Ian fiddled nervously with the strings of his
bass as he sat on the concrete wall outside of the
garage. He was so nervous that he felt passing
“Don’t you dare,” he told himself.
“You need this band. This may be your only
shot to get the scholarship, and delve into a
different genre of music.” It was true: playing
classical instruments was starting to bore him, and
he needed to throw himself into the seemingly
foreign, barbaric sounds of “techno,” and “rock and
roll,” to broaden his horizon and keep him from
setting his mahogany instruments ablaze. the little
door in the side of the garage opened, and a tall,
mop headed, guy strutted down the pavement
carrying a bass.
“Good luck!” he said.
Ian looked around the spacious garage. its
walls were colored white, and the floors were
paved with smooth hard concrete. There were
thick, cushiony rolly chairs lining every inch of the
four garage walls. A projector hung from the ceiling
shooting an image on a board directly in front of
Ian. It read:
“Hello and thanks for coming. Please have a
seat and wait for one of our band members to call
you in. Good luck!” A few minutes passed, and the
door opened again. Another guy stepped out, and
all the breath suddenly seemed to disappear from
Ian’s lungs. The guy was tall and thin, dressed in
ripped skinny jeans, and a tight V-neck that clung
to his chest. His dark hair sloped gracefully across
his forehead, casting a shadow over his deep
“Ian Walker?” They guy asked politely. ian
sat there, mesmerized. he felt his face turn warm,
and his palms get sweaty. He stood up shakily,
clutching his bass. “We’re ready for you,” the guy
“Great,” Ian said. He took a deep breath
and stepped inside the house.
When he started his performance, ian had
his sheet music on a stand facing him directly. The
first few chords he had strung on his bass
resonated beautifully throughout polished
mahogany room. It was shaped like an oval; this
was so that the acoustics were almost perfect, and
every note was heard. By the time Ian finished the
audition, his heart was pounding. The constant
rhythmic beats that came from his chest seemed to
have matched every note he played.
The three existing members of the band sat
on a tall cottony-looking chairs in front of him.
They’d introduced themselves when Ian had
stepped into the garage; the skinny, blonde-haired
lead singer and rhythm guitarist was Kyle; the
muscular drummer with the shaved head was
Aaron, and the guy who has called him for the
audition was Anthony.
“You’re the best bassist I’ve ever heard!”
Kyle shouted, breaking the silence that had fallen.
“Mind if we ask you a few questions?”
“Not at all,” Ian said.
“How many bands have you been in?”
“None,” Ian responded. All three of the men
twisted their faces in disbelief. “Really?” Kyle
hissed. “Then how did you get so good at playing
bass?” Ian sat up straight and lowered his bass
from his lap.
“Well, after I sent in my application for
Juilliard and got my acceptance letter a couple
months ago, I decided to apply for the “Shades of
Music Scholarship” they had. The requirements are
to reach outside of the comfort zone and practice
an art that is foreign to the applicant. I had already
finished my internship at the Los Angeles Musical
Conservatory, and I figured why not? I also love
learning to play new instruments, I currently play 8
of them.” The three faces had morphed from
disbelief, into shock. Kyle cleared his throat and
sunk down into his chair.
“So you just learned how to play bass like
that in few months?” Anthony said.
“Yes,” Ian replied.
All three of the band members sat in
silence and looked at each other.
“Alright,” Kyle said, tapping his pen against
the pad of paper he was writing on. “That’s
everything we need. We’ll call you tomorrow and
let you know our decision.” He smiled. “Thanks for
coming by, Ian.”
“Thanks for having me,” Ian replied. He
grabbed his bass and headed for the door. He was
halfway down the driveway before a voice behind
him called, “wait!” He turned around to see
Anthony running towards him.
“What’s up?” Ian asked, nervous. Anthony
smiled at him.
“I just wanted to let you know that you did
an amazing job. I’ve seriously never heard anyone
play like that before.
“That’s very nice of you to say, thanks so
much.” Anthony smiled, turned around and walked
back to the garage. Tomorrow he’d get the phone
call telling him whether he’d made it or not. It
suddenly seemed like the most important call of his
Ian sat in his computer chair, chewing on his
pen, leaning forward, glaring at the letter on his
desk. The front of it read, “Congratulations, you
have been accepted to Harvard University.”
Anyone else would have been jumping up and
screaming at the top of their lungs, however he
was practically mortified. The day he applied to
Juilliard, he had also applied to Stanford, Berkeley,
and Harvard, and now that he was
accepted… he was faced with a decision. Pursuing
his dreams at Juilliard, or taking the safe route and
going to Harvard Medical School. Denying Harvard
was almost certainly out of the question. He sank
into his chair, closed his eyes, and ran his hands
through his hair in frustration. The sound of his
vibrating phone brought him out of his thoughts.
“Hey, Ian? It’s Anthony.”
“Hey,” Ian said. He looked in the huge
vanity mirror hanging right above his laptop and
saw his whole face had turned rosy red. Anthony
was silent for a moment.
“Did I get it?” Ian blurted out. He
immediately felt furious with himself. Anthony
“Yeah, you did.”
“Really,” Anthony confirmed. Ian let out a
sigh of relief.
“Were you nervous?” Anthony giggled.
“More like befuddled now,” Ian said. He
instantly squeezed his eyes shut. “Stop thinking out
“What do you mean?” Anthony questioned.
There was a pause.
“It’s a long story, you probably would just
get bored listening to it.”
“No I won’t,” Anthony responded. “Meet
me at my house — the place where we held
auditions, and we’ll talk here. I was just finishing a
song we’re going to rehearse tomorrow, and since
you’re new to the band, it may help you learn it
“Al-Alright,” Ian said. He hung up. Palms
sweaty, head reeling; he felt nervous. “Just stay
calm,” he thought. Driving down the busy streets of
Los Angeles only added to the anxiety that was
building in Ian’s stomach. The thought of Anthony
inviting him over sent waves of nervousness and
excitement throughout his body. His foot smashed
onto the gas pedal, and he raced up the hot
pavements. begore he knew it, he was there. Back
at that enormous house. He turned the key in the
ignition and the humming engine of the car died.
“Just Breathe,” he thought.
Ian walked up the pavement to the ashen
and newspaper colored door that led into the front
of the house, The door opened and there stood
Anthony, beaming at Ian and gesturing him inside.
The two exchanged awkward greetings and walked
in. Ian’s eyes circumnavigated around the glorious
living room, brightly lit with a shimmering
chandelier. Directly to his left stood a tall white
high chair stuffed with big burgundy pillows. To his
right was a gorgeous piano made of glossed oak,
engraved with the initials “A.P’ at the top. There
were a couple pictures sitting on the bench that
occupied it; one of a fair skinned maiden with jet
black curly hair falling to her waist. The two walked
through a long hallway and entered a beautiful
kitchen. It had thick, shiny, hardwood floors, and all
the appliances were stainless steel. the air was
colored with a slight floral scent.
“Wow,” Ian moaned. “This sure does beat
my 1 bedroom apartment.” Anthony chuckled.
“This was my Mom’s house.”
“Was?” Ian questioned.
“She passed a few years back. We don’t
have a big family, and the ones we do have live
down in Florida. So she left it to me.” Ian looked
down at his shoes.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
“You hungry?” Anthony asked walking over
to the enormous refrigerator.
“Not really. My stomach is actually in
knots.” Ian walked over to a table sitting next to an
island in the kitchen and sat down. It was covered
with a heavy plate of translucent glass. Anthony
followed him and sat a can next to him.
“That should help.” Ian looked down at the
can. It was a Ginger-Ale. He snapped open the can,
and it belched out a sweet, nauseating smell.
“So why are you befuddled?” Anthony
asked with a grin. Ian took a breath, and slowly told
Anthony his dilemma. He had a surprised look
etched into his face.
“Are you some sort of genius?” He asked.
“No, I don’t think so. It’s just I love music so
much and I’ve wanted to be a musician for as long
as I could remember, but now I’m not so sure.
Being accepted into Harvard is not an opportunity
that I can turn down.”
“Neither is being accepted into Juilliard,”
Ian drank from his can and looked down.
“Look, I know Harvard is the best school in
the world, and that most people who go out there are
wildly successful but… I’ve always said that you
should follow your dreams. You don’t wanna live
your life always wondering what if. And did you
just conveniently forget that you mastered playing
bass in only a couple months, and you play 7 more
instruments? You are the most talented musician
I’ve ever met, and if you went to Juilliard, I
wouldn’t be surprised if you started running the
place.” Ian looked at Anthony and smiled.
“You really think so?”
“Yes. And there is absolutely no one as
dedicated to their craft at Stanford as you.”
Anthony opened his own can and took a sip.
“Wait, you go to Stanford?”
“Yeah. Why do I look stupid? Anthony
lowered the can from his mouth and smirked.
There was phlegm of Ginger-Ale on his upper lip.
Ian lowered his head and chuckled quietly.
“What?” He asked.
For the remainder of the night, Ian and
Anthony practiced the song, and laughed their
throats sore. The vaulting ceilings of the house
were filled with the deep and smoky sounds of
Ian’s bass, and the high electrical runs of Anthony’s
guitar. Each of the duo’s chords seemed to leap
and leap like a lark, soaring from pianissimo to
forte with the purity of a bell. The whole night Ian
had a happy grin plastered on his face, and so did
Anthony. It was one of the best nights of both their
During the months that followed, Ian and
Anthony began to hang out a lot more; this was
mostly Anthony’s doing — his excuse was to
practice for upcoming shows and events, however
Ian suspected it was because he had feelings for
him. The times that they spent practicing together
soon turned to going out to dinner, the movies, or
the plethora of musicals and plays that Los Angeles
constantly hosted. Truthfully, Ian was beginning to
feel the same way that he thought Anthony felt
towards him. He enjoyed Anthony’s company, and
the way he made him feel. There was never a dull
moment with him; when he wasn’t making him
laugh, has was showering him with compliments
that made him smile. He always encouraged him to
pursue his passion of music, no matter what others
said, or even the doubts that he held about
himself. Anthony made him feel safe, loved, and
appreciated, and he was beginning to think that he
had fallen in love with him.
His feelings had come to a head on the
warm August night before Ian had to leave
California to go to Juilliard. Anthony was helping
him pack the last of his miscellaneous items into
various suitcases, and was unusually quiet. Some of
the leaves on a large tree adjacent to his window
had begun to darken, and fall to the ground.
Anthony stood there momentarily, gazing out of
Ian’s bedroom window, watching each leaf fall
gracefully to the earth.
“You’re quiet tonight,” Ian said. Anthony
turned and looked at him solemnly; his eyes
emoting sadness, but his face displaying a forced
“Yea… I’m just really going to miss you. I feel
like we’ve gotten so close over these past few
months. It’s going to be really hard not having my
best friend at school this year.” His face seemed to
convey a bit of the sadness he was suppressing, but
was quickly replaced by the forced grin he had
mustered all night long.
“Best friend.” The words came out like
daggers and struck Ian directly where it hurt the
most. He so longed for Anthony to tell him how
much he cared about him, and how much he
wanted to be with him. To express the unrequited
love to him that he very much felt towards
Anthony. Perhaps that was too much to ask for. He
had only recently met Anthony; two months was
hardly enough time for someone to fall madly in
love, and definitely not enough time to agree to be
in a long-distance relationship. It would be a long-
distance relationship; Stanford was in California,
and Juilliard was in New York — both universities
were at opposite ends of the United States. To Ian,
they may as well have been at opposite ends of the
world. This realization made Ian want to cry; he
had developed such strong feelings for Anthony,
and he didn’t want to leave him, or the friendship
that they had developed behind.
If he told Anthony how he felt, would there
even be a point? Even if Anthony felt the same
way, it seemed very unlikely that he would agree to
be in a relationship with someone almost 3,000
miles away, that he had only just met two months
before. However, even if Anthony didn’t feel the
same way, and declined his offer to be in a
relationship, Ian would still have closure if he told
him. When weighed in comparison to a lifetime of
never knowing, closure seemed preferable.
Anthony had resumed glaring at the falling leaves
out of the window when Ian cleared his throat. He
remained in his position, but his eyes fixed on Ian’s
reflection through the glass.
“I…I need to tell you something.” The words
tumbled out of Ian’s mouth, and he felt the palms
of his hands moisten. Anthony had turned around
to face Ian, his face no longer in a forced grin, but
in a neutral, emotionless expression. He was
staring directly into Ian’s eyes; he seemed to be
searching Ian, analyzing him for some hint as to
what he was about to say. Stripping away the
barriers he had built for this exact moment, leaving
him defenseless and utterly vulnerable. Ian closed
his eyes. He couldn’t look at him while he spoke.
The inevitable rejection he was about to face
would be necessary in his attempts to put his
feelings behind him, but the faces of disgust, or
amusement that Anthony might make would be
forever ingrained in his mind.
After taking a deep breath and with his eyes
still closed, he spoke. “Ever since we started to
hang out, I’ve begun to develop feelings for you. I
love the way you make me laugh, the way you
make me smile, the way you constantly believe in
me, even when I don’t believe in myself. You make
me feel special, and safe — that’s not something
that I’ve ever felt with anyone else before. Every
day that I spend with you, I find one more reason
to fall harder in love with you. You mean
everything to me Anthony, and I just wanted you to
know that before I left.”
A deafening silence followed his heartfelt
speech. Ian kept his eyes closed, as he couldn’t
bear to look at Anthony’s face. Time seemed to
stand still; the heart wrenching anguish that Ian
had felt before he bore his soul to Anthony had
now turned to anxiety and embarrassment. Heat
rushed through him, and his face flushed a bright
red as he immediately began to regret his words.
He wished that in that very moment, he could
trade places with one of the dying leaves falling
slowly from the tree next to his window — hitting
the ground and being plunged into darkness where
he could escape the view of the world. After what
seemed like n eternity of waiting, Ian felt two
hands gently cup both side of his cheeks. The
warmth of another body next to him radiated
against his cool skin, and he leaned into the soft
touch. He felt Anthony’s even, steady breaths
against his face, and he gently ran his fingers
through his hair, tousling them in the darks locks
that sat on his head. Both of the men stood there
in each other’s arms, gently pressed against one
another with their eyes closed and their faces just
“Antho–,” Ian’s words were cut off by
Anthony’s gentle brushing of his lips against Ian’s.
It was so slight at first that Ian had thought he
imagines it. Fireworks erupted in Ian’s stomach,
and he clung to Anthony for support. His skin was
tingling with excitement, and his knees were
beginning to weaken in Anthony’s warm embrace,
Anthony gently pulled his mouth away from Ian’s,
their faces still only inches apart. Ian still felt his
warm breath on his lips, and he opened his eyes
and saw Anthony smiling down towards him.
“I love you too.”
10 Years Later
Anthony opened his eyes, took a deep
breath, and rolled over in his bed. He saw Ian lying
quietly next to him, fast asleep. He looked around
the enormous, off-white colored room. There were
two certificates sitting side by side, encased in thick
glass frames, sitting on top a large chifferobe.
One had Ian’s name on it, the other had Anthony’s
name on it. At the top of each were the names of
two prestigious colleges written in cursive lettering.
Stanford, and Juilliard. Next to them sat 3 silver
trophies, and 2 golden ones. At the bottom of them
they read “Emmy,” and “Golden Globe.” In the
Cabinet above the chifferobe was a large picture in
a polished oak picture frame. In it, Ian and Anthony
were dressed in white, smiling and laughing, arms
wrapped together, walking down a small aisle
littered with red petals. A big smile spread across
Anthony’s face. He quietly got up, and walked over
to the sliding doors just left of the bed. he opened
them and stepped out on to a terrace overlooking a
beautiful garden, with a fountain in the middle. A
strong breeze rustled through the thick glossy
leaves of palm trees in the garden, that lined the
light-gray pavement running alongside the dark
green grass. The wind ran through Anthony’s hair,
and brought with it subtle scents of lavender and
pomegranate. The rising sun beamed down on the
terrace, and cooing birds flew overhead. Anthony
walked back into the room, closed the sliding
doors, and slid into the bed, curling up around Ian.
His gentle breathing lulled Anthony back into a