Bundled up in scarf and gloves with her coat buttoned all the way to the top, Lisa couldn’t get warm. She walked fast as much to keep up with Ben as to stay warm.
“How much further?”
“Not far,” Ben said, but he’d been saying that since Tenney Park. “Maybe a couple blocks. Seems shorter in the Summer.”
Lisa nodded, though all she could think about was her numb toes.
“Are you sure about this?”
“About meeting Mrs. Audrey? Why? Do you think she won’t like me?”
“No. I mean about skipping Gene and Tracy’s audition like this. I mean, even if neither one of us wants to be in the band, wouldn’t we normally hang out and watch?” He glanced at her real quick. His nose was all red and his chin disappeared into the top of his coat.
He must be as cold as her. He didn’t even have on a hat, and he kept his shoulders pulled up tight. Was it like this every time he went to see Mrs. Audrey this Winter?
“I mean,” he said. “You went to all that effort to get musical instruments for them to play and everything. Didn’t you want to watch?”
“What? Stay there so I could get in trouble along with her?” Lisa smiled. “No way. Besides, Justin did most of it. Once I told him what they wanted to do, he just kind of ran with it. Me, I don’t need that kind of pressure, but he’s been in bands before and he likes it.”
“Don’t go getting jealous on me, Ben. Justin is just some guy in the band.”
She hated it when he sounded like that. She couldn’t argue because he’d agreed with her, but she could tell from the way he said it that he didn’t really believe it. It was the kind of thing that pushed them apart, which was why she’d asked to come in the first place. It wasn’t like she planned on becoming a writer, too. She just wanted to get closer to Ben.
Seemed like with Gene and Tracy forming a band and Ben having his writing Lisa was getting left behind. What did she care about? Nothing much. She didn’t count studying. That was just something she did because she liked being the smartest in class. It wasn’t a passion the way the others had.
So maybe she’d give this writing thing a try. Or at least she’d know what Ben was talking about when he went on and on about his writing mentor.
Not that he called her that. He just called her Mrs. Audrey.
“It’s not like he can beat me,” Ben muttered. He tried to stuff his hand into her pocket so he could hold hands with her, but the opening was too small.
“Well… he is a drummer,” Lisa said to tease him.
“What? You got a thing for drummers?” Ben stopped. He grabbed at her arm.
“See, you are jealous.” Lisa grinned. She took her hand out of her pocket and let him grab it.
“I’m not…. Okay, fine. I am. Are you happy?”
“Yep. Justin is all right, but you’ve got more substance. No way I’d go for anyone over you.”
“But when you needed help, you went to him.”
“Yeah, because he could get the instruments. But I didn’t stay to watch Justin. I came here with you. Right?
Ben leaned forward and gave her a kiss right on the lips. It wasn’t long or deep, which was good because as cold as their lips were they might have frozen together otherwise. As soon as he straightened, she covered her face. She could feel the blush right to the roots of her hair.
“I can’t believe I did that right in front of her.” Ben covered his face.
He went the half a dozen steps up to the door of the house they were standing in front of and knocked. Someone inside was looking at them through the window.
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