The bus was late.
Some of Ashley's friends were standing nearby, talking about the guys they had spent time with over the weekend, she wasn't interested. Even though it was the middle of autumn, the weather felt stifling to her. Shifting her bag to her other shoulder, she caught sight of the bus rounding the corner onto the road.
It eventually pulled up and Ashley found a quite corner where she pulled out her compact mirror to touch up her slightly patchy face powder. Resting her head on the cool window she watched the trees go by until they pulled in to the end of Brett's road.
He nearly missed the bus. Reaching it at the last minute, he climbed in and made his way to find a spare seat. There was Ashley. Grinning broadly at her he lent over and lightly kissed her lips.
“Hey,” he whispered, “can I sit?”
“Sure,” she replied, giving him a cute half smile.
“How are you gorgeous?” he asked putting his arm around her shoulders.
Snuggling into his side Ashley replied, “I'm Ok! How about you?”
“Well I think, I'll be better when today is over!”
He poked her on the arm and she flinched, before gently slapping him on the knee. “That bad? I know what you mean though!” she replied. They fell into a comfortable silence.
Just before they entered the school gates, he lifted her chin and kissed her again. “I love you, Ash. Remember that!”
“Yes, Brett, I will!” replied Ashley, “See you in auditions!”
Auditions started at 3:15. Ashley arrived and 3:00. putting her bags on a seat neat the back of the school auditorium, she made her way to the stage and leaned on the edge to watch Brett. He was sat at the mini Grand piano that graced the edge of the stage, and was talking to Mr. Waverley, the head of music. She couldn't hear what they were saying, but Ashley guessed it was something to with the accompaniments for the auditions.
A voice behind her made he jump slightly. “Ash. Nice to see you here early.” It was Miss Cole, the head of drama. “you know the routine?”
“Yes,” replied Ashley. As well as choreographing any dance numbers she was also on the judging panel for the auditions.
Beauty and the Beast was the performance they were going to be doing. Ashley remembered taking part in the same production when she was at that age, and she decided she wanted to make this better than it had been when she had acted in it.
“Ok, so we need to judge the kids on how well they can sing, act, and and how well they can portray their point.” said Miss Cole, just to confirm.
“Yep, I got it!” Replied Ashley.
“Also, expect to hear lots of takes on the Theme song by Celine Dion, its always popular!” Ashley smiled as she remembered it was the song she had used to audition with, it was also one of her favourites to sing with Brett.
She looked up at him, and catching him looking at her, she smiled again and climbed onto the stage to see him. She wrapped her arms around his neck and rested her chin on his head as he began to play.
Recognizing the intro he was playing, she took the cue and began to sing. Their voices blended and harmonized, and by the time they reached the chorus Ashley had forgotten where she was.
As the last chord faded away there was a round of applause from the front rows, they turned, surprised and saw the two teachers and several younger students applauding them. Blushing, Ashley left the stage and took her seat next to the two teachers.
The auditions began.
Miss Cole was right, out of the first ten people, six used the theme from the Disney movie.
Brett enjoyed playing the piano, especially his and Ash's song. But after having played it nearly twenty times he was a little fed up. Every time he played it, he imagined him and Ashley singing it.
It suddenly dawned on him, it was because of that song, they had first met.
His short break had ended and he had to concentrate on playing a song that he didn't know so well.
They last audition was finally over.
Miss Cole, and Mr. Waverley thanked the students and dismissed them. Brett left the piano and joined Ashley at the table. Leaning over her shoulder he read the list she held. Their was a list of the characters and next to them Ash had jotted in various names in her sweeping handwriting. There was quite a few next to each, it was their job to decide on the right person to play each part.
Ashley hadn't realized how hard it would be. They had all been so good. The only person who she was sure deserved a certain role, was a short blonde boy called Terry who had performed a quirky piece, and had struck her as the perfect boy to play Chip. The others agreed. Glad she had made a good decision, Ashley gained more confidence to make other suggestions. After another half an hour, they had pretty much decided on who should play each part, and had posted the list on the school news board.Eventually they got away and walked the mile and a half to Brett's house. They didn't talk much as they walked, just enjoyed each others company.
Brett broke the silence, “You up for a run then?”
Looking up at him Ashley replied “Not 10K but I don't mind doing say 5 or 6K. But only if you promise to come in the jacuzzi after!” Reaching up she pulled down his head and kissed him before he knew what she was doing. Then she took off, running down the pavement and across the grass to his front door.
As Brett realized what she was doing he ran after her and caught her by the steps up to his front door. Grabbing her around the waist he began to tickle her until she collapsed on the lawn, and surrendered. Dropping down next to her, he kissed her before saying, “You better go and get changed then, that was a perfect warm up!” He got up and jogged into the house, leaving her sitting in a dazed heap.
Following him into the house, a thought went through her head, she hadn't thought about her secret once during the day.
It felt good to be running again.
The wind blowing in her face felt live it was clearing all the cobwebs from her head and she felt more alive with each step.
Brett, keeping pace alongside her, seemed to be enjoying it as much as she was. They were quiet, but Brett occasionally tugged on a piece of her hair that was streaming out behind her, causing her to turn an grin at him.
They reached the halfway point of their normal route and paused for a breather.
“How do you feel?” asked Brett. “up for the full 10K?”
Ashley say the look of expectancy in his eyes and, as she was actually really enjoying the time in the fresh air, she agreed to go the full distance. “Ok then you slave driver, we'll do the 10K!” she teased, again running off.
Brett followed her. “Don't start it again!” he called after her, “You know I catch you every time!”
Ashley just laughed over shoulder and carried on running.
Arriving back at Brett's house they jogged into the back garden, and kicking off their muddy shoes jumped straight into the pool, fully clothed. Laughing and splashing, Ashley started jumping on Brett's back, dodging her attacks he turned and grabbed her, pinning her against the swimming pool wall.
He kissed her.
Ashley gasped and giggled when she finally could take a breath “Brett,” she said, “your too strong, you know I only tease to get a kiss!”
Resting his forehead on hers Brett replied, “Well now I know your secret, I wont fall for it!”
He kissed her again.