I nod. “I’m game. Sven, you want the lyrics?”
He shakes his head. “Nope. This is all you, Billie.”
I sit back, shocked. Sven is a peacock. He does not give up the spotlight like this. He gestures for me to go back to my kit.
“Your lead,” he says as they move a mic over for me.
I play around with the drumbeat for a few minutes, and once I get a basic idea going, Nikki and Sven start playing with the bass and guitar lines, adding in some backup vocals. We run through a few ideas, tweaking until we have something that works.
We run it through three times before I’m sure we’ve got something good. Producers ask if we can record the next go-around just to see how it all sounds, and I give a thumbs-up.
As I sing, I think of Calum. These lyrics are about Calum. About not liking him at first. About seeing what a good heart he has. About falling in love and making love and wanting him so badly, I thought I might burst. About being disappointed. About being hurt but wanting nothing more than to hear his voice.
I’m nearly in tears as we finish it off, and when the song ends, I sit for a minute longer to get my breath under control.
Nikki appears in front of my kit, leaning down to meet my line of sight. “You okay, Billie?”
I sit up, nodding, wiping an errant tear with the back of my hand.
“I know you miss him,” she says quietly. “We’re glad you’re here, but I know it wasn’t an easy choice.”
I nod. It’s all I can think to do. I didn’t share what Calum said to me. I didn’t tell them that I was given an ultimatum that broke my heart more than I thought it could be broken. I couldn’t find those words.
“Want to hear it back?” comes through from the booth. “It was intense. Really, really good.”
Sven gives a thumbs-up, and the song flows back into the studio space. I close my eyes as I hear it back, raw and emotional. He’s right; itisreally, really good. Maybe one of the best we’ve done.
Nikki announces that she needs a lunch break, but I know she must realize I need an emotional break. I give her a nod of thanks as she drags Sven out of the studio. I wander into the booth where one of the producers, a Brit named Colin sits, fiddling with some of the production values.
“This is insanely good,” he says. “You literally just made that up today?”
“I’ve been messing with the lyrics for a few days,” I admit.
“Well, still. It’s gold. I’ve only ever seen that come together once before. Insane.”
I shrug. “Not sure, really. I guess?”
“Ugly emotion makes the best art, luv.”
I frown, Colin’s comment jarring something down deep, making me think about what he just said. An idea forms…and then the dark clouds part just enough to let some sunshine in.
I know what I need to do.
“Can I…would you let me share this with someone?” I take a deep breath, a hopeful breath. “Like, can I play this for the person I was thinking of when I wrote it?”
“Will he leak it?”
“No.” I shake my head. “Don’t think so.”
“I won’t tell if you don’t.”
We bump fists before he airdrops the raw song file to me from the logic session.God, I hope this works.