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Chapter 3: "Music of the Soul"

December 18, 2007|By SARA MARTENS / Pulse Correspondent

Jay's head whipped around as he heard someone approach. He had a wide-eyed, deer-in-the-headlights look as he realized he had an audience. "Nicky!"

Nicky stepped back, slightly shocked and confused by his reaction.

"I'm sorry. I heard music and I thought I'd come over and say, 'Hi,'" her words tumbled out. "I didn't mean to interrupt. I'll just leave." She backed away from him and turned to leave when she heard Jay speak.

"Wait," he said softly.

She turned toward him, not yet moving closer as he continued to speak after a long pause.

"You can stay I was just surprised," he said. "I usually don't let anyone listen to my music. I'm not that good yet." He forced a slight smile.

"I don't believe that for a second," Nicky said. "You're always out here after school."

"I can't play inside," Jay said. "My mom says I play too loud."

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"Well, that was beautiful. Really, it was," Nicky said. "I swear I'm not just saying that." She walked over and sat down next to him.

"Really? Wow. Thanks. That really means a lot," Jay said as he looked up, their eyes meeting for a moment. He blushed and a genuine smile spread across his face. "Tell me what you think of this one," he said, and he began to play again.

The next day at school as she walked down the halls, Nicky saw Claire, her former best friend, and Claire's posse coming toward her. She would have stepped aside to let them pass, but something snapped inside her. Nicky deliberately stepped into Claire's path.

"Move," Claire commanded, ice in her voice.

"No," Nicky said, her voice calm and cool as she stepped closer, "You're not the boss of me, Claire, and I'm not afraid of you."

"Is that so? You should be," Claire answered.

But Nicky did not move. After glaring at Nicky for several seconds that seemed to last an eternity, Claire muttered, "Whatever," and stepped around Nicky. "I'll make you regret this," Claire said, her ice now turned to fire.

"Good luck with that," Nicky said with a slight smirk. She walked away, knowing she had done the right thing.

Sure enough, news of the confrontation with Claire spread around the school quickly. Now that one person had stood up to Claire, a few other girls did, too.

When Nicky arrived home that day, song lyrics bubbled around her brain. She went up to her room and instead of blasting music like she normally did, she sat down with a notebook and pen and began to write out the words.

After an hour of writing and revising, Nicky finished the song. She tore the page out of the notebook and headed next door. She wanted to share the lyrics with Jay.

As she approached his house, she thought she could hear yelling within. She walked around to his back porch. He wasn't there. But a window opened to the kitchen, and Nicky couldn't avoid hearing loud voices inside. Jay's parents.

Nicky began to walk away, guessing this wasn't a good time. Suddenly, a door opened behind her. A voice whispered, "Nicky." It was Jay.

She turned slowly. "I was just leaving, I figured you were busy," she said softly.

"You don't have to go," he asked as he moved closer. "What's in your hand?"

She suddenly blushed bright crimson. "It's nothing really. It's actually kinda dumb," she said.

She put the paper behind her back, but Jay reached around and stole it from her. He sat as he started to read. She stood in deafening silence as he read her work. At last, he looked up at her.

"You wrote this?" he asked. She nodded, afraid to speak. She knew her voice would betray how much his opinion mattered to her. "This is rather good. I mean, with a little work it could be great."

She smiled as his words warmed her heart. She could hardly find words in her joy. "Thanks," she said, and from his smile, she knew he understood.

"Sit down," Jay said. "Let's work on some music to go with it." He picked up his guitar.

They sat there for hours, working on the song and then simply enjoying each other's company. As they sat there, laughing under the stars, Nicky realized she had never been happier.

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