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“Ok, now try a B flat,” he instructed. She barely got a note out.
“Sorry, I’m bad at brass,” she answered, looking down at the trumpet in her hands.
“Just adjust your embouchure. You’re used to playing the flute, It might be a bit challenging. You aren't used to the trumpet embouchure yet,” he smiled, and waited for her to play. She finally did, a confident, in tune high B flat rang out through the almost empty band room.
“Great job. That’s enough for today though. We only had time because the football game was canceled," he told her. They walked together to put the trumpets away, side by side and in step the whole way.
“Trumpet is a lot easier than learning Tuba, that’s for sure,” she chuckled as she grabbed her flute on the way out of the instrument room.
“Don’t forget about practice tomorrow,” he smiled.
“I won’t. Oh, and thanks for the trumpet lessons, Taylor,” she smiled in return.
“Hey Cam,” Taylor said as he walked up, “have you been practicing?”
“Which instrument?” she asked in response.
“All three,” he chuckled. They kept walking together headed to the band room. The band kids tend to gravitate towards the band room. As if it’s the center of their universe, which in a way it is. They slowly joined the circle of fellow marching band members, refreshed from the night off. A competition was to follow the next day, so they needed as much rest as possible. Cameron strolled over to the instrument room to put her flute away. She was barely out of earshot when Taylor’s best friend turned to him,
“Are you ever gonna take her on a date?”
“That’s up to her.”
“Right. Are you ever gonna ask her on a date?”
“Eventually. Maybe after marching season.”
“Taylor, it’s your senior year, your last marching season. Just man up and ask her!”
"Do it the morning of you're last competition. Give her a rose and everything. Go all out."
"Well? Don't you wanna marry her someday?"
"Tell her that too."
"Trust me on this one."
Trumpet lesson after trumpet lesson passed, Taylor sat and showed Cameron how to play trumpet every chance he got. His time spent with her was priceless. She sat quietly listening and watching him play effortlessly. Soon enough her best friend was questioning her,
“How many times a week does he give you lessons?”
“As many as possible.”
“I’m not sure.”
“Why do you go?”
“I like watching him play, and I just like seeing him.”
“I know you have that ridiculous crush on him, but why keep waiting? If he’s not gonna ask you out, then stop taking lessons from him!”
"Because I wanna marry him someday!"
"I knew it," she said with a smirk.
Cameron pondered what her best friend had said; she wondered if she should keep up the lessons. Well, they were free lessons and Taylor was her friend regardless of whether or not they shared the same feelings for each other. On a Thursday after school Cameron was sitting outside the band room playing her guitar. Her eyes trained on her fingers, moving along the frets precisely, she hit every chord exactly as it was supposed to be. The guitar, as Taylor said, did her musical skills no justice. She was better than anyone he had seen playing guitar before. He sat down across from her and watched. Her soft brown hair fell in front of her bright blue eyes. Her freckles seemed to dance along her nose in the bright sunlight. ‘She’s beautiful,’ he thought. She looked up and smiled at him. His heart soared, but all he could tell her was that she sounded pretty good.
Cameron ran up to her best friend the very next day,
“Sam! Remember how I like to play my guitar outside the band room every Thursday?”
“Well, I was sitting outside and Taylor sat with me and watched me play for at least 20 minutes!”
“Uhm... Creepy much?”
“No! I thought it was cute.”
“Maybe he’ll ask you on a date soon, Instead of sitting there gawking at your musical skills."
Cameron continued to think about what her best friend had said about Taylor, while Taylor tried to decide whether or not he should take his best friend’s advice and date Cameron. Soon, Taylor was requesting flute lessons from Cameron,
“Aw! Come on Cam! In return for the trumpet lessons?” he begged, simply to spend more time with her.
“Oh alright fine. But, you have to teach me what little percussion stuff you know, and help me with my marching,” she retorted.
“Alright fine. Even though you’re already great at marching,” he smiled, a genuine smile not many people in the band got to see him truly smile, or were ever lucky enough to have 2 hour long conversations after practices.
They soon spent most afternoons and weekends together, doing homework, marching, lessons, instrument lessons and a lot of video games. Taylor soon realized that he was falling harder for Cameron; She realized the same about him. Cameron thought to herself, ‘Great! I’m falling in love with my best friend.”
In class she would pick up his trumpet and start playing it he would sit and smile as her trumpet skills soon became effortless.Then to show off he'd pick up her flute and play it just as easily as he could play his trumpet. At marching competitions he’d adjust her shako, and wish her luck. She’d smile as he quietly helped her keep her feet in time when marching into place. After a show he’d pick her up in a hug and spin her around with flute, trumpet, shakos and all. She’d giggle as he spun her around.
Soon enough he gave in to temptation. Nervous as ever he walked her Biology. His knees were shaking, his hands were sweaty. His greatest fear was that she'd reject him.
“Hey Cameron,” he said to her, his voice shaky.
“Yes Taylor?” she smiled up at him. She smoothed out the skirt of the black dress she wore. It was tradition on the days of or before a competition to dress up.
“First off, I want to say happy birthday, and tell you how beautiful you look,” he turned red as he said it. She turned redder than their marching band uniforms.
“Thanks. You look pretty good today yourself,” she grinned back. becoming just as nervous as he was.
“One more thing,” he pulled a rose from behind his back. “Would you make me the happiest boy in the world, and be my girlfriend?” Cameron was still red and now she had a rose to match.
She smiled at Taylor, “It would be my pleasure.”
Cameron ran into her biology class and sat down next to Taylor’s best friend, who was also her lab partner.
“Guess what,” Cameron said to him.
“You’re dating Taylor,” he answered.
“How’d you know?”
“I knew he’d ask you out today,”
“How’d you know I’d say yes?”
“I’m dating your best friend,”
“So you knew this was gonna happen?”
“Everyone except you knew.”
“Well the whole band.”
Competition after competition passed, Cameron soon realized that this was her first and last season with Taylor. Marching band ended in only a week.
“Taylor,” she looked at him on the bus. “This is our first and last season together.”
“It is,” he smiled at her. “And that’s why I decided to make it my best season. I’ve spent pretty much my entire season with you, and now you’re my girl. I couldn’t have wished for a better marching band season.” Cameron turned red and smiled as she rested her head on his shoulder; he hesitated before resting his head on top of hers. The band teacher was sure to snap a picture for the slideshow at the band banquet at the end of the year. Cameron smiled, while Taylor turned bright red.
They got off the bus when they reached the stadium for their final competition. They slowly got in uniform. The bright red jackets enhanced everyone’s looks. The shining, silver sparkles that flowed in a single wave down the front of the jackets reflected the sun’s light and danced along the faces of instructors and marching band members alike, the gauntlets that attached to their sleeves enhanced the look of the plain black gloves each member had and threw more sparkles around. The drum major stood out with her jet black jacket that blended in with the bibbers underneath. The white gloves made her look distinguished and important. The name of the high school stood out on the shoulder of the sleeve in bright red lettering. They all looked great. Instruments shining and in tune, and everyone’s hair pulled back so it would fit under their shakos.
“Taylor,” Cameron started her voice shaky. “I’m nervous. What if we lose?”
“Cameron, look at me. Even if we lose we know we tried our hardest, we know that we’ve had the best band that this school has seen in years, we know that we’re the most supporting of each other and the other marching bands,” Taylor answered. His inspirational speech had caught the attention of the rest of their band and the bands surrounding them. He was right, this was the best marching band that the school had seen in 6 years; they did support each other and fellow marching bands. They tried their hardest every time. They weren’t the biggest band and they may not have had the best technique or biggest sound. But they had the best spirit, not big egos like other bands.
They warmed up, playing a chorale. Every other band had stopped what they were doing just to listen. This time they would not be the ‘Hot Dog Band’ which was meant as the band everyone decided they wouldn’t watch and instead spend the 10 minutes or so at concessions. As they brought their horns back down to attention, applause surrounded them. The instructors cried tears of joy and held each other. Never had their marching band been applauded before entering the stadium.
They lined up in their two lines to go on the field, Taylor and Cameron marched on next to each other until they split to march into the opening set of their show. After they were set Cameron zoned out, thinking about Taylor and what they were gonna do after he graduated. Her train of thought returned right as the announcer asked the drum major if the band was ready. The drum major had just finished saluting the audience, Taylor smiled at her from across the circle and the show started.
They had marched their best, Cameron and Taylor held tightly to each other’s hands as they announced which bands made it to the finals round. They made it.
They walked out of the stands and back to the bus to put uniforms back on and warm up for finals. Cameron and Taylor walked back holding hands, silent yet excited. This was Cameron’s first season and this was Taylor’s last competition; and they had made finals.
After warm up Taylor zipped up the back of Cameron’s jacket for her, she returned the favor. Shakos and instruments in hand the band turned to their drum major. Her black jacket contrasted greatly in the sea of red jackets. They all looked stunning once again in uniform. In the setting sunlight the sparkles on Cameron’s jacket danced along Taylor’s face as they did their pre-show ritual.
They donned their shakos once they were in their lines to enter the stadium. Taylor leaned down and adjusted Cameron’s shako so it was sitting straight, that way her plume didn’t look funny and stick out in all sorts of directions; he kissed her once, gently for luck.
They marched into the stadium to perform again, Cameron barely heard Taylor whisper it,
“I love you.” She blushed red. “And now you’re face matches your jacket,” he chuckled under his breath.
“I’ll have to get you another red rose in order to match it.” She smiled while she looked down at her shoes.
“Don’t look down. The judges want to see that pretty face of yours. Look proud of our band. I know I am.”
She looked up, her eyes sparkling with pride for the hard work of the people who surrounded her. The band was like another family to her. Then there was the boy standing next to her. She lifted her head high as she took the first step to march on.
After the season ended and they took first in their final completion, Cameron remembered Taylor’s only advice on life and surviving high school and competitions alike. As woodwind section leader her junior year she passed the same advice onto her section.
At her final competition senior year, in her jet black drum major jacket, with Taylor standing there ready to move the pit on the field, she spoke loud and clear to her band,
“Who’s nervous? Well don’t be. This is the final competition of the season and for many of us our last competition with this marching band. Even if we don’t make finals, even if we don’t take first, even if we’re the smallest band out on that field; I want you all to march you’re best. At my final competition of my first season one of the seniors gave me this same advice. No he wasn’t drum major, but it doesn’t matter. We can inspire each other and show pride in our band. When we march out onto that field I want you all to lift your heads high and let the judges see how proud you are to be a part of this marching band.”
One of the rookies raised her hand and asked, “Are we still supposed to be proud if we lose?”
“Yes,” Taylor walked up and stood next to Cameron. “Even if we lose, march on. Life isn’t over if we don’t win. We may not be the biggest band, or have the best technique but we have always been proud of the hard work we do. I may not be you’re drum major but I think you should take this advice.”
Taylor smiled at Cameron, “Remember love, always march on. No matter what happens.” After the show Taylor pulled Cameron aside, the whole band was listening and so was Taylor's best friend, who had been in the pit crew this season.
"Cameron," he started. "there's something I've been wanting to tell you since your sophomore year."
"What is it?"
"Tell her!" Taylor's best friend shouted from the bus. "Everyone else already knows!"
"Tell me what?" Cameron asked confused.
"Tell you that I want to marry you someday."
Cameron smiled, "I've been wanting to tell you the same thing since my sophomore year too."
Shakos- the uniform hat in marching band.
Plume- the feathers that are on top of the shakos.
Gauntlets- cuffs of a sort that slide on the sleeves of marching band uniforms.
Embouchure-the way you shape your lips to get a sound out of the instrument.
Bibbers- The pants that go under the uniform.
Drum Major- The conductor of the marching band.