Disclaimer: I do not own American Idol or anything connected to it. Go ask Simon Fuller. Lyrics: Across The Universe by The Beatles.
(A Siobhan Magnus-Lee Dewyze fanfic.)
My heart thumped uncontrollably against my ribcage as I was called back to the centre of the stage, where my fate would be announced. Ryan was already there, together with Michael and Casey. Okay. This is it. I took a deep breath and tried to hide my nervousness with a wide smile as I joined them at the centre of the stage.
I wasn’t particularly paying attention when Ryan started to go through the whole protocol of returning from a commercial break and all that, my mind distracted by the fact that I was here, on this stage, with the possibility that I might be going home tonight. Michael and Casey had both took turns to reassure me that I was going to be alright, since it wasn’t news that I’d made headlines in tabloids and gossip weblogs and stuff. There was no use in arguing, so I’d just got on with it, merely showing a meek smile whenever anyone brought it up.
“Dim the lights, and here we go,” I realised it was our guest, Antonio Banderas who had the honour of delivering the line, instead of Ryan, which made my heart speed up even more. Ryan headed for us, and I smiled for the audience as he read about the judges’ comments about my performance last night, not really absorbing anything.
I guess I was pretty shocked when Ryan declared Michael safe, not trying to be mean or anything. He was my friend, and I was glad to see him safe, but his being safe meant that I was in the bottom two. I inhaled deeply and let my eyes look at anywhere but Ryan holding the results card. My gaze landed on Lee, who had his head in his hands, Crystal rubbing his back to console him. I tried to choke back a sob as my heart gave a lurch; it felt so bad to see Lee upset like this. What I wanted right then was to rush forward and envelope him in a huge hug, assuring him that everything was going to be okay. Ryan’s voice pulled me back from my reverie and my breath started to come in short gasps. This was it. Either I was going home, or I wasn’t. I was good at controlling my emotions, I wouldn’t allow myself to become a wreck. If I’m in, I’d smile. If I’m out, I’d smile, too, and hug Casey. That’s it. I’m gonna stick to that plan.
“The person who goes home tonight is…”
My heart thumped as I watch Siobhan at the centre of the stage, waiting for Ryan to announce the results, a decision of her fate on American Idol. The suspense was terrible, and I could feel my stomach knotting when Ryan had announced Michael safe. I could feel Crystal making an effort to console me as I buried my head in my arms, unable to look at what was happening on stage.
“The person going home tonight is…” My head jerked up, and my eyes found Siobhan, so beautiful and glorious, radiating brilliance and confidence, even at a time like this. It was one of the reasons why I liked her so much; her unbelievable strength and determination that were so rarely found nowadays. I tried to catch her eye, and when she looked at my way, I gave her an encouraging smile, which she returned with a confident grin.
“Siobhan Magnus.” My face fell when Ryan said Siobhan’s name out loud. Our eyes broke away and I was completely stunned. No, this couldn’t be happening.
Siobhan was now singing ‘Think’ by Aretha Franklin, the hit that got everyone’s attention. Her voice filled the auditorium with surprisingly strong force, as if the fact that she was going home added to her strength. I knew I could never be as strong as her, no matter what happened. Her voice was like a sturdy hand supporting me from breaking down right then and there, unable to accept reality.
Because I simply couldn’t bear the thought of Siobhan leaving us, leaving me.
After her last note ended, I rose from my seat and rushed forward to wrap Siobhan in my arms. To feel her soft skin against my fingers, to feel her own hand hugging the small of my back, I just couldn’t let her go. Ignoring the fact that the camera was still rolling and the other contestants were coming forward, I whispered in Siobhan’s ear, “I’ll miss you.”
Her eyes met mine for a fleeting second before people started to crowd around. “I’ll miss you, too.”
Siobhan (a week ago)
“Hey, you! Bon Bon!” I jumped when someone called me by my nickname. I had my infamous ‘Bon Bon’ glasses on, so I guess it was no surprise where the person’s inspiration came from. I turned around to find Lee standing there, a smirk on his face. I raised an eyebrow, my hand still holding the lyrics of ‘When You Believe’. I had been practicing for the past two hours or so, knowing that it was a ‘Mariah-cum-Whitney’ song and wouldn’t particularly be favoured by the judges, but I hardly cared. ‘A song that gives you inspiration’. This song does, and that’s enough for me.
“Whoa. A Mariah song you have there,” Lee started to tease, something I knew he would say. I laughed and punched him on the arm. “Better than yours anyway.”
“Oh, really?” He made a face. “Why am I having a hard time believing that?”
“Because you haven’t really heard me sing ‘When You Believe’ yet,” I joked.
“Now I’m scared.”
“You should be.”
“Because the Magnus girl is gonna eat me.”
“…that’s about right.” I grinned.
“The Dewyze guy thinks the Magnus girl should sing for him, then.”
“Alrighty.” I skipped off to the centre of the recording room, and directed Lee to the couch. “Be a good audience and don’t make me smack you, okay?”
Lee made a grunting sound as if to say he didn’t believe my ability in smacking people.
I cleared my throat and belted out a fully memorized version of ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’, one of my favourite songs of all time. I had been singing Bonnie Tyler’s songs ever since I was…five, six? I didn’t know where the sudden burst of inspiration to sing this song came from, but I knew it was the perfect song for…
For who? For Lee? For us?
But what I really felt as I delved into the meaning of every single lyric was connection. Standing there, singing to Lee and only Lee, I felt as if I was pouring out my heart’s contents, a poem written for him instead of a famous song by a renowned singer.
At the end of the song, I couldn’t take my eyes off Lee. I knew what this feeling was, I hadn’t felt it for so many years since high school.. I was attracted to him, no doubt, and not only because of his amazingly great vocals and adorable features, he was also witty and smart, always understanding how I did things my way, and never once did he judge me merely by my quirky acts and behavior like most people would. He was the best friend I could have ever since I came on Idol, and I deeply appreciated his presence.
And that was why I was too stunned for words when he finally said, “You’re beautiful..”
Lee (three weeks later)
Things had been pretty hectic lately, what with the numerous amounts of people we had to meet, and constant practice and photoshoots and such. The tension was almost visible in the atmosphere at the studio every Wednesday as we headed for the building. Ever since Michael went home and it’s down to Crystal, Casey and I, I have never thought I’d feel the same anxiousness I had felt the day I auditioned for this thing. Every day was one day nearer to the finals, and even though many tabloids and magazines were certain that there would be a Crystal Bowersox- Lee Dewyze showdown in the end, I was still dubious and afraid. –and guilty, to be honest. Everyone knew Siobhan and Crystal were the two strongest ones, and I was pretty positive everyone had been expecting for a Siobhan-Crystal finale, but somehow, me still being in this show made me feel as if I was responsible for Siobhan’s elimination.
Siobhan. She should have been here, and her absence seemed to have made an impact on the remaining contestants. She used to be the joker, the one who cheered people up when they were down, the funny and witty one who never failed to plaster a smile onto everyone’s faces. The way she still managed to grin widely when Ryan announced the end of her journey on Idol proved how much of a fighter she was, and I missed that spirit and passion that seemed so contagious. Without her here, winning the competition suddenly felt unimportant. The fact that I hadn’t once seen or spoken to her ever since the night she left made me feel guilt-stricken and heartless. I knew we had shared something special the whole time she was here, and I didn’t want to lose that just because of the distance between us and my how busy my life turned out to be. Making up my mind, I reached for my phone in the back pocket of my jeans and punched in the number I’ve already known so well.
“Siobhannnnnnn!” I heard my little sister Ceili call for me from upstairs. I dropped my glassblower and lifted my goggles. “Yeah?”
Ceili’s small head appeared at the door leading down to the basement. “There’s someone on the phone who wants to talk to you. And it’s a boooooooooy!” She giggled and ran away, afraid I would turn into a monster and swallow her whole because of her teasing.
A guy? I heaved a huge sigh. If it was Joe, I swear I’m going to throw the phone across the room.
Joe, the guy who said he would protect me and be there for me always. Well, not anymore. I had left Los Angeles with a broken heart, thinking that all was lost, and maybe Joe would be there for me, at least to give me a hug, but no, the first phone call I received at the very moment I reached home was from him, wanting a break-up. He had given all kinds of excuses, about how I was too far away and obsessed –obsessed– with winning American Idol. Without another word, I had hung up, asserting self-control on myself to prevent myself from hurling my cell across the room.
Post-Idol days had flown by quickly, but not quickly enough. I resumed my job as a glassblower, wanting to keep a low profile for the time being. Life went on as it is, and sometimes, only sometimes, I was rewarded with the illusion that maybe my life at American Idol was a dream after all, even though I had received endless compliments from the people of Marston Mills about how great and amazing I had been on the show. It wasn’t because I was being sour at losing the chance to win the competition. No, this wasn’t about winning the title and becoming famous, more like I had lost something, something precious…
I ascended the stairs to the living room where the phone receiver was placed on the coffee table top. I took a deep breath and crossed my fingers. “Hello?” I said into the receiver. The voice that answered rooted me to the spot, accelerating the speed of my heartbeat. It was a voice I thought I’d never hear again, so familiar yet thrillingly strange at the same time.
“Siobhan? Hey, this is Lee… You know, Lee Dewyze?” He paused, as if waiting for an answer, but when I didn’t provide him one, he continued. “I was wondering if maybe you want to…meet up tonight?”
The cold wind raked against my body, and I wrapped my parka around my bodice tighter, hugging myself to keep myself warm.. I didn’t get it. It was May, why on Earth was it so cold, especially at night?
Or maybe the chill of the wind wasn’t the only reason my insides were turned into ice. Fear, nervousness, anticipation. An influx of emotions invaded my heart and brain, making me rethink if this was a good idea or not. On the plus side, this was, I realised, what I had missed so dearly back at the studio, and I would give anything to see her again; on the down side, I didn’t know what her reaction would be, probably anger, which wouldn’t be a surprise, considering how I never took the liberty to contact her after she left. I wasn’t there for her when she had to deal with the sadness of being eliminated; I wasn’t there for her when she had broken up with her boyfriend –although the thought had left me in a pretty pleasant mood- I wasn’t there for her at all. I wasn’t a good friend, and contemplated turning around to head home when I realised she was already standing next to me.
“Hey,” I greeted. I appraised her from head to toe, noticing that she had gotten thinner, but still remained as beautiful as ever. She was clad in a denim jacket over a yellow T-shirt, together with a pair of denim shorts. Her hair had grown a few inches longer, and she didn’t have make-up on, but otherwise, she was the very same Siobhan Magnus I loved and knew so well.
“Hi.” She replied, flashing me a brief smile. I felt my heart sink. She seemed so…guarded and wary, as if we were meeting for the first time. My heart ached uncontrollably, but I forced a smile on my face. “So, how are you?” I said, to break the awkward situation between us. To be honest, I was pleased and relieved she had turned up at all. She had seemed too polite on the phone, as if I was the manager of some company and had asked her to come over to reclaim a repaired item or something.
“I’m doing fine,” she nodded. “Back to glassblowing, helping out at the farm, taking care of the kids, glassblowing, cooking, learning to play the drums, and glassblowing.” Her hand trailed at the railing at the separated us from the pier down below. I watched the movement and secretly wished I could grab it and hold it in my hand, never letting her go. “Um…how about you?”
“The usual. Singing, rehearsing, all that stuff. Memorising lyrics, trying not to get stage fright, you know how it goes.”
“Ahhh. Yes, I do remember.” There was a sad look in her eyes that made me regret my previous words. “The Sinatra week, with Harry Connick Jr.? That was probably the best episode ever in the whole season.” She smiled.
“You were watching?”
“Yes, I was.” There was another awkward silence. “Um, how’s Casey and Crystal?”
“They’re doing great.”
I didn’t like this, the way we were talking around the edge of things, as if we really were strangers meeting for the first time, trying to strike up conversations to avoid the strange silence. I started to pick at a loose strand sticking out of my jacket until I couldn’t bear it any longer.
Siobhan blinked. “For what?”
“For not being there…for you. For acting as if I didn’t care, after… after you left.” I inhaled. “I wanted to let you know that I loved being with you, you are smart and beautiful and funny and… and…” But before I could finish, Siobhan held out her hand to stop me.
“Stop, Lee, please. I can’t take it.” I was horrified. “Just… just let me go.” And with that, she ran away, heels clicking on the sidewalk, leaving the harbor. I stared after her, feeling a dead weight press against my chest as I watched her leave me for the second time.
I know I was being a wimp by chickening out, but it was more than that. I was scared that if I continued listening to his words, I would fall for it. Lee was a good guy, I know, and he would never lie, but I was afraid all the same, even though I didn’t know what I was frightened of. I wanted him, I realised, I wanted him so badly that I couldn’t take it. I needed… space.
I just kept on walking, kept my feet moving, one in front of the other, not paying attention to where I was going, and not caring, either. I wasn’t usually this out-of-control. Why did he have to show up? Why?
My head was a ball of messed up emotions, pulling me towards and away from the thought that Lee was here. At the sight of him by the pier, all sorts of memories returned: of us rehearsing together, going on outings together, me singing especially for him, his look of concern when Ryan announced that I was going home… And then there were the memories of living my old life without him, crying for him, thinking he would never ever come back to me again. I now knew what I was afraid of, I was afraid of losing him again. Life was so unpredictable.
I walked and walked until I couldn’t walk anymore. I wasn’t sure where I was –somewhere around Weaving Hills, maybe- but I didn’t care.
I just wished the mess in my head would end.
I was still riveted to the spot, unsure of what to do. Deep down inside, I knew something like this would happen. I felt a dead weight in my gut, watching her go away, and my heart ached even more. What was I supposed to do? I was a mass of contradictions.
But somehow, I just knew what had to be done. Mentally reprimanding myself if something happened to make me regret this rash action of mine, I took off after Siobhan, knowing I couldn’t throw away this chance anymore.
But I never found her.
I didn’t know if I was making the right choice. Here I was, standing in front of the American Idol studio, waging a mental war within myself whether I should enter or not. My insides were churning madly, a blender without an ‘Off’ button. I didn’t even know where I’d gotten the courage to come here from. All I knew was one moment, I heard his voice singing over the radio, and the next I was already in my car, driving tirelessly towards my destination: the Los Angeles Kodak Theatre.
This was getting stupider and stupider by the moment. What if he wasn’t there? What if he didn’t want to see me again? But I knew I was just making excuses to avoid reality. Of course he would be here, it was Tuesday, for Pete’s sake, and if he didn’t want to see me again…well, I only have myself to blame, don’t I? I inhaled deeply and started to step into the studio when someone called my name from behind.
It was one of those days when I was struck with a sudden impulse to go out for walks around the nearby park, simply to enjoy the sunset or feed the birds. However, this evening, I returned earlier than usual because I just couldn’t stand the rush of memories that was hurled at me; sitting on the bench just talking effortlessly with Siobhan, catching birds and such. It was practically torture.
However, my whole body went rigid when I found Siobhan standing on the steps leading into the studio.
It was her alright, standing right there, beautiful and gorgeous as ever. Waiting for me? I cleared my throat. “Siobhan. What –what are you doing here?”
I could see she was straining herself, trying hard to look at anywhere but me. I was still affected by the incident by the pier, but somehow, those thoughts had vanished at the sight of her.
Finally, she blurted out, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to walk away on you like that. I was… scared. I didn’t want to…lose you again…” For someone as eloquent as Siobhan, her stammer proved just how nervous she was. “I was foolish and rash, running away like that, but I want- wanted you to know that…” She took a deep breath. “To know that you’re an amazing guy and I would never change the moments we’d spent together for anything in the world, and.-“
I knew she was babbling now, so I interrupted her by leaning forwards, bringing my mouth to hers. Her lips were soft and sweet as they molded with mine, not a wild, animal sensation, but rather slow and patient, as if this moment was so fragile everything had to be dealt with care. My heart exploded with instant ecstasy; it was a feeling I have never ever experienced before, and all I wished was for that moment to last forever, a connection we both know, only we both know, a treasured memory kept in our hearts forever.
When we both pulled away, I looked up at her, smiling, glad to be holding this delicate little flower in my hands. “I love you.” Right then, it didn’t matter if it was raining, or people were watching; for once I was contented with my life.
Sounds of laughter shades of life
are ringing through my open ears
exciting and inviting me
Limitless undying love which
shines around me like a million suns
It calls me on and on across the universe