a clutter. Perhaps, she has never seen one of that kind.  It surprisingly didn't smell like someone had died buried under the stuff: no poor cat or canary, but she wasn't sure that she wouldn't have found a wild rat or a father of Splinter from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles if she actually had started the cleaning up act. Dana hadn't cared much about the fact that whose comics take place in New York or that the rat sensei in later stories became a former human.  First, sometime around the year, she had woken up today, it was a rat. Dana sighed.
"I just... " She stopped mid-sentence, not knowing what she wanted to say. Of course, the situation was far beyond the normal, and the way Steven was acting, spitting out words at hundred miles per hour, was the best proof of it. He looked confused, a bit abashed, too.
"A pregnant snail?" Dana asked. She had heard this phrase before, from someone, the name was on the tip of her tongue, but it disappeared when she tried to say it loud in her thoughts. "Maybe a snail high on opiates? "
It turned out that silly remark was enough to cut the worries for now. Dana felt lightheaded, but they, well, she had some sort of plan of how she was going to survive. Steven seemed to be happy to assist her in exchange for some ideas or even her company. He was a strange guy, indeed, cause he hadn't tried to take advantage of the situation, though the people she used to mess around with would. Maybe she was messing around with the wrong people?
That question was the last thought Dana had in her had before she slipped into the dream. And then snap: she opened her eyes to the sound of an incoming message on her phone. The TV was still on with that awful show nobody except some housewives and people that were working night shifts watched. Dana rubbed her face... it was just another weird dream. Since she moved to New York, she started to have them far too often. Dana but the blame on stress and solitude - she didn't get herself enough friends, it was going to take some time, and a month wasn't enough.
She picked up her mobile and checked what was written. The message was spam - another advertising from another shop with a discount card needed once in a lifetime and lost years ago. Fine. She had a splitting headache, looking very much like a hangover, and she slept for half of an hour at most, but her body was telling her she didn't sleep at all for at least twenty hours. She could just lay down and get a nap until the next morning, no - she got work to do. She was a part of the stupid orchestra, with all those ambitious people that were stuck there forever,  telling the truth. Eventually, she'll become a fiddle, hopefully soon, but what is going to be next? Dana had no answer for that. She shook her head. Of course, she knew. The world doesn't end in New York Philharmonic.  Dana made herself a cup of coffee, left another dirty mug in the sink, promising that she would deal with all of them later and get out with an urge to walk to her work rather than take a train.
Days were passing like frames in a film; she lost count of them too soon. Autumn, winter with its sleet rather than actual snow, spring that smelled like a dead body or a soccer team laundry. In the winter, some famous photographer died, and his immediate heirs dug into his archives, fishing out the photos that were not supposed to be shown to the world. They arranged a post mortem exhibition. Dana wasn't interested in photography, but one of the colleagues that already was there insisted on so much, she couldn't say no to him. Ben said that something is shocking there. Dana lost herself in conjectures what could it be in photos of random strangers that make him say so.
"Please put that frantic Picasso dress."
"That's not a date! "
"Just do as I told. Otherwise, the surprise won't work."
Dana smelled a rat right there. But the thing she didn't expect - was that some of the leaving the exhibition people were giving her some knowing looks. Others looked surprised. She was waiting for the man to solve the problem with the electronic ticketing. And when she understood why Ben was so pushy. On one of the walls was a photo - not so good quality and definitely not the Evelyn-McHale-suicide-level photo. But dammit... The picture coincided with every detail of her dream: the newspaper, the guitar, the face of the man, the violin case - plain black with no stickers. It was a black and white one, like most of them at the exhibition, but she knew the colors.
"Told you..." laughed Ben. "Your mother, I suppose, and her dress."
"No, that's ... that's me."
"In ninety eighty-four?" he pushed his finger to the sign that was saying "Singin' lovebirds. Circa 1984".
"Long story. We, immortals, have lots of troubles in the modern world. Photos are one of them. " Dana half-joked because she had no guts to explain the things she had no explanation of. It was enough to cut the other questions coming from Ben. She hoped that he really believed in this version. Dana, by stealth, took a picture of the photo on her phone before they left.
She returned to LA in summer for the vacation. The city looked just the same as it used to look when she was leaving it a year ago, and slightly different from the Los-Angeles of 1984. Dana had a great plan for her days off - to find that Steven and to apologize for leaving without saying goodbye, though it wasn't her fault. She asked her parents, but they were too young and lived in different places in the eighties - so she relied on the old ways of searching people - asking people that fit the age. She was quite surprised by the fact that all she had to do is ask in the area... And an old man told her where to ask...
The bell jingle was loud - it was too loud for her not to get scared, but the music shop was empty. Even the lights seemed to be dim... She wandered between the shelvings but didn't find anyone.
"Sorry, ma'am, but we're are closed." familiar voice reached her ears.
[NIC]Dana Barret[/NIC]
[LZ1]ДАНА БАРРЕТ, 25 y.o.
profession: вторая скрипка симфонического оркестра;



The summer of 2020 was am extremely controversial time, the man realized, preparing his shop for the night. There was not much to do - thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, the customers opted to order goods online rather than come to the shop in the flesh. The payment turned electronic, so counting the actual funds was a lot faster, but cleaning, nonetheless, became a pain the ass. Just like his dad, he owned and ruled the shop alone, taking care of everything at once - he came here in the morning to prepare for the opening hours, spent there all day, serving the clientele and - when he had some spare time - managing the finances and bureaucracy... Usually cleaning wasn't too hard - the room itself didn't contain too much space, but now, with the new regulations, he had to dust the shelves and wash the floor at least twice a day to protect his customers, which he reluctantly did. He grew up to be more responsible than his father in many cases, yet he hated the double work because it kept him here longer than needed and left him little time for fun and hobbies. He awfully missed his friends and the band practice they typically held every evening; he loved rock music more than anything and, thanks to his dad, taught himself to play the guitar at a very young age. He wasn't too famous, the band occasionally played in local bars, but then he never actually thought of music as a main career option. They had a shop to keep, him and dad, and now he's been managing all of it alone for quite some time.
The bell distracted him from dusting the counter; he left the cloth he was using lying on the desk and jumped over it with the agility of a mountain lion.
- Sorry, ma'am, but we're are closed, - he said, trying to get a better look at the female silhouette hidden from the view by another row of endless shelves.
Yet the woman continued her way, guided by his voice, and finally stepped out of the darkness to face the shop owner. He had to instantly notice the pretty face and slender figure; he couldn't recognize her, probably they've never met before.
Well... on the one hand, the time the clock hanging on the wall was showing seemed way past the working hours, still, on the other hand, he had nothing better to do anyway. Serving a pretty girl with a gentle smile promised to be much more fun than polishing the shelves.
- Well, since you're already inside anyway, how can I help you? - the owner smiled and flipped his hair, long waves of small black curls he took after his black mother, trying to get at least a part of it out of his face. - Are you looking for something special or?..
He was expecting the stranger guest to give him a name of some band or artist, maybe, to ask for a piece of advice, but instead she introduced herself and requested completely different information.
- Uh... you mean Steven Cooper, right? - his tanned face frowned in confusion. Sure thing, his dad was known for keeping interest in beautiful ladies up to his last moments, but this girl seemed too young. Besides, she hadn't heard the news. - He's my father - was my father, - he quickly corrected himself, - he died over a year ago now. I'm sorry to deliver the sad news, but... yeah. Heart attack. Not quite surprising, to be fair. I'm Dave, by the way. David Cooper - well, just Dave, okay?
Giving Dana a moment to process his words, Dave searched her name in his memories; Dana, Dana... did his father ever mention any Dana? Actually, there was a story... a weird story he told Dave when he was just a little boy, something about a time traveler he met sometime in the 80s... Young David thought it was a made-up thing, like a fairytale, to make him fall asleep faster, because dad never told the same story again. No Danas after that. Huh.
- Ma'am - Dana - can I still do something for you? - he touched her forearm, drawing her attention. - I mean, you must've looked for my father for a reason, right? Just please don't tell me he owed you money, - he gave a soft chuckle and stared at Dana's face with a spark of obvious curiosity, - I haven't seen you around, and, honestly, you don't have a very Californian look. You talk like someone who's spent a lot of time up in the northern states. Am I right?
Having the conversation, Dave leaned on the counter he used to be wiping, totally abandoning his work of tonight.
- New York? No way! You didn't come here all the way from New York, did you? - his face lit up with shock, and he laughed. - Wow! Okay, you got me here! I've never went farther than Texas, what's it like? The Big New York city? Same as advertised?   
Surely they had a lot to discuss; Dana's quest on finding Steve, who was now deceased, and life in New York, the differences it had from the point of a Californian... Dave glanced around, put the cleaning products back in place and turned to face Dana again. Suddenly he got a marvelous idea on how to brighten up the evening.
- Look, I really should close the shop now, but... if you have some free time tonight, maybe we can talk about everything in a better place? You know, more convenient, with music on and nice drinks? I know a couple of places that haven't been closed down yet. We can take a table in the darkest corner so we won't have to worry about social distance. Whatcha say?
Would it be possible for Dana to give another answer?
[NIC]Dave Cooper[/NIC][STA]I wanna rock[/STA][AVA]https://i.imgur.com/eEqZDDH.gif[/AVA][SGN]There's only one thing I can say to you:
I wanna rock!
https://i.imgur.com/Q6RF9s0.gif https://i.imgur.com/vUibk3u.gif
[LZ1]ДЭВИД "ДЭЙВ" КУПЕР, 28 y.o.
profession: music shop owner, rock musician[/LZ1]


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