Unveiling . . .
I was leaving double maths and feeling fucking knackered one Friday afternoon, when a group of people dashed past me down the corridor, squealing with excitement.
I was not in the mood, not after double maths with the teacher from Hell.
Walking across the quadrangle, ready to go straight out of the school gates and head home, I got accosted by Dario who grabbed me by the scruff of my neck.
“Get your clown hands off me!”
“Come, on, come on! You’ve got to see this! Come on!”
He started running, to I knew not where, and eventually I realised what was going on.
Kayla and her group were rehearsing in the hall and everyone had decided it was a party. It was nearly Christmas but soon enough, the teachers would find out we were all down here, gawping up at Kayla and swaying together like it was New Year’s Eve. She was performing at the Christmas disco the following week and that’s why they’d let her have this stage to practice. They always let groups studying A level music perform each Christmas, but only the best—and it was the first time ever they’d let a rock group perform. That was just a sign of how good Kayla was.
“Right you fuckers, tell me what to sing next!”
I arrived during a break, so I had to wait to hear her sing.
“‘Rape Me’ by Nirvana,” shouted Dario, and I nearly kneed him in the cock.
Since we’d met three months ago, I’d got the distinct impression from Kay that seeing each other in that way was off the table and I figured there was a big reason why.
I didn’t like to ask. I didn’t even want to envisage it.
I had my suspicions, and that was all.
I mean… she needed protecting, right?
And she only wanted to protect herself.
Anyway, she quirked an eyebrow at Dario and talked to her band.
“All right,” she said, flicking the microphone wire behind her, “none of the band know that one cos they’re all boring twats so we’re gonna do ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’. I know you all love it and so does a friend of mine.”
She avoided looking at me when she said it, but I knew it was aimed at me.
The growing crowd cheered, and she grinned.
Kayla threw a guitar over her shoulder and put her microphone in its holder.
The drummer counted them in and she strummed her first chords.
I watched as she played and sang, her voice gravelly when it needed to be, mimicking Bon Jovi. Her shoulders jigged to the music and she curled her lip, getting into the emotion of the song, her fingers masters over the guitar she was holding. Her facial expressions were evocative of the song, her soul a real rocker’s soul, even though her voice could be adapted, you could tell that from the way she could sing the higher notes.
I caught gooseflesh from my scalp to my toes. I’d never felt anything like this before—a wave of shock and awe sweeping through me, filling me with joy.
I knew I was watching someone very, very special.
She just happened to be my friend.
After the song, the band started right on with another Bon Jovi track, this time, ‘Bed of Roses’.
She took the stool behind the mic and put her guitar on the ground.
“This is for all you dirty fucks,” she said, her laugh rough and dirty, too.
I smiled wider than I’d ever smiled before.
She sang ‘Bed of Roses’ in what you could tell was her more natural voice and the powerful Jazz sound she produced caught the whole room up in a contemplative atmosphere.
Then at the choruses, she took to the floor and belted out her full range, shocking the room with her astounding standard.
I wanted to cry.
I wanted to go grab her off stage and kiss her face off.
Instead, I just smiled.
And I smiled.
To say she’d told me time and time again that she didn’t like Bon Jovi (even though she knew I did), she sure did know the lyrics, probably better than I did.
After that she sang Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Stereophonics, stuff I knew Kayla wasn’t really into. Pantera, Megadeth and Metallica were more her kind of music, but Kayla knew that people wouldn’t be wanting that at a school disco.
The party got broken up and everything went quiet, everyone went their own ways.
Kayla and her people had to tidy up and I was in no state to be sociable.
I went home and hid in my bedroom, probably for the next three days.
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