Keep the Beat

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Chapter 18

“Wait, Sarah come up from the back and stand at the front.” I ordered as I studied the campers in front of me, “You’re voice would blend in really well with Shane’s.”

She nodded and jumped down from the stand to take her place beside Shane. Shannon and I had worked together to get all the campers to participate in this song. We had set up a choir-like performance, meaning that everyone sang. So far it seemed to be an amazing idea.

“Okay from the start again.” Shannon announced. I took my place at the side beside Melissa and began playing my guitar. Shane started to sing, joined by Sarah their voices blending well together. Once their part had finished we waited for Chase to take over- he didn’t.

“Where the hell is Chase?” I snapped, face palming. “This needs to be perfect for tonight!”

“I saw him leave with Keara.” Stella piped up, smirking at me. Again.

I turned to Caleb with a ‘what the fuck’ look. “I want this performance to be perfect. And I want everyone in this camp to sing in it. So can you go find them?”

He nodded solemnly and jogged away from the group of us. “Everyone can start the chorus.” I murmured and began strumming along to the chorus and singing with the rest of the campers.

Caleb, Chase and Keara returned five minutes later and joined in. After repeating the song six times to make sure that everything was perfect, we called quits.

“Okay so remember, everyone is allowed to play their own piece if they wish. Just let Shannon know before hand so she can tell Chris. The more performances the better!” I informed everyone before letting them go. The memorial was on at nine pm this evening. Shannon and I had spent all morning setting everything up by the dock where we were hoping to have the ceremony. There was a lot of people hoping to attend- a lot of important people. Some of Mr Williams friends would be there, along with some of those who were in the music industry looking for new sounds. Yet I wanted the main focus to be on Mr Williams.

“Hey bitch.” Shane greeted, throwing an arm over my shoulder.

“Sup shithead.” I responded, giving him a side hug.

“Guess what?”

“My letter to Hogwarts has finally arrived?”

He shot me a blank stare causing me to shrug. “You told me to guess.”

“Sydney Shell from ‘x and o records’ is going to be attending tonight. Apparently she’s been looking for some knew sounds.”

“Shane this is massive for you! Are you going to do a song by yourself?” I questioned, smiling at him.

“I was thinking it was more for you.”

“What? No way! Shane you’re voice is so distinct. It’s exactly what she’s looking for!”

“No, I sound like a lot of male artists. You however have such a different voice than any female singer in the industry!”

“You’re being ridiculous. Perform on your own and show her what your made of. I’m going to stick to Mr Williams memorial song, I have a solo in that anyway.”

“Stop being stubborn and just do this!”

“Shane stop pushing it. This is your chance!”

“It can be both of our chances! This is your chance to prove your dad wrong! To show him that music can actually get you somewhere!”

I simply shook my head and continued walking, “I don’t need to prove my dad wrong. I know myself and that’s all that matters.”

He sighed but followed me anyway. “Don’t get yourself worked up over Chase and Keara talking. You know what Chase is like, he’s probably just compromising with her.”

“Compromising,” I snorted, shaking my head. “You’d swear he were my dad the way you’re talking. Besides I really don’t care.”

“Sure you don’t.”

“I honestly don’t! We aren’t together and even if we were he could talk to whomever he liked.”

“Yeah but not her.” Jessica interrupted out of no where. I looked at her with disbelief, annoyed with her obvious eavesdropping.

“You guys think way too much about Keara.”

“Whatever but if I were you, I’d talk to Chase before you get bitter.” Jessica suggested, flicking her hair as she passed her ex boyfriend Corey.

“Firstly; I don’t get bitter. Secondly; your little hair action just shows how hypocritical that was.”

“Firstly!” She mocked, “You’re a girl. You love that guy, so no matter how fucking macho you act- you’re going to turn bitter. Secondly; Yeah I’m going to bitter with that piece of shit. Can you believe he cheated on me?”

“He cheated on you?” Shane asked in shock.

“I can believe it to be honest- besides the fact that you were a total bitch- he was a total flirt. Honestly, I don’t mind the guy when he isn’t being a perv, but he’s a bigger player than Josh.” I thought back to the end of camp party last year and shuddered slightly.

“True, I was sort of relieved when he cheated on me though. Sort of gave me an excuse to end things.”

I shoved her softly, “I like you better without him anyway.”

“So do I.” Shane smiled at Jessica, “I always knew that deep… Deep, deep, deep down you were actually cool.”

She smirked, “They all learn to love me at the end.”

“We take it back.”

Shane nodded in agreement, laughing. “Are you singing your own song Jess?”

“Nah, I’m sticking to the solo that Shannon gave me in Mr Williams song.” She explained, “That reminds me, I’ve an idea!”

“Shoot.”

“Well remember we promised the campers trips out of the camp so that we can advertise their singing? Maybe we could go out next weekend? If we ask Chris.”

“I was hoping to go out next Saturday anyway…” I replied, “I’ve a friend to see.”

“My uncle owns a hotel in LA, I was thinking that we could go there Friday, my uncle will cover the costs if I beg- we’ll have to group up though- and we can go back home Sunday?” Jessica puts her point across.

“Los Angeles?”

“Yeah, it has a lot of important people there. It would be perfect.”

I nodded slowly, the coincidence was unnerving. “That’s cool, my friend is going to be there anyway.”

Jessica smiled, “Perfect. Let’s go help Shannon set up then?”

I nodded in agreement as Shane glanced between us, confused by my expression. We made our way to the dock where Shannon was already snapping at people.

“I want lights everywhere. Yes everywhere!”

“Even on us?” I questioned cheekily.

“We’re already stars.” She stated back playfully, “We are the light.”

I snorted with laughter and went forward to help her. She climbed up onto a chair and began to place some fairy lights over the tree that stood close to the dock.

“I was thinking about putting some candles in the water.” Shannon explained, “I’ve sent those guys to go and find those candles that can float.”

“Do you even know what they’re called? Or where they’d find them?” Jessica asked inquisitively, confused by Shannon’s determination for ‘lights everywhere’.

“That’s their job?” Shannon replied in a ‘duh’ tone.

I chuckled under my breath, amused by Shannon’s obsessiveness.

“How are you doing May? Are you a bit bitter?” Shannon called over. I dropped one of the lights onto the ground and turned to her.

“Why does everyone say I’m bitter? I’m never bitter! I hate bitter. I hate lemons god.”

Shannon raised an eyebrow, “Uh huh. Sure okay.”

“Don’t patronize me!” I whined.

She giggled and began to place candles around the dock. “It’s okay May. It’s a good thing that you’re bitter. It means Mase is sailing.”

“Go find Caleb, dipshit.” I snarled grumpily.

“You love him. You wanna kiss him. You wanna-”

I grabbed the nearest candle and threw it at her.

“I want to thank you all for coming tonight,” Chris smiled at the crowd of people who were sitting in their seats in front of the dock, the lights twinkling in the dark, “Our wonderful campers put this memorial together for my Grandfather, your friend and their idol- Mr Williams.”

A gentle applause arose from both the visitors and those who stay at the camp. A pensive look crossed Chris’ face as he continued, “Granddad wasn’t the kind of person who sang for money. He became famous out of his love for music, nothing else. He got his money from his concerts that his record company insisted people paid for to stop any riots. He would voluntarily go to birthday parties and perform for his fans and he set up this music camp for free- so that anyone who deserved to embrace their musical talent could.”

I felt someone sidle up beside me. We were standing in three lines. A line of people stood on the top step of the dock, a line of people were standing, and a line were sitting crossed legs on the ground. I began to realize how bad I had it when I didn’t even have to look to know that it was Chase. I could smell the cologne that his granddad had got him for Christmas.

“He set up two camps, Step Up The Beat and Turn It Up. Both of them were beside each other, yet Mr Williams kept them separate. I never understood why, but a few weeks before he died he told me the reason, he said ‘sometimes you get sick of family and just need your friends.’ Now the camps are together forming camp Turn Up The Beat, because I think that friends can become your family.”

“Hey.” Chase whispered into my ear.

“Hi.” I replied, determined to not sound bitter.

“Hmm. So you’re calm, that’s always good sign.” He said absent-minded.

“-I would now like to give the lime light over to the campers of Turn up the beat. They worked very hard the last few days on a song dedicated to Mr Williams.”

I glanced over at Melissa and a guy called Sam who were also playing the guitars and nodded my head at Shannon who was playing the piano. She pressed her fingers down on the keys and began to play. Everyone shifted as they preferred themselves.

“Step one, you say, ‘We need to talk.’
He walks, you say, ‘Sit down. It’s just a talk.’
He smiles politely back at you.
You stare politely right on through!” Shane begins, soon joined in by Sarah.

“Some sort of window to your right,
as he goes left and you stay right…
Between the lines of fear and blame,
you begin to wonder why you came!”

I started to play my guitar, followed by Melissa and Sam.

“Where did I go wrong? I lost a friend,
somewhere along in the bitterness.
And I would have stayed up with you all night!
Had I known how to save a life!” The campers sang together, our harmonies blending in together.

“Let him know that you know best.
’Cause after all you do know best.
Try to slip past his defense,
without granting innocence.” Josh sang, letting me take over. I took a deep breath and began to raise my voice to hit the notes.

“Lay down a list of what is wrong,
the things you’ve told him all along.
Pray to God, he hears you!
And I pray to God, he hears you!”

I felt like crying. This song always made me feel like crying. The lyrics, the tone, the music.

The campers repeated the chorus, changing the notes in some areas from low to high.

Chase took over from the chorus with his soft angelic voice,

As he begins to raise his voice
You lower yours and grant him one last choice
Drive until you lose the road
Or break with the ones you’ve followed.”

“He will do one of two things.
He will admit to everything,
or he’ll say he’s just not the same.
And you’ll begin to wonder why you came!” Jessica sang. The chorus was repeated twice, leaving the campers emotional, some with tears in their eyes.

“How to save a life.” Shannon finished softly, as she swept her fingers lightly over the piano keys, ending the song.

The audience of people stood up and applauded us, a smile etched upon my lips, proud of the camper’s performance. Chris pleasantly thanked and praised us, before turning to say a few more words to the visitors.

“I’m going to put my guitar back into my cabin,” I whispered in Shane’s ear, “If I don’t see you before your performance; good luck!”

He kissed my cheek and let me skip away quickly back to the cabins. I finally released the breath that I was holding, after laying my guitar on my bed and sitting on the steps outside of my cabin.

“I never got it.” Chase voiced, coming over to me.

“Got what?” I replied, choosing to humor him.

“Why his death effected you so much?” He shrugged, “Don’t get me wrong, we all loved him and you were growing to love him, it’s just-“

“I didn’t know him for as long as you guys did?” I finished his question.

He nodded simply, sitting down in front of me. “That’s sort of the point I guess. Things always happen when I’m around. Both bad and good. Maybe I caused his stress with the whole Jessica war thing. I don’t know but he died the year that I came.”

“May, Mr Williams was old. There was nothing you could do.”

I didn’t reply, I merely stared at the bracelets that he was wearing.

“You haven’t asked yet.” He mused, smirking at me.

“Asked what?” I played dumb, blinking at him innocently.

“I honestly don’t know what’s worse, you acting all innocent and clueless, or you losing your shit.” He mumbled under his breath.

“My presence itself is perfection. There is no ‘worse’.” I told him hotly.

“Oh yeah, sure. You keep telling yourself that.” He grinned.

“Oh go fix your hair, pretty boy.”

“At least you admit I’m pretty.”

“Did I say pretty? I meant petty.”

“Now we all know you meant pretty. Anyone who saw me would know that I was pretty.”

“Chase you’re so full of yourself, do you know that?”

He smirked and nodded his head. “You need to trust me.” He told me, as he grabbed my hand and tilted his head to the side.

I flicked a strand of his chocolate brown hair back up onto his head and smiled, “Chase honey. I wouldn’t trust you to feed my goldfish.”

“I had a goldfish once, it was dead the next week…” He mumbled sadly, as if I had brought up a bad memory.

I laughed loudly at this and pushed him, “Exactly my point.”

His grin returned as he leaned forward making eye contact, “You need to trust that anything I do isn’t to hurt you. I promise you that.”

I furrowed my eyebrows at him and nodded. “Alright. But just so you know, if you do go down Anakin Skywalker’s lane, then I will throw you into a pit of darkness.”

“Duly noted.” He agreed, pulling me to my feet. “Shane told me you weren’t doing a solo.”

“Didn’t feel like it.” I replied casually.

He shrugged and tossed his arm over my shoulder, “Okay, but just so you know. If you do decide to get yourself noticed, become famous and have an awesome fan army that will take over the world- Our ship name is definitely Chay. Mase sounds like some sort of animal feed.”

“You did not just say that!”

“I did.”

“You’re so cheesy!”

“But isn’t your favorite dessert cheese cake?”


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