Chapter 1: An unexpected idea
John was still reflecting on the proposal when he got home. Although he was still busy with affairs connected with Queen, as checking the accounting of the band, as he did every month, he kept thinking about it. It wasn't that he wasn't willing to accept the proposal, but it was something very different and unusual, that even within the parameters of the Queen he would never imagined that would happen. At least he still had more time to think.
Arriving home, he sat down at the kitchen table, his favorite place to do the math, and then opened the log book, checking the bills and numbers with agile eyes.
"John, have you been there for too long?" Veronica found him, interrupting him for a moment.
"Oh no, I just got here," he shrugged, a little awkward, "I'm sorry I didn't say hello."
"All right, Johnny." His wife smiled comprehensively and kissed his cheek and said, "Is everything okay today?"
"Oh yeah, all right, we'll record a few three singles next month," he said, "but it's just that today, we ..."
"What happened, John? Something is bothering you ... " Veronica opined, after analyzing the somewhat different behavior of her husband.
"Well, it's ..." Deaky settled his posture on the seat, joining hands on the table "we had a meeting today with Graham King, he's a movie producer and he proposed to us ... To make a movie about Queen."
"Movie? Not a documentary, well, it's ... " Mrs. Deacon was surprised, and then she was careful to choose her next words "you didn't like it ..."
"No, it's not that I didn't like it," John grimaced, feeling rather uncomfortable. "It's just that I feel strange about it, it's that the band is a big part of our lives and they're going to tell the band's story, it means that they will tell about us, our personal life and everything else and ... I didn't want my life more exposed than it already is, of which we are already used to."
"But you already decided to make the movie?" Veronica asked, worried, but understanding her husband perfectly.
"No, not yet, they gave us time to think," John added, still reserved about it.
"Well, you don't want to take it, by the way," she concluded, trying to think of another solution.
"It's not that I don't want to accept, I would even accept, I just don't want personal details exposed, do you understand?" He was already feeling tired.
"Of course I understand, my love, and I would hate to see this kind of thing too" Veronica touched his hands "but if you need to say yes to that idea, if the boys insist too much, as I know they do, don't hesitate to say that you only accept the film with these conditions. Don't forget that if they went to you it's because they want Queen's approval, and you decide what's going to come in the movie or not, and you're part of the band as well, John, you have the right to comment."
"As much as they made the proposal," John smiled when his wife finished speaking, "he doesn't even have a script ready yet, and you're right, Ronnie, King is counting on our approval."
"Probably you will be able to give your opinion in the script and who better than you to decide what are the best parts of your own story?" Veronica pointed with a suggestive look.
"Thinking about that, if I really can have all that influence, it's not a bad idea," John reflected with a hand on his chin, thoughtfully, "thank you, honey."
"You're very welcome" Mrs. Deacon smiled and kissed her husband's cheek again, leaving him with his bills and a little quieter with that movie idea.
During that same week, the band and their advisory had another meeting with Graham King, who really was determined to only make the film if Queen authorized it, the whole process would pass through their sieve.
"If anyone has to speak up, I'll tell you for myself, Mr. King, that I authorize you to make a movie about us" Freddie opined "it will be a fun and different experience, it's a very us thing."
"We're really experimental," John mused, "but what exactly do you want to deal with in this film, Mr. King?"
"Well, the most important moments of the band, from your origin to the Live Aid performance, to be more specific," Graham explained better, "we want to address in the best possible way within the standard two hour duration."
"And you can tell a lot in two hours?" Roger wondered.
"The key points in the band's history are going to conect it all," Graham said.
"And if we accept the production of the film, can we take a look at the script?" Chrissie wanted be sure to John's relief.
"Absolutely, Mrs. May" King nodded "we want your permission in everything, we want to do with the utmost respect, for you and the fans."
"Do you guarantee all that?" Brian wanted to be sure.
"Well, yes," said the producer at last.
King's sincerity was enough to convince everyone, from the most willing to accept the idea to the most skeptical, like John and Chrissie.
"Looks like we have a deal then," Jim Beach said excitedly, beginning to prepare documents for everyone to sign.
John could only hope that this movie idea was really good.
Queen focused on the work of making music and let the film crew do their job, which wasn't specifically the band's specialty. Some time later, they received a version of the script. John took his copy home so Veronica could read it too.
"What did you think?" he asked his wife after she finished her reading.
"First I want to know what you think." Veronica returned the question.
"Honestly, I thought it was great," John confessed, more lively than he appeared to be, "it really focus on the most remarkable events, but also our friendship and ... That's why I was happy as I read."
"And they captured your way exactly as you are." His wife smiled happily, "quiet and shy, but determined when you need to be."
"Am I really like this?" he asked playfully.
"You know you are, Johnny ..." Veronica shook her head.
"I think they can make a good movie." Deaky shrugged, relaxed but hopeful.
"Yes, my love," Mrs. Deacon nodded, also beginning to genuinely like the idea.
Joe Mazzello had lived the last few days very restless. It had been a long time since Fox's producers had come in contact with him, interested in choosing him to play John Deacon. As soon as he learned this, Joe concentrated on doing what he needed to get the role, studied bass, saw interviews hundreds of times, even practiced the freaking accent that was hard for an American to do. But Joe didn't mind, he was excited to get the job.
He couldn't stop thinking that since they called him, it had been a long time and as far as he knew, there was no actor in the match with him, so everything led him to believe that he would be hired, the problem was waiting for confirmation.
It was so that on an ordinary morning when Joe was checking his emails, he came across what he had hoped to receive. The sender was Fox's casting manager, congratulating him and confirming that he had been cast to play John Deacon in Bohemian Rhapsody.
His first reaction was to give a huge smile, to laugh like a child and finally to surrender to an emotional cry. The first to know were his parents, who were as proud as Joe was of himself. He knew that he had done his best and all his effort had paid off at that moment.
Despite all the excitement, Joe paid attention to another important detail in the email, there would be a meeting with the producers of the film and soon after they would go to Abbey Road, meet with Queen and the band's managers.
That made Joe even more excited, but worried. It was obvious that they would meet the band, since it was their story that they were telling, but that also made him afraid. Sure enough Queen would be well present during the whole project, and soon enough Joe felt the size of the responsibility he and the whole cast had. He wanted to respect Queen's legacy and especially John Deacon and his privacy. The actor tried to keep the anxiety for the day of the meeting.
As soon as the entire cast was cast, it didn't take long for Queen to know who would play their younger versions. Only the names were disclosed and the date and time of the meeting for the band and the actors to meet. John noticed the excitement in his friends, beginning to imagine what the boys were like, what they would think about meeting the band, and whether they would ask a lot of questions.
"Is everything okay, John?" asked Chrissie, the guitarist's wife and assistant, but who ended up being an advisor to the four of them "you didn't say much about the film ..."
"Well, I'm just wondering what it's all about." Deacon knew he could be honest with her. "I think I'd better meet Mr. Mazzello first before creating expectations."
"First, you should call him Joe, Deaky," Freddie said, "these formalities will only startle the boys."
"Being formal is not boring, is for respect," Brian tried to help, "but I agree with Freddie, they're a lot younger than we are."
"It's easier for them to call us mister" Roger laughed.
"I don't want to be called mister!" Freddie said, rather indignantly "relax, Deaky, continue not creating expectations then, and enjoy the moment when we meet the boys, okay?"
"Well, Freddie, but wasn't that my plan from the beginning?" John smiled a little, feeling a little more relieved enough to joke.
"Ah, Deaky, you sarcastic old man!" Freddie complained in a joking tone, which made his friends laugh.
Chrissie just watched them, thinking that no matter how much time passed, those four would always have a childlike side.
John felt worried again when he got home after that meeting about the movie. His grim expression cleared at the sight of Veronica. His wife gave him a quick hug and then kissed him, which was enough for his worries to leave at the moment.
"Hi to you too," he said after they parted.
"Any news?" Veronica asked as she headed for the kitchen, John followed her there, knowing that tea and toast were waiting for them.
"That's exactly what I didn't want to talk about ..." he sighed in a tone of complaint.
"Oh, John, you know when you don't want to tell me that's when you have to talk about it, don't make me call Freddie," Mrs. Deacon made a treat.
"Hey, it's not that bad," John was a little outraged. "It's just that they set the cast for the movie, and we're going to meet the actors later this week."
"And that's really cool, really." Veronica cheered on the idea "but then again you're upset, I thought you'd accepted the movie already."
"No, yes, but admit it, Ronnie, knowing someone who's playing you is a bit odd," John insisted.
"I think you're exaggerating a bit," Veronica countered, honestly, "yes, I agree it's partly odd, but remember you agreed to the script that was written, no one's going to do anything outside of what you've allowed."
"That's what I took, I just ... I don't know what to do when I meet this actor ..." Deaky confessed, shrugging.
"Oh John, just greet him, be polite and courteous as you are, and let him do his job " Veronica was as practical as ever "I think once you get to know him, that weird feeling is gone."
"I think you're right ..." John agreed in relief.
Veronica just smiled, knowing that despite his insecurities, her husband would deal well with all that.
By the time the meeting day came, Joe was much more nervous than John. The bassist had taken a little time to get accustomed to everything the movie had brought and would still bring, and his companions were excited and eager. Mazzello was really worried about being as cautious and respectful as possible, the same feeling his co-workers had that day.
Queen in the company of Chrissie May and Jim Beach waited for the cast of Bohemian Rhapsody at Abbey Road Studios. It was then that Graham King arrived with the actors and made the introductions.
There was a certain embarrassment of Joe, Ben, Gwilym and Rami that was soon undone by the warm welcome of Freddie, Roger and Brian. Before Joe and John exchanged a handshake, the bassist's great astonishment became apparent when he saw Mazzello. It was incredible how the actor looked like him, in fact, the four looked like them, but the similarities of Joe and John and Brian and Gwilym were scary. Also, as Joe was talking to the others, John noticed that he was an American, and he couldn't help wondering how an American could make a convincing British accent.
"Mr. Deacon?" Even nervous, Joe's extroverted personality made him take the first step "it's a pleasure to meet you, I'm Joe Mazzello."
"John Deacon," the bassist answered automatically, letting his own annoyance slip away, "but you already know that, it's also a pleasure to meet you, Joe."
"So ..." Joe wondered what to say. "First of all I'd like to say how much I admire you and the band, and I really want to do a good job, to make you all proud."
"Oh thank you," John murmured, clearly moved, "that makes me very happy."
It was at that moment that Deacon's worries were over, Joe's nervousness and commitment had moved him enough to show the actor that everything was fine, that John would be happy with what he would do. Looking around, he saw that his friends and their actors were already playing a little, taking the opportunity to exchange experiences. For John, music was always something magical that caused a wonderful well-being in people and, despite all the pressure, it was music that the bassist would use to calm Joe down.
"I guess you must know how to play bass already, but let me show you some of my tricks?" John offered, in a tone he used with his children when they were little.
"Please, sir," Joe replied cheerfully, hardly believing he didn't have to ask for private lessons as a hysterical fan.
As John played and Joe watched, and then changing that position, they laughed, learned, taught, they were sure that making that movie would yield a good experience.
So, this is my story focused on Joe, John and the whole Deacon family. We'll have updates on Tuesdays, and we'll also have some fluffy Johnica moments and flashbacks so we can know a little more about their love story. so thank you for reading, see you on next Tuesday!
Chapter 3: Peculiar Discoveries
From the last reunions of the band that he had participated, that had been the first one of which John left totally light and carefree, meeting Joe had helped him to feel like this, to remove all fear about the film that the bassist still carried.
Playing along with the actor made John's mind and heart associate his education with the curious way his six children reacted to the bass, the band, the music. Of course Luke was the one who had shown more genuine interest than his siblings, but his father had a memory that linked each of his children to music.
Robert was only a baby when he paid attention to his father playing at the Taylors' wedding, Michael had tried to play alone at the age of three, moving the bass without anyone seeing, causing the instrument's neck to strike his forehead and leave an ugly wound for a few weeks. Laura asked once where was the "high notes" of the instrument, in which John replied that it wasn't high notes in the bass, she was worried, but then she understood that the bass function was to make the sound low. Joshua was fascinated by the sound coming from the amplifier and as the speakers worked, Luke begged his father to teach him to play when he was eight and Cameron, listening to the cassette tapes closely, identifying each element that made up Queen's songs without always forget to identify the bass, remembering his father.
Finally, Joe didn't hesitate to ask questions and play the closest thing to John, which drew some smiles from the bassist. Joe noticed it and was happy, he hadn't been hurt that Deacon had laughed at him, but he knew it was a sign that he was on the right track, more and more like John's playing style. This made Joe gain his admiration.
As attentive as ever, Veronica noticed the improvement in her husband's mood when he arrived home and patiently waited for him to sit down, take a sip of tea, and then inquired about what she wanted to know so much.
"Did you like your actor? What's he like?" she expressed her curiosity, putting a hand on her chin.
"He looks like me, no doubt." John thought that was the first thing he had to tell "and he played bass very well, taking it out, he had nothing to do with me."
"what do you mean?" Veronica was intrigued, wanting to know more.
"He's a lot more agitated and outgoing than I am," John confessed, shrugging his shoulders, "but on the other hand, that was fine, he decided to break the ice first."
"So you wouldn't talk to him if he didn't speak first?" Mrs. Deacon deduced, knowing this would happen most of the time.
"Not really, I confess I was a little lost, you know, just taking my place next to the band, but Joe really was so excited and interested to hear me ..." he was counting, "I couldn't ignore Joe's willingness to learn."
"Oh, that's his name, Joe!" Veronica was happy to know "I know him from any movie?"
"Oh I wouldn't know be able to say it," John shrugged. "I didn't search his filmography."
"So it seems that you are so disinterested," Mrs. Deacon chided.
"It's not disinterest, I'm just not curious," John explained. "It's different, I just don't want to pressure him, I want to make him feel comfortable working."
"Oh, we agreed to that, my love, I just wanted to meet him," she confessed, "if he wants to."
"I think he'll like the idea, if you want, I'll introduce you to him." He smiled, not finding the idea of his wife so bad.
During dinner, the curiosity of Mrs. Deacon passed on to her sons. Joshua, Luke and Cameron being the three youngest sons of the Deacon couple, were still living with their parents and being more attentive to the news and media than their own father, the Deacon boys had high expectations about the Queen movie.
"So Dad, meeting with the cast was today, wasn't it? What can you tell us? Too much or too little? Or nothing?" Joshua brought up the subject, full of enthusiasm.
"What question should I first answer, Josh?" returned his father in a good mood.
"Johnny just tell us, you didn't tell us much after all," Veronica complained.
"It's not true Ronnie, you were the first to know about the movie," John countered, "but to satisfy your fierce curiosity, yes, we met the cast today, they'll start filming next week, and the actor who will play me It's very cool."
"What's his name?" Cam remembered to ask.
"Joe Mazzello," his father confirmed.
"He's a little not so famous, isn't he?" I've never heard of him," Luke commented with a hand on his chin and then got a better idea, rushed to google the actor.
Suddenly the boy started to laugh as he stared at the screen of his cell phone.
"Dude, this is surreal ..." he commented, putting a hand over his mouth then, showing his surprise.
"Luke, stop it and tell me what you discovered," his mother demanded, already worried.
"Mom, didn't Dad show you any pictures of Joe? Look at this." Luke stepped out of his seat and showed Veronica what he had researched, his reaction causing so much excitement that his brothers did research as well.
Cameron and Joshua were surprised too.
"Yeah, he just like John, there's no way of denying it" their mother had to admit.
"I thought we looked alike, but I knew you would react like that." John allowed himself to laugh a little at it all.
"Just look alike? Dad, he's exactly like you," Cameron exclaimed, still amazed,"if I didn't know, I would even say he is our brother."
"That's true," Joshua agreed, half suspicious.
"Dad, Mom, are you sure you didn't have another child after Cam?" Luke said in playful earnestness.
"Yes!" answered his parents at the same time.
"Right, no more jokes about Joe being our brother, I get it." The boy was a bit disappointed.
"As if that would stop you Luke." Josh crossed his arms and rolled his eyes.
"Did you see he was the little boy from Jurassic Park?" Cameron cut the subject, counting what he had discovered.
"Seriously?" Luke was surprised again and continued to search.
With a little more time when the Deacon brothers scrounged what they could about Joe Mazzello, they ended it all by following the actor on Twitter.
"I said hi to Joe on twitter, I hope he answers." Cameron looked expectant.
"Oh me too, I'll try on Instagram now." Luke was excited to communicate with Joe.
"What a chaos was that ..." John murmured softly, shaking his head. "Imagine if I was going to invite Joe over for dinner just like Brian did with Gwilym ..."
"Not a bad idea," Veronica commented.
"Yeah Dad, we wanted to meet Joe personally, make it happen for us," Josh said.
"No, I don't want to bother the poor fella, look at the way you've been without even meeting him" his father was reluctant and irreducible "imagine what you're going to do personally."
"Okay." Luke frowned as if he were a small child. "I'll see if he can have tea with me."
"All right, just don''t involve the rest of the family, and don't be annoying and irritating with him," John advised.
"If there's one thing I'm not, is annoying," the boy countered with a grimace, which made his brothers squirm with mockery.
Luke ignored this with an ignoring gesture, and concentrated on his cell phone. Joe had just answered his "hi" on Twitter. John only hoped his children wouldn't scare the actor with such enthusiasm.
Chapter 4: Exciting Talks
It had been a great first day of the new work, the day, for Joe, officially marked his involvement, participation and total commitment to the film Bohemian Rhapsody. But what had made him happier was to meet John Deacon himself and even have a few bass lessons with him. Joe feared scaring John or that he didn't want to get so involved with the film, since he was the most discreet member of the band. Mazzello had his own theories on this, whic
h were partially confirmed when he met Deacon. It was clear how Queen bassist was a shy, reserved person, and being a rock star wasn't quite a thing associated with someone like that. However, Joe thought that John's love for music and his friends was what motivated him to continue to be a part of it all, even drawing so much attention to himself.
Their meeting was memorable and special for the actor, but another cool thing happened when he got to the hotel he was staying in after the meeting. Checking social networks, as he used to do, he noticed two requests for following, both on Instagram and on Twitter. Both profiles had the surname Deacon and soon Joe realized that it was John's sons.
"Wow, that was ... cool ..." Mazzello mused, speaking aloud.
Immediately, he accepted the requests and as soon as he did, he received a message from Luke.
"Hi, I'm John Deacon's son, I heard you're going to play my dad in the movie, congratulations!"
Then Joe replied next:
"Hi! Luke, right? Nice to meet you! Yes, it's me, and thank you."
From the Deacon's house, Luke did not expect Joe to respond so quickly, the boy was thrilled by the conversation.
"You're welcome, man! I was thinking something, I hope you don't mind"
That made Joe a little curious and suspicious.
"I think I won't mind ... you just talk to me, you can talk about it."
Luke went ahead with his plan.
"I really wanted to meet you in person, what do you say about we meeting?"
Joe was amazed by the invitation, but was very pleased.
"Great, really great, by me, that's fine",
"So you know Speedy's? It's a diner in Regent's Park, it's a cool place, just tell me one hour that you're available, and that's okay with me," Luke sent.
"Well, I don't know where it is, but I'll find out, don't worry, and as for the available time, I'll be vacant tomorrow morning". Joe counted.
"Yes, so we'll talk more tomorrow. Nice to talk to you, see you later!" Luke closed the conversation.
"So long, Luke, I'll see you tomorrow, bye!" Joe finally answered.
Joe was slightly distracted by the possibility of meeting one of John's children. He imagined in the interesting stories that Luke could tell about his father, who would help the actor with his role, but also find out more about the artist he had learned to admire. Before the Deacon's dinner was over, Luke's brothers and parents noticed his excitement. When the boy took his eyes off the screen of his cell phone, he saw the family staring at him curiously for answers to his exciment.
"I'll meet Joe tomorrow!" he explained at once.
"Seriously? Did he really accept it?" John himself was slightly astonished.
"Um, he seemed to like the idea right away," Luke confirmed. "Any tips for me to know what to do, or what to talk to him, Dad?"
"No, not really," John remarked. "I think you're both a bit alike, so you're going to get along well, and I don't want to give you advice on a conversation, talk about whatever you want, I know it's going to be about me, but it's understandable."
"You look like you're bragging, Dad." Josh laughed a little at how his father referred to himself.
"I know, it wasn't on purpose." Deaky shrugged, giving him a mischievous smile.
So Josh and Cam were anxious as their brother to know what the meeting and the conversation with Joe would be like. They hoped that Luke would tell them everything, and who knows, some time later, they could meet the actor himself, too. For now, they let their little brother take the lead.
After his breakfast, Joe took a cab and, taking advantage of the wonders of modernity, used a GPS system to find out where Speedy's was to make life easier for the taxi driver, who wasn't quite sure where the place was. So, a few minutes later, there was Mazzello waiting for the young Deacon.
As much as Joe was easily distracted by the movement of the street, looking out the window, he turned his attention back to when someone sat at his table. From the similarities with John, it could only be Luke.
"Luke?" Joe asked, frowning, just to be sure.
"Yeah, and you must be Joe Mazzello." Luke shook the actor's hand. "I hope you don't mind me calling you Joe."
"No, no, make yourself comfortable," the actor shrugged, "so I don't feel like an old man."
"Okay, man, it's crazy you're going to play my dad in a movie," Luke drawled, "I never thought they'd make a movie about my dad or the band in that case."
"Yeah, I also thought the idea was unusual, but I jumped right in." Joe started the conversation. "You know I didn't know Queen very well before, but when I heard they wanted me to play Mr. Deacon, I soon did a thorough search, not very thorough, I mean, I didn't intrude on your privacy, I respect your father being more reserved."
"Yes, he is," Luke nodded. "That's why it's hard to imagine someone playing him, but honestly, I can't wait to see what the movie is about! My dad was kind of scared at first, but he got used to the idea, and I think meeting you helped with that, too."
"Seriously? That's good" Joe smiled "I was very worried about meeting your father, I wanted him to understand that I respect him very much and my goal is to honor his work."
"I thank you for thinking of my father, he's a very special guy," Luke said rather moved.
"I noticed that, from the little I was with him, I realized that" the actor remembered how John had been kind when they met "he even taught me some tricks on bass."
"Seriously? He taught me to play when I was a kid, I play bass too, "said young Deacon.
"Really? Since a kid? It's not that easy, is it? I play a little guitar, but as soon as I heard the part, I asked a friend of mine to teach me how to play bass. "Mazzello kept the excitement going.
They continued talking there until they were hungry, and taking advantage of the fact that they were already in a diner, they continued their conversation by lunching together. Indeed, John was right to say that the two would get along, since before they left, they exchanged phone numbers. Joe was glad to meet Luke and hear his stories, since Luke was sure that Joe was an excellent choice to play his father in the movie.
Chapter 5: Mrs. Deacon
When Luke got home after meeting with Joe, he was bombarded by a lot of questions from his brothers.
"Calm down, calm down, people," he finally laughed at all that euphoria, "one question at a time, please."
"How did you go there? Did Joe ask you a lot of questions?" Josh managed to ask first, but Cam wasn't angry because his brother wanted to know the same thing tha he wanted.
"It was cool, I sat at his table and then we started talking about the movie, how it was a little different this thing to make a film about the band, even more putting Dad on it because you know how shy he is and stuff" Luke said first, then went on "then Joe said he admires a lot and respects our father's work."
"Well, that's great, really," thought Josh, "but what did you think of him?"
"He's really cool, really, but kind of a clown, in the best of ways," Luke chuckled as he recalled Joe's peculiar quirks. "It wasn't long before we played with each other."
"Well, that's what he has in common with our father then," Cameron agreed.
"No, Dad is much more serious than Joe," Luke argued, "but they're very worried about their job, I think that's what they have in common."
"That and a very similar face, isn't it?" Josh laughed "he's just like Daddy as it seems from the photos?"
"Oh yeah, bro, you bet he is," Luke nodded. "I just didn't got scare because I'd seen his face before."
"So you could say he could be our brother?" Cameron made a joke.
"How he could," Luke concluded.
The three continued to chat excitedly, which made their parents curious. It was always like this when the three young Deacons were together, but all this had a very specific motive, which John and Veronica were already suspicious.
"Jeez, they really are thrilled with Joe," John mused aloud, listening to the clatter of the boys in his bedroom. "I didn't think it was that bad ..."
"It's because they're curious, John," Veronica explained. "Imagine seeing a younger version of their father, it's very unusual and exciting, by the way, I still want to meet Joe."
"Oh, not you too" John laughed a little.
"Do you think that's a bad idea? Maybe Joe doesn't like this idea?" Mrs. Deacon raised the hypothesis, to see how her husband would react.
"No, no way, who wouldn't want to meet you, my precious and dear wife?" John took the opportunity to praise her, smirking "Ronnie actually, I think the problem is me ..."
"Ah ha, as I suspected." She said what she was thinking.
"Oh, so you just called me a problem?" he teased to get away from the conflict.
"No, of course not," she finally chuckled. "John, what's happening is you're afraid to involve the family with the movie if we meet Joe. You don't want us so involved with something that has to do with the band, as you always did."
"I love you for knowing me so well," John confessed, "that's exactly what I'm thinking."
"And I'll tell you again that you don't have to worry about it." Veronica touched her husband's face, looking him straight in the eye. "I'm not looking at it like the whole Deacon family story exposed by an actor or a movie, but a tribute, a tribute to you, and I wanted to meet the actor who will honor my beloved husband, that's all Johnny."
John wanted to cry, because since he had known her, Veronica always understood and supported him, and out of pure love and dedication to him, she knew exactly what he was feeling.
"Thank you for understanding, I love you." He didn't hesitate to hug her, which only made Veronica return the gesture even more.
"I'm always here, Johnny," Mrs. Deacon kissed her husband's cheek "I love you, too."
The conversation with his wife made John convinced himself that it wouldn't really hurt Veronica to meet Joe, he was an excellent man who also understood John and respected his discretion. He was sure that he would act like that with Mrs. Deacon.
So John eventually agreed to introduce Joseph to Veronica, taking his wife with him at another cast meeting with the band. This time it was a table reading, where the actors would read the script for the first time.
There were a few chairs in the corner of the room that were occupied by Queen and their staff to watch the reading of the script. John and Veronica sat there with Roger, Freddie and Jim Beach, waiting for Brian, Chrissie and the cast to arrive.
When she saw her old friend, Mrs. May didn't hesitate to go to Mrs. Deacon.
"Veronica!" Chrissie said as she hugged her. "It's good to see you here, I didn't think you'd be here, but it's great that you came."
"Yes, I insisted a lot and John brought me." Mrs. Deacon laughed, pleased at her friend's reception "Luke met Joe and he was so excited it made me curious."
"Oh, I understand you, it was the same with Brian and Gwilym." Chrissie smiled and nodded.
Their conversation was interrupted by the arrival of the cast and John, glad that Veronica and Chrissie spent some time together talking, took the opportunity to greet Joe.
"Mr. Deacon, what a pleasure to see you, how are you?" Joe was cordial and cheerful as ever, offering a hand that John accepted.
"Likewise, Joe, I'm fine, I heard you and Luke met, he liked you very much," Deacon said, "but there's someone else in my family who wanted to meet you, I hope you don't mind."
"Really? Wow ... I don't mind, sir, it will be my honor." Joe was surprised, but flattered.
"Ronnie, come here." John called his wife and she approached, while Joe found the nickname cute "well, Joe, this is my wife, Veronica, and Ronnie, this is Joe Mazzello."
"Oh, that's ..." She was a bit stunned to notice the huge similarities with her husband, coming to look alternately from one to the other checking who was who "hi, Joe, hi! Nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you too Mrs. Deacon, I thank you for coming to meet me, and of course see our work." Joe remembered to mention the rest of his work mates so he wouldn't look arrogant because of Veronica's attention.
Mrs. Deacon let the actor join the cast, and she in turn sat down with John, Jim, the boys and Chrissie, paying attention to each of the actors as they gave their best to play their characters. Every time Joe said his lines, both Veronica and John were impressed. It wasn't an imitation caricature, but it was Joe playing John as he understood who the bassist was, which left Mr. and Mrs. Deacon relieved and moved.
Chapter 6: At the Deacon's household
When the table reading was over, Veronica watched the actors interacting a little, interacting with her husband and his bandmates. It was a little strange and curious, the feeling that that encounter caused in Mrs. Deacon. It was really as if they were their young selves meeting Freddie, Roger, Brian and John from the present. Chrissie, who had also finished talking to Gwilym, noticed the sensation on her friend's face.
"It's always like this when we see them all together," Mrs. May laughed softly as she approached Veronica.
"That's right, that's precisely what I'm thinking about." Mrs. Deacon smiled "and you saw the way they talked, their voices, Joe ... Joe speaks just like John!"
"I also freaked out with Gwilym, it's really impressive," Chrissie agreed. "Sorry for the rush Ronnie, but I have to go, the boys are still going to meet in the studio, but it was good to see you."
"It's always good to see you too, Chrissie," Mrs. Deacon also had a great appreciation for his friend "we can arrange a visit for you or you come at my house later."
"Sure, of course." Chrissie liked the idea too, "bye".
"Bye," said Mrs. Deacon said good-bye, seeing John coming toward her.
"Are you ready to go?" her husband wanted to know.
"Well, to be honest, Johnny, I'd like to talk to Joe more, if he doesn't have any appointments for later" she told him what she was thinking "I hope you don't mind me inviting you to at least some tea."
"I knew this was coming, sooner or later." John nodded and chuckled softly, "but okay, for me, that's okay, I'm just not going to be home to welcome Joe, but the boys will go crazy with the surprise visit."
"Okay, all I need to know is if Joe is free," Veronica summed up, heading for Mazzello.
"Mrs. Deacon?" Joe turned around before she said anything, in his usual animated way, but a little apprehensive, since she had just seen him playing John Deacon "I hope you enjoyed the reading ..."
"Oh Joe, don't worry, I thought you were incredible, really, but I wanted to check something else with you," Veronica said, "what do you think about going to have tea at home with me and my boys?"
"Seriously? I ... " Joe was surprised by the invitation "I think it's very cool, Mrs. Deacon, I will go, I will."
"Okay, come on, you mind going with me?" she hurried on, excited.
"No way, ma'am," Mazzello denied, shaking his head.
Before they left, they insisted on saying farewell to John.
"Are you going now? All right, I'll see you later, have fun without me." Deacon teased and smiled, first at his wife and then at Joe.
The taxi ride to the Deacon's house wasn't that long, and in a strange way, Joe was nervous to see the place, he was worried that he should be worthy enough to enter the house of the bassist and his family, whom he was giving his best to play. Using a natural talent of every mother, Veronica soon noticed Joe's nervousness.
"Oh, don't worry, you're our guest," she assured him, "and besides, Josh and Cam are crazy to meet you."
"Thank you, Mrs. Deacon," he said, relieved.
Joe waited for Veronica to come in, standing right behind her, sighing deeply before placing his feet in the residence. Soon he realized how much that place had a look of family, warmth and affection. It had a large living room with a peculiar detail, an action figure of Master Yoda on the shelf, realizing this made Joe smile. They walked down the hall, through the dining room, with a huge table that fit the whole family, going to the kitchen.
"I hope you don't mind waiting here in the kitchen," Veronica commented.
"No, not at all, be at ease," he understood.
Mrs. Deacon put a kettle on the fire and left Joe for a moment, going to call Joshua, Luke, and Cameron. She only asked her sons to come down to the kitchen with an air of mystery, which left the boys on alert.
"Joe!" Luke soon greeted him, shaking hands with the actor "how good to see you here!"
"So he's Joe ?!" said Cameron, impressed, staring at the similarities the actor had with his father.
"It's him, it's really him!" Joshua completed "sorry for the exciment, is that it really is scary how much you look like our father. I'm Josh, nice to meet you."
"Hi, likewise," Joe ended up grinning at the Deacon boys' reaction.
"Cameron," Cam introduced himself, "it's really nice to meet you, really."
"Well, thank you for having me so well," Joe replied. "Mrs. Deacon told me how much you wanted to meet me."
"Yeah, we got curious and excited about this movie thing, and we saw how much you look like our father and everything, but how is it being all this for you?" Cameron split out excitedly.
"Incredible, incredible," Joe said, "we haven't started filming yet, but I've been getting ready since I heard I got the part. I really want to do my best to honor Mr. Deacon."
"As I understood it today, Joe," Veronica said as she made tea, "you're going to start the filming next week, aren't you? Do you know where they're going to start? Because I know that when they make a movie, they don't follow the chronological order of the script in the filming."
"You're right, Mrs. Deacon," Joe nodded,"from what Graham and Dennis told us, we're going to start with Live Aid."
"Seriously?" she was scared by the decision "it must be very difficult for you, for the four of you, right? I remember that day, John was so nervous, I think if he could he wouldn't even go up there, not to mention everything that had happened before ..."
"What has ihappened before?" Luke asked, confused. "What exactly happened, Mom?"
"Well, my love, it's a delicate matter" his mother was sincere "your father was always reserved about some of the band's things."
Joe felt a little embarrassed, thinking he was responsible for bringing the subject up. What he didn't know was that part of the reason Luke, Cameron, and Joshua didn't know what Veronica had mentioned was because they were born at a time when Queen was no longer so popular, and in addition, John preferred to save the children of whatever he thought was bad about the band. The separation they had to then resume their union in the Live Aid performance was one of those delicate things the bassist was hiding.
But now, right now, after all those years, and with her boys being men, Veronica thought that moment was the perfect opportunity to explain about it.
Chapter 7: Some memories
Deacons' Residence, London, 1984
Veronica tried to control her boys' excitement as they got home. If there was one thing little Deacons loved, it was shopping with their mother. It might be a boring activity for most kids, but not for Robert and Michael. They felt useful in searching every item on the list and bringing it to their mother, which left Mrs. Deacon very proud of their goodwill.
It was common when they came home from shopping not to find John at home, his wife knew that sometimes band obligations could take up a lot of his time, but at the end of the day, he always came home.
And that's why Veronica was surprised to see her husband sitting on the couch with a heavy expression on his face, both hands on his chin emphasizing his grief even more.
"Hi, Dad, how long have you been here?" Mike asked, pulling him out of that melancholy state for a moment.
"Not much long, Mike." John smiled at his son.
"We went shopping," Robert explained proudly. "Even Laura helped us today."
"Really? Good, it's a sign that she's growing up and learning from you" their father was happy with the news.
Veronica knew something serious had happened to her husband, and soon she worried, looking for a way to know what it was to be able to help him.
"Boys, go store everthing first, okay?" she advised her children, "I'll help you later."
"Fine," Robert agreed, and soon his brother and sister followed him.
"What happened, John?" she was direct, since she was also agonized "everything was fine when I left ..."
"Yeah" John laughed sarcastically, hurt, but his wife knew it wasn't because of her "Freddie called, called a meeting to announce that ... he'll focus on recording two solo records, leaving us completely aside indefinitely."
"My God, Johnny, I'm sorry" was Veronica's immediate reaction, shocked but not so much, it was to be expected that Freddie could take such a step, but deep down they knew he was a good friend, that's why she felt John's pain and hugged him.
"I still don't believe how he could do that ..." John muttered, "he didn't even care about knowing our opinion, about getting a deal together, he ... He didn't care a bit about us ... that is... It's ... I feel like I've been betrayed, Ronnie, discarded as something that no longer serves ..."
"No, no, it's nothing like that." She touched John's face with both hands, looking steadily into his eyes. "Freddie forgetting for a moment all that you lived, all that you contributed to Queen together, doesn't diminish the the worth of any of you, let alone yours."
"I know, but that's how I feel" John summed up, still shaken by everything "the problem is that it's not just for a moment, who knows when we'll be playing together again, if we will want to talk to Freddie again."
"Of course you will" Mrs. Deacon had no doubt about that "maybe not now, but ... if there's one thing I know, Freddie knows your worth, and one time he'll remember that, I'm sure."
"I hope so, but I'm sure it won't be now," John said, still hurt and dejected.
Deacons' Residence, London, 2017
Remembering that made Veronica a little shaken, but nothing compared to the reaction of her children. Joe knew about the separation of Queen, since it was part of the script, but still, hearing the story of those who experienced a bit of it, was sad and thrilled as well.
"I'm sorry" Mazzello felt the sadness of Mrs. Deacon and said that to comfort her.
"No, Joe, it's all right," she went back to her good mood. "You know that this split was good for all in the end, the way the boys played in Live Aid, the way that they missed each other, the impression that the distance between them motivated them to do their best, to come together even more than ever, and I think that was also one of the great things that unites them to this day."
"Well, Mom, since you've seen a positive side to it all, it's up to us to do the same thing," Josh mused, seeing that Luke and Cameron had been filled with compassion for their father.
In fact, the three brothers put themselves in John's shoes, rhey could imagine what it was like to have been turned away by one of your best friends all of a sudden. But as Veronica had said, it all served a bigger and better purpose.
"You were going to tell us about Live Aid too," Luke recalled, trying to improve the mood.
"Oh yes, yes, it's a funnier story than the last one," Veronica commented from her own account, "but maybe it's not right to laugh at John's condition that day."
"Just tell us, Mom," Cam asked.
"Okay." She smiled, agreeing, amazed at their impatience, but pleased by their curiosity.
Wembley Stadium, London, 1985
It had been a somewhat twisting path for Veronica and her three children to get to the Queen trailer. Despite so much rush, and so many people walking around, she couldn't help wishing her husband and friends good luck before today's performance.
Just before they reached the trailer, she looked at her children, checking to see if they were all right. Robert seemed to be handling the situation well, however shy, MIchael seemed curious and distracted, paying attention to what he could, what his gaze could catch. Laura, on the other hand, held her mother's hand a little tighter, certainly feeling intimidated by all that, since she was so tiny in the middle of so much.
"Don't worry, my loves." Mrs. Deacon turned to the kids "we won't be long, in fact we can't, we're just gonna say hi to daddy and uncles and we're back at our place."
By mentioning John, the children seemed to relax a little. Veronica then knocked on the door, waiting for one of the four to answer.
"Ronnie! Good to see you" it was Freddie who received her.
"Hi Freddie, hey guys." She turned to Brian and Roger, catching sight of her husband. "John, come here just a little bit."
He got up, a little startled, but soon after he calmed down. His wife scowled at his unsteady state.
"Are you okay? What is it?" She already knew he wasn't well, and soon she wanted to know the reason for that.
"I'm just nervous, very nervous," he confessed, looking away for a moment, placing a hand over his mouth, taking a deep breath.
"I know, I get it, and I know why you're feeling this way." Veronica ran a hand over his shoulder, stroking lightly to comfort him. "But don't think of the audience, just think you have to go there and play, and that you know how to play these songs very well, there's no mistake."
"Thinking that way, I can do it, that's basically what I have to do." John smiled, delighted by his wife's simple but effective response.
"Oh, there's one more thing I think will help," Veronica added, looking at her children.
"We came to wish you good luck, Dad," Robert said with a simple smile.
"Oh thanks, Rob." his father gave him a hug, so John ended up hugging Laura and Michael, too.
"Let's go then," Ronnie prepared to return to her seat. "It'll be all right, okay?"
"Yes, it will." John was still nervous, but much calmer. "Thank you."
"You're welcome, I love you," she smiled.
"I love you too, see you later," he replied, watching her walk away with the children, grateful for the visit, knowing that even in the midst of a giant crowd there was his family, he would give his best for them.
Chapter 8: An idea
Joe was already in his third cup of tea, since he loved the drink and Mrs. Deacon's tea was perfect, when he thought he might ask more about some details that made him curious.
"You mean the kids have always been with you to see the concerts, even though ... well, they were kids? I mean, all this excitement can seem weird or intimidating;” He asked, concerned about how Mrs. Deacon dealt with such occasions.
"Oh yes, this is very common" Veronica confirmed "of course I didn't take the children at all the shows, I particularly preferred to accompany the boys when they were in London, it was more comfortable for me, because it had all that movement and people were getting too close to us to get to John, it's kind of intimidating and claustrophobic, and Laura was the one who freaked out the most, of course, after a while she got used to it, but it was never easy."
"Well, we went through situations like this, but nothing that compares to that time," Josh commented. "Bobby always told us we're lucky we didn't live that."
"And he's right, really right, my dears" Veronica turned to her three sons.
Joe noticed that this was another sensitive subject, even unintentionally, he felt guilty, and then decided to change the subject.
"So Robert is your eldest son," Joe said, also curious about the boy the Deacons have quoted so far.
"Yes, and I think that's why he's always been so responsible and helpful." Mrs. Deacon said proudly "he understood this whole situation and always helped me take care of his younger siblings."
"He also used to help us with math at school," Cameron said.
"He's very smart then." Joe smiled at that.
"Oh yes, Rob has a way with the numbers that came from John, for sure" Veronica nodded "he pursued his career with math, he is an architect."
"Gosh, quite different from a music career!" was another feature that impressed Joe.
"Well, Luke and Cameron are the only closest in music" their mother said "but my other kids saw that they had a vocation for something else."
"But everyone in the family likes music in general," Josh argued.
"Yes, that's true," Veronica agreed.
As interesting as the conversation was, Joe saw that he had already abused Mrs. Deacon and her sons' hospitality, he then decided to leave.
"I thank you for your time and delicious tea," he rose, "but I really have to go."
"Oh, but it's still so early ..." Luke joked.
"No, I understand Joe, but thank you so much for accepting my invitation, and whenever you want to visit us, you'll be most welcome." Veronica was very cordial to him.
"Wow, Mrs. Deacon, I don't even have words to thank you, because to be honest" the actor hesitated a little "I would very much like to come back."
"Sure, we'll love to see you again," she assured him.
Josh, Cam and Luke also said goodbye to him, watching Joe leave.
"That was pretty cool," Joshua said a while later. "Joe is a nice guy."
"I said he was," Luke confirmed.
"Do you know what would be nice too?" Cam proposed to the brothers "Laura, Mike and Rob meet him!"
"Okay, ok, I saw you guys got excited, but calm down there, boys" their mom soon controlled their excitement "you know you have to know if your siblings want that too."
"Who wouldn't like? He's a good fella.” Josh shrugged.
"I know, but I have a feeling they might be a little afraid of that," Veronica mused.
"Not they, Dad, right?" Luke soon understood "in my case, there was no problem to him."
"I just think you'd better talk to your dad first," she insisted. "You told him when you met Joe, Luke."
"Fine, I understand Mom," he nodded.
"I had a better idea," Cameron thought of a solution. "What if we invited Joe and our siblings to dinner? Don't worry, I ask Daddy."
"Great idea!" Josh smiled.
"Okay, I liked it too," Veronica agreed, "so, Cam, you're in charge of the hard part, meanwhile, I talk to Laura, Mike and Rob."
"Awesome," Cameron said finally, accepting the challenge.
At that moment, Robert was in his office, completely focused on his new project when his cell phone rang. He would really like to finish what he was doing first, but if someone was calling suddenly at that unexpected time, he thought it was very important.
As he made his way to the phone inside his briefcase, Robert thought it was Eliza or Georgia, his wife and daughter respectively, but it struck him as much when he saw that it was his mother who was calling.
"Mom? Is everythinh okay?" he soon asked.
"Calm down, Rob, it's no big deal, really." She realized his apprehension and smiled, reacting to her son's natural way. "I first want to know how you are."
"I'm fine, still working" her son replied "I just found it strange that you call me now."
"Oh yes, I know, Cameron just got an idea, and you know he won't leave me alone until I talk to you," Veronica explained quickly.
"Talk to me about what?" Robert sat down, figuring the conversation would take time.
"Well, I think you know there is a movie about Queen being made, and we met the actor who's going to play your father" Mrs. Deacon told him "so Cameron thought about calling you guys to meet him too."
"Yeah, I know about the movie, yes" Robert considered the question "I think it's going to be an interesting meeting, for me, that's fine."
" Really, son? Good, then, I'll let you know when we make dinner!" Veronica was glad for the answer "oh and bring Eliza and Georgia too!"
"I wouldn't dream of leaving them at home," he laughed. "Gia's excited about this movie rhing, just imagine what she'll react if I tell her she'll meet the actor who's going to play her grandfather."
"Yeah, that's it! She will love it" Mrs. Deacon knew her granddaughter's excitement well "okay, so it was just that I wanted to talk to you, bye Rob."
"Bye mom!" He ended the call.
Robert had liked the idea, too, hoping Eliza didn't find this meeting strange, but he knew their daughter would thank him immensely. As for Veronica, it remained to know how Mike and Laura would react.
Chapter 9: Answers
Laura was still in traffic after picking up her children from school. She hoped Carol and Arthur wouldn't complain about the delay in getting home. As young as he was at six, he was usually more understanding than his 10-year-old sister. Not that Caroline was insensitive or rebellious, it was just one of her most striking traits to be impatient and somewhat complaining, but that was only on her worst days, or when the situation insisted on teasing her. At the moment, Carol had her cell phone to distract her from the delay until Laura's cell phone rang.
She quickly took the phone from her purse, smiling when she saw who it was. Being responsible, she handed the phone to her daughter.
"Pick it up for me, please, Carol," her mother said. "It's Grandma."
"Oh ok" the girl left her own cell phone on her lap and took her mother's "hi grandma."
"Caroline? How are you my love?" Veronica replied "I wanted to talk to your mother, where is she?"
"She's driving now," the girl explained, "if you want I'll leave a message with her."
"Oh no, Carol, I needed to talk to her directly" the grandmother sighed "do so, ask her to call me, when you arrive, okay?"
"Okay, I'll tell her, bye," Caroline said goodbye and hung up.
"What did Grandma say, Carol?" Laura asked her daughter.
"Oh, she said she wants to talk to you, she asked to call her back as soon as you can," Caroline explained.
"Oh yes, I get it," Laura answered and was curious to know what it was about.
A little later, they finally got home, and Laura could figure out the reason for her mother's call.
"Hi, Mom, you called me, you can talk now," she said when she returned the call.
"Oh, Laura" her mother confirmed "the thing is, we wanted to make a dinner with the whole family, so you can meet the actor who will play your father in the movie about Queen."
"Seriously? That's ..." Laura searched for a word to express her astonishment "differently, I heard about the movie and everything, fine, so, we'll go, just let me know dinner day."
"Okay, fine Laura, thank you for accepting the invitation." Veronica was glad for her daughter's positive response.
"You're welcome, Mom, bye." Laura hung up, thinking how different and unusual it was, but still, a nice and interesting thing.
Now that all that was left was to talk to Michael, Veronica was calmer. Of course, she still needed John's approval, but if all of her children accepted the idea, it would be halfway there. Veronica was worried when her calls to Michael only fell to voicemail. Thinking of an alternative, she called Lana, her son's wife.
"Mrs. Deacon, hi!" she soon answered.
"Lana, hi, how are you?" her mother-in-law soon wondered "I've been trying to talk to Mike for a long time, but I can't, did something happen?"
"Oh no, don't worry," Lana soon clarified. "He had to travel early today, he must still be on the road, but are you all right?"
"Oh yes, I'm fine, I wanted to invite you to dinner" Veronica replied "you know they're making a movie about Queen, right?"
"I know, I saw something about that, yes" Lana was aware "wait, but they want to involve the family with the production of the film, or something?"
"Oh well, not exactly, we met the actor who will play John and Cam gave the idea of the rest of the family to meet him too" Veronica explained.
"Oh yes, I get it" Lana was wondering what to say "well, I think a family dinner is a great idea, I'll go, I'll talk to Mike about it, okay, Mrs. Deacon?"
"Okay then, thank you Lana, send Thomas a kiss, have a nice day," Veronica wished, and then hung up.
So now all that was left was to wait for Michael and John's response. As soon as he noticed that his father had just arrived home, Cameron put his plan into action. He waited for John to be seated, to have his toast with tea normally, and only then he sit with his father.
"Hello Dad, how are you?" Cameron greeted, with a certain nervousness.
"I'm fine, but is it my impression or is something wrong with you?" John noticed his son's apprehension.
"Well, is that dad, you know, Joe came here today at Mom's invitation" Cameron started "we met him and found him a really nice guy, and then I had the idea of introducing him to the rest of the family, if you agree, of course."
"So that's why you're so nervous?" John was surprised by the reason "I know, you thought I wouldn't like it."
"To be honest, Dad," Cameron shrugged, scratching his head, embarrassed, "that's exactly what we think."
"Okay, I agree I gave you reason to think so," his Dad sighed. "But my initial fear was because I didn't really know how this movie thing was going to work, what they were going to tell about my life and if that would hurt you in any way, but Cam, now that I've met Joe and I'm following the whole production process of the movie, I'm much more relaxed, and if you want to know, son? I think it's going to be a wonderful idea to invite Joe to dinner and meet Laura, Mike and Rob and their families too. If you wanted my yes, I categorically say yes."
"Oh dad, thanks!" Cameron gave him a spontaneous hug, which made John smile.
"You're welcome," Deaky laughed, happy for his son's enthusiasm. "Uh, Cameron, I had one more idea, which I think you'll like very much."
"Seriously? What is it?" Cam replied curiously.
"I make a point of inviting Joe myself," John grinned as he told the idea, "but giving you all the credit for the idea of dinner."
"I loved it, Dad, I really loved it," the son laughed, excited by his father's decision.
John eventually became happy with the excitement Joe was causing. If there was anything that made Patriarch Deacon happy, it was to see his children happy, and it seemed that Mazzello's friendship with them contributed to it.
Chapter 10: Like in the past
It was late afternoon when Robert left his office and returned home. He was still thinking about how to tell his wife and daughter about the dinner his mother had invited them to. Every time something related to Queen happened, Robert was a little afraid, especially when he was younger, but now he handled it better, he had learned it over the years.
His mother always did his best to spare him and his siblings from self-interested privileges or invasions of privacy, and his father, as much as the internationally known Queen bassist, always acted as normal as he could be, and Robert was grateful for that. The small nervousness he felt about telling about the dinner reminded him of another occasion.
He and Eliza had started dating, and Robert was already planning to introduce her to his family, like every good, responsible boyfriend, and that's when he remembered who his father was to most people. Rob despaired, wondering what Eliza would do or how she would react if she found out about John and Queen suddenly without her boyfriend telling her. So, despite fear, and all that it caused, he decided to tell his girlfriend this big fact about his family.
Eliza and Robert were strolling around the Cambridge University campus, one of the things they most enjoyed doing together, on this particular occasion, hand in hand, their other hand occupied with a cup of coffee from the cafeteria. Eliza soon noticed her boyfriend's sweaty hand, wetting hers. She stifled a laugh, trying to figure out why he was so nervous.
"Rob, do you have any important test tomorrow?" she asked, figuring out what that was.
"Oh no I don't, why Liz?" He turned to her, confused.
"Sorry to tell you, but you're sweating like a pig," she said gently, trying not to laugh, "so if it's not because of a test, I can't say what it is."
"Oh sorry, sorry" Robert let go of her hand, dropping his empty glass in a corner, wiping his hand on his pants "is that I'm nervous about something else."
"What is it? Tell me" Eliza asked, very understanding "I won't find you silly, whatever it is."
"Okay" he sighed, rubbing his hands "you know I invited you to meet my family, right? My brothers and my sister, and my parents, my father ..."
"What about your father? Do you think he won't like me? Or I won't like him? I know, are you nervous because you're afraid of what they will think of me?" Eliza gave several options, so that it was easier for him to explain the reason for so much fear.
"No, it's nothing like that" Robert shook his head in denial and so decided to be brave "is that my dad is a musician, he plays bass in a very famous band and ... I hope you don't think that's bad, or find my family snobbish, or freak out about that fact ..."
"Robert, calm down, it's ok, really" Eliza tried to contain her own amazement for the good of her boyfriend "no need to despair, I get it, I get it, I don't think anything bad about your father being a famous artist, I was just scared little, with the way you despaired."
"I didn't know how you were going to react, you know? Most people when they find this out they usually freak out, or think we're snobbish, or the worst is when they want to take advantage of us. ”Robert got carried away, worried that he'd talked too much, scaring Eliza again.
"Robert, I promise I won't do any scandal or anything" she touched his face as she promised it "I will just meet your parents and siblings, as they are, I won't act like a crazy fan, by the way, neither yousaid the name of the band so I can see if I know them or not."
"Well, my father is part of Queen and all the members are like uncles to me and my brothers." Robert relaxed, managing to tell more about the other members of his family at heart.
Going back to the present, he thought he was much more nervous at the time he remembered than now. Arriving home, Rob watched, expecting to find Eliza and Georgia.
"Liz? Are you home?" he asked and Eliza, as soon as she heard it, went to meet him.
"Hi, Rob, I was busy with some reports," she justified her small absence.
"Right," her husband confirmed, "where's Gia? I needed to say something to you two."
"She's upstairs, I'll call her, but can you tell me what happened?" Eliza was intrigued.
"Oh no big deal, I just want to talk to you both at once," he replied, relaxed.
Eliza then went to get her daughter to put an end to all that suspense. Georgia spent much of the afternoon studying, as she was determined to go to Cambridge or Oxford next year, but even though she was very studious, she didn't forget to have a little fun. Every once in a while, she would play Fortnite online to distract herself, that's what she was doing when her mother found her.
"Georgia, your father has arrived and wants to talk to us," Eliza announced, surprising that her daughter was no longer studying at that moment. "Have you finished studying for today?"
"Of course, Mom" the 17-year-old got up and then looked at the clock on her wrist "it's been about 20 minutes I'm playing, really!"
"Okay, I believe you" Eliza smiled, giving in a little "now come because your father is making me curious."
"Wow ... " It was Georgia's turn to make a face, which turned into a smile when she saw Robert, she ran to hug her father.
"Hi to you too Gia" he laughed "well, before your mother gets more worried, I'll tell you what it is" as soon as he said that, Georgia and Eliza redoubled their attention "my mother called me today, inviting us to have dinner with her, my dad and everyone on a day she's still going to decide on a date, because she wants us to meet the actor who will play my dad in the movie about Queen."
"God, that was it, I ..." Eliza hesitated a little "how unusual ..."
"Really? You're being serious? I can't believe it!" Georgia was excited as her father had predicted "I'm so curious to know what the movie will be like, an to talk to Joe!"
"Wait, how do you know the name of the actor? "Eliza suspected.
"Oh mom, I researched the movie and Uncle Brian told me a little about the idea of making a movie" the girl justified.
"Well, then, let's have the advantage of knowing a little more about who we'll meet." Robert liked his daughter's interest.
Georgia then informed her parents about everything she knew about Joe Mazzello so far. She laughed at Eliza and Robert's reaction as they were amazed at the similarities the actor had with her grandfather when she showed them pictures of Joe. She herself had been scared that way too. So the three decided to attend dinner, wondering what it would be like to meet Joe in person.
Chapter 11: Confirmations
After two hours of driving, Michael finally stopped a little, feeling the hunger come. He sat at a roadside diner, and after ordering one of the dishes, took the moment of the wait to call Lana.
"Hi Mike, how are you doing, my love? Already arrived?" asked his wife.
"Oh no, I just stopped for lunch really" he explained "there's still a little while to arrive, how is Tom?"
"Better, he's been sleeping since you left, but I hope he wakes up soon, by my reckoning, he should have already woken up," Lana said worriedly.
"Calm down, don't worry, Thomas is five months old, it's normal for him to get a lot of sleep." Mike smiled. "Trust me, that's good for him, that's all right."
"Okay, I just thought it a little strange" she sighed, accepting the explanation "oh darling, before I forget, your mother called, invited us to a dinner, but don't worry, it's not tonight, she will still book it."
"And she said the reason for the dinner?" Michael was curious about the information.
"No, it's just that she wanted the family to meet the actor who will play Mr. Deacon in the movie about Queen" Lana told him, somewhat fearfully.
"Oh, the movie ..." he reflected "the boys talked a little about the movie, I thought my father was not so sure about it."
"But by the way, he accepted it, I think," she shrugged. "So what do you think? Should we go?"
"Of course, of course, if my mother called, we will." Michael was happy with dinner.
"Okay, then I'll warn your mother" Lana nodded "take care, come back soon, I love you."
"I love you too, Lana." He smiled, his heart a little tight from having to say goodbye to his wife. "Bye."
As soon as Lana hung up, Michael focused on his lunch, but still worrying about his father. John was always a shy person who could only deal with fame because of the support of family and friends and, of course, his love of music.
Now when it comes to a movie, the media could treat it very differently, being even more persecuting and invasive. Meeting the actor who would play his father would help Michael discover and understand if it was safe for his father to experience all this attention.
Back in London, Jerry Oyster returned home from work, being greeted with all the joy and enthusiasm of his youngest son.
"How was it today, Artie?" he asked, after kissing his son's cheek. "All went well?"
"Yeah, but today was pretty normal, nothing different happened! Arthur said casually, until he remembered something !ah! Grandma Ronnie called Mom."
"Really? Do you know what she wanted?" Jerry was a little surprised.
"I don't know." The boy shook his head.
"Oh okay, I'll talk to mom about this" the father smiled at his son.
He found Laura in the kitchen, banging something in the blender. The noise made Jerry scowl, his wife was so focused on what she was doing that she didn't even notice him. He took a few more steps forward, standing in front of her, which made Laura startle with a start, but then smile.
"Hi!" she said louder than the blender noise and kissed her husband, greeted him.
Jerry went faster and hung up the blender.
"Hi my love" he ended laughing "what is all this noise?"
"Oh Carol asked me for a pineapple juice" Laura justified "is what I'm doing."
"Got it," Jerry nodded. "My love, Artie said something about your mom calling, is everything okay with her?"
"Oh yes, it's even something I have to talk with you" she started the subject.
"What is it?" Jerry crossed his arms curiously.
"So you know they're making a movie about Queen, don't you?" Laura resumed and her husband made a confused and frightened expression.
"Are they making a movie about Queen? Really?" He was impressed.
"Jerry, it's getting a lot of talk, I even know that without my dad telling me." Laura frowned. "What planet do you live on, my love?"
"Well, I'm not that attuned to that and well, we go to shows every now and then, when Queen performs here" Jerry tried to justify his lack of information by reaching up "but your father agreed with that?"
"I suppose so, he's part of the band and they wouldn't do anything without his approval either," Laura pointed out. "Well, my mother invited us to dinner with her and everyone, because Cameron wanted us to meet the actor who will play my father."
"Oh now I understand everything" he nodded "I liked the idea, really, if your father is comfortable with all this, then I too."
"Great!" She smiled brightly and kissed her husband's cheek. "Thanks, Jerry."
"You're welcome, my dear." He smiled at his wife, curious and excited for this dinner.
So Lana and Laura were sure that Michael and Jerry would also go to dinner and then sent similar messages to Veronica.
I talked to Jerry, he liked the idea, we're going to the dinner
Mike called and I told him about dinner, he agreed to go
Mrs. Deacon smiled at the answers, getting herself more excited and looking forward to the big date. She was rushed to her husband to tell the news.
"Johnny, the girls said they'll come too!" she said at once and her husband soon understood what it was about.
"Laura, Lana and Eliza? Good.” John gave a small smile.
"Actually, Eliza didn't confirm anything, but Robert told me Gia was very excited about the movie," Veronica mused, "but I'm pretty sure Liz is coming."
"Okay, so I just have to do my part and call our illustrious guest," John pointed out his appointment.
"Well, you can do that the next time you go to the movie set," his wife recommended, "by the way, when are they going to start shooting the movie?"
"Next week, Ronnie," John said, "we're going to be there to give a music consultation, and see if they are following exactly what we agreed."
Veronica had to laugh at the last part, as John joked about making a rigorous inspection. In fact, he was more curious than suspicious. He hoped Joe would have a good start and accept his simple invitation to have dinner with his family.
Chapter 12: Time Travel
John had already been very impressed when he and his bandmates saw the set where they would film Live Aid for the first time, while the cast was just rehearsing every step for the big scene.
The rehearsal alone had surprised every band member, it was amazing how Ben, Rami, Gwilym and Joe repeated each of the steps and moves that John and his friends made that day. Even without being characterized as the members of the Queen, watching them recreate that show filled the hearts of the old musicians with excitement, and many memories of that day.
And after all the excitement, today promised so much more, filming finally began and with Live Aid. John just sat between Freddie and Roger, and paid attention to the work of the cast boys. As they began recording, the performance became a spectacle and later, more than that, a living memory.
John marveled at how absurdly Joe looked like him, but kept his astonishment to himself as he remembered the emotions of that distant but unforgettable July 13th. The bassist had played following his wife's advice, focused on what he was doing, but also, feeling the support of his friends, their complicity guided them to know what they had to do and reaffirmed that none of them were alone, all four together. They were there to help each other, managing to delight Wembley and the world with their talent.
It was as he remembered this, that despite their quarrels and disagreements, the four would always be together, as friends and brothers, John began to cry quietly. He was a little embarrassed, but noticed that he wasn't the only one. Roger was the one who cried most evidently. Freddie was as discreet as he was, and he could hear even the slightest sobs of Chrissie, who had snuggled into Brian's arms. As much as the guitarist wasn't crying, he was also very moved.
So when the cast finished recording, they came to talk to the band. Freddie, Brian, and Roger all cheered, but John was quieter, still thinking about everything he'd seen.
"It was all so ..." he decided to say, also wanting to express his compliments to the boys "impressive, I was so impressed because ... I think not only me, but the four of us remember so much of that moment, it was beautiful. .. I think that's what I mean, beautiful."
John was impacted by the smiles and thanks of the cast, especially Joe. The actor held out a hand for the bassist, but Deacon thought it best to give him a hug. Joe was surprised but pleased.
"I thank you Mr. Deacon,” he told John, touched that he had been able to thrill the band with his castmates,“knowing that you like our work makes us feel reassured."
"Do we like it? No, Joey, we love it!" Freddie made a point of emphasizing.
"Thanks a lot, Freddie," Rami answered, for him and his friends.
Shortly thereafter, the cast was called in to resume filming, leaving Queen and Mrs. May watching them some more. Despite all the excitement, John didn't forget his special mission, he had to take the opportunity to make the big invitation to Joe.
As the filming ended, everyone left gradually, but before he lost his chance, John hurried to Joe.
"Joe, if you don't mind, can I talk to you for a minute?" Deaky proposed, somewhat apprehensive.
"Sure, Mr. Deacon" Joseph was a little startled by the approach, but didn't object to it, getting curious "you can tell me."
"Well, Cameron had an idea, after meeting you, of having a family dinner," John began, "because he thought it would be nice for you to meet my other kids."
"Really? Gosh, Mr. Deacon, that's very nice, if I may say so.” Joe soon expressed his reaction to Cameron's idea.
"I'm glad you liked it, I figured you would like it" John was sincere "so it would be great to welcome you home for dinner with us, do you accept the invitation?"
"Yes, it will be a pleasure," Joe nodded, smiling. "Thank you so much for considering me so much, Mr. Deacon."
"You're welcome," John smiled back, more quietly, "and you can call me John."
"Okay, John." Joseph was moved to know that he was closer to him now.
"Oh we'll tell you what day dinner will be" Deaky remembered to warn "Ronnie is who is organizing everything, so then I see the details with her."
"Okay, John, I'll look forward to it," the actor replied excitedly.
"And so are we, Joe," the bassist assured him, pleased.
So they said goodbye, excited to meet again, and happy to be friends with each other.
When Joe and his teammates left the set after workday, he was completely thrilled with John's invitation from the Deacons.
"Guys, you won't believe what happened to me!" he announced after they talked about some other matters.
"What is it? You're a little more excited than usual" Rami commented with a smile.
"Rami is right, Joe," Ben reiterated, "tell me what happened."
"John invited me to have dinner with his family!" Joseph said at once, very enthusiastic "and stopping to think, I'm a little nervous about it."
"Well, I understand you." Gwilym was sympathetic. "I was very worried when Brian and Mrs. May invited me to dinner with his family, but in the end it went well."
"I think it's normal to be worried, but then you relax and enjoy John and Mrs. Deacon being so generous to you" Ben advised.
"Benny, that's what I'm going to try to do," Joe sighed. "I think I'm going to ask the boys some tips on what to do on dinner day."
"Joe, you don't need an instruction manual," Gwilym scolded. "Just being yourself, even you being kind of eccentric, you're still nice and adorable."
"Do you think I'm adorable, Gwil?" Joe made a comical charm.
"You are when you want to," Gwilym said jokingly, making Rami and Ben laugh.
At the Deacons house, John was also excited. He found Veronica in their bedroom, kissing his wife's cheek in surprise.
"Hi!" she laughed. "What happened? I wonder it's a very good thing."
"Oh yes, the filming was amazing" John decided to tell about it first "it was like seeing us in the past, really! But I'm happy for something else."
"Take a deep breath and tell me," Veronica asked.
"Okay, I talked to Joe about dinner and he accepted it" John said smiling " we just need to pick a date."
"Yes, yes! Good" Mrs. Deacon celebrated "I'll see which day is better for everyone, so you warn Joe."
"Yes, ma'am." Deaky nodded.
So he was pleased to be able to contribute to Cameron's idea.
Thinking of the whole family, and of course, a comfortable date for Joe, Veronica set dinner for Saturday night at eight, making it clear that she didn't want delays.
Robert managed to be punctual, since Georgia was so excited and rushing him that he, his wife, and daughter arrived early. Michael and Lana weren't late either, Laura arrived after eight, precisely because she had to hurry Caroline and Arthur. Josh, Luke and Cameron were ready and went to greet their siblings.
John and Veronica were pleased to see all their children and grandchildren together, they had always been a close-knit family, but seeing everyone there without exception gave them a sense of pride and joy, for whom their children had become and the family they had become, that they had built together.
"Hi guys," the patriarch greeted, receiving a hug from his three eldest children, Lana and Eliza hugged him as well, and Jerry shook his hand.
"Well, folks, wait a little that soon Joe will arrive" Veronica warned everyone.
"Wow, Grandma, I'm so excited to meet him" Georgia even clapped "I hope he doesn't mind me asking too much about the movie."
"Oh no Gia, don't worry," her grandmother laughed a little at her excitement. "Joe will love answering your questions, and maybe he'll ask you questions too."
"For me? Seriously?" Georgia was surprised by the possibility.
"Actually, I think Joe will ask us all questions." Robert ended up summarizing the subject.
It was then that the bell rang, alerting everyone. It could only be Joe who had just arrived.
"I'm on it!" Cameron made a point of saying and ran to the door.
"Hi Cameron, good evening," Joe said cordially, disguising his nervousness a bit.
"Hi, how are you?" Cameron shook his hand "come, let's go in, everyone has arrived."
"All your siblings?" Joe asked.
"And my sisters-in-law and brother-in-law and nephews and nieces," young Deacon added, "but don't worry, everyone is so excited to meet you."
"Oh good, Cameron, I'm just a little nervous," Joseph laughed, embarrassed.
"I see," Cameron smiled sympathetically, "but they're all sweethearts, I assure you."
"Thanks." Joe smiled back, a little more relieved.
So he followed Cameron into the house, feeling apprehensive to see so many people present. He knew John had a big family, but seeing them all together there was a little intimidating. To his relief, John came to meet him.
"Joe, good to see you again!" Patriarch Deacon shook his hand enthusiastically "as long as it took a while for this day to come, here we are."
"Yeah, but for me it came flying" Joe laughed softly and John eventually joined him.
When Joseph looked away a little, seeing better who was there, he noticed the Deacon's reaction to him, faces of amazement and surprise, and he knew exactly what had caused it, his striking resemblance to John.
"Um ..." Joe himself decided to break the silence "hi guys, good evening!"
He even waved to the family, some waved back, others gave more shy and cordial smiles. Veronica then decided to take the lead in the conversation.
"Well guys, this is Joe Mazzello" Mrs. Deacon smiled at him "and Joe, this is our family. Josh, Cameron and Luke you already met, but here's Robert, Laura and Michael" she pointed at each "and this is Jerry, Laura's husband, their children Caroline and Arthur."
"Hi," Artie decided to say hello, curious to know more about his grandparents' guest who looked so much like his grandfather, but not so much, since Grandpa John was so much older.
"Hi, Arthur, nice to meet you." Joe reached down to him, shaking his hand, which made the boy smile.
"That's Lana and little Thomas, her and Mike's little boy," Veronica continued the introductions. "And of course Eliza and Georgia, Rob's wife and daughter."
"Wow, Mr. Mazzello, it's an honor and privilege to be able to talk to you" Gia immediately greeted him, without hesitating to show all her energy "it's amazing how you look like my grandfather and I hope you are enjoying playing him very much."
"It's nice to meet you, Georgia." Joe was honored with all the girl's consideration. "You and your family, and I'm really enjoying playing your grandfather in the movie."
"If you don't mind, can you tell me more about the whole process of making the movie? I really want to know more!" Georgia continued in the same excitement.
"Huh ... You can call me Joe, Miss. Deacon, I'm not that old.” The actor smiled at her.
"Oh yes, fine," she nodded, a little embarrassed by the little gaffe.
"But first of all, let's go to dinner, guys!" John called everyone and they took their seats.
John settled in between Mr. and Mrs. Deacon, feeling welcomed in this familiar environment, his apprehension was almost gone. When everyone finished the meal, Georgia returned with the questions.
"So, Joe, how were you chosen to play my grandfather?" she asked carefully but curiously. "Was it more because you look like him?"
"I'm sure it wasn't just that," Caroline countered, "Grandpa plays bass and composes too, doesn't he? I think Joe had to learn all that too."
"Well, neither is wrong" Joe answered them "this is all part of the lineup process, but not only how I look, I really learned to play bass and ... I saw a lot of John videos at Queen shows. But I confess that I was very scared when I saw the photos of your grandfather, we really look alike very much ..."
"Very much, it's almost like seeing my father when we were a kid," Michael said and all his siblings nodded.
"And what are you shooting in the movie? I mean, what parts of Queen's story are you going to tell?" Laura stepped into her niece's cradle.
"Oh ... Briefly speaking ..." Joe put a hand on his chin thoughtfully "we started in 1970 and ended in 1985 with Live Aid, and the most remarkable things in that period, like when John joined the band, recording of A Night at the Opera, a bit about Hot Space, and various shows here and there."
"And do any of us appear in the movie?" Cameron came up with the question "I was thinking about this possibility."
"Oh no, not exactly, Cam," the actor explained. "There are scenes that make clear the importance of family, but children themselves don't show up, but we have a version of Mrs. Deacon in the movie, actually of Mrs. May and Mrs. Taylor too."
"Seriously? There's someone playing me?" the news took Veronica a bit of a surprise "well, I didn't expect, but ... I believe I am part of the history of the band, if only a little, so it makes sense that I appear, not me, an actress playing me ."
"Yeah, Katherine and I haven't shooted anything together yet, but we met at the script reading," Joseph said, "don't worry, Mrs. Deacon, we talk a little about the responsibility of playing real people and respecting them, and she has a lot of appreciation for you."
"Really? So I get calmer about it, Joe" Mrs. Deacon smiled "and if she wants to, it would be a pleasure to meet her."
"I can talk to Katherine and see what she thinks, I promise." Joseph sealed the deal.
"And what else is going to be in the movie, Joe?" Luke asked "something funny with my father and uncles?"
"Luke!" John scolded him but laughed.
"Well, actually, we have a lot of funny things, mainly because of "I'm in love with my car" " Joe laughed as he remembered the script lines.
"Even today you can't understand this invocation that Uncle Roger has with cars," Robert commented, "but do you have more references to other things my father and uncles like, like maybe Star Wars?"
"Star Wars?" Joe frowned curiously "I heard that John loves Star Wars, I even noticed Yoda in the living room when I came here the other time."
"If he loves? He's completely obsessed with that,” Veronica declared, “and even infected me."
"I was little when you went to watch "A New Hope", wasn't it?" Robert remembered !I stayed with Uncle Brian and Aunt Chrissie and Jimmy."
"Yeah, and we watched over Jimmy later, so they could watch too," John added, "Brian loves Star Wars too."
"And that story of you going to see "The Empire Strikes Back" in Italy?" Josh remembered with a mischievous smile on his lips.
"Oh no, Josh, it wasn't my best moment." His father ended up hiding his face behind his hands.
"Wait, are you talking about the story that Brian and John enjoyed some free time while they were in Italy to watch the premiere of "The Empire Strikes Back"?" Joe guessed it was that. "I thought it was just a rumor."
"No, it was true!" Veronica nodded "I was a little hurt that he went to watch without me, but the anxiety was so big that he couldn't wait to come home to see the movie, at least he didn't tell me that Darth Vader was Luke's father."
"Yeah," John replied, laughing embarrassingly, "and after the boys saw the movie, they were so excited that I had to buy them a lightsaber."
"We still have ours at home, don't we, Rob?" Michael asked his brother.
"Oh yes," Robert nodded, "but don't you be proud to know that your children like something you love too?"
"Of course, of course," John agreed, "in your case you like it so much that you even honored George Lucas with your daughter's name."
"Well, I'm glad I liked the name," Eliza commented.
"Do you know what Star Wars reminds me of too?" Luke got up, with a plan in his head "you know what I'm talking about, take your weapons and follow me."
"Should I be scared, John?" Joe found that weird and soon wanted to know what it was about.
"Not much, but maybe just a little," John laughed. "But come on, Joe, that's the only way you'll find out."
"Okay." Joe nodded and followed him into the yard.
Since he was the visitor, he thought it best to follow the family and see with his own eyes what Luke and his siblings were up to.
So John and his family being fans of Star Wars is an idea from Wigggles91. That little story that John, Brian and also Chrissie, escape to watch The Empire Strikes Back is an original idea of mine, that didn't really happen in real life.
Still wondering at all the sudden movement, Joe was trying to pay attention to what everyone was doing, to finally understand what it was all about. Finally, he recognized something in the middle of the commotion, Luke, Cameron and Josh were holding lightsabers, identical to those of the Star Wars Jedi and Sith, even though they were toys.
"Okay, who will be the first?" Luke brandished his saber defiantly at the family. "How about Bobby?"
"Oh no, none of that." The older one shook his head, laughing. "I think I'm too old for that."
"Robert, this is more for a lame excuse!" Eliza scolded him "come on, I'm sure Luke takes it easy on you."
"Oh, like you don't know him ..." Robert tried to counter again.
"I'll go then." Laura immediately got to her feet, reaching for Josh to borrow his lightsaber.
"Mom, be careful not to hurt yourself," Caroline advised, a little incredulous to see that Laura had accepted the challenge.
"Okay, are you ready?" John understood that he could authorize the fight "may the force be with you!"
Suddenly Luke and Laura clashed, clutching their lightsabers as they collided. The family split to cheer for them, but Joe decided it was fair to be impartial. A little tired, Laura eventually gave in, raising a hand, panting a little.
"Yeah, Rob, we may be a little old," Laura said breathlessly, "but it's still worth playing."
"Why don't you dispute between the three of you?" Jerry suggested "fight Luke against Cam and then Josh enters in the loser's place."
"No, Jerry, that's not funny." Josh waved a hand toward his brother-in-law. "When we were kids, we played the younger ones with the younger ones and the older ones with the older ones, now it's the older ones with the younger ones."
"And that's totally unfair," Michael pretended to complain.
"Well, Obi-Wan is older than Darth Vader and still faces him," John tried to argue, even though he knew he wasn't going to convince anyone with this one.
"It makes no sense, John, it was their destiny to face each other, you know? The good guy and the villain, not because of their age.” Veronica dismissed her husband's argument.
"I just wanted to end the discussion." John shrugged.
"Since no one goes, I will" Georgia volunteered "I will represent the Smith-Deacons!"
"That's my girl!" Robert applauded, approving the daughter's decision.
Luke and Georgia then dueled each other, and even without losing energy, Luke saw how tough his niece was. Seeing that the fight wouldn't end anytime soon, Cameron interposed in the middle, which became a fight of three that eventually motivated the whole family to participate in the game. That was the advantage of John collecting lightsabers, he eventually found one for each. Only Lana stood out while holding her little Tom in her lap, Joe standing beside them, watching and laughing at all the fun.
"Oh that's enough for me" John sighed, stopping near them "but as Laura said, it's worth all this fun ..."
"You know John, this dinner is being unforgettable!" Joe laughed, delighted with all the family excitement.
"Well, we're just missing you and Lana joining us," Deaky invited them.
"What?" Joseph was scared "as much as I want, I confess that I want, it seems to be a family tradition, it doesn't seem right for me to go there too ..."
"No, no, none of that." John shook his head and put a hand on his shoulder. "You're our special guest and practically family, if you need permission, I, John Richard Deacon, authorize you, Joe Mazzello to duel with lightsaber with my family."
Joe laughed at the seriousness of the joke, but nodded, accepting John's lightsaber.
"I hope not to disappoint you, Master," said the actor, joking.
"May the force be with you, young padawan!" John put a hand on his shoulder and let him join his sons, wife, and grandchildren.
Lana handed Tom to her father-in-law and also went to play. All those lights and people jumping, shouting and laughing aroused the curiosity of the little one, who watched that spectacle with wide eyes.
"Just look Thomas ..." John whispered to his grandson "it's very cool, isn't it? I promise that when you are older you will also get one of these ..."
Thomas ended up laughing, which made John laugh, also finding him very cute. Meanwhile, Joe was trying to fit in the game.
"So I'm kind of new to this lightsaber thing ..." He tugged at Joshua, hoping he would instruct him.
"Oh no problem, Joey" the boy turned to him, smiling "just hold on tight and balance, if you lose your balance, then it all goes downhill."
"Balance ..." Joe mumbled, concentrating, not finding it so hard to just hold the lightsaber, which reminded him to hold a baseball bat "it makes sense ... It's all about what the Force stands for."
"You're right," Josh nodded, positioning himself to face him. "Glad you know the movies."
"Not as much as you guys." Joe smiled.
"It may be, but we'll see if you fight as well as we do," Josh said defiantly and Joe braced himself for the blow.
Joseph was able to stand his ground, using his playing baseball experience with his siblings as an experiment. Eventually, he struck as a hard hit, which eventually scared his opponent Deacon. Josh tried to counter attack with everything, which unbalanced Joe a little, but he recovered. With a little more confidence, he tried the same blow again and, in novice luck, or clever use of strategies, disarmed Joshua.
For a moment Joe was embarrassed to beat one of his hosts, but Joshua laughed, placing a hand on his shoulder.
"Looks like we have the winner of the night," Deacon said, drawing everyone's attention.
"No, guys, that's not it." Joe soon tried to divert all that attention.
"Seriously, you did very well," Josh confirmed to him. "I think you deserve to join our order of knights."
"Wow, that seems to be very important and very cool." Joe eventually accepted the compliments, but looked a little at John, looking for an answer on what to do.
"Just trust the boys, Joe," said the old patriarch.
"Kneel down, our dear guest," Josh said formally, holding his lightsaber in his hands, Joe did as he said, the Deacon slung his saber over his shoulders "I name you officialy a Jedi knight of the Deacon family and... our honorary brother."
As Joe got up, the rest of the family clapped his hands to him, he thanked him in the typical acting manner, bowing, grateful for the fun and affection the Deacons had with him.
The lightsaber fight was another of Wiggles91's ideas
Chapter 15: Among Co-Workers
Joe had said goodbye to the Deacons completely enchanted, impressed that they had been so friendly and fun. He promised to return for a visit, as convenient to the owners of the house and bring his own lightsaber to the duel, and train some more for it.
Excited by the idea, Mrs. Deacon ended up proposing another dinner, which the whole family found a good idea. So Joe waited for the day when he would have another dinner with the Deacons.
Meanwhile, he returned to work, shooting the movie daily. As they recorded the "We Will Rock You" scene in the studio, Joe remembered something he had talked to Veronica as soon as he saw Katherine. He and the other actors were in the dressing room, finalizing the last characterizing details when he took the chance to talk to her.
"Katherine, how you doing?" He pulled the subject.
"I'm fine, Joe," she gave him a sideways smile, accustomed to his spontaneous manner. "What about you?"
"I'm fine, I wanted to say something to you" he proposed and unintentionally, all the cast that was there paid attention to what he would say.
"You can talk if you don't mind talking in front of everyone," Katherine laughed, noticing everyone's reaction.
"Oh, no problem" Joe shrugged - is that yesterday I visited John's house, John Deacon, I mean, I went to dinner with his family and ..."
"Oh, you didn't tell us anything about it yet" Rami reminded him.
"That's because I haven't had time yet, but it was really nice," he explained. "Just let me say something and then I'll tell you the details if we have time."
"Okay" Rami said and he, Ben and Gwilym were satisfied for the moment.
"Well, Katherine, Mrs. Deacon mentioned that only if you want to she'd like to meet you,” Joseph said, which impressed his co-worker.
"Really? Gosh, I don't even know what to say ..." Miss. Newman thought for a moment "it's a must see opportunity to meet someone you're playing, but also ... Well, I'd be nervous, for sure ..."
"Oh, the four of us know how it is," Gwilym joined the conversation politely.
"Did that happen yesterday, Joe?" asked Ben.
"Oh, sure, it was a very different but unforgettable dinner, in a good way," Joe added and then turned to Katherine. "You don't have to answer me now, you can think as long as you want before you decide anything."
"Yeah, I'll really need some time to get used to the idea, but yes, Joe, I'll want to go," Katherine replied, which made her colleague happy.
Shortly thereafter, the cast was called in for the recording and after the re-shoots and everything, Joe warned Katherine that he would talk to Mrs. Deacon about the two meeting. Later, he, Gwilym, Ben and Rami met again in their tradition of going out together every day, right after the recordings.
"So, Joe, how did you go there with the Deacons?" Rami asked after each one sat down.
"Oh it was cool, very cool, as I said" Joe began his long report "first I was scared of so many people, but then they were so kind! We talked about the movie, about how much I look like John, his granddaughter, Georgia, was the most enthusiastic girl about everything, by the way, do you know why she has that name?"
"No" Ben was straightforward, somewhat frustrated that his friend had interrupted the narrative.
"Because of George Lucas, Benny!" Joseph feigned outrage.
"The creator of Star Wars," Gwilym added, "so does John really like Star Wars?"
-Yes, and he said Brian likes it too" Joe confirmed "do you know that story he and John watched "The Empire Strikes Back" in Rome? John told me that it really happened, but my friends, the best one got to the end!"
"Mrs. Deacon made an epic dessert?" Rami tried to guess "with no lactose?"
"No. much better than that" Joe corrected "Luke suddenly got up and summoned everyone to a lightsabers duel and I fought them!"
"And you lost stupendously?" Ben ended up laughing.
"Wow, Benjamin, what a disappointment for me to know you think I'm that incapable" Joe pouted, pretending to be hurt "I beat Josh!"
"Did you? How did you beat him?" asked the trio inordinately, which made Joe laugh and recount his epic victory.
The next day Joe remembered his proposal to Katherine about introducing her to Mrs. Deacon. Now a little more familiar and close to John's family, Joe had the nerve to call Veronica.
"Hello, Mrs. Deacon, it's me, Joe, good morning,” he said slowly as she answered.
"Hello, Joe, what a wonderful surprise!" said Veronica's voice excitedly, "how nice to be able to talk to you again, how are you doing, my boy?"
"I'm fine, thanks for asking," he replied. "I'm calling to tell you something."
"Sure, you can tell me." Veronica believed it wasn't a bad thing.
"I talked to Katherine about her meeting you, she said yes, that would be a pleasure," Joe said. "But she also says she's a little nervous about the idea."
"Of course, I know, I think I understand why." Veronica was understanding. "Do you think tea would be more appropriate than dinner? I don't want to embarrass her.'
"It would be perfect, Mrs. Deacon. ”Joseph smiled at the plans. “I'll talk to her, and then we'll set a day to visit you."
"Okay, I'll be waiting," Veronica decided. "Have a nice day, Joey."
"You too, Mrs. Deacon, see you later" Joseph said goodbye.
"Bye," Veronica hung up.
That day, Joe knew he would meet Katherine on set and after the shoot, he went to her to see what she would think of visiting Mrs. Deacon
"Katherine" he called her and she turned her attention to him "I spoke with Mrs. Deacon and she said she would like to have tea with us to meet her, what do you think?"
"Well, I think tea is better than dinner, don't you?" said Miss. Newman "Not that I refused if she called me to dinner, it's just ..."
"Tea is calmer, isn't it?" Joe deduced "Mrs. Deacon thought the same thing."
"Oh, that's a good sign, then," Katherine smiled.
"I'll let her know we'll go then," he nodded. "What day is best for you?"
"How about tomorrow morning?" she suggested, "after the recordings."
"That sounds good for me, let's get this over with," he agreed.
"Yeah." Katherine smiled at last.
Despite her worries, she felt safer to have the company of Joe, who had already become a dear friend of the Deacon family.
Chapter 16: Tea with Mrs. Deacon
Katherine and Joseph closed the morning recordings and then left the studio together, getting a cab to the Deacons' house. She decided to ignore the nervousness, trusting that Mrs. Deacon would be as receptive and kind as Joe had guaranteed. She expected him to do the honors to ring the bell, since it was practically family. Veronica, who was already waiting for them, didn't take long to answer.
"Good morning, Joe!" she kissed his cheek greeting him "and you're Katherine, right?"
"Yes" Miss. Newman confirmed "nice to meet you."
"Likewise," Veronica nodded. "Come in and make yourself comfortable."
There was a slight moment of astonishment when Mrs. Deacon noticed the facial similarities she had with Katherine, but she wasn't too scared. Despite the similarities, the actress just remembered how Veronica was when she was younger, they weren't as absurdly similar as Joe and John.
Joe moved forward, feeling very comfortable in an environment that was already one of his favorite places in London. Katherine followed him back shyly. Mrs. Deacon gestured for them to take their place at the table, and sat down with them. There were tea, some cookies and sugar cubes.
"I don't know how to thank you." Katherine was delighted with the reception.
"You're welcome, it really is a pleasure to receive you," Veronica gave her a gentle smile. "So, how has it been playing Joe's wife?"
"Good." Katherine smiled and relaxed at the joke. "It's been quite interesting, but he's a good fictional husband and a good friend in real life. We recorded a nice scene together, with me and the girls in the studio while Queen worked. You, Mrs. Taylor and Mrs. May always been in the studio?"
"No, not always," Veronica replied, "in my case, I would go sometimes when John or the boys called me, or to pay a visit and see what they were up to, if they were working well. Dominique began to go constantly for a while, but stopped when the children were born. But Chrissie has always been very present, since the boys started, but then it was because she became Brian's personal assistant, but I must say that in the beginning I was more present too, we had less responsibilities."
"Got it," Katherine said, preparing to ask her next question. "And how was like to see Mr. Deacon playing for the first time with Queen? Do you still remember that?"
"Yes, I remember," Veronica said happily, "but I think if I'm going to tell the story, I have to go back a little."
"Please feel free," Miss. Newman was excited by the idea "it will be a pleasure to hear it"
"So, that's okay' Mrs. Deacon laughed, already revisiting her happy memories.
Veronica's classes were over that day, and before she went home, as she always did, she was waiting for John. Her boyfriend had called earlier, telling that he would accompany her to the bus stop and take the trip to the city center. Ronnie smiled at the sight of him, walking in his discreet manner, his long hair moving occasionally as he walked. Her smile broke when he saw her.
"Hi," he said with a smile that tightened his cheeks. Veronica thought he was cute.
"Hi Johnny," she answered in the same euphoria and leaned down to kiss him. "Are you all right?"
"Yes, how was your day? "he answered and wanted to know about her.
"Okay, I'm just a little tired," she said, noticing a frown of concern on her boyfriend's forehead. "What happened, John?"Is something bothering you or is it just my impression?"
"Uh ... nothing, just one thing I've been thinking about these days," he said, unwilling to continue the subject.
"May I know what it is?" Veronica's tone was not a mere suggestion.
"I'm ... I'm missing something from home ..." John stammered to say, a little embarrassed "and honestly, I don't know how to resolve this certain ... longing."
"Just tell me what you're missing ..." Veronica was practical as always, but understood her boyfriend's reservations "I won't condemn you, whatever it is, unless it's another girl!"
"What? No way!" John got scared, putting emphasis on "no" "seriously, you're the only girl there is for me ..."
"Sorry to scare you," she pursed her lips, holding back a laugh. "What do you miss then?"
"It's just that when I was younger, I played in a band," he finally said, looking down at the floor, massaging his neck in an attempt to ward off his own nervousness.
"Did you used to play in a band?" Veronica smiled with that fact "really? I bet you were great!"
"Well, I don't know, but what I was thinking has to do with it." John was more comfortable now. "I miss playing and ... I think I wanted to be back in a band."
"This is great, John! Really!" Veronica hugged him, excited by the idea "and what do you intend to do about it?"
"For now, I don't know, I don't know anyone who needs a bassist," he laughed softly.
"So you played bass?" Ronnie cheered up "I mean, you still play, don't you? I bet you still remember some songs you used to play."
"Of course I remember, although it's been a long time," John said with certainty.
"I wanted to see you play, play for me?" she didn't hesitate to propose.
"Veronica, I ..." He felt a little intimidated, but sighed deeply "first I'd have to get a bass guitar, don't you think?"
"Oh ..." she said in response, surprised by the small setback, but already able to think of a solution "there's a place we can go before I go home."
"To where?!" John was confused and curious.
"You'll see when we get there," she proposed with a mischievous smile.
John shrugged, convinced to follow her, wherever she would take him. He loved Veronica and trusted her with all his heart.
Chapter 17: Musical Discovery
For more than halfway, John still didn't know where Veronica was taking him. When they got off the bus and walked, he found that familiar street, he was sure he'd already passed by it. It was then that they ran into the store, an instrument store where John had spent a lot of time watching the bass, pianos, guitars in the window, without creating enough courage to enter.
With Veronica by his side, pulling his hand, John had no other choice, but he was also braver to enter.
"How do you know about this place?" he asked, surprised.
"I like music too, Johnny," she answered obviously. "I just can't play anything, not like you."
"Hello, how are you?" a friendly attendant came to answer them "how can I help you?"
"Well, is that ..." John was trying to answer the question.
"I wanted to see a bass guitar for this kind gentleman to test it if possible," Veronica solemnly ordered.
"Oh yes, of course" the girl understood and went to get a bass.
"So this was what you were planning all the time?" John crossed his arms, raising an eyebrow.
"Well, I just wanted to see if my boyfriend is really talented." She gave a mischievous smile.
"Thanks." He felt grateful and kissed her forehead.
When the attendant returned, she handed him the bass. John sat down to feel more comfortable, getting used to the weight of the instrument in his hands again, still feeling nostalgia, relief, joy, as if doing the right thing. Without further hesitation, he smirked at Veronica, starting to play shortly thereafter. He tried riffs that he used to play with The Opposition. starting with the simplest and then daring the hard ones. Veronica looked impressed, which made John proud.
"I think I'm still good at this thing," he commented after the little demonstration.
"Sure." His girlfriend smiled and kissed his cheek.
"What a great idea, Mrs. Deacon!" Joe complimented without hesitation, impressed by the story "it was a beautiful strategy indeed."
"Yeah, John was already wanting to play again and I think I gave him a little push" Veronica added.
"And because of you, Mr. Deacon lost some of his shyness and played anyway" Katherine said in wonder "and I imagine you always acted like that with him, supporting and encouraging."
"Oh not always, my dear" Veronica frowned "I remember we came to a certain standstill at a difficult time, but I can tell this story later, after all you want to hear how was the first time I saw John playing with Queen."
"Yes," Katherine confirmed, "please, Mrs. Deacon
"Well, just before that happens," Mrs. Deacon anticipated "John mentioned to me about learning about a test for a band that they needed a bassist."
"It was the test to enter Smile, wasn't it?" Joe got excited.
"Yes, Joey." Veronica smiled with enthusiasm.
"I need to tell you something." John sounded apprehensive as he said these words to his girlfriend.
"What is it?" Veronica was attentive and willing to listen.
"I saw an announcement on the college wall today, they need a bassist in a band called Smile," he explained.
"You will take the test then, right?" she deduced that was what it was all about.
"Honestly, I'm still thinking," John confessed.
"Thinking about what exactly?" she urged. "What are you still considering?"
"If I can reconcile the band with my studies" he was sincere "if I will get along with this new band and everything."
"Well, it doesn't hurt to try the test, give it a chance," Veronica said encouragingly.
"Since you insist, I will," John eventually convinced himself.
"No, John, don't do it just because I asked," Ronnie thought it best to explain, "deep down I know you're up for the test too."
"You're not wrong, my love." He ended up smiling.
So John met Brian, somewhat impressed by the height of the young man a few years older than him, but also by feeling that they had things in common. First they both had peculiar haircuts, long straight hair. Second, they both played a stringed instrument, Brian guitar and John bass, and they both had an affinity for numbers. Their first meeting left good impressions of each other about them.
John felt more comfortable as he learned the band's songs from Brian. When he met Roger and Freddie, John was intimidated, but soon they both made a point of making him comfortable. Focused on his mission, he played every single song very focused, but was amazed by the talent of his fellow musicians. After a while, it was with great joy and satisfaction that he learned that he was part of Smile.
Veronica filled his face with kisses and squeezed him tight with her hugs, so proud of John. It was then her turn to meet his new friends and, besides, to see them in action for the first time. She went to Ealing Art College, as agreed, a little uncertain at first, not quite knowing the place, but John had been kind enough to warn her that she could meet Brian's girlfriend Chrissie, so the two would keep each other company.
It didn't take long for Veronica to meet her, Miss. Mullen had a familiar face. When Veronica introduced herself to her, Chrissie confirmed that they were both studying at the same college. Having this and other things in common, soon all of these made the two girls connect in friendship.
Brian's voice announcing the start of the show interrupted their conversation, but Chrissie and Veronica were equally eager to see the performance. Even from afar, John looked at his girlfriend, their eyes and smiles meeting. He waved to the audience when Brian mentioned his name, and then also paid attention to Freddie, who had just stepped on stage.
Despite the technical flaws, Freddie surprised everyone and suddenly the four of them had reached a perfect harmony capable of touching every person who was there. Of course, during the performance, Veronica paid more attention to John who, though shy, seemed very fearless, focused on what he was doing and even trying peculiar dance moves. She'd never seen John look as happy and as fun as he was that night, even though it sounded serious, music was certainly essential in Deacon's life.
"And to this day he keeps playing ..." Katherine said, amazed, after Mrs. Deacon is over.
"Yeah, John was still a little undecided when the band started to get fame" Veronica said "he didn't know if it would be safe to pursue a career as a musician, but he saw that despite the regrets, it was the right thing to do, that would let him happy. And I'm proud of the decision he made, really."
Miss Newman smiled at that, seeing how much admiration and respect Mrs. Deacon had for her husband was what held the couple together. After drinking tea and thanking Veronica for her stories, her time, her kindness, Joe and Katherine said goodbye to her. It had been a very pleasant experience for Katherine and Veronica, both of them had been happy with their time together, and how the actress could see the sweet and kind person the Queen's bassist wife was.
Chapter 18: The young Deacons
A while later, as Veronica had proposed and promised, she began to think about preparations for the next dinner party that she would invite Joe. Once again, she checked with the whole family if they could come. She had to wait for another week, as Michael was traveling again, but as soon as he returned, everyone was already gathered at John and Veronica's house again.
Before Joe went to meet the family again, he remembered something very important he should bring to dinner, his own lightsaber. Taking advantage of the outreach of "The Last Jedi" and heavy marketing, it was easy for him to find a lightsaber, taking the opportunity to choose the saber that protagonist Rey wore in the movie. Just before leaving the hotel, Joe decided to test the lightsaber, it looked as good as Luke's, Cameron's and Josh's. He grinned as he remembered how fun the previous dinner had been, and honestly hoped it was just as much or even more fun.
He arrived punctually, soon to be greeted by everyone and taking his place at the table, the same place he had at the previous dinner, enjoying the delicious meal prepared by Mrs. Deacon, Joe answered more questions about the movie.
"We are advancing in the recordings" he said "I think we are already halfway through the script."
"But already?" John was surprised "it seems to have passed so fast."
"Yeah, don't tell me, John" Joe sighed "I confess that when I think it will soon be over, it already gives me a heartache."
"But what will you miss more?" Veronica asked with motherly compassion.
"Of the whole movie crew, every person who helped us make the movie possible" the actor was opening his heart "including you, of course, Freddie, Brian, Roger, and my friends."
"You say Gwilym, Ben and Rami, don't you?" Georgia joined the conversation.
"Yeah, they are amazing guys - Joe nodded with a huge smile "I already knew Rami, but me, Ben and Gwil became friends very fast too."
"I understand you," Georgia replied with a small smile, "but I bet you're homesick too, right? Being far away from your family."
"Sure, Gia," he looked at her, "I miss my siblings, and my parents, especially my father, because ... He is not doing very well."
"Oh I'm sorry to talk about this, was unintentionally, didn't want to make you sad" Miss. Deacon thought it best to apologize, feeling sorry.
"No, fine, you didn't know" Joe sympathized with the girl's guilt, and tried to change the subject so she wouldn't continue to feel bad "but what about your college studies?"
"Good, I'm doing good, but ..." Georgia gave an awkward smile "to be honest, I don't know what to decide to do, I like so many things ..."
"You should do what you like best," your uncle Mike advised. "Among all the things you like, you have to have one you like best."
"Even so, but I still feel undecided," she sighed. "It's like I choose something good, but maybe I should choose something that would be better than what I chose, something that offered more guarantees, you know?"
"Yes, I understand." Michael smiled at her.
"Just don't feel bad about not knowing what to choose yet, that's normal," her grandfather advised her kindly, "but I know you'll make a good decision."
"Thanks, Grandpa," she said.
"I know you're going to have a brilliant career," Joe added to her. "You're vibrant, brilliant, intelligent, and above all, kind, there's nothing you can't do, Georgia."
"Wow, Joe, thanks a lot!" That made Gia smile even more "I don't know how to thank you."
"I know how," Robert said, "leave those worries for the right time, my darling."
"I also have another idea for you to ward off this tense mood," Uncle Cameron suggested.
"I already know what it is, Cam!" Luke laughed beside his brother.
It wasn't long before they got up, and this time Joe knew exactly what they were up to. He himself drew his lightsaber from his coat pocket and then prepared to face the first challenger who appeared, but without arrogance, just willing to play.
"Can I fight you, Joe?" Georgia asked, also bringing her lightsaber home that night.
"It will be an honor and a pleasure, young padawan," he bowed to her, but then stood, somewhat uncertain. "Are you still a padawan or do you already consider yourself a Jedi?"
"What if I'm a Sith?" Gia replied, watching his reaction.
"Still not afraid." Joe scowled.
Georgia laughed and began to fight him, both of them doing very well, making the dispute fierce. Gia managed to win when he got distracted, Joe didn't seem to care, he was staring somewhere. The young woman was intrigued by this and also directed her gaze to where he was looking.
What had caught his attention was Caroline, sitting on the edge of the porch with one hand under her chin and a look of boredness.
"Is everything alright, Miss. Oyster?" Joe asked after sitting next to her.
"Yeah, you can call me Carol." The way Joe spoke to her managed to get a little smile from the girl.
"Don't you wanna play?" Joseph went straight with her, trying to get her out of that lethargic state.
"Oh ... No, not better, is that ..." Caroline was suddenly more embarrassed than moody "I always lose."
"Oh, I see," Joe was understanding, "but you still don't feel like trying again?"
"Sometimes," Carol admitted, atypically shy, "but I got tired of trying and losing, you know?"
"But you just want to fight to win?" Joe asked, coming to the bottom of the question.
"Well, that's the point, isn't it?" the girl replied.
"No, not at all, not only that," Joseph tried to explain, "winning is part of the play, but the point is not to win, is to have fun."
"Would you say you weren't happy to beat Uncle Josh the other day?" Carol threw him, crossing her arms.
"Yes, I confess so, but in your case, if you try to play just for fun, it will be much cooler" he insisted gently "so why not try to play with someone?"
"Fine," she agreed, making sure Joe wouldn't leave her alone if she didn't accept.
Joe himself offered his lightsaber to her and Arthur, seeing what his sister was about to do, then offered to play with her. Carol started a little hesitantly, but eventually surrendered to the fun. When the two siblings got tired, the little boy came to Joe.
"Thank you" Arthur thanked him "I saw you talking to Carol, you managed to convince her to play, didn't you?"
"Yeah, I think so." Joe smiled at him.
Arthur gave him a quick hug, which surprised him but made him happy. It was a pleasure to help the children, as Joe had already clung to little Deacons.
Chapter 19: A kind stranger
Veronica looked at Joe with admiration, there was the young man having so much fun with her grandchildren, being a caring friend, it was so amazing that he was able to perform the feat of making Caroline play lightsaber. It was true that the girl wasn't always very easy, but Joe had a sympathy and joy that were captivating.
Looking at him also made Mrs. Deacon wondered how much Joseph was practically a family member now, he was close to everyone and she and John welcomed him with open arms, clinging to him like a son.
Veronica's mind also led her to think something else, to make another association. If it wasn't for the movie and if it wasn't for John being Queen's bassist, she and her family wouldn't meet Joe, and if she didn't meet John, maybe none of them would be in that spot right now.
Veronica wasn't sure why she had come to this place. It was so different from what she was used to, not that she went out much, but even bothering to leave home that night, she was beginning to regret it.
She needed to take a breath and distract her mind a little, she felt so pressured at home, with all the demands of her parents and attention that she had to give her siblings that she decided to go to a disco, an unlikely place, that she would never step on her feet, but her troubles eventually led her there.
Veronica wasn't the only one uncomfortable there, John Deacon didn't often hang out, he was there to listen to the music that was played, one of his all-time favorite styles that helped him cope with homesickness.
A little attentive to the entrance, he realized when Veronica arrived. The girl was clearly shaken and sad, but she was trying to disguise herself in a seriousness that held her from showing too much of her emotions. As much as she was a stranger, John worried about her condition, and before getting up and going to where she was, which was what he really wanted to do, he ended up arguing with his own shyness whether to do it or not, if the girl would think it bad he would approach. Maybe if he did that carefully, it wouldn't scare her, he just had to make it clear that his intentions in approaching her were the best, all John wanted was to help her as best he could.
He stood slowly, sitting discreetly beside her at the counter, looking at her discreetly and then looking away. Veronica noticed him coming over and it was her turn to watch him.
She noticed how shy that boy was, but somehow she knew he came here just to talk to her, but with what interest, Veronica couldn't tell, but while suspicious, she understood the boy being reserved at that moment, as if pondering what to do next. Frustrated after so much thought, Veronica decided to do what was necessary to solve that dilemma.
"Good evening," she said politely to the boy.
"Good evening," John's voice was shrill with shame. "Sorry I'm staring at you, I'm not a psycho ..."
"Calm down, I didn't think so." Veronica was surprised by that answer. "I got a little suspicious, I confess, but you don't need to worry."
"Okay" John replied and was quiet again "in fact ..."
He broke off, feeling silly that he couldn't say anything. He began to think that he shouldn't have left his place and gone there, but the girl's condition had really moved him. Maybe it was worth confessing because he was there so she wouldn't misunderstand his attitudes.
"Look miss, I don't want to scare you, I just want to tell you the truth" he said again and that caught Veronica's attention "I saw that you came sad and I worried about you, that's all, if I can help you somehow ... That's all I'd like to do."
"Oh my God, really?" she let slip in the face of such astonishment, never expecting someone she didn't even know to care about her "I thank you then, for worrying, it's very kind of you."
"You're welcome." John managed to smile, realizing she had accepted his help.
"But seriously, it's not a big deal what happened to me," Veronica said, a little calmer, "just trouble at home and with college."
"I understand you," John replied, and she knew it wasn't out of courtesy, he had really had similar experiences. "I'm in my first year of college and I'm still getting used to it."
"Oh really?" Veronica became interested in the story of the friendly stranger "what do you study?"
"Electronic engineering, my friends say I have a way with numbers." John gave another smile.
"That's great for you, I never did well with math," she commented.
"Well, I guess never it's a strong word," he mused "You went to college after all, didn't you? That means you graduated from school.'
"Yeah, I think you're right" she ended up liking his sense of humor "um, sorry, we didn't introduce ourselves, what's your name?"
"John, John Deacon." He offered her a hand, being sympathetic.
"I'm Veronica," she returned the gesture, shaking his hand. "Nice to meet you, John."
"Thanks, nice to meet you too." He smiled a smile that Veronica thought was cute, and she felt ashamed to feel that way.
"Yeah ... I think I should go home now," she confessed, although she was comfortable around John, "but it was nice talking to you."
"Oh good, good ..." John said unsure of what to say, but trying to prolong the conversation as he could "wait, Veronica, sorry for the question, but you live far away from here?"
"I live, yes, I live," Veronica answered the truth, not sure what her new friend would do. "Why?"
"It's a little late for you to leave alone, will you ..." John hesitated, clearing his throat and dividing his gaze between the floor and Veronica.
"Let you come with me?" she guessed, a little surprised to say that out loud.
"You don't need to accept, really ..." John was insecure and afraid to play the fool.
He insisted too insecurely for Veronica to distrust him.
"No problem, John," she said, nodding, and the answer reassured him, "but don't hurry away because of me, I thought you wanted to stay here a little longer."
"No, to be honest I think I really want to go home anyway, so if you already want to go, let's go" John was practical and Veronica ended up liking his attitude.
"Okay," she closed the discussion and they left.
They talked a lot the whole trip until they reached their final destination.
"So John, I think you can already go home, you have accompanied me enough and I don't live far from here, I don't want to divert you from your way" she worried, after he was so kind to her.
"Oh actually, my college is near here so I'm not getting out of the way" John said, trying to stay with Veronica a little longer "if you don't mind ..."
"I know, you can walk me home," she laughed and so did he.
They went together to the Tetzlaffs' house and there they said their goodbyes.
"So ..." John scratched his neck "I think that's it, right? Good night, Veronica."
"Good night, John," she smiled, "and thanks for accompanying me, really, it was very ... nice."
"You're welcome, I say the same," he finally answered.
"See you around" Veronica nodded, liking this idea "bye!"
"Bye!" John gave one last shy nod and made his way.
Veronica thought going to the disco that night hadn't been such a bad idea.
Chapter 20: Bus Stop
Veronica followed her routine the next day, taking care of her siblings, going to college, having a busy and tiring day as usual, but somehow, the memory she had of the night before made her better cope with daily difficulties. She was happy to remember John and what he represented at a troubled moment, a friend she could talk to and who would understand her, that was what she felt as they talked during the trip. Only today, she was no longer sure if she would find him, they didn't even exchange phone numbers, because both John and Veronica found it a bit inappropriate, since they had just met. What comforted her was knowing that he was studying nearby and if she wanted to, she could go to him, but after conjecturing that, Miss. Tetzlaff scolded herself, it was another inappropriate thing to do.
Putting those thoughts aside, she focused on the day's tasks, already making her way to college with hasty steps. She reached the bus stop, which was relatively full, there was nowhere she could sit, despite her tiredness, Veronica preferred to ignore that.
Standing there, she checked her watch to see how much time was left before the bus arrived. Another seven minutes and her bus arrived, which would take her to Maria Assumpta College, where Veronica was studying. After paying the collector, she realized she was unlucky as before, apparently there was no place for her to sit. That was when she was startled to hear someone call her name.
Automatically, she turned in that direction, until she found none other than John Deacon. The image of Veronica Tetzlaff that was etched in his mind was very strong and made him recognize her immediately in the crowd. Her shoulder-length light red hair, bangs over her forehead, her shy, curious, determined, calm eyes, she wearing a wide sweater with jeans, and her immaculately clean black sneakers, not unlike the girl that he had met the night before. And since John was glad to see her again, the problem was that she looked worried again, but much less than yesterday, which he considered a good sign.
When she recognized him, she couldn't contain her smile, it had been a pleasant surprise that had just improved Veronica's day.
"Hi John" she approached with disruptive steps because of the movement of the bus, he was afraid she would fall "good to meet you, even if it's not the most convenient place."
"Hi, I know," he nodded. "I'm sorry if I scared you, but I saw you standing, so I thought I'd call you to sit here, since there's an empty seat by my side."
"Well, I see" Veronica was still standing while looking at the seat and only then accepted his kindness, sitting there "thank you very much."
"You're welcome." He gave that cute smile again, and Veronica felt ashamed again for liking that smile.
Still a little embarrassed, she thought of a subject to talk about.
"Looks like you helped me again," she said truthfully. "Maybe I could help you with something too, if I can, to repay your kindness."
"What?" John was a little impressed "no, you don't have to do anything much, anyone would do it for you."
"No, not anyone," Veronica was forced to disagree. "People here can be pretty individualistic, big city stuff."
"Oh, I'm too hopeful," he said jokingly, "at least in my hometown that was like that most of the time."
Veronica ended up laughing and the sound of her laughter aroused John's senses, hearing her laugh made him feel more hopeful.
"Okay, fine," she resumed, "but if you don't mind me asking, where are you going now? I thought you had class now, like me."
"Well I thought you were going to college anyway" John replied "I don't have class now, our teacher got sick, so I took the opportunity to go downtown."
"Got it," she nodded. "I'm really going to college."
"Good, I ..." Soon John returned to shyness, but faced her to make sure Veronica knew what he was feeling !I thought you are much better today than yesterday and, I'm happy for that, really."
"You see?" Veronica murmured, smiling shyly and blushing "I really had to do something to reward you, you are worried about me again."
It was John's turn to laugh, but they didn't take offense at each other.
"But thanks, I'm much better and ..." Veronica looked at her hands, creating courage "you helped me feel better by talking to me."
"And talking to you had the same effect on me, too." John was sincere too, even ashamed.
She watched him for a moment, not even shame turning her eyes away, when a sudden thought crossed her mind.
"We could keep talking," she suggested, "so let's reward each other."
"Yeah ..." John sighed, a little surprised, but liking the idea, "I agree."
"I can ..." Now Veronica was clueless, thinking of a scenario they might meet again.
"Call me?" John guessed, feeling blush to his ears, guessing things as she had done before.
"Yeah..." she laughed embarrassed "I confess I thought about it today, I mean, yesterday, I could get your phone, but I think ... Precipitated, but now, I think ... I feel like we're friends, so there would be no problems, wouldn't it?"
"No" John smiled "be calm, I understand you, but yes, we are friends, Veronica."
"Okay ..." she nodded, "and you can call me Ronnie if you want."
"Ronnie?" He wondered a little.
"It's my nickname at home, it's shorter to speak" she explained, letting her voice go, pondering what to do next "so ... Your number ..."
"Oh sure." John seemed to wake up.
Veronica took one of her notebooks and pen and offered it to him. As John wrote, something else crossed her mind, and she wouldn't hesitate to put her idea into practice. When he returned the notebook, he wrote his phone on a piece of paper and handed it to John.
"This is mine," Ronnie explained. "Call me, when you have some free time from college, I know how things can go."
"Yeah, maybe you'd be more busy than me," he was sincere and careful, "but I'll call you anyway, and I hope you call me too."
"Alright" Veronica smiled satisfied "is a deal then, and I will comply."
"I'll do my part, too." John was committed.
After all that hesitation passed, they managed to talk a little longer until John came down, and they wished each other a good day. They had indeed become friends, and nothing seemed rash or inappropriate to Veronica anymore.
It wasn't long before John took the initiative to call Veronica. As much as he was still a little embarrassed, the shame would go away when he talked to her. He would hear her tell about her day, her family, her studies, her church, and even her dreams. Veronica dreamed of being a good teacher who really made a difference in the lives of her students, however small. John assured her that she would be able to do that, and hearing her tell of dreams and longings made him think of his own plans.
Sometimes he wondered what he could create and invent as an engineer, perhaps even create something innovative, like a true inventing scientist, or perhaps that was too far from his knowledge to achieve. For now, he was dedicated to being a hard-working student who would soon be able to graduate and get a good job.
It wasn't just over the phone that they spoke to each other, much to Veronica's luck and John's grateful surprise, that they met almost every day at the bus stop, on or off college, when they went to central London, or anywhere else that made them use the same bus. The closer they came, the more they realized that there was an undeniable feeling that bound them together, that made them feel in the clouds when they were close together, as if nothing and no one was there, just the two of them, living in their own world.
It wasn't long before John admitted to himself that he liked the girl he had met at the disco, who had become his friend, and now he was sure he would very much like her to accept being his girlfriend. I just didn't know how to tell her what he was feeling.
Veronica was certain that her heart was increasingly giving way to the shy and kind stranger who had now become one of her closest friends, however, she would say nothing, was afraid that if she told, she would spoil their friendship, would push him away and deep down, she believed that if they were to be together, John would feel the same as her and talk to her, as a good boy should do, and John was a decent guy, if that was the case, he would talk to her.
That's when John, still thinking about dating Veronica, met her on a Sunday at the same bus stop. He was there thinking about taking a walk around the city in an attempt to scare away his homesickness. Veronica would take the bus to visit a sick cousin across London. It was such a coincidence that only they were there, and in John's consciousness it was a sign of fate.
"Hi, Veronica," he said, glad to find her there. "How are you?"
"Hi John, I'm fine," she smiled at him, stepping back to make room for him to sit.
Are you enjoying the weekend for a walk or will you take the bus for something else?" John tried to guess, pulling matters with her.
"Actually, I'm going to visit my cousin, she's not doing very well," Ronnie explained, "but maybe I can take a walk before I return, it doesn't matter it's Sunday."
"Oh, because it's weekend" John understood "it was quite what I was going to do, visit Hyde Park or St. James, to rest my mind a little."
"That's a great idea," Veronica agreed with a sigh.
"Well, you ... You could go with me, you know?" John was talking little by little, dodging the shame "we can keep each other company."
"Yeah ..." Veronica replied, thinking how it would feel to walk with John, she would be extremely happy, but also a little withdrawn.
"Actually, I ..." John blurted out, feeling so nervous but eager to break the silence that was done "I wanted to say something to you, but I can't."
"You can't? Oh really? What happened, John?" She soon worried "Whatever it is you can tell me, I'm willing to listen, you can trust me, take a deep breath and tell me ..."
Veronica's plea was deep, it was clear how worried she was about her friend and she didn't want him to face any problems alone. If he was bothered or suffering, so would she. That's why she decided to take John's hand, conveying comfort. When they did, their eyes met, it was clear to each other how moved they were, their hearts racing, every part of their being screaming for one thing.
As John admired her in front of him, the amazing girl he loved, his feelings drove him on impulse, but he did his best not to scare Veronica. He touched her face gently, and only then leaned in to kiss her. It certainly scared Ronnie, but she surrendered to the gesture, realizing that she longed for it too. When the kiss ended, John looked at her scared and embarrassed, but Veronica was looking at him with a tender smile on her lips, as if she had approved of his action, which really was the case.
"I'm sorry "that's what he managed to say "I didn't want to scare you like that but, I like you Veronica, I like you a lot and ... Would you be my girlfriend?"
She didn't need much time to consider, she was sure how much she liked John and that never in her life would she ever meet a boy like him. She knew exactly what she wanted.
"I will, I will, John!" She nodded, letting her spirits show in her voice. "I like you so much too! I was just waiting for your request."
"Good, good," he finally relaxed and laughed. "Listen, I'm coming to your house later, I want to talk to your family as soon as possible, okay?"
"Okay, fine by me," Veronica liked the plan, "so I'll wait for you for dinner, boyfriend."
"We'll meet there, girlfriend." John laughed at the joke and with pure relief.
Veronica laughed with him, marveling that he was her boyfriend, knowing that now John would be an integral part of her life. The bus arrived, giving them more time to talk together during the trip. Eventually they had to split up, John thought it best to leave her alone to visit her cousin, but they arranged to meet at St. James later. In parting, they hesitated a little on what to do, but finally understood that they needed a kiss before they went their separate ways. They waved at each other, still feeling their cheeks flush.
Veronica ended up going to her cousin, as she'd said, and John, was patiently waiting for her in St. James's Park. He sat on one of the benches by the lake, watching ducks swimming around, it was all very peaceful and quiet, with almost no movement, like a typical Sunday afternoon. What shook the lull was Ronnie's return, sitting next to her now boyfriend, as she was getting used to considering him.
As happy as John was to be able to see her again, he soon rushed her gently, so that together they would go to her house, so that he could begin his most serious relationship in the most appropriate way.
Tomorrow I'll post Robert and Eliza's story.
Though hurried and nervous, John knew he couldn't postpone this important moment and knowing the somewhat conservative family of Veronica, he braved it all to tell the Tetzlaffs how much he loved their daughter and would respect and care for her. Seeing John's sincere intentions and judging him to be the good young man he truly was, they granted their permission for the two to date.
So their meetings weren't just about meeting at the bus stop or phone calls. Usually, they always saw each other on the weekend or even midweek, when their college was taking a break. It was in the meantime that John got to meet Brian, as May was looking for a new bassist for his band. John even commented on the matter with Veronica, who soon supported him to give the band a try and do the audition. He passed by and when the couple found themselves, there he was on stage at Ealing Art College, alongside new friends and she, in the audience, alongside new friends as well.
John's time was split between college, the band and of course Veronica. She loved to see him fulfilled and pleased to be back to include music in his life and was always following John as far as possible until Queen began to gain some popularity and John started traveling on weekends and being busy almost every night, doing shows. This new routine made Ronnie ponder something, maybe it was too early or unfounded or too much to think so, but the small possibility was there.
"Have a nice trip, Johnny," she wished her boyfriend when she was at his apartment and the boys came to pick him up. "Be careful and do an amazing show."
"Thanks, I promise I'll call you as soon as I can," he promised, noticing his rather distressed girlfriend. "Are you okay, Ronnie? I'm so sorry to have to go, but you know how this band thing is and everything ..."
"No, no, I mean, yes, I understand," she tried to compose herself. "It's just that I'm thinking things, maybe it's my nonsense, don't worry, I'll be fine."
"Fine, but we can talk about it when I get back," John assured her.
"Okay!" She smiled, satisfied with the answer "now go, otherwise you'll make everyone late."
"Okay, bye." He kissed her cheek. "I love you."
"I love you too," she nodded and watched them go away.
Over time, she eventually put off the conversation she wanted to have, thinking that the right time to deal with it'd never come and she thought it best not to talk about it anymore. Leaving worries aside, Veronica cared more about her studies, doing her best to get good grades, as did John, who was trying to balance his life as a bassist, college student, and boyfriend. Always understanding each other, the two were united and supporting each other when Queen got their contract with EMI.
The good news scared Veronica, she feared what would happen if John became a famous rock star, something he never really wanted and that somehow didn't match the John she knew. However, she saw how happy music made him, and if he became a professional musician fulfilling his career, she would support and respect that decision.
While recording the boys' songs in the studio, Veronica was also present, as she could be there, as tiredness and her chores allow her. From the recordings came Queen's first album, John and his friends had become a professional band, recording more records and touring. This change startled Veronica at first, it was hard to imagine herself as the girlfriend of a rock star, but when she saw John, she knew how he really was, also getting used to the change. He wasn't arrogant or cocky and not at all a jerk, nothing that would resemble a stereotypical rock star, yet here he was in that profession.
She saw him travel around and work in the studio, writing new songs, and then realized in her heart that this was how it would be from now on. Veronica waited when John came back from the last tour and only then broached the subject she had been putting off for a long time.
"Well, John, I ..." She sat next to him in his apartment "I'm glad you're fine and the band worked, just ... I need to know if ... Well, I know you will continue with this career."
"I know that's not quite what you imagined as my job, but ..." John looked at her sympathetically "the band has been successful and I've been making good money from it all, so quitting now would be kind of crazy."
"Quit? No, none of that, nor would I dream of asking you to give up" she soon clarified "is that it's unusual, I hoped you would become an engineer, not that I'm mad, what I mean John, is that I'm happy for you, I'm seeing how much you found yourself happy being a musician and you're loving this work, is that sometimes I think about what it means to me, you'll be away and busy."
"But no distance or time will make me forget you or leave you" he understood her concerns "of course, it's something very new for us, but I'll stay here, I'll continue by your side supporting you and taking care of you, as I always promised."
"I know, John, I know," she hugged him without hesitation. "Thank you for understanding me, my love, for real."
"Believe me Ronnie, I'm here for this." He held her in his arms for a longer time.
That's how Veronica got used to seeing her boyfriend as an artist, with all the privileges and perks that such a profession brought. But what reassured her was that none of this had changed the John she had fallen in love with, it was as if fans, critics, the media didn't mean so much as to make him arrogant or cocky. John thought of being a musician as a beautiful and beloved, but simple work, he saw himself as just a bass player playing with his friends and that was how Veronica saw him too, which made them both happy, without anything interfering with the perfect life they were living together.
And this is today's chapter, the next one is going to be more dramatic, I suppose you know why. Well, see you on Tuesday and thanks for reading.
Chapter 23: A tough start
Veronica's hands were shaking as she held the paper that didn't lie about her condition. The shock was so great that she sat down at once, falling over the bench in the hospital corridor.
She was already suspicious of her condition, but with a hint of faith and hope, she hoped she was wrong, but she wasn't. Now her world seemed completely lost, just now that she had finished college, got a job, and was starting to make plans for the future. Of course, those plans included a child, but not for the present moment, not when she and John weren't even married and she didn't even know if those were his intentions.
When she thought of John, she thought she should talk to him right away and that's when her tears began to flow, she was so distressed and so groundless that she ignored where she was and who would hear her and began to cry desperately, so that her sobs were getting higher and higher.
Unfortunately, the noise started to bother some people and a nurse came to Veronica.
"Excuse me Miss, I don't know what happened, but your crying is bothering the patients ..." The woman tried to be kind.
"Okay," Veronica said in a muffled voice, feeling even more embarrassed, "I'll leave now."
Feeling humiliated, she put her exam in her purse and left the hospital, not sure where she was going. She couldn't go home in that state let alone look for John, he must be busy with the band and on top of that, Veronica had no idea how he would get the news.
She walked to the nearest bus stop, and on the way, tried to put her thoughts in place. But all that came to her mind was guilt, anger, she blamed herself, she knew she shouldn't have spent that night at John's apartment, but her feelings were so much stronger that she couldn't listen to reason and now she would face the consequences of her mistake.
But was it really a mistake? The child wasn't guilty of any of this, on the contrary, it was only the fruit of the love of two people, and if Veronica was sure of one thing, John loved her, that he would even hear her when she told him. But all this also led Veronica to another hypothesis, she had no idea how John would react, if he didn't accept the child, Veronica's family wouldn't cover her up, they wouldn't expel her from home, but she knew they would be greatly disappointed with her.
Taking a long breath, she sat in the waiting seat of the bus stop, deciding what to do. A little calmer, she saw that she had to face the situation the way it seemed most difficult. When the bus arrived, she knew exactly where to go.
Veronica walked a little farther, reaching the small building where John lived. He had moved there in his third year of college, pooling his savings from temporary work as a teacher, so he bought his modest apartment, where Veronica came to visit him, and only once spent the night there.
Still shaken, she sat at the desk, waiting a little longer, sighing and catching her breath. When she got to her feet, Veronica decided to leave nothing to stop her doing what was necessary. She went upstairs to her boyfriend's apartment, ringing the bell, waiting uneasily, still holding on so she wouldn't lose her balance.
"Ronnie!" John smiled at her, glad to see her, but soon he was startled to see how she was doing.
Veronica didn't contain her sudden sob and threw herself into his arms, John just held her, amazed and confused. She was crying louder and louder.
"It's fine, my love," John whispered to her, patting her head.
Slowly he guided her to the couch, making her sit down. Veronica took a deep breath, wiped her eyes, feeling her face hot and swollen.
"John ..." She forced herself to look at him without looking away, her chin quivering as she spoke, biting her lip trying to avoid the tremor.
"Yes, I'm here." He held his girlfriend's face tenderly in both hands.
"I don't know how to tell you," she was sincere, still speaking in a shaky voice.
"Just talk, just tell me," John begged, also getting distressed.
"I ..." She blinked, trying to focus "I got pregnant, John, that's it, we ..."
As much as the scare that struck Deacon was strong and inevitable, he didn't let go of Veronica's face. He just watched her for a long moment, his eyes were wide, his breath hitched.
"That's wonderful ..." he murmured, really pleased but still shocked.
Veronica hugged him abruptly, completely relieved, shedding no more tears. Completely calm, she managed to formulate more things to say.
"I was scared, very scared that you would hate me or leave me alone ..." she said, agitated "I would not know how to tell my family, they don't know yet..."
"I would never leave you" John soon reassured her "Veronica, I love you, remember I always said no matter what happened, I would always love you, always be with you and, well, we are both responsible for this child and we'll take care of him or her together."
"Will you? Really?" she was amazed.
"I will, I promise I will." John hugged her, assuring her of everything he said.
He felt her tremble in his arms from all the emotions. She held him tighter, which made John hold the hug for a long moment. It was during this time that he thought of several things. He really would take his actions, it was the right thing to do, as much as the news had startled him, when he imagined that he would have a child with the woman he loved, the same girl now in his arms, he felt his life complete. All that was left to do now was something he was even more sure he wanted.
"Veronica," he called her sweetly, making her look at him, "so we'd better get married."
"What?" she felt another kind of fright "are you asking me to marry you? But you..."
"No, it's not just because of the baby I want to marry you" he deduced what she thought "I want to marry you because I love you, because I feel complete with you, you are the light of my life, my best friend, so, Ronnie, will you marry me?"
"Yes, I will," she said excitedly and then gave in to tears of happiness.
After so much fear and anguish, Veronica allowed herself to kiss her boyfriend who was now her fiancé. She thought she could never do that again, that they wouldn't continue together, that their lives would change. Yes, it would, but for much better than she had imagined.
Chapter 24: An everlasting union
As soon as Veronica was totally calm, John convinced her to accompany him on a small mission. He didn't tell her where they were going and his poor fiancee got her nerves on edge.
"Won't you really tell me where we are going? All this nervousness is bad for the baby,” she tried to appeal.
"Oh no, it'll be worth the wait, I promise you." He kissed her cheek, lightly touching her belly, but the gesture made Veronica shudder with excitement and joy.
Now that everything was working out and John was really willing to marry her, accepting the fact that the three of them would soon form a family, she was able to relax and be happy, glad that everything had gone better than she expected. When she recognized the jewelry store in front of her, Veronica was completely amazed.
"Wait, you're not going to spend too much on a ring, are you?" She was afraid John would spend all his savings on her.
"Well, Ronnie, you know I'm very responsible and not a wasteful one, I just think a fiancee needs a ring," he explained, "and I can't get to your parents' house empty-handed."
"Sure, you're going to talk to my parents, but now?" His haste surprised her.
"I think the sooner the better," John said urgently and Veronica was convinced.
In the jewelry he made her feel comfortable, but she, as modest as she was, eventually chose a simpler but beautiful ring. It was Veronica who had chosen, but John had approved of her taste. Before the seller handed the box over to her, he was faster.
"I think this is my cue." John looked at his fiancee and opened the box, taking the ring out of it.
"Yes," she nodded, understanding what he wanted to do, holding out her hand, watching John put the ring on her finger. "Thank you."
"I thank you for saying yes." He smiled with emotion and sincerity.
The next stop for the couple was the Tetzlaffs house. John, despite his nervousness, knew he had to act as soon as possible, so he ignored his fear, thought for a moment about what he would say, and only then rang the bell.
"Hello John!" Mrs. Tetzlaff greeted him "oh, he's with you, why didn't you come in soon, Ronnie?"
"I have something very important to talk to you and Mr. Tetzlaff,” he said before Veronica answered her mother, since she herself didn't know how to tell the news.
"Oh okay, John, come in, my son" Mrs. Tetzlaff invited, intrigued by all his mystery.
She hurried to call her husband, and together they prepared to hear what John had to say.
"Sir, ma'am, I humbly came to ask you for your permission to marry Veronica," he said solemnly. "I've been saving a lot, and earning a good salary, but besides, I love your daughter."
"John, since you guarantee all the protection and love that my daughter needs and deserves, it's my pleasure to grant my blessing" Mr. Tetzlaff soon shook the younger man's hand, sealing the deal.
As for Mrs. Tetzlaff, she exchanged meaningful glances with her husband and daughter. She knew John's good intentions and how much his daughter loved him, so she also granted her permission.
"There's... One more thing ... We need to tell you" Veronica was slowly building courage, knowing that it was better not to postpone the subject let alone hide it.
"Sure, honey, what is it?" her mother soon worried.
"I'm pregnant and that's one of the reasons we're geting married, I ..." She looked down, but then met John's look, full of love and patience "I'm very sorry if I hurt you with that, but ..."
"The important thing is that Veronica and I are getting married and I'm very happy for our family." John rushed to her rescue, speaking with conviction.
"Really, Mr. Deacon" the voice of Mr. Tetzlaff was threatening and dangerous "I'm glad you decided to do the right thing."
With that last warning from his future father-in-law, John remained determined to marry Veronica as soon as possible. This wish was also from her family, who hastened wedding preparations. However, another family showed their full support to the newlyweds, Freddie, Brian, Roger, Mary, Chrissie and Dominique were very happy for the news and for being able to participate in such a special moment in their friends' lives.
So they were divided in the task of getting the groom and the bride ready on their wedding day and despite their nervousness, John and Veronica were grateful for all the support from their friends. He was happy and determined to keep all the promises he had made to his beloved and she was willing to face the new life that would live alongside her beloved.
At the entrance of the church, Veronica waited anxiously for the arrival of all the guests, not seeing John, who had been inside, much longer than she, just waiting for their arrival. At the right moment, she took her place beside her father, she shivered at his serious expression, still afraid of what he thought of her having to marry hastily because of her pregnancy, but then Mr. Tetzlaff grinned, disarming his daughter's fear.
"I'm happy for you, you're growing up, but this is part of life and John is a decent lad, it makes me calm" revealed the bride's father.
"Thank you," was her simple answer, but full of relief.
As much as she felt pressured, it didn't overshadow her joy, her excitement about marrying the one she loved. Seeing John, Veronica's tears soon came. They were tears of gratitude that he had agreed to marry her, even in fear of the future, not even sure what would happen, but he didn't hesitate for a second, his Johnny loved her so much, she and their baby.
John was moved to see his bride in tears, ended up crying like her, not believing that the light of his life had agreed to marry him, that they would soon form a family, was too wonderful for John to feel worthy of this gift of life, but here he was and he was grateful for it. As she approached, the groom's anxiety increased, but he waited for every little second until the right moment to fetch his bride.
He and Mr. Tetzlaff shook their heads, agreeing on the responsibilities he would soon have as Veronica's husband. John gave her a small smile, which was returned, and almost by intuition they dried each other's tears at the same time.
"Please kneel down," the priest asked seriously, even though he understood the emotion of the moment.
The groom and bride obeyed, John helped Veronica, helping her to balance over her long dress.
"My dear and belovedfriends, we are gathered here before God and these witnesses to make the marriage bond of John Richard Deacon and Veronica Tetzlaff" the priest continued, looking very focused on the young couple "these young people, motivated by love in their hearts, following the divine plan of marriage, comes to me today, that I, in God's appointed authority, will unite them as husband and wife forever."
Going a little further, the priest finally closed the first part and asked for the rings to be brought to him. John carefully pulled them out of his jacket pocket, presenting the rings. Only then did the bride and groom stand to hand the ring to each other. Veronica was the first, following the minister's instructions, repeated:
"You receive, John Richard Deacon, this wedding ring as a sign of my love and loyalty." As she finished saying, she put the ring in place and kissed the groom's hand.
"You receive, Veronica Tetzlaff" he paused, unable to avoid looking at her, so beautiful and moved before her "this wedding ring as a sign of my love and loyalty."
He kissed her hand, as she did, and much of her nervousness had passed now that half of the ceremony had already taken place. But there was still the most important question ever answered.
"Do you, John Richard Deacon, accept Veronica Tetzlaff, as your rightful wife, to love her, honor her, and respect her in health and disease, in wealth and poverty, until death do you part?" The priest looked at John as he asked.
"Yes." The groom nodded to the bride, confirming all the words.
"Do you, Veronica Tetzlaff, accept John Richard Deacon, as your rightful husband, to love, honor, and respect him in health and disease, in wealth and poverty, until death do you part?" it was the bride's turn to answer.
"I do," she said, her voice shaking, but firm in her decision.
"By your choice, by God and by the witnesses present here, I declare you husband and wife, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen!" the priest made a sign of the cross towards the bride and groom "you may kiss the bride."
John sighed, approached slowly, and Veronica waited, she was apprehensive and a little embarrassed, but the sweet kiss of her now husband made her more peaceful. She didn't mind the prying eyes around her, she hugged John with all her might, showing how grateful she was for everything they had lived so far, that he had never left her alone. He just returned the hug, extremely happy to have his wife in his arms.
Much later that day, when the couple had a little moment alone, John was relieved, as if he had been rewarded after a great mission, that was what he had just done, and his reward was right there. He leaned toward Veronica's womb, she was surprised, but did nothing, just waiting for his next action.
"Mom and Dad did it all for you," John said softly to his little son, "because we love you so much."
Veronica felt even happier and safer, all would be well because the three of them were united.
After the wedding, Veronica's routine gradually changed. She had a house to take care of before that, taking care of her three siblings, studying, doing her daily chores, but now it was just her, John, and the baby, a few months away before they knew their son or daughter. She still managed her time to take care of her home, husband and baby.
It seemed like Mrs. Deacon's time had multiplied, she was on leave from work, and John was always by her side, whenever he could, when his own work didn't call him away from his wife and child, even temporarily. Veronica also had to learn how to deal with this change, her husband had studio work, meetings, interviews and of course the tours. She understood his work and didn't blame him for being away, after all they now had a child to raise, but longing came anyway.
The couple closely followed their child's growth and development, becoming more and more anxious as the birth approached, even with fears they knew they could count on each other that through love they would overcome the obstacles of caring for a child. It was on a midweek afternoon, less than an hour ago, that John had returned home after a day of work that his son decided to come into the world.
By Veronica's account, the baby was a few hours early, but everything was pointing to her birth that very day. At the first sign of contraction, Mrs. Deacon sighed, frightened by the pain and what it meant. John didn't need to hear a word to understand what was going on, just rushed to support his wife, who walked slowly with him out of the apartment, he guided her to the car, making sure she sat comfortably in the seat, and only then drove to the hospital.
Veronica's distress also made Deacon worried, gradually he gave way to fear, not knowing how to diagnose if his wife and baby would be all right, after all, she was complaining of pain and, as normal as it was in the process where she was passing, John's brain told him it meant something very bad. However, he swallowed his fears and remained calm, for the sake of his family, focused on getting Veronica to the hospital as soon as possible.
All she wanted less was to have to separate from John, but she knew it had no way, it was the moment they had been waiting for all this time, with so much apprehension at first, but now, with so much joy and expectation. All she had to do was to move on, for the sake of her family.
"I love you," she made sure to tell John before he left the room, "it's going to be all right."
"Okay, I love you," was his simple answer, reluctant to leave.
He stood up, willing to wait and be strong, that was when for a moment, feeling lonely, he remembered his good friends, Freddie's irreverence, Roger's relaxation, Brian's caution, his hearted brothers should know soon after what was happening. John warned them one by one and soon they came to the hospital.
There was a collective nervousness in all of them, they all loved Veronica and already loved the baby they would soon meet and feared for both, but there was also hope, joy, certainty in the heart that everything would be all right. Pulling John out of his serious and focused state, a nurse called him in and only then could he meet his son, a handsome boy.
Entering the room, Deacon came across the beautiful scene of his wife, admiring the baby on her lap, he almost thought it would disturb everything to manifest his presence, but Veronica gestured for him to approach, making the perfect setting.
"Is he fine?" asked his father worried "are you all right?"
"Good, I'm just a little tired" confessed Veronica with a smile "but the little one is full of energy, cried a little, but I calmed him, I can't believe I could calm him."
"But that's no surprise, I always knew you would be a wonderful mother." John approached, kissing his wife's face, looking at his son more closely "he reminds me of you."
"Yes, he has some features similar to me, but he reminds you too" Veronica also looked at her son "which reminds me of something, we will call him Robert, right?"
"Robert, yes, that's the name we chose, it's perfect," John agreed.
"But I wish it were Robert John Deacon, it would look even better." She smiled at her husband, waiting for his reaction.
"Ronnie, there's no need for that..." He was embarrassed, blushing at the tribute.
"No, none of that, it's going to be a reminder to him that his father is a great man and loves him so much." She touched John's face affectionately.
"Okay" he eventually accepted "I'm just glad you're fine and here with us, Robert."
When Veronica handed Robert to John, he was a little startled, but not objected, holding his son in his arms for the first time, feeling the love and responsibility of forever caring for this life.
The following weeks were all about adapting. to sleepless nights, to discoveries. The Deacons felt that being a father and mother was too special to measure, how gratifying to see Robert growing and developing and having the privilege of contributing to it all.
The same joy expanded in Veronica's second pregnancy. Bobby was a little older when his little brother was born, but as soon as he saw Michael for the first time, his heart realized that he should take care of and dedicate himself to the youngest member of his family, just as his parents did for him and Mike, and that's what Bobby did.
Such was the surprise of the family to receive a girl in their home, Laura was calm, kind, lovely, intelligent and inspired care in her older brothers. Just as Veronica was adjusting to caring for three children who, in turn, were beginning to understand how their father worked and who their uncles Freddie, Roger, and Brian were to the rest of the world, Joshua arrived, changing the dynamics of the home of the Deacons again.
Their mother didn't worry, Robert was always so helpful with his younger brothers, and John was always welcoming, excited about the news that he would be a father again. The same happened with Luke and Cameron, the youngest were very close, because of their little age gap and because they were the babies of the family, even in the midst of their mischief, had all the affection and pampering of parents and siblings.
John, Veronica, and the children were the cause of each other's joy, holding them together, demonstrating their partnership, their bond, in caring for each other without distinction. Being a parent of six was a challenge, not easy, especially when John had to travel on tour and be gone for several days.
The children always sought explanations from their mother for this, and with patience and a little pity for the longing their children felt, she explained that John and his friends had to go to work so people from all over could see their music live.
"But they couldn't always play here? And people from other places would come here to see them,” Laura pondered once.
"Yeah, but just imagine the work that each of these people would have to leave home, travel so far and then return home" Veronica countered "I know it's hard, but it's Dad's work and as much as he gets far away, he always comes back to us, doesn't he?"
Laura and her brothers nodded, muttering softly in agreement.
"In the meantime, we can call him, and you can make some drawings, to give to Daddy as a gift, to show how much you missed him, what do you think?" Mrs. Deacon always came up with this, and her children found the idea excellent.
It was complicated, but John and Veronica knew they could count on each other, learning from each other. And they had done a good job, as their six children understood them and had become wonderful adults. Adults who still had the soul of a child, the same ones who now played in their parents' garden and filled them with such pride.
And that was the last flashback chapter. Soon we'll be back with the Deacons and Joe in the present. Thanks for reading, see you Tuesday!
Chapter 26: Heartbreaking news
Joe asked Carol for some respite and after realizing how tired he really was, she did what he asked.
"Sorry I got you tired," said the girl, a little embarrassed.
"Tired out? Me? No, not at all,” he said jokingly, “no matter, the important thing is that you had fun."
"Thanks Joe." Carol gave him a genuine smile, which made him smile back automatically.
"Well, it was another fun night, but it's getting late," Joe told John and Veronica, saying goodbye, "I'd better go."
"Too bad you have to go, but I understand." John shaked his hand affectionately.
"It's okay, Joe," Veronica hugged him. "Oh, and you know, you can come back anytime you want."
"Yes, I will, Mrs. Deacon, thank you so much for everything" he said finally and waved to the rest of the family "bye guys!"
"Bye Joe!" said the Deacons inordinately.
The next day, Joe would go to the movie shoot later, but Luke Deacon and his parents were already on the set. The reason for this was simple, since Luke knew that Emily May would make a cameo in the movie, he was also excited about the idea and wanted the same thing. He eventually convinced his father and the direction of the film easily, and his mother eventually accompanied them both out of curiosity.
They were in college, closed temporarily for the movie shootings. That scenario brought old memories to John, memories that Veronica shared.
"This looks like Freddie's college," the bassist deduced.
"Where you four played for the first time, didn't you?" completed Mrs. Deacon
"That's right," her husband confirmed.
As they admired the set, Luke went to prepare for his role as an extra, another student who had gone to see Smile. They hid Luke's relatively long hair under a smaller wig and gave him a nice fur coat.
"What do you think?" he asked his parents about his look.
"That's totally 70s!" that's what John said overall.
"Uncle Freddie will be proud to see you like this," Veronica said, as she, John, Roger, Freddie, the Mays, and Louisa were present on set that day.
Luke's scene was quick and easy to record, but he had fun playing it. Meanwhile, enjoying his free time, Joe talked to his family and especially his father. Joseph Mazzello II had been undergoing brain cancer treatment for some time, and in recent months doctors hadn't given much hope.
So Joe had been somewhat reluctant to accept John Deacon's role in "Bohemian Rhapsody," as the film would be shot in London, far from New York, where the Mazzello family lived and Joe's father was undergoing treatment. Even so, his own father insisted that Joe not refuse the big job and so he left for the UK. Even so, father and son never lost touch if they talked constantly.
That's when Joe was on set, preparing for his next scene when an unexpected movement from the crew came up. The staff were agitated and Dexter called for a break from recording, which hadn't even started yet. The castmates didn't understand any of this until the production assistant approached, asking Joe to come with her.
He followed her without objection and then warned him that his family members had been trying to contact him for a while, without much success, they had tried to call the production of the film directly and now the call had been passed on to Joe.
"Hello?" he answered, already apprehensive, afraid.
"Joe, it's me" he recognized the voice of Mary, his sister, was muffled and sad, probably she was crying recently, which worried him even more "I needed to tell you something, very important, I ... is you better sit down."
"Just tell me, Mary," he said, wondering what it was all about, his tears already forming.
"About an hour ago ... we received confirmation that ..." Mary cried a little more on the phone, then composed herself "Dad died."
Joe couldn't answer any more, just stood on the other end of the line, waiting for his sister to say something more, but neither she nor he had the strength to react. All that remained to answer each other were tears and crying. Joe knew that he couldn't say goodbye to his father on his last breath, that perhaps the occasion when they said goodbye when he left for London was the last time they'd ever met in person, but deep in his heart, he hoped that nothing of that would happen. But now, it was too late, and far away, in this land so far from home, even with good friends around, he felt desolate, lost, unsure how to act or how to process that he had lost his father forever.
It took a few minutes for him to compose himself, and only then did Rami, Gwilym, and Ben approach. They didn't need words, just offered comfort hugs that were well received by Joe. Only then did he take a long breath, deciding that his friends needed an explanation.
"It was my sister on the phone, my family was trying to talk to me because my father ..." he sighed again "he's gone, that's it, and I don't know what to do now, really."
"We understand you, just take the time you need and if you need us, just let us know, Joe" Rami spoke for him and his companions.
Leaving Joe a little alone, Dexter also approached, offering his condolences and warning him of something else as well.
"I had to tell the studio about what happened" explained the director "and they gave us a few days off so you can see your family, production will be interrupted for a short time, but I hope it's enough for you."
"Thanks," Joe murmured a sincere thanks, though it still sounded sad.
Slowly, he prepared to return to the hotel, his bandmates saying goodbye to him once again, wishing him a good trip. He arranged his things, scheduled his flight, and in a matter of hours he was returning to New York for an unpleasant reason, but he wouldn't fail to support his family and give his father one last goodbye.
Joe was back in his hometown and, having recovered from the news and tiredness, went straight to see how his mother and siblings were doing.
Mary was the one who expressed her most shock and sadness, there was regret and sadness in everything she said, even crying easily, after all, she was always very sensitive. John, who was always so talkative, was silent and contemplative, reflecting on the loss and how it had affected the family. Virginia, the mother of the three, was trying to stay strong, because in reality, she was the first to know that maybe her husband wouldn't recover anymore, the doctors were categorical in warning her to be prepared, and that's what she did. She took advantage of every last moment she had with Joseph, leaving his side for nothing, and now she was trying to organize and keep it steady until the final goodbye at his funeral and burial.
Joe hugged his mother, expecting more comfort from her than he was offering, that's not what he was planning, he wanted to be stronger, like her, but just couldn't.
"It's okay, son, you can cry," Virginia allowed Joe to cry some more.
"I'm sorry I wasn't here ..." he murmured.
"No, no excuses, we ..." Mrs. Mazzello hesitated a little "he knew this could happen, and you had your work, we all understood."
"Were you with him, Mom? When he left?" Joe had the courage to ask, his heart longing for that answer.
"No, I ... I had talked to him the night before," Joe's mother recalled. "We talked about you, about time in town, we remembered some things from the old days and ... I realized that he was bothered by something, maybe it was the pain, I don't know, he didn't want me to go, but I thought he better rest, so I left, and in the morning ..."
"At least you had one last conversation ..." Joe commented softly.
"And you too, even though the distance" Mrs. Mazzello tried to comfort him "Joe, don't worry if you wanted to say something to your father, or how much you love him, you can be sure he left knowing that, and he was very proud of you."
"Thank you" he thanked her with a hug, really her words made him feel better, but still went through the sadness and grief.
That was how he faced the funeral, welcoming friends and other family members, trying not to stare at the coffin, that wasn't the last image of his father he would like to keep. Joe, his brother John, and two relatives carried the coffin through a small cemetery procession inside.
Beside his mother and siblings, Joe watched the gravediggers do their work. Just then, he approached, even with the words locked in his throat.
"Thanks for everything, I love you ..." he whispered, hoping that somehow his father would hear.
He stayed with his family for a few more days and only then resumed work in London, knowing that his father would like him to move on. The mere acquaintance with his friends and castmates was slowly eliciting laughter from Joe, although he still missed his father.
Due to his involvement with the production of the film, John Deacon learned of the interruption of filming and its motive, which immediately shook him. He was unable to contact Joe since he quickly had rushed to New York. On second thought, John thought it best to wait for his return to the UK and express his condolences in person.
It was at the end of a day of recording that Joe got the call from Mr. Deacon
"John? It's all right?" Mazzello was nice.
"With me and Veronica, yes, my boy, thanks for asking," John replied, "but I really wanted to know how you are, I knew what happened, I'm so sorry."
"Oh yes, I ... I really appreciate John," Joe answered, feeling a little relief.
"Well, I wanted to enjoy the occasion and invite you to something." Deacon prolonged the conversation.
"Okay, you can tell me." Joe was curious.
"Would you mind having dinner with us today? It will be a pleasure to have you with us again.” John recounted his sudden idea.
"I can't refuse such an invitation, John, I'll be there later," Joseph replied cheerfully.
So it wasn't long before Joe was at the Deacons' house again. This time Veronica received him, already giving her a long hug.
"Hi, my dear," she said sweetly. "I'm sorry for your father."
"Thank you, Mrs. Deacon.” He gave a short smile.
He met Luke, Josh and Cam, the boys also expressing their feelings for the loss of Joe. Immediately, he felt embraced and welcomed by the family once again. They then had dinner together, this time Joe heard the Deacons more than they heard him, but even so, he was glad to be there.
"I don't even know how to thank you for everything, you know," Joseph managed to say. "Since I came here the first time to this day, I ... I always feel so good here, it's almost like my second home."
"Oh I'm glad you think that, Joe, that was always our goal" Veronica smiled at him "and know that we are also very happy to consider you a friend of our family."
Joe was so flattered that he just smiled back. He was silent for a while until he spoke what he was feeling.
"I know it's been a few days, but it's still so hard to deal with the loss, I know it's not, but sometimes it seems insurmountable," he confessed.
"You're right Joe, I know how you feel" John said looking at him "I lost my father when I was very young and it was very difficult for me, first, for missing him and then for my mother, she would have to raise two children alone, but she got it, she did everything, so somehow my dad didn't have to worry. But even if it was a long time ago, the longing comes, there is no denying it, because he was a very dear person, and it will happen to you, I know so, because it's part of life."
"Yeah, John, I know, I just hope I can handle it, like you," Joseph eventually answered.
"Don't worry, you will, and we're all here to help you," Deacon assured.
Even with a little fear, Joe approached John, waiting for a hug and with all affection, he received it. They were both glad to befriend each other.
Another sad chapter, but the next one will be more cheerful, I promise.
I wanted to tell you that on the last 5th, it completed a year since I started writing Through Chrissie's Eyes, to celebrate this, I would like you to write in the comments questions you would like to ask Brian and Chrissie from my stories. I will answer everything, in a very different way, just wait. Thank you and bye!