My apologies for not being around the blogosphere much recently. I’m doing two free courses concurrently with FutureLearn. Together with the revision on a novel of mine, time’s been flying by. I can’t believe we’re already almost a third of the way through Feb. And with Valentine’s Day knocking on the door already! So I’ve decided to share the 500 word or so love-themed story I wrote for class.
Be warned. There’s some Karaoke 🙂 I’ve links to the songs further down in case you aren’t familiar with them. Enjoy!
Sweat glistened on Julian’s face.“Sing!” Lex had insisted, pushing him up onto the stage and shoving a mic into his lax hands. Curious faces looked up at him. Melinda nodded gentle encouragement. Reaching her, Lex smiled a crooked smile, his hand hovering closer to her shoulders.
Polite coughs from the floor brought a fresh onslaught of sweat, joining into potential rivulets, further panicking Julian.
The selection of songs scrolled leisurely across the screen without a care in the world. Lex smirked, his hand on Melinda’s bare shoulder. Melinda frowned a little at Lex, but didn’t move away. She turned back to Julian with another encouraging nod.
Snickers and whispers grew in volume. Others were awaiting their Karaoke moment.
Desperately, Julian looked at the scrolling selection—something with few lyrics and more music. Or something which sounded fine no matter how badly you sang it.
Definitely not Mariah Carey then, or Wham, or…
Julian’s mind hit pause.
Someone from the floor yelled something indistinct. The tone said it all–patience was running out.
And there it was, Uncle Harold’s favourite song! Julian selected it. He even knew most of the lyrics! And those he didn’t know he could just mumble.
Julian shut his eyes, imagining he was back in Uncle Harold’s garage. “Born in the USA!” roared Julian.
Shocked into silence, the audience stared at the tall, bony man; his face contorting with the words like a Scream mask.
As so often happened when Julian was around, shock and horror turned into gentle amusement. People started clapping time and stamping their feet.
Julian didn’t open his eyes until the end. Then he staggered off the stage.
Melinda met him with a glass of something cool and a large smile. Lex hovered behind her.
“That was very brave of you! Well done, Jules–” began Melinda.
“Yeah, well done. Could’ve picked a better song, my man.” Lex thumped him hard enough on the shoulder, sending him an involuntary step back. “That one was kind of lame.”
“Oh, come on, Lex,” grinned Melinda. “It was fun! It’s my Uncle Steve’s favourite. Especially at weddings…though I don’t know why!”
Julian smiled in relief and wonder. “I know! It’s the same with my Uncle Harold!”
“No, you lie!” Melinda looked delighted.
“No, you lie!” mimicked Lex as Melinda took Julian’s arm and led him to their table, talking a mile a minute.
Lex would not be out-done. He never was. Plan B’s time had come. Brushing past a matron, he snatched up the mic and scanned the selection. What would impress Melinda the most, and blow Julian out of the water? So, she liked American Rock, huh? Here it was — Dire Straits; just the thing to leave Julian in.
“Calling Elvis, anybody home?”
Lex looked over to Julian and Melinda. They were talking and laughing.
He refreshed his memory of the lyrics as he sang, then looked back to his targets, singing, “Love Me Tender.”
They were kissing.