If you didn't read chapter 1: Summer just finished band camp and is on the drumline. She has a crush on Micah, a drum major, but she's too anxious to talk to him or tell her friends about it. Summer saw her drumline rival, Kaila, dancing with Micah at the band camp dance.
This is draft 2, and I'm more interested in big picture comments than sentence level/grammar comments. Thanks for reading! <3
When I arrive home in the morning, all I want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep. My muscles ache from all of the hours of lugging around my snare drum and marching around the field, and those band camp bunk-beds in a room with ten other people aren’t the most conducive to sleep.
But my sister May, who was our section leader last year and who will be starting at Purdue University soon, interrupts.
“Tell me about it!” She flops on my bed before I can escape under the covers. “How much drill do you have down? Did Taylor come up with a new drum cadence yet? How is he holding up so far?”
I put my hands over my ears. “Stop. Too many questions!”
“I miss it! Fill me in.”
“You’ll be back on the field in a few weeks, May.”
“That’s not guaranteed.”
She’s moving into college a little early so she can audition for the Black and Gold Marching Band. It’s not unheard of for freshman to make the cut, but competition on the drumline is always stiff.
“You were the best drummer at our school for the last two years,” I say matter-of-fact.
“Okay, but when I go up there I’ll be starting over at the bottom again and I’ll be with a whole group of people who were also the best at their high school. Don’t make me think about it yet. Tell me about camp.”
I sigh, conceding defeat. “We have the first movement on the field and it’s decent as of right now. We started the second movement, but it’s still pretty rough around the edges.”
She nods her head, willing me to go on and fill in every last little detail.
“Taylor hasn’t had time to start experimenting with new cadences yet, so we’re still using the one you made last year.”
May smiles. I remember how long it took her to perfect that cadence last year, so I like that we’re still using it. I’ve always looked up to her.
“Taylor is a little obnoxious, but he’s doing a good job so far.”
“I can only imagine.” She laughs.
“He had us wear matching outfits, May. Matching outfits.”
She rolls with laughter.
“He basically told us what to pack and gave us a breakdown for each day like Monday: white t-shirt, black shorts. Tuesday: grey t-shirt, blue shorts. And so on. He even designed matching t-shirts for us to wear on the last day.” The matching shirts he designed could be worse though. At least he chose a clever design.
May catches her breath long enough to ask, “Has he made you run drills yet?”
“Yes,” I grimace and May rolls with laughter again. “He always made us show up to rehearsal half an hour early so we could run around the field or crab walk down the field to ‘warm up’. It was terrible.” Nothing like being exhausted before the rehearsal even begins.
“That’s partially my fault.”
“How? I don’t remember you suggesting that last year.”
“I told Taylor I was considering it, so he must have felt inspired.” She can’t hide her shit-eating grin.
I try to shove her off the bed. “You’re the worst. I’m blaming the amount of pain I’m in on you alone.”
“You’ll thank me later this season. It’s all about the endurance my dear sister.”
I bury my head under a pillow. I don’t care about endurance right now. I care about sleeping. “Well, thanks for the chat, but I’m going to nap for about a hundred years.”
“No you’re not!” She rips the covers off of me and I curl into a protective ball. “Come practice with me!”
I groan. “I just spent eight hours practicing every day last week. I’m taking a day off. Isn’t Danielle here? Can’t she help you?”
Danielle is our younger sister and I know she’d be a poor substitute. She didn’t inherit the drumming gene and instead prefers dance and says she wants to be in the color guard. May and I try (and fail) not to care.
“She already left for a friend’s house and you know that she doesn’t even know what she’s listening for. All you have to do is listen to my audition.”
“I’m sure it’s great,” I say into my pillow.
She taps my back until I turn towards her. “Summer. Please. You’re the only one I trust to give me real feedback. Mom and Dad just say I sound wonderful and I’ll definitely and I don’t see my private instructor until Tuesday. Please listen?”
As tempting as it is to stay curled up in my protective ball in bed, I know this audition means a lot to her and she would do the same for me. So I drag myself upright and say “fine” as dramatic as possible.
“Thank you!” She leaps off of my bed and gives me a second to pull on my baggiest sweatshirt. My arms and legs are so cramped. I’ll need to do some yoga or something later.
I give my bed one more longing, loving glance before I go find May out in the garage. She has a practice pad set up on a stand and a lawn chair set out for me. I’m thankful she thought of that. I collapse into the chair as she warms up on the practice pad.
Once she’s ready to begin, she hands me her audition music without comment and takes up her position in front of the drum pad. I’m able to do a quick glance over the music before she starts. She flies through each piece and I struggle to find something she needs to improve upon. She maybe held a roll for a half second too long, or there may have been an attack that wasn’t quite as sharp as it could have been, but to my ears, it’s pretty darn good. Good enough to wow the drumline instructors at Purdue? One can only hope.
I tell her this and yet she still holds me hostage for nearly an hour, playing through challenging parts over and I’m told to decipher which versions sounds the cleanest. I scroll through Facebook while she plays in case there are any Micah and Kaila updates.
Even after all of the practicing, once May puts up her sticks and puts the drum pad away, she still declares that it’s probably not good enough and she shouldn’t expect to get in.
She and I settle in on the couch, and I wrap myself in a blanket of comfort. She flips through the TV channels and finds a mindless reality show we can kill a few hours with.
“So,” She turns to me during a commercial. “Junior year! Are you excited?”
“Sure,” I shrug. “I don’t know if I’m ready to get back into the grind though.”
“It’ll be a good year. You’ve got that independent study thing you’ll be able to put on your college applications next year. You’re going to have a great show. You’ll get back in the swing of things no problem.”
She waits for the next commercial break. “Anyone catch your eye at band camp this year?” She smiles like she’s already read my mind or something.
Damn you May. I shrug and avoid eye contact, but she sees right through it.
Her eyes light up. “You can’t even hide it so you better spill everything.”
I still can’t look at her. “There’s nothing to spill.” I glance over the back of the couch to make sure Danielle or mom or someone isn’t eavesdropping. May is just about the only person in the world I can trust with this information. “Nothing has happened, and nothing probably will happen because they’re not going to like me back.”
The show comes back, but she puts it on mute. Oh here we go.
“Now who says they’re not going to like you back?”
“May.” I stare at her, waiting for her to read between the lines. I don’t exactly have a line of suitors waiting.
“Will you tell me who it is?”
The name flies to the tip of my tongue, but I bite it back, unsure if I want to share yet. Saying the name out loud, admitting it to May, puts it out in the open and makes it real. Once it’s real, it’ll just be all the more embarrassing when it doesn’t work out.
“Do I know him?”
“He’s in band?”
I nod again.
She claps her hands together. “Now we’re getting somewhere! Okay, brass?”
I shake my head.
She pauses for a second and does the math. My cheeks grow hot because she’s about to figure it out.
When she arrives at the answer, her eyes bug out and her hand flies to her mouth. “Micah?” She screeches.
I tackle her backwards onto the couch and cover her mouth. “Geez May! Tell the house why don’t you?”
She wrestles away from me. “He’s cute!”
My face is flaming red. If she gives me any crap about this, I’m never telling her anything again.
“He’s definitely your type, too! This is perfect!” She beams.
My type? I don’t ask how she figures that one. I want to fade into the couch. This right here is the prime reason why I don’t talk about things like this with people. I don’t say anything, hoping she’ll get the hint and let this go.
“Have you talked to him?” She asks. The golden question, and the chief problem besides the intrusion of Kaila.
I shake my head.
“Is there a reason why not?”
I shrug, but May’s expression tells me she’s not going to let me get away with that answer. “There hasn’t been a good opportunity?” I try, which isn’t entirely a lie.
She stares at me. “So you’re telling me that after two weeks of band camp, in which you were literally in the same place every day, and one of those weeks you were literally living in the same place, that there was not one singular opportunity for you to talk to him.”
She’s got me there.
“I know they work you guys hard and Taylor would have wanted you to stay focused on the job at hand, but come on.”
“What was I supposed to, march up to him in front of the entire band and strike up a casual conversation?” The thought of that alone makes me want to curl into the fetal position.
“No.” She lets out a long breath. “You talk to him, Sum. Just talk to him the same way you would any other human being. Don’t make it weird just because you like him.”
Which is so much easier said than done.
In theory, it’s fine, normal, whatever. I walk up to him, maybe say something about our show or band or something, keep it casual, easy, fine. What could possibly go wrong?
He might think I’m weird and wonder why I randomly came up to him to talk. My friends might notice and give me a round of questions even more embarrassing than what May just put me through. His friends might notice and ask him why I was talking to him, and what would he say? What would Kaila say? If Kaila knows that I like him too, that’s going to make her try harder, and what would I do about that?
But I could just talk to him. I could just buck up some courage and get over myself and do what May said and just talk to him like a human. How hard could it be? It’s just like Bryn, or Katya, or Camilla, the only difference is, it’s Micah. The drum major. The cutest guy in the band. The person that Kaila, and probably ten other girls have crushes on, too. No big deal.
“Before I leave for school, Summer,” May says. “That’s the goal. Talk to him. Say something simple like, hey excited for the show this year. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Just talk to him, in person, before I leave for school.”
I stare at her.
“Will you promise me you’ll at least try?”
I can do that. I can try. It’ll probably all go wrong, and if it does May will fix it. But I owe it to myself to try. So I nod and say, “I’ll try.”