September 16, 2019, 05:14:19 PM

Author Topic:  [los angeles] across the universe [liam]  (Read 183 times)

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Oliver Rigby [ Artist ]
47 Posts  •  21  •  played by gage
[los angeles] across the universe [liam]
« on: August 25, 2019, 07:42:49 AM »
Maybe it was the sunshine, or maybe it was the promise of a big break, but Oliver felt alive in California. By the time he and Liam had arrived via portkey, the sun sat heavy atop the horizon, touching the coastline just where it met the sea. He was struck by the freshness of the air in particular. It didn't taste the same as anywhere in France, and it certainly was nothing like back home in Scotland. It was saltier, thicker in some way. His cotton white button-up rippled in the breeze as they made their way to their destination.

Los Angeles wasn't what he expected. Though the wizarding faction of the city was abuzz, just as he'd seen in the muggle films he'd poured over as a child, in some ways it was lacking. Perhaps Oliver had built it up so much in his head that it was inevitably going to be a disappointment, but he did his best to not to dwell on the fact.

On the way to the venue, they stopped for tacos on the side of the street, through a window of a van. Liam said they were the best in the area and while Oliver had nothing to compare to, he assumed it to be true. It was no secret that his new friend had a penchant for persuasion, after all, he was here, on the other side of the world. 

The hour before the show came and went. There was champagne, canapes, and more champagne. It was as though everyone was celebrating just for the sake of it. The gig was small and Oliver was only the opening, opening act, but the energy was palpable from within the otherwise ordinary venue. It was a two-story bar, soaked in years worth of spilled beer and covered in memorabilia from bands who had played their first shows there many a moon ago.

He was struck the moment that he took the stage that he was entirely out of his league. Everyone in the crowd was just so cool, effortlessly so in their American way. Green eyes carried up to the balcony, studying the elbows of those with their backs faced to him. How could he compare? The start to his set was slow, he struggled to loosen up. Oliver was going through the motions without any real substance and apparently, Tony Duenas had taken notice, slipping out after just a few songs.

Oliver's heart was in his throat now. The moment he assumed would define his career had come and gone in the blink of an eye. Though he didn't like to admit it, his hopes were high. As he exited the stage, he dared a glance in Liam's direction and read entirely too much into what he assumed was apathy on his face. He had to get the hell out of Los Angeles.

@Liam Thompson
« Last Edit: August 25, 2019, 07:44:13 AM by Gage »

Liam Thompson [ Artist ]
23 Posts  •  27  •  "Heterosexual"  •  played by Emily
Re: [los angeles] across the universe [liam]
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2019, 08:49:16 AM »
Liam didn’t forget any of the night before he woke up on the studio floor to an empty bottle and a French address, but it took him a few days to process it.  What did you write to someone after that? It would have been easier if Oliver had left some message, some indication whether he’d slept on it and decided Liam and his offer to help out were full of shit. Eventually Liam figured that would be inevitable. On Christmas day he sent the drunken Celine Dion cover to the address in Paris, and enclosed a note. I was serious, you know. I’ll talk to some people.

The first of the people was Antonio Duenas. Distaste for his daughter aside, Liam had always thought highly of the man, and thought it likely Tony’d hear him out at the least. It took some time for him to make a decision, but by mid-January Liam had the go-ahead: name the time and place, Tony would have a look.

The event had been chosen carefully, or, at least as carefully as it could have been given that Liam knew really very little about Oliver Rigby. He’d compiled a list of all the active performers who might be willing to do him a favor, then narrowed it down to those whose fans might be likely to appreciate a funky little English pretty boy. The interest of the crowd was vital above all things. Someone in Tony’s position would look at that more than even the music, if he were looking to place a bet that he could make Oliver sell. So after getting Tony’s okay Liam had written to Esther Winslow. She was an American singer-songwriter with a fanbase of young witches—also someone with whom Liam had had a brief affair in the mid-nineties, but it had ended on more amicable terms than many of his others. He felt sure she wouldn’t mind adding in an extra opener for a couple songs at all. Los Angeles, he requested. Half because it was the closest show to Tony, half in anticipation of Ollie’s wide-eyed awe.

He and Oliver had been in correspondence in the month since Christmas, but once he’d received Esther’s reply, Liam’s next letter was short. Where, when, very briefly what. It was obvious why.

They left London together in the early morning and came out in California the evening before. The change of scene did wonders for Liam’s mood—he’d never done well in the dreary English winter.  Enlivened, he gleefully led Oliver through Los Angeles as authoritatively as he had his London loft. By the time Ollie took the stage they were both walking on air. But Liam could tell immediately as he watched from his seat that something had set the boy on edge. He could tell from his voice, too—and from the openly heartbroken look on Ollie’s face as he realized Tony was no longer at his table. Liam’s heart fell. Tough break, he tried to say with a grimace, despite knowing the stage lights probably obscured him completely. Ollie sure didn’t look like he’d gotten any hint of sympathy.

Liam waited until Ollie had already left the stage to hop around back, just in case seeing him leave too made it even worse. He didn’t get backstage before running into him, catching his devastated eye. “Oh, mate,” said Liam, reaching out a hand. “I’m sorry.” But Oliver and his guitar brushed past him. Liam spun quickly to follow. He slipped in between a pair of patrons, seized Ollie’s arm and held him back. “Come on,” he said, more firmly. “We’re going back to mine.”

As soon as they were safe in his American living room, Liam let go of him quickly. There was room here to keep his distance. The house was spread in one story over a bluff above the water, hidden magically, luxuriously open. The freedom of it had drawn him from the beginning. Liam took a few steps away and pulled out his wand to draw back the curtains. The height gave them a view of the city lights to one side throught the full-length windows, pink and hazy in the late dusk. “Nothing like L.A. at night, is there?” he said breezily, glancing back toward his guest. He’d been looking forward to bringing Ollie here. Ideally for a celebration, but he thought the place suited commiseration just as well. He’d spent enough time being miserable here to know so.

Oliver, looking less convinced, hadn’t moved from where they’d Apparated in. “Look, I’m sorry,” said Liam again, trying to sound less flippant. Had he forgotten the sting of his first failure, or did Ollie just take these things more to heart? “It happens, yeah? Happened to me, loads of times.” He drifted over toward the kitchen and brought down two tumblers. “Let’s get you properly drunk, now. That’ll help.”

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Oliver Rigby [ Artist ]
47 Posts  •  21  •  played by gage
Re: [los angeles] across the universe [liam]
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2019, 03:49:18 AM »
Liam Thompson was the last person that Oliver wanted to run into.

He was embarrassed. This man, an accomplished musician, had taken a chance on him. He vouched for Oliver despite only knowing him for one night, and he blew it in less than half an hour. The clouded lens in which he had been seeing things through in the few days leading up to their journey to America had fallen spectacularly, revealing what reality had to offer.

From the moment he stepped on the stage it was clear that he wasn't comfortable. Even the sheer linen of his shirt, built for breathability, was constricting and hot against his skin. The idea that had haunted him was that he didn't belong in this place. He couldn't belong in this place. Everyone was so sure of themselves, Liam in particular, and as his set went on it became more and more evident that he would never be able to get to that point. His songs, suffocated by hesitation, did little to draw the crowd (or Antonio Duenas, for that matter) in.

He needed to get back to Paris. Pretending as though this trip had never happened was his only option now. It was clear to Oliver, even in the fever of his need to run away, that he was dramatizing it all but he couldn't stop himself. Before he knew it, though, the pair were transported to another location.

Was this his home? For the second time, though across the world, he was in awe of where the man had taken him. He tugged at the strap of his guitar that had dug into his shoulder during apparation and gently placed the instrument against the couch nearest. Ceiling to the floor, windows to the outside world reveled in the last of the West Coast sun, dripping across the living room and leaving everything under the veil of dark pink light.

Oliver's face was still hot from fighting back tears as he turned to finally face Liam. Nothing like L.A at night.  He wanted to be angry with his nonchalance, but he couldn't hold onto the feeling for too long. "Of course you can say that," Oliver gestured to the room with a wave. "Seems to have worked out," Even still, the bitterness of his tone had gone soft. He followed in the direction of the kitchen slowly, still taking in his surroundings.

"I'm sorry," He spoke up, planting both hands on the bar of the kitchen. He wasn're sure how, but he felt worse for having let down someone who had invested in him, more so than having let down himself. "I just," Oliver chewed the side of his lip in thought. "I don't know, I got nervous," He attempted to explain though he was certain that Liam could not identify with that particular struggle. He held out his hand for a drink. Drinking sounded good now.

Liam Thompson [ Artist ]
23 Posts  •  27  •  "Heterosexual"  •  played by Emily
Re: [los angeles] across the universe [liam]
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2019, 05:49:53 AM »
As much as he wanted to be a sympathetic presence, Liam couldn’t restrain himself from rolling his eyes. Thankfully Oliver was too busy looking out to the window to notice. Liam had straightened his expression out by the time his houseguest turned around and apologized, holding a hand out wearily over the counter for a glass. “Firewhiskey,” said Liam, nudging the glass toward Oliver’s waiting fingers. “Hope that’s alright. I haven’t been here in a while.” He might have been trying to write here, and keeping a full liquor stock for every mood, but now that Charlie was flaking out on them he felt obligated to be a team player with Sam. Nothing got him to stick to his principles more than needing the moral high ground.

Nerves, Oliver said. Liam couldn’t really relate, but Ollie didn’t have to know. Like fuck Liam was going to waste the chance to be older and wiser. He slowly tipped back a sip of his Firewhiskey and rubbed his tingling tongue against the roof of his mouth as he thought.

“The reason it’s worked out is I didn’t shut up the first time someone didn’t want to hear me,” he said. “And believe me, there’s been people that didn’t.” He dragged one corner of his mouth into a lopsided grin. “And I had people to make sure I didn’t quit. You’re off even better, ‘cause I know what I’m doing.”

He reached across the counter with both hands to pull Ollie’s face closer. Looking him straight in the eye, Liam pulled his right hand away and gave the boy’s cheek a fond, but firm, slap.

“Pull yourself together,” he said, pushing Oliver back over the counter. “You’re going to drink, and then you’re going to sleep, and then tomorrow we’re going to find something else to try. Shithead.”

He shed his jacket and tossed it over the back of the couch as he drew his wand again to light a fire. “So I’m not going to hear any more of that, now,” he called back to Ollie. “Nothing about anything important, actually. Pick me out a record.” He flicked his wand again at an inner wall and it opened, stacks upon stacks of record sleeves piled haphazardly inside. There was no recording studio here, but there could be no home of his without background music.

“You can play it loud as you want,” he said. “Nobody else ‘round to hear. The charms are strong enough.”

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h e a v y  m e t a l  t h u n d e r

Oliver Rigby [ Artist ]
47 Posts  •  21  •  played by gage
Re: [los angeles] across the universe [liam]
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2019, 03:56:12 AM »
Oliver had made the habit of living in his feelings, both good and bad. It was for the better that Liam hadn't entertained his dramatics. Somewhere deep down, though clouded by what he thought was the demise of his long-held dream, he knew it too.

Graciously accepting whatever alcohol was sent his way, he brought the glass to his mouth with both hands wrapped around it like a kid. He'd never been big on firewhiskey but the burn was a welcome reprieve now as it spread like fire from his lips down through his chest. He watched intently from behind his glass as he spoke, making note of his posture and the way that he spoke with his hands. He could tell that Liam meant it.

"Alright, alright, if you say so," Oliver admitted with a shrug though he still didn't sound entirely convinced. He sat down the drink that he'd made his way significantly through just in time for Liam to grab either side of his face and pull him forward to lean over the countertop. He let out a defiant breath of air but made no attempt to move away.

Again, he found that he was studying Liam, though this time in much closer proximity. Green eyes carried from his jaw to his mouth then up over the bridge of his nose and cheekbones before finally meeting his gaze. Still, he seemed so sure of himself. Oliver hadn't noticed when he pulled a hand away until it had slapped his cheek.

"Hey!" Oliver protested, stumbling backward to catch his balance. The firewhiskey, this place, Liam, the entire thing was disorienting. Despite the fact that he had planned to wallow for just a bit longer, he broke, either side of his mouth pulling into a grin. "Aye aye, shithead," He repeated with a sarcastic salute in his direction before shoving him playfully as he strode toward the living room.

Green eyes lit up as the wall opened up to reveal endless stacks of records. He would have been drawn forward without permission, though he cast a glance over his shoulder at Liam as he explained. A hand touched the plastic film of the record nearest absentmindedly as he lost himself in the search, scouring over the titles from all of the greats. The Beatles, though, stood out. If ever something could cheer him up.

His favorite of their collection, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, swelled and bounced the glass surrounding them. By now the sun had set completely to reveal only the lights from the city in the distance and the moonlight as it crept over the waves of the ocean. Oliver moved to the sound of the titular song, his shoulders and hips swaying along to the beat.

"Fine, nothing serious," Oliver agreed, finishing what was left of his drink in a mouthful. "Tell me more about Esther, then," He rested his chin in his palm, now leaning over the back of an ornate armchair that faced Liam. Liam had made it quite obvious they had some sort of history, one in which Oliver could easily guess the nature of. He was fairly certain he wasn't going to like the answer, but he was morbidly curious.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2019, 01:19:38 PM by Gage »

Liam Thompson [ Artist ]
23 Posts  •  27  •  "Heterosexual"  •  played by Emily
Re: [los angeles] across the universe [liam]
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2019, 11:25:15 AM »
Liam chuckled fondly as Oliver wandered off, turning toward the other side of the room to give him a bit of privacy. It had been a taller request than he’d intended. He wasn’t sure precisely how much Ollie looked up to him, but he liked to think it was some, and Liam had admired enough people himself to understand the stress. The least he could do was not breathe down his neck while he decided what to put on. There wasn’t a wrong answer, really. This wasn’t a jukebox; if Liam didn’t like it he wouldn’t own it. But he’d be lying if he said there wasn’t some kind of test here. Not whether or not he’d like Ollie, he’d decided that well enough. More what way.

At the intro he cracked a smile and turned back to catch Ollie’s eye. He was perfectly happy to like him in a mid-Beatles kind of a way. “Aye aye, Sergeant,” he corrected. Setting down his glass and wand, he mirrored the earlier sarcastic little flick of hand to brow.

He fell delicately onto the couch, breathing in deeply as he took in Oliver’s lazy dance in the moonlight. Liam slowly bit his tongue. Watching him felt like a smoother drink than the Firewhiskey that he could still feel in his throat, a sweeter one. No less heady.

Too soon, though, Ollie stopped swaying to ask him something. Liam composed himself in a second and gave him a wide, laughing grin. “Tell you what, that she’s a brilliant shag?”

The faux-casualnesss in the question, never mind the last half-hour entirely, had been enough to make it clear to Liam that he shouldn’t approach this like he might have with Charlie, but he hadn’t been able to resist. The look on Ollie’s face was worth it enough. Merlin, he was such a kid. The whole night had driven that home, enough to make Liam feel a guilty knot forming in his stomach. Whatever licentious thoughts he had been having, Ollie needed to be looked after more than he needed to be kissed. It was a line Liam wouldn’t mind not crossing: he’d always wanted to be someone’s mentor, perhaps even more than he’d ever wanted a lover. But he also couldn’t remember the last time he’d ever resisted a temptation.

He let his grin soften and glanced out the window. “Oh, she’s alright,” he said with a light, nostalgic shrug. “I don’t reckon we ever had any intentions to fall in love or anything, it was just easy. There’s a lot of that kind of thing when you’re touring half the time. She got it, I liked that. Lot of women don’t.” He’d made maybe one or two attempts to have a proper girlfriend, fidelity to whom had lasted maybe one or two tour stops. “Not to say that it’s impossible, of course—but y’know.”

His eyes drifted back to rest curiously on Oliver. “Or maybe you don’t know,” he said, returning to that uncertainty. Liam finished his drink and summoned the bottle. “How old are you, Ol?”
« Last Edit: September 08, 2019, 11:48:10 AM by Emily »

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Oliver Rigby [ Artist ]
47 Posts  •  21  •  played by gage
Re: [los angeles] across the universe [liam]
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2019, 06:05:38 AM »
His answer was even more Liam than Oliver had expected. And that was saying something given he'd thought out exactly how the question was going to go over before he'd even opened his mouth. Without knowing, he again mirrored the wizard's action, a grin pulling at the corners of his lips and effectively betraying the disapproving shake of his head. He knew enough about Liam to know that subtly was not in his nature, and now was no exception.

"Hmm," Pushing the waves of chestnut-colored hair from his forehead, Oliver hummed to himself in thought. He realized then just how little detail he actually wanted. The question was innocent in nature, sure, perhaps veiled in an attempt to figure out just who the person in front of him was, but his mistake had become clearer to him now.

Oliver attempted nonchalance. He slid over the velvet fabric of the armchair, lounging sideways with his legs crossed over the arm nearest Liam. He gladly used any excuse to keep himself busy, refilling his own drink as he continued his explanation. "She's beautiful," He spat out before he could stop himself. He meant it though, Esther had a voice like no other, etherial in some way, and physically she was just as stunning. In some ways, he wasn't sure who he was more jealous of in the pair.

As the attention turned back to him, Oliver felt his heart against his chest. He swallowed a mouthful of his drink. Truth told, he didn't know. Not really, anyway. He'd always been proud of his openness when it came to relationships and sex, but he wasn't particularly versed in love as it turned out. Ever prone to infatuation, he had assumed that equated to love, but as he got older he found that he questioned it.

"I'm twenty-one," Oliver sat up to rest his elbows on the back of the arm of the chair, seized by the need to prove himself as if being older than twenty had earned him a merit badge. There was Liam, though, looking back at him, older, wiser, and infinitely more versed in probably just about everything. He wasn't sure exactly how old the wizard was but he'd heard of Banshee enough when he was in school to know that he had to be a good few years ahead of him.

"This wasn't the first time you know," He began. "Being turned down, I mean," Oliver explained in an attempt to prove that he wasn't new to to the scene despite the fact that he very much was. From his new vantage point, he noticed the fluorescent blue water that juxtaposed the night sky, rippling from the coastal wind. "Is that --" He sat up suddenly. "-- a pool?" Of course, it was, though he felt compelled to ask out loud. Without thought, he popped out of the chair and drifted toward the door, opening it to the cool California breeze.

Liam Thompson [ Artist ]
23 Posts  •  27  •  "Heterosexual"  •  played by Emily
Re: [los angeles] across the universe [liam]
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 07:34:51 AM »
“Hope that’s not surprise.” Liam smiled, teasingly but with some earnestness. He had always liked hearing that about his choice in women. Always been prideful about it—always been pleased, frankly, to hear he had a valid grasp on heterosexuality. “Oi, now that you’ve performed on a historic stage, reckon a few beautiful girls might start looking your way.” Not that Ollie needed talent for that like the boys of Banshee had. But Liam thought, from the bitter edge in Ollie’s voice, he might like to hear it’d help.

He was twenty-one, which was evidently old enough to give Oliver some defensiveness about being treated as an amateur. “Sorry,” said Liam vaguely, quietly. Naturally it’ll be different now that you know me seemed like too arrogant a defense, given the circumstances. But he thought it was true nonetheless. Maybe he just didn’t want to imagine Oliver having given that heartbroken look to more faceless crowds. Maybe he just didn’t want to imagine a world where that many people had such bad taste.

“There’s so much ahead of you,” he said seriously, gazing into Oliver’s deep eyes. Just the thought of twenty-one felt almost marvelous, unfathomable. Liam knew at that age he hadn’t understood how valuable the future was. Perhaps it was different, youth after the war rather than before. But he was saying this to himself as much as Ollie. Maybe even moreso. The amazement had struck him so stunningly it was too much to hold in. “So much of it’s going to be great,” he said. “I can’t tell you how great. I’ll promise you that.”

The song had changed. Liam watched Oliver wander toward the sliding door, and the rustling of trees joined the jaunty tune of A Little Help From My Friends. “Knock yourself out, if you like,” said Liam. He rose too, following Ollie to the door, and eyed the steam rising from the water. “It should be warm enough,” he said. “Wish I’d waited until the summer to bring you here, mate. Should’ve known.” At night the swimming pool was the shinest thing around, and if he’d learned anything about Ollie it was that the boy had a magpie streak in him.

“Take off your shoes at least,” he advised, amused. “Or take everything off if you feel the need. Rita bloody Skeeter couldn’t get in here.”

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h e a v y  m e t a l  t h u n d e r

Oliver Rigby [ Artist ]
47 Posts  •  21  •  played by gage
Re: [los angeles] across the universe [liam]
« Reply #8 on: Today at 11:34:33 AM »
The conversation had shifted. It happened so quickly that Oliver scrambled to keep pace. Where once he lingered in his own perceived failure, he now sat in awe. The advice given was genuine, tangibly so, beautifully so. He breathed in every syllable, careful to soak up the exact sentiment as it was spoken. "Ah, if you promise," His mouth was dry when he finally spoke, his attempt at coming across as nonchalant lost. The man was an artist, there was no denying that.

As if on cue, the next song on the album played, A Little Help From My Friends, as light as Oliver's steps toward the pool. In another blink of an eye, the mood had shifted again. Music had that magical ability, after all, in all of its non-magical allure. Oliver kicked a shoe haphazardly, in no particular direction, as he sang out, "Do you neeeeeed," He struggled with the other leather boot, falling over himself and finishing the chorus a fraction offbeat. "Anybody! He finally wrangled the other boot off triumphantly, steadying himself at the edge of the pool.

He hadn't been worried about being seen, not here anyway. He was light years away from home and the threat of someone, let alone Rita bloody Skeeter, caring enough about his life to keep tabs on it was not something that was on his radar. For Liam, he imagined, that was a different story.

"Though, maybe she'd like a show?" It was probably the song, or maybe it was the firewhisky he'd downed, but he was suddenly seized with self-assurance. Where was this an hour ago, when he really needed it, he couldn't be sure. Tugging at the already open buttons of his shirt, Oliver spun on the ledge before falling backward into the cerulean water, arms spread wide. It was warmer than he imagined based on how cold it was outside. He'd fooled himself into believing that California was tropical this time of the year, naively so.

He breached the water with a grin, laughing in Liam's direction. This was exactly what he needed. "What, you aren't coming in?" Summer or not, Liam had to make use of this. He made his way to the side of the pool, drowning in the fabric of his slacks and button-up. Thank Merlin for drying spells. He folded his arms over the ledge, resting his head on the crook of his elbow. "Thank you," He spoke up suddenly. "For everything," He couldn't articulate it all just yet, but he had to start.
« Last Edit: Today at 11:55:04 AM by Gage »


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