Control the Beat

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25 | Talking Lions and Stuff

I smiled to the crowd, after finishing our final performance. It was around nine o’clock in the evening, and the audience was putting their donations into our money case.

I let out a yawn. I was exhausted.

“Okay, I’ll count this up real quick and add it on.” Melissa murmured, as she made her way to the case after the last person threw some cash inside.

We brought it into the building and to the general office, where my mom had allowed us to work. I sat down on one of those office chairs that spin around. The office was full of the crew, and we were all waiting anxiously. Melissa continued to count, and pile the money on top of each other. It’s always good to have someone who’s good with numbers around. We’ve been waiting a half hour, as she counted patiently.

“Can someone talk?” Shane muttered, “The silence is making me nervous.”

“It’s supposed to be a build up suspense!” Chase explained in a duh tone.

Melissa groaned, and buried her head in her hands.

“How much are we missing.” I asked.

“Twenty.” She whispered.

I lay my head back, and didn’t reply. Shannon let out a small scream of frustration. “We can sort something out!” Josh insisted.

“We need the money by tomorrow genius!” Caleb snapped, “So unless you have twenty thousand lying around anywhere?”

“I’m trying to be positive!”

I closed my eyes, and tried to think. What could I do?

The door opened, and my mother walked in. She frowned when she saw the look on our faces. “What’s wrong?”

I shook my head in response, and wiped the traitorous tear that slipped away. I actually thought this would work.

“May?” My Mom pressed.

I frowned and looked up in surprise. “Wait, you know?”

“Of course I knew it was you. I’m your mother.” She rolled her eyes at my stupidity. “Now what’s going on?”

I sighed, “We didn’t get enough.”

“Do you mind telling me the whole story?” She asked.

My friends were watching cautiously. “Some guy’s trying to take over our camp. And we have to buy it back, and we needed to raise fifty thousand more, and we need it by tomorrow, and we’re short twenty thousand.” I ranted. “So now our camp is going to be made into a showground, and it’s not going to be fun anymore, and it’s gonna suck.”

I breathed in deeply. My mom watched me, “Why didn’t you just ask me?”

“Because I’m independent, mother! I don’t want to have to look for you guys for help, besides when exactly have you ever cared about my music career?” I cried, throwing my hands in the air.

Mom looked down at her feet, and swallowed slowly. “That’s not true. I just want the best for you, and I’ve never seen you so happy before.. When you were singing your eyes were glowing. I only ever see you like that when-“

“I’m doing something I shouldn’t be doing?” I finished.

She shrugged and nodded. “Well yes. And your voice is beautiful. I will help you.”

“How exactly?” Melissa asked. Compared to the rest of my friends, she was a little colder towards my mother. I think it’s because she saw some of our dramatic fights outside principal’s office, or at our town’s local charity events. My mom was always harsh to me. And just because she be’s nice for once, doesn’t mean she’s the world’s best mother.

“I’ll give you the money.” She announced.

I narrowed my eyes at her. “Why would you do that?”

“Because you all helped us get more customers. We probably raised a lot more money than we would have.”

I thought for a second, before shrugging.

“Fine.” I nodded. I wasn’t going to fool around and refuse the money. We needed it. And I’ll work my ass off at the company during the school year to pay it back, if I have to.

“Do you need cash, or a check?” She questioned.

“Cash I think.”

She nodded silently, “Don’t tell your father about this. He’ll make an un-needed fuss. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”


She exited the room, and shut the door behind her. Everyone turned and stared at me. I looked down at me hands awkwardly.

“Stop staring at her, freaks.” Chase snapped. I sighed in relief when I felt everyone’s eyes away from me.

“It’s sorted. We’ll have the money for camp.”

Shane smiled uneasily, while Melissa placed her hand on my shoulder. “I’m going to go and tell Mr Commons that we’ll be leaving soon.” I explained, “Can someone wait here and get the money?”

Shannon volunteered along with Josh. “Cool. Say bye to mother dearest for me.” I grumbled.

I grabbed my bag, and jogged out of the door, followed closely by Chase and Shane. Shane held my arm, slowing me down. “May, slow down!”

“It isn’t my fault you’re slow.” I smiled at him. He grumbled something under his breath, most likely cursing me off.

Chase dawdled behind us, with his hands in his pockets. We approached the bus, which was parked in a local car park nearby. Mr Commons was sitting in one of the passenger seats, reading a book and eating a bag of coca bottles.

“Granddad! You aren’t allowed to have sugary stuff!” Chase snapped, glancing at the sweets.

“Give a man a break! You’re not allowed to drink, but I never told anyone!” He replied, sitting his book down.

Chase merely sighed and shook his head. I chuckled, “We’ll be going soon.” I told him. I could hear the footsteps of the rest of the campers coming over.

“Great!” He smiled. “Home and sleep.”

Shannon skipped forward with the waterproof money bag in her hand. “I can’t wait to see Chris’s face!” She giggled, and I smirked.

“A job well done lads!” Caleb called. “We need to celebrate!” The campers cheered and laughed. They were thrilled, the camp was safe. And I was too, but I felt like I would be repaying my mother for the rest of my life.

Shannon sat beside Josh, and snuggled into his arms. I watched curiously, she seemed happy. He seemed happy. I watched them with a dopey smile on my face. My smile wavered when I notice Caleb glaring at them.

“Okay, buckle up kids.” Mr Commons shouted. Shane had chosen to sit beside Melissa. They were discussing something, they had been doing that a lot lately. The conversation looked intense.

Chase swung himself into the seat beside me. “Is there something going on between them?” He asked, gesturing to Melissa and Shane.

I shrugged. “I have no idea.. What went on with them two?” I pointed to Shannon and then Caleb.

Chase winced, “Yeah, that really isn’t my place.”

I rolled my eyes, but didn’t push him to answer. I got comfortable in my seat, and the bus pulled off. “You don’t owe her anything.” Chase murmured in my ear. “She did it because she owed you.”

I glanced over at him, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I muttered.

“Sure you don’t.” He retorted.

I sighed, and lay my head on his shoulder. “I don’t care. I just want the camp to be safe.”

“And it will be, I’ll make sure of it.” He murmured.

“Okay this is getting too mushy for me.” I sat up, and straightened myself in my seat.

“Agreed.” He nodded and fixed his shirt.

I chuckled to myself, and closed my eyes. “You’re a freak.” I muttered randomly.

Chase shouldered me. “Please wifey. You know you love it.”

“Don’t call me wifey!” I pouted.

“Then what do I call you, June?”

“Call me… Batman!”

“I’m batman!”

“Fine. Superman!”

Chase thought about this for a second, before nodding. “I can live with that.”

I smirked, “Shut up batman.”

“Make me superman. Wait, shouldn’t it be superwomen?”

“I said superman! Didn’t I?”

He raised his hands in defense. I couldn’t help but laugh at his childish play. It always cheered me up, which annoyed me in a way.

I pulled my iPod out of my bag, along with the earphones. Quickly, I roamed through my playlists before picking a song, and slipping the earphones into my ears.

“My girlfriends bitchin’ cause I always sleep in.
She’s always screaming when she’s calling her friend, she’s kinda hot though.” I murmured along with the lyrics. “Yeah she’s kinda hot though..”

My shrink is telling me I got crazy dreams.” I heard Cassie sing from behind me. “She’s also saying I got low self esteem, she’s kinda hot though.”

I whistled.

“Yeah she’s kinda hot though.”

Just an itty bitty little bit hot.” Shane added, fighting a smile.

She put me on meds, she won’t get out of my head! She’s kinda hot though..” Cassie continued.

I pulled the earphones out of the phone, and let the music play out loud. We waited for the guitar solo to finish.

My friend left college because it felt like a job, his mom and dad both think he’s a slob, he’s got a shot though.” Chase sang, rolling his eyes at my excited reaction. “Yeah he’s got a shot though.”

“No not really.” Caleb mused.

“When you’ve got bigger plans, that no one else understands. You’ve a got a shot though.” I sang, grinning widely.

They say we’re losers and we’re alright with that!
We are the leaders of the not-coming-back’s!
But we’re alright though…

Yeah, we’re alright though…
We are the kings and the queens of the new broken scene!
Yeah, we’re alright though!” Everyone on the bus sang together, and those who didn’t know the words joined in on the guessable bits.

“Uno, dos, tres, cuatro!” Melissa counted.

I began to dance to the solo. It was quite hard to dance, considering I had a seat belt on but I tried.

“Sometimes I’m feeling like I’m going insane.
My neighbor told me that I got bad brains!
But I’m alright though!” I sang smirking.

We’re alright though!” Everyone echoed.

“Yeah, we’re alright though.” I continued. “We are the kings and the queens, of the new broken scene! And we’re alright though!”

“Where the hell have you been?” Dave roared, as he approached the bus. We all clambered off it, still tired from the busy day.

“Narnia.” I replied, shooting him a sarcastic smile. “Didn’t anyone tell you? We felt like playing with the talking lions and stuff.”

I grabbed my bag from the ground, nodded to Shannon, silently telling her to go with the money, while I distract Dave. Jessica and Corey attempted to walk past Dave, as a distraction for Shannon and Josh to run the other way. With a bored expression on her face, Jessica walked past Dave, no problem. But Dave stopped Corey, and pointed for him to return to the group. Jessica merely shrugged and kept walking.

“You don’t want to mess with me today, Miss Riley.” Dave snarled, looking back to me.

“Correction.” I replied lazily, “I do want to mess with you, yet I shouldn’t. It’s night, not day. Oh and it’s May. Not miss anything.”

His face was purple with rage. He looked at the group, that Shannon and Josh had easily slipped away from. “Why are the Turn It Up campers with you?”

“Why wouldn’t they be? Like come on, who can turn down talking animals?”

Dave gritted his teeth, and glared at me. “It’s late.”

“No shit sherlock.”

“Go to bed. I’ll deal with you tomorrow.”

“Just me? Don’t I feel special.”

Shane snorted, but quickly hid it with a cough.

“Bed! All of you!” He shouted. Everyone grabbed their things, and called a quick goodnight to each other before parting ways. Chase kissed my cheek, before running after his fellow campers. I stood frozen, shocked by his action.

“Boys.” Cassie mumbled, shaking her head as she stood beside me.

“Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.” Melissa agreed.

“Do you think Shannon will get back alright?” Cassie asked, anxiously.

“She’s with Josh.” I mused. “She’ll be fine.”

The girls nodded in agreement. “Do you think there’s something going on there?” Melissa wiggled her eyebrows, making me laugh.

“I hope so.”

Melissa bid goodbye first, and skipped off to her cabin, soon followed by Cassie.

I entered my room, and flopped down on my bed. I really wanted to go straight to sleep, but I was sticky, and my makeup was annoying me, so I decided to take a shower instead. After taking a ten minute relaxing shower, I climbed back out and wrapped a towel around me. I opened the door to our room, hoping to get my pajamas when I froze.

Shannon and Josh were sitting on my bed, making out.

Firstly: My fucking bed!

Secondly: I was in a towel. Only a towel.

Thirdly: My pajamas were on my bed.

I bit my tongue, holding back the words that were going to snap from my mouth. I tiptoed backwards towards my bathroom, and stood on something spiky.

“Shit!” I cried.

They both looked up in surprise, and I groaned. I picked the hairbrush off the floor and threw it across the room. “Can’t you pick your brush off the floor?”

Shannon was blushing fiercely, while Josh was staring at me.

Shit, the towel.

“I’m in a towel.” I stated, staring at Shannon.

She nodded, “I know you are.”

“You guys are making out on my bed, where my clothes are. I need my pajamas.”

Shannon awkwardly grabbed the pajamas and threw them to me. I snatched them from the air, and looked at Josh who was still staring at me. I glanced down at the fluffy white towel that was covering my me. My legs were still glistening with water, and my hair was down and wet.

I shot him a pointed look, which made him blush and turn away. Allowing me to make my way back to the bathroom. “Oh and can you guys move over to your own property.” I added, gesturing to the beds. Shannon continued to flush, and quickly jumped off my mattress.

I nodded awkwardly, and rushed back to the bathroom, slamming the door behind me. I leaned against the door, and banged my head softly against it. “Why am I so awkward?” I groaned.

After dressing and drying my hair, I slowly made my way out of the bathroom. Josh was nowhere to be seen, and I sighed in relief. Shannon peaked up from under her covers.

“Um.. Hi?”

“Hi?” I deadpanned. “Jesus Shannon you could have stuck to your own bed!”

“I know! I’m sorry, we were wondering where you were, and I checked your bed to see if your bag was there and it was, and then we sorta didn’t move and he-“

“I kinda saw what he did, no need to explain.” She blushed harder, her face was basically a tomato.

I laughed giddily, and sat on my bed. “So?”

“So?” She repeated, trying to hide her face with her hair, which was an epic fail considering her hair only went to her ears.

“Come on dude! Are you guys like.. You know!”

“No.. He hasn’t asked like.”

“He probably will. Tomorrow!” I grinned, clapping my hands. “I call bridesmaid!”

Shannon threw her fluffy purple cushion at me, making me laugh even more. “I gave the money to Chris!”

My eyes widened. “Shit I forgot! What did he say?”

“He’s gone straight to the guy.” She told me, “Like seriously, he jumped into the car with about a hundred thank you’s.”

I smiled.

“Do you think it will work?” Shannon asked.

I nodded. I was positive it would work. “It has to. The guy will want more money, and he’s getting it tonight! I just, I know it will work. I have this feeling.”

Shannon nodded in agreement. “It was nice of your mom, to like, give us the money..”

I merely shrugged.

“She seemed sincere.”

“That’s my mom though. She buys her way through everything. Like three years ago, she forgot my Birthday. But she thought that was fine because two days later she gave me a thousand dollars to do whatever I want with. And that might seem awesome and everything, but she didn’t care!” I breathed heavily, “Even if she brought something for me and apologized, I would have forgiven her. But there was no effort. Just money in my hand, without her even thinking anything of it.”

Shannon cuddled up into her blankets. “At least the camp will be okay.”

I smiled. ” I can’t believe we raised thirty thousand ourselves.”

“I know! Like, they were giving us so much! The cheapest donation was probably two hundred dollars!”

I nodded in agreement. “When you have the money, you may as well use it.”

Shannon nodded. “I’d give a lot away too, I think.”

I agreed, and climbed under the blankets. “I’m so tired.”

We saved the camp. Well kind off, mom helped but we raised most of it. Thirty thousand. We must have been good, or so bad that they wanted us to fuck off, so gave us money hoping it’d shut us up. I chuckled at that though.

Shannon yawned and didn’t reply. I checked my phone to see a message from Kelly.

Way to kick some ass babe -K

I smiled to myself. “We did kick ass out there.” I whispered, before closing my eyes, and finally going to sleep.

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