There was complete silence. Holly cleared her throat and the sound echoed around the
room. Holly stared down at Denise and Sharon for help and her whole table held their
thumbs up at her. Ordinarily Holly would have laughed at how corny they all looked, but
right then it was strangely comforting. Finally the music began again and Holly held the
microphone tightly in her two hands and prepared to sing. With an extremely shaky and
timid voice she sang: “What would you do if I sang out of tune? Would you stand up and
walk out on me?”
Denise and Sharon howled with laughter at the wonderful choice of song and gave her a big
cheer. Holly struggled on, singing dreadfully and looking like she was about to burst into
tears. Just when she felt like she was about to hear boos again her family and friends joined
in with the chorus. “Ooh, I’ll get by with a little help from my friends; yes, I’ll get by with
a little help from my friends.”
The crowd turned to her table of family and friends and laughed and the atmosphere
warmed a little more. Holly prepared herself for the high note coming up and yelled at the
top of her lungs, “Do you neeeed anybody?” She even managed to give herself
a fright with
the volume and a few people helped her out to sing, “I need somebody to love.”
“Do you neeeed anybody?” she repeated and held the microphone out to the crowd to
encourage them to sing, and they all sang, “I need somebody to love,” and gave themselves
a round of applause. Holly felt less nervous now and battled her way through the rest of the
song. The people down the back continued on chatting, the bar staff carried on serving
drinks and smashing glasses until Holly felt like she was the only one listening to herself.
When she had finally finished singing, a few polite tables up front and her own table to the
right were the only people to acknowledge her. The DJ took the microphone from her hand
and managed to say between laughs, “Please give it up for the incredibly brave
This time her family and friends were the only people to cheer. Denise and Sharon
approached her with cheeks wet from tears of laughter.
“I’m so proud of you!” Sharon said, throwing her arms around Holly’s neck. “It was
“Thanks for helping me, Sharon,” she said as she hugged her friend.
Jack and Abbey cheered and Jack shouted, “Terrible! Absolutely terrible!”
Holly’s mother smiled encouragingly at her, knowing she had passed her special singing
talent down to her daughter, and Holly’s father could barely look her in the eye he was
laughing so much. All Ciara could manage was to repeat over and over again, “I never
knew anyone could be so bad.”
Declan waved at her from across the room with a camera in his hand and gave her the
thumbs-down. Holly hid in the corner at the table and sipped on her water while she
listened to everyone congratulating her on being so desperately bad. Holly couldn’t
remember the last time she had felt so proud.
John shuffled over to Holly and leaned against the wall beside her, where he watched the
next act onstage in silence. Eventually he plucked up the courage to speak and said,
“Gerry’s probably here, you know,” and looked at her with watery eyes.
Poor John, he missed his best friend too. She gave him an encouraging smile and looked
around the room. He was right. Holly could feel Gerry’s presence. She could
wrapping his arms around her and giving her one of the hugs she missed so much.
After an hour the singers had finally finished and Daniel and the DJ headed off to tot up the
votes. Everyone had been handed a voting slip as they paid at the door and Holly couldn’t