"How are you guy doing this 4th of July evening?"
The crowd assembled by the stage cheered enthusiastically. Sure said crowd only consisted of about twenty or so people, but for Navy Pier, or at least for the Dock Street Singers, that was an impressive size. Our stage was located across from a hot dog stand in the middle of the boardwalk, and the majority of our audience were people who were on their way to one of the popular exhibits and had simply stopped to check out our fifteen minute show, performed every half hour.
"We are the Navy Pier Dock Street Singers and we're glad to have you guys join us for the show. But first, let me introduce you to the rest of my posse. "
I smiled. The "leader" of our little a capella group was lead baritone Ian Haswell, nicknamed Dutchy. He was very lively, very animated, and very attractive. Did I also mention that he's my boyfriend?
"Right here, our tenor," he said, placing an arm around my shoulders, "is my man Jeremy Asher, but we all call him ‘Specs'." He let his arm linger around my shoulders just a bit longer before going on to Chloe, our understudy mezzo.
I'm actually the understudy tenor. This means I only perform when the lead tenor, Blink, isn't going to be there. This sucks because I only get paid when I go on and getting another job is difficult because I need to be on call every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday , Saturday, and Sunday just in case something happens.
I wasn't too surprised when Blink told me he was going to a party on July 4th and I would have to fill in for him. I also wasn't upset as he seemed to think I would be, seeing as he kept apologizing profusely. I guess he was under the impression that, like him, I had hoped to spend my 4th of July getting plastered. Not that I don't like a party now and then, mind you. But really, I'd rather spend my time making some money so I can actually pay my rent. Not to mention, if Dutchy had to perform that night anyway I really wouldn't have wanted to go out and do anything without him. Besides, Navy Pier itself s a party even on a normal day. On the 4th of July it's even more insane, topping off the night with a spectacular show of fireworks. Luckily for us, the stage where we perform gives us a great view of Lake Michigan, over which the fireworks display would be taking place.
"Thank you guys for seeing our little show," Dutchy said to the applauding audience after Danielle, our soprano, had finished "Big Yellow Taxi." "Our fifteen minutes are almost over, so we're going to finish up with a little Beatles song. I hope you guys enjoy!"He blew into his pitch pipe, giving everyone the first note. Then he stepped forward and began singing, "Desmond has a barrow in the market place. Molly is the singer in a band."
As I stood behind him, harmonizing with the others on the "underscoring," I couldn't help but look at him standing there in the tacky Hawaiian shirt and khaki pants (which made up our costumes). He made even those look good. As he and Danielle went into the chorus, I could feel my stomach flipping.
See, he and I have only been dating for four months and it's gotten to that point. You know, the point where the ‘L' word starts popping into your head. Yep: Love.
You know, they say that falling in love is wonderful. Well, it's not. Don't misunderstand! Dutchy means everything to me...but I've never been in love before. Ever. It's so confusing and kind of scary. I want to tell him, but I don't know how. Every time I think I'm going to tell him, all of these thoughts start popping into my head: What if he doesn't feel the same? What if he thinks I'm moving too fast? How do I even know if it love anyway?
In short, my time spent with Dutchy has become both glorious and torturous.
I stepped forward and joined in with him on the last verse. "Happy ever after in the market place, Molly lets the children lend a hand." Dutchy wrapped his arm around my shoulders and my stomach flipped again. "Desmond stays at home and does his pretty face, and in the evening she's a singer in a band."
The entire group behind us walked forward and joined us in singing the chorus. "Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on bra! La-la how the life goes on. Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on bra! La-la how the life goes on."
Dutchy's arm moved down to around my waist as we finished. "And if you want to have some fun, take ob-la-di ob-la-da!" The audience applauded as we took our bows, Dutchy's hand still resting on my hip. My breathing got short as he pulled my body into his, our thighs pressing together.
A couple of seconds later, a boom resonated around the pier and a split second later the sky lit up, hues of blue, red, pink, and green glittering in the sky. A high school band Navy Pier had recruited for the occasion began playing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at full volume and everyone on the pier, patrons and workers alike, began shrieking with delight at the display.
Between all of this I heard Dutchy softly say something to me.
"What?" I shouted over the noise.
"I said..." He stopped and looked at the people around, all with their backs to us as they watched the fireworks explode over the lake. He then opted to lean in to me, his lips right next to my ear. I almost stopped breathing for a moment as I felt his warm breath against my skin, and I did stop breathing moment when he started to speak.
"I said ‘I love you.'"Back.