Echoes Of A Distant Past


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Scene Title Echoes Of A Distant Past
Synopsis Peyton gets back from her meet with Jessica to find Aaron at the keyboard. She helps him start writing music again, but he can't help but be overcome by echoes of a distant past.
Date August 23, 2009

Peyton's Place Upper West Side

After assuring Aaron she'd be back, that she knew what she was going, Peyton went off with that blonde girl "Jessica." Funny enough, it's the same blonde girl who she called Niki the night before. It's been a couple of hours, but she's kept her word. The door unlocks and she steps in — this strange version of Peyton that wears jeans and t-shirts and tennis shoes. Her dark eyes skim the apartment to find Aaron, to see what he's doing, half expecting a police detective to be taking his statement for a Missing Persons Report. "Hey, Lucy, I'm home."

And she'd known her as Gina before Niki.

Aaron, thankfully, didn't freak out as badly as Peyton worried he might. There are no police officers here. Instead, there is only Aaron, sitting alone on the couch at the keyboard, a pair of nice Bose headphones — admittedly somewhat antiquated in that he's had them since before the Bomb — on his head. He's only just staring at the keyboard as he's been more or less completely stumped with what to do for a good deal of time, motivation greatly lacking.

She tilts her head. Good that someone's playing that thing. She hasn't played it yet in front of him, but she used to play, once upon a time. She says a little louder, "Aaron, I'm home," so that he won't be surprised when she comes closer, and sits on the couch beside him. "Writing?" she says, and there's a hopeful lift of her brows as she looks at him. If he's writing music, she'll know he's doing better than he has in a long time.

Too lost in thought, Aaron only notices Peyton's arrival when she announces it the second time. It certainly would be a good sign if he were writing, but right now he can't even bring himself to play. Writing is a whole other beast he hasn't done since before the Bomb. He lifts the headphones from his ears and sets them atop the keyboard with a quick shake of his head. "No inspiration." No motivation, either. He rubs his face, "Too tired." This coming from the man who gets twelve hours of sleep, not that it's uninterrupted. It's still too much.

Peyton nods a little and reaches over, pulling out the headphones from the jack in the keyboard so she can hear too. "I … used to get this melody in my head. I couldn't ever get more than the few notes, and I can't figure out harmony to save my life, but if you can figure out anything to go with it, it's yours." She reaches over, and finds the right keys, then plays, at first tentatively, then with a little more certainty as her fingers remember their way around the board. It's a minor key, rather sweet and haunting, and about twenty-five notes in all. Enough for a recurring theme in a melody line. "That's all. I couldn't figure out anymore." She smiles, somewhat shyly.

"Peyton the musician. I'd never have guessed," Aaron says with a quirky grin as he lifts his fingers and plays them over the keys too gentle to make a sound. He's mostly just getting a feel for the melody in his head first, playing only with his right hand as he does so. "Hmmm." He puffs his cheeks out a moment, tips his head to the side, and again plays silently over the keys for a moment. Clearly, the thing makes a sound in his own mind. After the scratch of his left ear, he plays the melody with his left hand accompanying, providing a soft set of chords. "Not quite right."

"I'm not a musician," she argues, kicking off her Converse tennis shoes and pulling her feet up onto the couch to watch him work. "It's just something I got in my head. I can sound out melodies, or I could, but that was the only little bit of song I ever came up with on my own." She listens as he adds some chords to it. "It already sounds more real, more… rich."

Aaron watches Peyton as she pulls her feet up onto the couch, his fingers finishing their thing just after she says the tune is no more rich. "Harmony will do that," he says. He has to turn away to get ahold of himself when he thinks of another person who used to all but curl up beside him after doing such a thing. Annie. He raises his head only after he's blinked away the tears. "Annie used to do that." Of course, Peyton would know of Annie as the other lead singer in the Lightbringers, and although it was never explicitly discussed in the media, it's likely she may have heard the rumour that her and Aaron were an item. "She'd come to me with a melody she couldn't get out of her head and we'd stay up all night working on it."

"Oh," Peyton says quietly. "Well. That's all I have. Just the one, and it's been there for like ten years, in my head. I doubt there will be another. I'm no songwriter." The tone of her voice is almost apologetic, as if she's apologizing for the fact she isn't Annie, or isn't more like Annie. She wraps her arms around her knees, resting her cheek on one kneecap. "It's yours, if you can do anything with it. And if you don't want it, no worries."

All the while Aaron blushes because for a fleeting moment, it almost felt like he had his life back — like when he tried Refrain — it almost felt like Peyton was Annie. Not that that's Peyton's fault. He looks away and to the keyboard. "I'm sure I can do something with it," he says. It's not like he can't do anything with it. It's good, and it works. Of course, he'll probably never be able to write lyrics for it, but he can do something with it. "I think I'm going to go lay down for a bit. Call me for dinner?"

Peyton simply nods, looking a little sad herself. And still apologetic. Like she's somehow at fault for bringing it all back to him with the simple melody. She nods. "Sleep well."

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