I was wondering today just what choir class was like for Ben. Strangely enough, a window promptly opened, and here’s what I know now.
Meg eyed us suspiciously as Paul, Ryan and I came into the band room for choir.
“What’s this? A trio of fools?”
Ryan grinned at her. “Fools for love! Valentine’s Day approaches. Will you be my Valentine, Meg?”
Her expression gentled into a soft amusement. “Oh? Are you serious?”
He shook his head adamantly, “Not even vaguely. Are you kidding? You’re a black widow spider. Do I look suicidal?”
Her eyes narrowed.
Paul punched Ryan in the arm. “Apparently you are! Why would you say something like that?” His voice was low and he watched Meg warily.
She spun on her heels and joined the other altos
Ryan shrugged and continued, “Maybe I feel like living dangerously.” He glanced over at Tanis.
Paul grabbed his arm, “Oh, man. Don’t do it. Tanis is deadly.”
Ryan smirked, “Dynamite is deadly and dangerous, too, but it can be a wonderful thing when handled properly.”
“You think you can handle Tanis properly?”
Ryan winked, “Watch and learn, Paul. Watch and learn.”
Mr. Johnson clapped his hands, “Come on people! Let’s get going. Do you have the ‘Titanic’ score, ready?”
There was a flurry of papers as everyone lined up in sections and readied themselves for warm-up.
Ryan smiled at Tanis.
She wrinkled her brows as she smiled back automatically.
“Ben, give me a C?” I stepped over to the piano and struck middle C, then the octave below, then both together before returning to my spot. The class found their notes and Mr. J. directed us up and down the scales.
I watched Ryan as we sang. He kept catching Tanis’ eye. The first time she met it blankly, without interest.
She blinked, and hastily glanced back to Mr. J. A few bars later, she looked back.
Ryan stared at her as he sang, “love can touch us…”
She blushed, looking away again, but moments later her gaze had wandered back.
He smiled dreamily at her as he sang, “You’re here in my heart.”
She inhaled, losing her pitch momentarily before returning his gaze as she sang, “You’re safe in my heart.”
They stared at each other, oblivious to the rest of the class as the final chord reverberated around us. As the notes died out, Ryan nodded at her.
Tanis nodded back.
They broke their gazes, and Ryan nudged Paul, whispering, “See? Putty in my hands. It’s all about crafting the moment. We’ll be telling our grandchildren about this.”
Ryan grunted and looked over to me in disgust.
I grinned, “What can I say? It’s the music. It does it every time.”
“It does, does it?” Meg’s eyes were narrow as she sidled up to us. “You’re sure of that, are you?”
“What do you mean, Meg?” Paul asked. “It seems to be working for Ryan.”
She sneered, “It might work for him, but he’s not the only one relying on the technique.” She stared maliciously at me.
I swallowed, bile rising up my throat like fire.
Paul shook his head, “Meg, Meg, Meg. Don’t be a hater.”
“You’re one to talk.” She raised her eyebrows, glancing at Tanis.
“Well, one traumatic experience shouldn’t turn you off love forever.”
Nonetheless, I noticed he crossed his legs somewhat nervously as he looked over to Tanis.
Ryan had wandered over to Tanis and said something that made her giggle and flutter her eyelashes at him.
I shook my head and muttered, “We should be taking lessons from him.”
Paul nodded. “Things not going well with Grace these days?”
I sighed. “Not particularly well, No.”
“Sorry to hear that.”
I shrugged. “She’s stubborn.”
“Maybe you’re trying too hard?”
I watched Tanis and Ryan flirting at the door, she punched him playfully in the bicep. He made a melodramatic gesture of agony and then pointed at his arm insistently. She shook her head, blushing, but as the bell rang, she quickly stood on tip toe and kissed the bicep. Ryan swoon and grabbed his heart. She giggled and headed out the door, tossing a coquettish look over her shoulder.
Ryan swung around and returned to us, grinning broadly. “She adores me.”
Paul shook his head doubtfully. It always starts well.”
“Not always,” I grumbled.
Paul clamped an arm around my shoulders. “Cheer up, Ben. She’ll come around eventually.”
Meg caught my eye and shook her head, mouthing, “No. She won’t.”