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Sounds of the Soul

By Remy Quigley





Published by Remy Quigley at Smashwords


Copyright 2018 Remy Quigley




Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.




Pierced Tales - Part 1



Discover Other Titles by Remy Quigley:

Apple of the Eye - Part 2

Chapter 1:


Milo


Milo added the finishing touch to the purple alien girl he’d spray painted on the back wall of the convenience store near his house just as the school bus drove right by him.

“Shit!” He hissed, shoving his spray can into his back pack as he started down the side walk at a run.

Milo stopped running when he finally admitted to himself that he was going to be late anyway, and on the first day of his junior year, too. He heard the first bell ring just as the school came into view and strode towards the front doors with his head hanging. Cooper, the coolest security guard in the school, was leaning against the wall by the doors when Milo stepped inside.

“Why you always late, Thatcher?” Cooper asked in his high pitched southern drawl. “You only live three blocks away.”

Milo shrugged as he made his way past Cooper and towards the office. “I lose track of time a lot.”

After his visit to the office, Milo hurried to his first class of the day, Oceanography. He had a thing for marine life and had known by the time he was twelve that he wanted to be a Marine Biologist when he grew up. He sighed after handing Mr. Fletcher his late pass and turning to find a seat. There were only two left in the back. He took the one in the corner.

The chair behind the desk next to him squeaked as someone sat down and he looked over to see Owen Jenkins now sitting in it. He had a flame red mohawk and more piercings in his ears than Milo cared to count. They’d known each other since middle school. Owen was interested in animals, too, only he preferred reptiles and amphibians. There was a tattoo of a snake on the inside of Owen’s forearm that he hid from his parents by wearing way too many bracelets. He was funny and loyal, and Milo couldn’t ask for a better best friend.

“So, late on the first day, huh?” Owen mock crooned, his favorite way to irritate Milo, because that was how his aunt talked to him when she came to visit.

“It’s all just going over the curriculum today, anyway.”

“Yeah. How’s Ginger?”

Ginger was Milo’s girlfriend. They’d known each other since they were in diapers, because their moms were friends, and had started dating during their freshmen year of high school. They knew everything about each other and were always comfortable around one another, so Milo just assumed that they’d date until they finished college and then get married. Ginger was cute, smart, and had a good sense of humor, so he just assumed that he was in love with her. Milo had never read any romance novels, but he’d heard girls talking about what being in love was supposed to be like, and he thought it was all bullshit. Love was just when you found someone great that you cared about more than yourself.

“She’s good. ‘Getting better than her dad at tennis.”

Owen smirked. “Yeah? That’s no surprise, it’s just a hobby for him.”

Ginger wanted to become an international tennis champ after high school, taking college courses to qualify to teach as a fallback. Sometimes, Milo thought she cared more about tennis than him, but he didn’t really mind. He knew to respect people’s love of sports and other activities that required a lot of dedication. He himself enjoyed researching marine biology in his spare time, but that interest didn’t define him like the interests of others sometimes did.

“Mr. Jenkins, do you think you could spare a moment of your time to listen to what I’m saying up here?” Mr. Fletcher asked, his monotone as impressive as ever.

Owen slid down lower in his seat. “Sure, Mr. Fletcher. My bad.” He waited until Mr. Fletcher began again before muttering just loud enough for Milo to hear. “Why is it always me and never you?”

Milo smirked. “I don’t stand out like you do.”

“You don’t stand out at all.”

“Jenkins.” Mr. Fletcher said through an irritated sigh, shutting Owen up for good.

Oceanography passed quickly after that and Milo made his way to English, which he also had with Owen. They walked together, their path blocked several times by Owen’s admirers. There were at least five girls that had been after Owen since they started high school. Owen had already dated two of them, but in the end, he said he preferred a challenge.

They’d just gotten past Admirer #4, Rebecca Greer, and were walking by the music room when Milo heard the piano playing loudly from inside. He didn’t recognize the song or anything, but was struck by the invisible emotion that he could somehow hear through the music. The song was somehow angry and seductive at the same time. Milo stopped dead in his tracks and sucked air in sharply through his teeth. His stomach had hit his feet and his heart was pounding a mile a minute when the song reached its climax. He could somehow imagine the creator of that beautiful music crying from the overwhelming emotions that were being melded into it.

“Uh, hello? Earth to Milo?” Owen said as he waved a hand in front of Milo’s face.

“Shh!” Milo hissed, his gaze snapping towards the music.

The windows of the music room were blacked out to allow for privacy, so he couldn’t see inside. Milo moved closer to the window and leaned a shoulder against it, listening to the final notes of the song, his heart thumping heavily and his breathing shallow. When it ended, he let out a shaky sigh and turned to face his friend with his hand flat on his chest.

“Milo?”

“I… I don’t feel so good. I think I have a fever. I’m goin' to the nurse’s office.”

“Uh, okay. Want me to walk you?”

“N… no. I’ll be fine.”


Jack


Jack kicked a pebble as he passed the library on his way home from school. He still wasn’t happy with the song he’d picked for his music school’s show that weekend. He kept taking the feeling it was supposed to bring and turning into something else. It was fine to put his real emotions into his own compositions, but Gibbs, his instructor at the music school, didn’t like it when he turned songs by others into something entirely his own. He’d somehow managed to turn Ode to Joy into a war cry during a musical two years back, after a girl broke up with him, and Gibbs still wouldn’t let him forget it.

Jack was passing by an alley in between a Dollar General and a family run head shop when he heard a loud ‘Oooof!’ and a dull thud, like someone being punched hard in the gut. His gaze snapped right and landed on the bloody face of a teenage boy. In that split second, when Jack noted the boy and the two young men that were beating on him, the only thing that really stuck was the kid’s almond shaped eyes. They were a smoky shade of blue and they were latched to the green pair of converse on his feet that his lip had dripped blood onto.

“I’m gonna have to scrub that shit off of the fucking wall now, asshole!” One of the two men beating the kid up spat, grabbing the boy’s shirt front and yanking him to his feet as Jack strode towards them.

Jack set a firm hand on the shoulder of the one that was about to punch the boy in the face and met with a fierce glare. Despite the fact that Jack was a bit lanky, he was tall and his glare was much meaner than the one directed at him. “Don’t you think he’s had enough? Are you tryin' to put him in the hospital?”

The young man glanced at the boy’s face, the cheek of which was already swelling, before releasing him and dusting off his hands. “Yeah, I guess. Fuckers.”

The two reentered the head shop through the door at the back and Jack was left alone with the victim. He crossed his arms over his chest as the boy groaned, pulled his knees up, and rubbed his bloody cheek.

“So, what did you do to piss them off so bad?” Jack asked after giving the kid a minute to take in all his injuries.

The boy’s gaze snapped up, his eyes wide, as if he’d thought Jack had just walked away. He blinked after staring up at Jack for a second and then smirked halfheartedly, lifting up his index finger to point at the wall behind Jack. Jack lifted an eyebrow as he turned to look at the wall of the head shop. A girl in a sexy bunny suit was freshly spray painted on the bricks. The point of view was from behind her. She was bent over with one hand on her knee, turning to look over her shoulder with a smile, while lifting her other hand to show her middle finger.

“Uh, wow. You’re… pretty good.” Jack managed after a moment of studying the detailed graffiti art.

“You really think so?”

Jack turned to look at the boy as he nodded. The boy pushed himself to stand, looking down at his battered hoody and shaking his head. His eyes trailed to his shoes and he let out a small sound of agony. He ran both hands through his short brown hair and when he looked at Jack again, there were tears in his eyes.

“You think you might need to go to the hospital?” Jack asked after a moment of staring at the boy’s stricken face with confusion.

“No. It’s my shoes. There’s blood on them.” He whined, looking like someone had stolen his puppy.

“If you do it quickly, vinegar might work.” Jack said, after smirking at him when he thought of how he’d been looking at his shoes while receiving a beating.

“Vinegar?” He started in surprise.

“Yeah, just pour some on it and let it soak in for about five or ten minutes.”

“Thanks, man.” The boy started before taking a step away. He froze before taking another, turning back with an apologetic look on his face. “I’m sorry, that was rude. Thanks for saving my ass from receiving worse than this. My uh… house is just a block away. The first floor is my mom’s restaurant, so I could treat you to something.”

Jack studied the boy’s face for a moment before shrugging and moving to follow him. “I’ve got an hour before I have to go to music school, anyway. It’s… not an organic restaurant, is it?”

The boy scoffed, setting his pace beside Jack’s when they reached the sidewalk. “Hell, no. My mom likes real food. You know, the kind men eat?”

Jack glanced over at him, raising an eyebrow, and noticed that he was only an inch or two taller than the other and that there was a small, metal rose stud in his left earlobe. “Sure…”

“I’m Milo Thatcher, by the way.” He said, sticking his hand out towards Jack.

His knuckles were bruised and bloody, as well. I guess he did throw a few punches before I showed up, Jack thought with a bit of surprise. He didn’t think Milo seemed like the type to fight back in a two on one, he was just too soft looking.

Jack took Milo’s hand and shook it. “Jack Finch.”

They were silent for a moment and then Milo asked, “Did you say you go to a music school?”

“Uh, yeah. Giuseppe’s on Frozen Avenue.”

“Oh… What… do you play?”

Jack noted the hesitation and glanced over to see that Milo was watching the sidewalk on the other side of the street. “I play piano.”

Milo’s gaze snapped over to Jack, his blue eyes wide and his mouth partially open. “Pi… piano?”

“… Yeah.”

Milo seemed to realize that he was acting strange and averted his gaze to the sidewalk again, shoving his hands in his pockets and straightening his expression. “You’re… in high school, right?”

“Unfortunately.” Jack replied in a grim tone normally reserved for conversations about death or prison.

“Where do you go?”

“Nelson Franklin.”

Milo looked back over, his eyes wide again as he turned partially towards Jack, his pace slowing. “Were you playing in the music room after first block?”

Jack locked eyes with Milo and hesitated before replying, “I was.”


Chapter 2:


Milo


Milo bit his lip to dampen his excitement, so he wouldn’t come off as some sort of creep. “I heard you play. I was uh… just passing by, but I had to stop and listen. You’re incredible.”

Oh no, Milo though when Jack looked at him with an eyebrow raised, I definitely laid it on too thick. “Uh, thanks. I was actually… doing it wrong.” Jack said, scratching awkwardly at the back of his neck.

“Really-? Oh, there it is. Come on.” Milo started a bit excitedly, gesturing across the street at his mom’s restaurant.

Before finding out that Jack was the one that had made the beautiful music that was still echoing in his mind, Milo had felt a bit hesitant about bringing him to the restaurant. Milo’s mom always made fun of him for hanging out with Owen, because Owen was what she referred to as ‘high quality merchandise’ and Milo was just plain old Milo. Jack was somehow even more attractive than Owen and Milo was sure he had plenty of girls chasing him. He had a bed head of thick black hair, grim dark green eyes, a full top heavy mouth, and a strong jaw. His mom was probably going to flip if she saw him and then proceed to embarrass the hell out of Milo.

Milo held the glass door open for Jack and then slipped into the sweet aroma of frying food. He gestured to a table for two for Jack to sit and went to the counter to grab a menu for him, smiling at Abby behind the counter. He passed Jack the menu, sat down, and leaned back in his chair as Jack began looking through it. Milo glanced at Jack’s hands and found himself staring.

His fingers are so long and skinny. Man, this guy is gonna send my mom to the moon. How can someone’s hands be sexy? Milo gave a light start, accidentally kicking one of the table’s legs, and shook his head. Wait, did I just think that something about a guy is sexy? No, I meant that girls probably think their sexy. Yeah, that was it. Cause my mom’s gonna embarrass me. Milo looked back at Jack to see that he’d closed his menu and was looking at him.

“Find what you want?” Milo asked with a small smile, laughing at himself mentally.

“Yeah. Shrimp noodles.”

Milo blinked at him, noting the way his eyes were now shining like a kid’s, making him look less grim than he had a moment before. “Really? You don’t want a specialty burger? Or one of the mighty meals?”

Jack shook his head and replied simply, “Shrimp noodles.”

Milo shrugged as he stood from his seat and went to the counter to order a bowl of shrimp noodles and a Backache Burger for himself. Abby took his order and slipped it through the small window to the kitchen, pinning it up to the clothes line with the others. He set his back pack on top of the table when he sat down again and laid his arms and head on it, watching Jack as he gazed at the paintings on the walls of the restaurant.

“So, how were you playing the song wrong?” Milo asked after a few moments of silence.

Jack’s expression turned thoughtful as he scratched as his neck, tugging the collar of his shirt down to reach the itch. Milo found himself staring at Jack’s collar bone. He felt the color rise to his face when he realized what he was doing, his gaze snapping over to a mother spooning soup into her toddler’s mouth.

“It’s… hard to explain to someone who doesn’t play an instrument.”

“Oh, I do!” Milo started with energy, pleased that he had experience with the same thing that had captivated him that day.

“Oh?”

“Yeah, I played the harmonica when I was a kid. I don’t have one anymore, but I still remember how to play.”

“Hmm… I guess that counts. Well, it’s like this: the song I was playing was supposed to make people feel… happy when they listen to it, you know, like make them think about good times and stuff like that. Instead, I made it sound…”

“Passionate?” Milo started, and then averted his eyes when Jack made a shocked expression. “I mean… Well, that’s how it felt to me, anyway…”

“Um… thanks?”

Milo’s attention refocused on Jack’s face. “I definitely meant that as a compliment. I thought it sounded amazing.”

“Thank you…” Jack blinked, his voice turning small and a bit of red rising to his cheeks.

“Order up.” Abby sang as she sat Milo’s burger in front of him and the noodles in front of Jack. She started when she got a good look at Jack, blushing and tugging at the end of a blonde lock shyly. “Um, hi. I’m Abby. Are you a friend of Milo’s?”

Jack was in the middle of inhaling a whiff of his noodles like it was the best thing he'd ever smelled. He looked up at her. “Uh, hi. I… guess you could say Milo and I are friends. He is treating me to dinner.”

Milo swallowed the bite of burger in his mouth and glanced up at Jack. “And you did save my ass from winding up in the hospital.”

Abby’s eyes widened momentarily and she gave Milo a second glance, tsking when she saw his bruised and swollen cheek. “Your mom’s not gonna be happy about that. I’ll go get her, so she can meet your new friend.”

“Wait, don-!” Milo huffed impatiently when Abby disappeared through the door to the kitchen. He looked back at Jack, who was slurping up noodles like he hadn’t eaten in a week. “Is it good?”

Jack swallowed and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “It’s delicious! The sauce is all syrupy and there are little chunks of crab, too!”

Milo smirked and lifted his burger to his mouth again, saying before he took another bite, “Yeah, I know how she makes it.”


Jack


“Shit!” Milo hissed, dropping his half eaten burger onto his plate, standing up hurriedly, and surprising Jack.

“What’s up?” Jack asked, wiping his mouth again.

“I forgot about my shoes! I can’t believe I forgot! Look, I gotta try to fix ‘em. You can just leave when you finish the noodles. Maybe we’ll… see each other in school tomorrow?”

There was a hopeful light in Milo’s eyes that made Jack smile. “Sure.”

“Cool. Later.”

Jack waved to him and then worked devotedly on finishing his bowl of noodles. He was almost done when a tall, attractive brunette stepped out of the kitchen and locked eyes on him. She was wearing an apron and had her hair tied up in a high ponytail. She pointed a finger at him and raised a questioning eyebrow at Abby. Abby nodded and Jack sighed, mentally preparing himself to meet someone’s parent.

Milo’s mom strode over grinning and sat right down in Milo’s vacated seat, crossing her legs and trailing her eyes up and down Jack’s upper body and face. “Well, well. Aren’t you just the bee’s knees? Really, I will never understand why such attractive people spend time with that kid.” Jack’s mouth opened to say he had no idea what and then snapped closed again. “I thought it was amazing that Owen is friends with him, but wow… just, wow. You are some high quality merchandise, kid. What’s your name?”

“Uh…” Jack’s ears felt warm enough to be warning him of an upcoming fever and all he wanted to do was leave. “Jack, it’s Jack.”

She nodded slowly before sticking out her hand. “Strong name. I’m Maggie May, the kid’s mother.”

Jack shook her hand quickly. “Nice to meet you.”

“You too, gorgeous. How do you like the noodles?”

Jack’s eyes brightened and some of his discomfort disappeared. “They’re delicious! I’ve never had better!”

Maggie May beamed at him. “That’s right, praise me. I love it.”

Jack smirked hesitantly and then checked his watch. “Oh, I’ve really gotta get going, Ms. Maggie. Thanks for the meal.”

“Anytime, kid.” She replied with a wink.

Jack managed a polite smile before slipping out of the restaurant and starting towards Giuseppe’s.


“He thought it was passionate…” Jack murmured aloud to himself as he ran a finger lightly over the keys of the piano in the music room of his high school the next day.

Jack thought about Milo’s excited face, when he remembered that he used to play harmonic, and smiled without thinking. Now that he considered it, he hadn’t thought about piano once the whole time he was with Milo. It was weird, because even Jack’s oldest friends complained often about him thinking about nothing but piano, and they were right. He’d zone others out often and think about a composition he was working on or how he could better the way he played a certain song.

Jack was currently using his free block to practice the song that Milo had liked so much. He was trying to perfect the way it was meant to be played, but he wished he could just play it freely, in his own way. After getting as close to the song's intended tone as he could, Jack allowed his fingers to move across the keys without restraint. He knew it would dull the effect of the practice he’d just put in, but he didn’t care. His upper arms, shoulders, and back swayed with the music and his eyes closed tightly. He didn’t even register the sound of the door opening or realize that anyone was there until he heard a voice.

“Wow, you’re really into it today, huh?” The music teacher’s voice asked, snapping him out of the music.

He stopped playing and looked up at her, his hand mussing his hair awkwardly. “Uh, hey.”

“There’s a boy sitting outside in the hall. Someone supposed to be waiting for you?”

“Not that I know of, but I’ll go check.” Jack stood from the bench and strode to the door, peeking out. Milo was sitting against the wall beneath the music room’s windows with his arms on his knees and his head hanging. “Milo?”

His head snapped up, his blue gaze finding Jack. Something about his expression made Jack’s heart skip a bit. His eyes were like blue fire, the smoke in them faded into the background. He’d caught his bottom lip tight in his teeth and his face was red all the way to his ears. When he opened his mouth to speak, a shaky pant escaped and he bit his lip again.

In a slightly quavering voice, he said, “Uh, hey man. I was just… listening again. It’s my lunch time, so…”

Jesus, those eyes. Jack blinked, What about his eyes? He shook his head and asked, “What um… what class do you have next?”

Milo seemed at a loss for a moment, and then realization came to his eyes. “Algebra.”

“Really? Me, too. Who’s your teacher?”

“Mrs. Grady.”

“No shit. Me, too.” They stared at each other for several seconds and then Jack cleared his throat. “Wanna walk to class together?”

“Huh? Sure.” Milo started, standing from where he sat and dusting off the back of his jeans.

“Okay, let me grab my stuff.”

Chapter 3:


Milo


Milo still had goosebumps from listening to Jack’s song. It’d started off differently than Milo had expected, which made him think Jack was trying to play it the way it was supposed to sound, but had ended with even more passion than that first song he’d heard had. His heart was still pounding in his chest, even though it’d been almost five minutes since they started walking away from the music room together.

“So, what are your interests? Other than graffiti and harmonica?” Jack asked him as they turned the corner onto the hall where their next class was.

“I… wanna be a Marine Biologist.”

“Really?” Jack started, an impressed light coming to his eyes when he looked at Milo again.

“Yeah. I’m not obsessive about it or anything; honestly, I should be getting better grades…-”

“Milo!” Ginger called from behind him in a sing song voice. Milo rolled his eyes and ignored her, so she wrapped her arms around his neck from behind and forced him to turn and face her. “We’re still going shopping today, right?”

Milo rolled his eyes again before taking her arms from around his neck. “Why do I have to go with you every time you buy underwear?”

A shocked expression flashed over her face as she glanced at Jack and then smacked Milo on the arm. “Don’t talk about that in front of people, idiot. I’ll meet you in front of the school when today’s over-.”

“I really can’t go. I uh… promised this guy I’d treat him to my mom’s cooking after school.” Milo lied, jerking his thumb in Jack’s direction.

Ginger frowned, flashed a halfhearted glare at Jack, and then shrugged. “Fine. I’ll get Angie to go with me. See ya.”


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