Josh was not a big drinker. Living at home, going to community college meant he didn’t have a lot of opportunities to engage in that sort of thing, besides which he was always so busy he didn’t know when he would find time for it. But then, with The Acapocalypse out of competition, maybe he would find more time.
The group met up at the hotel bar and grill for a bite after the show. Russ ordered a few pitchers of beer, and no one seemed interested in carding the rest of the group. And so they drank.
“You guys were really amazing,” Carrie said. “And now that you have one competition under your belt, you’ll be even more prepared for next time.”
Josh nodded and took another gulp of beer. Since the show, Carrie had been a source of endless platitudes and reassurance. He knew she meant well, knew he probably shouldn’t be so disappointed at the group’s failure to advance in its first try. But this was all he had thought about for months—at the expense of his grades, his friendships, and, yes, his relationship. He didn’t know what to do if it was all gone.
Andrew, Katie, Russ, Evangeline, and Lucy played a game where they tried to bounce a quarter into each other’s cups to make one another drink. Katie started out using Diet Coke until they all nagged her along enough to get her to drink a beer. They had fun. Maybe it was their way of coping with the disappointment. More likely, they didn’t care. And maybe that was the problem all along—that he tried to take a group of people who had never done a cappella before, and mold them into a competitive group. That he had led a platoon to a war in which they had never felt all that invested.
Amanda had skipped the bar, had gone straight up to her room. Maybe that’s what Josh should have done too. Maybe she was the only other one who took that dream of competing seriously—or at least the only one who understood it.
Josh poured himself another beer.
Carrie rubbed his back. “OK, I think I’m going to turn in early. I’ll see you back at the room.”
Josh waved a hand and drank more. He watched the game go on and hummed the tune to “Listen to the Music” under his breath.