Adam has never been spectacular in school. He sucks at math, and his concentration leaves a lot to be desired. But something must have rubbed off on him from his father, because he's got a dreamy air to him and is content to doodle or write music, rather than concentrate on things that actually need to get done. His parents worried that he had a learning disability, and perhaps he does. Structured learning has always been difficult for him, and he would much rather go at his own pace than have to follow a set plan.
He's soft spoken, quietly cheerful, and has a devillish streak in him that sometimes runs deeper than it should. He doesn't trust easily, but once he does he'll take a bullet for you, should the need for it come. He's curious about everything, doing things like poking his fingers into cake batter because he needs to feel the slightly slimy texture he's seeing. He's still as sweet as anything, the same sweetness that made his parents joke that he must be a secret super villain at heart, because he's too good to be real.
Adam Robert is the second born of the Butler family. And when he was little, being the second born of two was great. Being the second born of three was still pretty good. Being the second born of six was... not as great. With three sisters and two brothers, his home was never quiet. It was mostly happy, but it was never quiet. And it was hard to get any sort of one-on-one time his parents when they had seven other children to give their attention to. So while his childhood wasn't terrible, he often felt a little alone, despite being constantly surrounded by siblings. Because of this, he developed a fear of failure and a guilt complex, feeling like if things didn't go perfectly it would give his parents a reason not to give him the attention he craved.
Despite this, Adam grew up a cheerful young man. He loved school and was overjoyed on the days he got to be the teacher's 'special helper' for the day. Doing things like handing back test papers and doling out sheets of construction paper made him feel important, and that he was contributing to society. Which, for a seven-year-old, is quite a claim to make. He enjoyed reading, and because of his hectic home life, he found the most peace in books. Until his fourth-grade class began taking band. One Friday afternoon at the end of September, the class was taken to the music room at the other end of the school. With its stadium-style seating, it was the second biggest room in the school, and Adam immediately fell in love with the way his voice echoed. It was hard to find an echo in his life, normally. There was never enough space at home for echoes. The kids were told to choose the instrument they wanted to play, and if it was approved they would need to go and rent one to play for the year. Knowing that his parents had enough struggles with money, he panicked for a moment at the thought of costing them a single dime more than he had to. Then his eyes fell on one of the few instruments that were already in the band room, one of the few that wouldn't need to be brought to class with him. So when the time came when it was Adam's turn to choose, he picked something that his family already owned, and was already at school. The piano.
While he was hardly an expert at the piano, he had learned to plink his way several easy songs. He knew how to play Twinkle Twinkle and Hot Cross Buns, and he could struggle his way through Ode To Joy one-fingered. But his older brother had decided on the trumpet for his school instrument, and his younger siblings did little more than pound on the keys, or drag their fingers along the keys to make the ancient upright trill merrily. So learning how to play properly was just one more thing that made him feel like he wasn't just a face in the Butler crowd. This, combined with long fingers that made playing easier for him once he actually learned how, made him an eager student. By the time he moved onto middle school, he was able to play all the classics that children learned, a few classical pieces, and even a few tunes from movies or video games. He loved the piano, loved how it allowed him to get lost in the music. The give of the keys beneath his fingers, the way the last note of a song would vibrate in the air for a surprisingly long time.
Adam continued playing the piano, even after the school-mandated years of band class. When he was fourteen, his parents, happy to see their oldest son thrive and excel at something, moved money around their budget to make sure that Adam got the piano lessons that kept the glow in his eyes. His teacher, who had been one of nine children herself, cut his parents a deal that was almost insulting to her skills as an instructor. And she stuck with him, teaching him everything she knew. On the day before his eighteenth birthday, she smiled at him and spread her hands helplessly, telling him that he had learned all she had to teach, and she would be of no use to him anymore. He was moving on to greater things, after all. All the hours of practice, of playing until his hands felt like they were going to fall off, of spending countless hours on a piano bench that made his lower back twinge, paid off. He had been awarded a full scholarship to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
It was a gruelling time for Adam. If he thought he'd worked hard before, practised long hours before, it was nothing compared to the track he was now on. He wanted something to come from his education, something more than just learning more advanced techniques. He wanted a degree, a badge of honour to hang on his wall someday. So he went for his Bachelors of Music, even though he wasn't entirely sure what he wanted to do with it. The world was hardly chomping at the bit for another concert pianist, after all. He toyed vaguely with the idea of trying to become the next Victor Borge, but realised that he wasn't funny enough. He felt like the Underpants Gnomes in South Park.
Phase one: Get music degree
Phase two: ???
Phase three: Profit
With no goal in sight, he still enjoyed the environment that was very different from the home he'd left behind. He tried not to think about the fact that he had no idea what he was going to do with his life once he graduated. And graduate he did, after four long years, he found himself with a fancy piece of paper telling the world that he was qualified to do the thing that he'd been doing for more than half of his life already. He was at a bit of a loss on what to do next. He'd picked up a part-time job at a music store near campus, but that was the only job experience he had in the real world. At a bit of a loss, he decided to go back home to Los Angeles, and see if he could figure something out from there.
Moving back into the family home was a very short endeavour. Used to the quiet that came from living on his own (if you could call dorm living quiet) being surrounded by teenagers and living under his parents' roof again drove him nuts quickly. He found a job the third day he was home and didn't spend a dime of his paychecks until he had enough saved up to get an apartment. It's not that he didn't appreciate his parents for taking him back in after university, it's just that he couldn't stand the constant intrusion of the four siblings that still lived at home. His apartment was nothing special. Mushroom brown walls, faded linoleum, and he had to go to the basement to do his laundry in coin-operated machines. But it was his very own place, and he relished the privacy and independence.
He'd been working at the store that sold and rented musical instruments - the one that had made him choose the piano to begin with - for over a year when the owner approached him and asked if he had any interest in teaching lessons. They had two piano teachers, and one of them had just quit to play for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Trying not to seethe with jealousy, Adam accepted the position. He remembered all that his old teacher had done for him, and he decided that, even if he wasn't using his degree the way he'd expected to, he would be the best teacher he could be. He wanted to teach the way he was taught, with patience and love and understanding.
That, combined with his regular hours at the store, eventually made it so he could move into a slightly nicer apartment, and it keeps him in composition books so he could still write music in his off-hours. Life isn't perfect, but it's good enough.
♦ He knows how to knit, but has only finished half a scarf in three years. It would be a good scarf if he had the attention span to finish it.
♦ He's Pagan. No, that doesn't mean he's going to cast a spell on you. No, he won't cast a spell on you. Not even if you want him to.
♦ He learned how to play songs from video games that he's never played, just because he liked the sound of them. When people would ask if he liked whatever game it was, he would blink politely at them, then confess to being a 'fake fan'.
♦ he can eat a popsicle in less than a minute without getting brainfreeze. At least, he used to be able to. Don't ask him to try it now.
♦ his youngest sister once dared him to pour an entire bottle of tabasco sauce on his omlette, and eat the entire thing. it did not end well.
♦ he probably ruined his eyes when he was younger because he refused to put his book aside to get up and turn the light on.
♦ His cat, Pumpkin, is prettier than most humans. At least he thinks so.