Main > Series > Chapters > Fame Book 2 > Chapter 13

Thursday morning, Charlotte phoned again. She caught Angelo just before he was due to go out.

     'Mister Martelli,' she said, 'it's Charlotte Miller. I was just wondering whether or not you've had time to talk to your son.'

     'Uh, yeah, I did,' Angelo said.

     'And was there . . . a lot of communication?'

     'Well, you know . . .  you got to listen between the lines a little bit. You talk to Julie yet?'

     'Yes, I did.'

     'Lot of communication?'

     'Oh, you bet.'

     There was a stillness on both ends of the line, and then Angelo said, 'Mrs. Miller - are you lying as much as I am?'

     'Oh,' Charlotte said dispiritedly. 'You bet.'

The truth of it was that Bruno and Julie were planning no secret assignations; all that they were doing was following up on their original intention of doing something good for Doris. They'd decided that it ought to be some kind of formal mark of thanks; Bruno had first suggested that it ought to be something like a gift certificate, perhaps for somewhere like Mike's pizza, but Julie had scotched that idea.

     'Doris goes there a lot,' she'd explained, 'but that's because porking out helps her forget when she's feeling lousy about something. I'm afraid it will just remind her of how low she's been getting. It ought to be something more, kind of . . . I don't know. Official.'

     'Something she could hang in her room?' Bruno had said.


     'So, where can we find a sale on horse thieves?'

     But from there, they'd started to become more ambitious. If it was a question of making a formal gesture of thanks for the organisation of the activities, why not extend it to the parents who were also giving up their time to help out? Secrecy therefore became the first order of the day, and questions at home were to be fielded as if nothing was being hidden.

     It was an innocent enough plan; but of course, they couldn't know about the bow wave of anxiety that was starting to follow them around.

Leroy, meanwhile, had been thinking through a problem of his own. He told Danny.

     'Beginner's luck,' Danny assured him.

     'Hey, be serious,' Leroy said. 'This is about us, and the basketball game.'

     Mention of the basketball game was enough to make Danny serious, all right; like Leroy, for most of the week he'd been having to fight the feeling that he was letting the kids down. He might have shaken it off, if not for the fact that he'd known that it was true.

     But what could they do? Leroy was dancing the Johny Willcox role, and Danny was running the stage management team. Whichever way they tried to play it, they were going to disappoint a lot of people.

     But Leroy had an idea concerning Friday night's major rehearsal. Althogh they would be having a couple of polishing run-throughs before the main event on Wednesday night, this rehearsal was being considered as the all-important Dress Rehearsal, the make-or-break occasion that would tell them whether or not they had a show. Even though a lot of the kids had been involved in so many performances that they already had near-trouper status, it would be a tense time all around.

     'Listen,' Leroy explained. 'If this number comes off without a hitch . . . without one foul-up . . . then Miss Grant couldn't have no notes for us and we could be out of the place in about twenty minutes.'

     Danny could see what he was getting at - but a perfect Dress, with no notes? It didn't sound likely. Lydia Grant would probably think it bad psychology to send her dancers out thinking they'd already hit their peak without an audience and could expect to do no better with one.

     But Leroy was looking at him steadily. 'You following me?' he said. 'We get out of here and break the crosstown record, and we might just make the second half of the game. That means I don't put a foot wrong, and you don't miss a cue, Mister stage manager.'

     'But what's the point?' Danny said. 'It'll be too late. Too late for coaching, too late for anything that could help the kids to win.'

     'But we'll be there,' Leroy said. 'We'll be showing that we didn't walk out on them.'

     Danny sighed. When Leroy set his mind on something, he aimed high.

     'You got it,' he said.

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