Home > The Mixtape(3)

The Mixtape(3)
Author: Brittainy C. Cherry

If it weren’t for her friends holding her up, I was sure she was going to collapse to the ground.

“Y-you’re my h-h-h-ero,” she spat out, making me smile.

“You’re mine too. What’s your name?”

“Adya.” The tears began flowing down her cheeks, and I wiped them away for her. “You d-don’t understand,” she stuttered, shaking her head. “Your music helped me through my depression. I w-was bullied a lot and wanted to e-end my life, but your music was there for me. You saved me.”

Fucking A.

Don’t cry, Oliver. Don’t you dare fucking cry.

I squeezed her hand and leaned in close. “If only you knew how much you’ve saved me, too, Adya.”

She was why I did it. Her along with all the others who showed up and showed out for Alex & Oliver. Fuck the paparazzi. I showed up for the fans, because they always showed up for me.

“Taking photos without me?” Alex chimed in, patting me on the back. He had his jacket in his hand, as if he was leaving too.

“Where are you going?” I asked.

“I got tired.” Alex glanced down at his watch.

“That’s a lie.” Alex was always one of the last ones to leave a party.

He smirked. “Kelly texted me saying she was hungry. I figured I’d bring her some chicken noodle soup, since she wasn’t feeling good.”

Now, that made sense. Kelly was my assistant, and Alex was like a lovesick puppy about her. She was currently staying in my coach house while her loft was being renovated. Therefore, it seemed that Alex was around my place a lot more than normal—and he definitely wasn’t visiting me. “Figured I could catch a ride with you,” he said, nudging me. “After a few more pics with these guys.”

I always had a feeling that the two of them had a connection, and it wasn’t shocking that they’d begun talking. Honestly, they were a perfect match. For a while, Kelly suffered from an eating disorder, trying to keep up with Hollywood’s beauty standards. Alex was the main one who helped her through her hardships. He would sit with her and eat meals every single day without fail, making sure she knew she wasn’t alone in her struggles. What started as friendship slowly began to transform into something with more meaning.

We took a few more photographs with the fans while ignoring the vultures on the other side asking us insane questions, then climbed into the back of the black Audi that was waiting for us.

“Hey, Ralph, you all right with me smoking in here?” Alex asked as he leaned forward toward the driver.

“Whatever you want to do is fine by me, Mr. Smith,” Ralph replied, being the laid-back driver he’d always been. Alex always found the need to ask him about the smoking thing, even though Ralph always said it was fine.

Alex sat back as he lit up a joint. He wasn’t a big smoker or anything, but he always had a joint after some kind of event. Maybe that was his way of unwinding from social gatherings. I would’ve taken up the habit if I thought it would’ve helped with my social anxiety. Instead, pot made me more paranoid of what people were thinking of me.

Hard pass for me.

“You hear this song?” Alex asked, pulling out his phone and hitting play. “‘Godspeed,’ by James Blake. Shit. His voice is so fucking dope, man. Smooth as whiskey. Reminds me of our old stuff, before the record deal.” He plopped back in his seat and closed his eyes. “Whenever I hear music like this, I feel like a sellout. This is the music we wanted to make, you know? Music that fucked with your soul in a good way. That made you feel alive.”

The song was powerful in such a chill way, which wasn’t shocking for James Blake. He made me feel to the depths of my being. Alex wasn’t wrong—our music used to feel like that too. Like it mattered. When we signed with our record label, they changed our direction a lot, which brought us fame and millions of fans along with millions of dollars. Sometimes we wondered at what expense, though. How much money and fame was enough to sell one’s soul?

Many days I wished I could go back to the days of small venues and tiny crowds.

Felt more authentic back then.

I reached for my phone and opened my current playlist routine to share my current favorite track from James Blake. There wasn’t a day that Alex and I didn’t send each other music. We used music to express how we were feeling day in and day out. Sometimes we were too exhausted for true conversations, so songs were our way to communicate.

Had a great day? “It Was a Good Day,” by Ice Cube. Felt down? “This City,” by Sam Fischer. The world getting on your last nerve? “Fuck You,” by CeeLo Green. No matter what the feeling was, there was a song that could express it.

“You heard this one?” I asked, turning on “Retrograde,” by James Blake. First time I heard it, I knew it was important.

Alex opened his eyes and leaned forward. His brows knitted as his head began to slowly nod to the beat of the song. “Shit,” he said, smirking as the lyrics laid their seed in his head. His eyes glassed over as the joint sat between his lips, the end of it lit with reddish-orange heat. “We need to get back to this kind of stuff.” He rubbed a thumb against his watery eyes, and I smirked.

My sensitive brother always got more in his feelings when he was getting high.

“For real, Oliver. We need to get back to—”

His words were cut short as the car came to a sudden halt, jerking Alex and me forward in the back seat. “What the hell was that?” I asked.

“Sorry, you guys. Some assholes came rushing down the road like idiots,” Ralph said before pushing his foot against the gas to start again.

Just as we were sitting back in our seat and beginning to relax again, the world began to shatter around us, along with the windows that busted from the impact of a car slamming against the left side of the car. There wasn’t any time to react or comprehend exactly what was going on. All I knew was everything ached. My phone flew from my hand. My chest burned as my vision blurred.

The sound of horns blasting surrounded us. The sound of people shouting echoed in my eardrums.

I couldn’t move no matter how hard I tried. I felt . . . upside down? Was I upside down? Was the car upside down? Was Alex . . . ?

Fuck.

Alex?

I looked to my left, my neck aching from the slight movement. There he was, his eyes closed, his face covered in blood, his body not moving in the slightest.

“Alex,” I choked out, the word burning my throat as tears flooded my eyes. “Alex,” I repeated, over and over again until my head began to ache in an unimaginable fashion.

I had to close my eyes.

I didn’t want to close my eyes.

I wanted to check on Alex.

I wanted to make sure he was okay.

I wanted to . . .

Fuck.

I couldn’t breathe. Why did my throat burn? Was Alex all right?

My eyes began to fade as “Retrograde” echoed in my eardrums.

 

A Star Is Gone

By Jessica Peppers

It looks like the music world has to say goodbye to another musician. Lead guitarist Alex Smith of Alex & Oliver is dead at 27. After a deadly car crash, he was raced to Memorial Hospital, where he was announced dead on arrival.

Insiders are saying that Alex was leaving the party due to his brother. Is it too early to put this fault on the shoulders of Oliver? Oliver was left with a few injuries but nothing too serious. Still, with such a big loss, who knows what that will do to the artist.

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