Lunch. The best, most fabulous part of the day. Ever since Corey and I became friends with Gina, lunch became fun, not a torturous time of day where people would continuously make fun of and dump liquids and food on us.
Everyday, we would sit in the hidden spot that Gina had found: a nook up in a sturdy apple tree. Of course, we were always cautious not to crush any apples. Weirdly, no one thought to look for us in the trees.
“So,” Gina started as she swiftly climbed up the tree, brown lunch bag dangling in her hand. “How was shopping?”
“Horrible. Corey made me throw out all of my old clothes.”
“Hey!” my twin said defensively. “A lot of your things were old and beat up! All I did was spruce up your closet!” She turned towards Gina. “See what she’s wearing? Doesn’t it look a lot better on her than her old jeans and a t-shirt?”
To my horror, Gina started nodding in agreement. “Corey’s right, Anna. You look really good in dresses. Those wedges look good with your legs too. You have to admit, there must be some part of you that enjoys getting all dressed up like that.”
I snorted. “Who would I get dressed up for? The people in this school? No thanks. I’m not dressing up for them. Maybe if there was someone worth dressing up for, I would.” I looked over at Gina curiously. “By the way, why did you get dressed up? I mean, you told us that you don’t date, so what’s the point?”
She looked down at her rainbow colored tank top, pleated white skirt, and denim cropped jacket. Her voice was quiet as she whispered, “Um, yeah, I wanted to tell you guys something. I-”
“Don’t tell me. You like someone, don’t you?” Corey shrieked. “That’s awesome! Oh my pudding, who is it?!”
She blushed even further. “Um… You guys probably don’t know him.”
“Who cares? Just tell us who he is!” Insane Girl started to get excited, and she began to shake Gina by the shoulders. “Tell us!”
“Well…” She glanced out of the tree, and her eyes lit up. “Oh, look! There he is!” She pointed at a group of guys walking towards a picnic table.
“Which one is he?” I asked.
“Um, the one with the dirty blonde hair, blue long sleeved shirt, dark jeans…” She ducked her head in embarrassment. “Do you guys see him? Isn’t he so cute?”
Corey and I looked over, then spotted the guy simultaneously. It’s a twin thing.
“Hmmm. He’s cute, I guess.” Corey stared at him some more. “Hey look, there’s Grant, Will, and Andrew with him. Let’s go talk! You two have to come with me.”
“Huh?” I looked for the trio, and sure enough, there they were. Grant sure knew how to pick his friends. I mean, he chose the most popular guy (Will) as a friend, and I guess Andrew was also popular, since he hung out with Will. Funny how I didn’t notice before.
Core grabbed both of our hands and jumped down.
“YAAAAAAAAH!” I screamed. I’m not exactly accustomed to people pulling me down from trees unexpectedly, so when it happened, I wasn’t ready. “Oomph!” I fell on my face painfully. “Ouch…”
“That hurt!” Gina, who also seemed to have fallen on the ground, was on her back and rubbing her elbows.
“No time for dawdling!” My evil sister pulled us up on to our feet and dragged us to the big group.
“Hey! How’s it going?” Corey stopped in front of them, Gina flushed and peeked at her crush, while I tried to glare daggers at Corey and Grant at the same time. It didn’t work, so I settled on focusing my attention on Andrew, smiling.
He grinned amusedly and did a guy-head-nod-thing at me. “Hey Anna. What’s up?” His arm muscles bulged as he crossed his arms.
“Nothing. I’ve been thinking. If we get into the Talent Show, we should practice everyday. I mean, you don’t need the extra practice because you’re Mr. Perfect, but I on the other hand, need all the practice that I can get. What do you think?”
He stared at me, and then said slowly, “Anna. They’ve posted up the list already. Have you checked it out?”
“What?! They have? Are we in? ARE WE IN?!” I think that I was starting to go crazy.
A slow smile spread across his face. “Yup. I never doubted it though. We were pretty awe-”
I started to scream and jump up and down, and then grabbed both of the arms so he would do the same. “Oh my gosh! Andrew, do you know what this means? We’re going to be performing! In front of the whole school!” A thought crossed in my head, and I stopped jumping. “Oh, no. We’re going to be performing in front of the whole school.”
He looked at me in a confused manner. “What’s wrong Anna? That’s the point of a Talent Show.”
I looked up at him. “Everybody hates me, remember? We’re going to be booed off of the stage. They might even throw tomatoes at me.”
“Yeah, they probably will.” My fellow band member and I whipped our heads towards the new voice. I’d completely forgotten that anyone else was there, but a quick check showed that everybody had been staring at us.
“How would you know?” Andrew uncrossed his arms, but then crossed them again. I ran a hand through my wavy hair.
Grant turned towards me. “Remember this morning? When all the kids in class started booing at you? Think of what would happen if the whole school was there. They would-”
“Hold up. People were booing at you?” Will looked incredulous. “Why would they do that?”
“Anna! They booed at you? How horrible!” Corey looked at me with worry in her eyes.
“Don’t worry. Things like that don’t really bother me anymore. I’ve already had a whole month to get used to it. Really, it’s not really that big of a deal.”
“You know,” Will had a thoughtful look on his face. “If someone really popular joined your band, you probably wouldn’t get things thrown at you.
Even my voice sounded confused as I asked, “What? I don’t know anyone like that.”
“Hello? Me! Don’t deny it, I’m popular, and I can play my share of instruments!”
“Yeah, but you don’t even know the song we’re-”
“Hey, I can play some things too.” I turned to Grant with my mouth ajar. Had he just suggested…? Will, I could understand wanting to join the band. But Grant? Mean old Grant from my childhood?
Andrew was nodding slowly. “Yeah, that could work. Can you play the base and guitar?”
They both nodded gravely.
“For how long?”
“Since I was three,” Grant said.
“Since I was six,” Will piped up.
“You guys are probably good then. And I suppose that you can sing?” Again, they nodded. “Since Grant has more experience with the instruments, he can play the base and sing back-up. Will’s more well known, so he can be the lead singer. You know, as advertisement.” He gazed at me. “You’re okay with this right?”
I stared mutely.
He stooped down to whisper in my ear. “Don’t worry about Will. I know you like him and everything, but you’re never going to be alone with him, all right?”
I nodded again, but all I could think was, Why me?
“Hi!” The door opened, and I became face-to-face to Andrew’s mom, a petite blonde lady with a bob. Towering over her, I felt like tall bumbling giants that people always run away from in the movies. After further negotiation, we’d decided to hold the practices in a rotating type plan. Today we were having practice at Andrew’s, tomorrow at Grant’s, the next at Will’s, the next at mine, etc. Everybody would have to bring their instruments to the house (Andrew would bring his extra guitar for me), and the host/hostess was in charge of the snacks.
“Oh, hello. Is everybody here yet? I’m in Andrew’s band.” I tilted my chin down and smiled politely at her.
“Oh, yes. They’re in his room.”
Andrew’s house was gigantic. It had ten bedrooms, a massive kitchen, two living rooms, a dining room, and indoor pool, an outdoor pool, lots of closets, other rooms for specific things, and many bathrooms. I thought about this as I tried to find his room, which took seven minutes. His house was a maze, and his room was as big as a two of my houses (Not really, but you get the drill).
I stepped in to see three teen boys plugging in their instruments. They looked like a professional boy band. Too bad I had to crash their party.
“Hey guys!” I strode over to Andrew’s cherry wood desk and dumped my school bag (practices were also going to be study sessions) on the Brooklyn swivel chair. His whole room was like that: all sleek and sophisticated. It creeped me out.
“Sorry to ask this, but do you really live here? It’s so, so… neat. Aren’t teen boys supposed to be messy?” I unloaded my laptop and binder and placed it next to a new (sleek) black Dell Studio XPS. How did I know this? I had the exact same one. “This yours?” I added, and nodded toward the laptop.
“Nope, it’s Grant’s. And yes to the first question, I do. I dunno how I keep it so organized; it just comes naturally to me. I’ll go crazy if one single thing is out of place, or if I don’t know where a single piece of paper is.”
“So in other words, you have OCD,” I muttered, quiet enough that he didn’t hear, but loud enough that Grant slid me a small smile.
“Okay, let’s get started.” Will clapped his hands and picked up a hair comb. He held it to his lips like a microphone and said, “Testing, testing, 1 2 3.”
I rolled my eyes, shifted the electric guitar that Andrew had handed to me, and played the first few opening notes as a warm-up. The strings felt welcoming and secure under my fingertips, and I smiled. “Ahh, how I’ve missed you,” I murmured. “It’s been a few days since I last saw you, huh?”
I felt a stare and looked up. It was none other than the mighty Grant. His expression was amused.
“It’s not that weird to talk to your guitar,” I insisted defensively, already knowing what he was about to say.
“I know; I do it all the time. But I’ve never seen anyone become so attached to their guitar after such a short time.” His expression didn’t change, but his eyes did, just a tiny bit. They grew a little warmer, the blue a deeper color.
I blushed. I couldn’t help it, but I did. There was something about him that made me… flustered. And at the same time, I also couldn’t help thinking, He’s. So. Cute.
“Anna! You can start now.” Will looked at me impatiently.
“Oh, sorry.” I started playing the music, bopping my head and tapping my heels on the ground to the beat. A few seconds later, Andrew joined in with the drums, and after that, Grant with the electric bass. Will’s voice rang out loud and clear as he sang the first lines.
“We all came out to Montreux, on the Lake Geneva shoreline.
To make records with a mobile, we didn’t have much time.”
Although the lyrics were sorta weird, I still loved the song. And of course, Will couldn’t even begin to compare to Ian Gillan, but he still, um, sounded human. He didn’t sound nearly as good as he did singing “Hello, I Love You” by The Beatles though, and I think everyone else agreed, because at the end of the song, we were all just staring numbly at our instruments (In Will’s case, at his microphone).
“Wow,” Grant finally said, “that really sucked.”
“Yeah. Hate to tell you this bro, but I don’t think your voice works for this song.” Andrew turned to Will and shrugged helplessly, in a way that said, It’s not your fault.
“Anna?” He shot me his puppy dog eyes, which was so not fair, “Did I sing bad?”
It took all my effort to stare straight into his eyes and answer truthfully. “Yes. You sucked like no other person could. I think even I could sing the song better than you.”
“You really think that?” I nodded. “Well then maybe I shouldn’t be the lead singer!” He threw his hands up in an “I don’t care” gesture. His tone was sarcastic, as if he didn’t think that this would ever happen.
“Then who will sing?” As Andrew asked this, he looked directly at me.
“Hey! I’ve told you, I’m not singing!”
“I’ll sing,” Grant volunteered.
“Don’t even.” Anyone could tell that Will was boiling mad. His works were running into each other, so it sounded like he said, “Donneven”.
Grant continued, glancing at Will out of the corner of his eye. “I can sing and play bass at the same time. Will can play 2nd guitar.”
“Are you sure about that?” Will narrowed his eyes, daring him. At that moment, I realized that in a way, he was like the male Sendy.
“How about we get Grant to sing some lyrics, and if he’s any good, he can be the lead singer?” Andrew looked uneasily back from the two tense teens, who’d been getting along fine just minutes ago.
“Sure.” Angry Teen #1 shrugged. “We all know he’s gonna suck though.” He handed Angry Teen #2 the comb, who calmly accepted it.
“Anna.” Andrew nodded at me as a signal that I could start, and I nodded.
This time in the song, the voice matched perfectly with the song. His voice was so surprising that I actually stopped playing the guitar in shock (Andrew and Will didn’t seem to notice; they were also in awe). He’d put a little twist to the song too, so that it was his own.
“Yeah, you’re definitely our new singer.” Andrew slapped a high five with our “definite new singer”.
A dangerous voice cut in. “I’ll give you one last chance. Are you sure you want to be the new lead singer?”
Grant answered with ease, “Yeah.” And with those two words, we had a new lead singer, but also a silent war between two guys.