I bobbed my sign and flexed my pecs. I was tired and hungry and I only had one spot left to fill, so if the only reason they stopped was the size of my breasts, I was okay with that. 5 minutes later someone pulled over and I led them to my house and into the remaining opening on the lawn. I breathed in the fresh air as I walked up the steps to the front door of my parent’s house, it was a glorious day! Suddenly, I thought I heard someone say my name. I turned to look around for a person, but there were none to be found. I guessed I must have misheard, my parents lived in a house near the corner and a few blocks from the Minnesota state fair so the cross street was always busy at this time of year. “Y/n!” I turned again and noticed a red van had slowed to a stop in front of my house. “Hello?” I squeezed between the cars on the lawn to the sidewalk and when I emerged I was surprised to say the least. “Hi, Y/n!” It was my high school crush, his mom and his two younger brothers. “Hello, Mrs. L. What a surprise!” “Hey, Y/n.” “Hi!” “Hi, Y/n!” “Hi, Ben. Hi, guys!” I waved to his brothers in the back seat. “How are you?” His mom asked with a kind smile. “I’m very well thank you.” “Where were you at graduation, you missed, Mrs. May’s speech.” Ben asked “I know I was so bummed, but I have never been sicker in my life. I got to skip Jennings’s final though.” “Lucky. Anything crazy happen over the summer?” “Actually today I…” His mom was being honked at from behind. “Here just a minute.” She pulled past the intersection and Ben hopped out crossing over to where I was at the corner. We talked for a while about my trip to Ireland, graduation, his boat, college and the fair. “Yea, some of my friends are actually playing in the grandstand tonight, my cousin was supposed to come with me but her flight got delayed. Hey! Would you like to come, I’ve got backstage passes too and it’s a pretty good line-up tonight.” “Really?! That would be awesome! When should I be here?” “Well, music starts at 7 so how about 6, gives us time to get over there maybe stop for snacks.” “I’ll be here.” He hugged me, which I wasn’t expecting, so I was a little stiff and after a few salutations he took off. I stood there for a few moments and waved him off, what an odd turn of events! I’d never seen him near my house and he never wanted to do anything with me outside of school!
Tonight was a big night, I put on cute hoops and love beads with my favorite psychedelic top and shorts, I slipped into sandals and put my suede, fringe jacket on. I kissed my mother, reddened my lips and headed out. Ben was dropped off just as I stepped out. I was preoccupied with my bangs for a moment before coming up to meet him. “Hey, Y/n, thanks again. Wow, you look really nice!” “Oh! Thank you, so do you.” Weird, Ben never complemented me. Maybe once in our whole 6 year acquaintance. “Let’s go, I feel like some French fries!” I said and we walked off. We wandered back toward the grandstand, grabbing fries and snow cones and talking along the way. Conversation flowed freely between us and it made me remember why I had liked him, but I also saw the things that made me glad nothing had ever happened there. He never wanted to talk about an ‘us’, even a friends ‘us’, he was self-preoccupied and he kept bringing up past girlfriends and girls who liked him now. He was always kind of making a move while making it clear he didn’t like me that way. I was also really happy that I… “The show starts in 15 minutes, we should get to our seats!” I said eagerly. We found our seats right in the middle and the perfect distance from the stage. A small local band called Unless walked on stage and were introduce by a groovy guy named Eric. Ben leaned over and asked, “Are these your friends.” “No, they’re later. I actually do know Eric though… Woo! Go, Eric!!”
As the evening progress Ben got confused, these guys were the intro band, if they weren’t my friends then it could only be the big famous band. “Which group are you friends with?” He finally asked as the group left the stage to loud applause. “Oh, the M… Here they are!” He turned to watch four young men walk on stage bouncing and making faces. “Yay!! Peter!!! Mike!! Micky!! Davy!!” I was best friends with the Monkees. “You’re friends with them?” He asked in awe and disbelief. “Oh, yea. We met about a year ago.” There was tumultuous applause and I heard Peter say, “Thank you, thank you!!” “I love you. Peter.” I called. Ben decided I was crazy, I didn’t know them, I just said that to seem cool and that he’d be very forgiving when I looked foolish backstage. They hopped up and down in time as they started Last Train to Clarksville. After a few songs and a costume switch, Mike walked up to the mic with a smile, “Now this last song is for a very special young lady in the audience tonight! She’s special to all of us but especially to Peter.” Ben saw my face turn, from glee to shock to overwhelmed happiness. “He told them!” I gasped. Ben looked at me, utterly perplexed. The spotlight finally landed on, “Ms. Y/n Y/l/n, will you please report to the principal’s office.” Micky stole the microphone. I beamed as I got out of my seat, touched Ben’s shoulder, oblivious to his total shock and made my way to the stage. Davy was waiting to hug me, “Congratulations.” He whispered in my ear. I kissed his cheek and moved to be scooped off my feet by Micky. “I’m so happy!!” He spun me around and I kissed his cheek to. “You guys planned this didn’t you?” I asked Mike, as he hugged me, “Congratulations, Babe.” I kissed his cheek and gave him a squeeze before running into Peter’s arms. “I love you!” He whispered. “I love you too and I can’t believe you did all this!” “I didn’t and I have no idea what’s next!” He warned. “Oh god.” I smiled as Davy grabbed the microphone. “Now everyone’s probably wondering why we brought our friend up here.” There was an affirmative murmur from the audience. “Well, because this morning Peter, here, asked Y/n a very important question…” There were screams and gasps all through the grandstand. I buried my face in Peter’s chest. “What did you say, Y/n?” The place got quiet as Davy held up the mic for me. I looked into the eyes of the expectant crowd and it suddenly felt very personal and I was nervous, but then I looked up at Peter and he smiled, his warm sunshine smile and I felt confidence and joy fill me up. “Yes.” I held up my left hand, splaying my fingers and moving it a little so the ring would catch the lights. There were cheers and whoops enough for people in Minneapolis to hear. Peter gave me a quick kiss before heading back to his spot by Davy. Mike pulled me over to sit in front of Micky’s drums. “So, Y/n, here’s your favorite!” He said to the mic. They struck up “The Kind of Girl I Could Love.” I beamed as I clapped and sang along softly. Mike winked at me, I turned to see Micky wiggle his eyebrows. Davy smiled and Peter… I could tell he meant every word. He looked at me like no man ever had, like I was his whole world.
At the end of the song I was hoisted onto Micky and Mike’s shoulders and carried off stage to tumultuous applause. The boys carried me all the way back to their trailers. We started a bonfire and had someone go get us food, the boys were starving. “I’ll be right back, I had a friend with me and I don’t know if he’ll be able to find me.” Peter kissed my cheek as I hopped out of his lap and hurried over to where they were letting people with backstage passes in. There was a couple of young guys who walked right passed me, two teen girls, one of them noticed me, burst in to tears and they both fled. Then I caught Ben’s eye, he seemed dazed but I was still too happy to notice. The bouncer let him through and I gave him a huge hug. “What did you think?” “You actually know them?” “The Monkees, well Yea. Peter’s my fiancé and Mike, Micky and Davy are my best friends. Do you want to meet them? There’s corndogs and beer and stuff.” He shrugged with a halfhearted smile. I led him back the way I came. The boys waved as we approached. “Okay introductions.” I said pretending I needed a second to prepare. “Yea, Y/n, who is this long haired weirdo?” Mike asked. “Be nice Michael, this is my friend from school, Ben Lisbon. Ben this is Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones and my fiancé Peter Thorkelson!” Micky gestured to the vacant seat next to him. “Chair on the sit!” Mike gave him a look, “Micky, Micky it’s sit on the chair.” Davy corrected him. “I don’t even know anymore!” Micky ran his hands over his face, just as, “Phillis!!” Mike’s wife emerged from his trailer. “Y/n! Oh, my, gosh it’s so good to see you.” She gave me a bone crunching hug. “Don’t squish the baby!” I said. “I know, I’m tiny right you can hardly tell.” I shook my head as she gestured to the large bump under her dress. “Phil, there is a human inside you, cut yourself some slack, besides you are glowing!” She blushed and fanned herself, batting her lashes. “You bet your boots she is, come ‘er.” Mike took her hand and brought her over to sit on his lap.
We chatted for a couple hours. I was never happier than when I was with the Monkees, Ben was a little quieter than usual, but he had fun talking to them. I noticed he kept trying to pull me away from Peter, it was hard, though, we kind of gravitated towards each other. At 11 he mentioned he had to get back and in the end we all decided to go. “We can drive!” Said Micky glancing around at his mates with a mischievous twinkle in his eye. Suddenly all four of them hopped up from their seats. Phil sighed and shook her head. “Come, my trusty cohorts! Let us to the Monkeemobile! Away!” Mike said pointing at the last exclamation. The other three surrounded him and mimicked, “Away!” I laughed as they marched off to the car. I stood and offered Phyllis and Ben my arms. Ben didn’t join in when we mimicked, “Away!”
Soon the crazy red car was parked in front of my house, where Ben’s mom was waiting to pick him up. I hopped out with him to say goodbye. “I hope you had fun! We’re a crazy group, but we do know how to have a good time.” He stopped walking. “Yea, it was great. Thank you, Y/n.” He took my hand and my heart clenched. “Y/n, do you ever wonder what would have happened if…we’d…” He tried to catch my gaze. “I used to.” I responded simply, “I hope you find what you’re looking for.” I said, trying to gently release his hand. “I kinda thought I had.” He said trying to make eye contact. I sighed, trying not to laugh. A year ago I would have given anything to hear him say that, my heart would have burst just now. But, as soon as I left that wretched high school and got a taste of the real world, freedom, peace, true happiness and finally real love, I realized that my crush on him was a whim, a fancy and now that I could look back on our acquaintance with my new experience and knowledge I realized that not only would he make me really unhappy, I didn’t feel anything for him. Nothing at all. “Goodbye, Bennett.”
When I had maneuvered into the far back seat of the car, Peter was waiting for me with open arms. “Hi.” “Hi.” “I missed you.” I smirked at him. “I was only gone a minute.” “Yea.” He nuzzled into the hug and I kissed his hair, laughing. “I love you, Peter.” He looked into my eyes and stroked my hair. “I love you too.” When the others had finished waving goodbye to Ben and his mom, Mike called back from the driver’s seat. “Alright, Ms. Minnesota, where too.” The smile on my face was stuck there, I smiled at all the happy, eager faces, I felt the warmth and love you feel when you have real friends. “O’Gara’s, drinks are on me!” There was a loud cheer as the car pulled out onto the dark street.
*I don’t own the Monkees or anything under their brand, I just wrote this story*