A new story in a new year! A moment that should remember.
Inspired by the song Voice on the Radio of Marié Digby.
Cliche? I don't know, you tell me. ;)


Everything Seems Better

.

I never saw it coming, the way a voice can make me feel
And I fear that I am falling
I should be old enough to know
Not to fall in love with the voice on the radio

- Voice on the Radio, by Marié Digby

.

.

This happened on Jane's birthday.

I still remembered that day. We had gone to this club near campus to celebrate our dear Jane's birthday. They told me this club was nice and kept assuring me it wouldn't be like other clubs, since I loathe clubs. Amy and Talia sure wasted no time and went nailing guys in light-speed once we found ourselves a small booth. Jane went dancing with her boyfriend minutes later and Jack had abandoned me a bit later to find some 'chicks' for the night.

Being the loner and wallflower, I sat in the booth and silently sipping my beer. The booth we found was in the corner of the club, from it, I could see the dance floor and the stage clearly.

"That place got the best bands. Bands got to play in there are real stuff, that's why Jimmy's band never had the chance to get in." Jane had told us beforehand when we were in the car.

The band was playing a fast song and it was actually okay. At least the singer hadn't tried to be all hardcore and started screaming his lungs out.

My eyes wandered across the massive crowd and found Amy talking to a blond next to the bar. Just a look at her face would know she had already found the one she wanted for that night. Talia was chatting with the bohemian girl from her law class. Jane and her boyfriend- Sam, I think, were staring at each other dreamily at one of the pillars, I genuinely hope this pair would last long enough this time. And Jack was nowhere to be found.

It's not his face that made me attracted to him. It's his voice.

The song was slow and his voice was silky smooth, not that rough coarse kind, but soothing deep. I found my heart pounded with every word he sang. I felt like I was swimming in his voice, if that is possible.

At first he sang with no music, but in the second verse, he started strumming his guitar. His voice warmed my heart and I found my attention had shifted from the crowd to the stage.

That's when I realized the band just now had left the stage, and the one on the stage now was another band.

The drums started to kick in, following the base. His voice became stronger due to the chorus and his unruly dark hair was now covering his eyes.

It sounds cheesy, but I really couldn't take my eyes off him. The spotlights on him seemed to make him glow. He graced the people near the stage with his crooked smile and even from this distance, I heard the girls giggled. His fingers traveled through the frets skilfully, hitting all the right notes. How can a person have such a pretty face when he has got such a pretty voice already?

His eyes wandered across the crowd and seemed to lock onto me for a nanosecond. I was sure it was pure imagination, because from this distance, there's no way he could see me.

From that day, I found myself in this club every week- hands holding a bottle of beer, sitting on the same stool, gazing at the same pair of intense gray eyes.

I always left the club before his band finished the encore act. I couldn't stand how the girls would crawl all over them after they walked down the stage, rumours had it all that some girls got their cell numbers and had slept with them.

I just wanted to keep this perfect image in my mind- he standing on the stage, tall and mighty, pouring his heart out with his angelic voice, a fantasy, you could call it. And I didn't want to ruin it just because of some stupid groupies.

"You are going to that club again, are you?" Talia asked when I opened my closet and took a hoodie out.

I nodded and ran my arms through the sleeves.

"Lexis, you are killing yourself here. You went to see this guy almost every week and you don't even take any action! You don't even know that guy's name, for Pete's sake." Talia reminded me mercilessly.

"I don't even like him, I like his voice, that's all. And his name is Travis." I told her as I walked over to the nightstand to take my cell phone.

If Talia asked me this question a week before, I would not be able to answer her. Travis just happened to grace us with his name last week.

I arrived at my usual time, 7.30. The band before Travis's was wrapping up and I ordered a beer from the bar. The bartender, Chloe, had already become a friend of mine due to my countless visits. She greeted me once I settled on the stool.

"Alexis, nice to see you again!" She beamed. "Beer?"

I nodded and handed her the money. A moment later, she placed a bottle of beer in front of me.

"Come to see the band again?" She asked as she took away the empty bottle next to me.

I nodded. "I'm pathetic, am I?" I couldn't help blurted out.

Chloe looked at me for a second before replying, "No, you're not. Want to know what is pathetic? Turn around." I obliged and she nodded at the group of girls standing right in front of the stage. "That's pathetic."

I smiled. "That's really comforting." We looked at each other for a moment and burst out laughing.

"You know what, Alexis. You are so obsessed with the band, why not stay behind and wait for them?" Chloe asked as the band came onto the stage.

"I'm not a groupie material. And the 'obsess' word sounds so wrong, Chloe, it sounds like I'm a stalker or something." I frowned.

Chloe smiled, "What I want to say is, you should try staying behind. You like Travis, right?"

I could feel my eyes widened and my jaw dropped, "I just- I just like him singing, that's all." Chloe snickered.

"Keep denying, honey." With that, she left to take an order.

Sometimes, I would think he acknowledged my presence when his eyes were looking in my direction. And when I turned to leave after saying goodbye to Chloe, I would feel a pair of eyes staring at my back, not that it was him, really. I never know. I didn't dare to look from my shoulder to see. I didn't want to let myself down, a girl can dream right?

"Miss Nottingham, care to grace us with your answer?" Professor Pryce said. I didn't know what I had done to earn this hatred from him, his hatred to me is unstoppable and undeniable. Stupid old man. He called me up every lesson just to torture me.

I flipped my notes and told him my answer. No matter what my answer was, he would still pick a fault in it and make a fuss about it. So, I didn't really pay attention to what I had answered. Just five more minutes, and I would be the first one to step out of this room.

Weeks went by and the only thing that could help me went through these weeks was the anticipation of hearing Travis again.

I was completely head over heels with his voice, not his look, at least this was what I told myself.

-x-x-x-

We were sitting in Starbucks, along with Jane and Amy. We had just finished putting our laundry in the washing machines in the dorm and were now waiting for them to be done.

"You know this is unhealthy, right?" Talia said as she sipped her frappuccino.

"What is unhealthy? Frappuccions?" I raised my eyebrows at her, "Everything is unhealthy anyway."

Talia rolled her eyes and looked at me, "No silly. I am saying your obsession with that Travis guy."

Hearing a boy's name, the ears of Jane and Amy perked up. "Travis? Who?" Amy asked excitedly.

I threw a glare at Talia but she chose to ignore it. "He's the one our Alexis is falling for."

"What?" Jane shrieked. "You are falling for someone?" She turned and looked at me.

I rolled my eyes a her and said, "No, don't listen to Talia. I just like his voice."

Talia snorted and told them how I went to listen to Travis every week and how obsessed I was.

"Aw." Jane sighed, "This Travis is one lucky guy to have our Lexy."

I heaved a sigh, "I told you, I'm not obsessed with him, okay? He doesn't even know who I am."

"You want us to do some matchmaking? You know, I'm good at that." Amy piped up.

"No." I said immediately. "I don't like him that way."

"Can you deny that you don't have one tiny bit feeling towards him?" Talia asked with raising eyebrows.

"He's good looking, but that doesn't mean-"

"She likes him." Amy sang and winked at the others.

I rubbed my temples with my fingers and heaved a long sigh.

-x-x-x-

Chloe told me there's a bimbo kept throwing herself over Travis and I told her I didn't mind, and reminded her I didn't like him that way.

Chloe rolled her eyes at my answer, "If you don't like him in that way, why you always left before they finished the encore?"

"Because I hate groupies." I mumbled.

"Hah. You admit it." Chloe smiled in the glory of triumph.

"Admit what?" I asked, confused.

She bent her head and looked at me seriously, "You hate those groupies because you are jealous of them. You hate them crawling all over your boy and you can do nothing about it! You like him, Alexis. Go and do something! Wait till they finished tonight and meet him!"

The image of him standing on the stage, fidgeting with the microphone wire while his guitar hung on his back came across my mind. Not only his voice, I like him. I like how his eyes would shimmer under the lights, I like how his lips would curl into a smile when he was playing his guitar, I like how his hair would cover his eyes when he shook his head too much. I like him. For the love of Pete, I like him. It's like I was twelve years old again.

"Oh My-"

I thought my expression had given out what I was thinking since Chloe clapped her hands and exclaimed, "Finally!"

I looked at the stage. He was greeting the crowd while the others did the tunings. For one moment, I thought he was looking at me, I blinked, and he was looking down at the crowd again.

"You gonna wait tonight?" Chloe put her arms onf the counter, waiting for my reply.

I had the urge to ask her what I should wait, but I knew what she was referring to.

"Yeah. Absolutely." Chloe smiled and gave me a thumb up.

I could feel my insides were tied into knots and my palms were all sweaty. The band was now doing their last song, and a few minutes later, I might have the chance to meet him, Travis, whose voice and face I've dreamt over and over.

That's when a sudden thought hit me, "How am I supposed to go to him, when he had those groupies already?" I asked Chloe.

"Just wait in here, they'll come to the bar eventually. They always do." Chloe assured and I nodded nervously. She laughed. "I couldn't believe you are nervous! I've never seen that face on you before. Trust me, I've chatted-"

I raised my hand to pause her and took out the vibrating cell phone from my jacket. The name 'Talia' flashed upon the screen.

Before I could say anything, Talia snapped, "Red Alert, Jane walked in Sam and that Fiona girl."

I could feel my eyes widened, "Is your 'walk in' the same one I'm thinking?"

"I think so." Talia sighed. "Buy at least five tubs of Ben & Jerry's on you way back-" Some screaming and hysterical crying in the background had interrupted her.

"How's she?" I bit my lip, hoping the situation would not be that bad.

She heaved a long sigh and I could imagine her hand running through her hair. "Come back and you'll know. Quick." Something broke in the background and Talia snapped the last word at me before cutting the call.

"What's the matter?" Chloe asked once I flipped my cell phone closed

I downed the rest of my beer before answering her, "My friend got dumped again. And this time, it's not pretty."

"Can't you just wait for a little longer?" The crowd behind me was now cheering and applauding. They had finished. But I'd got to go.

I shook my head. Fate is bitch. I thought silently.

-x-x-x-

"She was here just now. Doesn't she? I saw her." Travis settled on the stool which Alexis had sat before. His bandmates sat next to him.

Chloe sighed. "She got called to deal with something sticky." She shook her head, "I've finally knocked some senses back into this girl, and now, she had gone away, again!"

Travis ran a hand through his hair making his already unruly hair messier. "I didn't even have the chance to say a 'hi'."

"Hadn't you mentioned that you have a class with her?" Travis nodded. "Just talk to her in that class then!"

Travis shook his head, "That's impossible. She hates that class, she is always the last one to go into the room and the first one to get out of it. I've got no chance."

-x-x-x-

I hadn't went to the club for at least three weeks and I was told that today would be the last night of Travis's band playing in the club. According to that someone, they had been dug by an A&R guy from a big record label. Bless them, really.

Coincidently enough, Jane announced that we should have a trip to the club to celebrate her success of getting over that hideous male being.

And that's why I found myself in this club again, sitting at my usual seat, chatting with Chloe.

"You heard?" I raised my eyebrows, urging her to continue. "They had been signed." Chloe nodded at the band on the stage. Travis was bouncing on the stage, microphone in hand, working up the crowd.

"Yeah, I heard that. Good for them." I smiled when Travis put the microphone back into the stand and picked up his guitar.

Maybe this would be the last time I was able to see and hear Travis sing in such a short distance. When his band made it big, I doubt he'd come back and perform in this tiny club.

His voice mesmerized me, and I'm not afraid to admit it. I like how he rock on his heels when he sang slow songs, I like how he bent his head to make those unruly hair of his covered his eyes, I like how his eyebrow piercing shimmered when he ran a hand through his hair.

I first fall for his voice, and now, I'm falling for his whole person.

I downed the rest of my beer and turned around to ask Chloe to give me a new bottle. That's when Travis started a new song. I waited at the counter for my bottle of beer and listened to the lyrics. This song started in a kind of cheesy tone, with those whistle and humming, it was about a girl in his class, how she got long glossy hair with smiling eyes, she never love that class and didn't give a damn; he was the boy who sat three rows down the girl, attracted to her; and out of the blue, he found her standing in the crowd glancing up at him one night.

Then the drums kicked in, started the chorus.

And I sang

Hey girl, it's you, it's you

You're like the cool breeze in the summer air

Lightened me up though you're unaware

So near yet so far to reach

The harder I tried, the faster you getaway

They tell me you like me, princess

I can't wipe that stupid grin off my face

Then you went away again.

I wondered what took Chloe so long to get a beer. The lyrics are actually quite sweet, despite those cheesy whistles and humming in the beginning. The girl she wrote for was one lucky girl. I could imagine how she would feel when she was standing in the crowd tonight, glancing up at her lover boy singing this song to her. Maybe the girl was the bimbo who Chloe talked about the other day, the one who kept throwing herself to Travis. This all made sense, the bimbo must have one class with Travis and had been ignoring his presence until the night he sang the song to her, and after that she kept throwing herself at Travis, and Travis of course, would think what a lucky guy he was. Thinking of this, my stomach tied into knots and there's an invisible hand trying to squeeze my heart out. I couldn't be jealous, could I? But… I like him.

So? There's lots of people out there like him too, see those groupies, Alexia? They all like him, so stop dreaming. Invisible voice told me.

And you've never ever talked to him, you don't even know what his last name is.

The song continued and I tried hard not to turn around to look at the stage, and tried more hard to keep the tears to myself.

Silly, what are you crying for? Don't be pathetic, get a grip.

Bending down my head, I wiped away the tears which had successfully escaped my eyes. I inhaled a lungful of air, trying to calm myself, but a sob had escaped from my throat when I breathed out. That's when I broke down. I know I was pathetic, falling for a boy who had never known my existence, and crying my heart now because he had written a song for another girl.

I buried my head in my arms at the counter, waiting for the song to end. I could feel the gaze of people staring at my back, thinking I was another wasted woman.

The drums stopped while the guitars and bass continued, wrapping up the song. Travis's deep voice sang slowly, the image of him closing his eyes came into my mind.

And I sang

Hey girl, it's you, it's you

You're like the cool breeze in the summer air

Lightened me up though you're unaware

So near yet so far to reach

The harder I tried, the faster you getaway

They tell me you like me, princess

Aw. He called bimbo a princess. I thought silently.

I can't wipe that stupid grin off my face

I won't let you go away. This time

Alexis, it's you, it's you.

Hearing my name, I jerked up from the counter. Turning around, I tried to think if it was my imagination.

Alexis, it's you, it's you.

He was looking at me, up on the stage. His lips curled into a smile and I could see he was grinning.

Then it hit me. I was the girl in his class, I was the girl who didn't give a damn. I put the pieces together. Recalling my memory, I had really heard the name Travis when Mr. Pryce took attendance. Travis Pearce.

Travis is Travis Pearce.

I had known him long enough, I had known him for a whole semester, for Pete's sake, way before I heard him sung. How could I be so blind? Anyway, I was the girl he was singing about, happy tears welled up my eyes, I tried to wipe it with the back of my hand, but somebody dragged my arm and pulled me forward.

I looked at that somebody and realised it was Chloe, she was smiling. "Told ya." She mouthed.

I was now in front of the stage, looking up at Travis who gave me a smile. When I thought the song was finished, he opened his mouth and sang the last sentence, not breaking our eye contact.

It's you.

I could feel the hot tears on my cheeks, but I didn't bother to wipe them away. It's like I was in another universe, only Travis and I. No bitchy looking groupies, no bimbos.

I will never hate Mr. Pryce's class again, because I've got Travis by my side.

With him, everything seems better.


Review? please.

A.N.: Working my ass off last night just to write this one, since I'm determined to post it on a new year day.
It seems I could never write a long story, so, here I come. Short story again! A satisfactory ending this time, huh?
I know I'm not good at lyrics, I'm no Marié Digby, forgive me. =]
I adore Marié Digby. She made me love the song Umbrella.