It all started with an audition. Whit Harrison was nervous enough, but to have some guy barge into the room when he was trying to try out for a solo in the community choir did not make things any better. Instead of being annoyed with the intruder, however, Whit is quite fascinated with him.
He doesn’t have to wait to meet Brock Evans, a fellow music lover who is quite adept with the guitar. Soon, the two men find themselves facing intense feelings for one another, but Brock hasn’t told Whit everything about his past. As he finds himself falling deeper and deeper in love, the level of fear increases as he tries to find a way to come clean without losing Whit forever.
Whit looked at himself in the mirror as he ran through his measures. He was really nervous about what he was about to do. This would be the first time he auditioned for a solo in the community choir—in any choir, for that matter. He never had a problem with singing in a group, but he always wondered if his voice was really good enough to be heard on its own. He’d sung in front of good friends and some family members, and his son told him he should try out for American Idol, but he was having a hard time right now believing he could perform for the town, much less a national audience.READ MORE
Glancing at his sheet music, Whit wondered if he should have picked something a little more gospel instead of a song from the ‘80s. This was a choir that seemed more bent on classic show tunes and religious music as opposed to contemporary fare. Still, the song was one of his favorites, and it was something he’d sung many times before. If he was going to be chosen for a solo, he needed a piece that he wasn’t going to screw up royally.
There was a lot at stake in tonight’s auditions. The songs the choir was working on currently were for the annual music festival, called “Strike a Chord,” an affair that brought together community musical groups and the schools’ performing arts programs in a two-day affair that celebrated the gift of song and heralded the start of spring. Whoever was picked for the solos would be representing the best the choir had to offer. Whit wanted the chance to show he could be the best, even though his self-doubt sometimes made it tough for him to believe in himself.
Whit looked down at his shirt and grimaced. Why did he wear a black shirt to an audition? He wasn’t trying out to sing at a funeral. He should have worn something a little more fun. A Hawaiian shirt? Something white, or maybe even red? There was no time to run home and change. He’d just have to hope his success wasn’t based on having fashion sense.
Pacing back and forth, Whit quietly sang the chorus to “Best That You Can Do.” He wanted to get everything perfect, although he knew he would be called in at any time. He looked over at the clock, which read “7:35.” He knew he needed to calm down, or he would go up in flames—figuratively and possibly literally, as he felt a little warm in the tiny room. It was the storage room in the high school music wing, and it was the only place Whit could think of that was quiet enough to rehearse and private enough in case he had a nervous breakdown.
There was a knock on the door and a female voice saying, “Whit, they’re ready for you.” Whit heaved a sigh. This was going to separate the men from the boys. It was too late to run out the door screaming, although Whit was still thinking of doing it. Then he realized he would not be setting a good example for his son, giving up on something for fear that he was no good. Taking a deep breath, Whit walked out of the storage room and into the main rehearsal hall.
He looked at who was sitting at the judges’ table. There was the director, Esmeralda Pickington, who tended not to notice people until they actually sang solo, so it was even odds that she would be amenable. Sitting to the left of Esmeralda was Nora Jackson, someone that Whit was a good friend with, so she’d likely favor him for a solo part. Unfortunately, to Esmeralda’s right was Lewis Stewart, an ultra-conservative Mormon who stuck his nose up at Whit on a regular basis, disapproving of his “lifestyle.” Whit hoped the decision on solo parts wasn’t based on a unanimous vote, or he was royally screwed.
He walked over to Kate, the pianist, and handed her the music, hoping he didn’t forget the words. The last thing he wanted to do was look bad in front of Esmeralda, and he certainly didn’t want to give Lewis the chance to get up on his soapbox and blame a horrible audition on the supposed claim that homosexuals were an abomination in the Lord’s eyes.
“All right,” Esmeralda said before pausing to look at her audition list. “Whit Harrison. What will you be singing for us tonight?”
“Well, ma’am, I’m singing ‘Best That You Can Do,’“ Whit replied as he quickly put his hands behind his back to keep from fidgeting. “Do you want me to sing the whole song, or just to a certain place?”
“Let’s see where it goes,” the director said. “I’ll likely let you sing the whole thing, unless you just sound like a hound dog howling.”
Whit gulped as he silently uttered a prayer asking God not to switch his vocal cords with those of some mutt named Rex. Then he took a deep breath as Kate played the introduction, and he began to sing. As he sang the words, he could see Nora grinning from ear to ear and Esmeralda politely smiling as she scribbled some notes on a canary notepad. Lewis, on the other hand, looked utterly bored, like someone was reading aloud from the phone book. Whit was hoping his fortunes would change with Lewis, as he was approaching the chorus, which he felt was his strongest part.
“When you get caught between the moon and New York City...” Whit could go no further as the hall door flew open, and a strange man walked in, asking loudly, “So is this where the community band is rehearsing?”
Whit was crestfallen. He had been feeling pretty good about how the audition was going, and this muscular oaf with a guitar strapped on his shoulder had gone and interrupted like a booing crowd at a comedy club. He had half a mind to drag this guy outside and pummel him senseless, yet part of him couldn’t look away at the intruder, who looked Scottish in origin.
Esmeralda glared at the man from over her glasses. “Young man, this is where the community choir rehearses, and you have very rudely interrupted an audition. The band rehearses in room C-12. It’s down the hall, four doors to the right. Now, if it is not too much trouble, please close the door behind you so we may continue with our work.”
The man turned bright red and mouthed the words “I’m so sorry” to Whit before closing the door with a rattle. Esmeralda took off her glasses and rubbed her temple.
“All right, then. Let’s pick up right before the chorus, Kate, and I am so sorry, Will, for the extremely rude interruption.”
“Whit,” Whit corrected as Kate started to play a few measures before the chorus. He started to sing again, but the man’s sudden trespassing distracted him. Whit hated to admit it, but he was attracted to the man. The black Metallica t-shirt, the unkempt appearance, the guitar strapped over the shoulder—it all made for a rather yummy package.COLLAPSE