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U-N-I : Chapter 1

(Part 1 from 4)

The following story is entirely a work of fiction. The story is about fictional characters, who are celebrities in the story. The music used in this story will be music by the band Coldplay.

***

Itís November 2017. The five of us are sitting in Heathrow airport, waiting to board a plane to New York where we have several interviews to give and a couple of TV shows to shoot for the promotion of our fifth album with U-N-I.

U-N-I, thatís the name we gave to the group we formed over 10 years ago. Our lives have been so crazy in the past 10 years, sometimes I still have to pinch myself to make sure this is all really happening.

I always knew we would be famous one day. Ever since our first jam session in 2005, I knew we would become the biggest rock band in the worldÖor I hoped so anyway. To be honest with you, if someone had told me back then that we would become this huge band, I would have had serious doubts about the truthfulness of that statement.

But one can always dream ! My father had always told me not to dream. To dream was to be disappointed and it was a waste of time. I learned not to listen to my father though. To me, the power of imagination was priceless and at an early age I was determined to do everything I possibly could to make my dreams come true and to live up to my expectations.

Ok Iím getting a little carried away here but now that you know the end of the story, letís start with the beginning.

I was born in Ireland from a French father and an Irish mother. We lived in the Dublin suburb of Rathmines, a cool surburban alternative to living in Dublin, according to our parents. It had its own high street, cool pubs and bars and restaurants and brilliant vintage shops. There were lots to do and we were not far from the city centre.

Growing up, I had a great group of friends. I donít even remember not knowing them. We had grown up together, started going to school together, practiced the same activities after school, enjoyed the same sports, the same music and we had all started learning how to play an instrument. We had always been the best of friends, simply because we lived in the same street. None of us lived far away from each other, although Robbie and I were the nearest neighbors, with Jordan just around the corner. Damon lived only a little further up the street and Dylan moved to the neighborhood and joined our group of friends when we were around the age of 10. We could walk between all five houses in two to five minutes.

None of us were really Irish though. Jordan had Scottish parents who had moved to Dublin for work, Dylan had moved from Southampton in England, and Robbieís mum was Spanish, and his dad was English. Only Damon had Irish parents. He actually looked the most Irish, fair skin and all. The rest of us had darker skins and we could get a nice tan pretty easily when on holiday abroad. You donít get much sun in Dublin.

Jordan was the youngest, and Dylan the oldest, although we were all really close in age and over the years, our respective birthdays were always a good excuse to have a party. Dylan was born in January 90, Damon in march, Rob and I were both born in September, and finally Jordan in December.

There was also Rachel, who seemed to be the only girl in the neighborhood who managed to put up with us. She always wanted to hang out with us and play our games. She was a great girl, funny, smart and even pretty. She was our number one fan when we tried to play music together. She was part of the guys I suppose. We really liked having her around and when puberty kicked in, she and I had started dating. So she had been my girlfriend for a couple of years already.

I loved her, and I loved my friends. I couldnít imagine not having them in my life. I was very close to Jordan, we often hung out together and we loved each otherís company, we would always play music together whenever we hung out. He had acquired a bass and he was a quick learner. I played the piano and the guitar. I was quite musically versatile, but I had learned how to play the piano around the age of seven and I was very good at it, probably because my father was always forcing me to practice, not wanting to spend money on lessons for no results.

But since we had started playing together, I was playing the guitar and it had become my instrument. I was always carrying it around, playing it whenever I could really, and I was starting to write songs. I had a very good ear for music, I could find a melody in an instant. I was a bit embarrassed to show the guys, but in school, or in my spare time, I had started writing lyrics as well. It was becoming a habit. Anytime I thought of something, experienced something, or witnessed something, I would try to write about it. I was carrying this notebook with me and just scribbled ideas whenever I could.

Whenever I was not hanging out with Jordan, or with Rachel, you would most likely find me with Robbie, mostly at night. He was my next door neighbor, and he was always, always there for me, whenever things got too tough for me to handle at home.

Indeed, to counterbalance with having the best friends I could possibly ask for, I had the worst family. Well maybe not, but it did feel that way to me.

My father was drinking too much, he was out in the pubs every night after work and would always come home late, drunk and often violent. He was not beating me up, although it had happened a few times. He would grab my arm a little too roughly, or push me against a wall, or slap my face. He was an angry drinker. Drinking was probably a way of avoiding other issues, such as feeling like a total useless member of society, going to a dead boring job every day to buy alcohol or cigarettes or if need be, to feed a wife and kids he, from the look of it, didnít even love, although he was a lot nicer to my brother Thomas and my sister Amy, for some reason. I had made a promise to myself never to be like him. I didnít want to end up like that. I wanted my life to be exceptional !

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The only good thing I had learned from him was French. He was born in France but moved to Ireland with his parents when he was a teenager. He almost never spoke to us in English and we had to talk to him in French most of the time or heíd get mad, telling us that weíd never learn if we kept speaking in English. Even with my brother and sister, we spoke in French to each other if he was around. He had never really managed to teach my mum but even if she couldnít really speak the language, she understood it pretty well so even when she was here, French was the first language we used in the house. It was not the best way to learn a language because it was forced on us but we did learn it.

My mum was not drinking, but she was not a very loving mum. I couldnít really remember her cuddling me as a child. I didnít feel much loved in my own home.

She was a Christian, not that there was anything wrong with that, but she really had some pretty strong beliefs. She did not seem to be able to make allowances. She followed blindly the dictates of the church and she was very stubborn about it. She had to put up with an abusive husband and a pretty sad life I must add, doing the cleaning, cooking, shopping, taking care of the kids and receiving no appreciation or love for it, and Iím pretty sure that she believed God had intended it that way to make her stronger so she was just putting up with it. She was a strict mother and even though she knew what my dad was putting me through, she wouldnít really tell him anything. Whenever I complained to her about him, she always told us that God had a plan, and that everything we went through in life had a reason to happen.

Consequently, I didnít particularly enjoy spending time at home.

Robbie lived in the house right next to mine. Our mothers were friends and they had told us that when we were babies, they used to put us in the same playpen, so our friendship went way back !

I really thought the guys were a pretty amazing bunch of friends but Rob and I were best friend and everybody knew that.

I really felt the most connected to him, we knew each other so well, we spent so much time with each other, because every time I needed to escape my father when he came home drunk, I went to his. If my parents started fighting, if I had a fight with my brother or my sister, I climbed out of my window or walked out the door and went straight to Robís. I used any excuses I could find to leave and go to his place. The peace and love in his house was priceless to me. Rob and his family knew what I was escaping from, I had started doing that at an early age, I must have been only seven or eight the first time I had run to his place in the evening to escape my fatherís violent outbursts. I had knocked at the door and Robís mother had let me in, comforted me, as if she had known what was happening to me, and asked my mother if I could stay the night because I was too damn scared of going back home.

She knew and understood what I was going through, she was always there to take me in her arms and make me feel special and loved in a way that my parents couldnít. Over the years, it had become natural, I considered Robís parents as my second parents. Iím sure Robís mother tried to make the situation better by talking to my mother but after a while, it probably became an understanding. My mum would let me slip out of the house, leaving me in the care of someone else. That way she knew I was safe and my dad was just happy that I wasnít home most of the time. He didnít have to bother with me.

So I spent most of my childhoodís nights sleeping in my best friendís bed. I always went back home after school, after all it was my house, it was where I was supposed to be, but after dinner, there was always something that would make me want to escape and I often found myself knocking at my neighbor's door, hoping they would let me stay with them one more time.

It was during one of those nights that my relationship with Rob suddenly changed.

We were eighteen and about to graduate from high school. We had had a pretty long and hard day at school. We had lots of homework to do, and that day, I didnít even bother going home. We just left school and went to his place and up to his room.

When we came in the room, instead of studying, I started going through the new NME magazine that his mother had just bought for him. We just loved talking about music, the bands we admired, the songs we loved. He was also very musical and played the guitar so I often played with him when we hung out together, showed him the melodies I had come up with, and so, we had started writing songs together. He was the only one who knew I was writing lyrics, and he was always supportive and adumbrative of what I was doing, always telling me I had an incredible talent for it, and that if we ever were to become successful, they would have me to thank.

I had a good voice too, and I loved singing, but so did Rob.

He was, however, a lot more confident than I was. I didnít mind singing behind closed doors, but I couldnít bring myself to do it in front of an audience. So, whenever we played music with our friends, he would be the one singing. He was definitely the one who put the most energy and passion into that. He was so good, and it gave him an opportunity to show off, which he just loved to do.

We usually learned how to play songs from the rolling stones, the beatles, Queen, The eagles, Don Mclean, Elvis, Bob Dylan and more especially U2. We were huge fans of them. They were our inspiration.

And most of the time, as we played together, it just sort of happened, just like that, a brand new melody coming out of nowhere. Well it was coming from us, but it didnít feel that way. It felt like it was coming from another place, the songs sort of wrote themselves, and it was an amazing feeling. We were so thrilled to be able to do that ! It was nothing extraordinary but it was a very good start. The most important part to me was that we all really loved doing it. We had spent hours in Damonís garage, because that was where the Drums were, and when we began to realize that we could come up with sounds of our own, it all started to become really exciting.

So Damon was definitely sticking to the drums. He had not a very strong body and he was quite thin, but somehow, he managed to hit the drums with so much energy and enthusiasm that he had convinced us very early on that he was supposed to be the drummer.

Whenever I wasnít, Dylan was playing the piano, I was almost always playing the guitar now, except when I was writing songs, I felt more comfortable starting to find a melody on the piano. Otherwise, I was playing electric or acoustic guitar, and Rob was too if we needed both, and Jordan was playing the bass.

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