At school the next day, Janet can hardly concentrate. She realizes she forgot her lunch, but Diego assures her that’s all right.
Diego drove them to McDonald’s, with Bunny and Ramona. They ate in the car on the way back to school. Enjoying the late summer sunshine, the four of them sat in the courtyard until the bell rang ending lunch. Diego walked her to class.
“See you in chorus.” He gave her a quick kiss.
“Do you have to work tonight?”
“I begged off the entire weekend.”
“Me too. Whatever will we do with all that free time?” He nipped her ear with his teeth. “I need to go.”
He jogged away, blowing her a kiss. Janet walked into drama class in a much better frame of mind than she’d been in yesterday. Trina sat next to her at the table, scooting close.
“So, tell me?”
“Tell you what?” Janet replied innocently.
“You know. I’ve seen that look before.”
“Complete satisfaction. On my own face a few times,” she added quietly as he bell rang. “Was it wonderful?”
“Oh, Trina! Yes, it was!” Janet whispered happily.
“Good. I’d hate to have to break his legs.”
Janet giggled, hugging her friend.
Class went well and chorus to follow, was a lot of fun. They practiced their parts for the Roberta Flack song, jazzing it up as necessary. Once school was over, they headed back to her house as fast as they could, and were in bed right away.
Stopping for dinner, they ate sandwiches, leaving the washing up for another time. It felt so right to be together. Scandalous and a little wrong, but good. Janet knew that it couldn’t last. There wouldn’t be anymore weekends like this, but she was glad they had this one. It was beautiful, perfect.
Saturday night, she fell asleep in Diego’s arms, knowing her parents would be home the next day. This was their last night together. Reality would hit tomorrow, but for now, life was perfect.
Janet’s family moved a week later. She said tearful goodbyes, but really she found it a relief. She loved her family, but Sookie and her mother had caused her so much grief over the last few years, it was nice to have them gone. She settled in with her aunt, uncle and cousin Madelyn. She and Maddie were mere days apart in age. Growing up more like sisters, they got along well. Things were more relaxed and normal in Maddie’s house, and Janet loved it there.
Diego was welcomed like an honored guest, the first time he came over for dinner. Later, he became a part of the family. Uncle Buck, who had no son, took him fishing and camping. It made Janet happy to see them get so close.
The chorus competition approached at light speed. Janet could hardly believe it. The competition was out of town in Lincoln, Nebraska. They were the final group to perform that day, so she had all day to worry about her solo.
Many of the choirs were exceptional, but none of them did anything like their group had planned. They grew more excited as their time approached. It was partly nerves and partly the knowledge that what they were about to attempt would blow the judges away.
Finally, they lined up and took their places on the risers behind the royal blue curtain. They were announced and the curtain rose. The three girls stood together near the microphone. Janet had her pitch in her mind, repeating it over and over to make sure she had it right.
Still in the dark, her voice cut through the darkness. “Strumming my pain with his fingers, Singing my life with his words….”
When she got to the last line, the entire chorus came in with harmony and accompaniment. The lights came up slowly as she and the others sang. The spotlight shown brightly in her eyes, keeping her from seeing the audience. She was just as glad, she could pretend they didn’t exist if she couldn’t see them.
©2020 Dellani Oakes