Hector is up bright and early as it's a mid morning Audition and they still need the promised hair cuts. He moves as quietly as he can, but a shower is going to make noise in a space this size.
Cash seems to just drop from exhaustion last night. It'd been a long emotional day. Given the blood of the vampire still in his system, he was far more awake after dark. He did eventually sleep but it was poor and fitful. He woke up several times, kicking and gasping for air. He'd lay down again and cling to Hector until he went back to sleep. After the third time, Cash got up and took a shower. It seemed to have helped
Mornings are just terrible. A lot of whining and cursing tends to happen. Fortunately, that is something that Hector doesn't have to see in person. He can hear Cash grumbling and getting dressed and eventually preening at the mirror, outside of the bathroom.
Hector responds to nightmares with gentle attempts to wake followed by cuddles and if necessary soft singing. He doesn't seem to mind being clung to. He's a cuddly sleeper. He emerges steam warm and smiling, to our coffee from the hotel percolator for them both, setting Cash's close to hand and kissing his shoulder. He has more sense than to try to talk to the grumpy man in the morning. Instead he goes to dress and start on his coffee, letting time plus caffeine help Cash put himself together. Each time he finds himself humming Helloween's 'Futureworld' as he dresses, he makes himself stop.
In case the haircut goes too long, Cash is mostly dressed for his audition. The garment bag from yesterday and it contains a blue suit and a tie, boldly patterned in blue and gold. The lapel of his jacket already has a little pink triangle in place. Now, as he stares into the mirror as if it were an abyss, he's only wearing the pale pink shirt and blue pants. No dress shoes though. Brand new Converse All-Stars in black with red and gold laces. Finally, he speaks, "Good morning...I am much, much more nervous about the haircut than anything else.
Hector has made a similar choice, his suit dark grey, the shirt white. He leaves his rolled tie in the pocket of the suit coat for later. He transfers his triangle across to the lapel of the suit coat without thinking, but leaves it on the hanger for now. He hugs Cash gentle from behind and offers him a granola bar, "To settle your stomache, Ian Love." He hugs him gently again. Maybe the chairs will be close enough to hold hands. If having them touch your head is to much, you can take a break if you need to, but i'll be there the whole time, okay?"
"Touch..." Cash begins, snuggling against Hector. "Touch is fine. It's the noise. The buzzing of the clippers and the snip, snip of...ugh, I hate those. And barbers talk too fucking much and I love talking but all I want is quiet. I used to throw fits when I was a kid. Mom learned to cut my hair until I got old enough to want her to stop so it's been between medium and long for a while now." He takes a deep breath. "I'm bringing ear plugs for the noise. And when it starts to fall and I can feel it and see it." He tenses up. "It's okay. It will be, right." They are cutting a lot. I'm going with something close. Fresh start." He takes another deep breath. "I love the name Ian but you /just/ got the C on your hand so. Cash it is. But, I really want to take your surname, if that's alright with you?"
Hector snuggles back, "I'll talk to them for you, like we used to back home. Cash de la Huerta sounds just fine to me. If you need a break, take a break. We'll get this over with together."
Cash just lays his head on Hector's shoulder. "Thank you." He mutters. "I go to the salon at home for professional dye jobs. That stuff is fine. It's just the act of cutting and trimming." He steps back and looks Hector over. "You look nice. Collegiate." Cash picked a shade of blue that compliments his eyes. This is easy to see as Cash's gaze holds to Hector's nearly as long as when he's with his sister. It came slowly. This comfort that transcends the trickier parts of his personality. "You ready? I am. To get this over with."
Hector smiles, "Next time we get you drunk first, but we can't for this one. We have to be bright eyed and sober for the audition." He notices. He always notices. He beams at hi and strokes his cheek. "You driving or am I?" he really is too cheerful in the morning.
"Neither. Cab. Vivian needs her car to meet us at USC. Just as well. We're in no shape to drive on the biggest day of our young adult lives. Fourteen years at the keys. Eleven as a vocalist and with my guitar." He laughs. "I don't get stage fright. I couldn't if...if I tried."
Later, as the taxi pulls up to one of the quieter barber shops near campus. Cash is breathing in short, shallow pants. "I'll pay and try to calm down. You talk to them." Cash says, with a bit of desperation.
Hector hums to him soft;y and holds his hand on the ride over. He nods agreement to the plan and negotiates for the haircuts, making clear they need to be adjacent chairs at the same time. To a murmured, "Is he all right?" from the stylist he says, "Anxiety." He is calm, he is charming, he is all sunny smiles and chit chat. He is doing his damndest to distract them from Cash.
Damn it, it works. They are open to listening by the time Cash comes in, nervous, eyes down. He takes a breath and looks up. The shoulder gaze trick is in play as he explains how the noise tends to bother him and seeing and feeling the cut hair is upsetting. He's about to launch into a full ramble when one of the women speaks up. "I have a cousin you remind me of. I cut his hair at home for my aunt. You sit with me Red." She winks. "Lauren, take the chair next to me for him." And Lauren and Ruby, as the older woman is named, pull them to the side opposite the driers. It's a little quieter. And even thought Cash is covering his eyes as his ponytail is cut off. He opens his eyes to see it. "If hair could talk..."
Hector thanks them all smiles and genuine warmth. He stays there, hand outstretched and ready if cash needs an anchor, asking Ruby about the cousin, Lauren about her family. What sort of things are fun to do in the city on the cheep? Are there any good parks near USC that are quiet and full of growing things? Is there an arboretum?This sort of thing.
"I am not sure what it would say, Cash Love, but new life; new hair."
"That's right, darling." Ruby is just enchanted with Hector while still being soothing to Cash. "You dyed the hell outta this. But it's thick. I..." She fluffs his remains hair to get a feel. "I've saw this haircut on a young man filming a pilot. You might have the texture to pull it off. Okay, baby. Ear plugs. I'm getting to work." And Cash's hand shoots out for Hector's. Lauren is a focused worker, quiet unless directly addressed. She does have a few tips about the area, her being a recent grad from USC herself. Lauren asks, "Did you say what you two are auditioning for? I mean, the instrument." Cash is coping with the clippers. He can't answer.
Hector takes the hand and gives Cash an encouraging smile, "He's a vocalist. Voice like an angel. I'm piano, flute, and guitar, mostly. We want to write songs together and perform them some day."
"I'm so jealous. I want a third instrument." Cash mutters. "Vocals don't count as a third. Piano and Guitar though..." He chuckles. "He's a great composer. I'm hoping to improve as a lyricist. We...we can make it work. It'll fit like...perfection." Ruby says, "You can relax, hon. I am not going to ask you to sing. What's your song choice?" Cash sighs. "We give a list but I think Lilac Wine is my strongest. It displays my range the best."
And soon, it's over. Cash is clean shaven with a haircut a few months ahead of its time. He likes it from the relieved smile on his face. "See, with your curls and waves, you'll have to gel it down but it looks lovely because of the texture." Cash finally looks at Hector. The change will always make him recoil a little.
Hector suggests "Polyphony," because that is how he thinks of them, separate parts that make a greater whole. "You look really good, Cashew. Like a movie star." He carefully lets Cash encounter his profile first, letting him take as much time as he needs.
"A movie star?" Cash asks, blushing. His voice even pitched up as he shakes his head. "You look like a professional. Weird, huh? Goth and Grunge clean up pretty fucking nice, right? Wait, is this the beginning of selling out for our beachfront property? I mean, that's the vibe and I like the vibe."
Haircuts are tackled without a meltdown and Cash is infused with gladness. So much so that as he writes the check to pay, he offers a separate tip. "Thank you, Ruby, for understanding and making sure I was comfortable. So, I'll sing anyway. Just for you." The song? Hallelujah, just the first verse. Cash will always be Cash so, as soon as that sample is over, he thanks them again and heads outside to where Vivian awaits. Showtime.
ROLL: Cash rolls brains+1 for: : x2 (Pair) : x1 : x1 : x1 -- Match Value: 1 (Raw: 2 3 6 5 2 -- d6)
ROLL: Cash rolls brains+1 for: : x1 : x3 (Set) : x1 -- Match Value: 3 (Raw: 3 3 3 1 6 -- d6)
ROLL: Cash rolls brains+1 for: : x1 : x1 : x2 (Pair) : x1 -- Match Value: 1 (Raw: 3 4 5 4 2 -- d6)
ROLL: Hector rolls Brains+1 for: : x1 : x1 : x3 (Set) -- Match Value: 3 (Raw: 1 5 4 5 5 -- d8)
ROLL: Hector rolls Brains+1 for: : x1 : x1 : x1 : x2 (Pair) -- Match Value: 1 (Raw: 3 6 2 5 6 -- d8)
ROLL: Hector rolls Brains+1 for: : x1 : x1 : x1 : x1 : x1 -- Match Value: 0 (Raw: 3 7 6 4 1 -- d8)
New Activity ---------
Hector laughs, "Definitely not. We are dong this for a specific purpose. When we go home we'll still be goth and grunge and musicians get to where whatever they like. I mean, did you ever see that Old Elton John video of 'I'm still Standing?' Bowie's concert movie from the Ziggie Era? Alice Cooper's 'Welcome to My Nightmare movie? We do not have to sell out to get that beachfront property." He thanks them both and quietly tips them separately, "You were both amazing." He listens to Cash singing, beaming proudly.
A little latter he blows the judges away with his Scott Joplin and Chopin medley. His flute stairway to heaven was good enough to get him in on it's own, but not dazzling. Alas, he managed to break two strings on his guitar, but he's in and that's all that matters just then.
Cash came with the heat to the judges. Purely, on vocals, he displays his range and varied taste. He opened with the crooning Chances Are, transitioned into Lilac Wine, showing off that falsetto Vivian is so proud of. He finished upbeat with Ray Charles. This is where he needed Hector on piano for Hallelujah, I Love Her So. Just like that, Cash is going to college. Not that he ever doubted it for a single moment.