Keep the Beat

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Chapter 13

“Dude, are you for real?” I squealed, squeezing Kelly’s hand.

“May, you’re cutting off my blood circulation!” Kelly whined, pulling her hand away from me.

“His favorite singer is Bryan Adams!” I cried, jumping up and down in excitement. “This is perfect. This is amazing.”

Kelly rolled her eyes, “You’re so dramatic. But yes, Chris loves him. He listens to him on repeat all the time.”

Since Chris’ Birthday was in a days time, Chase and I decided to try and find out who his favorite singer is so that we could perform for him, and who knows better than Kelly?

“Wait, who’s Bryan Adams?” Caleb questioned, cocking his head to the side.

I frowned at him, and slapped the back of his head. “Excuse you!”

Caleb yelped and slapped my hand away, “What the hell was that for?”

“For being an idiot.” I drawled, rolling my eyes at his idiocy.

Shannon stepped in between us, and held her hands up, separating Caleb and I in an attempt to stop a cat fight. “How about instead of getting violent with him May, you just educate the child?”

“Child?” Caleb gasped in horror, “You weren’t calling me a child the other day, sweetheart.”

My hand flew to my mouth and I let out a bellowing laugh at his bluntness. Shannon turned a fierce red, and punch his arm.

“Bryan Adams is a singer Caleb. He’s legendary… Apparently Mr Williams used to be friends with him.” Chase explained.

“Okay we need to get everyone together without Chris knowing.” I mumbled, “How about Kelly distracts Chris for a while, and we’ll throw a camp meeting in the concert field?”

“How are we going to get everyone to meet us at the field though?” Shannon questioned, “I don’t know if any of you realized, but the people here are absolute idiots.”

I pursed my lips, thinking. My eyes lit up and I grinned, “I’ve an idea.”

“What the hell, May!” Max snapped in irritation. Everyone in the camp was glaring up at me, as I stood on the stage. I shot them a peace sign and smirked. It took a day for the plan to work but I was happy with the results.

“I only came because I heard Max say that Demi Lovato was here!” Corey whined, stomping his feet.

“I heard Cassie say that Chris invited her!” Max grumbled, glaring at me.

“I heard Melissa say it! Stop blaming me!” Cassie snapped.

“Jessica shouted it out after piano lessons!” Melissa defended herself, pointing at Jessica who pulled a face.

“Shannon and May were talking about it in our cabin.” Jessica shrugged.

“It was May’s idea.” Shannon squeaked.

“And voila! Here we all are.” I grinned, fist-bumping Chase. “Told you I was an evil master mind.”

Nearly everyone in the camp rolled their eyes in-sync, which I found quite hurtful. “Stop sassing me! Jeez you’re all so grumpy.”

“Why are we here?” Keara snapped, picking at her nail polish with an uninterested look on her face.

“Don’t snap at her!” Jessica hissed, “Only I get to snap at her.”

I cooed and pointed to Jessica before shaping my hands into a love heart. “Love you too boo!”

“Fuck you Riley.”

Chase rudely pushed me aside and took over the microphone. “Right so here’s the thing. It’s Chris’ Birthday today, and we thought we should do what we do best and perform for him as a shitty ‘Happy Birthday Chris, most of us are broke so we’re singing you a song’ present.”

I shoved Chase aside, glaring at him for taking my spotlight. “Jessica, Shannon and I are contributing to the special effects, anyone who wants to help out money wise, can do so. If you don’t wanna, you really don’t have to.”

“We’re going to have fireworks!” Shannon gushed.

“So yeah, everyone’s going to participate in some way. We’re singing a song by Chris’ favorite artist, Bryan Adams. It’s called ’summer of ‘69’ and it’s pretty awesome.”

“We basically have the whole day to practice because Kelly and Chris have left camp for the day.” Chase added, “So we need to get a move on so that it’s perfect for this evening.”

“Chase and I call dibs as choreographer!” I yelled, catching our position.

“That’s not fair. Don’t be a dictator May.” Keara snapped, “I want to be the choreographer.”

“But-but we came up with the idea!”Chase pouted.

Keara shrugged and smirked. I sighed and gestured to Max, who rolled his eyes. He knew my gestures off by heart.

“Who ever want’s Keara to be choreographer say aye!” He hollered. Three people including myself yelled ‘aye’ in response. Everyone stared at me as if I was crazy.

“What? I’m a nice person. Gotta give her more than two aye’s.”

Max tutted at me, before shouting, “Who ever want’s Mase to do the choreography scream ‘aye’.” I winced as the crowd screamed their response.

“The people have spoken.” I smirked at Keara, before clapping my hands. “Alright you scallywags, I want the dancers in a group over there, singers over there, guitarists and drummers over there, and those who love putting on a show stand here.” I pointed in different directions. They followed my orders with no complaints which caused me to grin. “I’d be an awesome president.”

“President of Narnia.” Chase added.

“You read my mind.”

“Would you two stop being weird for a second and help?” Shannon asked, rolling her eyes.

We spent the next four hours practicing. The lyrics were split up between the singers and the band had been trying to learn their notes.

I had been coming up with some dance routines that would go with the song. Just before lunch we were able to have all groups practice together.

After lunch, Shannon and Jessica returned with the fireworks and decorations. It took everyone an hour and a half to set up the stage. We decorated with tacky ‘Happy Birthday’ banners, disco balls, a few baby pictures of Chris that his mother had provided.

“Guys, we only have like an hour left.” Jessica panted, catching her breath after dancing.

I nodded, “Kelly said they just left, and it’s about an hour away from here.”

“Where did she take him?” Caleb questioned curiously.

“Some festival thing? I’m not sure.”

“We really need it to be perfect this time. Everyone into positions!” Chase ordered. The dancers were right underneath the stage. They sat there until their part came on, where they would jump up at the exact same time. We picked out the best drummer, which was Caleb, and some of the best guitarists in the camp. Everyone participated in some way.

Melissa began to play with lights, making sure that she focuses them at the right time. She also created a small slide-show full of embarrassing and nice pictures of Chris which will be played once the performance ends.

We perfected our performance just in time for Chris’ arrival. “May go delay him for a minute, and let us all get into our positions!” Shane ordered, as he sat a few chairs right in front of the stage so Chris and Kelly could sit along with the other staff members.

“Why me?” I whined, stomping my foot. Everyone raised their eyebrows at me.

“Because you’re the biggest bullshitter?” Jessica mused, smiling sweetly at me.

I frowned but shrugged in agreement. I am a pretty big bullshitter. I jogged away from the field and towards the car that Chris and Kelly were climbing out of. “Aw how’s my favorite couple?” I cooed, pinching Chris’ cheeks.

“Get-off-me!” He grumbled, blushing slightly.

“Chris, did you get a hair cut?” I questioned.

“No…”

“Are you sure?”

“I think I’d know if I got a hair cut?”

“You’re in a camp full of rebels, I wouldn’t be so sure about that. I once gave my dad a haircut when he fell asleep on the couch.”

“That actually happened.” Kelly stated, winking at me. “I was very proud.”

Chris narrowed his eyes at me, and ran his hand through his hair cautiously. “It looks good!” I promised him innocently.

“Stop hitting on my boyfriend bitch.” Kelly teased.

I waved her away, “Shush now ginger. Everyone knows he’s whipped, you don’t have to worry.”

Chris sighed, “And here’s me thinking you’d be nice as it’s my birthday…”

“You expected special treatment? Dude I treat everyone equally.” I stated, patting his shoulder. “Now follow me.”

“Follow you? That sounds dangerous-“

“Kelly tell your idiot to show some respect!”

“Show some respect Chris.” Kelly ordered.

“But- She started it-“

“And my dear cousin always ends it. She got that from me.”

I smirked triumphantly. “Let’s go chickas!”

We made our way into the concert field. The lights on the stage were turned off, and except for a dim light shining towards Chase. A few of the staff we’re already sitting, along with some of Chris’ friends and family members that Cassie managed to get hold of.

“Sit yourself down there Chrissy boy and be amazed.” Was Chase’s epic introduction.

Shannon tutted and stepped forward, pushing Chase out of the way. “Happy Birthday Chris! Thank you for everything you have done for us. I really hope you enjoy this.” She grinned at him, and got back into her position while Chase pouted at her for stealing his limelight.

I raced to stand beside Chase, and heard Josh start to play the first notes on his guitar.

“I got my first real six-string.

Bought it at the five-and-dime.
Played it ’til my fingers bled,
was the summer of ’69!”
Chase started to sing into the microphone that Melissa had set up. His voice spread throughout the concert field, and I couldn’t help but smile at how beautiful it was.

“Me and some guys from school!
Had a band and we tried real hard.
Jimmy quit, Jody got married,
I should’ve known we’d never get far!” Shannon sang softly.

Oh, when I look back now.
That summer seemed to last forever!
And if I had the choice..
Yeah, I’d always wanna be there!” Jayden sang, a young guy who had blown me away in a singing lesson before.

“Those were the best days of my life!” All the campers sang in unison. Chris was grinning now, and the dancers, led my Jessica, jumped into a steady and casual dance routine that I had choreographed.

Ain’t no use in complainin’.
When you’ve got a job to do..

Spent my evenings down at the drive-in!
And that’s when I met you, yeah!” Max and his friend Marie sang together.

“Standin’ on your mama’s porch.

You told me that you’d wait forever,

Oh, and when you held my hand!

I knew that it was now or never.

Those were the best days of my life..” Shane added softly, smiling at how ecstatic Chris looked.

I threw my head back and fourth to the beat, before joining in with the campers.

“Man we were killin’ time!
We were young and restless!
We needed to unwind!

I guess nothin’ can last forever, forever, no! yeah!”

The dancers took over the stage, Keara along with them. They all added their own techniques every now and again to spice the dance up.

“And now the times are changin’…
Look at everything that’s come and gone.
Sometimes when I play that old six-string,
I think about you, wonder what went wrong!” I sang my favorite verse in the song, my heart couldn’t help but ache at the words.

“Standin’ on your mama’s porch!

You told me that it’d last forever.

Oh, and when you held my hand!

I knew that it was now or never.

Those were the best days of my life!” We all chorused, grinning at Chris who looked like he was about to cry.

Once the song was finished, the fireworks exploded, making us all scream with excitement. Chris burst out laughing at the fact that we got him fireworks.

“Happy Birthday Chris!” Caleb yelled, blowing him a kiss jokingly.

Chris snorted, whiping away tears from his eyes. I jumped off the stage and ran over to him, giving him a big hug. “Happy Birthday you sap!”

Everyone made their way to Chris with birthday wishes, while Chase and I stared up at the fireworks. “Give me some love.” Chase murmured, holding out his fist for me to bump.

“We smashed that.”

“We’re epic.”

“The epic of the epic.”

“We are the king and queen of epic.”

“This is all so emotional, are you asking me to be your queen?”

“Perhaps.”

“Dude I’m already a queen.”

The slideshow began to play, interrupting Chase and I’s banter. I pissed myself laughing throughout most of it. It had pictures of Chris as a baby, and some of him while he was in high school (gifted by Kelly of course).

The last picture made everyone fall silent, and smile. It was of both Chris and Mr Williams, during the water fight the year before, laughing while the campers through buckets of water at them.

Once the slideshow finished, everyone applauded and we sang Chris a Happy Birthday. I felt someone approach me from behind.

“You didn’t even give me a lead, Riley.” Keara hissed into my ear.

“Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you deserved one?”

“This is the last straw. Prepare to be taken down.” She chuckled menacingly.

I smirked, “Keara sweetie. I am capable of ruining you in two seconds flat. Stop testing my patience.” I shot her a dirty look, before forcing the smile on my face and running over to talk to Kelly.

I wasn’t going to let her ruin my day.


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