The title of this story should be a dead giveaway. If it's not, please read the following…….
Disclaimer!!! The Partridge Family really was nominated as best new artist at the Grammy's I am depicting in this story (pretty cool for a group that didn't exist – hmmm?). Alas, they didn't win – beaten by The Carpenters. Unfortunately (and likely wrongly as it was the #1 selling song of the year!), 'I Think I Love You' was not nominated for any awards. Obviously, Keith Partridge was not the writer of ITILY – that honor belongs to Tony Romeo, a prolific songwriter of many PF songs as well as many others. The actual winner of both Song and Record of the Year was 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'. This story is fiction and I have taken the liberty of changing the facts to suit my purposes. Isn't fiction wonderful?
Keith rolled over and tried to ignore the sound of the ringing phone. Someone would pick it up soon, right? He knew he hadn't been asleep long enough. He'd stayed up after getting home from his date with Tina to finish writing the lyrics to his latest song. It was one of the perils of writing music – it always seemed that creativity struck sometime after midnight.
As silence once again settled around him, he could feel the webs of sleep starting to overtake his brain. Unfortunately, the phone had not only woken Keith, but the rest of his sibling as well. He was rudely jarred awake for a second time by a full on screaming match between Danny and Chris in the next room. He would have yelled for them to shut up, but the argument soon ended when Danny left the room. Keith sighed his pleasure at the renewed silence when he heard a door slam and Laurie's scream of outrage, "Daniel Partridge I was next in line for the bathroom!" and Danny's muffled yet loud retort of, "You snooze, you lose."
Keith rolled over and pulled his pillow over his head in hopes that it would muffle the sounds of his family long enough for them to all go downstairs for breakfast. He needed sleep more than he needed food.
While he tried to relax himself back to sleep, his thoughts drifted to his girlfriend of the past couple of months. Her name was Tina Newcomb and their relationship had been stormy since the beginning. Oh, Keith had tried to understand her stance on women's lib. He wasn't against women having equal rights, but her views could be all encompassing and she was completely unable to see any point of view but her own. And, so long as Keith didn't rock the boat by expressing his own views, their relationship went along swimmingly.
Unfortunately for Keith, his urge to rock the boat was becoming more and more difficult to ignore. Tina's ideas weren't all 'wrong', they just weren't all 'right' in Keith's opinion. And, when he was around Tina he was rarely allowed to have an opinion. He was getting sick of it; fast.
He'd started talking to this girl in his Trig class. Her name was Carol. She wasn't a women's libber like Tina. She was, however, a year older than him. But still, she seemed to be receptive to accepting a date from Keith, though he hadn't asked yet because he was still seeing Tina. He'd seriously have to think about rectifying that problem.
Keith started thinking that he might just have to break it off with Tina sooner rather than later. She'd found out that he had a couple of open weekends in March and had already 'told' him that she expected him to attend a couple of rallies with her. He'd told her that he wasn't sure because, though they didn't have performances on those weekends, they still had to practice. They'd be recording a new album soon and Keith not only had to write some more songs, but the family had to learn them well enough to record them. Then they had to perfect them enough to perform them in support of the album.
Tina just could not understand how much time and effort being a hit group could take. Well, that wasn't true, she refused to understand it. Keith had patiently explained it to her several times and yet she still expected him to skip rehearsals and take time away from either his writing or homework to support her in her endeavors. He might not have as much trouble with this if she even once listened to his ideas and supported him in one of his passions.
The only time she even wanted to admit that he had interests outside of dating her, was when she wanted to use his fame for her benefit. She'd basically forced his family into performing at her rally when he'd only told her he'd ask the rest of his family. She'd jumped the gun and put their names on the posters before he'd even had a chance to mention it to his mom. Then, once they were there to perform, she'd tried to censor their material and have them sing songs from the 'women's lib song book'. Keith had short circuited about that one. She'd liked his fame well enough to put his family's name on her posters to bring people to her rally and then had had the gall to tell him he had to sing her songs? No way!
Oh, his mom had made him see why she'd done what she'd done. He'd gotten angry with her shortly before the performance. His mom had wanted to meet her to help her decide whether or not Tina's cause was one she could support. Tina had gone so far as to embarrass him in front of his family at dinner by cutting him off when he'd been about to say something in support of her. It was as if she was the only one allowed to have views and opinions. When he took her home that night, he'd made it pretty clear that he was sick of her not wanting him to have a say in anything. Come to think of it, if she was so liberal, why hadn't she taken herself home that night? Wasn't it against all of her rules to have him drive her there? He'd been stewing about it as he drove her home and when he finally pulled up in front of her house, he'd let her have it. He'd made it seem like he was being understanding to her cause, but he turned it on her pretty handily. The 'using of lips' comment had just come out. It wasn't planned. But it had served its purpose. She was at first confused, but then got as mad as he had been. The results had been their argument at the rally. The family had performed anyway, because by that time his mom had decided that appearing was the best for everyone, but Keith hadn't been all that happy about it.
After all the turmoil, he and Tina had made up and Keith felt like things had been going along just fine; so long as he didn't rock the boat.
As he thought back on it, he felt himself getting mad all over again, and the urge the rock the boat came over him once again. This was not conducive to getting back to sleep. He purposefully forced Tina from his mind and tried to think of more pleasant thoughts. He quickly found himself picturing Carol and imagining what a date with Carol would be like. He imagined it to be much more relaxed and that they'd actually be able to have a conversation rather than lectures.
Without his realizing it, Keith's thoughts turned once again to Tina and how he would often start making out with Tina just to shut her up. If her lips were too busy kissing him, she couldn't talk. Besides, Keith liked kissing a whole lot more than talking. He recalled how his date with Tina had ended at her doorstep just last night. Keith had kissed her goodnight and was heading back toward the bus when she once again reminded him that he hadn't answered her about attending the rally in a month on a weekend that Tina knew he wasn't performing. He'd put her off again saying that he would have to find out what other things Reuben might have lined up for them that weekend and hightailed it home. That thought made him mad all over again, so Keith once again purposefully pulled his thoughts away from Tina and pictured himself on a date with Carol. He tried to imagine what it would be like to say good night to her.
He drifted off to sleep with pictures of he and Carol kissing passionately on her front porch. His lips curled up in a grin as his thoughts turned into pleasant dreams.
"No, Reuben, you didn't call too early. I've been up for a while." Shirley assured Reuben as he worried from the other end of the line.
"Yes, they're all here this morning. No sleep-overs." Shirley continued to fill the coffee pot while she balanced the phone between her shoulder and her ear and listened to Reuben's next group of questions.
"Well, they're not all up yet, but I do hear quite a bit of noise from upstairs, so I can assume they'll be down soon." Shirley plugged in the coffee pot and grabbed the phone just before it slipped from her ear.
"No, Keith was up late most likely working…..Yes, he's written quite a few new songs for the album already…..I just hope we have enough time to learn them all before our recording date in April….Yes, Reuben, we'll be working very hard in the meantime…..Reuben, enough with the questions. Why'd you call? Really." Shirley finally threw a question back in his direction.
"What do you mean you can't tell me?" Shirley frowned at his vague answer.
"Well, yes, I suppose I'll have to wait for you to tell us in person. How long before you get here?" Shirley watched Laurie push through the swinging door into the brightly lit kitchen and smiled at her.
"Alright, Reuben. We'll be waiting for you…..Not even a hint?......Just a small one?.....Oh, come on Reuben, I'm not one of the kids, I can keep a secret…..Alright, fine. I'll wait……See you in an hour or so." Shirley hung up the phone and turned to Laurie with a puzzled smile on her face. "Good morning, Sweetheart."
"Morning, Mom. What did Reuben want?" Laurie asked as she went to grab the refrigerator door. "What are we making for breakfast?"
"He wouldn't say. Just something vague about 'really big news'. How do pancakes sound?" Shirley asked as she pulled a bowl from the cupboard.
Laurie grabbed the needed items from the refrigerator and from the counter and brought them to the butcher block so that she could help her mom make the batter. "He wouldn't give you any hints?"
"Not a one." Shirley confirmed as she and Laurie worked in unison.
"That's unusual." Laurie said as Danny finally made an appearance.
"What's unusual and when's breakfast?" Danny was always curious as to what others were talking about, but food was also a very high priority for him.
"Breakfast will only be a few minutes. Where are Chris and Tracy?" Shirley answered ignoring his other questions mostly because she had no answers and knew Danny would never settle for that. Unfortunately, ignoring the question the first time didn't work.
"They're right behind me. What's unusual?" Danny reminded her of his question.
"Oh, Reuben called and said he had news but wouldn't tell mom anything about it." Laurie answered for her.
"What's so unusual about that? Mr. Kincaid likes to make his 'news' things bigger than they are. He probably wants to tell us that he's booked an autograph session somewhere. Big deal." Danny poo-poo'd Reuben's news thinking it was going to be a big let down.
"I don't think so. Reuben sounded both distracted and a little excited." Shirley warned.
"Distracted I believe. Excited was probably just nervousness. You know, maybe it's a date for Keith with some big wig's daughter that Mr. Kincaid had to promise in order to get us a booking somewhere. It'd be just like him to dangle Keith out there like a carrot." Danny would never say that in front of Keith for two reasons. He knew Keith would pound him into the ground and he'd never admit to Keith's face that he was the real reason for the family's popularity – especially with the females of the population.
"Danny, Reuben does not 'dangle Keith like a carrot'." Shirley chastised her middle son for his opinion.
"No, I suppose that was a bad choice of words; only rabbits or horses like carrots. I shouldn't have compared our fans to horses. Most of them are much prettier than horses. Well, then again, Laurie really likes carrots." Danny threw the insult at this sister.
"Keep it up little brother and I'll burn your pancakes." Laurie threatened as she wielded the spatula.
"Oops, sorry. You took that the wrong way. I wasn't comparing you to a horse. A cute bunny, maybe." Danny quickly back-peddled.
"I thought you might see it my way." Laurie smiled as she turned away from her contrite brother. She'd known that she could get the results she wanted by threatening his breakfast. He was so easy to manipulate if you just knew him well enough.
"Laurie, could you please go wake Keith up? Reuben said he wouldn't tell us until everyone was present. That means we won't get him to talk until Keith is here." Shirley accepted the spatula from Laurie as she agreed to head back upstairs.
"He stayed up late working, you know." Laurie told her.
"Yes, I know. I heard him playing his guitar when I woke up in the middle of the night. Sometimes I think that boy works too hard." Shirley worried.
"Too hard! Never! He needs to keep writing hit songs if we want to stay on top." Danny reminded everyone.
"He can take a break long enough to sleep." Shirley swatted Danny toward the table with her hand that didn't hold the spatula though giving him a swat with the spatula had been tempting. "Now, go sit down."
As Laurie left the kitchen, Chris and Tracy came in sniffing the air appreciatively. "Oh goody, pancakes." They chorused.
"Keith." Laurie leaned over her prone brother and crooned his name in a sing-song voice into his once again uncovered ear. He was in his favorite position; lying flat on his stomach to the side of his pillows facing the wall. It made it difficult for Laurie to reach him across the double bed, but well worth the effort.
Her efforts received a muffled 'hmpf' and a half-hearted wave of Keith's right hand as it lay on the mattress next to his head.
"Come on Keith, time to wake up." Laurie kept her voice soft and lilting. She loved to wake him up this way. Sometimes he'd think she was part of his dream and she'd get a good piece of information to use as bribery for future favors.
"Go away Tina. I'm too tired for another round." Keith hadn't moved. He was still lying on his stomach, on the far side of the bed facing away from Laurie. She never saw the sly grin that crossed his features.
"What do you mean?" Laurie leaned closer so as not to miss his next words. This could be a good one.
"Look, I told you a threesome was out of the question." Keith tried to keep the words muffled but clear enough so he was sure Laurie wouldn't misunderstand him.
"Keith Partridge!" Laurie's voice rose in volume as his words finally registered.
Keith flipped over quickly and didn't try to hide his grin. "Ha! Got ya!"
"Oh……You!" Laurie's shock quickly dissolved into chagrin as she realized he'd been awake the whole time and playing with her.
"That'll teach you." Keith said smugly.
"Teach me what? That my older brother, deep down, is a pervert?" Laurie caught the full force of Keith's pillow on the right side of her head. He'd surprised her with that move. He usually saved that for Danny. "Hey, what was that for?"
"For calling me a pervert." Keith told her as he caught the pillow on its return flight before it could hit him in the head.
"Well, if the shoe fits." Laurie grinned back even though her thrown pillow had missed its target.
"What shoe? I'm in bed." Keith joked back. He knew she wouldn't stay mad at him for long. It was the same with him too. He'd been mad at first when he'd realized what she was trying to do, but the look on her face when she'd realized he was on to her had been priceless.
"Your humor is truly awful. You mustn't be fully awake yet." Laurie said as she sat down on the edge of Keith's bed.
"Who can sleep in this house? It's like a runway at LAX." Keith joked as he leaned back against the headboard. Laurie must have something to say or she wouldn't have sat down.
Laurie shrugged her shoulders in agreement. "Well, in that case, it won't take you long to get downstairs."
"Why do I need to hurry to get downstairs?" Keith asked.
"Reuben's on his way over. He says he has some news for us. Hurry up. I waited as long as I could to wake you up because I heard you up late last night." Laurie said as she hopped up from the bed and started for the door. She knew Keith wouldn't get up until she'd left.
"What's his news about?" Keith asked her departing back.
"No idea, but none of us wants to wait and he won't say anything until we're all present and accounted for. Hurry up, he'll be here soon." Laurie closed the door behind her as she left.
Keith threw the covers back and guessed he'd better start his day now rather than trying to get any more sleep. Besides, it wasn't often that Reuben called early on a Saturday morning saying he had big news. Keith's curiosity was as high as everyone else's. He headed for the bathroom and a quick shower. Maybe the water would wake him up the rest of the way.
"Oh, come on Mr. Kincaid. Not even a clue?" Danny pushed.
"Not until Keith is here." Reuben assured him.
"That could be hours yet. Just think, he might have major hair problems and then none of us will hear the news until it's old news." Danny tried again. "I won't give anything away. Just a little hint, hmmm?"
"Danny, leave Reuben alone. Keith will be down shortly and then we can all hear this great news." Shirley smiled patiently at Reuben as she refilled his coffee cup. She herself was moments away from heading upstairs to see what was keeping Keith. Reuben had sounded very excited when he'd called to find out if they were all going to be home for a while because he had some 'pretty exciting news' to share with them.
"Right, leave me alone." Reuben hid a grin behind his coffee cup. He was in too good a mood to let even Danny's ribbing get to him.
"It must be good; you're smiling and it's only your second cup of coffee." Danny continued to egg him on.
"Laurie, where are you going?" Shirley asked as Laurie stood up.
"To see what's keeping Keith." Laurie paused as she stopped to look at her mom.
"Laurie, he'll be down in a minute. What, are you picking up on Danny's excitement?" Shirley smiled at her anxious looking daughter.
"Well, maybe, just a little. Reuben is in an awfully good mood." Laurie pointed out.
"About what?" Keith asked as he finally put in an appearance. He headed immediately to the coffee pot. He knew he was too late for breakfast, but he could use a little help waking up the rest of the way. He'd only gotten about 4 hours of sleep once he had a chance to figure it out while he was standing in the shower.
"Oh, good, you're here." Shirley said as she threw an overly bright smile his direction. "Alright, Reuben, now you can tell us. We're all here."
"I see that. Oh, ummm, Keith, you may want to sit down." Reuben could not wipe the goofy grin off his face.
"I'm alright. What's your news?" Keith said as he began to pour himself a cup of hot coffee.
"You ready?" At nods from everyone, Reuben continued. "I just got confirmation this morning. You've been nominated for a Grammy!"
As the kitchen erupted in screams of excitement, Keith was screaming in pain. Reuben's words had caused him to freeze and unfortunately for him, he'd been in the process of filling his coffee cup. It overflowed unto his hand before he realized he hadn't stopped pouring.
"Oh, Keith! Are you alright?" Shirley had immediately heard the difference in Keith's scream from the screams of her other children. She was by his side in seconds and pulled him quickly to the sink to run his hand under cold water.
"Keith?" Shirley tried again as Keith looked more stunned than excited.
"Sorry, I wasn't completely awake before. The hot coffee did the trick." Keith joked.
"Yeah, but you're supposed to drink it not wear it." Danny reminded him. "Caffeine doesn't have the same effect on your hand as it does once it's in your blood stream."
Keith ignored his brother's comments and pulled his injured hand away from his mom. Reuben's words had finally sunk all the way in. "We're really nominated for a Grammy?"
"Yep!" Reuben grinned.
"For what?" Keith gingerly dried his hand on a towel and walked over to take a seat at the table right next to Reuben, his coffee long forgotten. He no longer needed the caffeine to wake him up. He was officially, completely and totally wide awake.
"Well, the family's been nominated for Best New Artist." Reuben waited for someone to recognize that he'd chosen his words carefully and that he still had more news to share.
"Reuben, you make it sound like there's more." Shirley had heard Reuben's unspoken words.
"Did I?" Reuben tried to look innocent, but wasn't pulling it off very well.
"Alright, that was overkill." Danny pointed out. "Spill it Mr. Kincaid. You can't get any more of our attention."
"Danny, don't tease him or he won't tell us." Laurie tried shushing her brother.
"Your sister is right. Keep that up and I'll just save the rest of my news for another day." Reuben threatened.
"Reuben." Shirley gently chastised Reuben for sinking to Danny's level. He had a tendency to do that.
"Sorry, Shirley. He has that effect on me." Reuben frowned, but couldn't hold onto it as the smile took over his face once again.
"What's the rest of your news?" Laurie urged him this time.
"Well, that's not the only nomination." Reuben hedged.
"Well?" Everyone said in unison.
"Oh, alright, I guess I've milked this one as long as I can. Keith, 'I Think I Love You' has been nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. You've got a shot at winning a Grammy as the writer of the Song of the Year." Reuben clapped Keith on the shoulder as he watched the words sink in.
"You're kidding!" Keith said in awe. He knew that was a huge deal for any song writer to have his song nominated for Song of the Year much less someone as young as he was. He wasn't even seventeen yet. What were the chances that a song from their first album would be the biggest hit of the year as well as nominated for several Grammy's?
"Nope. I'm not kidding." Reuben grinned at Keith's still stunned face.
"He'll be impossible to live with now." Danny shook his head in disgust.
"Danny!" Shirley, Reuben and Laurie all yelled his name at once.
"Hey, wait a minute, the Record of the Year goes to the Artist and Producer. That means the family is actually nominated for two awards." Danny pointed out.
"Yeah, but with Keith having written it, he's still nominated for one more than you brother dear." Laurie quickly reminded him.
Reuben, seeing his spotlight fading, tried to bring everyone's attention back to him. He had just a bit more to tell them.
"And, there is one last bit of news." Reuben waited for someone to prompt him to continue. He didn't have long to wait when a chorus of 'What' greeted his last comment. "The Awards ceremony is going to be televised on national TV for the first time. Isn't that great?
"Oh no! What will I wear?" Shirley worried. "I don't have anything nice enough for the awards, much less national television."
"Oh, Mom, don't worry. We'll go shopping!" Laurie happily suggested. "And we can make an appointment at the beauty salon. We'll need special hair styles for the night, don't you think?"
Keith listened to the planning going on around him while his mind tried to absorb everything he'd just heard. A Grammy! Now, wouldn't that be a groovy thing.