A Careless Whisper

Behind the impersonations and my shyness, could our office crooner and I make sweet harmonies together?

“I’m thinking Islands In The Stream or Summer Nights”, Trisha began, as she spun around on her office chair on Monday morning at the desk next to mine. We both worked full-time at the call centre.

I booted my computer up. “Why would Ben want to sing a duet with me?”

Ben was a colleague. A group of us met every Friday night at a karaoke bar. We all really enjoyed the night out.

Trisha had sung once –The Supremes’ Baby Love – but sadly, she’d been out of tune, so hadn’t attempted it again.

But Ben did a strong George Michael.

“Because you’re a fantastic singer, Claire! Only he doesn’t know it yet. Oh, you two would make such a good karaoke king and queen!”

“You know I don’t like being the centre of attention. He’d be better off pairing with Lucy from accounts. She’s a strong Kylie Minogue soundalike. Now, log in quick before the boss sees you.”

We were busy as usual, so the morning flew by. At lunchtime, I glanced over at muscular, blond, blue-eyed, attractive Ben, who was holding court, telling jokes.

There was a rumour that he was thinking about leaving the company to become a George Michael tribute act.

Whether that was true or not was another matter. Most of the rumours were silly and were made up, just for a bit of fun. Lucy had claimed that Ed Sheeran had liked her selfie tweet!

Well, I thought, if Ben followed that solo career path, he’d certainly be in demand on cruises and in hotels abroad.

He had quite a little fan club – I was surprised he was still single. Trisha wasn’t interested, as she lived with her fiancé.

In our spare moments, Trisha and I liked to chat about music.

We were currently deep in discussion, choosing the playlist for her wedding.

Ever since she’d heard me sing, she was convinced I ought to audition for a TV talent show, but I was reluctant.

As Trisha and I tucked into sandwiches in the town square, a busker entertained us. He was playing guitar and singing Oasis’s Wonderwall.

“That guy’s not bad, really, I suppose,” she remarked critically.

I giggled. “You sound just like an impresario, or a talent scout.”

“Hey, I could become your music manager, Claire, if you’d let me.

“I could help guide your glittering music career.”

“In that case, I’d probably end up like that young gun over there, singing for pennies,” I said.

“Young gun? You’ve got Wham! on the brain! Anyway, don’t be so negative! You just need a flicker of confidence.”

“I reckon my duet with Ben will be turn out to be Somethin’ Stupid”, I said.

“That’s a blast from the past! Nancy and Frank Sinatra. Not a bad song for a couple,” Trisha said thoughtfully.

The busker had finished Wonderwall and begun on Yellow by Coldplay.

“Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman recorded a cover version of it much later, remember,” I added.

“On Friday, Lucy from accounts might ask to sing that with Ben. Looks like they’ll be the karaoke king and queen instead. You fancy Ben, don’t you?”

I was taken aback by her question.

“I guess so – but so does everyone else. Please don’t say anything to anyone,” I begged.

“I won’t.”

But would she really keep it to herself?

Friday night rolled around again and we all gathered in the karaoke bar.

Ben rocked up in jeans and a black leather jacket. It was a very similar to the outfit George Michael had worn for his famous 1980s music video.

“Oh wow,” Trisha breathed. “He’s going to sing Faith!”

As Ben scooped up the microphone and began, he had us all spellbound. He even had George’s mannerisms!

Yet he seemed to catch my eye a lot.

After he finished, the entire pub cheered and clapped. He stepped down from the stage and came to join Trisha and me for a drink… Then Trisha excused herself and popped to the ladies.

“I hear you’re leaving us to become George full time,” I began.

“Oh, that’s just a careless whisper,” he grinned.

I groaned, yet still managed to smile.

“According to the office gossip I’ve heard, you can sing. Will you sing with me tonight, Claire?”

I stared, and gulped.

“That depends. What’s the song?”

He took my hand.

“It’s a duet of George’s. I Knew You Were Waiting For Me.’”

My heart warmed. George recorded the hit with soul legend Aretha Franklin.

“OK. I will.”

He beamed. “Fancy having dinner with me this weekend?”

My spirit soared. I reckon I have Everything She Wants!

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