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I'm with the Band (IC)

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It had been a few days since JJ and Eddie had met with Alexis and Eddie had heard both of their performances. For some reason it had taken this long just to track down James. Oddly enough, he wasn't in his room when they had first come to call. Now that both Eddie and JJ had some free time again, they decided to try and get their recruitment process started.

Eddie and JJ approached James out on the quad. "Hey man, what's up? I got a question for you. We're getting a band together and we want to know if you want in. Interested?

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JJ followed Eddie silently, giving a nod to Jame's in greeting but otherwise didn't say anything. The Band leadership, organization thing was Eddie's gig so JJ let Eddie deal with it.

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James looked over as Eddie and JJ approached. Closing his phone and sliding it in a pocket, he raised an eyebrow. "A band? If you're just looking for someone to fill in, sure. I've jammed with some Names, just for fun. It's amazing what connections will let me get away with. But join? I've had more than a few offers, never cared for it. Never done long term stuff," he said, shrugging his shoulders a little. He was easily good enough to be a rock star with his skills. It just wasn't meant to last. Bands, friends, etc. Nothing ever was long term when he knew it was just temporary till the devil came due. This whole Young Freedom thing was pretty new to him, all things considered.

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"Aww come on man. We already have me on vocals, JJ on keys, This guy Alexis on drums, and a new girl Zoe on guitar. I really want to see a second guitarist in the band, though. I would really like it to be you." Eddie smiled big. He was a joker through and through. But that just made it all the more easy to tell when he was serious about something. This band was like his child. There was no way he would let it wither and die because of just one man. "At this rate, I could probably fill the spot with anyone else. But I want you."

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"Yeah come on, you know it's going to be loads of fun." JJ piped in. "Not to mention the girl's always like a rock star." JJ added with a grin.

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James shrugged. "I'm good at fun. But how's this different from every other band that's offered? I know you've got the big band dream, and that's great. JJ, trust me. I've never had trouble finding girls," he said with a grin. He didn't particular care about being famous or making money. He had that already. Combined with his his looks and charm, he was easily used to being popular. Normally, he wouldn't even consider this kind of thing, knowing it wasn't meant to last and not particular caring regardless. But this stupid Young Freedom thing had meant he actually cared about these people. Caring, despite it's benefits, could be a pain in the ass sometimes. Still, just liking Eddie despite the kid being a spaz (he didn't know JJ that well yet) wasn't really an answer for 'why should I'.

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While not wanting to steel Eddie's spotlight JJ couldn't help but respond, "We'll then why not? By what I've been told your good, we can all be ourselves around each other, and It's all about having fun. I cant see the future, very few people can, but when your seventy do you want to look back and think to your self, 'why didn't I join.'" JJ said with all seriousness in his voice.

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"He is right man..." Eddie said mater of factly. Eddie shook his head. He was getting no where with this. "Look. I'm gonna put this plainly. I've got the singer, I've got the keys and the drums, hell, I've got another guitarist already. But I need something else. I need something more. I need you, man. You've gotta do this for me...Please." Eddie's smile was a little smaller than usual, but still quite large. It went along with the look of pleading that he was giving James at the moment. It wasn't a guilt trip... It was just how he sincerely felt.

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James just answered JJ with a shrug. He could have lied he supposed. The truth just wasn't a likely option. 'I don't grow old' vs the 'I could end of destroying the world' were really not acceptable answers. As for being himself, he already was, sort of. As much as he could be without freaking people out anyway. He looked over at Eddie with a frown though. Asking for a favor, pulling on those annoying (not really but felt that way at the moment) strings that the whole Young Freedom thing had created...

"You are such a pain in the ass," he muttered, mostly to himself. He shrugged his shoulders a final time, almost in resignation. "Fine, let's make you guys famous. Wha'dya need me to do? Am I making some call, getting the spots, lining things up? Or just plucking the strings?"

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Eddie smiled his huge happy everything-is-right-with-the-world smile. "Nope. Nothing complicated. You just need to play your heart out." Eddie turned and motioned for James to follow him. "Come on, I'll show you our practice space. And thanks, man. I really appreciate it."

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JJ positively Beamed, "Sweet, you won't regret it." JJ said as he followed along. "Hey Eddie, who is the other player? I don't think I've met them yet?" JJ suddenly asks. Not waiting for an answer JJ began shake slightly with excitement "This is going to be so COOL!" he suddenly burst, A small explosion of rainbow colored light erupted all around him which made him suddenly stop and look all embarrassed... "hehe...heh..." He suddenly mumbled as he followed along... "Okay... don't get to excited... I loose control of my power's apparently...." he said more to himself than the others.

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Eddie watched JJ float around for a few moments before saying, "Yea you might want to try and get a handle on that. It would probably be bad if you went boomer in the middle of a show." Eddie laughed at JJ's antics, ever his cheerful self.

"Actually, Our newest member is Zoe. She also plays guitar. James and I met her yesterday." He jerked a thumb at James. "I've really never seen anyone play guitar like she does... It was really stunning. I liked it so much, I bought her a guitar just so she could play with us." Eddie was all smiles as he talked about Zoe.

I wonder where she is, actually. If she were Mark she would walk up just as we started talking about her! Eddie laughed to himself as he thought about his quirky friends.

"Alright, lets go take a look at that practice space. It's not that far if you want to walk, or would you rather drive? Also, I have a key to the garage for you, so you can leave you're stuff there if you want." Eddie offered James a small key to the storage locker they were all keeping they're musical equipment in.

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James nodded. "Yeah. I'd start practicing that. Subtle on the powers thing. Eddie wants to keep the powers thing an unknown. Which reminds me, I'm gonna need a cover otherwise that won't last long. I'll make some calls," he said unconcerned.

"Nice to know. Can't wait to hear her play." He wasn't sure how good she really was. Eddie was the overenthusiastic type. Plus, his obvious feelings for Zoe might color his views somewhat. Still she was probably pretty decent if nothing else. Eddie did know a thing or two about music after all. "We can walk. Nothing wrong with a little exercise," he said, taking the key. "A garage? Ok. When we're ready to record though, I'm getting us a recording studio." If they were going to do this, they were going to do it right. Eddie was a great musician but a little spastic at times. James would make some calls when the time came. People he could handle just fine. James might be a skilled musician from, pardon the pun, hell but creating music wasn't something he did well. He didn't have that creative spark. A holdover from 'dad' probably. Eddie could handle that with ease though.

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"Dude. That sounds awesome. You come through with those connections as usual." Eddie talked as he walked towards the parking lot. "The garage is just a temporary practice space anyway. One of our members doesn't go to Claremont, so I had to pick something off campus. And well, lets be frank. It was the right price."

Eddie turned to JJ. "I'll tell you what? Since you don't know Zoe yet, why don't I call her and have her meet us in the parking lot since we're walking over. I can call Alexis too. We can have our first band meeting!" Eddie said excitedly.

Eddie pulled his cell phone out of his pocket. He dialed the number for Zoe's room at Claremont. We're really going to need to get you a cell phone, girl.

When she picked up on the other end he spoke into the phone, his voice was cheerful. "Hey, Zo. Wanna come to the practice space with me and the rest of the band guys? We're meeting in the parking lot."

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Zöe's voice answered on the other line. "County Morgue. You stab 'em, we slab 'em."

"Sure, sounds razor. Just gotta do my homework..." One, two, three..."OK, all done. Where are you guys at right now?"

As soon as Eddie mentioned he was in the Claremont quad, he felt Zöe pressed up against him, her arms around his neck. Then he heard the *click* as the phone hung up on her end. "Hey, Rockstar." She gave him a kiss.

She wore a black baby-doll t-shirt with a Fear Factory logo, baggy denim jeans with cargo pockets and holes torn in the legs, and sneakers. Her fiery-red hair was pulled back in a high ponytail, and her weird PDA(?) was secured in a pouch on her belt.

"Either of you guys got a ride? There's another trick I wanna try out..."

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JJ blushed "Actually that's never happened before... I'm not quite sure what did happen then..." JJ said all embarrassed.

Getting back on topic with the band JJ just say's "Cool... Oh hey if we were going to be playing I should grab my keyboard." JJ suddenly thought. He had contemplated leaving his new Keyboard in the shed, but truth be told it was a Prototype and insanely expensive for the time being. "I'll just go grab it, I'll meet you at th...." JJ began to say as Zöe suddenly appeared.

"Ah Hi." JJ said still half speechless from the sudden arrival of Zöe. "I'm Jadon, but you can call me JJ." He said holding out a hand.

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Zöe released Eddie from their embrace and turned around. She walked so fast she appeared to just vanish, and then reappear a few feet away. "Hey, J." She smiled and slapped his palm. "I'm Zöe, and you can pretty much call me whatever you want. If I don't like it, I'll say something. You're on the board, right? Awesome. I really think that's gonna add a whole layer to the music we'd have missed out on with just strings & skins."

She disappeared again and reappeared in front of James. "And by process of elimination, that makes Edward Cullen here my rival for lead guitar. James, right?"

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James gave Zoe a charming smile and a nod. "Got in one speedy. Nice to meet you Zoe," he said as he extended his hand in greeting. "I'm not exactly a rival for the spot though I can hold my own on guitar. So Eddie says you're one of, if not the best, string player he's every seen. He's impressed to say the least." He already knew Eddie was attracted to the girl. And though the guy was a spaz, he was a friend. It didn't hurt any to let Zoe know Eddie thought highly of her. Given the hug and kiss, those two were in fast fast relationship. Which figured considering the girl's power.

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Is it just me, or do I never seem to be able to get a kiss in edgewise? Eddie thought happily to himself.

He did manage to give Zoe an affectionate squeeze before she bolted off again, though. Rockstar, eh? His smile only got larger.

"Well it's good to know that you can make introductions faster than I can think, Zo. I usually stink at them." Eddie joked. "James, you should have seen the impromptu set list she put together at the music store the other day. It was spectacular!"

He turned his attention back to his girlfriend. "To answer your question, no. We were just going to walk there."

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JJ just smiled at Zoe, as she zoomed about not leaving much time to think let a loan act. "Ah as I was saying before, I'll go grab my keyboard, I'll be back in a min." JJ said as he suddenly exploded into his Boomer form and quickly flew of to his dorm room.

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"Walk? Sprak. I wanted to see if I could pull that 'sharing speed' trick on a car. Oh well. I guess we shouldn't try taking anyone's wheels past escape velocity on the surface streets anyway. That's more of a freeway thing. As for my skills...well, you'll see for yourself soon."

As they walked to the practice space, Zöe alternated back and forth every 30-60 seconds between a normal pace, where she usually held hands with Eddie or leaned into him with her arm wrapped around his waist, or a faster one, where she appeared to blink in and out of existence from one spot to the next. Sometimes, she would appear inside a store as the group walked by, only to reappear by their side a second later. Other times, she would just use the street itself as a jungle gym. She ran up the sides of walls and backflipped down to the sidewalk, somersaulted over mailboxes and newspaper machines, and clambered up lampposts, swinging on the crossbeams like a set of monkey-bars before tumbling back down to the pavement.

At one point, Zöe got out in front of the group and waved a thumb at the adjacent storefront. "I'm gonna grab a smoothie. You guys want one? Some cash is finally starting to roll in for me. Oh yeah, speaking of which..." She reached into a pocket, counted out $25, and thrust it into Eddie's hand. "First payment for the guitar loan."

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The spaz and the speedster. Yeah, they seemed to work together pretty well. She was certainly hyper, or at least seemed to be, but he wasn't surprised. Experiencing life a couple dozen times faster than everyone else probably made things rather boring if she wasn't buzzing around at Mach 10. Also a reason for how Eddie and Zoe had connected so fast too.

He grinned. "Experimenting with powers is all well and good. Just not on my car. We'll rent you one if you really want to try that out. We'll try not to slow you down too much however." He glanced over at Eddie. "So what are we going for here? Style-wise. If you say rap, I'm walking right now." He might respect the talent that went in to making it, but that didn't mean he wanted to listen to it. "Country, though I could tolerate that if it was only a couple song lark thing. But only occasionally. Or are we trying something new?" He nodded at JJ before the kid burst into light. "He really doesn't get subtle does he?" James didn't have his instruments with him but then, he could simply 'port over to get them whenever he wanted.

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Eddie and Zoe certainly did work well together. He was more calm as he walked, though. He was content to simply watch her antics with amusement. And the times when she got close to him, he held on to her. Tightly enough to keep her there, but not tightly enough that she couldn't get away if she wanted to. When she was bouncing around the streets, he usually carried on the band conversation with James.

"Don't worry. Rap is second to last on my list. Followed only by Country." Eddie made a motion like he was going stick his finger down his throat and make himself yak. He also screwed up his face to match.

"He really doesn't get subtle does he?"

"Nope," Eddie replied, his eyes on Zoe. "He's agreed not to do it on stage, though, so that's really all that worries me. I'm not the type of band leader that. likes to control everything."

"I'm gonna grab a smoothie. You guys want one? Some cash is finally starting to roll in for me. Oh yeah, speaking of which..." She reached into a pocket, counted out $25, and thrust it into Eddie's hand. "First payment for the guitar loan."

"Sure I'll take one." Eddie smiled, and grabbed Zoe's wrist as she handed him the money. He pulled her in close, kissed her on the forehead, and stuffed the money back into her pocket. "Oh no you don't," he warned her, "That was a gift."

He let her go so she could go and get her smoothie. "I'm gonna be a huge rock star one day. What do I care about money?" He shrugged, smiling at her.

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"One second." Zöe took everyone's drink orders, then zipped into the store and came out holding two cardboard containers. One held 4 smoothies, the other, three. She took the three-pack and distributed it among her new bandmates. Then she took what appeared to be a single sip from the quartet. But when she took out that cup and tossed it into a nearby trash can, it was obviously now empty. "Mmmm. Much better." She patted her stomach.

Then she turned around and stopped in front of Eddie, causing him to nearly bump into her. "Look. It was really sweet of you to front the money for my guitar. I appreciated the gesture. I'm really excited that you liked my playing that much." She took the wad of bills and shoved it in one of Eddie's front pockets, then grabbed his jeans by that pocket and pulled him closer to her. Then she stroked his cheek with her other hand and kissed him lightly on the lips. "And I really like you. But I think we should try to keep those two things separate, because everyone else is gonna try to tie 'em together. And I want people to think I'm in this band because I play wicked-cool riffs, not because we're...y'know. Whatever we are."

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He had to stand on his toes just to stop his momentum fast enough and not bump into her. Well, you can't win 'em all. Least I made my point.

He came back down so he had his weight on his heels. "Fair enough," he said to her. Then he kissed her. "Like I said, I'm not one to micro-manage. And it's as much you're band as it is mine, so..." he trailed off.

Eddie deftly stepped around his girlfriend. "Come on," he said to her, "Let's get to the practice space. I wanna hear some more of you're 'wicked-cool riffs'!" He stuck his tongue out at her and put the straw of his smoothie into his mouth. sluuuuuuurp.

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