Help me! I'm Diene!

Teaching Organic Chemistry through Fiction

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Sn Reactions - You & Me, We Have Chemistry - Pt. 4: If at first you aren't stable...
rsou wrote in help_im_diene
Title: You and Me; We Have Chemistry (so let's bond) Part 4: If at first you aren't stable... then rearrange, rearrange, rearrange
Author: rsou
Concept: Sn1 Reactions; Step 1.5-Rearrangement
Length: 1118 words; 4/5; multi-part
Rating: G
Genre: General Fiction
Summary: In an attempt to perform better, Adrian, Brandon, Cathy and Danielle try switching things up.
Disclaimer: The following characters are anthropomorphic representations of atoms that are bonded to each other to form molecules. In actuality, atoms do not have free will and all atomic activity is a result of electronic attraction to form a more stable product.

You and Me; We Have Chemistry
so let's bond
Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five

Part Four: If at first you aren't stable, then rearrange, rearrange, rearrange.

Back to Part Three | Part Three Concept Explanation
Brandon, cookie clamped in his mouth, leaned back on a chair in the garage, rocking back on the back legs and then forward again with a thump. Back—his eyes traced a parabola along the ceiling—and forward again with a thump. Back....

“Dude, just stop,” Adrian said, a cookie in hand. “Really. You’re hurting my eyes.”

Cathy nodded in agreement, “I feel like you’re about to fall any second.”

Brandon laughed. “I’m just thinking.”

Danielle munched on a cookie. “What’re you thinking about?”

Cathy, slumped on the ground, nodded in agreement with Danielle and reached for another cookie from the platter between the four of them. It was Danielle’s idea—since she had joined, she had always brought a platter of snacks to each practice.

“Nothing really,” Brandon said. He turned to Adrian, no longer rocking on the chair. “Have you signed us up for that contest yet?”

“Yeah,” Adrian said. He grabbed another cookie and bit into it. Mouth full, he added, “There’s an open practice or like... preliminary eliminations soon. It’s not actual eliminations, but it’s a way for people to gauge the talent there and make changes to their line-up and all that.”

“So we’re going to go?” Danielle asked cheerfully.

“Are we?” Cathy finished her cookie and ran her fingers through her short hair. “When is it?”

“In two days,” Adrian said. “We’ve got to practice. Let’s run through our song to see how it’ll go?”

They others nodded in agreement. “We can do it!” Danielle said, slinging her bass over her shoulder.


A half hour of music later, they paused to take a break. “Let me guess,” Brandon said before Adrian could say anything. “You’re going to say that we suck or something like that.”

Adrian winced.

Danielle frowned.

“The guitar line’s wrong,” Adrian said finally. They weren’t working on Brandon’s new song ‘Don’t Leave Me,’ but on a song that Adrian had written a while ago called ‘Keep Moving.’ It had been Danielle’s idea, to work on something that had already been finished and they had practiced before. “It needs something else. Something to add depth to it.” He glanced at Cathy. “No offense, but your voice alone isn’t cutting it.”

Cathy nodded, lip twisted into a grimace.

Danielle sighed. “What can we do? I can up the bass and maybe then people will focus on that?”

“But it’s the guitar line that’s strained. Cathy’s voice is a lot chirpier than Lisa’s was,” Brandon explained. “We can try rearranging the song?” he suggested tentatively.

Adrian sighed. “I almost want to just add another guitar line.”

“Would that help things?” Cathy frowned in worry. “I can try to learn guitar.” She flexed her fingers. “I dunno if I can though. I’ve never tried.”

Brandon winced.

“It’d give it more depth,” Adrian argued. At Brandon’s frown and Danielle’s worried glare, he subsided. “But it’s alright. We’ll work something out. Maybe we’ll have Brandon sing,” he added slyly.

Danielle turned to Brandon. “Oh, you sing?”

Brandon laughed. “Badly.” He tucked his hands behind his head and shook his head. “It’d be a bad idea.” He sighed, studying Adrian’s worried frown. “Let’s try it out though, alright?”


It turned out that Brandon wasn’t nearly skilled enough to harmonize to Cathy’s high-pitched voice, and he didn’t have the multi-tasking skills to play guitar and sing at the same time.

“It would work if I could multi-task better,” Brandon argued. “I mean, it could work great. If you want a guy’s voice. Which you don’t. And I really can’t play guitar and sing and the same, especially with that guitar solo in the middle. We could lose the guitar solo, but that just changes the whole song.” He shook his head.

Adrian sighed.

Cathy frowned.

“I can try singing,” Danielle offered. “I’ve never sung and played before. I don’t think I can.” She pulled off the bass from where it had been resting on her shoulder. “I sing along when I play bass—hum it under my breath. I probably shouldn’t try multi-tasking right now. We can try it without a bass.”

“Or I can try playing,” Cathy offered. “Dani’s been teaching me a bit of how to play. We’ve been learning with this song too, so I think I can do it.”

“Let’s do this.” Adrian nodded. “Why don’t you take the bass, Cathy?” He nodded towards the music. “This song does have a simple bass line.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Cathy laughed.

Brandon hummed through the pick in his mouth. “Play nice,” he scolded, grinning at the pun.


“It works!” Danielle exclaimed with glee as she slumped down on a box. “Man, that’s stressful, being the lead singer. No wonder you’re always so stressed out when we play,” she added to Cathy.

“Mmhm,” Cathy agreed, smiling wanly. She cradled Dainelle’s bass carefully. “It probably only for this song.” She looked towards Adrian and Brandon. “Maybe some more?”

Adrian nodded. “Yeah.”

Brandon grinned.

Adrian laughed a little in relief. “That’s good that we figured this out.” He nodded. “Let’s meet here tomorrow to run through it again, and the next day we can go to that open rehearsal thing.”


The next day, they continued to familiarize themselves with the music and their new positions. They tried rearranging it again, to have Brandon sing because Danielle was familiar enough with guitar to pull it off, but in the end, they settled on their decision from yesterday. It wasn’t the most ideal situation, but Danielle fit the song better than Cathy, even if that meant that their bass line wasn’t nearly as solid.

“Ready for tomorrow?” Brandon asked as they packed up. “I bet competition’s going to be fierce.”

Cathy and Danielle nodded, exchanging smiles.

Adrian snorted. “I doubt we’ll ever be ready. Really ready. But this’ll have to do.” He grinned a bit. “Just relax, Danielle,” he added to her, seeing her nervous smile. “It’s just open rehearsal. It’s so we can fix our problems.”

“You’ll be fine,” Cathy added.

“And if you aren’t,” Brandon said, “We’re still here. Seriously. That’s what we’re here for. I know that we said we were there for Cathy first, but that doesn’t mean we’re not stabilizing you now that you’re lead singer.”

Cathy nodded, squeezing Danielle’s hand reassuringly. “We can do it. Let’s do our best.”

Back to Part Three
Continue here for the concept explanation.
Skip to Part Five

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