A Fine Line

AN: I told myself I wouldn't start this until I finished Keeping in Line, but once I got started, I literally couldn't stop. Given how far my writing has come, I wanted to give Lucy another shot, plus I had some great ideas for her senior year. You'll see some old faces and I will try and not make things as complicated as they got during her junior year. Also, I will be attempting to work in many of your comments/advice, but if you see something that needs work, let me know! I (heart) constructive criticism.

In case you're just tuning in and have somehow missed my other works, you might want to check them out to better understand this story and where it fits into the universe. It's important for a number of reasons - Lucy and Bronwyn together - on the same Line.

So, now, there's only 3 chapters of A Fine Line up - why? Because this story (in its edited and complete form) is almost available to buy. Consider the three chapters a preview. :)

In case you didn't know, I do own the characters. The stories they appear in are registered to the WGA and everything.


Chapter 1: Lieutenant Lucy?

Clad in gray cotton shorts, a black tank top and a pair of signature Oakleys slung around her neck, Lucy Karate strolled into the familiar band room in a contemplative mood. It was nearing the end of her junior year, and Prom and Graduation were right around the corner. She would be sad to see the seniors leave…one redheaded senior in particular, but was glad it was time to start turning her thoughts again to all things marching and percussion. It was like a part of her that was missing all year was returned.

Lucy wandered into the percussion room and ran a hand over her bass drum, smiling at the memories the drum contained. She waved at Lisa, and nodded in the direction of a petite girl who looked completely lost, yet was clutching a pair of drum sticks for dear life, "Who's that?"

"That would be one Bronwyn Flueger. She's in my section."

The bass drummer walked up to the new girl, "I don't think we've met. I'm Lucy."

Lucy reached her hand out to shake Bronwyn's hand. Bronwyn, intimidated, limply responded.

Lucy scoffed, "That's not how Drum Line girls shake hands. Now, give me a real shake!"

Bronwyn shook again and gave the same squeeze Lucy did.

"Atta girl."

At that moment Lucy was bodily picked up and slung over some guy's broad shoulder and carried into the band room. Lucy yelled smiling, "Mark!"

Lisa grinned as she watched the two of them go. She responded to Bronwyn's bewildered look, "That was Mark, the quint lieutenant. You'll learn. Now, let's see if we can find the mallet box and gather the rest of the Pitlings and get outside."


The following day, Lucy finished stretching and pulled out her bass drum. She joined Lisa on the walk outside to where the Line was gathering. Hefting her drum, Lucy groaned a little… I forgot how much this thing weighs!

Lucy asked, "How's the Pit looking this year?"

Lisa considered a moment, "Actually pretty decent. I mean, considering it's the second day and all."

"How's the girl? Is she cool?"

Lisa picked up on what Lucy was really asking. For their collective years on the Drum Line, the girls had been cool. It went without saying that they wanted it to stay that way and ensure its future.

"I'm not going to lie to you, she's way shy."

"Her chops?"

"That's the thing. As far as I can tell so far, she's AMAZING!"

"Hmmm. I wonder what's keeping her back?"

"No idea."

As they walked outside, Lucy looked across the pavement at the marching band. While Warm-Up week was technically for officer wannabes and upcoming freshman, many sections took advantage of the time to start practicing and getting back into the old competitive spirit. As one of the shoe-ins for Guard Co-Captain, Lucy smiled proudly at her friend Mandy loudly putting the Gaurd through their paces. She felt the same pride watching Fred, back for his second season as Drum Major. He was walking Drew, an upcoming junior, through the the fundamentals as new Drum Major.

Speaking of leadership… With the exception of one section, the Drum Line had already worked out who was in charge for the upcoming season. With long blonde hair and supreme mallet technique, Lisa was Queen of all matters Front Line. Her laid back attitude was well suited to helping the underclassmen figure out their place on the Line. Without much argument or drama from anywhere, Barry would be this year's Captain and heading up the snares. Mark, as only one of two members returning to the quints and with the most seniority and technique was named tenor Lieutenant. Lucy sighed as she tried not to think about the Brent shaped hole in the cymbal line. A fellow rising senior, Chad, who had played cymbals last year would be stepping up to take charge of the section.

Which left her section, the bass line. Tryouts had shaken out so the bass line included herself, Mike, and Dave from last year, and had added Thomas and Kevin respectively. Lucy was happy that Paul had made snare and Nick was seeing success on quints. Dave, in all his apathetic wisdom, was not overtly interested in leading the section, leaving hyper-competitive Lucy and her seasonal arch-nemesis, Mike to duke it out.

In all honesty, in the off-season, Lucy and Mike's feelings towards one another had mellowed considerably, but tryouts had fixed that almost instantly and the same love/hate relationship flared up.


Flashback

It was the day of tryouts. Mike and Lucy were sitting in the hall. Lucy was desperately trying to get in a few more minutes of practice. If her practicing for her sophomore year had been a lesson in discipline, practicing for the auditions for her upcoming senior year had been about finding free moments when she wasn't with Brent. However, things weren't too bad, it kind of was like riding a bike. Lucy had no question that she would get her chops back by the end of the summer. Plus, how can they argue with a best bass line patch?

What concerned her more than anything at the moment, was the way things were going to work out as leadership on the Line. Traditionally, the strongest player in the section, or the player with the most seniority would be given the Lieutenant position. The Captain was almost exclusively reserved for the junior or senior snare with the best chops, no questions. Everyone could respect that person's ability, and leadership seemed to naturally come from it.

Lucy chewed her lip as she wondered at tomorrow's results. She looked across to Mike, and could already easily picture the epic yelling matches they were going to get into this season. As much as Mike wanted to make quints, she doubted there was going to be a spot for him.

"Hey Mike?" Lucy plopped down next to her sometimes favorite sophomore.

"S'up Luce?"

"What happens if it's you and me in the section?"

"What do you mean?"

"Can I be Lieutenant?"

"Why?"

"'Cause I want to."

"I'm the better player."

"I realize that, Mike."

Mike drummed a moment, before raising his eyebrows and asked suggestively, "What are you going to do for me?"

Lucy rolled her eyes, "Seriously? You're going to go there? Save it for the new additions to the Dance Line."

"Whatever."

Lucy tried another argument, "I'm a senior next year."

"And?"

Lucy had a feeling that Mike was being Mike and just saying he wanted to be Lieutenant just to be a dick.

End flashback


Lisa asked, "Have you and Mike worked things out yet?"

Lucy rolled her eyes, "No! I swear he is just doing this to piss me off. I've already explained to him that he has another year."

"No dice?"

"None."

"Maybe you guys should just flip a coin?"

Lucy sighed, "I'm thinking that's what it's going to come down to."

Lisa asked, "How's the new guy?"

Lucy knew she was referring to one new guy in particular, a transfer student with something, it seemed, permanently up his ass, J.D. Strauss. She replied, "Well, he can play or else Henry wouldn't have put him on the snare line, but he can't seem to get over his previous Line. Every other sentence starts with, 'Well, this is how we did it on my old Line.' It's like dude, you're on this Line now, so give it a rest."

Lisa smiled, "Well, at least he's fun to look at."

Lucy laughed along with her friend; it was true. J.D. was what a lot of girls would consider cute, but Lucy couldn't picture herself with someone so tense and uptight. Not to mention she already had someone to picture herself with.

Lisa said, "I have to go round up the kids, I'll catch you after practice?"

"Sounds great."

Lucy placed her drum stand on the ground in the half arc that was forming. Barry approached her, "You guys any closer on a Lieutenant yet?"

Lucy shook her head, "I have to be sneaky."

Barry's eyebrows went up, "Why is that?"

"Mike has to be convinced that he doesn't want it. Right now, the only reason he wants it is because I do too."

Barry grinned, "How about a little reverse psychology?"

"Hmmm, good suggestion."

Barry replied, "I didn't get Captain on my good looks alone."


Mike was soon lining up in front of Lucy. She took a deep breath, I hope this works. She affected the most bored voice possible,"So Mike, I was thinking about the whole Lieutenant thing and I think you should just do it."

Mike asked skeptically, "Really? Just like that? Out of the kindness of your heart?"

"Something like that."

"What's the real reason?"

"I can't tell you."

"Can't or won't?"

"Whatever."

The new third and fourth basses joined the line. Both cymbal members last year, they had only heard of the legendary fighting between Mike and Lucy and eyed the pair suspiciously.

Lucy nudged Mike, "What if we vote?"

"Now you want to be Lieutenant again?"

"Hmph."

Henry nodded at Barry to begin Eight on a Hand. The basses clicked down their mallets and began the monotony that was Eight on a Hand. This early in the season they were't allowed to split up the notes.

Mike whispered, "Is your friend Gina seeing anyone?"

Lucy smirked. She could think of no less appropriate couple than straight-A, first chair, feature majorette Gina and slacker "I'm God's gift to women" Mike DeMatteo. Still, if it will get me Lieuenant…

"She's single."

Gina and Keith's relationship had ended dramatically on the Spring band trip to Florida (AN: Hmm…sounds like a fun short story to me, as if I need another thing to write). Lucy suspected Gina might be ready to get back in the game and silently promised her friend that she owed her a big one.

"If you set me up on a date with her, you can be Lieutenant."

"Just like that?"

"Yup."

Lucy couldn't resist adding, "Macho Mike can't get a date on his own?"

"Lucy—"

"I'm just kidding. Consider yourself set up."

"Thanks, Lieutenant."

Henry glared at them and both bass drummers were instantly quiet.


AN: A little fluffiness to start things off. Just reintroducing our characters…what do you think?