Status: Completed

Chasing the Missing Paths

The Third Encounter

The third encounter happened a little further from home. Well, if taken literally and not figuratively. It was 2012 by now and both Alex and Emma happened to be in the same building on the other side of the country. This was LA, the city where dreams came true. Or, at least, that was for aspiring musicians and actors, and only a small privileged portion of the people actually got to make their dream a reality. For Emma, however, the dream was back in New York. She still went to school on the east coast, she just happened to be in LA for an internship of a few months and was working on graduating.

Alex was all over the place. He lived on the east coast, recorded on the west coast, and toured all over the world. The hectic lifestyle only made him restless whenever he was at home and had nothing to do. He loved his job and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

So, now, where did these guys run into each other? At a recording studio in the aforementioned studio. Although technically labelless, Alex’s entire band was working on an album to come back as the band they wanted to be instead of the one they were instructed to be. It was quite a reasonable reason.

Alex and Emma literally bumped into each other in the break room one afternoon. Emma was looking at the selection of fruit while Alex was getting some tea for his throat. The latter took a step back, causing him to knock into the other.

“Oh, sorry!” Alex yelped, turning around to see who he had practically assaulted.

“It’s fine,” Emma brushed it off. The bump wasn’t that bad, she was nowhere close to being knocked over.

“Emma?” Alex frowned, wondering if he really had managed to encounter the girl from karaoke yet again. While he could still recognize her, she looked a little different. Her blonde hair was lighter, probably from the California sun, and she wasn’t wearing a cute dress, instead having gone for some simple plan blue jeans and a gray t-shirt.

She nodded and took a good look at the guy. Once she was able to place him, she noticed that he hadn’t changed a bit. “Alex, right?”

“Yeah!” He laughed in surprise. “It’s been awhile since you saved my ass.”

“I’m assuming the flowers worked.”

“Flowers? Oh right! Flowers! Yeah, they really did help.” He nodded, having briefly forgotten about that second time they met. “Anyway, what are you doing here?”

“Oh, I’m doing an internship here,” Emma told him without giving any further details.

Alex waited a few seconds to see if she would elaborate, but she didn’t, so he just grinned. “Awesome! I’m working on some music right now. If you want, you can take a look.”

“Sure,” she shrugged and quickly grabbed an apple, “I’m taking a break, so I’ve got some time.”

And so they took the elevator one floor up. Emma followed Alex until the end of the hallway, where he made a sudden right and walked into a room with a heavy wooden door. There were four other people in the studio. Emma assumed that the one at the control board was the producer, while the other three were just sitting around on a couch or office chairs. They had to either be friends or people Alex worked with. Emma didn’t even know Alex did anything related to music.

“Hey guys, this is Emma,” Alex introduced as the guys were all staring at her in confusion. “I just wanted to show her what we’re working on.”

“I recognize you,” the only guy with black hair pointed out. “Did we sleep together?”

“No,” Emma said bluntly and scrunched up her nose, which Alex thought was adorable.

“She’s the girl that sang with me during karaoke,” Alex clarified, hoping they would remember as well. They were all just blanking. “... after Megan walked out?”

“Oh right!” Jack, the guy with the black hair, snapped his fingers. “The girl who didn’t want to give me her number cause she didn’t know me! Or Alex. But you guys obviously know each other if you’re here now.”

“We don’t really know each other except for that evening,” Alex explained, seeing now that he had brought up a complete stranger without knowing anything about her except her name. “But Emma’s doing an internship here.”

“Oh, so you want to be a producer?” The man at the panels said with a smirk, liking that somebody would want to follow his profession.

“Oh, no. My internship isn’t here in this building. I meant in LA,” Emma made clear, hoping she didn’t come off rude. “No, my internship is with a vocal coach. I’m just doing my graduation project here.”

“So, you want to be a vocal coach?” The guy with the shortest hair, Rian, assumed.


“You are confusing,” Alex chuckled and scratched his head. Had he decided to show some crazy person the things he was working on?

“Well, can you give Alex some vocal coaching?” Jack asked while spinning on his office chair. “Cause he sounds like shit.”

“I don’t think I’m qualified for that…” Emma excused and took a bite from her apple.

“You are just getting more confusing with every question you’re answering.”

“Okay, well, it’s quite a long story, but if you want to know…” she started telling them. “I’ve always been in a school for music and theater and decided to continue after I graduated and went to college. So, they want us to get some experience. But you can’t exactly join a musical with no experience, so it’s a never-ending cycle. I’m getting some experience with my internship with a vocal coach and I’m writing a song with other students for our graduation project, both will look good on my resume once I do do auditions. So, I’m here to record a ‘musical’ song I wrote with classmates, and I worked with a vocal coach training students. Hence, I don’t think I’m qualified to give you tips because I don’t think you’re writing broadway songs here. Unless you want help with your articulation and expression.”

“So you want to be a broadway star?” Alex wondered if he understood the story that was all over the place, getting a nod from Emma. “But you’re in LA?”

“Because of my internship and to record, everything else is back in New York.”

“Huh… interesting…” He nodded, understanding now that Emma wasn’t just some random talent at a karaoke bar, but that she had actually pursued it and worked for it since she was a kid. “I mean, you’re right, we are in a rock band, but I’m always down for vocal warm-ups.”

“I don’t think I can teach you anything you don’t already know. And something tells me you don’t need practice singing and doing a dance routine at the same time and don’t need to know how to put emotion into your singing.” Emma didn’t understand why they just wanted her help.

“Well, don’t songs always have emotion?”

“I mean more than just quieter smoother singing when you’re singing a ballad or a harsher louder singing when you’re mad; I mean making the script and music seem like one and not like separate components.”

“It has to all be part of the act,” Alex added, finally making sense of the sentence that had ran circles in his mind after seeing Emma at the flower shop. He didn’t get what she had meant back then, but it all made sense now. The song was part of a musical, that’s why it seemed like she knew the entire song: she just simply did.

“Exactly,” Emma agreed with a nod, spinning the apple in her hands. “Anyway, I have to get back to my own project, we have a lot to do and a very strict deadline. If you decided to really need my help, I’ll be somewhere in the building.”

She said goodbye, getting a chorus back from all the guys, before leaving the studio and closing the heavy door. Alex let himself fall down on the couch and pulled out his phone, waiting to be directed what he had to do.

Jack, however, just kept staring at Alex in disbelief. “Dude, go after her!”

“What? Why?” Alex laughed at Jack’s determination.

“You guys obviously hit it off. Ask her out!”

“Umm… I still have a girlfriend,” he chuckled awkwardly.

“Then I want her number,” Jack whined, still thinking the girl was super hot.

“She won’t give it to you,” Alex disagreed.

“What, why?”

“Cause she doesn’t know you,” he teased with a wink.