“O.M.G. What is this?” Katy stared at the line in open disbelief.
Kate bit her lower lip, and tried not to feel uneasy. Could she really do this? Would she really get a chance to audition for Tracy and Gene’s band? So many people had shown up.
Probably they were all drawn by the same things she was; the chance to be in the limelight, the chance to talk to people like Tracy and Gene who were both so cool, the chance to prove you were more than a stupid little gossip sitting in the back row of the classroom.
She wanted to hurry up and do this before her courage crumbled.
“Isn’t that Justin Chambers? I thought he was just a band geek,” Alisha said.
“He won several awards. And he plays percussion.” Kate swallowed hard, feeling it like a lump going all the way down to her stomach. “Same as me.”
“I thought you only played drums. There’s a big difference between percussion and just being a drummer like for a rock band.” Katy narrowed her eyes as Tracy walked past. “O.M.G. she’s got feathers in her hair! Did she have feathers at lunch?”
Tracy didn’t even look right at them as she counted them off. She came to the end of the line and turned around, hands on hips.
“Wow. Fifty nine of you.” She spoke loudly, for everyone to hear. “Thank you all for coming to our audition. How many of you are trying out for guitar or bass?”
A dozen hands went up.
“Could you move to this side of the hall?” She moved her hands like a traffic director.
A bunch of people actually did it. No way was Kate moving. She already knew the other side of the hall meant people who weren’t going to get a chance because bass and guitar was what Tracy and Gene played.
“How many of you are here to support friends? All of you, also move to this side.” Tracy did the guiding thing with her hands.
A bunch of people moved, including Kate’s friends. Now Kate’s line was about a third the size of the other one, maybe less.
“All right. Now everyone here go in and sit down in the seats.” As soon as they were gone, Tracy grinned at the ones left in the hall, gestured toward the room with her thumb, and said conspiratorially, “audience.”
Kate laughed in relief. For a moment, she’d been afraid she’d read it wrong, and that those were the people who would go first. She wanted to go right now so that nothing could go wrong and get in the way.
“Are any of you drummers? We’ll do drummers first.”
Kate jumped out of line and waved her hands enthusiastically. Half a dozen guys also raised their hands, including Justin. She didn’t recognize a couple of them, and she hadn’t realized until now that three of the guys played drums too, so she wasn’t sure what she was up against.
“All right. Follow me.” Tracy strutted past like she owned the place.
Kate made sure she was right behind.
To her relief, there was a drum kit already set up. Kate wondered who they might have borrowed it from, because the band room didn’t have that kind of drum normally. Kate didn’t wait to be invited. She parked herself on the stool and picked up the sticks.
“I’ll just warm up while you’re deciding who should go first,” she said to Tracy, and immediately laid down a basic line. She thought they might want to play more than just regular rock, so she threw in a backbeat, then shifted to a few different songs – showing off her versatility.
She looked up to see if Tracy was paying attention only to be crushed because Tracy was standing in the doorway with the band teacher and arguing about something. From what Kate knew about Tracy, it probably meant they didn’t have permission to do this.
Well, they were going to have to come up here and tell her personally to stop playing if they didn’t like it, because this was probably going to be the only time anyone actually got to hear her play, and she wasn’t about to stop.
The other drummers didn’t look to happy about it. Except for Justin. He wasn’t sitting in the chairs where the band normally sat and all the “audience” were now sitting. He’d pulled up a couple of congas and started playing, too.
Well, if he thought he could drive her off the stage that way, he had another think coming.
The weird thing was that the congas sounded pretty good with her kit drums. She kept on top, playing a strong rhythm, but he matched her, and they sounded good together. When she tried to shake him, shifting from one rhythm to another, he was right there with her.
He was good. Real good. Gene sat there on the band teacher’s stool which had been pushed to the side, and listened real close. His eyes had that intense, wolf-man look that made half the girls in school get excited or something.
So probably Justin was going to be their new drummer and Kate didn’t have a chance. But at least she’d proved to her friends that she really could play. She kept at it until the teacher came over and told her to stop.
While the teacher went over and yelled at Justin, Kate walked up to her friends. She didn’t have the nerve to look at Tracy or Gene. She was afraid if she looked at either of them while they told her they didn’t want her in the band, she’d cry.
“Everyone out!” The teacher pointed at the door. “This is not an authorized event. All of you go home now.” His face started to look kind of red.
“That was really good.” Katy sounded surprised.
Bobble-head Emma nodded hard.
“It was. Really. I don’t think I could have done any better myself,” Alisha said.
Then it happened. The only thing that could possibly have made this any better. Gene touched her shoulder. He put his hand on it and left it there.
“Hey. I need to talk to you.”
“Oh. Okay.” Kate followed him over to Justin. Her shoulder felt warm where he’d touched it. She’d never wash that shoulder again. Or something.
“Have the two of you ever played together before?”
“No.” Both she and Justin shook their head.
“Heard each other play before?”
Justin shook his head.
“I’ve heard him when he played in band and once with orchestra. He did cymbals.” Kate said.
“Look,” Gene folded his arms across his chest, looking totally sexy. “I’m thinking if you two can do that again, then maybe we should have two drummers. Like that time with Slipknot. Or not. You could play kit, and he could play everything else. What do you think?”
Kate almost died for joy right on the spot.
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