Here's Chapter 2, or the part of the story where Hell begins yet again. Things develop more between me and Benji (since this is basically about me anyway I'm just going to say it like it's all true. It's mostly true anyway. But if you want to call me or my character by name, it's Anjelica)
I sat in my sixth period class, looking at my watch every once in a while. I was itching for the bell to ring and release me to my favorite class of the day. Band Class.
So far, I had started talking to some new people. I went to choir class during second period, which is the period for the women's show choir. The choir director decided to let me join without even having to audition. My third period Algebra 1 teacher turned out to be a substitute that I had had at my old school, which helped me out a lot. And my fifth period world history teacher basically told us that we get to watch movies all year long and not use a textbook (success!). I went to lunch and sat with my new band friend Mackenzie and her friends who are in show choir with us. Between all of this, I attempted to successfully open my locker and saw a lot of people from band that I knew. I saw Benji a couple times; I caught him staring and he smiled at me.
The bell rang, and my Honors English class of show choir girls and only two guys ran out the door. I walked with a new friend from band, Mackenzie, to our lockers and grabbed all our belongings. We then made the journey across the school to our second home.
"Barbara!" I cringed at the new nickname that my section had given to me during band camp. Debbie, the only other girl in my section was right behind me, pushing me along to our usual seats in the saxophone row. The bell rang, and everyone rushed to their seats before they would be counted tardy.
"Get in your seats. Now," Mr. Miller said unenthusiastically. Everyone listened, of course. Nobody likes a grumpy band director. "Thank God that I made it through the day. Stupid junior high band- I kept cracking jokes to get them to lighten up, but they just sat there. I'm glad I finally have you guys, you all think I'm funny." Ahh, of course Mr. Miller would hate the junior high. He just graduated college, after all. No 23-year-old wants to be stuck with junior high kids all day.
We didn't play anything, unfortunately. Just got a syllabus, a packet with a schedule of every required event required for the year. It was honestly quite boring, except for the fact that my section started making jokes about everything and dying with laughter over absolutely nothing. My section made everything amusing; it helped me to make it through practices.
The school day came to an end. And then the time came for my first show choir rehearsal. It honestly was the most frightful thing of my life. The choreographer taught choreography so fast, and I know that I probably looked stupid. I was doing awful and I lost what little self confidence that I once had. What a horrible end of the day.
The rest of the week went pretty similar, school-wise. We got to play in band and had practice Tuesday and Thursday. It was just a boring week, to be honest. But we had to end it with a Saturday camp, didn't we? 9-4, of course- just like band camp.
Nobody should ever be excited for a 9-4 band rehearsal. Ever. It's a fact of life. That's why I was dreading walking into the band room. But it was a required rehearsal. We went outside for a little bit and did some basics, then cleaned some of the drill early in the show. Then we went inside for lunch, the best part of the day.
During band camp, I had made friends with our Drum Major named Chris, our senior trumpet soloist Mykayla, a couple sophomores and a couple freshmen. I joined their lunch circle on the third day of band camp, and it was honestly a great decision. They were all funny and incredibly nice. We had the same tastes in music, movies, and just about everything else. It's like it was meant to be. So lunch at this Saturday rehearsal was no different from band camp. We made lame jokes and threw food at each other. And then we begged the drum major, Chris, not to make us play a game. But Chris, being Chris, told us that everyone had to play, whether they wanted to or not. Even if it WAS 100 degrees.
Chris herded everyone onto the football field. I wanted to barf, not just because of the heat but because I absolutely hate playing games outside with my peers. It's incredibly embarrassing because, let's face it: I'm just not coordinated for sports. But luckily we got to play some actually fun games. We started with Ships Across the Ocean, which ended up being a party. I actually did well because it was a running game, and I almost caught Chris. After a while, everyone got bored with that. And by this time half the guys in the band had taken their shirts off from the heat. It was then decided that we would have piggyback races across the football field.
I'm the type of girl who likes piggyback rides. It's just who I am. And nobody disagrees with giving me one- I'm only 83 pounds, so why would they? I've always either been too lazy to walk or just in a silly mood where I wanted to be carried. So I didn't exactly oppose to racing. First I got on Mykayla's back (while she argued with Chris over me). We did pretty well in the race, but then I had to get off her back for a second. Within seconds of being set down, I could hear my name being called a few feet of away. It was Benji.
"Yeah, Benji?" I asked as I approached him. I glanced at his shirtless form, in the most not-awkward way possible. I already kind of knew what he wanted from me.
"Here get on my back!" Of course he wants to give me a piggy back ride when he's shirtless. I could hear Mykayla calling me a traitor and trying to argue with Benji as he squatted down. I got on his back anyway, and we raced some other people. It was a ton of fun, and I didn't fall off (A+ for success!). He didn't even try to put me down right away, he just held me on his back for a few moments. The strange thing about it, though, was the lack of awkward. I thought that it would be strange, especially since I had a little crush on him, and obviously because he was shirtless. But it felt completely normal for some reason.
We got ready to go back inside when the sprinklers on the baseball field went off. Chris gave us permission to quickly run through them to cool off, which was a ton of fun (even with soaked clothes, shoes and socks). Then we went into the band room, thinking that we would start playing right away.
It turns out that Mr. Miller wanted us to get to know him. He had only started directing this band when practices began, and nobody knew much about him. So we asked him 15 questions and he answered (almost) every single one. We asked about his experience in high school band, dorm life, what kind of video games he liked, and embarrassing moments from high school. He even told us about the things he did in high school that he never got in trouble for, like blackmailing a kid and parking his band director's car in his school's auditorium.
It was pretty weird in rehearsal how Benji had started sitting next to me instead of in the first chair saxophone spot. Not that he cared about chair placement in marching band. But there were five other altos that he could sit next to- it wasn't really necessary. I'm definitely not complaining about that, though. Who wouldn't want to sit by the best, cutest saxophone player in the section?
Music went really well. We made it through the whole show and finished memorizing our fourth movement. It was incredible how far we had come with the music. We played so well that Mr. Miller took out his flip cam and his laptop and recorded audio and video of us playing. And on top of that, our ballad was so beautiful and moving that he and the assistant directors started crying.
Despite our hopes that we wouldn't be forced to go out into the heat once more, the staff decided that they wanted us to go outside for the last hour of practice. But by the time the pit had moved everything outside and the guard was finished with their runs, we only had about a half hour to practice. So sucked it up and finished out strong.
Just as we finished, my mom pulled up in her van, with a frozen strawberry lemonade in hand. I thanked her and grabbed it before turning to head inside. But just I was making my way through the practice field, I was met up with none other than Benji.
"You're so lucky! It's frickin' hot outside… Is it good?" Benji asked. I nodded.
At this moment, my mind was in the middle of World War III- should I be bold or hold myself back? I went with my gut.
"Yeah, you want a sip?" I asked. It was probably really bold to just offer that, but I couldn't help myself. He didn't bring his own water to practice that day, and it was blistering hot outside. And I wasn't too bothered by the idea of drinking after him. But my heart started to pound as I waited for his reaction.
He smiled and nodded, taking the cup from me and sipping from the straw. He hummed in satisfaction. "That's AMAZING! Thanks," Benji exclaimed. I nodded and we continued to walk inside as he started to ramble excitedly about an assortment of food related topics. I just smiled and listened, giggling at his enthusiasm and random conversation.
This was all new to me- not only having such a significant crush, but somewhat flirting and being bold. But it didn't really feel strange, it didn't feel new or unusual. Acting like this with him, despite being nervous, just felt comfortable and nice. I could be content with my actions, no regrets. I didn't know why, but I knew I wouldn't find out anytime soon.