Consonance By Lisa Malabanan
Published: August 25, 2012.
Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Romance
Print Length: 369 pages
Elle Martins is a gifted musician ready to start her first year at College. She is not alone. Elle has the security of her best friends and boyfriend nearby, attending the same University. Everything seems new and exciting, but the moment she joins a rock group, her life changes. The band becomes a favorite among the college crowd. Their performances are a hit thanks to Elle’s musical genius, and the band garners recognition from a major record label.
Throughout the school year, Elle struggles over music, decisions, insecurities, and most of all, love. She is grateful for many amazing opportunities, yet the chance of a lifetime is within her grasp. Can she choose the ultimate dream or leave the people she loves behind?
5 of 5 Consonance
Consonance is an AMAZING simply AMAZING story! Man I have never laughed and cried so hard. This story is so amazing that I need more I need it like I need air to breathe. Can you imagine you have a dream and you have friends that are the best and you have an awesome boyfriend and your ready to go to college. Everyone says college changes things for you and you are excited to be going to college with your best friends and boyfriend. Then you get to college and things change for you and rapidly. The changes are for the good and with all changes some have growing pains and some have loss and some have gains that are life changing. This is that type of story and I have to say that I loved every minute of it and I know you will to.
For Elle Martins she is a music genius. I mean the girl has some skills that are scary at how perfect she is. She is ready to start her freshmen year away at college with her best friends and boyfriend and she is super excited to see what college will bring. When she gets there she joins a band and the band blows up and they become famous. They are even offered a record deal by a record label. But with fame comes pain. For Elle she will have to decide on whether or not she will follow her dreams or follow her heart.
Is it worth it to follow your dreams and have everything you ever wanted and more or should you just walk away and stay in your comfort zone? These are some of the questions Elle has and she has to figure out what to do. The fact that she has supporting friends is a plus for her because together they can get through anything.
Similar to all things in life, we have a beginning, as well as an end. Of course, life has its share of joy and struggle. There are many delightful events to cherish, and even more painful obstacles to overcome. Yet I endured a period of life just to arrive to where I’m standing now. The travelled path was a long and difficult one. I encountered some bumps, potholes, steep hills, smooth throughways, a few wrong turns and roadblocks along the way. It felt like a lifetime ago but for me, the journey started with a dream, and a song…
A Monday afternoon, and the sun is brightly shining. Summer continues even though the vacation ends today. The car radio is booming Prince “1999” while my head bobs up and down, singing to the upbeat song.
Listening to the chorus, I wonder about the year nineteen ninety nine, a distant future. Questions regarding career, marriage, parenthood and status arise. Am I married, do I have children, will I become a music teacher, songwriter, or rock star? For now, those particular inquiries are to remain unanswered because the present time is September nineteen ninety, and I am starting my first semester of college.
As I fog the window to write my name, nervous energy permeates me. The suburban avenues soon turn into an urban scene with shops and large buildings lining the streets. People of all shapes and sizes stroll leisurely on the pathway. Traffic lights are numerous, and with each red light, I marvel at the diversity of this area.
A short interval passes before the greenery of another setting appears. Several tree-lined streets are a welcome sight again. Many students are walking around and some wear T-shirts displaying the title, Rutgers University or just plain Rutgers.
Mom turns her head back to me. “Are you excited? We’re almost there.”
Her eyes glisten with pride and hope. Though my stomach is in knots, I’m enthusiastic and anxious to move into the dorm.
“Yeah, I’m psyched! I can’t wait to see Tiff and meet the other girls.”
Dad expresses, “I’m glad Tiffany is your roommate. It’s best to live with someone you know well. Besides, James and Andrew will be around too. You’ll be in good company.”
Mom is cheerful, “You may be away from us, but at least the boys are near.”
When thinking of the brothers, Andrew and James, I sigh in content. We have been best friends since middle school. James is older than me by a year, whereas, Andrew and I are equal in age. We grew up in the same neighborhood comprised of uniform colonial, four bedrooms, and two-car garage homes.
They lived a couple of houses down from me, and we were constantly at one another’s place. Those boys are like family. Being an only child, I’m grateful they’re in my life. I love them both, each in their own special way.
Finally, we arrive at Douglass Campus. It’s been a few months since I laid eyes on the picturesque grounds, yet the vision of the place is like the first time, once the anxiety and excitement fill me again. The area is crawling with female students and their families helping out on moving day.
The Douglass dormitories are only for women; which pleases my parents and keeps them at ease. Rutgers University consists of many campuses. New Brunswick is the main location encompassing five schools connected by neighboring towns and shuttle buses. Andrew and James are roommates at the College Avenue Campus. Their dorms are coed and a few minutes away by car ride.
I was also accepted to Penn State University to study at their School of Music. My father seemed upset that I chose not to attend the prestigious facility. After numerous arguments desiring to be close-by and lower tuition cost, he relented. The music program is equally reputable at Rutgers, but the truth is I need to be near the boys. Mom is happy, and I suspect Dad is also pleased about the decision.
The hot and humid air is heavy as I gaze and breathe in the view, trying to obtain a sense of familiarity from the surroundings. This is a peaceful environment, composed of old, historic buildings and rural settings. More impressive, the campus is serene, similar to a park with gazebos, picnic tables, benches, ponds, and a bridge connecting to Cook Campus. Those aspects are principal considerations for me living at this location.
Soon, my name is shouted from a distance, “Elle...Elle.” I turn around to behold Tiffany running towards me, and she swoops in for a hug.
“I thought you would never get here. It’s not like you live miles away.”
“That’s why I took so long.” I return the embrace with a huge smile, happy to see her.
She replies “Smartass,” and then swirls around, “Hey Mr. and Mrs. Martins. I’ll help bring Elle’s stuff inside.” Without delay, she and Mom begin chattering about everything and anything.
Tiffany is sociable and outgoing, the complete opposite of my toned down and reserved self. I remember our first meeting when she visited James during the winter break last year. Tiffany is a no-nonsense and up-front type of girl; brutally honest, charismatic, and kind. We bonded in seconds.
I was not close to many females in high school. The girls were fake and catty. Their deceit and spite dismayed me. They pretended to be my friends to date Andrew or James.
Tiffany and I share some things in common. She has two younger brothers while I have two older brother figures. She is James’ girlfriend, and we both love him. They’re great together, and I wish them many years as a couple. I am happy she’s my roommate.
Meanwhile, the ruminations are disrupted by Dad nudging me. “Are you going to stand there or help move your things inside?”
“Sorry Dad. I was lost in my thoughts.”
With a scrutinizing gaze, his gentle hand touches my cheek. “I can tell.” He gestures to the boxes and suitcases. Thereupon, we carry a few to follow Tiffany and Mom.
Despite being an old building, the dormitory is cozy. I’ll be among girls so keeping up appearance for the opposite sex is unnecessary. In truth, I’ve imagined coed dorms full of guys running around half-naked, females with their faces and hair done up, strolling along in either nighties or hip fashions. Here, the women are dressed appropriately, as real college students, all with the same agenda of a good higher education.
After a few hours I have settled in. The bed is covered in a light blue floral design. The desk is organized with pens, pencils, and highlighters arranged in a caddy. Clothes hang in a closet while undergarments, T-shirts, and PJs are folded inside the cabinet. Pictures of family and friends adorn the nightstand and dresser, and my guitar, kept in a case, leans at the corner. In surveying the result, I am satisfied.
Across the room is Tiffany’s side. It is decked in colors opposite my motif: brown and red plaid. A stack of books is resting on the desk with pens and highlighters lying on top, yet still neat. A radio sits atop the dresser. The closet is closed, and a towel is folded over the chair.
Pictures and posters hang on the wall, inferring mine boring in comparison. Tiffany’s contrast in taste and personality are reasons I adore her even more. She is sincere and real, the only female friend I regard.
After smoothing out the comforter, Mom pulls me in for a long embrace and sobs. “I love you, and I’ll miss you so much. You’ve grown into a lovely young woman. I want nothing more than happiness and success for you.”
I quietly fight back the tears. “I love you too, but I’m only twenty-five minutes away.”
She shakes her head, chuckling, “I know baby, but it’s different. What am I supposed to do? It’s just your father and me in the house. He’ll drive me crazy!”
Everyone in the room bursts into laughter. “Please princess, don’t leave me. Your mother will nag me to death now that you won’t be there.” Dad pleads with an unabashed look, mocking Mom.
She swats him on the arm for the taunting reply. Next, Mom kisses me on the cheek and whispers, “You’ll always be my baby.”
I accompany them to the car to finish saying our goodbyes. A silent and tender embrace is shared before Mom settles into the passenger seat. Dad furnishes a giant bear hug.
He jokes, “Don’t go crazy partying. I don’t want to bail you out of jail then have to listen to your mother’s paranoid worrying.”
The way my father can turn a tearful farewell into something humorous is a relief for me. I whisper out, “I’m gonna miss you.”
Straightaway, he winks and mouths the word “good-bye.”
Now reality dawns, my parents are leaving, allowing me to begin the first year of college away from home. Although I’m excited, letting go is hard, and the time to grow up arrives. I observe them drive off until the car disappears from sight.
Minutes pass before I brace myself and slowly walk towards the building. Again, I glance at the scenery and ponder; today is ending, but it’s a new decade, school, and home. Tomorrow is another day, and my life starts now.
Tuesday morning, I wake to the incessant buzz of the alarm clock beside me and hit the snooze button. The sun is shining through the window, brightening the room Tiffany and I share. In scanning over to her side I notice the bed is unoccupied. Tired, I lay there a few minutes longer as a result of collapsing to sleep at ten o’clock last night.
Tiffany insisted we hang out at the dorm’s lounge to meet all the girls and resident adviser. The welcome reception consisted of snacks, drinks, and lively conversation. I was nervous about making a good impression. Unsure of topics to discuss and if the others would think I’m interesting enough to talk to.
Soon, a girl approached me and introduced herself as Carla. I was hesitant to say more than a polite hello, fearful of opening up given my past experiences with other females. This girl was relaxed among the group. She knew mostly everyone at the gathering. I was intimidated by her, scared that she would judge me once I began speaking.
Regardless of my hesitations, there was something in the way Carla kept her gaze on me. She didn’t turn up her nose, roll her eyes, or scan me from head to toe in criticism. She didn’t place a hand on her hip to frown at my choice of clothing or how I styled my hair. She had no ulterior motive and waited patiently for more interaction. Next, Carla touched my curly strands with a grin, and nodded her head in approval as if to convey she won’t belittle me.
Her smile was genuine. I was at ease, making it easy to smile back and introduce myself. I even met her roommate, Simone. Both were friendly, so I finally overcame my shyness and spoke to them. I shared a great deal about myself including my music education major. They were as interested in what I revealed, as I was about them.
I had a delightful evening meeting new people and everybody was welcoming. It is a close-knit unit of women living in this dormitory. All are willing to advise, mentor, offer a shoulder to lean on, or listen to your apprehensions about college. Last night, I reminded myself that I’m not in high school anymore. Most girls are kind and sincere. They weren’t afraid to be comfortable in their own skin, so I shouldn’t be.
The alarm buzzes again alerting me to rise up. I shuffle over to the closet and stare at the contents, trying to decide what to wear. Today will be warm and sunny, so I chose denim shorts, showing off the frays and rips, a blue vintage T-shirt, and black platform sandals. Content with the decision, I gather my caddy of bathroom accessories, towel, and clothes, and stride over to the shower facilities.
The place is crowded and busy with women aligned at the sinks and mirrors doing their hair and makeup. Some are dressed while others are in their towels or bathrobes. All are chatting and preparing for the first day. Most of them wave a good morning to me and I return the greeting with a hello, even wishing them a great first day of the semester.
The shower stalls are occupied, but the wait isn’t long before one opens and out of the steam appears Simone. She beams a pretty smile, “Hey Elle.”
“Hi Simone, guess I gotta late start after last night’s welcome party. I swear the alarm clock rang too soon.” I mention with a giggle.
She laughs in reply. “Oh I know what you mean. I didn’t get enough sleep either. You better hurry and shower, you don’t wanna be late. Talk to you later and have a great day.”
In accordance, I bid her farewell.
When Simone walks away, I reflect on how striking and attractive she is. Her slender and statuesque physique is similar to a model’s figure. She has caramel color skin and long, brown braids falling like a cascade of waterfalls down her back. I seem insignificant standing beside her with my shorter stature, at five feet five inches, although she never infers anything to make me feel small.
After a reviving shower, I return to the room dressed and ready. Tiffany is preparing her book bag for classes. “Hey, you’re finally up.” She tugs on my shorts and says, “You’re looking like a major babe today.”
“Please, you are one to talk. You’re more of a hottie than me. No wonder James drools over you.”
Tiffany is stunning with long, auburn, straight hair and the prettiest eyes which brighten up a room; the same trademark blue of Tiffany & Co. and ironically, she is given the company’s name. Tiffany is taller than me by an inch. She’s dressed in a denim miniskirt and a beige tank top and short-sleeve sweater set.
“By the way, tell James I said ‘wassup’ and to have lunch with me on Friday.”
After a flip of her hair, she bestows a quick hug. “Sure thing babe, are you coming home after classes?”
“I’m meeting Drew for dinner, but I’ll catch you later in time to watch TV.”
“OK, bye.” She grabs her bag and exits the room.
I glance at the mirror again before leaving. I scrutinize the reflection, repeating Tiffany’s earlier comment about me. Quietly, I study myself and deduce nothing remarkable. My dark hair and petite frame are the only traits inherited from Mom. Everything else is from Dad, especially the curly strands and light eye color. The family declares I resemble him, except shorter.
Sean, my boyfriend, believes otherwise and tells me on numerous occasions. His loving compliments make me feel more than ordinary. He also attends Rutgers and lives close to the Livingston Campus where most of his curriculum is held. Though farther away, it’s not enough to keep us apart.
At the thought of Sean, I whisper out “I miss you.” Soon the anticipation of our upcoming reunion sends tingles throughout my body as the hours are counted down until we are together again. Anxious to leave, I snatch the book bag, wrap a black sweater around my waist, and hurry for the shuttle.
The first day moves by quick and easy. Some of the lecture halls are huge and crowded, yet I am able to hear the Professors discuss and teach the subject matter. I’ve already accrued a list of the project and report deadlines, chapter reviews, and scheduled exams. I hope my organization and note taking skills are efficient. Even so, listening is my best asset for learning and retaining information. In other words, I can’t miss any classes this semester.
Some of the courses are at different campuses, which can be disorienting to travel back and forth. Owning a map of all the locations and buildings is handy and may require time to become familiarized. Surely, by the end of next week, it will be a breeze as the routine sets in.
At the shuttle stop, I glance around to reflect on the diversity of people. The various ethnicities in this New Jersey college town are refreshing. Even the lunch trucks aligned on the streets, comprising an allotment of food choices and aromatic smells from Italian to Greek, Mexican to Middle Eastern, American to home-style eatables are enticing.
The bus arrives and moments later, I am at the College Avenue Campus, striding through town. As the heart of Rutgers, this urban setting is lively and bustling. Students and locals stroll along the sidewalks aligned with cafes, shops, restaurants, bars, theaters and art museum.
Before long, I reach the Student Center and spot him waiting outside the entrance. It’s only been a few days, but with the move to a new home and the start of school, it feels like weeks since I last saw him. In his typical baggy jeans, graphic tee and sneakers, he seems different or maybe older. Clearly, a handsome man, similar to his brother, yet confessing this will inflate his ego more.
Unaware of my proximity, I detect the ash brown hair and slightly long bangs swept out of his face. He began an exercise regimen, thus, his chest and muscles are enlarging but he retains a slim and tall frame. Suddenly, those twinkling light brown eyes and that quirky smile catch me.
Of course, he is still the same: my Andrew.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I am a graduate of Rutgers College of Nursing and work as a Professional Registered Nurse in the field of Perinatology. I currently live in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania with my husband and two children. At the age of six, I discovered piano and classical music. A variety of music genres influenced my life through the years, and I’m passing on a love of the arts to my daughter and son.
Reading fiction is my escape from the chaos and stress of a demanding yet rewarding profession. For me, writing transcends the diversion of a good book. The experience is like commuting on a New York City subway; diverse people enter and exit the scene, sometimes delays and derailment occur during creativity, and a train of thought is missed or passed over on occasion. In the end, an arrival at my destination is what I hope to accomplish, and I invite readers to take that ride with me.
CONNECT WITH LISA:
Giveaway:a Rafflecopter giveaway