~ Hello again! If someone has been interested in the story, I'm sorry I delayed this chapter, in the last few weeks I didn't feel like writing and had no wish to update. Please, review this chapter, I have got the feeling it sucks, especially the description of Alana's musical tastes… Just tell me what you think.

Oh, and thanks to the people who reviewed.

THIRD CHAPTER

WHEN LOVE AND DEATH EMBRACE

Alana unlocked the door with shaking fingers and entered impatient to hide from the outside world. She closed it, dropped the keys on the floor and almost fell. The girl sat and leaned against the wall embracing her knees. She buried her head in them and started crying quietly. The view in front of her eyes was like from broken TV. The pain coming from her soul like a black poisonous river petrified her entire body. It was infusing her veins and visiting every little cell, every corner of her. It mixed with the blood and started running straight towards her heart. The latter one was hurting like crazy, bleeding and crying more than her eyes did. The aches Alana had felt at the funeral were nothing compared to the feeling of loneliness, emptiness, despair and sadness that were raging in her.

The sobbing grew louder and louder until it turned into yell. She was glad that her parents were out for the day and couldn't see the state their daughter was in. No one should have seen her like this. Even her friends. She had to be strong!

But how? How can you smile through the tears and to ignore the torn which is tearing apart your soul and feelings? How can you forget when part of you is forever gone and nothing could ever replace it. What would be her life now? Alana had always despised the girls killing themselves because of love. When she read "Romeo and Juliet" she laughed and said that nothing like this will happen to her.

But here she was at the peril of Death. In this moment the desire to die started burning her. It would be so beautiful to join him… No! That was not the way. Joel wanted her to live and if that was the only point for her she had to remember it always.

There were so many other people in her world. They would be crushed in the same way if she did that. Her friends: Irene, Vince, Chris and Keith. In her mind evoked picture from the funeral: their faces, their tears, their sorrow. Alana had no right to make this to them. And what about her mother and father who loved her more than anything? She was their only child and they wouldn't bare one loss like this. They weren't calm blooded like that witch Leonora Denis.

So, for good or evil she had to live. Once upon time the girl used to think that it was her right, now it was her obligation. But it couldn't stop the pain burning inside like a live coal leaving hot scars on her heart. It would be so easy if she could forget. Just to go upstairs and take a warm shower, to take a pill and get some sleep. And on the other morning not to remember anything. But it was completely impossible. Love like hers can't be forgotten for one night. Neither for month or year. The pain would last for long time.

Alana straightened and went to the stairs. It seemed difficult task to climb them when the world was shaking in front of her eyes and her legs didn't help her at all. What was going on? She had been drunk very rarely but even then hadn't felt like this. Was the grief and sorrow so strong that it made her dizzy and blinded her with its blackness? The girl leaned against the parapet and started going up very slowly, like a snail. Her movements were even slower than the connection of . It took seven minutes to reach her room.

If someone was watching her in this moment would think she was victim of rape, robbery or kidnapping. The marvelous crimson of her mane seemed unnoticeable between the smashed hairs and straggly falling curls. Her beautiful emerald green eyes were swimming in tears; the pale skin of her cheeks was getting red and puffy around the eyelids. The make up was completely spread all over her skin. The tight-fit black blouse and the black trousers were crumpled up and bedraggled. But right now she didn't care a bit about her appearance.

Alana collapsed on the bed and squeezed the pillow burying face in it. Her body was exhausted of crying but the sobbing in her breasts was like an enormous endless sea that should have been cried to calm down a little the bitterness.

'It will take so long time…"

"All your life." One evil voice laughed with a great malice in her head. "You'll be Joel's widow forever. Prepare yourself, my little!"

The tears started hurting and biting her face that lost its paleness and turned into shapeless, swollen protuberance. When she groaned couldn't recognize her own voice. It was so thick, weak and tearful, pitiful remix of its original. It was too painful just to lie on the bed and to cry. So many memories, so many times which were flashing in front of her eyes. She needed any distraction, something to keep her mind clearer…

"Music! It must help! It always helps!"

Alana tried to get up but only fell on the floor and crawled towards the CD player.

"How can I be so weak that I even can't walk… May be I shouldn't have stayed alone. May be I should have asked Vince to stay…"

It was too late for that sort of thoughts. She had to stand the loneliness and to get used to it. She had to learn what is like being on your own. It was her future fate for who-knows-how-long time. The girl didn't notice which CD she had turned on, that's why a groan of pain escaped her lips when the first chords of "When Love and Death Embrace" filled the air. It was one of his most favorite songs. The special song. Their song! Alana didn't want to listen to it anymore but felt too weak to change the track. Like she owed him this. With great efforts she got up and moved back on the bed, still crying and shaking. For her this melody and these lyrics would be forever connected with one magical night: the silver shining of the moon, the warm breeze brushing long hairs, the sweet intimacy, hot breath and nervous fingers and lips, looking for each other. Their night. Hers and Joel's night. The night when she heard for first time: I love you.

"I'm in love with you

and it's crushing my heart!

All I want is you to take me into your arms

When Love and Death Embrace!

She didn't understood how it happened, maybe because of the soft, comforting melody, or from the emotional emaciation or too many tears, Alana fell asleep. And the memories kept on spinning through her mind like ghosts haunting her even when she wasn't awake.

Alana had always been fond of the music. Even since her earliest childhood although the girl couldn't remember a bit from her parent's stories. But it had become her main obsession and passion fomented by the people around her. That was the reason why her unusual family name suited her so well. She had completely dedicated to the magic of sounds and voices that was fulfilling herself with so many uncontrollable emotions that were shaking the deepest corners of her soul. And the thought to create something so beautiful was exciting her so much for joy of her father.

Dean himself had been musician but had given up a little after his marriage with Carla, her mother. It was a big sacrifice for him to start a new and to abandon the thing he loved so much. Despite the fact that he had always denied to sorry about anything done in his life, Alana could see the sadness in his eyes. "The times were bad, my dear. If it was only about me, I would bear everything: starvation, living on the street and other unpleasant things." He had explained to her that when she asked him about his former career as a pianist. "I wasn't alone, I had a wife and I soon would be father and needed something steady. I couldn't let my child go through the same as me when my dad lost everything. I had no luck in the music, so… I had no choice."

But he hasn't abandoned it completely. The old piano in the living room showed this. There were so many nights when the house was full of melancholy melodies or energetic rhythms. He really had a great talent to wring the beauty of the instrument, there was no style Dean Music couldn't play. His fingers and gift didn't change and that was bringing him joy in the moments he was depressed about his memories.

Alana remembered that when she was four or five years old, she used to go down and hide in the corners to listen to his lonely performances. Sometimes the girl was so excited that couldn't sleep all night impatient for the next time when he would sit at the chair and fulfill the air with sounds.

Soon he started feeling someone else's presence in the room. She thought she

had hidden well behind the big pot with exuberant green plant, one of these exotic trees Mum adored and was caring for like they were her children. That's why the leaves had grown and it was covering this part of the room. Dean didn't let anyone being close to him while he was playing. That was his personal space and he stood up for this right. One night during the Moon sonata she heard his voice and freeze. The child expected him to be angry, to scream at her, even to punish her. But she didn't want to escape, because it would make the matters worst.

"Come here, Alana, don't be afraid." And the little girl slowly went to the man biting her lips. But he wasn't furious at all. Dean was smiling and for a moment stopped. He took his daughter on his knees and put her still little shaking fingers on the keyboard. Then her father started speaking with growing delight in his voice.

"To be able to play like this you must start very early, my little. It needs a lot of practice. Every day. All the time. You must dedicate to it. And most important is to love the music. Because she is alive creature and understands when someone is trying to lie. I think you have got the gift for this fate, Ally. Do you want to learn?"

Her eyes flashed in incredible joy. That was exactly what she wanted since she started listening to him. The thought she might participate in this, she might create fulfilled her with desire and ambition to do that. In that night Dean taught her first lesson and laid the groundwork of her future.

Alana was intelligent girl and was learning everything very fast. He was right about the talent but that was not her only quality. Her stubbornness and will were doing big part of the job. Soon the father gave the piano available and she didn't miss a chance for practice. At first it was quite hard to be near while the infant child was playing because she wasn't good enough and needed to spend more time in front of the piano. But then it turned to delight for everyone. Dean felt in the seventh heaven. His proud looked a bit like sick ambitions but it wasn't like this. He had never oppressed her or making her do things she didn't want.

Alana kept on playing even when she started school and was very busy with the lessons that seemed enormous to young student like her. Something more. The bigger she was growing the better her style was getting.

And her tastes started changing with her age. She had always loved the classical music and couldn't stop because that was her start. But soon realized that her real passion was the rock. When she was twelve found some old tapes in her father's study. It was quite big and various collection the girl grew to love: Metallica, Nirvana, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath. She learnt more about the groups through Internet and some thoughts started obsessing and haunting her mind.

From this day on Alana kept on finding new groups in every style of rock, metal and gothic and decided to play in that style. She felt happy and proud that finally knew what she was really good in. The lass told her father about this wish and he agreed to teach her something more about keyboarding.

The only problems were coming from her mother. Carla was realistic woman and dreaming wasn't typical for her. She had seen what her husband was looking like after his musical ambitions got crashed. He really was behaving bravely and hadn't started to drawn her sorrows in alcohol. But nothing could remove that sad glitter from his eyes when Dean was watching at the piano. She didn't want the same fate for her daughter. What if everything went wrong and the girl fail?

It was hard to listen to her parents crossing about it but what could possibly do?

At school Alana was something like social outcast, because most teenagers find her too strange with all these black clothes and strong make-up. But in fact, no matter how pathetically it sounded, she didn't care a lot about the other people's opinion and wasn't planning to change for being liked by some people who even didn't respect. If someone didn't appreciate her style, was free to do that. What she hated most was these ones telling her what to like and dislike trying to turn her in copy of them. And the second reason of her lack of popularity was her perfection as a schoolgirl and the fact that was one of the smartest students.

Anyway, it didn't mean she was completely lonely. Alana had circle of friends forever, people with whom she could talk freely about everything that was interested in. Irene Denis and Vince Logan were one of them.

She had known Irene since the age of four. Carla Music and Leonora Craven Denis weren't the best friends and had always been coldly polite to each other. The two women were quite different in everything they were doing except one thing. They always were taking their children for a walk in the same park. The mothers used to sit on benches in the two sides of the park not to disturb themselves with unpleasant view. But the two girls really enjoyed their company and could play together so well that didn't feel how the time had flown and every one of them had to go home. When they grew they started visiting their houses. It was making Irene's aristocratic mum mad but she wanted to pretend being good parent and allowed her child meet every friend she liked. But it was such a shame to let one usual girl, daughter of a former hippie and a secretary to enter the house of one so good family. But Carla didn't mind Irene's presence. "I'm glad that you have got friends no matter that Leonora is stuck-up bitch. If she tries to tell you something about your origin and makes you feel minor don't pay her attention. She is just one cold snake that loves poisoning the other's life because hers is too boring."

Soon Alana and Irene understood the truth in these words. Being close to that woman was bringing only negative feelings. That's why they were doing everything to avoid being in the Denis' house. They were hanging around, talking, sometimes were doing rash acts like going to the neighbor town for few hours or something like this. Vince was always in their company. He was another friend from the earliest ages. His father and Alana's father were really good friends and so it happened with their children. He was more like her with his taste for darkness, make-up and heavy, melancholic music. The latter one was his obsession too but he was playing the guitar. Vince Logan was not one of the quietest students and was always called in the office. Some of his enemies considered him as a "gay" although he and Irene were couple since they were thirteen.

Chris and Keith, other long-haired rebels were the last members of the glorious group. They had nothing to do with anyone's parents, just Vince's buddies. He met them with his other friends and they attached immediately. The boys loved the rock, the gothic and the other types of music the others were fond of but weren't as dark as Alana and Vince for example. Both of them were musicians too, Chris was "god" of the bass guitar and Chris was really good drummer.

And their life was going on until the moment they decided they had to form "Cursed Angels."

NINE MONTHS AGO

Alana was finishing the last bits of her hamburger when she saw Vince entering the local fast food restaurant. Light devilish smile appeared on her lips while the boy was coming closer. Something in Irene's tune was telling her why he wanted to meet her so urgently. But why it all had to be so official and hidden? They were friends for so long and didn't need all this formality. He could just call her and ask if she wanted to participate. "May be they are ashamed that one girl has to be member?" She frowned for a while. No way, they had no prejudices about the sex, age, race, appearance and other things that didn't depend on the people. At least as far as Alana knew them. "May be they had suddenly changed… Oh, what are these silly thoughts!"

He came to her and sit at the table, looking a bit nervous.

"Hi, Ally…" He uttered and smiled a bit shyly.

"Vince…" She wiped off her hands with the napkin and drank a bit of Coke. "So good to see you, friend! How is the life? What's going on with… how was its name… Cursed Angels? Is the glory waiting for you already?"

He squeezed his hands and ran them through his long hair.

"Actually, that's the reason I wanted to speak with you… Do you see… the situation is that… huh… well…"

"Hey, hey, calm down!" Her emerald eyes flashed in playful light and for a moment she looked like a content cat that had eaten mouse. "I don't understand you. I never thought you might be so shy, Vince. After all we have known each other for ages. You can tell me anything, especially if it is a good new." And she leaned on the table removing her plate aside waiting for him to start talking."

"We need a key-boarder. We have auditioned some boys that came to the audition but no one of them wasn't even half good as you are. So… do you want to be cursed angel?"

"And you'll accept one enemy in your front line, dear! Wow, wow, the men are weaker than I thought."

"Alana, would you mind stop with this rubbish and listen to me for a while? What I'm trying to say that you are the best key-boarder I have known. All of them can't hold a candle to you. You are goddess and we need your help for our music. Will you join us."

"Wonderful speech, darling. I have never suspected you can talk like this. Anyway, despite the fact that I was really delighted by it, there was no need. You know that I want this band to work and to be in it as much as you do. Of course I will!"

"That's my girl!" He cried out and hugged her briefly through the table. "Great! We'll meet tomorrow at ten o'clock in my garage. At first we'll rehearse there until we find a place. Dad allowed us to use his instruments. I hope they'll bring us more luck than they had brought to him. I have to go now!"

"Hey, wait a minute!" The girl called after he jumped from the table and directed to the exit. Vince stopped and looked at her questioningly. "Who is going to be our vocalist? Did you already choose him?"

"Ohh, I'm so absent-minded! I completely forgot to tell you. Joel Craven will come tomorrow, he might become our front-man."

"Who? Joel Craven? The notorious brother of Irene everyone is talking about but no one has seen? Really?"

"Yes, he is coming home from California. It's a long story, I don't know the details. You can call Irene. Bye for now, dear!"