Ella and the Rock Star
Her step-sister, Jillian, mocks her. “Ella, your rhymes are silly. Iron my top for the concert.”
Ella nods. She no longer picks her battles; she no longer battles. As told, she irons Jillian’s expensive blouse and then withdraws to the kitchen where Cook prepares a light supper.
At the table, Ella composes more words. She has this dream, a silly dream perhaps, that Dylan of Kashmir would take her words and transform them into a song. To hear her words on his tongue? She truly could envision a no better fairytale.
Imagine Ella’s surprise when Cook places a front row ticket to tonight’s Kashmir’s concert upon Ella’s lined writing paper.
“Cook! Why? How?” Surprise, confusion, joy surge through Ella.
“My son gets perks through his company. He couldn’t go. I told him I knew someone who would love to go,” Cook says.
Ella stares at the ticket as if it is gold. Front row at a Kashmir concert. Even Jillian doesn’t have a front row ticket.
“I don’t have anything to wear.”
Cook gestures to the mudroom where a gray garment bag hangs. Ella’s eyes widen. Inside is a cobalt blue blouse that matches Ella’s eyes and a brand new pair of blue jeans. She’d never worn anything but hand-me-downs.
“I can’t,” Ella begins. “These must be expensive. You’ve already been so kind to me.”
“My son’s girlfriend is a model for petite clothes. Her closet overflows. These are a gift.”
Ella hugs Cook and then runs to the basement to her windowless room to change.
Dylan feels the music pulse through him. A reporter once asked if he grew bored performing the same sets night after night. Dylan laughed. “Are you kidding?”
Tonight standing on stage he looks out at the rows of fans, each mouthing the words to his songs. His eyes fall upon a woman with auburn hair, whose eyes shine like sapphires. Suddenly he’s singing to her, holding his hand out to her. He grins when she blushes. She looks around as if she could escape, but puts her hand in his and lets him guide her to the stage.
Kashmir has one love ballad, which he sings to her, his eyes drinking in her shy smile, the luster of her eyes. At the end, she slips a sheet of paper in his hand and he feels a little disappointed. Another groupie’s contact information.
After the show, he retreats to his dressing room and is about to ball up the paper and toss it into the bin, but decides to look at it.
He falls in love. Her words blossom on the page, fragrant with hope, weaving a magical tale that loops him in, like wisteria vines, laden with purple flowers.
He hurries back to the stage, hoping against hope that she might still be there. The only people in the venue are the roadies taking down the set and the clean-up crew. He stares at the words as if they could point him in her direction. How can he find her?
The elegant house fits her, he thinks. He’s shown to a sitting room, where there are shelves and shelves of books, the bindings showing wear.
“It is you!” a brunette says.
Dylan frowns. This isn’t the woman. “You are?”
“The one you’re looking for.”
“You wrote these words?” he asks, his voice skeptical.
“Of course. Me, I’m always doodling. See?” she says, pulling out a couple of receipts in the same scrawl as the one he has.
He looks at her again. Maybe she wore a wig. But this woman is taller, in flats. Hair color can change, but to grow four inches? Probably not possible.
Another face appears in the doorway. Her. Her creamy skin, blue eyes, the reddish tinged hair gleaming like embers. He approaches.
Ella knows she should run. Jillian’s eyes spear her. Is this the battle?
“These are your words?” he asks.
She nods. “Yes.”
“Who are you?”
“I’m Ella,” she says as if it should be obvious. Her name, after all, is under the lyric. But then she sees the ink has been smudged to abstraction.
“She’s lying. She’s never even been to college. How could she write lyrics you’d like?” Jillian asks.
Dylan smiles. “I’ve never been to college and I write lyrics I like.”
“You like it?” Ella asks, her voice almost a whisper.
“I do. I’ll change the title though.”
“But ‘Happy’ is right.”
“I prefer ‘Happily Ever After.’”