AN: Wow, I didn't even know that this was a genre!! I was searching the other day and boom!! Marching band. I love it. I looked for any stories involving girls and the drum line. They are all so great, I had to add my own story. So what, I graduated HS in 1998. Those boys were my best friends in the whole world and it was one of the best experiences of my life.

I dedicate this story to the following drummers: Marky (for the bus rides), Barry (for being yourself), Nick (the look), Paul (for never changing), Mikey (for keeping me sharp), Billy (for all the flirting), Dave, Ethan, Steve (for always making me laugh), Lisa (you're my girl!), and to any girl drummers out there!

Ok, the first chapter is important – I promise the other characters will be introduced in the next chapter!!

3.7.07 Update...yes, The Line looks a little different. After some urging by friends and writers that I know, I've decided that since I'm selling this story as a book, it doesn't really make sense to post the ENTIRE thing for free online. So, in a compromise, I've put up the first three chapters...

In its edited version, The Line is MUCH better than this rough draft, but still, this is the story that started it all. I hope you understand.

Chapter 1: 10 Minutes

Lucy took a deep breath. She concentrated on the sheet music in front of her. It hadn't changed. It was the same that it had been for the past year. Except today was different. This was the day before auditions. This was her last opportunity to practice before her next year was decided.

Lucy Karate had been in the pit for the past two years. She liked learning all the different percussive instruments, but she was ready to join the battery. The battery… It had been just a dream for the past year. Lucy had originally played the oboe, an instrument that did not march in the band. Not wanting to be left out when all her friends joined marching band, the band directors had decided to put her in the pit – she could read music and the mallets weren't the most difficult instruments to learn. Lucy would have never guessed that she would become well, obsessed, with drumming. The pit simply wasn't where she wanted to be. She had been devastated the year before when she had failed to make even cymbals. Cymbals…maybe, or possibly bass. She wasn't going to kid herself about quints or snare. The Brookwood Drum Line had placed 3rd at PASIC her freshman year. This line was talented…they had a number of percussionists make All State or All State Jazz every year. Lucy knew she would be happy just to get on the field. She wanted her junior year to be worth something. Lots of things were going to happen during the 11th grade – finally getting her driver's license, being an upperclassmen, going to Prom, getting her first job, and finally getting a date with Eric, the dreamy valedictorian.

Concentrate Lucy…this is about drum line now, not about your social life.

5/8 7/8 – this particular piece was the one that would make or break her audition. Unlike the rest of the guys, Lucy preferred to practice by herself. She didn't need to show off in front of anyone. She also didn't need to be laughed at by anyone. Ever since the past season had ended, Lucy had taken her practice pad and sticks into the garage and practiced an hour or more every day. Rudiments, cadences, whatever she could get her hands on. She downloaded reams of music from the internet, listened to cadences, and watched the DCI shows almost weekly.

She sighed; there was no way she was going to get any sleep tonight.

The next day passed in a blur. Lucy didn't even bother trying to concentrate on her classes. She kept going over the audition pieces in her head. After school would be the auditions.

On the two long practice tables, everyone was warming up. With only 5 seniors graduating there wasn't a lot of room to move up. The battery was made up of 6 snares, 4 quints, 5 basses, and 6 cymbals with another 8 or so in the Pit. Lucy nervously went around the corner and began warming up on her practice pad. Far too soon, someone was calling her name.

Lucy walked into the large band room. In front of her, a practice table. In front of that, the two band directors, the percussion instructor and one of the local percussion teachers (each of his boys had been captain and marched snare). Lucy looked at the table. Aww crap…it was far too tall for her 5 foot 4 inches. The local teacher, Mr. DiBonaventura, immediately stood up on Lucy's behalf. Everyone looked around the band room and decided that the podium would make up the height difference.

Henry, the instructor, asked, "If you would please play the two prepared pieces. You will then be asked to sight read a short selection."

Since I've probably already blown this…I guess I have nothing to lose.

As if in a trance, Lucy played the two prepared pieces. After 6 months of practice every day, the rhythms poured out of her hands. Lucy stopped. The judges looked somewhat surprised and noted her scores on the papers in front of them.

"Please turn over the piece in front of you." Lucy did. "You will have 90 seconds to review the piece."

The 90 seconds passed in a blur.

"You may begin."

Then it was over, "Thanks for coming in Lucy. Positions will be posted tomorrow after school."

Lucy stammered, "Thanks."

She walked out of the room. Just like that… The whole thing had taken less than ten minutes. It didn't matter that she had spent weeks of her life practicing in the past year. All that mattered were the past ten minutes. However, reflecting on what had happened in the past ten minutes, Lucy was not discouraged. She had really nailed both of the audition pieces. She wasn't too concerned with the sight-reading – she thought that was mainly for quints and snares.

Lucy tapped her pencil in Economics class impatiently. How was she going to make it through the whole day? She raised her hand, "Can I go to the bathroom?"

Dr. Knott just nodded, he was busy explaining supply and demand.

Lucy walked through the deserted halls and found herself in front of the band room. Hmm…might as well just go check to see they didn't put the list early. Lucy walked to the band directors office – where lists of this importance were usually posted. She sighed, no list yet.

Mr. Izzo was on the phone. He saw Lucy outside his office. Hardly believing what he was doing, Lucy watched as he held up two fingers. Then he mouthed the word, "Bass."

Lucy practically screamed. She cartwheeled down the hall back to her class.

How the hell am I going to wait til August?

At the end of school, everyone crowded around the list. Lucy was not surprised to see she was the only girl on the battery of 21 percussionists. The other girl on the line, Molly, was lieutenant of the Pit. To no one's surprise, Spence was named captain of the drum line and was thus in charge of the snares. Scruffy, adorable Greg was the quint lieutenant, redheaded Brent was heading up the cymbals and tall Paul was going to be her section leader.

How the hell am I going to wait til August?