January 28, 2014

Ace: Week Eleven, Day Seven

WEEK ELEVEN
DAY SEVEN
Awesome-ness:  Ace becomes an instant celebrity and Pop Icon!
 
Ace laid in bed and thought about how far he'd come in his life.  As lead guitarist, he was really moving up in the world - becoming a small-time celebrity!
But his kids were growing up so fast.  The place would be pretty empty without them, he thought sadly.   he should take them to the park for some good old family bonding!

Maybe while he was there he'd be able to think of some way to give Chase a little confidence boost!
 
***

Of course they headed to the park, Chase rolled his eyes.  Dad always thought the park was such a great family bonding experience.  But more often than not, they never actually hung out together!
And true to form, Devon ran off with Cornelia the minute they got there.  They were checking out the snow-boarding. 

"Hey, pull your bass out, Chase," his Dad said.  "Let's jam together."

"Here?" Chase asked, a little nervous.  "Are you sure?"  He'd played for friends and family before, but never in front of people, like strangers

"Yeah, we can play some Snowflake Day tunes.  I bet it'll put a smile on people's faces."

"Well, okay.." Chase said hesitantly, pulling out the bass.

A short time later and Chase was really into it!  It was so cool to see strangers walk by and smile or start to dance when they heard their music.  And people really were liking his bass!

"Ace! There you are, sugar! I've been looking everywhere for you!" Yvonne said, carefully stepping through the snow in her heels.

Ace stopped playing and slung the guitar over his shoulder.  "Hey, Yvonne. What do you have for me?"

Yvonne grinned.  "The perfect venue!  Lone Wolff Lounge!"

Ace's eyebrows raise.  "Wow. I'm impressed!" he said. 
Yvonne playfully slapped his shoulder.  "And you should be sugar. I had to call in a lot of favors.  Now you need to go, order their fruity drink and then play a set for their customers.  It'll be great publicity all around!"

"Great! When?"

"Now!" Yvonne said, herding him to his car.

"Now?" Ace said, glancing over his shoulder at Chase. "But, I was..."

"You just go. I'll hang out with Chase! Go! Go!" Yvonne said, swatting Ace on the rear.  Shaking his head he trotted to the car.  He wasn't sure how she did it, but Yvonne somehow always managed to get her way!

Yvonne smoothed her skirt and ran a hand through her hair before she turned back to Chase, who stood there looking at her like a deer in the headlights.  Perfect, she grinned.  "Well, sugar. I was wanting to talk to you about that magnificent bass you have there!"

***
 
Ace drove over to the Lone Wolff Lounge, the trendy new hot spot in town.
He walked in and smiled at the bartender.  "Hi, I'm..."

The bartender squealed. "Oh I know who you are! Ace Black! I just love listening to your music! I couldn't believe it when the boss said you were coming in!"

Ace grinned sheepishly.  "That's me.  Um, I'll have a Simoleon Sunrise."

"Great choice, Mr. Black! I'll have it mixed up for you in a jiffy!" she said.  When she slid him the drink, she included an extra napkin.  "Do you think I could have your autograph?"
Ace laughed as he signed the napkin.  "Sure, why not! First time for everything, right?!"  He couldn't believe how popular he was getting.

Especially with the ladies, he thought when a beautiful young woman walked by, giving him the eye.

"Those drinks look yummy," the woman said, sidling up next to him.  "May I?"

"Sure, by all means," he said, handing her a drink. 

As she sipped, she stuck out her hand, "Haley Song, nice to meet you."

Ace shook her hand and cocked his head.  She reminded him of someone...  "Have we met?"

Haley smiled.  "No, but we have now," she said, laying it on a little thick.

Ace shook his head. Wow. He'd never had the ladies throw themselves at him before!  "Um, well, I'm off to do a set.  I'll see you around," he said, extracting himself from a potentially awkward situation.
As he headed upstairs, he conferred with the piano player and they agreed on a few jazzy songs.  As he glanced around at the crowd gathering, he noticed all his fans were hot, young ladies! 

There were definitely a few perks to being a celebrity! he thought with a grin.

After the last song was finished, Ace called out, "I'll be at the theater all week! Come join me at the show!"
He bowed as the ladies clapped and cheered and then hurried to the theater.  Maybe he could get in an impromptu performance.
As Ace left the theater that night, he slipped on his shades to try to get home incognito.  After all, he was a Pop Icon now and pretty much the only celebrity in town.

He wondered how much life was going to change now...

Ace: Week Eleven, Day Six

WEEK ELEVEN
DAY SIX
Awesome-ness: Ace is promoted to Lead Guitarist!

The  day had finally come, Chase thought, disgruntled.  Prom.  He stared at himself in the mirror and sighed.  And he was going.  Alone.
Chase had been surprised that Devon hadn't rushed off with his sweetheart, Cornelia, in the limo.  "You don't want me hanging around. I'll be a third wheel," Chase argued. 

Devon shrugged nonchalantly.  "Eh, we agreed we'd meet at the prom.  She's going to head over with a few of her friends."  

Chase looked at his brother out of the corner of his eye. 

Devon rolled his eyes and held his hands out wide. "What? What's the big deal! We'll go together!" he said with some exasperation.  He actually felt bad that Chase was going alone, so he'd told Cornelia he'd meet her there.  And she was bringing a friend they hoped might hit it off with Chase...

***

"Well, this is it..." Chase muttered under his breath as he walked up the snowy front steps.  "Should be a fun night."

Devon clapped him on the shoulder.  "It's going to be great!" he said excitedly.
Chase was embarrassed to discover that Devon and Cornelia had set him up with her friend, Amelia.  But, she'd stayed by his side the entire night.  That had to mean something, right?

He watched as Devon boogied to the stage & accepted his crown and suggested to everyone that the school needed a prank. The chaperones were not too happy with him. 

So, of course, Devon & Cornelia were the dynamic duo of the dance. Everyone was copying their moves and check out their style. Anyone could see there was definitely some chemistry there.

Chase sighed and glanced at Amelia, who sat fidgeting next to him.  "Umm... so.... do you want to dance?" Chase asked hesitantly.  

Amelia glanced over at him and her mouth dropped open.  "Umm... I... uh... I'm sorry," she said hurriedly, glancing down at her hands.  "I don't dance!"

Chase sighed as he watched his brother tearing up the dance floor.  "Yeah, me neither..." he said stiffly. 

 ***

"So? How was it?" Ace asked when he saw Chase come in.  He glanced at the clock.  Alittle early, he thought to himself.  "Where's Devon?"
 Chase shrugged.  "He went out with Cornelia to celebrate their big win.  Prom King and Prom Queen," he mumbled, a little bitterly.  It's not that he wasn't happy for his brother.  He was!  He just.. well.. he just wished that sort of thing came easier to him, too.
Ace pats Chase's shoulder. “Your time will come, Chase."

Chase shrugged.  "I'm just going to go to bed."
Ace sought for some way to cheer up his somber son.  "Hey! Did I tell you that Yvonne loved your bass playing.  She thinks that you could have a real future at the theater!”

"You're just saying that!" Chase said skeptically.

"No! Honest! She said she thought you had real talent!"

Chase mulled the news over. "Huh. I always thought I'd go into the science field. I couldn't make it as a lead guitarist, like you! I'm no rock star!"

"No, but you could join the Symphonic Music career track!"

"Yeah, sure," Chase scoffed.  "Thanks for the pep talk, Dad.  I'll see you in the morning."

Ace watched his son slouch away and shook his head.  He just wished Chase had more confidence in himself!

Ace: Week Eleven, Day Five

WEEK ELEVEN
DAY FIVE
Awesome-ness:  Ace throws an awesome Snowflake Day celebration!

"Bethany! How are you doing?" Ace said as he hugged his sister.  "Marriage agrees with you!" he said with a smile.  It was good to see his sister so happy.  Reaching out, he shook his brother-in-law's hand.  "How's the military treating you?" 

Topher grinned, "Good, if you ignore the protesting muscles and long hours!"

Ace laughed. 
 Ace had thrown a big Snowflake Day celebration.  It was good to see everyone together and having fun. 

He glanced over.  Was Becky Baker really flirting with Earnest Keaton?  Ace thought distractedly.  Ew! Earnest had been friends with Topher & Bethany since grade school! 
"Now there you are, sugar! Tell me you're going to perform for us today!" Yvonne said, clapping her hands together.

"Actually, I think Chase was going to play a new song he learned today."

Yvonne sighed.  "You should be the one playing! We're trying to get your name on everyone's lips - not your son's!"

Ace shrugged distractedly, "Maybe I'll play something a little later." He glanced across the room.  Where was Tracy?

"Ace!" she called out from across the room.

Ace light up with a smile when he saw her, holding his arms open. 
"I missed you!" he said. "I'm sorry I've been so busy lately!"
"It's okay! But I thought this weekend you might want to talk about wedding plans!"
Ace smiled. "Yeah sure. I'll check with Yvonne to see if my schedule is clear!" he said.  He turned around before he saw Tracy's smile drop.
“Alright everyone, as Dad would've said, 'Let's get this show on the road!'” Ace called out with a grin!
"Alright, Chase and Devon, front and center.  You open your presents first... together," Ace said, giving the boys the large boxes.  "I wonder what it is!" Devon said eagerly as he ripped the paper off. 

Devon opened it more sedately and smiled when he saw the guitar case.  "Thanks, Dad!" he said.

"Yeah! This is so cool, Dad!  A guitar!" Devon said excitedly.  "Thanks!"

Ace smiled.  "Two guitars for my two guys!  It was Yvonne's idea!"

The boys mumbled their thanks and hurried back to their seats.  "Open yours next, Dad!" Chase called out.
"Alright, who's the wise guy?" Ace said when he'd opened his gift and found a piece of coal.  

Chase laughed loudly and slapped his knee with tears of mirth gathering in his eyes.  "Good one, huh, Dad?"

Ace grumbled.  "Makes me wish I hadn't shelled out for a guitar for you!"

***

Towards the end of the celebration, Chase pulled out his bass and began playing for family and friends. 

Yvonne's eyes lit up.  Ka-ching, she thought with a grin.  That boy's fingers were magical!
"We should talk about your boy, Ace. I think he's got real talent," Yvonne said.  "What do you think about signing him up at the theater for a few acts?"

Ace hesitated.  "I don't know, Yvonne.  He's still pretty young.  He has school..."
Yvonne turned back and watched Chase finger the strings.  Shame to let talent like that go to waste, she thought.  She'd have to work on him.  Because if there's one thing she knew, she always got her way in the end!

Ace, Week Eleven, Day Four

WEEK ELEVEN
DAY FOUR
Awesome-ness: Ace meets someone who says she's going to take him to the top!

Ace headed over to the theater first thing in the morning to perform for his fans. 
It was such an awesome feeling seeing how much people enjoyed listening to him play.  And he was damn good, in fact... not to toot his own horn, but some considered him a master guitarist!
Ace looked around and noticed night had fallen.  As he began to put away his guitar, a woman started clapping. “Sugar, that is talent!” she exclaimed, stepping forward to introduce herself. 
 “Yvonne Flores. You got an agent already? Because I can take you to the top!”
Ace was pleasantly surprised. An agent? He thought. Maybe that's what he needed to break through to the big-time!  
"You think you can help me?" he asked, trying not to appear too eager.

"Oh, I know I can help you, sugar.  Maybe we should go iron out the details over dinner," she suggested.

"Sure! That sounds great," Ace said.  "We can meet at the diner...."

Yvonne laughed.  "Oh no, sugar, I've got more class than to be seen at the diner!  The best way to get to the top is to be seen!  We should head over to the fancy bistro down the street!"
As they waited for their table to be prepared, Yvonne smiled at a few people she saw milling around.  It was clear she knew some important people!  "I just love it here," she said brightly. 
When their number was called, Ace headed inside...

...and didn't even give a thought to Tracy or who this dinner meeting would look...

January 26, 2014

Ace: Week Eleven, Day Three

WEEK ELEVEN
DAY THREE 
Awesome-ness:  Ace awesomely supported his sister's graduation! 

"Come on everyone!" Bethany said anxiously as she waited for the boys to get in the car.  "You're going to make me late!"

"If we're late it's because you had to stop and do your hair ten times! And you can't even see it under the hat!" Devon mumbled grumpily.  He did not like waking up early in the morning, especially not to go to a school function.

Ace held his hands out for peace.  "Everyone, calm down.  We are not going to be late," he said to Bethany.  "Devon - keep your trap shut!"  The last thing he needed today was Devon mouthing off!
"Where am I supposed to park?" Bethany asked anxiously.  There were no free parking spots!

Chase pointed.  "There's a spot!"

Bethany reversed and pulled into the spot.  "It's a block away, we're going to have to hurry!"
As they approached City Hall's front doors, Bethany took several calming breaths.  "This is it, guys!" she said happily.  "I'm graduating today!"

Devon rolled his eyes.  "Big deal," he mumbled.

Chase rolled his eyes at his brother.  "Don't you take anything seriously?" he asked.

"I don't have to! You take everything seriously enough for both of us!" Devon shot back hotly.
"Guys!" Ace said walking up.  "Not another word! This is Bethany's day!"
As the boys walked a few feet away to bicker, Ace shook his head and pulled Bethany into his arms.  "I'm so proud of you squirt!"

With the boys still bickering quietly, they headed into the City Hall for the graduation ceremony.

***

"VALEDICTORIAN!" Bethany cheered as she leapt into Topher's arms.  "Who would've thought!"

Topher laughed. "Yeah, don't forget Most Likely to Never Leave the House!"

Bethany rested her head against Topher's strong shoulder and sighed.  She felt so happy in his arms.
"Well, I think I'm going to surprise everyone on that count!" she said with a grin, dropping to her knee. "I've decided I'm kinda partial to your house.  That is... if you'll marry me..."
Topher grinned as he pulled Bethany up to her feet.  "You beat me!" he said, showing her the ring he'd bought for her.  "I was going to propose to you tonight."

Bethany wrapped her arms around him.  "So, is that a yes?  Don't keep a girl waiting!"
Topher slipped the ring on her finger.  "That's definitely a yes."  Then, with a gleam in his eye, he added.  "And we're at City Hall right now anyways. Let's just do it! Get married here without the fuss!"
"I love it!" Bethany said, wrapping her arms around her husband.  "I don't want to waste a single moment not being your wife!"

(And they didn't waste a moment hurrying home and celebrating their wedding.  Two hours later, Mrs. Bethany Baker-Black was pollinated by one Mr. Topher Baker.)

Ace: Week Eleven, Day Two

WEEK ELEVEN 
DAY TWO
Awesome-ness:  Ace throws an awesome birthday party for Bethany!
 
"How's it feel, Bethany?" Devon asked from a few seats back.

"How's what feel?" she asked him.

"Aw, come on! You know! Your birthday! You're gonna be 18 and can do what you want!"
Bethany shrugged.  "I dunno.  Doesn't feel any different," she said sadly. "Besides, I don't think Ace has planned anything."

Devon rolled his eyes in return.  "Oh come on! You know Dad's got something big planned for you! He wouldn't forget your big day!" 


***


Ace grinned.  Good, the park had put up the Snowflake Day tree and presents. 
He had vague memories of building a snowman with Dad and Anne.  He wasn't sure how much was memory and how much was hearing the stories and seeing the picture on the wall.
It felt like a million years ago...

Shaking his head, he let the memories pass.  He had work to do!

***

"Good! You got my message at school!" Ace said when Bethany and the boys headed over to the park after school.  "I was worried they wouldn't give it to you in time!"

"What's going on?" Bethany asked.  She recognized a few people from his work and... Aunt Alaina? "What is Aunt Alaina doing here?"

"Are you kidding?" Ace announced.  "It's your big day!"
He handed her a present with a flourish.  "And for you!"
Bethany opened the box and pulled out a set of keys.  "Keys?" she asked, then brightened.  "To the new car?!"

"Not so fast there, squirt!" Ace teased.  "The new car is mine.  This is to Dad's clunker.  It'll get your around while you get on your feet."

Tears came to Bethany's eyes.  "I thought you got rid of it!"

Ace shook his head.  "Nah, I couldn't get rid of it.  I had it in the shop getting worked on.  I wanted to make sure it was ready for you."

Bethany threw herself into her brother's arms.  "You are the best big brother in the world!" she said tearfully.
Bethany looked around at her friends and family and grinned. 
Then, her eyes met Topher and her heart skipped a beat.  He was so handsome!  
"Happy birthday, Bethie," Topher said, reaching out to hold her hands.

"You too, Topher," she said, running her hand down his new suit.  "Nice outfit."

"Aw, you say that all the boys," he joked.

Bethany shook her head.  "No. Only to you. I'm completely faithful to you!" (Bethany got faithful reputation)

***

Bethany wasn't the only one working on her reputation. 
"Cornelia!" Ace said, hugging her.  "How's it hangin'?"
Cornelia grinned.  "Wonderful since I ran into you!"

Devon grinned back and leaned forward, flirting with her.  He loved everything about this chick! Her fun, vibrant personality; her curly-can't-be-tamed hair, and the way she kissed!
"Wanna blow this joint and find something fun to do!" Devon asked with a waggle of his eyebrows.

"Love it!" Cornelia agreed, grabbing his hand as they raced away, unseen...

***

Well... mostly unseen...

Chase watched as Devon and Cornelia raced off and felt a wave of jealousy stir inside.  If only he could be as outgoing and devil-may-care as his brother! 

But, noooo, he was too serious and neurotic for the girls.  He sighed hopelessly.  He'd probably be alone his whole life...

***

At home, Chase's fingers flew across the strings of the bass, relieving all the frustration and jealousy that had been building up in him.

It was such a release! he thought as the music flowed from his soul.

Before long, Bethany emerged from her room to listen and Ace came downstairs and joined him with his guitar.
Now this was blowing off steam, Chase thought with satisfaction.

***

Late that night after the household had long since fallen asleep, Devon came creeping inside.  He'd probably be grounded forever for missing curfew, but Cornelia had been worth it!
He went to sleep dreaming about her...