Read A Fine Line Online

Authors: Courtney Brandt

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A Fine Line



A Fine Line


A Novel




Courtney Brandt



Published by Courtney Brandt at Smashwords


Copyright December 2010 Courtney Brandt


All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.



* * *


Dedicated to…

Leigh, Crystal, and Lisa, without whom high school would’ve been a much

different Story altogether.


* * *


Other books in The Line Series:


A Fine Line (available in print and digital release)

Keeping in Line (available in print and digital release)

The Line Up (available in print and digital release)


* * *




CHAPTER ONE: Lieutenant Lucy?


CHAPTER THREE: “Hole-y bass drums, Batman!”

CHAPTER FOUR: How Not to Apologize

(A Lesson by Wes Mallinson)


CHAPTER SIX: Say Goodbye

CHAPTER SEVEN: Preparations

CHAPTER EIGHT: Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)

CHAPTER NINE: Transitions

CHAPTER TEN: What Tangled Webs We Weave

CHAPTER ELEVEN: Where There’s Smoke





CHAPTER SIXTEEN: Take Your Breath Away




CHAPTER TWENTY: The Smallest What?


CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO: There’s No I in Team





* * *


A line travels on with no end in sight

The name for a group completely connected

A circle sounds a bit more right

For the way we were all affected

Teach yourself as you go, have no fear

Discipline, trust, work, and focus

And cadences — everything learned this year

Yeah a circle, nothing could've broke us.

At first all I wanted was to hide

From an experience I could never dream of

But it gave me courage, friendship and pride

And even a 'loose-change' love

Those I fatefully, endlessly spent time with

Initiated and motivated my change

And by November it was finished

Nothing was quite the same.


The minutes dragged on, the hours disappeared

The truth of the matter effortlessly fought

Tradition and bonds lasting infinite years

But the present existence cannot

Nothing but notes, rhythms, the beat

Connected to melodies, no we’re not done

So different so separate, the strangers we meet

Yet at our finest, completely one.


Waiting again and turning around

Every day a challenge I so wanted to face

Despite everything so similar, what I found

Was the change I could only embrace

A fraction of something much bigger than me

Spaces of time with second-nature common sense

The mornings, days and nights burning my memory

Filled with commitment, passion, subtle confidence.


Words that were said and what we wore

Days of practice and marking time

What I had to take on for

Trying or failing or succeeding for The Line

Revolution in one less than a million ways

Out of my proverbial rut

It was in those July-August days

That I most definitely grew up.


Forget the world, forget to breathe, forget your name

Innocently ignorant to what I would feel

I found myself most when we were all the same

Felt my heart, oh I just felt real

The caring, belonging, the knowing I can

More than anything matters, the collision of

This is what has made me who I am

This is how I fell in love.


By Carly Noyes (used with permission)


* * *



CHAPTER ONE: Lieutenant Lucy?



On a warm day in late April, percussionists from all over Forrest Hills high school gathered for one of their most important days of the year – drumline auditions. Sitting off to the side, a brunette girl worked in a few more minutes of practice. If rehearsing for her junior year auditions had been a lesson in discipline and commitment, her upcoming senior year had been about finding free moments when she wasn’t with her boyfriend, graduating senior, Sam Powell. However, things weren’t as bad as she feared – it was like riding a bike. Lucy Karate had no question she would get her chops back by the end of the summer; however, she was a bit worried for the very near future. In a competitive Line, members had no guarantee on the spot they had the previous year.

Still, how can they argue with a best bass line patch

The question of who was going to lead which section on the Line, however, was more concerning than keeping her second bass position. Traditionally, the strongest player in the section, or the player with the most seniority would be given the Lieutenant, or section leader, position. The role of drumline Captain was almost exclusively reserved for the senior snare with the best playing ability. Everyone could respect that person’s skill, and leadership seemed to naturally come from it.

Lucy nervously chewed her bottom lip as she tried not to worry about tomorrow’s results. There were plenty of graduating seniors, but she wasn’t sure how it was going to shake out for next year. She looked across the hall to Mark, and could already easily picture the epic yelling matches they were going to get into this season. As much as he wanted to make quints, she doubted there was going to be a spot for him.

“Hey, Mark?” Lucy plopped down next to her sometimes favorite sophomore.

“S’up Luce?”

“So, what happens if it’s you and me in the section again?”

His drum sticks paused midair before he answered, “Whatcha mean? Have you heard something?”

Considering the rumors that ran rampant this time of year, Lucy wasn’t going to call him out for gossiping – especially when he had something she potentially wanted. She ignored his question and asked, “Can I be Lieutenant?”

“Why?” Mark put his sticks down.

“’Cause I want it.”

“I’m the better player.”

“I realize that, Mark.”

Mark drummed a moment on his Real Feel practice pad, before raising his eyebrows and asking suggestively, “What’s in it for me?”

Lucy rolled her eyes and asked, “Seriously? You’re going to go there? Why don’t you save it for the new additions to the dance line?”


Lucy tried another argument, “I’m going to be a senior next year.”

“And? I’m going to be a junior.”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“I thought we were just trading facts.”

Frustrated, Lucy turned around and had a feeling that Mark was just being Mark and eventually he would come around and see things her way.


That night, Lucy sat on the front porch swing in the strong arms of her boyfriend, Sam Powell and forgot all about auditions. For the moment, she was relaxed and trying to push out thoughts that in a matter of months those same arms that were holding her were going to be moving far away…

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Sam murmured into the top of her head.

“What are you talking about?”

“The end of the summer.”

“How did you…?”

“Come on, Lucy, give me some credit… I think I know you by now.”

Rather than focus on all the ‘could happens,’ the couple had decided it would probably be best to have the awkward conversation at a later time. With her senior season almost started, Lucy was looking forward to the summer ahead. She was quiet a moment before she asked, “Do you think I would make a good leader?”

“Let’s see…that’s like asking if the sky is blue.”

Lucy smiled to herself and answered, “Seriously, pretend you’re not my boyfriend for a minute. I would do a better job than Mark, right?”

Sam considered the situation and answered, “Well, you’re playing with a lot of ‘what ifs,’ but yes, I think overall you would do a fine job as bass section leader. I think you inspire loyalty.”

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