Keep the Beat

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Chapter 21

“He needs to let me- I mean us go.” I informed the guys, sitting cross legged on my bed. “I can’t miss Jacks fight.”

“Neither can I,” Melissa agreed, “but he’s been pissed at how much tension there has been for the last few days. I heard him saying to Kelly that we weren’t going anywhere until it’s sorted.”

I gritted my teeth in annoyance, Chris was seriously stubborn. It was three days until Jacks fight, and Chris still hadn’t decided whether we could go. “Has anyone any ideas of how we could convince him to let us go?”

“We could all just try and cut the tension out,” Shane suggests, eyeing me wearily. I glared back at him.

“Dude, it was you guys who sang Lilly Allen’s fuck you to Keara this morning not me. Y’all more bitter than I am.”

“We aren’t bitter.” Shannon murmured, “We just don’t like it when you’re… Quiet.”

“I’m not being quiet!” I snapped, rolling my eyes.

“You’re a little quiet.” Shane argued softly.

“No, you guys are just loud!”

“May, you didn’t speak a word at breakfast, and you didn’t take part in dance class today. You can talk to us, don’t block us out.” Melissa attempts to comfort me, placing a hand on my shoulder.

“I’m fine.”

Everyone was observing me carefully, they spoke with such gentleness just to make sure I wouldn’t break. Well all except Caleb. Caleb didn’t give a fuck.

“Oh shut up May, stop bullshitting. We all know that you’re a tragic mess and that you’ve got a box full of chocolate and lolly-pops under your bed like the stereotypical teenager that you are.”

I grinned at this, pleased that at he wasn’t treating me like a glass doll. “I’ve got a coca-cola flavoured pop if you want one?”

Calebs eyes widened and he nodded eagerly, I let the smile drop from my face. “Well maybe if you didn’t call me tragic then I would have given one to you, dipshit!” The truth was I did have sweets hidden under my bed, yet I hadn’t touched them yet.

Shannon chuckled at Caleb as he pouted at me, whining about how mean I was. Shane plonked himself down beside me, allowing me to rest my head on his shoulder. “I don’t feel well.” I informed him.

He patted my head, “As long as you don’t puke on me, you’re good.”

I fake barfed just to see him cringe and insult me. “Do you want to hear my new rap?”

“Not really.”

“Tough.” I shrugged, “Check this out.” I began to dance to some non-existent music before beginning, “Shane, you’re my main. You ain’t ever too vain. Your hair is like a horses mane, and you’re as cute as old John Wayne-“

“Oh my god, stop.” Shane interrupted.

“Keep going this is epic!” Melissa laughed.

“When I got my Shane, I don’t even notice the rain, I swear he keeps me sane, even though sometimes I want to hit him with a cane!”

Shane shook his head at me with an amused smile as everyone else chuckled. “You’re a weirdo.”

“A cute weirdo.”

“An idiotic weirdo.”

“The best weirdo-“

The camp siren interrupted us, causing me to wince at its shrill piercing sound. Someone knocked on the cabin door and everyone turned to see Max peek his head in. “Chris is throwing a meeting, c’mon.” He ordered, gesturing for us to follow him.

I groaned and climbed off the bed, pulling Shane after me with a disgruntled expression. “He couldn’t just wait till dinner? Oh no, Chris has to be all dramatic and set off the sirens, what’s the betting that he’ll come out dressed as Barnie singing about how we all need to get along?”

“I’d pay to see that.” Caleb chuckled, “I’d have it on youtube and become a sensational youtuber and-“

“No one cares Caleb.” Shannon interrupted, teasingly.

“You know, most guys would find evil, rude, cocky Shannon quite off-putting, but I sort of find it attractive.”

“Guys get a room.” Melissa rolled her eyes, shoving Shannon forward. As we approached the dining area, Caleb squeezed my shoulder, silently letting me know that he was going to sit beside Chase. I automatically felt guilty. Guilty that he seemed to be afraid to just go sit with his best friend, guilty that Chase hadn’t seen his best friend all day because he was with me. I winked at Caleb and at that moment made the decision to smile at Chase. Chase seemed frozen in the spot, unsure of what to do before carefully saluting me. His action caused my heart to ache.

“What are you doing?” Shannon asked cautiously, sitting beside me. I ruffled Josh’s hair in greeting before turning to her.

“What do you mean?”

“You’re being civil to him… Is this sort of a game plan or is this-“

“For good. He didn’t do anything wrong. We were never together, we were only ever friends and I want things to go back to that.”

She stared at me as if I was insane.

“It isn’t fair on Caleb, Shan.” I whispered, averting my eyes.

She raised her eyebrows and sighed. “You’re doing this for Caleb?”

“He’s our friend Shannon, more than your friend.” I added, “We can’t drag him into a rife with his best friend.”

She nodded silently, and Josh who must have been listening in, wrapped his arm around me tightly. “Why are you being so affectionate?” I questioned him with a smirk.

“Why are you being so mature?” He mocked.

“I’m always mature!” I pretended to take offense, but ended up laughing anyway. “You smell.”

“There’s the mature May we know!”

The chatter died down as Chris came into the dining place and sat on top of the teachers table. “You guys have been asking me for a chance to let you all go out and advertise yourself in LA.” He began, causing me to roll my eyes at his formalness. “I believe that it is a great idea, to go out and gain independence, to represent this camp and develop a reputation for yourself. Jessica has even organised somewhere for you to stay for free.”

“So you’re letting us go?” Jessica pressed, impatiently.

“Well I would have let you all go, no bother, if you all weren’t behaving like a pack of children.”

“Technically we are still children.” Caleb coughed.

“We’ve sorted it out Chris. There’ll be no more arguments or fights.” I attempted to convince him.

He looked at me for a second, and nodded. “Okay. But I still want you all to do something for me.”

“Do what?” Chase drawled, unimpressed.

“A team exercise. You all have ten minutes to come up with one singer to win you your trip.”

“A singer?”

“Any singer. If I’m impressed with the choice, and the way you chose him or her, then I will let you all go.”

Everyone stared at him with a raised eyebrow, “Are you actually serious?” Keara asked, rolling her eyes.

“Dead serious. Nine minutes left.”

I sighed and took control, “Fine. We need nominations of who should sing in the first place, shout them up.”

“Keara!”

“May.”

“Chase!”

“Jessica.”

“Shane.” Melissa and I chorused.

“Marie.”

A couple more names were put forward, leaving us with seven and a half minutes left.

“Now what?” Josh asked, pursing his lips.

“Keara is the best singer here.” Douchebag James shouted forward, stomping his foot. “She’s the one who is going to sing, and that’s final.”

“Sorry James, but I wasn’t aware that this was a dick-tatorship.” I snorted with laughter, slapping Josh’s leg. “See what I did there, dick-tatorship? I’m so funny!” I heard a chortle of laughter from the other side of the area, to see Chase with his head on the table shaking with laughter.

Josh shook his head at me, trying his best not to laugh. “We’re going to do a vote!” Shannon decided, ignoring James input. “Hands up for Keara.” A small amount of hands rose into the air.

“For May-“

“Nah man.” I shook my head, “I don’t want to compete in this. I feel a little sick at the moment, so I’m backing Shane because I think he’d be the best to win over Chris.”

“You still feel sick?” Shane questioned, frowning. I shrugged carelessly, and waved him off.

“I’m backing out too.” Chase announced, watching me. Keara turned to him, whispered to him frantically, but he just smiled tightly at her. Jessica decided that most people still didn’t like her, so it was pointless to even try and compete.

There ended up being a tie between Shane and Marie. “Two minutes left.” Chris called out.

“Why should we choose between Shane and Marie.” Chase questioned, getting up from his seat and leaning against the table. “We all know that they are both amazing singers, and that they are brilliant at singing together. So why don’t they both just sing together?”

“A duet.” I agreed, “That sounds perfect.”

“But what song?” Shane asked, panicked.

“I’ve a song that I’d love to sing,” Marie murmured, “If Shane’s okay with singing it then-“

“I’m okay with singing nearly everything, what’s it called?”

Marie came over and whispered the song in his ear, and he smiled. “I love that song.”

“Times up!” Chris announced.

“How convenient that you call time up the moment everything is sorted. Did you even time it? Or did you lose count half way through-“

“May shut up.” Chris whined, his secret having been outed. He told both Shane and Marie that they were to go and prepare themselves on the concert stage, and Shane had sent Josh off to fetch his guitar.

We all made our way to the concert area, Keara’s gang grumbling over the decision, while the rest of the campers gushed about how perfectly both Shane and Marie’s voices flowed together. I rubbed the back of my neck in irritation, I felt awful. I didn’t know how to describe what I felt, I knew I had a headache but everything else just made me feel terrible and weak.

“I’ve made up a rap of my own,” Caleb informed me, wrapping an arm around my shoulder, and another around Chase’s. I shook myself slightly, in an attempt to liven myself up.

“Go for it.”

“Me and my May-“

“I’m sorry Caleb, but your grammar sucks. It’s ‘May and I’.”

“But that wouldn’t work for my rap!”

“May, you should know by now that Caleb isn’t the brightest spark,” Chase smirked, “His family and his friends try their best to ignore his continuous grammatical errors, and they do their best to look past his faults and to love him. It’s difficult, but-“

“Oh shut up and let me do my rap!”

“Aright, alright chill.” I chuckled, leaning into him as we continued our stroll to the concert area.

“Okay.” He coughed, “Me and my May, are going to LA, along with my bae. It’s gonna be one hell of a day, as long as it goes the right way, and that there is nothing going on between May and that Jack guy because I’m not team Jay, I’m team Chay-“

“Jesus Christ Caleb.” I muttered, shaking my head and walking faster.

“What do you mean something going on between her and Jack?”

“Chase sweetheart,” I interrupted, smiling sarcastically. “It wouldn’t be your concern anyway.”

“Merely curious.” He responded, eyeing me.

“Curiosity killed the cat.”

“Are you sure it was curiosity? You hate cats, I bet it was you.”

I fought back a smile, “You’re a loser.”

He grinned, and I was suddenly reminded of what he had- or hadn’t- done. Caleb pecked my head, winking cheekily before racing off after Shannon, leaving Chase and I walking together. When we got to the concert field, Shane and Marie were waiting on stage, murmuring to each other.

“Let’s get this show on the road then.” Chris stated, handing the attention over to the two performers.

Shane and Marie exchanged looks, and Marie nodded, smiling confidently.

Shane took a deep breath and began to play his guitar. “Yeah, you can be the greatest,
You can be the best
You can be the King Kong banging on your chest.
You can beat the world.
You can beat the war.
You can talk to God, go banging on his door!”

Marie’s strong yet gentle voice began to mix in with his words, “You can throw your hands up
You can beat the clock.
You can move a mountain
You can break rocks”

You can be a master, don’t wait for luck.
Dedicate yourself and you gon’ find yourself-“ Shane continued himself.

“Standing in the hall of fame!” Maries voice erupted throughout the concert area,
And the world’s gonna know your name,
’Cause you burn with the brightest flame.
And the world’s gonna know your name!
And you’ll be on the walls of the hall of fame…”

“Be a champion, be a champion, be a champion, be a champion… On the walls of the hall of fame.” Shane murmured softly.

“Be students, be teachers, be politician, be preachers.” Marie crooned.

“Be believers, be leaders, be astronauts, be champions, be truth seekers.”

“Standing in the hall of fame,
and the world’s gonna know your name.” They sang softly in sync.
“’Cause you burn with the brightest flame.
And the world’s gonna know your name.
And you’ll be on the walls of the hall of fame!”

Once they had finished both of them bowed awkwardly, and laughed. They had changed the song around in order to give each other an equal amount to sing, and to shorten it down so that everyone could hear Chris’ verdict.

I clapped and cheered along with the rest of the campers, stunned by how effortless yet magnificent the performance was. A sharp pain ran through my forehead, most likely from the noise.

“They were amazing.” Chase mumbled, “I probably could have done better but still.”

I rolled my eyes at his teasing, and stretched my neck, suddenly feeling extremely warm.

“I give in. You all can go. Jessica come and talk with me so we can sort out this accommodation.” Chris ordered, causing everyone to grin. I tried to smile.

“May are you okay?” Chase asked, worry evident in his voice.

“Fine.” I muttered, discomfort laced in my tone.

“Don’t lie.”

I had a sudden sense of overcrowding, it was too warm, too loud. “Come on.” He told me, taking my hand carefully and leading me away. “I’m going to get you to Kelly.”

“I’m just tired.”

“You need food.” He disagreed, shaking his head. “Your blood sugar is dropping.”

“How would you know?” I snapped.

“Because you haven’t eaten properly in the last couple of days. You picked at your breakfast this morning, ate probably two bites of mash yesterday and I don’t you ate anything but cookies before that.” He rushed out.

I stared at him in bewilderment, he’d been watching me?

“I just haven’t been hungry.”

“I know.” He croaked, “but you’re going to eat. If you don’t, then you won’t get to go and see Jack.” And with that he half carried, half dragged me the rest of the way to Kellys.


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