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Soft Thrill - by Ashblonde - Parts I & II (BHM, FFA)

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Library Girl
Staff member
Library Mod
Jun 21, 2008
Soft Thrill
by Ashblonde


Charlotte was anxious about Soft Thrill’s audition at the Bluebird Theater. She haunted the club regularly during her college years, watching her favorite bands in awe. Now she was looking square in the face at a big opportunity. She had heard about the opening gig from the manager of the nightclub she bartended at on weekends. He was friends with one of the owners of the Bluebird and helped her band get an audition slot.

She had graduated two weeks earlier from UC-Boulder's College of Music and didn't want to mix martinis for the rest of her life. She had aspirations to use her education and not become another music major statistic. Her voice was a natural gift, but her studies forced her to understand the discipline and business of music and hone her song writing skills.

She was always the kind of girl who always hung out with musicians, so it was natural that she'd fall into a friendship with a group of classmates thinking about starting a band. In study group chatter, Jeremy, Chris, Jason and Charlotte found they all had the same love for indie alternative music when they bonded over rock shows and mp3 collections.

After a string of dates with guys she wasn't interested in, Charlotte wrote a song called, "Another" about a girl who tried to force herself, but could never fall in love. She played it at an open mic venue and the guys were blown away by her delivery.

I only wade in the shallow water
You want to go off the deep end
I don’t know my own heart
So I can't very well take yours...

That night they asked her to join their band, and started bringing their respective music together as a group. Charlotte suggested the idea of calling the band Soft Thrill, after she found the color name among shades of blue while helping her sister select paint colors for her apartment. She felt immediately sexy about it and everyone in the band agreed that "sexy" would be a good label for a female fronted band.

They played college venues for a few months, generating some buzz among the local “under 21” crowd. A few months more, through word of mouth and some loose connections, they moved into some minor Denver clubs. Slowly they picked up a small but loyal following, with a fair amount of attention being paid to Charlotte's nymph-like stage persona.

This audition at the Bluebird was for a rotating spot opening for popular local band called Essex. Charlotte first saw Essex play during her sophomore year and was completely absorbed into their retro indie sound. The lead guitarist, a chubby guy with impressive talent, especially captivated her.

He had a beautiful, boyish face, with an adorable ski slope nose and sweetly upturned lips. His hair was brown and wavy, with a bit of a youthful disheveled musician look. He was expressive in his playing and seemed to live within the music rather than for the fans. He wasn't extremely big back then, but his guitar failed to cover his bulging middle.

After seeing that show, she did a little research and found out his name was Ethan James and he was the songwriting talent in the band. She downloaded a few songs from their website, fell in love with the music and developed a serious crush on Ethan. He was the trifecta she had always been looking for: musically talented, boyishly handsome and nicely rounded.

She would go to their gigs every few months, gleefully noticing his increasing size. His weight had gone up quite a bit over the two years since she first saw the band play, and her crush grew deeper at each show. Sure, he was cute and fat, but he was a wonderful musician and songwriter too. She felt a kinship to his artistic nature, yet had never been able to exchange a word with him.

Charlotte entered the side door of the club with her band mates where they were shown to the stage and set up their equipment. Hoping they'd get past the first song with the club's manager, they specially rehearsed three songs: Jeremy's hard-driving song, "One More," Charlotte's jangling ballad, "Another," and a breathy voiced cover of the Foo Fighters' "Everlong."

There was one other song Charlotte offered for consideration. She wrote "No One" late one night after an Essex show last winter. It was about her desire for Ethan, expressing the feeling of being just another fan in the crowd. But the song had an erotic twist. It gave her the vixen role in that she would turn the tables and make him desire her with the same lust she felt for him.

I'm your no one
You go on without me
But someday, you will want me
I will linger in a fantasy
Burn for you, make you crave me

She had mixed feelings about the song. It was personal to her so she refused to admit to her band mates that the song was about someone specific. And with the lovesick obsessive tone of the lyrics, she didn't want to get pegged by anyone as a lunatic. She held her feelings close to her heart only expressed them through her music.

The first time she played it for the band, she felt awkward about it and didn't deliver with her full voice. But they liked the provocative lyrics and toyed with it anyway, adding a sexy beat and a throbbing guitar line to support the suggestive lines. When she turned her back to them imagined singing the song to Ethan, it started to simmer. But Charlotte needed more time to get used to performing it publicly, so they agreed to put it on the back burner.

Jeremy introduced the band to the manager of the Bluebird, known only as Mac, and they took their places on stage. "Hey, Jack, bring up the stage lights," Mac shouted to a club employee. Charlotte's heart pounded.

They rocked with "One More," and Charlotte could see that Mac also seemed to enjoy "Another." But when they launched into their pop-punk version of "Everlong," Mac checked his watch, got up from his chair and walked away with his cell phone to his ear.

Charlotte thought she was losing him and sung her heart out to get his attention back. When the song ended, Mac paused his phone conversation and yelled over to them, "Can you guys hang on a minute?"

We blew it, Charlotte thought, as she glanced uneasily at Jeremy, Chris and Jason. A few moments later, the dark corner door of the club burst open revealing sunlight and four figures walked through. The door shut and Charlotte could then see that it was Essex, with Ethan's broad figure walking in behind the others.

Her heart pounded. She hadn't expected them to come. She felt momentary relief that they hadn't been there during the three songs or she would have really blown the audition. But Mac raised her blood pressure with his words, "I'd like you to play one more song. Is that a problem?"

"Uh no, no…" Jeremy stuttered over the mic. "Just give us a sec," he waved the band together in a conference. "What do you think," he whispered, "Charlotte's stalker song?"

"Holy crap, 'No One?'" Chris interjected, "Are we ready with that? Charlotte, can you do it?"

Charlotte suddenly felt numb inside. Between the high stakes of this audition and having Ethan watch her perform, her defenses oddly shut down and her fear dissolved. Before she knew it, she was blindly agreeing, "Yes, I'm totally ready to do that song."

The music started and she began to sing. As the words came out, she transformed into the femme fatale in the song, glancing into Ethan's eyes for surges of energy and inspiration.

I want inside you, I see you inside me
I imagine you hungry
Your face over my body, your body over mine
Wrap my legs around you
Full-size pictures of you
Caged up in my dirty little mind

Charlotte maintained a controlled, confident, slithering style with her delivery. Mac, the guys from Essex and a few club employees watched without word. She stopped thinking about how they were responding, just imagined the many depraved thoughts she had entertained about Ethan over the last couple of years.

Her performance was a blur to her. She only remembered that the band sounded amazing. Jeremy hit the last note on his guitar and for a long moment, there was nothing but silence. Charlotte opened her eyes and saw the small audience clapping, including Ethan, who was smiling back at her. It was the first time she had ever seen him smile, as he always looked brooding or disaffected on stage. She had never in her life felt such an emotional high as she did in that moment.

Mac walked over to them and smiled, "I've seen a lot of crappy bands audition lately, so you had the job after the first song. But I'm glad you played all of them. You've got yourself a ringer there," he pointed at Charlotte, "If sex sells, she's the real deal."

The band walked down from the stage and Mac introduced the guys from Essex to Soft Thrill. Charlotte's anxiety was right back on the surface with her heart pounding as she glanced at Ethan. She flashed him her biggest smile without even trying. She noted a little belly shake when he shook her hand, sending shivers down her legs. There was no doubt he had continued to put on weight. He looked noticeably bigger from the Essex show she saw on New Years Eve, just a few months ago.

"You wanna get set up?" One of the guys from Essex said to the other members of their band. They moved toward the stage, and started to move equipment around. Charlotte watched them for a few moments, studying Ethan's form in movement, looking round and powerful.

Jason interrupted Charlotte's daze and asked Mac, "Why are they setting up now? It's the middle of the afternoon."

"They have a recording session tonight. They're trying to get some stuff hammered out here so they don't waste studio time. I'm financing this deal, so I suggested they get over here and practice," he explained.

Wow, Charlotte thought, they have a record deal. "Ethan is a huge talent, I'm sure they're going to do well behind his amazing songwriting," she found herself blurting.

"Yeah, he is huge alright," Mac joked. Charlotte became irritated. She didn't mean to imply anything about his weight.

Mac walked them to the door, "so you'll be here Saturday night? "

They all nodded and walked out. When the door was shut, they all screamed and hugged each other. This was a big break for them in the local music scene.

Charlotte's stage nerves started up again on Saturday afternoon. She had performed for a few dozen people at most, but never several hundred at one time. She had visions of tripping on stage or losing her voice. She decided she needed to get to the club early, so she could stake out the space and feel more familiar with it.

She rang the buzzer on the side door and for a minute, no one answered. She started to walk away when the door creaked open, and peering from behind the door she saw Ethan. Her heart jumped in her throat. "Oh! Uh… hi, I was just seeing if I could… um... uh," Charlotte was tongue-tied.

Ethan opened the door for her, with a wry smile, motioned her to walk in. "You're here early," he observed. "I was just playing around on the piano backstage," he explained himself, "its got pretty good sound."

"There's a piano back there? Where do they fit it?" she asked, hoping to get a tour from him.

"It's in the corner dressing room, there's a ton of space back there. You wanna look around?" he asked her.

"Yeah, I'd love it. Thank you, I totally need the distraction," she smiled back wearily, masking her excitement over Ethan's friendliness.

She followed him through a short hallway, watching him from the back. His brown button down shirt looked a little snug from behind, not allowing for any concealment of his generous love handles. But it was long enough that it covered the contours of his wide behind. Her fingers tingled just thinking about pressing them into his soft body.

He showed her into the room with the piano. The windowless room was dimly lit and looked a bit small to contain a medium grand. Ethan stopped at the piano and explained, "I like to spend time on it before shows; it helps with the nerves."

"You still get nervous?" she asked, dumbfounded. "I would think you'd be so used to it."

"Yeah, I still feel weird on stage," he frowned, pulling his shirt down to adjust it over his billowing belly.

"I know what you mean," she smiled, "I have a wicked case of nerves I'm working on right now."

Pointing toward the piano, he asked her, "Do you play?"

"A little," she admitted, hoping he wouldn't challenge her to play anything for him. She was comfortable with her singing, but she always felt insecure about her piano skills.

"Do you want to give it a try?" he waved her to the piano bench.

She was a bit embarrassed to play for him, but she wanted to be next to him more. She sat down on one side of the bench while her heart pounded, "Maybe you should play first," and motioned him to sit down next to her.

He paused, but then shrugged his shoulders and sat down. He pulled at his shirt again to adjust it over his belly. It was even tighter looking now, showing off his plush shape. His width filled a lot of the bench, forcing their bodies to touch. Charlotte had shivers running down her spine. She couldn't believe she was sitting there, right next to her hero, sharing that musical space.

He started to play a song she hadn't heard before, and it sounded fantastic to her. They looked at each other and smiled. She blushed and looked down, noticing that she had an amazing view of his body. Despite his effort to stay on his side of the bench, his legs were pushed wide by his soft, full belly and his thick thighs. Charlotte turned pink and stopped breathing for a second.

"Still nervous?" he asked, continuing the song.

She was nervous, but at least he was distracting her from stage fright. Her stomach was full of butterflies because she was touching Ethan, the object of her fantasies. "A little," she smiled up at him, noticing his flawless skin and cherubic cheeks.

"This is beautiful," she gushed watching his large hands and thick fingers work effortlessly on the keys, creating a wonderful sound.

He reddened a bit and smiled, "Thanks, just something I'm trying to work out."

He finished and she instinctively clapped her hands, realizing she probably looked like a silly schoolgirl. Ethan looked at her and offered up the keys, "Your turn."

Charlotte took a deep breath and started to play a song she wrote called "Duel," a chronicle of the combative nature of a worn out relationship. She wrote the lyrics after many late night phone calls with her sobbing sister after her fiancé broke off their engagement.

Knives of anger pierce her skin
Exposed she bleeds
Stabbed with a betrayal, cut by lies
Blow by blow, he leaves, she dies

She sang the lyrics, lightly then strongly, yet feeling self-conscious about the way he watched her. When the song was over, she looked at him and he had a concerned look on his face. "I know, kind of a bummer song," she confessed with a smile, "but it's one of the few I feel comfortable playing on the piano," she shrugged.

"Did you write that about an ex?" Ethan wanted to know.

"No," Charlotte laughed, "my sister had a really bad breakup last year. I channeled her pain, I guess."

"Oh," he looked relieved. "It's a great song. Your voice has a lot of range too."

She beamed and blushed, "Thanks." She had heard compliments about her voice for many years from teachers, friends and family, but coming from Ethan, a musician whom she respected and admired, it meant so much to her.

"Yeah, I mean you can go really strong and hard with your voice, or light and airy; it's nice," he shared.

Charlotte was blushing more. She glanced down at his body and felt hotter. He caught her eyes looking at his body then abruptly stood up, adjusting his shirt over his broad belly again. Charlotte saw him jiggle a bit from this hasty maneuver and she imagined caressing his middle, kissing him softly on the lips.

A moment later, Mac walked by and saw them in the room. "Hey," he shouted to Ethan, "Little Miss here thinks you're a huge talent," he repeated her words from the audition. Ethan looked at Charlotte. She smiled and looked down. Mac continued, looking at Charlotte, "You did say "huge" right?" and chuckled. Ethan turned pale and stepped away from her. She was suddenly uneasy. Was Mac insulting Ethan with the same cheap fat joke? Ethan's seemingly upset reaction devastated her with the possibility.

"Well, I better go," Charlotte grabbed her bag, feeling awful. Mac was still smiling at his joke as she passed by him. She hurried out and ran back to her apartment. She took out a song she'd been working on about a boy who couldn't see his own worth, and sang the lyrics:

You're stunning, you are
You're the only one, you are
You're brilliant, you are
You don't know why, but you are

She wanted to cry thinking about the look on Ethan's face when Mac repeated the word, "Huge," with his snickering laugh. Then she got angry, yelling out loud to herself, "Where does that jerk get off insulting the brains behind his best talent?" But she was mostly hurt that Mac's dim-witted sense of humor twisted her admiring words about Ethan.

A couple of hours later she returned to the club with her band mates and they went back to a dressing room. Charlotte paced, now more upset over the "huge" incident and her nerves took a back seat. She decided to use her anger on stage.

The band performed an amazing set, and the audience, while somewhat small, responded well. She wasn't sure if Ethan was even around to see her performance, but she hoped she would have a chance to say a word or two to him before Essex took the stage.

As they walked backstage after their set, Ethan was standing in the hallway. Her heart was already pounding and her face was flush from her performance, but she felt a different kind of excitement come over her body when she locked eyes with him. She smiled, "Hey, Ethan."
He didn't smile back, at her and just offered a simple, "Hey," in response.

She felt disappointment. He was cold to her now. She tried to pretend like she didn't notice, "Did you see our set?" she asked brightly. He was so gorgeous, she thought. She just wanted to throw her arms around his plush, wide body and give him a deep, penetrating hug.

"Some," was all he offered.

"Oh," she looked down, more crushed. "Well, good luck with your set," she tried to find a way back in his good graces, but he just nodded back at her and walked toward the stage.

She went back to one of the empty dressing rooms alone, and while she showered, she felt tears forming in her eyes over the emotional let down. She had felt so good about her performance and then Ethan's cold shoulder completely deflated her mood. She hated more than anything that he would think she could mock his magnificent body.

Charlotte rejoined her band mates in the cordoned off VIP area. She wasn't thrilled to see Mac, but he gave her a hug anyway, congratulating her on an excellent performance. She walked away from the group and watched Ethan play, lost in how much she loved his music and how beautiful and expressive his adorable face was.

Essex finished their encore and the lights came up. The VIP group made their way up to the top bar to relax and enjoy the evening's successes. Charlotte's anxiety was reignited when she saw Ethan walking toward the bar. She felt warm when she saw his soft belly in a tight t-shirt, expanded well past his button down layer.

He sat down alone near the bartender and ordered a beer. She decided she needed to heal any possible hard feelings or she would be heartsick over the whole misunderstanding. She walked over to him and touched his arm, "Hi," she said softly with a smile.

He looked up at her, "Oh hi," he managed a half-smile.

"You guys were great again tonight," she offered. "I love the new song you played at the end," she hadn't heard it before. "Did you write it?"

"Yep," he stared into his beer glass without even glancing at her.

Charlotte didn't know what more to say to break the ice, so she went the direct route, "Did I say something to upset you?"

Ethan looked at her, "Uh… no, I'm just… tired," and looked away.

"Oh," she still felt something was wrong, so she came right out with what was on her mind. "Well, then I just wanted to say that I really admire your talent, and I really just… well, I think you are so amazing." He continued to look into his glass. Her face felt hot with embarrassment and she started to walk away.

He grabbed her hand, "I'm just not in a good mood, sorry," he apologized. "It's just that Mac and I had a fight after you left, I'm still a little irritated over it."

"Oh," she was curious now, "Why is Mac causing you grief?"

"It's… stupid," was all he shared.

"That's okay, don't worry about it," she sat down next to him, appreciating his thick arms. "Just enjoy basking in the glory of yet another amazing show."

"So you're a fan?" he asked her with a sly smile.

"Yeah," she admitted, "I've been coming to your shows for a couple of years now." She didn't want to admit yet that she had the full library of their mp3s and knew all the lyrics to their songs.

He looked at her, "So when you told Mac you thought I was a 'huge' talent, you weren't making a joke?"

She felt warm again, "Oh, no. I'd never joke about that, you're an incredible musician, that's just the truth."

"Mac thought otherwise," he smirked.

"What is with Mac? Is he the biggest jerk ever?" she was sick of Mac getting in the way of her getting closer to Ethan.

"He sure can be when he wants to," Ethan acknowledged.

"Well, if he can't see how great you are, then he's a total idiot," she reasoned.

"No, it's actually the opposite. He knows I'm good, and he can't can me. That's what upsets him," Ethan shared more.

"Why would he want to can you?" Charlotte was totally confused.

He looked at Charlotte like she was the last person in on the joke. "He thinks I'm ruining the band's chances because I've gotten so fat," he looked back into his empty glass.

Charlotte was speechless. The bartender came back just then, "Another?" he asked Ethan. Ethan nodded, then turned back to Charlotte, "So you see, the 'huge' comment lit another little fire into our conflict. He knows that Essex would be a tired cover band without my songs, so for now he's stuck with the fat guy," he further explained.

"That jerk," Charlotte fumed.

Ethan smiled, "Your indignation is cute, but that's the reality of this business. Just be sure to stay thin and gorgeous or you'll find yourself out of work," he warned her.

Charlotte shook her head. She didn't know what to say. She thought Ethan was one of the best looking guys she had ever seen, how could he ruin an image? And did he just call her gorgeous? "Hey, did you just call me gorgeous?"

He smirked then smiled at her.

She smiled back and blushed. She blushed a lot around him. She glanced down along side of him, checking out his belly resting perfectly on his lap. "Well, I think you're gorgeous too," she blurted. She also blurted a lot around him. He had a very disarming effect on her.

He looked at her with a confused face. Just then, Jason interrupted, "We're taking off. You need us to walk you home?"

Ethan stood up and set his glass on the bar, "I'm heading out too."

"Well, then I'll walk out with all of you," Charlotte smiled. The band gathered their equipment and instruments and loaded it up in their van. Ethan grabbed his guitar and followed them outside.

"Which direction are you?" Jeremy asked Ethan.

"Uptown, not too far, I usually walk it," he answered

"Charlotte's down 17th, just past the park," Jason offered.

"I'd love to walk," Charlotte volunteered.

Ethan smiled at her, "Sure."

Her band mates left in their van and Charlotte and Ethan headed toward 17th, having a light conversation about the latest things going on in their Uptown neighborhood. There were so many good restaurants in the area, so she managed to get Ethan talking about good food, which made her heart race. Big boys talking about and enjoying food always made her heart race. She became quiet, lost in some sinful thoughts.

"So," Ethan asked Charlotte, breaking the silence, "How is it you've been living within a few blocks of me and I've never seen you around?"

"I only moved here a few weeks ago," she explained, "I just graduated from Boulder."

"Oh, no... CU? I don't know if we can be friends," he laughed.

"CSU? Really? Music major?" she asked.

"Naw," he smiled, "Engineering."

"Huh, wow, you're such an artist, I didn't expect you to be a left brainer," she laughed.

"Environmental engineering, so a little bit touchy-feely," he chuckled too. She thought he was so cute when he laughed. His eyes brightened and chin doubled into a lovely combination.

"Well, here's my place," she stopped under the awning of the apartment complex she now lived in.

"Okay," he paused, but stepped away from her.

"Thanks for walking me home," she offered, stepping toward him anyway and kissed him on the cheek. Before she could see his reaction, she turned and hurried inside.

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