Honor had smelt the alcohol on him when he’d taken the guitar from her hands. Biker boots on his feet, torn-up jeans with chains hanging from his belt and a black long-sleeved top under a leather jacket. He was at least a week unshaven and wore a baseball cap low down over his face. He didn’t look like he could afford a place to sleep let alone an expensive guitar.She watched him take a pick out of his pocket and then without any hesitation he began to play. Straight away the other guitars hanging on their hooks began to vibrate as Jared let fly. She knew her mouth was hanging open but she couldn’t help it. She’d never heard anyone play like that before. Not on stage and certainly never in the store. He had something special, something unique. It was grungy. It was bluesy. It was some sort of amalgamation of country and metal.
He took the volume down and smiled at her.
‘I couldn’t help hearin’ you singin’ there earlier. And it seemed to me that you were kinda fightin’ with the bridge,’ he started.
The mouth came up and her shutters went down. A cold, icy feeling spread from her boots, up through her body and ended in her shoulders. She flinched. He’d heard her sing. No one heard her sing now unless Countrified 103 played a track on their old school morning country show. Not that she ever heard it. She hadn’t turned on the radio in ten years. The only country music she listened to was piped through the store sound system and now it was as good as white noise.
‘Don’t get me wrong or nothin’. It sounded like a great song. It’s just you stopped right before the bridge and…you stamped your feet a little.’
‘It was nothing.’ She stuttered her words, giving away her apprehension.
‘Well, if it were my song I’d probably go for a long ripped-up guitar solo. But, bein’ as it’s not my song and you sound a little more traditional.’ He took off the electric guitar. ‘How about this?’
He grabbed an acoustic from the rack, put the strap over his body and started to play. Within a few seconds he paused, played again and this time added a line of lyrics.
And we couldn’t break through, no we couldn’t break through together
His voice had a gruff rock edge to it but the tone was tender. Something in her stirred. He’d just broken into song, in front of her, as if it was the most natural thing in the world. No hesitance, no awkwardness, just a line of music that fitted perfectly. She just looked at him, standing there in his shabby clothes, and waited.
I wasn’t enough, you were just too much for ever. So I’m leaving right now and I’m never coming back not ever
He was writing her song right in front of her eyes.
You need to let me go. It’s time to close the door
He strummed out the final chord and grinned.
‘I guess you had other plans for it. But, you know, if you like it you can use it. I won’t ask for any credit on the album.’
She stared at him, not knowing how to react. Who was he? How had he just written such a fantastic middle eight in two minutes? There was only one thing she could say.
‘Do you want the Gretsch?’