Title: Hard On The Knees

Author: Chosentwo4381

Rating: PG-13

Feedback: Would be much appreciated.

Email: chosentwo4381@yahoo.com

Claimers: I actually own these. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not.

Author’s Notes: Thanks to Jandi for beta’ing this for me. I’m not sure where this came from. It started off being a snippet that I hand wrote about a year and a half ago, and now it morphed into this. I’d really like to know what people think.

Part One

“So what’s up with you and Ian?” Xana Williams asked her best friend Darby Bradshaw as they got into Xana’s champagne Jetta after softball practice.

“What do you mean what’s up with me and Ian,” Darby replied evasively.

“Darby Shiah Bradshaw! Don’t play games. Since you and Evan did break up because Ian kissed you, then something has got to be up with you and Ian.”

“Okay, okay, you got me. I guess we are talking; we’re just taking things slow. After all, I did date Evan for over eight months. I’m not ready for long term,” Darby admitted. “Okay, you got mine out of me, so what was wrong with you today?”

Xana sighed, “It’s just Cody.”

“Cody again?” Darby asked, “I thought y’all decided to just be friends.”

“That’s just it. We never decide anything. We act like we are stuck in permanent limbo. But this morning Kyra heard me, Lance and Jason talking about Jon beating Cody out for that part in the all county musical. Anyway, she asked who Cody was and Lance told her that Cody was my ex-boyfriend, or might as well have been. It just bugs me that people think of me and Cody as a package deal.” Xana pulled up in front of Darby’s house and shifted into park. “I love Cody to death but he can never decide what he wants. I mean, it’s okay for him to talk about other girls, but God forbid I mention another guy. The second I do, he gets all pissy and we get into yet another fight.”

Darby laughed, “Maybe Lance was right. It’s like y’all are exes. Exes that still love each other, but, still, exes.”

“Thanks Darby,” Xana replied sarcastically, “but there is one detail both you and Lance seem to have overlooked. Cody can’t be my ex, mainly because, oh that’s right, we’ve never gone out!”

“Darby shrugged as she got her book bag out of the back seat. “Okay, so Cody is a no go. But what was up with you and Jakob at that band thing this weekend?”

“I’ll call you tonight and tell you about it. It’s kinda complicated because of Travis,” Xana responded as she put the car into gear.

Darby yelled as the car pulled off, “You do know that you’ve got too many guys don’t you?”


Xana rolled over and smacked at her alarm clock. She reluctantly opened her eyes and attempted to rouse herself from the after effects of her sleepless night. “Maybe Darby is right. I’m beginning to think that I do have too many guys,” She thought as she showered. First there was Travis, a tall, muscular, but not beefy, Bari sax player, with dirty blonde hair and whiskey brown eyes. She had the ring, but they weren’t going out. Then there was Cody, who was the best guy friend in the picture, they alternated between being ‘just friends’ and having feelings for each other. He was dark skinned with close cropped black hair and oddly light brown eyes. Jakob was the cute freshman percussionist. He was about Xana’s height, with buzz cut brown hair and the bluest eyes she had ever seen. The only problem with Jake was the fact that he was notorious for cheating on his girlfriends, and Xana knew it, mainly because most of the time he cheated with her.

“Xana, hurry up,” a male voice yelled as the seventeen year old boy outside the bathroom door started beating on it.

“I’ll be out in a sec, Xavan,” Xana yelled to appease her twin brother. The twins were alike in many ways, both were in band, Xana on French horn with Xavan on baritone, and both were spring sport athletes, Xavan played soccer, while Xana was on the softball team. Their initials were even the same, XEW, for Xavan Erik Williams and Xana Elise Williams. They even looked alike, caramel colored skin, green eyes, and dark brown hair. They were also the same height, 5’10”. The similarities ended there however. While Xana drove a champagne Jetta, Xavan drove a dark blue extended cab Tacoma, with silver pinstripes. It was lowered right to the legal limit, which meant that it matched the tint on his windows which were right at thirty-five. They had a similar disparity in style as well. Xavan wore tasteful, but still thuggish clothing, while his sister went for the more preppy look, purchasing most of her clothing from American Eagle.  Their romantic lives were another bane of contention for the twins. He dated girls that his sister couldn’t stand, and he absolutely despised all the guys she brought home. However, both knew better than to attempt to interfere with the other’s love life. The last time they tried to set each other up, not only did they have a lousy time, the two prospectives ended up getting together.

“I’m out,” Xana yelled in the direction of her brother’s room. She then walked into her room and started putting on her clothes for the day. “Khaki shorts, wife beater, and softball jersey,” she thought. “Oh how I love away game days.” She finished getting her things together, grabbed her keys, and got her cell phone off the charger. As she walked out, Xavan was coming out of the bathroom.

“You on the way out,” he queried.

“Yeah, I’m picking up Darby. See you at The Spot before school?”

“You know it.”

She smiled at him and then headed out to her car. The drive to Darby’s was short, and it was all spent on the phone with her. They hung up just as Xana pulled in and Darby stepped out of the door. Her chin length blonde hair was pulled into two pigtails, and she was dressed pretty much identically to Xana. She opened the door and tossed her bags into the back before climbing in.

“What’s up?” Darby asked as they pulled away.

“Not a thing. We’re meeting my brother and a couple of his friends at The Spot in a bit.”

“That’s cool. I’m hungry. Can we stop at Sheetz first though? I want to get some sunflower seeds for the game.”

“Yeah I need gas, gum, and some Mountain Dew anyway.”

“You and that Mountain Dew, I don’t understand it.”

“I don’t know what your issue is with  Mountain Dew. You read that Nothing Nice to Say comic and now you are all against it,” Xana exclaimed.

“It’s disgusting and it makes you hyper. You could at least get diet caffeine free Mountain Dew,” argued Darby.

“You know what another name for caffeine free diet Mountain Dew is?”

Darby looked at her best friend skeptically, “No. What?”

“Pointless. Now shut up and let me get my drink.”

Purchases made, the two girls got back into the car and drove toward the diner known as The Spot. Xana pulled into her spot between her brother’s truck and her cousin Damien’s black Mustang. Damien was her brother’s best friend, and pretty much like a brother to her as well. Combined, the Williams twins, Damien, and Darby the four were the most feared, respected, loved, and hated of all the cliques at Shady Glen High School. The two girls got out of the car and walked into the restaurant. As soon as they walked in, the guys that had been sitting with Xavan and Damien moved to get up, but Xana stilled them with her hand.

She turned to her cousin, who was looking at her with a question in his blue eyes. She bent down and kissed his forehead right below the fringe of dark brown hair. “We’ve got some girl talk to do.”

He nodded, “We need to talk for a second though. Apparently Noelle found out that Jake cheated on her with you this weekend.”

Xana rolled her eyes, “Damnit. How did she find out?”

“Not sure,” he replied. “I’ve got people on it though.”

“Good deal then. I suppose I’ll have the usual people with me during breaks then.”

“I would prefer that, as would your coach I believe. I know how you are, and if this girl challenges you, you won’t hesitate to beat her down. But she won’t challenge you with your crew.”

She sighed, “Fine. I would like to state that I am annoyed by this. These followers of yours will seriously cramp my flirting style.”

He laughed, “Cousin, I highly doubt that you will shrivel up and die if you don’t get to flirt-”

“I might,” she interrupted.

“I doubt that. But what I was saying is that that I did replace some of them with some of yours. These will let you have your space while deterring any unwelcome advances.”

“Fine. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to join Darby at my table.” He nodded and she walked away. She sat down in a small booth across from her best friend.

“What was that about?”

Xana sighed, “Noelle.”

“Jake’s girlfriend Noelle,” Darby clarified.

“The same. Apparently she found out about this weekend and is on the war path.”

“That sucks. For her at least. I wonder who told.”

“There is no telling. So for the rest of this week, our usual entourage will have some of Damien’s people with it. He wants to go for intimidation, since he knows how I get about challenges.”

“Smart man.”

“You aren’t supposed to agree with him,” Xana exclaimed.

“Sure I am. You are my best friend, and I love you, but you are intrinsically incapable of backing down from a challenge. The team needs you. The tournament is coming up and you know coach’s rule. You get suspended and you’re off the team,” Darby reasoned.

Xana let loose another long suffering sigh. “I hate it when you are right, you know,” she said as the waitress delivered the food that Darby had ordered for the both of them. “But anyway, I’m done with Jake now anyway.”

“Because of this Noelle thing?”

Xana shook her head to the negative, “No. I decided this last night. I’m not dealing with him anymore. The whole illicit messing around thing was great for awhile, but he’s not boyfriend material. If he was cheating on her with me, then who is to say that he wouldn’t cheat on me if we hooked up.”

Darby nodded, “So who is up? Jake is a no, as is Cody. That leaves Travis, and not too many more, unless you are going to start dating Xavan and Damien approved guys.”

“Don’t be silly. There have got to be some others.”

“Nope, sorry. You’ve either dated them, they are dating people that are part of your perpetual entourage, you’ve put them on the blacklist, are friends with your brother and cousin, or are gay.”

“Man, it’s been a busy 3 years.”

“The third one’s not even done yet,” Darby agreed. “You could always switch teams,” she suggested.

“It’s not like I haven’t thought about it,” Xana replied. “It’s just that there haven’t been any that struck my fancy.”

Darby looked slightly surprised at that revelation. “You’ve thought about it? Why didn’t you say anything?”

“Didn’t matter. It seemed pretty pointless to bring it up if there wasn’t someone that I was interested in.”

“Pointless? It would have been better than showing up one day holding hands with a chick and introducing her as your girlfriend without preamble.”

“Now that you mention it that would have been fairly traumatic, but Xavan knew, and he agreed. Now you know, and it’s a moot point anyway because there aren’t any out non heterosexual females at Shady Glen that aren’t taken.”

“So you weren’t just not telling me because you thought I’d have some issue with it and would use it to attempt to fuck you over?”

“Of course not. You are my best friend. If I can’t trust you then who can I trust? Now let’s go because I have art first block and you know how Mr. Allen gets about tardies.”


At 11:30, when the bell rang for the end of second block and the beginning of first lunch, Xana met Darby at the locker that they shared in the central hallway. Technically speaking, locker sharing was strictly forbidden, but none of the administrators were all that interested in enforcing the rule, so since Xana’s locker was no where near any of her classes she shared with her best friend and used that as a meeting spot.

“Hey chick,” Darby greeted the taller girl as she tossed her books in with Xana’s.

“What’s up?”

“Not a thing,” Darby responded as she slammed the locker shut. The two girls walked down the hall toward the cafeteria.

“What time are we getting called out of class to get ready for the game?”

“I think 3. Bus leaves at 3:15.”

“We riding with baseball or no?”

“Nope, their game got cancelled, something like a death in the Twin River’s coach’s family.”

“Aight then. I thought Damien said that Noelle was on the war path about this whole Jake thing. She hasn’t said a word all day. Not even one of her friends has stepped up.”

Darby shrugged, “Beats me. I don’t know what she’s waiting for.”

“I guess it’s too much to hope that she’s gotten smart.”

“How so?”

“I’m not the one that’s dating her. Jake is. So wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to get pissed off at him about the whole thing?”

“That would be true, but Lise, you did know that they were together.”

“Don’t call me that,” Xana began. “I did know that they were together, however she isn’t one of my friends, so I didn’t break the unwritten girl code of conduct.”

Darby just rolled her eyes at her friend’s logic, “Bag lunch line?”

Her companion nodded, “I don’t feel like waiting in either of the others.”

After getting their lunches, they went to their usual table and sat down. Made up completely of other band members and athletes that had the same lunch period, the group that they were dining with hadn’t changed substantially all semester. Xana gave Travis a quick peck on the lips as she sat down between him and Darby.

“Hey Xana, Darby,” a red haired girl greeted them as they sat down.

“Hey Faith,” Xana said, as Darby nodded her acknowledgement of their teammate and fellow band member.

“I heard that the Wiz is going to be announcing the theme for next year’s show in class today.”

Everyone turned to look at the Irish clarinetist in surprise. Darby was the first to recover, “Are you serious?”

Faith nodded, “I was taking my case into the instrument storage room before lunch, and overheard him on the phone with Mrs. Donavan. He said something about making sure that she was going to be here during class today.”

Grins broke out around the table. If the Wiz, more commonly known as Mr. Osbourne, the band director of Shady Glen, was having the band booster president to come in for the class then it had to be time to announce the show theme.

Mr. Osbourne had been extremely secretive about the concept of the show for the coming year. He’d been mentioning it in off hand terms since they got back from Nationals at the end of the previous season, but he never provided any details. By May, all of the students had given up on knowing before the music got handed out at the first part of band camp. All any of them could get out of him about it was that it ‘was going to change the face of marching band.’

“I wonder what it’s going to be.” Darby speculated.

“I bet it’s like music from Godspell or something,” Lance spoke up.

“Not even,” countered Elisabeth. “Musicals as marching band shows have been done to death.”

“Lisbet is right,” Xana spoke up. “Godspell, while not a musical that’s been done before, is still a musical. That’s not revolutionary. It’s gotta be something that no one has ever thought of before.”

“Or maybe it’s just something that no one has had the balls to do before. I mean our show last year was The Crow. Most people considered that revolutionary,” interjected Travis.

Faith sighed, “They did, and now we have to top that.”

They all nodded. If nothing else then it’s going to be interesting,” Darby replied.

They sat in silence for a beat before Elisabeth spoke up, “Who do you guys play today?”

“Twin Rivers,” Xana answered.

“You beat them once already right?”

Darby nodded, “It was a rough win though. Extra innings and all that. But we’ve been going hard at it. Coach has been riding our asses ever since that loss to Northport two weeks ago. That’s our only loss and if we beat Twin Rivers then we’re first seed going into the tournament and that gets us into Regionals with home field advantage in the first round. If we lose then we’ve got to play for a Regionals spot and then we’ll have to travel.”

Everyone nodded their commiseration. Tournament time was definitely a bitch. Faith was second seed on the tennis team. Travis played soccer. Lance was on the baseball team and Elisabeth ran track. They were all well aware of the stresses of attempting to balance out long bus trips, extra practices, homework, and other essential things like sleep.

Then the bell rang and the tossed the remains of their lunches into the trash and headed to the band room for their class. Their director was waiting at the door as the stream of students walked in.

“Put your stuff down and then go into the auditorium. We’re not playing today,” he announced. Xana, Darby, Xavan, and several of their friends took seats in the middle section a few rows back and waited for the rest of the class to arrive. Several minutes later when all 93 of the musicians were seated in the auditorium, he got up on stage.

“I’ve got several announcements to make. First, drum major tryouts are going to begin two weeks from today. If you are interested see me after I’m finished with the rest of the notices. Second, section leaders will also be posted with the drum major results so that we don’t have to change them if one of the leaders becomes drum major. Next we’re doing band camp a little bit different this year. As usual we have rookie camp the week after graduation, but instead of two days of just rookies and day three of everyone, it’s going to be five days of camp. The first three days are going to be just rookies and then the next two are going to be everyone. I don’t want to hear any complaining about it. It’s two days from 9 to 1, it won’t kill you. Then we are going to have several practice days interspersed over the month of July and early August. Some days will be full band others will be just brass or woodwinds, and some will be sectionals. A schedule of those has been made up and I’ll be passing them out tomorrow. The full band camp will still be the second and third weeks of August. No changes in timetable there. Oh and before I forget, I’m going to be putting something about it on the afternoon announcements, but I know how much attention you all pay to those, so I’m telling you now, and I want you to pass the word to any guard members that you see or potential people that might be interested. Color guard tryouts are all next week after school. Spring sport athletes need to come see me and we’ll work something out for them. Everyone needs to try out even returning members because we’re using these to figure out who is going to make up our weapons lines.” He paused and looked at his watch.

“Danny,” he called to a small dark haired boy sitting on the floor in front. “Go to the lobby and see if Mrs. Donovan is out there yet.”

The boy took off on the errand and the man turned back to his students. “While we’re waiting on Danny to return with our booster president, are there any questions about what I’ve already covered?” A few inane questions were asked, mainly about date clarification and possible make up dates for missed practices.

Then Jon raised his hand from somewhere off to the side, “How are parts going to be assigned for marching season?”

Mr. Osbourne nodded, “Good question. We’ll be having another set of chair tryouts right before school lets out. They will be live tryouts and you will be responsible for the same things that you would need to know for all-county band.”

Two seats down from Xana, Lance raised his hand, “How are you going to choose the section leaders before chair tryouts?”

“The section leaders are going to be the people within the section with the most leadership ability. They won’t necessarily have to be the best musicians within the sections.”

Jakob then raised his hand somewhere off to the side, “Do the percussionists have to have chair tryouts?”

“Yes they do. In addition, I have one other announcement concerning percussion. Now hear me out before you burst into flames over what I have to say.” A few intrigued murmurs could be heard as confusion set in. “There will be no drum line in the show this year.” The murmurs of intrigue turned to outrage. “Wait. Quiet down.” He waited about five minutes until silence had returned to the room. “The drum line will still play at football and basketball games. They will still beat cadence coming down to the field. They will still march in the parade. But the lack of drum line is essential for our show concept this year. Next year if the show concept allows for it then the drum line will be reinstated.”

Before another question could be asked Danny came back in with Mrs. Donovan. She took the stage beside Mr. Osbourne and began to speak, “From the mutinous looks on some of your faces I can see that your esteemed director has just made the announcement concerning the drum line. However, before you start entertaining thoughts of giving up the band I think you should wait until we announce the theme.”

Mr. Osbourne took over, “Now, we’ve been bandying this idea around for months. I actually considered it last year, but we went with The Crow to see how that would go over first. After the critical and popular acclaim that last year’s show afforded us, and endless hours of discussion we finally decided to take the leap and do this. This show could revolutionize the way that people think about marching band. In the beginning it was considered entertainment, a diversion while the football team took a break. Now, it’s thought of as a way to tell a story through music. But with this show, we just might be able to touch the soul.”

Mrs. Donavan brought it to a close, “So with out further ado, the show for the 2003 season for the Marching Falcons is “The Last Temptation of Christ.”

The students were stunned. Incredulity would have been too mild a word. Then the bell rang.

“Drum major people see me in my office, I’ll write you a note to your next class,” Mr. Osbourne said as he left the stage and the students began to file


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