I’m in the midst of Camp NaNoWriMo, working on the first draft of another music fan-related novel to follow up Front Row. For some reason, writing in April is a lot harder than writing in November, like I’m used to. To hopefully keep myself accountable, I wanted to share an excerpt from what I have so far:
Braden appeared after Markus, and the volume intensified. Despite the heat, Braden wore full-length jeans and a tight black T-shirt. Aviator sunglasses hid his bedroom eyes. He put his microphone to his lips. “Damn, Markus. Is it hot out here, or is it just me? Ay yi yi.”
Appreciative screams answered Braden’s question for him.
“I think I’m wearing too much clothing.” Braden latched the hem of his shirt with his thumb and pulled the fabric up, revealing the perfect ridges of his eight-pack abs. Girls lost their minds all around the lido deck.
Markus tried to direct the attention back on himself. “Braden just doesn’t know how to dress for this lovely weather we’re having. How do you like my shorts?” Markus’s board shorts were bright pink with musical notes, stars, and skulls scattered across them. On his head was one of his signature bandanas—this one was black with a typical western print, and a straw cowboy hat sat atop that. A tank top with large, gaping holes for the neck and arms showed off his much scrawnier physique.
“Were you guys going to start the show without us?” The precocious (even at the tender age of 39) voice of Skylar blared out of the speakers, and the blond hunk sauntered out and draped his arm over Markus’s shoulder. “I see Braden’s already gotten the strip show going.” He waved at a few overly excited fans jumping up and down a few rows back.
Luc and Vaughn, arguably the lesser popular members of the band, trailed Skylar and rode the wave of the screams from his fans.
“Well, well, well,” Luc, the resident womanizer, crooned into the mic. “There are some beautiful ladies on this boat. This might be the most beautiful cruise we’ve had yet.” Despite having a long-term girlfriend at home in New Jersey, where he was from, Luc was known for bedding at least one girl in each city. And probably a dozen on each cruise.
“This boat, this boat, this boat is on fi-ah!” sang Markus.
Skylar laughed and covered Markus’s mouth. “You’re going to freak everyone out, and we’ve barely left port.”
“Is it just me, or is this boat shaking?” asked Braden.
A few squeals escaped from the crowd, knowing what was coming next.
The first notes of 4 Lyfe’s first single from 1991 lilted out of the speakers. Luc took his position behind Braden. “I think so. I’m feeling a little ‘Dazed and Shaken’ myself.”
The crowd erupted. The ridiculousness of four 40-somethings and a 39-year-old doing a choreographed dance they had learned when they were teenagers escaped everyone. Even the crew got into the familiar hip thrusts and shoulder shrugs. The audience shouted every word and danced in place, creating a colorful undulating pattern that almost resembled the constant flow and movement of sea coral from above.
By the end of the show, the guys were all dripping with sweat. Vaughn and Braden had removed their shirts, to the delight of the hungry onlookers, and the middle-aged woman who had caught Braden’s shirt was still sobbing in the sweaty thing from the front row by the main stage.
The parched fans filed into different parts of the boat in search of provisions. Many had not had the chance to explore yet, having sprinted from their cabins right back to the lido deck.