As they made their way out of the hospital the media was waiting for them at the main entrance. The President was furious, “Who notified the press we were leaving?”
The administrator looked smug, “The hospital needs all the positive media it can get when a charity drive is on.”
Conan stood, “I’ll give you media coverage. How about the headlines in tomorrow’s papers, ‘Member of the British nobility placed at risk of being murdered by hospital’s own doctors and staff, not once, but twice?’ How does that hit you?”
He moved toward the door. The administrator spoke, “You're well now though.”
“No thanks to you! I hired my own staff and Simon looked after us. Now you move that media circus or I will not only sue the fucking hospital on my behalf, but also for my son Nicholas. He was very nearly kidnapped because of your staff... You choose.”
The man tried to get the senior doctors to help him. Conan looked at his watch, “You have until I count to five and then the lawyers Newton and Webster will be suing the hospital for negligence in three cases and that will be our media statement when we walk out there. Five – Four -…”
“You wouldn’t dare…” the man sneered.
“Three … Two…”
“Alright hold on a mo.” He looked around, “Sheriff over here.”
The sheriff came from around the corner, the President laughed, “Please let us sue you, as we’ll also be suing the sheriff’s office because he obviously is on this with you. Sheriff you have five minutes to clear the hospital grounds and get rid of that media circus. Just in case you feel to make comments, as you clear them the FBI will escort you and help with it. Agents do it…! Oh and Sheriff, if one newspaper, one TV station or one magazine reports anything about this… I’ll personally have your ass on a plate tomorrow!”
Twenty minutes later the Presidential cars pulled up at the front of the hospital and bought their own media. Conan holding little Nicholas’ hand and Simon carrying Aaron stood and allowed photos to be taken of them with the Aunt Marie, the President and First Lady.
Lady Marie held her hand up as people started to shout questions, “We will eventually hold a press conference about what has happened to the Marquis since he arrived in your beautiful country; however, at the moment we are staying with the President to allow the Marquis and his sons to heal. Once my husband Max arrives, we will make further announcements.”
“Is Lord Gripensley himself coming to America madam?”
“He is, because he loves his nephew and godson. There are things to be discussed but for now, thank you. You will be notified when more is ready to be released.”
The family piled into two limousines and were driven to the airport where Airforce One was waiting. As they were sitting in the cabin area of the plane Conan sighed deeply and looked at Marie. “Aunt? Maybe it was a mistake coming over here, all that seems to happen is bad things. I was happier at the Towers.”
“Yes, and you would never have had Aaron or Nicholas if you had stayed.”
“No, you are right and I could never lose them; not now…”
Marie smiled, “Then you were meant to be over here and all of this is for a reason.”
* * * * * * * * * *
They spent two weeks with the President and his family. By the time it was time to move on they moved to the Baden-McRoy Estate. It was strange really as it was only a short drive from the Whitehouse and not far away from the university. Nathan and Simon had interviewed with the head of security the staff for the mansion. Most were already in place and were suitable for the duties that they were wanting to do. All of the staff interviewed were male and most were gay.
* * * * * * * * * *
Conan had been scheduled to view three universities. The first one he met with the Dean of the School of Business. He loved what he saw, especially the BSBA (Business Administration and Management); though he didn’t like the performing arts school, though overall the university left a good impression on him.
When they went to visit the second university, the one that would have been his first choice, they found that the school of the arts was holding a talent show that Saturday so Conan put his name down with his phone number next to it.
Finally, they went to Somerdell University, again he liked what he saw and had to admit that the syllabus for the course would complete a lot sooner than the others and offered a dual aspect. When he reviewed the universities, he preferred what the second one offered and also the layout of the university and the attitude of the students.
By the end of the week Conan received a phone call from the Director of Music who was planning the talent show. “Is that Conan Kaylock?”
“Yes, this is the Marquis of Vimbaston, Conan Kaylock. To whom am I speaking? … Oh, Director thank you for calling me… I was visiting the university and registered with the Business school. I love singing and music and thought it would be good to get involved… I can sing, play most brass instruments, violin and piano and I have appeared and starred in musicals in Vimbaston and London before moving over here… Oh, the last thing I did? That was a musical evening at the Albert Hall in England... I have done acting, but I prefer to sing. How many pieces do I need to prepare?... I could say play the violin to start followed by three songs… No, I have all of the music… Ok I’ll make sure that I’m prepared. Can I book six tickets please… As Uncle Max and Aunt Marie, Lord and Lady Gripensley would like to attend along with the President and his wife. They are staying at the Whitehouse at the moment, so please send them there. Thank you.”
* * * * * * * * * *
So, it came to pass, as the bible says, that Simon and Nicholas would attend with the Royal family and the President. Saturday arrived quicker than anyone thought possible. Security drove Conan to the university to meet the director two hours before the show was to start. They asked him to rehearse.
To start he opened his violin and shocked everyone as he made it sing, what they did not know was that it was a Stradivarius and had been in the family for centuries. He next played the piano shocking everyone and pulling people into the hall to listen.
As the orchestra took their places, his first piece of music shocked them as it was the Anthem from Chess. Conan was in his element and his voice was pure and clear. They then moved on to ‘Vesti la Giubba’ from ‘Il Pagliacci. As the Director and those in the hall listened tears started to fall at the quality of the voice that Conan sang with. They knew that there was little they could teach this boy. It was simply stunning, especially when he followed it by ‘La Donna é Mobile’.
The final piece that he sang shocked them all as he pulled out his guitar and played and sang ‘Oh Lord it’s Hard to be Humble’. The place went into complete fits of laughter as he started to sing and it wasn’t long before he had them singing along with him.
When his set ended the Director and faculty that were there in the audience conferred for a short time and then the Director asked, “Can you add more pieces to the set? You see the evening will only last an hour or so unless we have a special guest appearance during the judging. We have a Master of Ceremonies, but I was hoping that you would do your own set and then at the end before the results we turn the show over to you.”
Conan smiled, “Sure I will, but do not enter me into the competition if you want to do that as it will be totally unfair. Those competing only have one shot at first place, not one shot and then a thirty-minute slot. I have enough music to be able to do a thirty-minute set, so I agree.”
The director stood applauding, “I will let you have the running order before the show starts. Thank you, Conan.” As they walked off Conan sat there playing the piano to keep from getting nervous. As he played a few people asked him to play the piano so that they could practice for the competition. As he played, he would stop and give them a direction if he could see where they needed to be stronger. In the end he gathered them all together and played one song.
Conan looked at them, “What say you we do an ensemble piece as a surprise before the results are announced? You all know the song. I have sheet music for it, so take it away and work out who sings what line. I’ll start as if it’s my last piece and then introduce you as you come back on stage. I’ll play the piano until you are all on and then the orchestra take over and we sing as a group, so the night really goes out with a bang.”
They all nodded and for the next twenty minutes worked on it, finally going through it once. It was fantastic. Conan smiled, “Now not a word. This is a surprise.” The Director had been in the lighting dock at the top of the sitting area and was impressed, this boy they called the Marquis was special.
As Conan sat there playing the piano and singing the director walked back in. “I don’t know that piece. What are you playing?”
“I was messing around, waiting for the show to start and started composing. Words just seemed to fit with the music.”
“Why don’t you play it for me?”
Conan sat and played his piece and sang as he played. The director was in awe at this man. “Will you sing that tonight? I have arranged some friends to come to the show and I would love them to hear your song.”
“As long as you think it is good enough.”
“I most certainly do young man.”
Before long the full cast and stage hands arrived and changing rooms were assigned. The Marquis had his own room and was able to change into his opening outfit, but not his white tie and tails. That was with his quick changes and he made sure that the quick changes he needed for his set were ready at the stage.
At seven precisely the music started and Conan walked on stage dressed like a cowboy chewing a straw. In the background the choir had dressed the same as Conan and were either cowboys or girls. Suddenly Conan’s voice flowed through the hall… ‘There’s no business-like show businesses rang out across the stage and the director and deans of the university were shocked. Everyone in the audience were on their feet cheering…
As the first verse came to an end Conan stepped forward “Ladies and Gentlemen the stars of tonight.” As Conan ran off the people competing in the talent contest came on singing the different lines agreed and then finally Conan came back on stage wearing his top hat, white tie and tails. The competitors stepped into the chorus and Conan led the rest of the song, even tap dancing while the chorus sang. As the song came to an end the place was in uproar cheering for more.
Luckily Conan had a ten-minute slot and was able to play the violin and for one piece and then sang ‘Empty Chairs and Tables’ from Les Misérables. As he ran off the stage the director took over with the talent show.
Only problem was Conan entered the side door to sit with his family and watch the show but suddenly you heard, “Look he’s here…” With that the director stopped talking as the place went wild for Conan again. He was so embarrassed that he walked out and when the director found him, he was in tears.
“Son it is no good, they won’t stop. They want you.”
“No that’s so unfair on the others.” They stood in silence and then Conan said, “I’ll tell you what if you’ll give me some prompt cards on the contestants, I’ll be the MC for the night. Then it fits me singing and stuff while the judges do their thing.”
The director smiled, “I was just going to say that. Here’s the running list for the evening and I’ll stage manage for you. I notice you have quick changes ready, so just give me the nod when you need one.”
The director handed him a microphone and suddenly the hall was filled with ‘Somewhere’ from Westside Story. Just as he was singing the audience heard, “I know there’s a ruddy door somewhere! How the hell did I get in here? England’s cupboard were far easier to get out of!”
Suddenly the director walked out into the audience and to the door Conan had gone through and pulled them open only for him to fall out with brooms, and mops all around him. As he stood, he walked through the audience singing to the ladies. As it came to an end, he was standing next to the Lady Marie and just said, “This one is for a very special lady and my family.” With that he kissed her hand and started walking up to the stage.
As he was walking, he started to sing ‘Maria’. Eventually he reached the stage and sang with his heart and soul. At one point he looked out and said, “So that you know this lady saved my life.” He was suddenly crying and couldn’t stop even though the music was still playing. As the music continued little Nicky stood and ran to his daddy and looked at the audience and started to sing with the voice of an angel.
Within seconds Conan was standing with his arm around the boy’s shoulder and they sang together, it was spectacular. As they stopped Lady Marie was the first to her feet followed by the audience crying for more. He looked at the conductor and asked for “Ave Maria”.
Then he announced “Ladies and Gentlemen a late entry into the contest with no rehearsal at all my son, Nicky Kaylock, Earl of Charmeston.” He knelt and said to his son, “Look at your grandmother and sing it to her. I’m here if you need me.”
As the music started the boy stepped to the center of the stage making Conan stand up. As he started singing, he just looked and said, “This is for you Grandma.” His voice was pure and his voice was beautiful. As he sang the chorus came on stage and joined in backing him as he sang with his soul. As he finished the place went wild and he just ran to his daddy and clung to him. His grandmother was crying all the time he was singing.
“Come on little one, take a bow and then they’ll let you sit down with your Grandma. I promise.” Nicky nodded. Standing Conan said, “As he takes his seat let’s hear it once again for Nicky Kaylock the first contestant of the evening.” As the place went silent Conan said, “Okay the next contestant we have a lady who is in her second year of….”
That was it and it set the standard for the evening, as one contestant finished Conan would have a little banter with the audience and then introduce the next act. That is until he said, “Well while the judges go off and vote we have a guest singer for your delectation…” Someone walked in at the back of the audience at that point. “Oooh I say, good evening late comers. Hello there… Don’t worry, we’re all looking at you... What’s that you’re a teacher?” He looked at the audience, “Fancy that, the teacher being late! Now what was I saying … Oh yes Nay, no nay I say nay again… Nay for your delight, enjoyment and delectable appreciation…” He went silent, “Oh come on that one deserved an ooooh… Take me back to England Uncle Max these people have no class! Have you never heard of the old-time music halls? Ok give me a second …” He ran off the stage seconds later he came on dressed like Uncle Sam. “Gawd almighty I feels as if I’ve betrayed my own country! That’s better you’re finally awake! You know even though I grew up in Vimbaston Towers, I knew I was an American and my family have been over here for over a century.” At that he sang ‘God Bless the USA’ after the first time through he said, “I want to invite anyone that is currently serving or who has served in any of the forces to come up here onto the stage and join me.”
As he started to sing, he thought that he had gone too far, but suddenly Uncle Max and the President stood and walked up to the stage together. As they stood on the stage, men and women were standing and walking to the stage many in their uniforms. By the time they were all on the stage the place was standing cheering them all.
Conan looked at his uncle, “Two minutes and I’ll be back.”
Suddenly the music changed and there stood the Yankee Doodle Dandy. The men all stood there and watched as he stopped singing and he moved and started to plonk out a tune on the piano. As he started to sing the orchestra started and the men gathered around him and joined in singing ‘Over There’.
The place went wild as it came to an end and Conan stood back and shouted, “Ladies and Gentlemen the past and present men of uniform who fight for the safety of America, oh and England since Uncle Max is up here.” He looked at the men, “Attention! Quick march…” As he shouted that a Sergeant Major stepped forward and marched them all in time to their seats. By the time they were standing at their seats the whole cast and audience were standing saluting them.
Conan stood and held up his hands, “Now I have an important question to ask. Is there a Bobby Johnson and his family in the audience?”
A man stood, “Marquis I’m Robert Sr.”
“Could you bring your family up here please. I happen to know that your oldest son has been in Afghanistan for the last six months.”
“Yes, he has sir.”
“Well it seems that he has been given unconditional leave as he needed to get here for his sister’s wedding.” He turned, “Cathy step forward. When do you get married sweetheart?”
“Next Saturday sir, to Bobby’s best friend.”
At that moment they heard, “You’ll never know just how much I missed you …”
Conan looked at the family as their faces had tears streaming down them, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Major Bobby Johnson. Come on Bobby let me take care over the singing and you hug your mamma and family.” At that Conan picked up his guitar started to play and sing ‘Welcome Home Soldier’ by Karl Sapp.
The hall went wild as their boy walked on to the stage. As the song came to an end Conan looked at Bobby, “Sir I might never have been in the forces, but let me salute you and every one of you who serve this country or indeed England.” He saluted and ran off stage as the family were taken to a classroom to catch up.
That’s all for now folks ... Chapter 12 will follow soon... I'll continue to try to get at least one chapter posted per week as promised...
Let me have your comments and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org ... All suggestions considered.