• Published 21st Oct 2016
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Make a Mistake with Me - CoffeeAndCigarettes



Behind you: juvie. Before you: Canterlot High School.

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Track #1: Goodbye Blue Sky

Track #1: Goodbye Blue Sky

Coffee and cigarettes.

That’s about what you had to your name, at the moment. You are North Wind, and you are stuck in the band room of Canterlot High School. Well, less “stuck”, more “better here than anywhere else.” Your studio flat, quite frankly, reeked like corpses and was covered in trash bags.

So much for fresh start after juvie.

Sure enough, you skipped town and arrived to this city. Hell, you even enrolled into the local high school (which was a miracle in itself.) But it looks like old habits die hard, especially when there’s no motivation for change. In just a few short weeks, your new apartment started looking like a landfill. Thus, there was nothing waiting for you there.

And it’s not like you had made any friends to hang out with during your time in CHS. Really, most of the students avoided you like a plague, and rumors run rampant.

Which was just fine with you.

After all, it’s what made your current situation possible. Cigarette on the lips, thermos of tar-esque coffee next to you, and an old guitar in your hands. You were as close to heaven as you had been in six months.

You feel a slight tingle as your fingers fly on the neck, sliding up on an open E-string. The tunes of John Lee Hooker echo in the silence of the dusk-dyed school.

Thought you doubted the pair of raspberry-colored eyes looking at you recognizes the song.

You hum to the tune you were playing and act like you didn’t notice. Whoever was spying you from behind the door wasn’t exactly Big Boss. But other than the occasional hushed whisper, she wasn’t bothering you.

Still, you couldn’t but to overhear the conversation… or, at least, one side of it. Sounded like she was on the phone.

“T-the band room’s a no-go!” female voice hissed. “Someone’s in there! Someone weeeeeeird!

You hear fervent, pacing steps, going back and forth.

“No, I can’t! He’s, like, three times my height! For realsies!” she complains. “You do it, Aria!”

Sounds like things are not going her way.

“N-no, but, I—” she sputters. “Nuh-uh! You are!”

Oh boy. Looks like you had stumbled upon something troublesome. You took a drag from your cigarette and heaved the smoke through your teeth. This might turn ugly if things went south. The only thing you could hope for was that this wasn’t some student-utilizing hunt for delinquents.

If it was just some idiot looking for a place to stash her booze, that you could cope with. Hell, you might have tried to buy a bottle. But if this was connected in any way to that Principal…

Shit, the memory of your first meeting still gave you shivers. That ma’am was not to be messed with.

But! Back to the present. Namely, the door of the band room slamming open.

“S-smoking on the school’s premises is, like, illegal, you know!?” comes a stuttering accusation.

Hoo boy.

Blue and purple. Hair on an energetic ponytail that bounced to the rhythm of her breathing. Whoever this girl was, at least she knew how to leave an impression with her style. Still, the confident image was marred by how she was shaking. Her whole body seems to scream how confronting you was the last thing that she wanted to do.

But seeing, and more importantly, smelling her left you relaxed. That smell that hung around her… you knew it all too well. Small grin forms on your lips.

“I know. I just don’t care,” you comment. ”What’cha gonna do, brother?”

Clearly not the answer she was looking for. The girl tilts her head in confusion. However, she recovers just as quickly.

“I’ll… I’ll report to Principal Celestia!” she says. “And I’m not a brother, but with the Student Council, you know?”

Wow. It had been a while since you had heard a lie that bad.

“No you won’t,” you chuckle at her. “In fact, you’re not with those goons. From what I can see, you’re just trying to make me leave.”

Bullseye. The girl recoils in a surprise.

“H-how did you know!?” she demands to know, waving her hands animatedly.

“Mostly judging by the state of your clothes, and your smell,” you tap your nose. “It’s been a while since you showered, huh?”

Another bullseye. She was now holding onto the door as a support. Looks like you had hit closer to home than she wanted.

“Is it… like, that obvious?” She looks rather embarrassed.

The sight was endearing enough that you have to take another drag just to hide your grin.

“As a former homeless, it strikes a chord with me,” you admit. “Dunno about others.”

This seems to surprise her in a different way. She leans a bit closer, eyes wide. You can now smell a gentle whiff of sea salt mix in with the other fragrances.

”Wait… you’re homeless, too?” she asks.

You shrug and continue strumming the vaguely familiar chords. It's not easy to take after the Great One, but you needed to keep up your skill. You might go crazy if you didn't. Not to mention it made the whole situation relax a bit.

“Not anymore. I used to be, though,” you say and chuckle a bit. “That’s why it’s easy to spot someone in the same situation. Thanks for the confirmation though. Now it’s clear I have nothing to worry about.”

That made her expression quickly sour. It seemed that now that her lie had been busted, she no longer had any idea what to do.

“Aww, now I went and messed up. Aria’s gonna kill me,” the girl groans in frustration. “For realsies this time.”

The sight before you made the old guitar in your hands seem real interesting all of a sudden. Damn girl had the perfect “kicked puppy” moment going on. You almost felt like Indy before the Arc of Covenant. Just focus on the strings, North.

And so, a moment of awkward silence falls over the room. You do your best to fill it with the sound of your guitar, but it’s not really working. So, eventually, you succumb. To a degree.

“You know, I’m not moving from this room…” you start. “But I don’t mind other people here. So if this is your hangout or whatever, I’m not driving you out.”

“Really? Even if I’m…” she left those words hanging in the air stiffly.

Looks like someone else had their collection of bones in their closet.

“Don’t care, Blue,” you answer. “You don’t pry into my business, I don’t pry into yours. Deal?”

The girl before you smiles for the first time. She nods enthusiastically. With a little bounce in her step now, she enters the band room and looks around. However, just as quickly, she looks back at you, a little confused look on her face.

“I’m Sonata, by the way. Not Blue,” she introduces herself. You snort.

“Whatever you say, sister.”

“And I’m not your sister, either,” she disagrees. “At least I hope I'm not!”

You heave a heavy sigh and grimace. This was going to be a chore.

“I know that. It’s just… it’s just a saying,” you try to explain while letting your pick move back and forth. “Don’t mind me.”

“Alrighty, then I won’t!”

***

The blue-haired girl, Sonata, is quick to lose her interest in you. Instead, she makes a beeline straight for your thermos, with curious sparkle in her eyes. She peers into the container, only to draw immediately away like the sight had burnt her face.

“W-what’s that!? It looks, like, boiling asphalt!”¨she asks, aghast.

“Never seen real coffee before, I take it?” you say and smile a bit smugly.

“I’ve seen coffee, and that’s not it!” Sonata protests. “That’s… that’s just something evil!”

“Never knock something before you try it,” you say sagely. “Didn’t your mama ever tell you that?”

Your lopsided joke has a bit of a surprising effect. Sonata’s expression droops, and she shuffles around awkwardly.

“Umm… I dunno. I don’t remember my mama.”

Well shit. Now you went and made things depressing... Or so you thought, but it looks like the girl’s forgotten about it already.

Indeed, she’s busying herself by pouring some of your coffee to the cup. And, surprisingly enough, she’s humming along with the tune of your instrument. Chuckling in relief, you return to strumming your guitar.

At some point, Serves Me Right To Suffer had morphed into Jessica. You hadn’t even really realized it. Was it because of this girl’s perky aura? Sure, she still seemed bit uncomfortable around you, but…

Underneath that shifty way she held herself seemed to shine some sort innocence. At least enough to brighten your mood a bit.

“Eugh! Uagh! G-gaah!”

You are snapped from your thoughts by sounds of pure disgust.

Looking at its source, you see that Sonata has already had a taste of the coffee. She’s currently writhing on the floor, doing her best cerebral palsy impression.

“It… It tastes like death! For realsies!” the odd girl gags.

“And yet it makes you feel alive,” you comment nonchalantly. “Grand are life’s mysteries, huh?”

Sonata responds by making puking sounds and wiping her tongue with a napkin.

Eventually Sonata seems to calm down, or, at the very least, get the taste out of her mouth. She sighs in relief and sits down on one of the amps close by. You frown at the sight a bit. It’s not like the girl can weigh that lot, but still, that’s just rude.

She notices your expression, and grins sheepishly. Here comes the forced ice-breaker.

”So, umm… what’s your name?” she asks, predictably.

“North Wind,” you grunt.

“North Wind? I’m Sonata!” she offers her hand to you. “Nice to meet’cha!”

“Yeah, I know. You told me already,” you say, not bothering to shake it.

“Oh! So I did.” She giggles in delight.

Looks like this one’s easy to amuse, at the very least. You have been nothing if not rude, yet she still manages to find something to smile about. Odd person to be sure; and that's not even counting her bizarre hair.

After a moment of silence, Sonata crosses her legs and leans against them.

“So, like, what are you doing here, North?” she asks innocently.

You grimace again. Looks like small-talk is unavoidable.

“What does it look like I’m doing?” You try to convey your annoyance with your tone.

Such subtle message misses her by couple miles and crashes into some runaway big rig out in Nevada.

“Well, it looks like you’re smoking illegally on school grounds,” Sonata answers. ”And hiding away in the band room, playing a guitar.”

She manages to even look proud at her answer. It was just a rhetorical question, you nitwit. Don’t look so smug dammit.

“I suppose it does,” you grumble. “In other words, I came here to be alone.”

“Oh! So, how’s that working out for you?”

If your hands weren’t focused on the strings, you’d have them have a quick pow-wow with your forehead right about now.

“Oh, it’s working out great,” you hiss. “Just marvelously, in fact.”

Even though your voice is dripping with sarcasm like venom from snake’s fangs, it goes unnoticed. The blue-haired goof next to you just smiles happily.

You once again focus on the guitar in your hands, trying to ignore the drill-like gaze of the girl. If she was really supposed to drive you away from this room, she’s not going that good of a job.

… Or, maybe she is. This silence between you two is getting pretty unbearable. You eventually decide to break it.

“So? What are you actually doing here?” you ask.

“Oh, we usually sleep here since the place is unlocked,” Sonata explains. “So Adagio sent me ahead to make sure nobody was here.”

The girl happily blabs on, without a care in the world.

“But since it turned out you were here, she and Aria were like: ‘Get rid of him, now!’ and stuff,” she continues. Suddenly, the happy expression turns into a pout. “But, like, how am I supposed to do that? You’re huge! And look scary! And—“

Suddenly, she clamps her hands over her mouth, looking shocked. Well, it was about time she noticed she had just ratted her true intentions. You chuckle and turn your attention back to the guitar.

“And you just blew your plan, so I have even less intention of moving from here,” you cackle.“Way to go, goof.”

“Oh no, what’re we gonna do now?” Sonata scratches her head. “I don’t wanna go back to the streets…”

Ignoring her, you bring the current melody to a close, and let your fingers rest for a moment. You reach for the still-steaming cup of coffee and take big swig. The lava-like substance fills your mouth, and for a moment, you feel at peace. Satisfied, you stump your cigarette in the makeshift ashtray. All while trying to ignore the girl despairing next to you.

“See, we got kicked out of home few months ago…” Sonata eventually starts.

“Uh huh.” You feign disinterest.

It’s not that you’re totally against talking with Sonata, but her situation is none of your business. Therefore, you pluck a few notes instead, fumbling for any melody to fill the silence. She simply fidgets her fingers, looking rather downcast. You can only hope she’s not the type to confine in total strangers.

“We… we did something pretty bad,” she eventually says.

Oy vey.

“We were pretty nasty before. Like, super nasty,” Sonata admits. “And we wanted to use lotsa people for our own gain.”

You didn’t want to hear this. This had nothing to do with you. Couldn’t she seek a counseling session from someone professional? You were just a delinquent hiding away in the band room, goddammit!

“But we got caught and then, um… we were punished. They took away what made so dangerous,” Sonata continues. “After that, we’ve been scraping by. It’s been super hard. Everyone hates us, after all…”

You focus on staring at the guitar strings. The sight of something glimmering in Sonata’s eyes is not something you want to intrude upon. You have that much respect for her.

“And Adagio and Aria hate everyone else. So nothing’s getting better. Nothing’s fun anymore.” You can hear her voice quiver. “It’s not like I wanna go back to way things were. We were mean to each other back then, too.”

Sonata sighs and looks down at her hands.

“I just wish the three of us could still have some fun. Even if it was just us…”

And with that, she falls silent once more. You’re left to fill the room with some notes that sound grating even to your own ear. Even if you did tune the guitar before starting.

Strange, that.

Eventually you simply give up, and reach in your pocket for another cigarette. As you light it up, you glance at Sonata. Her eyes are now staring at the floor, and her expression could put a whole dog pound to shame.

Goddammit, you were not used to dealing with girls like this. Why did she just suddenly show a vulnerable side to a guy she barely knew?

Who does that!?

You fold your arms and leaned back your chair. You stare at the smoke rising from the tip of your cigarette, gilded by the light of the setting sun. Strangely enough, the sight makes words form your lips.

“You know… nobody goes through this life and does everything perfectly,” you finally say.

Sonata looks at you, surprise written all over her face. She really didn’t expect that. Then, out of the blue, she snorts in amusement, and a hint of a smile rises to her lips.

“That’s… Brad Paisley, right?” she asks.

“Huh?”

“That’s from Brad Paisley’s song, isn’t it?” she says again. “I thought it sounded familiar.”

Now that you think about it, yeah, it was. You hadn’t even realized that when you spoke it. Still, the words had felt fitting considering what you had just heard. At the very least, the words had some positive effect on the girl. She no longer looked like her pet had been crushed under the body of her dead mother.

“So… you listen to Paisley?” you ask.

Sonata nods after some hesitation.

“Um, sorta. Adagio wanted us to focus on one genre, but I couldn’t help but to experiment a bit,” she scratches her cheek. “But, like, I wasn’t really good at singing in any other style, so I just listened to Cds. Since, you know, we were preparing for the competition.”

Suddenly, something hits you. It was like puzzle-pieces that had been nagging in your head were locked in place.

You had heard about this girl and her friends before.

When you arrived not too long ago, you heard some rumors. About some sort of “Battle of the Bands” that had happened. And how some girls participating in it had used some… questionable means. You never heard any details, but you could guess that one of those girls was now before you.

Suddenly their insistence of sleeping in the band room made all too much sense.

“So, you sing, huh?” you ask.

To emphasize your actual point, you plucked the first few notes of the song you had just talked about.

“O-oh, um, not really,” Sonata says, hurriedly denying her earlier words. “Not anymore. I just… I just sound terrible now. For realsies.”

“Hey, it’s not like I’m Setzer or anything, either,” you say with a lopsided grin. “You should sing if you want to.”

“It’s alright, really! I’m… I’m fine.” Sonata waves her arms hastily.

“Oh. Well, suit yourself.”

You shrug and continue playing. It’s a bit of a shame, but you can’t really force the girl. You let the melody flow from your fingertips. Its hopeful tones fill the band room, mixing with the orange light pouring in from the outside.

You have to admit, it wasn’t a bad choice at all, considering the atmosphere. Of course, it would have been better if there was someone to sing along with it, but alas. Even if she had hummed along with you before, if she didn’t want to sing, that was that.

You just let the first part of the song repeat itself.

It was relaxing in itself, but it was also an invitation. At the very least, you wanted to let her know that skills or no, she was welcome to join in at any time.

… Even if you didn’t know the reason why you wanted that.

Suddenly, you hear it.

It starts faint, hesitating, almost too quiet to hear. But as you don’t react to it, it gains some strength surprisingly quickly. It’s a feminine voice. And it’s coming from next to you.

The familiar lyrics flow through the air, hesitant at first.

You glance at Sonata. The girl’s hiding her face beneath her bangs, and you see a pink flush on her cheeks. Her fingers are fidgeting faster than before, but it’s from excitement, not shame.

With a faint smile rising to your lips, you take a drag from your cigarette and continue playing. Soon enough, the two of you are recreating that song you both knew.

The further you continue, the more confidence Sonata’s voice gains. Sure enough, when she gets enough strength behind it, you can’t help but to wince a bit.

It’s bad. Really bad.

You understand why she’d be so hesitant to sing these days. But at the same time, you can’t help but to marvel at the earnest passion behind it. She may sing horribly, but she sings straight from her heart.

It’s been a while since you heard such innocent love towards music itself. It’s enough to make you forget the lack of skill as you lead you two into the bridge. You lose yourselves into the music, and let the world around you fade away momentarily.

There’s nothing else important at this very moment.

Just the sound of the old acoustic guitar you’re playing and the untrained voice of Sonata accompanying it.

The orange-dyed band room in otherwise empty school. The smoke of your cigarette slowly rising towards the ceiling. The cheerful smile spreading to the lips of the girl next to you. The rhythmic tapping of your foot that you barely even realize. The soft clapping of Sonata’s hands as she paces herself to the melody.

It all mixes together to create what you can only describe as a “moment.”

It doesn’t matter whether either of you is that great at playing or singing. What you’re creating right now is still, undoubtedly, music. After all, it’s coming from two people enjoying what they are doing.

It only takes that much.

Just like that, the awkward pauses and forced conversations are swept aside. What is left is understanding. In such a simple way, you’ve found the right tune to connect yourself with this girl.

Human interaction is surprisingly easy, after all. It doesn’t need much thought put into it. As long as you can find something you both feel is fun, then it’s alright. And this song is the discovery you’ve made with Sonata.

You raise your gaze, and notice that the blue-haired girl is staring straight at you. Gone is the sadness that you saw before. It has been replaced with, of all things, gratitude.

You’re a bit surprised.

You continue playing, but at the same time, you don’t even focus on your hands anymore. The same thing seems to happening with her. You simply look into each other’s eyes.

That raspberry-colored stare is drilling itself into your deepest thoughts. For some reason, you feel heat overtake your cheeks. And yet… you don’t break away. After all, it’s just part of this “moment.” Nothing needs to be said or done. It’s just the music and the two of you.

And that, as they say, is alright.

“Sonata! Just what are you screeching in here?”

As before, the door of the band room is slammed open with quite the force. The sudden interruption makes you strike the wrong chord. Just like that, the song comes to a jarring halt.

The two of you stare at the girls standing in the doorway.

One of them has orange hair the size of the Hindenburg, and a haughty expression. The other one could make a lemon tree blush in shame with the sourness of her scowl. It seems the Poofy Haired One is about to berate Sonata some more, but jerks back after seeing you.

”And… who is this?” She asks, folding her arms and glaring daggers at you.

”Oh! That’s North Wind!” Sonata excitedly introduces you. ”North, this is Adagio and Aria!”

The blue-haired goof next to you has zero ability in reading the mood, it seems.

”Oh. So this is him,” the girl called Adagio does a much-telling eyeroll. ”Sonata, wasn’t there something you were supposed to do about… this?”

She also waves her hand slightly to your general direction. This seems to bring Sonata back to the matter at hand, as she grimaces in embarrassment.

”Oh, right. Umm, well, you see—“

“Nah, that’s alright, Sonata,” you cut her off. “I was just about to leave after this song, anyhow.”

“You were? But, you said…” Sonata asks in surprise, but once again you speak before she can finish.

“I’ve had my coffee and smoked enough to ruin one room. I think that’s a job well done, no?”

You grin at her as you pack away your thermos, and return the guitar to its stand. As you get ready to leave, Sonata gets up from the amp and walks over to you. She shuffles a bit awkwardly, but still manages to smile.

“Umm, North?” she giggles. That was, like, super fun. For realsies.”

“Yeah. I suppose it was”, you answer. “It was a welcome break from playing alone.”

Adagio and Aria look at you two in confusion as you chuckle. It seems they have no idea what’s going on.

After saying goodbye to Sonata, you head out of the band room, brushing past the two who interrupted you. Aria merely scoffs at you, but Adagio is giving you a scrutinizing glare. To be honest, it unnerves you a bit.

You knew girls like her. They were seriously nothing but trouble. Thus, you hurry your steps a bit. The faster you put some distance between you two, the better.

As you are about to exit the room, you suddenly hear Sonata calling out to you.

“Thanks, North! I’m feeling much better now!”

You smile back at her, and give her a small wave. She enthusiastically waves her hand back.

“I’ll… I’ll see you tomorrow!” she shouts.

Tomorrow, huh?

That was a bit unexpected. But if you were honest with yourself, it wasn’t… unwelcome. You hadn’t really made any new acquaintances at the CHS, after all.

As you walk down the corridor, you can still hear the faint sounds of the trio talking with each other.

“Okay, Sonata, you were right. That guy was, ugh, super weird,” the purple girl, Aria, says.

Sounds like you didn’t leave a good impression on her.

“I agree with you there… but I noticed a distinct lack of scorn for us. What was up with that?” Adagio continues.

It was kinda sad that that was what she paid attention to.

“Oh, I think he, like, transferred here not long ago! He was really fun! Weird… but fun!” Sonata exclaims.

You really didn’t want to hear that from her, of all people.

Eventually even their voices faded away as you got closer to the main entrance. It was back to the landfill-like apartment with you, but, for some reason, you didn’t mind. In fact, you were in a much better mood than you had been in a long while.

Humming the tune you had been just playing, you threw around the thermos in your hands. The smoke on your lips burned with newfound vigor.

You were North Wind. Cigarettes and coffee were still just about the only things you had to your name.

But after today… you also had a new friend.