Roger was starting to lose hope, hope that they would find a bassist, have a full band again. Since Tim left it’s been a ride. Freddie replaced him on vocals, but after seven bassists they were yet to find someone who fit in and could play well.
Freddie had changed them from Smile to Queen and, well, Queen seemed like it wasn’t going to get anywhere anytime soon. Roger sighed, all but resigned to his fate to being a dentist, when Brian walked into the auditorium with a guy he’d never seen before. Beside the poodle walked a young, shy boy with long, brown hair and bright hazel eyes. He didn’t quite look comfortable with Brian yet, a bit tense, holding a case close to his body, and as soon as he saw Roger the tight smile he had from one of Brian’s bad jokes faded.
Roger smiled and waved, trying to put the boy at ease, “Hey, there. I hope the Poodle, there, isn’t bothering you?”
The boy looked confused from Roger to Brian, and Brian shook his head, “Don’t mind him, John.” Brian sighed, looked up at Roger, “Will you stop being… you, for a second, Roger?”
Roger laughed, crossed his arms, “That depends.”
Brian raised an eyebrow, “On what?”
“On how much you annoy me.”
Brian cradled his head in his hands, “Jesus Christ.”
Freddie chose that moment to walk in flamboyantly, “Why, hello, darlings! Oh, Brian, you’ve brought a friend! Who is this lovely man?”
The boy looked almost scared as he stared at Freddie, eyes wide, but with a glimpse of curiosity and awe.
“This is John Deacon, Electronics Honours,” Brian said, smiling at Freddie’s antics.
John smiled weakly, “Hello,” He said softly.
Freddie beamed, “Aren’t you adorable? And smart too! Not that we don’t already have enough brains around here, isn’t that right, dears?” Freddie turned to Roger and Brian, waiting for a reaction that never came, that was replaced with affectionate head shakes. Freddie laughed, “Don’t mind them, dear, they’re just prudes.”
“Hey!” Roger yelled.
Freddie waved him off, “Do tell me, dear, why are you here?”
“I, ahh—” John stammered, “Dr May said you were looking for a bassist,” He mumbled quietly.
Roger and Freddie laughed.
Roger watched as Brian blushed, “I’m not quite a Doctor yet, John,” Brian said, rubbing his neck and smiling, “Please, just call me Brian.”
“I’m sorry,” John muttered again.
“Oh, don’t be ridiculous, dear,” Freddie was beaming again, “He’s got a big enough ego as it is.”
“Rich coming from you, Fred,” Brian said.
Freddie ignored him, “So you play bass?” He asked John.
John nodded, “I like to think I’m fairly decent, and a friend of mine said that you were looking for a player.”
“We are indeed! And you’re here to audition I take it?”
“If that’s alright with you guys,” Brian said from beside John, “I know we hadn’t expected it, but… well, you know.”
Freddie was nodding, Roger watching from the step he was sat on, as John stood awkwardly, watching as they talked about him like he wasn’t there.
When Freddie turned back to him, John said, “If you have the time, of course. I wouldn’t want to intrude.”
“Oh, nonsense. Do you have your guitar with you?”
John held up the case he was holding, “My old, trusty Rickenbacker.”
Freddie obviously had no clue if that was good or not, but Brian was nodding like it was. Brian led John over to his amp, and helped him set up while Freddie moved over to sit by Roger.
“What do you think about the kid?” Roger asked softly.
Freddie smiled, “He’s a shy one, poor thing, but maybe that’s just what we need, someone quiet to balance out our egos.”
“Your ego, you mean.”
Freddie hit him playfully, “He seems sweet enough, and he’s an electronics student, we could use that, so if he can play—”
“Try not to get your hopes up, Fred, we have a bad run with bassists.”
Brian joins them on the step of the auditorium, glaring at them to shut up. “When you’re ready, John,” Brian said softly to the shy boy as if not to scare him.
John stared that the three of them, wide-eyed, before closing them, taking a deep breath, and letting his hand dance across the frets of his bass, plucking the strings in a steady rhythm that Roger couldn’t help but tap his foot to.
“Good rhythm,” Roger whispered to Brian and Freddie, “Nice and steady, doesn’t speed up or slow down.”
“He sounds good, too,” Brian agreed.
“He’s cute,” Freddie smiled.
Roger and Brian turned and glared at him.
“What? He is!”
John had stopped his playing at Freddie’s exclamation, and he looked like he was about to freak out, as if he expected something bad.
“Can I…?” Roger asked.
“Yeah, we’ll need to know if you two gel sooner or later, anyway,” Brian nodded.
Roger got up, smiled at John, “Hey, there! I’m Roger, the drummer.”
John’s face seemed to lighten up at those words, having met the other half of the rhythm section, “Hello,” He smiled, exposing a little gap in his front teeth that Roger found adorable.
Roger made it his personal mission to make John smile as often as possible from that moment, if he made it into the band. “So,” Roger continued, “That was brilliant, but we just want to see if the two of us mesh well together before we make anything official, you understand, the rhythm section and all.”
John was nodding, “Yeah, of course.”
Roger beamed, “Brilliant! Just let me get set up and we’ll jam a bit.” He made his way onto the make-shift drum risers and got himself settled behind his kit. He tapped out a few beats to get warmed up, pulled out his drum key to tune the skins of his toms and snare and then smiled at John, “You ready?”
John nodded, watching Roger as he started a beat and then joined in with his own riff, matching their beats and rhythms, working off each other to find a decent sounding jam. When they came to a stop, Roger was beaming.
Roger turned to Freddie and Brian, who were watching them from the steps, and announced, “I think we’ve found our new bassist!”
The excited smile on John’s face at that melted Roger’s heart.