Will and Gabriel...
It was Monday. And it was lunch. And Scarlet was talking to me again.
“So you’re good at maths then?” Scarlet asked as Joanna scanned through her maths homework, filling it in as she went.
“Yes.” It was a closed answer. An answer designed to make the asker shut up. Didn’t work.
“I really don’t like maths. It’s hard,” Scarlet persisted.
“It’s the same in every country,” Joanna replied shortly. “And not all of us were born to be Juliets.”
Scarlet nodded. “I guess. So you don’t like Drama at all then?”
Scarlet was about to say something, when Will turned up. “Hey Anna, you know the maths homework-“
“Only if you come and teach me more guitar,” Joanna smiled, not looking up from her work.
Will rolled his eyes. “You’re obsessed, you know that?”
Joanna finally looked up and showed him the full extent of her grin. “Hell yeah.”
And we left Scarlet and went back to chords. I still had difficulty remembering them, and it annoyed me because Will, obviously, could play lots of stuff.
At school everything was okay. Me and Rick were back on track, Will was teaching me guitar, and Maria was single. At home stuff was going wrong. Arguments late at night. A frosty atmosphere. Something was going on with my parents. And nothing good.
“Mom? What’s going on with you and Dad?” Joanna had opted for the direct approach; not always the best idea first thing in the morning.
“Nothing,” Mrs Wilkinson snapped, slamming the breakfast dishes into the washing up bowl.
“Go to school!” was the angry reply.
So I did.
Two weeks later it was the first of February and I had 14 days to talk to Gabriel and find out whether he and Will had a chance. Maria came with me after school to try and talk to the guy who Will was crushing on.
“Hi. Uh, two coffees please,” Joanna said to the teenage girl behind the counter. She turned to look at Gabriel, who was wiping some tables down. She could certainly see why Will fancied him.
“You’re wasting your time,” the girl told her, pausing for a minute, resting her hands on the counter.
“Huh?” Joanna asked.
“Gabriel,” the girl continued. “He’s not…uh, into girls.”
“Good,” Joanna beamed. The girl looked puzzled until she finished, “It’s my friend that likes him. And he’s not into girls either.”
“Does, uh, your friend come here often?” The girl asked.
Joanna nodded. “Almost everyday.”
She thought, mentally scanning through the regular customers. “Brown hair? Smudge of a nose? Really tall?”
“Good looks. Your mother’d love him?” Joann continued.
The girl nodded, her face lighting up in recognition. “Yeah, oh what’s his name?” She turned to make the coffees that Joann had asked for. “Phil…Bill…”
“Will!” Joanna said seeing the boy in question walk into the café.
”Yeah! That’s it,” the girl exclaimed, turning back to the counter to see the boy in question looking quizzically at her.
“Hi,” he started.
She smiled sheepishly. “Hi. Um, here are your drinks.”
Joanna handed over her money and turned from the counter, facing Will. “Hi.”
Will walked with her to the booth where Gabriel was now talking to Maria. “So you know the guitar stuff?”
“Yeah,” she replied sliding into her seat as Maria grinned at her. “What about it?”
Will remained standing, so the two girls saw the two boys standing together. “Can you actually remember any of the chords?”
“Yeah!” Joann protested. “ Some of them.”
“Okay,” he grinned. “Just checking.”
As some more teens walked in Gabriel excused himself from the conversation that he and Maria were having. Will sat down, and looked worriedly at the girls. “What’re you planning?”
“Nothing,” Joanna assured him, as Maria nodded.
“Why would we plan anything?” Maria asked, frowning in confusion.
“Hmmm,” Will looked unconvinced. “Anyway, I’ve got to go, but I brought these.” He handed a sheaf of papers to Joanna. “From Mikey,” he explained. “See you later,” he grinned and left.
As soon as he left we started planning. And then Gabriel came over.
“You know Will?” Gabriel asked, wiping down the table and collecting the cups.
“Yeah,” Joanna answered. “Best buddies. Why?”
“I just…don’t matter,” he mumbled, before speeding off to the kitchen.
Maria grinned at Joanna. “We have lift off.”
It was only home I got home that I looked at the sheets that Mikey had sent via Will. It was music. I set it up on my keyboard and played it. It was good but sounded incomplete. As though it was meant for more than one instrument.