This is still in progress, I have a bit more to add to the end of this but I didn't want to leave you with nothing so Ta-Dah...
Last week's Barbeque had gone well, and we had much to work on as a whole but overall the performance could be considered a major stepping stone to success. I never forgot what I had promised myself that life changing night. And to think it was all for her. Sure I cared about all the members, but none of them could really motivate me like she did.
I went to school early that morning and happened to see Ariana standing in the hallway. She was staring distantly at a few posters on the wall, with a perplexed expression. "Hey!" I called out to her and I saw that her eyes instantly lit up when she saw me. I was happy that my presence had momentarily distracted her from her current worries, but I wanted to know what plagued her so.
"What's got you so down?" I asked her curiously because I wasn't accustomed to seeing her without a cheery smile. Ariana had a rejuvenating smile that spread like pathogens in the wind, and never ceased to always make my day better.
Find that her cleverly misleading cast had been overseen; she let out a weary sigh before addressing me properly. "You noticed?"
"Of course Ariana, a good friend always notices. Especially when such a lovely soul is unsettled…Now, care to share with me?"
"… It's my Photography project… I need a model, and nobody available exactly fits my criteria. It's due next Thursday and I'm a bit stressed that I won't be able to finish it." While she vented this to me I tried to stop the obviousness caused by my twitching mouth to give away the fact that this was a perfect opportunity for me! I was completely free this Sunday, and I would be ecstatic to do this for her.
I was about to happily offer myself when his impulsive, and sickening egotistical voice filled the air. Phil Brandy, a trombone player with a mouth big enough to fit three entire double cheese burgers at once like that lady I saw at White Castle the other day. He was a narcissistic kid that constantly obsessed over working out, and would care more for his amateur abs then if his own mother were dying. The biggest thing that peeved me about that jerk though was his painfully obvious crush on Ariana.
Phil blurted uselessly, and I could tell Ariana was only trying to be polite when she gave him her attention. "Oh… Hey Phil-" she began, only to be instantly cut off by the blabber mouth.
"Hey Ariana! What's shakin' baby? Wanna talk with me, sure you do come on, here come get breakfast with me. Protein is everything baby!"
She gave me an apologetic glance as she was pulled away, and I replied with a sympathetic smile. "I- I'll see you later I guess!" I called after her disappointedly as she was whisked away around the corner.
Luckily Nokia had been sticking around school campus a lot lately, helping construct choreography moves and studying the drill. He was one of my good friends and a first year in a community college nearby. He knew the ins and outs of Marching Band and more importantly, girls. I went into the upstairs storage center of the band room where I found him sitting in one of the rooms reading our new drill.
I tapped on the door lightly and he looked up, his surprised look soon becoming a welcoming smile. "Oh hey Ash," He greeted a bit distractedly before facing me fully. "I was just overlooking tonight's drill, what's up?"
My heart raced a little at the thought of hanging out with Ariana but my body tensed more so at the fact I would have to ask her first. "I need your advice regarding…" I hesitated for a moment, not sure how to express my current distress to my best friend.
"Regarding?" Nokia urged curiously, and I could tell he already knew the subject I was trying to talk about.
I took a deep breath and raised my shoulders to look at him more confidently as I spoke, "Ariana." I said her name carefully, as to pronounce every syllable and form of her name correctly. "I was planning on helping her with a project this Sunday. It's my only free day before it's due for her."
His amused expression changed drastically and fell into a disheartening frown. "Look…" he began slowly, "I knew this was going to have to happen sooner or later but have you even consulted The Low Brass section?"
I was abashed at his response, I had completely forgotten about attaining permission. "No, I forgot about that. It shouldn't be too hard right? I mean, all I want to do is hang out with her."
Nokia stood up and put his hands on my shoulders. "You do understand the band hierarchies do you not?"
"Of course, and frankly I don't care!" I replied in a defensive like manner for I had already worried about this in the past and knew where he was taking this. Plus I already decided that I would take the risk and would do anything to win her, and her section over.
"Calm down and you should care if you ever want to hang out with her outside of school." He stated firmly.
My irritation relieved at his words, "You're going to help me?" I asked him surprised.
"Yes, but pay close attention to this beforehand warning. Low brass has always been the most mysterious, and nonsensical section in the history of all bands. Pink Devils' is known to have the most brutal of them all. You're asking to spend time with their best female member, and I know for a fact they will not let you within 10 feet of her outside of band and school without a series of trials. Do you understand so far?" He shot a serious look at me while speaking to make sure I was following along and went so far as to flick me when I began to day dream during his explanation.
I nodded eagerly, but my gaze was far ahead of him. I was internally panicking, why were there already so many obstacles for just a simple hang-out? I shook my head and tapped my foot a few times to regain my composure. I looked up at Nokia with determination, "What do I do first?"
Nokia seemed to be in deep thought, "You must set up a meeting with the Boss otherwise known as Head Section Leader. Do this by finding one of his messengers, a freshman, and get him to figure out a time for you two to meet." He explained this to me overly discreetly, despite being alone in the same room. "After you're done, return here and I'll tell you how to impress the Boss on first encounter."
I slowly returned downstairs and exited the Band room. My eyes darted around endlessly, searching for any freshmen member of the Low Brass. Finally after wandering two halls, in F hall there he stood… shadily hanging about the Low Brass dominated classroom, F.4.
"Hey!" I called out to the raunchy fellow, his name was Evick and as soon as he heard me, he took off down the hall. Damn it… With extreme precision I chased the little rat down and tackled him to the floor. "Dude!"
"What, I have to use the bathroom!" he whined. I let him up, and tried to ignore his persistent glare towards me. Many lower classes despised my perfection and high position, but I respected them none the less.
"Oh… well, I just need you to set up a meeting with your leader."
Evick sighed and pulled out his notepad and pencil, "State your reason."
"Ariana," I retorted bluntly. My frustration only grew as he snickered while scribbling down on his pad.
"Last question," he told me wearily, "Of what importance are you? Do you even hold any worthiness to approach our great leader?"
This kid was pulling all the wrong strings. Like back in the day when old woman yet worked in factories, and they were barely able to neither see nor work with their arthritis filled hands. I grasped him roughly by his shirt and leaned in intimidatingly close. "You tell your leader, that Ash Ambrosia wants to have a talk with him. Drum Major." His eyes became fear stricken at my assertion and he scurried off back to the F4.
I waited patiently outside of the classroom door and after about 7 and a half minutes, the kid ran back out. He had a more welcoming approach which surprised me, "Wan Q, 2:35. If you're even a second late, don't bother showing up." I gave one short nod, and as the kid went back in I could faintly make out their leader before the door closed. My eyes widened when I realized who stood before him, it was Phil! And the leader seemed to converse with him rather respectively. The leader met my eyes for a split second and I could already sense his cockiness and disdain for me.
His name was Dave Dingle or D.D, and he'd like to go by Diva Dave but the only people that would call him that were freshmen and cowering low brass. Most of us preferred Derpy Dave, ever since his derp fall during a performance back in his freshmen year.
I made haste to Nokia and ran up the stairs excitedly. "Dude, I did it! Now what?" I badgered while caught up in my success.
"Good!" exclaimed Nokia, "Now, while approaching the leader you must exhibit your dominance. It's best to go in shirtless,"
"Also bring a gift to impress the leader like money, or something shiny. He likes a confident and witty approach so do not under any circumstances show any sign of intimidation or anxiety. Got it?"
I patted his shoulder gratefully, "Yeah, thanks a bunch Nokia!" His speech ended perfectly on time, right as the bell rang.
School became more agonizing then ever and I must have glanced at the clock thousands of times before finally it read 2:27. HOLY CRAP, 2:27, I need to get out of here! I quickly ran to the front of the classroom, "I have to go!"
"Poop…" someone added from the back of the room, but there wasn't time to react and I sprinted out of the school, heading towards Wan Q. I must have looked like a wild man or something because a woman tackled her child out of my way. Geez… I forced my legs to take larger steps as I ran. My lungs were ready to burst, 2:32. Come on…
2:34… There it was! Wan Q, that horrible Chinese restaurant. I took a magnificent leap forward and ripped off my shirt before bursting through the two, Asianly engraved front doors. 2:35.
All eyes were on me and I breathed heavily in response. My radiant sweat rolled down my unmistakable perfectly sculpted abs."I'm here to talk about Ariana Claire Shelby."
"So is he," replied D.D, and much to my dismay, pointed to another snickering figure among the Chinese darkness, Phil. He was too shirtless, but nobody in the room would dare deny my body over his.
"But first…my gift." D.D ordered. "Phil here was dedicated enough to give me a set of fine silver spoons…"
HIS GIFT, OH SHIT! I chuckled lightly aloud; I'm going to kill myself. No wait, think Ash, think… Money and shiny things! I got it… my drivers' license! I reached into my pocket with a smug expression and pulled out my wallet. I took out my drivers' license and held it up for the group to see and among the gasps I heard a light scoff which I assumed came from Phil.
My eyes scanned my surroundings and I saw that D.D sat in an elegant red chair, his face hidden by a large plant that stood as tall as a 4'1 midget. Around him were his fellow senior type, and junior type. Bowing before him were his loyal and sneaky freshmen. I saw that D.D stood from his chair and walked towards me. I held up my license with dignity, as he approached and didn't bat an eyelash when a stream of light revealed his face.
He snatched the license from my hands greedily and held it up to the only stream of light in the room. "So shiny…" he murmured admirably. "What is it about Ariana?"
"I want to help her with a project this Sunday." A large lump in throat threatened my voice's mystical capability but I managed to push through it.
A series of gasps erupted once again around me but I stood my group, my body flushing with manliness.
D.D laughed loudly, and I only narrowed my eyes in response. "How unfortunate, our respectable member Phil has already asked permission to ask Ariana on a date this Sunday."
"Please," I stated rather than begged, trying to maintain my omniscient figure. "She needs this project done, and this Sunday is my only free day! I will embark on any tasks you bestow upon me, just please give me a chance against Phil."
D.D sighed in frustration, "Then again, because you are drum major I am burdened with the golden rule to allow you to compete against our worthy member and complete the tasks we assign."
My heart raced, now was my chance! "Anything!" I insisted.
"Ash, your first task is to buy my loyal members and I a meal of whatever we choose." He told me in a cunning tone, and then turned to Phil next. "Phil, you… must eat 3 dumplings."
Was the food here even edible? My face twisted visibly into a suspicious fashion but I decided to hold my tongue. I watched in disgust as Phil practically joined in on the meal I was paying for and I had an underlying sense that he was being favored.
I stood idly and waited for the group to receive their meal. The food here looked absolutely disgusting, and the only thing that anyone benefited from this was food poisoning. Low Brass was full of masochist, and I respected Ariana a great deal for handling this. Once the food came I immediately and grudgingly paid for their $67 meal. "Okay, what's next?" My voice was growing in impatience, and despite my actual loss, the others consoled Phil on having to eat so much food.
"Do a little dance for me. Phil, open up everyone's fortune cookies."
My expression became horrified, "What the hell man?!" Wasn't being shirtless enough for these guys? Plus opening fortune cookies, seriously?!
D.D stood and slammed his hands against the table that was as wooden as a tree. "No questions! If you want to date Ariana then you better strut your mama's stuff!"
I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply, "If I'm gonna… if I'm going do this, at least put on my jam." What about my… Oh to hell with dignity! My dignity belongs to Ariana Claire Shelby.
Bring the action… When you hear this in the club, you're gonna turn this sh.. up.
Close enough. I jumped on the nearest table, and rotated my hips in a slow and taunting manner. I moved every limb to the beat of the song and gave it everything I got. As a man I felt totally stripped, and letting loose never hurt anyone… but in my situation, perhaps a decline in mental health would be the case.
In the corner of my eye I saw D.D whisper something to Phil and during my improved routine Phil suddenly came over and stuck his foot out. It was too late to dodge it and I tripped over his foot which caused me to land with a thud against the floor. I took another deep breath and stood up, making like nothing had happened. After 5 minutes of this torturous performance, and being forced to listen to Phil reading everyone's fortunes, I was called to stop by D.D. "That's all I can take…" he admitted breathlessly.
I exhaled and looked at him with gratitude for finally allowing me to stop. "What's my next task?" I asked hopefully, wondering if it would be any better than my previous tasks.
"Uh…" D.D fumbled for a moment, while looking up and if I wasn't so caught up in trying to impress them, I probably would have pointed out the fact he was beginning to make things up on the spot. "We're all heading back to the school. We told Galactica we would repaint the shed white, but I think you should do it instead. Phil, you shall be troubled with the task of passing him the brush and paint." Phil groaned in response and dropped to one knee melodramatically. "… I shall do it for Ariana."
"He's so selfless!" exclaimed a few of the other members.
To maintain my sanity and growing rage, I clenched and unclenched my fists multiple times as I reluctantly followed the group back to the school. As we approached the shed, I was awed by how run down the building actually was. To repaint the entire wall would take hours, and to think that Phil brat only had to pass me the damn brush…
I pulled out the ladder while Phil brought out the paint and set it down next to me. He flashed me a devious grin but for his leader's eye, patted me on the back roughly. "I respect your competition, and may the best man win Ash."
"Yeah… same to you," I retorted through gritted teeth. I climbed the ladder regretfully and felt so overwhelmed that I had one of the most horrible thoughts. Was a simple photo shoot really worth all this? I forced myself to pray for forgiveness, and nearly punched myself in the face for ever thinking to blame her innocent being for any of this. Of course, everything to do with her was most definitely worth it. Phil tossed me the paint can which momentarily stunned me when I tried to catch it, and I nearly toppled over with the ladder. Next came the brush, and for once I was finally gladdened to be rid of their presence for a while.
Unbeknownst to me, down below D.D unraveled his last task of the day to Phil. "If you really want Ariana, I suggest you follow this next task. I want you to push Ash off the ladder, and hopefully it'll be an accident he won't wake up from in time for this Sunday."
Phil cackled, "It would be my absolute pleasure sir…"
I had just finished painting the upper half of the wall when suddenly the entire structure I stood on violently lost its balance and sent me plummeting towards a terrible fate. Using my hard earned strength I thrust my arm out and grabbed onto the side of the roof. I was dangling like a rag doll, and I glanced down at the ground to see the ladder far out of reach. "PHIL!" I called desperately.
I walked through the parking lot to set up for sectionals at 5 when a weird dangling shadow caught my attention from the corner of my eye. My eyes followed the movement and I could see a boy hanging on to the edge of the shed building. I immediately stepped forward in a rush to head over and help the poor guy when Phil took up my entire vision. "Phil!" I exclaimed, "There's someone on the roof and I need to-!"
"What are you talking about girl? Whatever, anyway I got this fortune today and I need help deciphering it." He ignored my hyped looks, and instead shoved his fortune into my face.
"Phi-" and once again I was interrupted. I sighed impatiently and read the fortune quickly in my head. this is not of importance to the beholder but to the forced finder. What you assume is true, but the nit wit is keeping you from sight. Crazy fortune… but what does it mean? "Okay Phil, I have no idea now if you'll excuse me I think someone is in troub-" This time I stopped in my tracks. When I looked past his thick head, I saw that the dangling boy I had seen before was no longer anywhere in sight.
I rubbed my eyes a couple times and then awkwardly shrugged off the whole ordeal. What a weird thing to imagine… especially since it kind of reminded me of Ash.
Before I could even try to pull myself up, my sweating palms gave out and sent me straight towards the ground. Luckily but yet painful, my fall was braced by the well placed bushes below me. I climbed out with only a few scratches and brushed myself off. When I looked up I saw Phil walking away and talking to Ariana. I stared in disbelief and soon realized that the cheeky bastard must have pushed me. My guess was only confirmed when Phil draped an arm around her shoulder and turned his head to give me a victory-like expression.
No, maybe he thought he was winning but I was going to model for Ariana at all costs, and nobody, not D.D or Phil was going to stop me!
I climbed the ladder with new found inspiration and painted that wall with love and passion, like a fish going for the worm stuck on a hook. The worm was Ariana, and the hook was the edgy tasks I was getting. If I saw through their cleverly masked plans, I would be able to skillfully retrieve the worm… but if I didn't… I would be pierced and eventually ridiculed while fried on a pan.
It took me about 50 more minutes to finish the wall in my current state and when I finished, I quickly went to the field that Adira had set up all by herself. Though with 10 minutes left before stretches, I consulted the Low Brass regarding my next task.