Help me! I'm Diene!

Teaching Organic Chemistry through Fiction

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Sn Reactions - You & Me, We Have Chemistry - Pt. 2: Like a net I will support you
rsou wrote in help_im_diene
Title: You and Me; We Have Chemistry (so let's bond) Part Two: Like a net I will support you
Author: rsou
Concept: Sn1 Reactions; Carbocation Stability
Length: 1818 words; 2/5; multi-part
Rating: G
Genre: General Fiction
Summary: Lisa goes to find a new band.
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 Two: Like a net I will support you

Back to Part One | Part One Concept Explanation
“I can’t sing this,” Cathy muttered several days after Lisa had left the group. They sat in Adrian’s garage, their usual practice spot, trying to sing some of their old stuff and to try to work out the kinks from “Don't Leave Me.” Cathy laughed nervously, her hands shaking as she clutched at the lyric sheet. With Lisa Green gone, she had suddenly become the group’s sole singer. She shook her head, the notes and words still buzzing. “It’s just... how am I supposed to compare to Lisa?”

Adrian rolled his eyes. “You’ll be fine.”

“No, I won’t!” Cathy exclaimed. She clenched her hands together in anxiety. The paper in her hands crinkled loudly in the otherwise silent room. “I haven’t ever sung except in music class. How am I supposed to sing this?” She smoothed out the wrinkles. “It’s a good song, but I can’t. I really just can’t.”

Brandon said “Hmmm,” in sympathy. “It’s alright, Cathy.”

“No, it’s not.” Adrian slammed his sticks on a cymbal, and the crash echoed in the room. “Without you, we have no singer. The band falls apart. And if you can’t sing, then that’s the same as you not being there.”

“Adrian,” Brandon hissed. “Be nice.”

Adrian scowled.

“We’re frustrated.” Brandon pulled his guitar off his shoulder, setting it carefully on his chair. “Let’s take a break, talk things out with each other, figure out where we’re going to go now.” He reached over and shook Cathy’s shoulder gently. “C’mon, let’s take a breather.”

Adrian sighed.

“You too, Adrian.” Brandon reached out with his free hand, gesturing Adrian closer. “Let’s go stuff ourselves with ice cream and cookies and figure out what’s going on with this band.”


They ended up on the front step of Adrian’s house watching cars lazily drive by. Brandon sipped a soda while Adrian stuffed himself with popsicles and Cathy simply sipped juice.

“Okay,” Brandon said agreeably. “So we’re not stuffing ourselves with ice cream and cookies. This is just as good. Let’s figure out what just happened.”

Adrian rolled his eyes. “Lisa left us. She took away all our singing talent too.”

“Adrian,” Brandon admonished.

Adrian sighed. “You’re not bad,” he admitted grudgingly to Cathy. “As long as you just stop being so nervous and just let it go.”

Cathy smiled wanly. “Thanks. I guess.”

“The problem now,” Brandon said calmly and rationally. “Is whether or not Cathy’s going to stay and sing.”

Adrian turned to look at Cathy. With a bright pink popsicle shoved in his mouth, he didn’t look nearly as intimidating as he usually did.

Cathy shrugged, nervous. “I mean, I want to. I’d like to. I’m really happy here in the group. And...” she shrugged. “Um, I’m kinda glad that Lisa’s gone.”

“She was a bit of an ogre,” Brandon said tacitly before Adrian could make a cutting remark. “Came with the territory I suppose.” He smiled. “But the question is, are you willing to stick it out with us?”

Cathy looked at Adrian and Brandon. “I... yeah. I guess.” She smiled, and slurped her juice. “Yeah.” She nodded. “I will.”


“It’s not going to work,” Adrian said to Brandon the next day as they met up right after classes. “You don’t need to come over to practice today.”

“Why are you so depressing?” Brandon asked. “We’ll make it work. It might take a while, but...” He paused, actually studying Adrian’s face. “What’s wrong?”

Adrian sighed, reaching into his book bag and pulling out a slightly crumpled flier. “Look at this.”

Brandon took the flier. “Battle it out with other bands. Mm... prove yourself the best band... Adrian, this is a contest flyer, what does it have to do with us?”

“The winner gets to play on the radio.” Adrian shrugged. “It’s a long shot, but we’re good. Or we were until Lisa left.”

Brandon shook his head. “So this is why you’re worried.” He folded the flier neatly into fourths.

Adrian snorted. “I’m sure that we’d be able to do it,” he muttered reluctantly. “I mean, we can also do some warbly falsetto if Cathy decides she can’t do it.”

Brandon laughed. He patted Adrian on the shoulder. “Don’t worry so much, alright? We’ll talk to Cathy before we make any big decisions. It’ll be okay. Really.”


“Sing for a contest?” Cathy laughed nervously. “You’ve gotta be kidding me.”

Brandon spread out the flyer on the cardboard box that Lisa used to sit on. “Look at it, Cathy. It’s on a Saturday, so we don’t have school, and it’s just like, two bus stops away. I mean, there’s no point in just sitting at home playing music; eventually we’ve got to get ourselves out there, and this contest doesn’t even have an entrance fee or anything like that.”

Adrian nodded, letting Brandon do all the talking.

“But... I don’t think that I’d be able to do it though.” Cathy shrugged her small shoulders, a grin stretching the corners of her mouth in nervousness. “I think that maybe I could sing in here, like this, here in the garage and all that. Y’know, just the three of us? But you want me to stand up in front of a whole bunch of people and um... sing?”

“Yes.” Adrian propped his elbows on a drum and leaned on his hands.

Cathy shook her head.

“It’s alright if you don’t think you can do it,” Brandon said. “If you don’t feel comfortable being in that situation, then we won’t, alright?”

“Thanks,” Cathy muttered. She looked at them, biting her lip in worry. “Um, I’m sorry, guys.”

Adriun shrugged. He leaned back, grabbing his sticks and twirling them in agitation. “Better we know this now so we don’t throw us in there and have you completely freeze up or something. You’re already a bit pitchy and unsteady just here alone.” He smiled a small wan smile. “We’re with you, Cath. We want what’s best for the group.”


Cathy sighed, putting down her pen and frowning at the equation.

Danielle leaned over. “What’s wrong?” she asked.

“The equation isn’t simplifying,” Cathy said. She frowned at her homework, and flipped through the textbook.

Danielle laughed. “I don’t mean that, silly.” Danielle poked Cathy in the ribs, and Cathy squeaked. “I mean whatever’s got you all worried. You’ve been stressed all day.”

“I haven’t!”

Danielle nodded. “You walked into the wall on the way to math class.”

“That was an accident,” Cathy muttered sheepishly.

“So what’s the problem?”

Cathy propped her head on her hands. “You know how I’m in a band, right?”


“So uh. Lisa. That’s the singer. She left, so I have to sing everything now. But I mean, I’m kinda scared. And they want to play at a contest, and I just... I feel bad that I’m really scared of singing in a contest.”

“Are they picking on you?” Danielle scowled, and the look was at odds on Danielle’s sweet face.

Cathy shook her head. “No. It’s not like that, really.” She laughed. “I just feel bad because they really want to.”

“So what’s the problem? You don’t want to? Are they pressuring you?” Danielle leaned forward.

“Um... It’s not like that at all.” Cathy shrugged. “I want to. But I don’t think it’d be possible. Not the way the group is now.” She sighed. “I dunno.” She smiled. “I’ll work it out.”

Danielle slowly started to smile. “Need some help?”

Cathy furrowed her brow. “What?”

Danielle burst into a full-blown grin. “What if I sing with you or something? Hey, maybe I can play bass and sing along? Or maybe not? I dunno, do you guys already have a bass player? Would that help?”

Cathy blinked.

“That’d be great, wouldn’t it? I mean, your problem is that you’re all nervous and you don’t think you can carry lead vocals all on your own. But y’know, you’re not. I mean, you can’t sing without a band right?”

“Uh, Dani?”

“I mean, yeah, it’s you that’s got the pressure and has to deal with nervousness and all that stuff, but I mean, if I can be in the back and support you by just being there....”

“Dani!” Cathy leaned over and shook her shoulder. “Dani. Uh. This is great and all but... can we talk it out with the others?”


“Why didn’t you tell me earlier that you knew a bass player?” Adrian demanded, practically leaping out of the drum stool to shake Danielle’s hand. “You can play bass? Are you any good? Do you want to join?”

Cathy laughed awkwardly. “Uh. Um. I didn’t think it was that important? I mean, we seemed pretty good with just the four of us when it was us and Lisa.”

Danielle blinked at Adrian’s forwardness before smiling. “Hi.”

“Schematics.” Adrian flung a hand dramatically in the air. “You’re exactly what we need.” He frowned. “Well, maybe not exactly. What we really need is an amazing lead singer. But this is great! I mean, with you here, it won’t matter so much if Cathy’s voice gets stringy at the low notes.”


Brandon raised an eyebrow.

“Alright,” Adrian corrected himself. “With you here, we’ll be amazing and great and all that. Or at least in tune all the time.”

Danielle smiled. “Works for me.”

“Works for me too,” Cathy said cheerfully.

Brandon nodded. “Let’s try this out, alright?” He adjusted the guitar in his hands.

Cathy settled herself in Lisa’s old seat, and Danielle shoved aside some boxes to make room for herself, cradling her bass in her hands. Adrian held his sticks up high in the air. He counted off, “One, two. One, two, three four.”

It was easier to sing with Danielle there, Cathy realized. She fit in the group as if she had always been there. The entire group seemed more relaxed; Brandon was no longer worrying so much about the bass notes, and instead of the song being stretched by the rapping of the drums, it instead swelled with the fullness of the bass line. Cathy opened her mouth and let herself sing, losing herself to the song.

“Let’s sign up for the contest,” she said when the song finished. “I think that we’re stable enough.”

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

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