‘So, let me get this straight,’ I asked Ben, while still being highly embarrassed by his having walked in on me and Guy. ‘You’re not gay? And we don’t turn you on?’
‘Nope. And nope. Well, not sexually anyway,’ he said, while shaking his head. He was still leaning against the doorway with his arms folded across his chest, and all the while he was grinning at us like a madman.
‘You’re telling us that seeing us like this makes you hot, but you’re not gay? What are you then?’ Guy asked him.
‘Just a regular horny teenager, with hormones running rampant’ Ben cheekily answered.
‘Man, I’m just never going to understand you, Ben,’ exclaimed Guy.
‘Christ. I gave up trying to do that a long time ago,’ I added.
‘Relax guys. I just think that this is great that you guys have finally worked things out, which was no thanks to me I might add, but just remember that neither of you turn me on or anything like that. Okay? So you can both just keep your hands to yourselves.’
Guy and I glanced at each other and both of us simply rolled our eyes.
‘I have to admit though,’ Ben continued, ‘that it was good to see you guys together like that, and as far as I am concerned, that’s all that really matters.’
‘You’re just full of it!’ Guy said to him.
‘Maybe. Maybe not,’ Ben replied, ‘But there will come a day when you will thank me.’
‘Maybe. Maybe not,’ Guy responded, while throwing a tea towel at him (which appeared to be the closest weapon at hand).
* * *
Less than twenty-four hours later the three of us walked into the school hall to find Snowy and an ever dwindling number of our school mates assembled for rehearsals.
‘Ahhhhh . . .’ Snowy exclaimed as he noticed us approaching. ‘Here they are, the men of the moment.’
All eyes suddenly turned our way and followed us as we made our way from the back of the hall down the centre aisle towards the stage.
As always, Ben was leading the way, while Guy and I followed a few steps behind.
‘I have a feeling that this is going to be quite embarrassing,’ I whispered to Guy.
‘It’ll be sweet. Don’t worry about it,’ he answered.
‘Gentlemen, you are just in time. I was about to play your musical to the assembled cast and crew,’ Snowy trumpeted.
‘Shit,’ Guy whispered, ‘maybe this will be embarrassing?’
‘Nah. It’ll be sweet, remember?’
We sat down in the front row, sitting as far as we could away from the rest of the students that were there while trying not to appear to be too rude, as Snowy fumbled with the old tape deck.
He was being helped by one of the year twelve students, who was clearly becoming exasperated by Snowy’s lack of technical know-how.
Snowy was trying to plug some speakers into the tape deck and he couldn’t find the right holes.
‘Do you know where these go, Cameron?’ we finally heard him ask.
The guy took the cables from Snowy’s hand and plugged them straight into the sockets on the back of the tape deck. Instantly there was a loud hissing noise coming from the speakers.
‘That must be it,’ Snowy said, triumphantly.
Cameron looked across at us, his faced filled with exasperation. I just winked at him and he quickly turned away, blushing.
While Snowy played some more with the tape deck, inserting the tape and starting to rewind it, I noticed that Ben was staring at someone across the hall.
‘Who are you looking at?’ I asked him quietly, leaning over and almost whispering into his ear.
He turned around and grinned at me.
‘Who is the blonde down the end of the front row?’ he asked me, jerking his head in that general direction, before turning and staring at the girl once again.
I followed his gaze and soon figured out who it was that he was talking about.
It was a girl from year twelve, the same year that Cameron the stereo-fix-it boy was in. I wasn’t sure of her name, but I had seen her around the school quite a bit.
Normally the year twelve students didn’t participate in the staging of the school musical, as they were so heavily involved with their studies for their final exams.
It seemed that this year, however, we were being graced with their presence due to their studying dramatic arts or music or some such subject.
‘A bit rich for you I think, mate,’ I answered. ‘And a bit old too probably. I’m pretty sure she’s in year twelve. Haven’t you seen her around before?’
He simply shrugged and said, ‘I suppose so. I’m not sure though.’
He just kept on staring at her.
‘What’s her name?’ Ben eventually asked me.
‘I don’t know,’ I answered. ‘And are you serious?’
‘Maybe,’ he answered, with that familiar wicked grin that I had seen so often lately.
Just then Snowy finally got his act together and called for our attention by clapping his hands together and calling out, ‘Children. Children. Children!’
Slowly the talk and laughter died down and everyone turned their attention toward him.
‘Thank you,’ he finally said to us all. ‘Now, I know that some of you have been searching your collections for music we can use in this musical, but I think our search is over, thanks to our friends Tim and Guy and Ben, down here in the front row, who I think have come up with something very worthwhile that we should all have a listen to.’
All heads suddenly turned our way again and all we could do was shrink down into our chairs as best we could.
Snowy turned around and pressed the ‘play’ button on the old tape deck and the speakers soon started spitting out their familiar hiss.
We all then spent the next three-quarters of an hour listening to the tape that Guy and Ben and I had been listening to for the past couple of days, with Snowy giving a running commentary on the scenes that he envisaged which related to each song.
When the tape had finished he pressed the ‘stop’ button and then just sat there on the edge of the stage, looking us all up and down.
‘Well?’ he finally asked. ‘Isn’t anyone going to make any comment?’
The blonde from year twelve thrust her hand in the air.
I noticed Ben turn and look at her again, and I smiled to myself at the thought of him chasing after her. It was bound to happen.
‘Sir. I think it’s great. I mean, even without anything extra, like narration or dialogue, you can almost see the story taking place.’
Snowy nodded, then looked across at us and smiled.
‘My sentiments exactly, Sam. Can everyone else see the story that has evolved from the use of the songs?’ Snowy asked.
A few of the younger kids shook their heads, but the majority seemed to be nodding.
Snowy looked down at those who were shaking their heads, with a patient kind of expression on his face, then proceeded to explain the story, which was basically about a new girl in town who finds herself being the object of the affections of two boys, both of whom are friends. The boys both try to win the girl’s affections, but in the end, only one can prevail.
‘Now, there’s no guarantee that we might not change a few things around, or add or delete some songs, but at least we have the basics for a show. What we need to do now is link the songs together a little more with, as Samantha suggested, some narration or dialogue, then it looks like we will have ourselves a show.’
An excited murmur went through the group.
‘Then, once that has been done, we’ll look at the cast, who gets to play what parts, and then we need to assemble our stage crew. There is still much to be done, people, if we are to stage this before the end of the year, so what I want you to do now is go home, and again, either by yourselves or in groups, I want a story written that fits what we have just talked about. After that, we will go through them all and pick out the pieces we think are suitable, and then it will be full steam ahead. All right then. Today is Wednesday. We’ll meet here again on Friday, if that’s all right with everyone.’
We all got up to leave and the younger students wasted no time in racing down the aisle and out the doors, while Cameron and Samantha came over to us.
‘I think you guys did a great job,’ Samantha said to us. ‘It couldn’t have been easy coming up with all those songs like that and making a story out of them.’
It was Ben who was closest to them and he replied for us all, by saying, ‘It was nothing really.’
Guy and I just looked at each other in disbelief, then I gave Ben a belt up the side of the head.
Samantha looked horrified, looking at me as if to say, ‘How dare you.’
Cameron just laughed, while Ben quickly caught on to the fact that she was defending him and immediately started acting like some hurt child.
I had to laugh, which only resulted in a more scornful look from Samantha.
We chatted amongst ourselves for a short time, but in the end I simply said to Guy, ‘Come on, I think it’s time for us to get going.’
He nodded and so we said goodbye to Samantha and Cameron.
‘You coming?’ I asked Ben.
He just turned his head and winked at me, making sure that Samantha and Cameron couldn’t see him do it, then said, ‘Nah, I’ll catch up with you guys later.’
‘Okay then,’ I answered, and so we left them where they were.
‘So, what do you reckon about Ben and Samantha?’ Guy asked as we headed for the car park.
‘Oh, I reckon he’ll be in her pants by the end of the week,’ I answered.
‘Yeah, if I know him as well as I think I do, he will be,’ I said, grinning. ‘Or he’ll die trying.’
* * *
Ben phoned me that night and gave me an update. I knew he would. He couldn’t last a day when it came to letting me know all about his exploits.
‘She likes me,’ he excitedly told me when I picked up the phone and answered it.
Lucky he couldn’t see me rolling my eyes just at that moment.
‘What happened?’ I asked.
‘We went downtown for a drink at the milk bar.’
‘And?’ I prompted.
‘She said she loved what we did.’
‘You had nothing to do with it,’ I protested.
‘Yeah, I know. Ain’t it great?’ I could hear him laughing as he said it.
‘She’s older than you. Doesn’t that bother you?’ I asked.
‘Why should it?’ he answered. ‘Age is just a number. Didn’t you know that?’
‘So, how about you guys?’ he asked.
‘What about us?’
‘What did you get up to after you left?’
‘Errrr . . . not much’
‘Yeah, I’ll bet,’ he answered. I could almost see him grinning, and could most definitely hear the innuendo in his reply.
I wanted to tell him that all we did was lie on Guy’s bed and listen to music, but I knew he would have been disappointed in me if I had told him just that.
As it was, it was one of the most pleasant afternoons that I had ever spent with anyone.
I just lay there with his arm around me, my head on his shoulder and with one of my hands resting gently on his chest, rising and falling with each breath he took.
I could have stayed there forever, but the sound of a car being driven up the drive-way, which ran right alongside Guy’s bedroom window, soon brought us both back to the real world.
‘Shit. That’s mum,’ Guy said, hurriedly letting go of me and then sitting up.
We had totally lost track of the time. We were lucky that we hadn’t fallen asleep.
I got up and looked out the window and noticed that it was getting quite late. It must have been at least six o’clock, maybe even later.
‘I better get home,’ I said to him, giving him one last hug while I still could, before his mother came inside.
He leaned in and kissed me. ‘I’ll give you a lift if you like.’
I kissed him back. ‘Yeah, I would like. I would like very much.’
‘You still there?’ I heard Ben suddenly asking, snapping my attention back to the present.
‘Huh? Yeah, I’m here,’ I answered.
‘Christ, where did you go?’
‘I was just . . . err . . . thinking about this afternoon,’ I answered truthfully.
I could hear him giggling on the other end of the line.
‘Yeah, I bet you were. OK then, I’ll leave you with your thoughts,’ he finally said.
‘See you in the morning?’
‘Yeah. I’ll meet you on the street.’
When we disconnected I did go back to my thoughts about the events of my afternoon.
It had been pretty much dark by the time Guy had driven me home, after introducing me to his mother and my receiving the usual parental appraisal.
When we got out of there we took the long way round, stopping briefly at a spot on a hill that overlooked town. It was sometimes called Lookout Hill, but wasn’t much of a lookout at all. We sat there in the dark for a little while, silently watching the city lights slowly come alive, with my head on Guy’s shoulder and his arm around me.
‘I really enjoyed this afternoon,’ Guy said to me after what seemed a long time.
‘What part?’ I asked him.
‘The part where we were just lying together. Nothing happening. Just you and me enjoying each other’s company.’
‘So did I,’ I answered. ‘It just goes to show that it’s not all about sex, is it?’
He shook his head. ‘No, it isn’t. It has to start with friendship first, don’t you think? The sex, when it happens, is just a bonus.’
‘I couldn’t agree more. Of course you realise that Ben expects us to be going at it like rabbits already?’
‘Yeah, I got that impression. I guess he’d be pretty disappointed in us if he knew the truth, then?’
‘Probably, but who gives a fuck what he thinks!’
He kissed me again, then said, ‘Come on. Everyone will be wondering where we are.’
We both sat up, then he started the car, and a few minutes later we pulled up in front of my house, where I found the front verandah light was on.
As it was dark I decided to risk it and leaned over to give him a quick kiss on the cheek.
‘Thanks,’ I said to him, before then getting out of the car.
‘See you tomorrow then?’ he asked.
‘You bet,’ I answered, then stood on the path and watched as he drove off into the night.
* * *
The next morning I met Ben at our usual corner and Guy picked us both up a few blocks later.
The day proved to be just like any other, really, with one notable difference. The school seemed to be abuzz with news about the new musical and we were constantly being asked questions.
It seemed that overnight we had become celebrities, but we couldn’t think why. After all, the musical wasn’t anything to get excited about yet.
Or at least we didn’t think so.
At lunchtime the three of us were joined by Cameron and Samantha, who were both keen to talk about the musical, although I think Samantha was more keen on talking to Ben.
She was a nice enough girl, and Cameron seemed all right too, and we all got along great. I do have to admit though, that we did attract a few strange stares from some of the year twelve students, who normally wouldn’t associate with students from the lower years, and obviously thought it odd that Cameron and Samantha were doing so.
We found out that Samantha had her sights set on getting into the conservatorium of music to study next year, while Cameron wasn’t sure what he wanted to do yet.
I had this strange feeling that there was something going on between the two of them, but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. They certainly didn’t act like boyfriend and girlfriend, but it was hard to tell.
I made a note to mention it to Ben. I would hate to see him get hurt or anything like that.
By the end of the day Guy and I were just glad to get out of there, but I think that Ben had other plans.
‘I’ll call you tonight,’ he said to me as he hurried off after the last lesson.
He didn’t say where he was going, but I had a fair idea.
‘I guess that leaves you and me again?’ Guy said to me as we walked towards his car.
I grinned back at him and said, ‘I guess it does.’
Just before we reached the car however, Snowy called out from across the car park and motioned for us to come over.
‘What’s he want?’ I heard Guy ask.
‘Who knows? We better go and see, huh?’
We walked over to him, where we found him packing some files and boxes into his car.
‘Ah, Tim’ he said to me. ‘I’ve been wanting to talk to you before we get together tomorrow afternoon. I’ve been looking at whom I would like to play the parts in the show and was hoping you would consider one of the leads. With Cameron and Samantha to play the other two main parts.’
My mouth must have just about hit the ground.
‘But Sir, I don’t know the first th . . .’ I started to protest, but he held up his hand and cut me short.
I glanced across at Guy, who was grinning madly at me.
‘No buts about it,’ Snowy responded. ‘I’ve heard you sing and I know you are more than capable of performing. So make sure you are ready for tomorrow. All right?’
With that he closed the boot of his car, opened his driver’s side door and got in and started the car.
I looked across at Guy again, whose expression hadn’t changed.
‘What?’ I asked him.
‘You can sing?’
‘Well, you don’t have to sound quite so shocked,’ I replied.