The Choice

Getting Winthrop Out Of His Shell Chapter 7

Notes: This story took me two years to finish and it is finally almost over. I will be sad to see it end after the next couple chapters. I own no characters from Music Man. Winthrop's love interest Rachel is my original character.

After school there was a mandatory band concert rehearsal because the music department was preparing for its annual holiday concert. Winthrop went into the band room before 7th period and told his director he was sick. Truthfully after what had happened with Rachel earlier in the day he needed space from her. After going to his locker he walked the short three blocks to the music emporium to see what advice Harold could offer him about the tricky love web he found himself entrapped in. When we got to the music emporium he knocked on the door to Harold's office.

"Come in."

Winthrop poked his head around the doorframe. "Hey Harold, are you busy right now?"

Harold smiled. "Never too busy for you my boy. Come in and have a seat."

Once Winthrop was seated across from him Harold looked him straight in the eye.

"Still having girl troubles?"

Winthrop nodded.

"I'm just so conflicted Harold. I've never had to choose between two girls before.. or had deal with a girl who is jealous."

"Is that why you came to talk to me today instead of going to band practice?"

Winthrop looked embarrassed. "Yes."

"Don't feel sorry. Girls can be difficult to understand sometimes."

"Is my sister hard to understand?"

"Occasionally."

"So tell me are you leaning more toward liking Amaryllis or Rachel at this point?"

" Well, I told Amaryllis that if I was forced to choose the two of them then I would choose her."

"Why do you suppose that is?"

Winthrop shrugged. "I don't know. Comfort I guess. I've known her longer than Rachel."

"Why couldn't you get to know Rachel better?"

"I'm still working on that part."

"Don't drag your feet too long son. You may not end up with either of them after awhile."

"I'm trying to follow my sister's advice and do what my heart says… I never thought that would be so hard."

Harold reached across his desk and patted Winthrop on the shoulder.

"The time will come when you'll see things clear Winthrop."

"How soon do you think that will be?"

"Only time will tell."

Winthrop hoped that time would come sooner instead of later.

At dinner that night Mrs. Paroo noticed her son was unusually quiet.

"How was your day Winthrop?"

"The same as always."

Marian and her mother exchanged a glance.

"You look a little confused."

Winthrop nodded.

"Harold called and said you skipped band practice today. What's going on Win? You've never missed a practice. There's only four weeks before the holiday concert you know." Marian said shooting her brother a concerned glance.

All of a sudden Winthrop put his head on his arm and started to sob. Mrs. Paroo and Marian were shocked at this outburst.

"Winthrop what's gotten into you?" his mother asked

Marian immediately got up from her seat and put her arm around her brother.

"Win. Are you having more issues with confessing your feelings for Rachel or Amaryllis?"

Winthrop stared into his sister's eyes and nodded.

"What happened today? Did you get into a fight with one of them?"

Winthrop was embarrassed for crying. "You could say that."

"Why didn't you go to band practice?"

Winthrop sucked in his breath.

"Well, I'm sure Harold must have told you that Rachel found out I went to the Halloween dance with Amaryllis."

Mrs. Paroo was shocked. "Surely you didn't skip band practice today over some girl?"

Winthrop looked down at his lap ashamed.

"She was so angry at me today for going to the dance with Amaryllis there's no way I could have gotten through band practice. She would have given me dirty looks the whole time."

"Winthrop, look at me." His sister whispered.

Winthrop raised his head and his eyes met Marian's.

"Do you really have any kind of romantic feelings for Rachel?"

Winthrop sighed. "I don't think I do actually."

"Have you felt this way the whole time?"

"No, just since after I went to the dance with Amaryllis."

Marian had held out hope the whole time that Amaryllis and her brother would end up together.

"Why don't you just come clean and tell Amaryllis you want to date her?"

"I don't know."

"Win as I told you a few weeks ago you have to follow your heart."

Winthrop looked from his mother to his sister and back again.

"What should I do about telling Rachel?"

"Give her space for a few days and talk to her in private and tell her you want to be friends." His mother replied.

"So am I right to assume you are going to date Amaryllis? Marian asked

"Yes, I think so." Winthrop nodded his head.

Marian couldn't be happier and she knew that eventually Winthrop would be happy too.

A week went by and by that point Clarice had just about had enough of the tension between Amaryliis, Winthrop and Rachel. She decided to go to the band teacher and have a discussion with him.

"Mr. Richardson?" she tapped on the door lightly.

"Yes, Clarice please come in. Are you here to talk about the issues between Amaryllis, Winthrop and Rachel?"

Clarice nodded. "Yes, sir. This has gotten too out of control. I am at my wit's end with how to advise Amaryllis."

The band teacher nodded. " Yes, I noticed things are still a little tense between Winthrop and Rachel and I must admit that it is getting a bit ridiculous. "

"Sir, I think we should both have a talk with all three of them. What time does rehearsal start today?"

"3:10. I can meet with you all at 2:45 if you wish."

Clarice nodded. I'm on my way to lunch right now so I will see Amaryllis and Winthrop then but I don't really see Rachel during my lunch period."

"I will send a message to her 7th period teacher to have her come here at 2:45."

"Thank you sir. See you this afternoon."

At 2:45 sharp Amarylis, Wintrop Rachel and Clarice entered the band room.

"Please take a seat." Mr. Richardson instructed.

Mr. Richardson cleared his throat sending a stern gaze in Winthrop and Rachel's direction.

"Winthrop and Rachel, I understand you have been having some problems with getting along. Winthrop your mother spoke to me last Wednesday saying you skipped band practice because of these issues you two have been having. Do you deny this?

Winthrop looked as his lap… ashamed "No sir I don't."

"The concert is three weeks away Winthrop I can't have you missing rehearsals for unnecessary reasons. Is that clear?"

Winthrop nodded. "Yes sir."

Clarice directed her own gaze at Amaryliss

"Ril, as you know I've been worried about you. Do realize you could get your heart broken?"

Amaryllis smiled at her best friend. "Yes, but as I already told you , you really have nothing to worry about,"

Winthrop squeezed Amaryllis's hand tightly.

"Winthrop do you have anything you'd like to say to Rachel?" Mr. Richardsson asked

"Yes, sir I do."

"Then by all means son please say it"

Winthrop looked at Rachel.

"Rachel I know you;ve been jealous of me asking Amaryliss to the dance. My sister has given me advice to follow my heart and I'm sorry to say my heart doesn't point me in the direction of us dating."

Rachel glowered at Amaryllis angrily. "I knew it! I knew he chose you over me." She spat out.

Clarice grinned at Amaryliss and then directed her gaze toward Rachel.

"As Ril has pointed out Rachel there's no reason for you to be jealous. Winthrop and Amaryllis have known each other for awhile so he figured he' d take the next step in their relationship."

"There's no problem with the three of us being friends though." Winthrop said.

Amaryllis smiled "No. No problem at all."

"Delightful! Now that thast's all settled Wintrhop and Amaryliss why don't you start warming up? Rehearsal starts in 10 minutes." Mr. Richardson said.

"Yes sir." Rachel and Winthrop responded.

Amaryllis kissed Winthrop softly on the cheek. "Do you feel better now Win?"

"Yes I do." He then smiled at Clarice gratefully. "Thanks for calling this intervention Clarice."

Clarice patted Winthrop on the shoulder. "No problem. That's what friends are for."

Clarice and Amaryllis left the band room to head to the library to study. Amaryllis was happy that everything had worked out well.