“It looks like it’s a hot one,” Siri said in her jaunty robot voice. “It’s currently one hundred and two degrees in Paso Robles, California.”
Kirby muttered something under his breath, quickly chugged half a bottle of water, then laid back down onto the creeper, disappearing under the engine once again. He hated this kind of work, but if all went well this summer, this would be his last year in his Dad’s mechanic shop. As long as they played well and showed some promise to their new record label, things would be a lot different. Your first tour counted for a lot. Either you blow things up and the label gets behind you fully, or you totally blow and you become nothing more than an afterthought.
“Hey,” called a soft voice. He smiled, but he made sure she couldn’t detect the smile in his voice.
That always got to her, and he loved getting to her. He knew she knew that, and that made it all the more fun. He played a tough guy, but in reality, she melted his heart. They’d been together over three years now, and nearly four years as band mates. Everyone said she was too good for him, and he knew they were right. She knew he knew that, and that made his situation all the more precarious.
Elle was the fashionable and gorgeous singer of a rock band with a voice that broke hearts, and he was just the goofy drummer, the son of a mechanic, the below average community college student who just might be able to save up enough for next semester’s tuition. If he’s lucky.
The only thing he had going for him was his energy on stage. He rocked like no one else, and she knew it. He knew she knew that, and that made it all the more important not to screw things up. He had to kill it. He would kill it. Fifty-two cities in fifty-seven days, touring with his best friends and the girl of his dreams.
“We need to talk.”
Kirby stopped the wrench mid-turn. The serious tone in her voice was frightening.
A pregnant pause. She was already frustrated, but trying not to show it. Was she waiting for him to come out from under the car?
“I need to tell you something.”
She was waiting for him to come out. What’s worse, she knew he knew it, but he was afraid of what would happen if he did.
“Okay,” he tried to play it cool, but he was far from relaxed. She had only spoken to him like this one other time, and it was not a good conversation. She had wanted to know if things were going anywhere between them. He knew he hadn’t done much to convince her in the year since then, but did she have to do this now, with the tour only four months away? He had a timeline, and he didn’t want to be forced to discuss it.
First, there was the tour. That’s all he had time to focus on right now. After tour, if all went well, he’d be able to focus on music full time. That meant no more school, no more mechanics shop, and no more worrying about not being able to afford a wedding ring that was good enough for Elle.
That was not at all what he was expecting. Maybe he’d misread her? Something still felt off, but he wasn’t sure why. At the moment he was simply relieved. He did not want to re-open that can of worms.
He reached up and torqued the wrench, but in the dim light, he didn’t quite grasp all of the nut, and his knuckle scraped hard against the sharp end of a bolt, gouging his knuckle.
Her voice was polite, but forceful. He rubbed his freshly injured hand in his good one and rubbed. She’s late? What did that even… and then it hit him. Like a double-bass to the head, it hit him.
He rolled the creeper out from under the engine, slowly.
“So I took the test. And it’s positive.”
He looked up at her, his best friend, the woman he loved. It was something he’d always hoped for, but the timing. What did that mean for the band? What did it mean for the tour? He saw the same questions on her face. He managed to get to his feet, but he had a hard time finding the right words to say. What does a person even say to news like this?
“You’re positive? I mean, you’re sure?” He laughed.
His laughter seemed to put her at ease, and her face softened into a hesitant smile.
Kirby couldn’t contain himself. The tears were running down his cheeks before he even realized it was happening, and he wrapped his arms around Elle, lifting her off the ground and spinning her, setting her down gently, and staring into her eyes. There were no words, so they cried and laughed and stared at one another in disbelief. This was really happening.
“Hey Loverboy,” Ed shouted out from the office, jingling a pair of keys in his hand. “Check the brakes on the Gran Turismo, eh?”
Kirby nodded and then looked back into Elle’s eyes and smiled, knowingly. The tour was four months away. Was it still possible? Would the guys be angry? Would people still rock out to a pregnant singer? Would the label dump them?
He didn’t know. It didn’t matter. They were going to be a family. To him, that was all that mattered. Looking into Elle’s eyes, he knew she knew that, and that made everything okay.