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Rated: E · Short Story · Music · #2315143
When you favourite musician finds you.
Needing to get out and away from the crush of people, Alessia slipped out the back door and headed for one of the trails down to the lake. She was careful to watch out for bears. No sense attracting that kind of attention.

Finding a sheltered outcropping about half a mile out she laid out on the surface of the still warm granite. There was peace here. A breeze ruffled her hair as she uncapped the mild disguise and shook out her heavy layers. There was a freedom in letting loose and dropping her guard.

Her surroundings lulled her into relaxation. She slipped off her shoes and socks, and after rolling up her pants she scooted towards the water, letting her toes dance over the surface before dipping them in.

A loon called out across the lake, followed by an echoing call. So unbelievably tranquil. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly as her eyes moved over the pristine lake rimmed by variegated greens and maple reds. There were no cabins in view. She could almost believe she was completely alone. Now, that was a strange experience. Something she hadn’t experienced in a very long time.

A mist was beginning to form over the water. She'd have to get back before it got too dark. She didn’t relish the thought of making her way along the trail without any light.

Sitting there in the quiet of the evening, she heard a clear voice rise up in song. She could hear the strumming of a guitar. Someone was out there. Someone with a gorgeous, pure voice. The voice held her transfixed as she recognized the song as one of hers. Beautiful with only a guitar as accompaniment. Memories of writing that song. The pure joy of it brought tears to her eyes.

She longed to know who the singer was. She followed the horizon with her eyes, not sure if the person was close by or across the lake. There was real talent there. Something like that should not be hidden away. But how on earth would she find her? The area was so vast.

When the final notes drifted away on the breeze, Alessia reluctantly made her way back to the resort. She vowed she would find that singer.

It didn’t take her long to discover a local bar was holding an open mic night on Tuesday. The next problem was trying to infiltrate and not make a big scene. So far people around the resort hadn't been star-struck or overwhelmed.

She’d find a way to get there and if she was lucky this mystery singer would come out and perform.

Dani arrived early so that she could put her guitar in the back for later. If it wasn't too crazy, maybe her boss would let her perform tonight. Tuesdays were usually slow, but the open mic events had been drawing in a crowd.

She'd been practicing a new song. One of Alessia Cara's. She'd managed to come up with a pretty amazing acoustic version of it. She'd also written a few new songs. With any luck she'd have the guts to do those tonight as well. If her stomach wasn't so tied up in nervous energy, maybe she'd get out there and show her stuff. Stop hiding in the shadows.

Tonight's open mic had drawn in even more people. As Dani wove her way through the tables, delivering orders and dodging roving hands, she was impressed by the talent tonight. Better than most nights. She still held a glimmer of hope that her boss would give her a chance. That's all she needed. Maybe if she did well she could get some regular time up there performing.

Some of her customers were proving to be a bit too touchy feely for her tastes and after a word to her boss and Austin, the main bouncer, she managed to get some of the guys to cool it. Austin had moved himself over to her side of the bar.

A little after ten another group came in. There were a couple of big beefy guys leading the way. They almost seemed to be holding court around a few young ladies. Nobody she'd recognize. When they had settled in she headed over to take their orders. All the big guys ordered pop. A sign that they were more than just big, muscular guys. They were clearly protecting someone.

Everyone else in their group ordered a few fancier drinks.

"Have we missed any of the acts?" one of the women wearing a ball cap asked as Dani began to move away.

She turned back and smiled at the woman. "No, they should be starting momentarily. You want to go up?"

The woman smiled and shook her head, "no not me. I just want to listen."

"I might," the woman beside her giggled.

Dani nodded, "This crowd is pretty good. Even if you have a little case of the nerves they cheer you on. Nobody gets booed or Austin over there kicks you out." She motioned towards the bouncer and he winked at her.

When she returned with the drinks she took a closer look at the women in the group. Something tickled at a memory or seemed familiar about the one woman. There was nothing overly remarkable about her, but her voice had a note of something she should know, but couldn't place. It was probably nothing.

As the evening rolled along, Dani found herself singing along with the performers as she waited for her drinks to be made. She loved the energy these open mic nights brought out. Not everyone was great, but they all had guts and that inspired her.

At one point she turned around to find the woman with the ball cap standing not too far from her. "Hey," she said, "you gonna try out?"

The woman smiled, "Just looking for the ladies room."

Dani directed her then moved back into the swell of customers.

That was her. That had to be her. Alessia thought as she stood there trying to figure out where the voice was coming from. The place was a madhouse, but that voice had cut through to her soul, she just needed to figure out who. When she almost bumped into the server, the voice slipped away and Alessia almost cried at having lost the sound bite, but then the young server spoke. This close to her, she felt certain; the voice belonged to this petite waitress.

She denied 'trying out' but inanely asked the direction of the ladies room. When the younger woman moved away, she moved over to the bar. "That server, the one that was just here. What's her name?"

The man grumbled out, "Dani," then began to move away.

"Is she singing tonight?" Alessia asked and watched the man stop and turn back to her.

"Dani?" he said again, then laughed, "she's a waitress, though she keeps asking to sing. I keep telling her if it ain't too busy, but as you can see it's pretty hopping in here."

"I really want to hear her. If I give you a good tip would you let her?"

The man narrowed his gaze at her and looked about to call her crazy before Alessia waved a fifty dollar bill at him. His eyes widened and he nodded as he reached out to take the bill. She held it firm, until he added, "she can have the last spot."

Nodding, Alessia let the bill go, but not before saying this was just between the two of them. He nodded and shrugged. No matter to him. He was fifty bucks ahead.

When Dani came back around to bring the drinks she was glowing. Alessia couldn't resist asking, "what's up?'

"My boss finally said I could perform tonight. I got the last spot."

It was just before last call when Dani was called up to the stage. She had shucked off her apron and grabbed up a shiny, well loved guitar. She looked nervous, but seriously energized. The first few strums of her guitar had her re-centering herself on the stool. She took a moment to close her eyes and when she reopened them her voice was clear and confident as she announced the song she was going to sing. After a few hoots and hollers of encouragement she began.

Her voice filled the space and for a moment everything seemed suspended. Alessia grabbed the hand of her friend beside her as if to say, see I told you so.

The bar, normally a whirlwind at this time of night, seemed to settle in and really listen. When she finished the crowd clapped and applauded like a madhouse. Several people called for more.

"I do have another, but... it's one of my own," she told the audience who seemed more than happy to listen.

When her voice moved on to the next song, Alessia could not believe it. The woman was not only a very talented singer, but a genuinely phenomenal songwriter as well. The audience was spellbound. When she finished, the crowd hooped and hollered with the roar of clapping. Dani flushed rosy behind her radiant smile.

By the time she headed off the stage to help with the last call, many were still cheering. Her boss was looking at her, speechless. She smiled at him as she grabbed her tray of drinks and headed for the back table.

When she reached the group, the woman with the baseball cap waved her over. She delivered the drinks and moved over to her expecting another order.

"You are the person I heard singing at the lake the other night." Dani looked down at her, her eyes wide with surprise. She hadn't realized anyone had heard. "I'd love to mentor you. You have real talent. I'll send my driver to pick you up; all you have to do is give us your address."

"Oh, I...." Dani fumbled, not sure what to make of the attention. Then the fog of her memory cleared and she recognized the voice, "Are you Alessia Cara?" she whispered.

The woman smiled; causing Dani to stumble back in shock. One of the big guys reached out to steady her.

"You have an amazing voice and the songs you wrote... powerful. I want to help you..."

"Help me?" Dani squeaked out.

"Please say you'll come."

All Dani could do was nod. She scribbled her name and address on a sheet of note paper Alessia handed her.

"Tomorrow at one o'clock?" Again Dain nodded and Alessia added, " Janzen will come by to get you. '

As if in a state of shock, Dani wandered back to the bar and got swept up into the end of the night whirlwind that was the Bar and Grill. She'd been vaguely aware that Alessia's group had gone, but she had been too stupefied to say much of anything.

By the time all the customers were gone, Dani was ready to drop. The night had been amazing.

"God, Dani! If I had known you could sing like that, I'd have had you up there a long time ago. I wasn't even going to let you have a go tonight, but some woman insisted."

"That woman was Alessia Cara." Dani said with a breathy whisper.


"Alessia Cara... and she wants to meet with me tomorrow."

"Holy shit.... "

Dani still couldn't believe it. She figured she'd get a good night's sleep, then get up and get ready. She'd see if things were real or imagined tomorrow at one o'clock.

Words = 1938.

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