Written for #RCReadathon2020 Prompt and Pairing, Please! Challenge. Sort of. Jill is a character from the Playlist series, starting with Songs of Our Breakup. Rhys is a character from Six de los Reyes‘ book Just For the Record and also appears in anthology Summer Crush.
This was nice.
Silence. Calm. Being surrounded by band boys most hours of her waking life guaranteed noise, chaos, and fun too, sure. Music and hijinks abound. Son and Nino ganging up on Kim while Miki mediated. In the midst of that, productivity and songs happened somehow. It worked out.
Music could be quiet too.
From the corner of her eye she saw Rhys nudge her fork, spearing a piece of pancake. Jill mirrored the motion, taking a cut of bacon on her next bite.
She didn’t know what led to this exactly, a midnight pancake run with Rhys, DJ unicorn extraordinaire. Miki had said working with Rhys had been the strangest yet most efficient experience, a volley of files attached to emails. Abrupt, to-the-point emails. That worked out too, the Summer Crush theme song turned out nice.
Was this about work?
Jill shrugged, munching on another bit of bacon with some egg. This late, the pancake place was empty, aside from the sleepy crew behind the counter.
Earlier tonight Rhys had sent her a text. Pancakes? I know a place.
Jill had said yes. It wasn’t complicated.
They sat side by side instead of across each other, with enough space for another person between them. Rhys was now slurping down her iced tea. The girl seemed to enjoy sweet things. Jill slid her untouched glass to Rhys’s side of the table, preferring water.
Music was playing through the speakers. It was ‘Iris’ by the Googoo Dolls a minute ago. Now it was ‘Breathless’ by the Corrs. Y2K karaoke hits was the playlist theme maybe. Cool.
“So, your boys,” were Rhys’s words, bringing a quick death to their silence.
“I don’t have boys,” Jill said, surprised. “I have a Shinta?”
Rhys gave a nod and a brief second of eye contact, as if approving.
“One boy. Not your Shinta. The bassist. Curly?”
“What is Son up to now?” Jill groaned.
“What are they up to—is more precise. Curly, Fluffy.” She sighed, pointing a thumb to her chest as if claiming responsibility for the second name, albeit reluctantly.
Jill had to take a moment to try and pinpoint a Fluffy among Rhys’s crew. Curly for Son was self-explanatory, but was Fluffy supposed to be ironic?
“Michael Brian?” She ventured a guess.
Rhys gave a short grunt which Jill took as a yes.
“And Steven,” Jill finished, comprehension dawning. She wondered for a second what could be Rhys’s nickname for Steven but figured that was a question for another midnight.
Mikhail Learns to Brian. The surprise project group that two of their bandmates plus Steven of Korean rock band East Genesis Project fame had cooked up. Right under their stern leaders’ noses, an accomplishment the trio had been giddy about.
Rhys had moved on to sipping Jill’s iced tea. “Does Traindude approve of the name?”
“Traindude…?” Her bandmates were all Traindudes. Trainmen? Oh right. “Who—Miki? He didn’t have a choice. They told him to be grateful.”
“It worries me.”
“Have you heard their samples? They sound good.”
“I’m not worried about the music.”
“I get you.” Jill stuffed her mouth with pancakes, chewing to buy time. She felt herself smirk. “I don’t have energy for an intervention, if that’s where you’re going. Maybe this conversation should have been with Kim?”
“No, not that guy. Grumpy would…do things. And I’m just…”
Jill really did. Most times the project group thing was funny, because separately, Son, Michael Brian and Steven were hilarious. Together, they were an explosion waiting to go off.
Case in point, dropping a single in the middle of East Genesis Project’s V Live session.
Second case in point, stealing—“borrowing” the poor Shinta Mori standee for their music video shoot.
Jill pulled out her phone and set it on the table between her and Rhys, finding a song. It was a new one. The boys had coerced Miki to supervise their rehearsal and Miki had recorded it, sending her the track.
It was a fast beat. Clip-clopping. Heavy on the bass and synths. Generous with the hi hats, the drums thumping its own rhythm. Michael Brian was crooning, the sweetness of the sound a surprising contrast to what she knew of his abs and to the energy of the track.
Rhys had closed her eyes. The song looped and neither of them stopped it.
“I will be in touch.”
She sounded so serious. Jill couldn’t help a burst of laughter.
“Is this you or the company speaking?” she asked.
“Me.” Rhys flicked her another look, another second’s eye contact. “The song is nice. I’d like to hear the next one. It doesn’t have to be pancakes next time.”
Jill shrugged, licking butter off her lips as she took another bite. “Pancakes are nice.”
That was fun, heh.
#RCReadathon2020 Prompt and Pairing, Please! Challenge thread this way for more ficlets of your Romanceclass faves.