This is a new story by the Paperback Writers that is posted on my account this time. It was created by the lovely individuals Lennonfan1940 (to give credit where it's due, it was her brain child), Shortyblackwell, NatashaPavlova, and myself, of course ;). This first chapter was written by yours truly. We sincerely hope you enjoy it!
**WARNING! SEVERELY UNEDITED! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!**
American girl band The Black Suns were cooped up in their hotel room in New York between gigs. They were on their first tour since getting a number one hit with their song "You're Mine", and they couldn't have been more ecstatic. It was their first step of many in the band's journey to conquering the radio. That night, it was snowing outside, preventing the girls from following their usual clubbing routine. Rosemarie Delrose (who commonly went by Marie), the band's leader and rhythm guitarist, was standing by the window, watching the snowflakes flutter to the ground and contemplating the future of her band. Out of all of her fellow band members, Rosie was the one who knew the best that one number one hit did not mean instant success. Drummer Maura Kingsley sat on the hotel room's couch and watched the TV, which was on but she wasn't fully paying attention to. She and Marie were carrying on a casual conversation about their friends at home, who were coming up to New York in a couple of days to see The Black Suns play. The band's bassist, Rose Beckett, was sitting sideways in one of the armchairs, an acoustic guitar in her lap that she was absentmindedly strumming. She occasionally scribbled down notes in a well loved notebook before returning to her strumming. Lastly, their lead guitarist, Toddy Ambra, was sitting at the dining room table, playing solitaire with a deck of cards. She wasn't much of a people person and generally kept to herself unless she was included in a conversation or if she had started it.
Maura stopped speaking to Rosie and turned to Rose. "Hey, Beckett," she said, peering over at the bassist's notebook, "whatcha doing over there? You're awfully quiet."
"Yeah," Marie agreed with Maura. "I would have thought that you would have been more excited about Daniel coming to visit." She waggled her eyebrows at Rose, who stuck her tongue out at her. The band found fun in finding new and creative ways to tease Rose about her friend Danny, who they all thought she should be in a romantic relationship with.
"For the last time, Danny and I are friends, and that's it," Rose said defensively. "And to answer your question, Maura, I'm trying to write a song." Even though all of the band tried their hands at songwriting, Rose Beckett engaged in the activity most frequently. Though she easily wrote the most songs out of any of her band mates, only three had made their last album, something which secretly disappointed Rose.
"Didn't you hear, Beckett?" Toddy wisecracked as she lost her game of solitaire. She piled up the cards and began to shuffle them. "We have a number one hit, so you don't have to try so hard with your writing now." Maura and Rose both laughed.
Marie turned around and glared at the three of them. "That's a terrible mentality to have, Toddy," she admonished the guitarist. "One number one doesn't mean instant success. You have to maintain the standard of your music and stay on the charts to succeed in the music business, which is doubly hard for a girl band. We need every song we can get." She turned to address Rose. "It sounds great so far, Other Me." Jokes usually flew between the two about their having similar names.
Rose pointed at her with her index finger and joked, "Hey, it was my name first, Delrose. But regarding the song, thanks."
Toddy sighed and returned to playing solitaire. "I try to make one little joke, and we get admonished by Delrose the dictator. It's like being in elementary school again." Since Marie was so obviously the leader of the band, her other band mates often jokingly referred to Marie as "the dictator", something that Marie hated.
"How many times have I told you guys to not call me 'the dictator'?" Marie asked exasperatedly.
"You better watch yourself, Toddy," Rose joked, "the dictator might get angry and start a civil war." Marie shot Rose the evil eyes, and Rose immediately returned to composing the melody of her new song.
The band heard the door of their hotel room open, and in walked their manager, Michael Collier.
"Have you heard the news?" Michael asked.
"No, what is it?" Maura replied.
"Some British band called The Beatles knocked 'You're Mine' from number one to number six," he informed them as he took a seat next to Maura on the couch.
"What?" Marie said disbelievingly. "What's their number one called? And how in the name of God did they manage to knock us from one to six?"
"It's called 'I Want to Hold Your Hand'," Michael answered. "They've got songs filling up the first five spots on the charts, which pushes The Black Suns to six."
"Impossible," Rose breathed, setting her guitar down.
"It's never been done before," Michael agreed.
"Not even Elvis has done it," Maura said in awe. "I always thought that if Elvis hadn't done it, it probably wasn't meant to be done."
All eyes were on Marie. The band had never been in a situation similar to the one they were in then. When the band was in times of trouble, they looked to Marie, their leader, who always seemed to know what to do, even if her solutions were rather spontaneous and often slapdash. But for once, Marie was at a loss. She tried not to take too many things personally in her life, but The Black Suns was her pride and joy-no, scratch that, it was her baby. The song had a four week stay at number one, and then some British boy band that she had never heard of suddenly waltzed in and knocked the song that the band had so lovingly crafted to number six. Number six. It was like getting a blue ribbon instead of the shiny trophy. It was devastating.
"Have you heard it, Mike?" Marie asked as she sat in the armchair adjacent to the couch. Toddy soon joined Maura and Michael on the couch.
Michael shook his head and said, "No, I haven't yet, but I'm sure if you turned on any of the pop stations, you'd be bound to hear it after a while."
"Well, I'll do just that, then," Marie said, briefly disappearing into the bedroom that she shared with Toddy to retrieve her portable radio. She turned it on and placed it on the coffee table upon returning to the common area. Maura immediately got up and turned the television off. The first song they heard wasn't "I Want to Hold Your Hand", however, but it was their own former number one hit, "You're Mine". Though it was usually always fun to hear their own songs on the radio, this time it brought a melancholy feeling instead. It seemed that their own happy harmonies and bright, jangly chords were taunting them. You thought that you were hot stuff with this song at number one, huh? Well, you're not. You're just another can of peas, easily replaced by any other band who waltzes in. Move along, sweethearts. After two minutes of torture spent listening to their song, the DJ announced the next song.
"That was The Black Suns with their hit 'You're Mine', which was at the top of the charts for four weeks before being replaced by British band The Beatles, who are currently making history by having five songs taking up the first five spots on the charts, pushing 'You're Mine' to number six. With their number one hit, here's The Beatles with 'I Want to Hold Your Hand'."
During the two minutes and thirty seconds that song was playing, hardly a word was uttered. All five people were completely focused on the song, with the band members trying to dissect the song with their ears and figure out what made it so superior to their song. Once the final chord was played, Marie turned off the radio, and they all sat in relative silence.
"It's kind of catchy, I'll give it that," Maura said.
"It was rather repetitive though, wasn't it?" Rose commented.
"I don't see what the big deal is," Toddy commented.
"They must be attractive, then," Rose said wryly. "That's the only other explanation for the success. Teenage girls sure love their attractive pop idols." The other girls grinned and laughed.
"Girls," Michael said. "There's also something else I should tell you. Please don't get angry. I made this deal before all of this number one madness happened."
"Just tell us, Mike," Marie told him.
"The Beatles are coming to do a tour of the US, and The Black Suns are going to travel with them and be their opening act," Michael told them. The girls simply stared at him disbelievingly.
"Tell me you're kidding, Mikey," Toddy said, though her voice gave away that she knew that their manager was being truthful.
"I'm afraid not, Toddy," Michael said as he developed a sudden interest in his hands before glancing at his watch. "They'll be in New York in three weeks, and we'll play a couple of shows here before moving on. Listen, I've got to go, I'm expecting a call at 6 from their manager, Brian Epstein, so we can discuss more details. I'll see you later." The girls bid their manager goodbye, and Michael got up and left the band's hotel room.
"You have got to be kidding me," Rose said as she shook her head.
Marie sighed and replied, "Don't I wish."
"Who names their band after a bug?" Toddy remarked, which received smiles from her band mates.
"I can't believe it," Maura said. "All of that hard work, all of the blood, sweat, and tears, just to be so easily replaced by some British band."
"I need a cigarette," Rose said, getting up from her armchair.
"I thought you had decided to quit smoking," Maura reminded Rose, who was digging in the pocket of her jacket for her pack of cigarettes and a book of matches, which hung on one of the chairs that surrounded the dining table.
"I changed my mind," Rose replied dryly, sticking a cigarette in her mouth and walking out onto the room's attached deck before lighting it. The other band members heard the sliding glass door slam shut behind Rose.
Maura looked to Marie. "What are we going to do, Delrose?"
For once, Marie didn't know, but she couldn't let her band mates know that. They looked to her for answers, and she couldn't let them down. "We're going to have to step up our game when we perform before them," Marie said. "We're going to have to be better, louder, the whole nine yards. We have to blow The Beatles right out of the water on their own tour."
And from then on, that's exactly what The Black Suns aimed to do.