a Johnny/Sha Na Na fanfic by Cheryl B.


Angel was an aspiring singer who'd struggled for several years trying to break into the business, when she finally managed to land a record deal. It was just a small label, but one of the singles from it, "Only Your Heart," had scratched the lower tier of the top 100.

It was a thrill for Angel to see her song become even a minor hit - it was soon her signature number at the local club gigs she performed to a small but faithful following. And it was even more of a thrill when she got a call from her manager Bernie that Monday afternoon in 1979, telling her that she had been offered a guest spot on an episode of the Sha Na Na TV series.

But the thrill wasn't just from the great exposure she'd get for her career by doing the show. She was also a faithful fan of the band, and was completely over-the-moon for Johnny, the gorgeous dark-haired tenor who sang those love songs so beautifully, and with such passion.

Finding her voice again, she stammered out a quick "Yes, yes of course!" to an amused Bernie. "But, why did they choose me?" Angel asked him, "My song isn't that huge on the charts."

"Well," Bernie replied, "one of the producers caught your act a couple of weeks ago, and he was impressed enough to give you this break."

She couldn't believe it. Her head was spinning in all different directions, interrupted only by his voice.

"What? Sorry, Bernie..."

He chuckled, knowing all too well her feelings for the show's resident teen idol. "I said, they're doing the show on Friday, rehearsal in the morning, lunch, then taping in the afternoon. I'll send a messenger with the script today, alright?"

"OK, Bernie, thanks!" she said with a smile, hanging up to gather her thoughts and wait for the script to arrive...

After sorting through the day's mail - the usual exciting assortment of bills, magazines and junk mail - she went to the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee. As soon as she'd poured a cup and swirled in cream and sugar, there was a knock on her door. It was the messenger.

She thanked him and settled into her comfortable sofa, perusing the script as she sipped the hot, sweet brew.

Angel read the lineup of the show. Screamin' Scott and - yes! - Johnny had the lead vocals on the opening and closing concert songs, Santini on the street segment number, and the comedy segment was set in a candy store to the strains of "Lollipop."

And then there was her part of the show. Although it was a lovely, romantic little piece featuring Angel singing her love song to Jocko as they danced together at a high school prom, with the other guys all in the background dancing with the show's regular female costars, she couldn't help but wish it was another guy she'd be sharing that moment with. But she was thrilled for the opportunity, and she waited impatiently for Friday to arrive.

On that morning, she awoke early and donned a simple but chic look- a black turtleneck, jeans and black leather ankle boots, tying her hair into a ponytail and dabbing on a subtle, soft perfume. She did take care to apply her makeup in the softest, most flattering manner she could, although she knew they'd start afresh in the makeup chair on the set. She wasn't about to show up looking pale and washed out. Not today.

A car arrived for her promptly at 9 a.m., and she soon arrived at the studio. Angel took a breath and walked onto the set, where she was greeted by Jake, the producer. "Welcome, Angel!" he said with a hearty handshake. "Come here and meet the fellas..."

The guys in the group all came from the other side of the room where they were rehearsing a piece of choreography, and warmly offered their greetings to their guest star. They all looked great, even better than they did on TV, dressed in their normal street clothes.

"Hello, I'm Jon, but everyone calls me Bowzer," the familiar bass singer said with a huge, friendly smile.

"I'm Donny," said the sweet, shy, and intelligent man behind the dumb- guy-in-shades character.

"Hi, I'm Scott!" said the pianist Screamin' Scott. And so it went down the line, except for one notably missing member.

"Sorry I'm late," said a breathless male voice behind her. Angel turned around and found herself looking right into the beautiful, deep, soulful brown eyes of Johnny Contardo. He wore jeans and a dark blue t- shirt, his dark curls free and soft, unfettered by the usual "greaser" look he took on for the cameras. He just looked so very real and sweet and unbearably beautiful that her heart jumped.

"I'm Johnny, it's very nice to meet you." With that, he took her hand and tenderly kissed it. She couldn't help but shiver just a little.

"Geez, quit being such a showoff, Contardo," Bowzer jokingly teased him. "You already have that face and that voice, so give the rest of us a chance, would ya?"

Laughing and slipping into character, Johnny shot back. "I guess I can't blame youse for bein' jealous, can I, dog breath?"

"Awww, be quiet, pretty boy," Bowzer said, now in full greaser mode, shaking his fist, "before I rearrange your puss for youse, and make it look like mine..."

"God, no, anything but that!" Johnny retorted with a look of mock horror. The two men - or was that boys? - laughed as Bowzer slipped his arm around his "kid brother," obviously two old buddies who could joke and kid around with each other mercilessly, while their love for each other remained steadfast.

Angel laughed at their antics and continued the introduction. "Hi Johnny, I'm Angel, and it's a pleasure to meet you." After several seconds, she managed to tear her eyes away from Johnny and look at everybody else. "All of you," she added, hoping she wasn't being as obvious a fool as she felt like. "I'm a big fan of your music and your show, and this is a real thrill for me - thanks guys!" They all smiled, and she began to feel a little more at ease.

"Hey, guys she actually likes us!" Chico joked. "Which one of us are you related to?"

"Don't be a dope, Chico," Lennie retorted, "You know our families don't like us, neither!" Everybody laughed.

As Angel giggled, Jake suddenly touched her shoulder. "I just heard that we've got a change in the script, go on and talk to Bill, the head writer. He's in his office now." He pointed to a door not far away, and she nodded and headed in that direction.

"Come in, Angel" said Bill as she knocked on the door. She complied with a smile.

"Jake says there's a script change?" Angel asked.

"Just a minor one. In your song segment, we're going to replace Jocko as your leading man, and go with Johnny instead. Is that okay with you?"

Is the sky blue? Is sugar sweet? Is ice cold?

"Yes, that would be fine, BIll, thank you" Angel said, trying to appear as calm and professional as she could, as inwardly she felt like a giddy teenager who'd just been elected homecoming queen and asked out by the star quarterback, all on the same night.

She sat on the sidelines and had great fun watching the guys rehearse their song numbers and the comedy sketch, which were turning out very well. And then, it was time to rehearse her song.

The director gave everyone their places, showing them where everything would be when they created the school dance set for the actual taping later. Johnny took Angel into his arms as they began to dance. She mouthed the words of the song as it played in the background. They'd lifted her vocal tracks from the masters of her record, and then replaced her background singers' tracks with Sha Na Na's vocals. It was all she could to do to try to remember the lyrics to the song she'd only sang hundreds of times, because she was being completely, deliciously distracted by Johnny holding her in his arms and looking into her eyes.

As the song ended, the script called for them to kiss, and he tilted his head to the side and leaned close to her face to mimic the tender gesture. It took every fiber of willpower in Angel's being not to lean in toward his irresistible cupid-bow mouth and kiss him for real.

When they finished, and rehearsed a couple more times, they called lunch, and Johnny smiled at her. "That was great," he said. "You picked up the routine just like that!" He snapped his fingers.

"Thank you, I'm having so much fun!" she said warmly.

"I'm glad!" His eyes held hers within their gaze. "Would you like to go grab a bite with me?" he asked sweetly, looking almost as if he was nervous about her answer, as if there were any question about it.

"I'd love to, yes," Angel replied. They took off in Johnny's classic pink Cadillac, with its personalized JOHNNY C plates, and headed to a nearby delicatessen.

"What an amazing car!" she exclaimed. "It's beautiful." She relaxed into the deep comfortable seat and looked over at Johnny, who looked back at her with the most beautiful smile.

"Thanks!" he beamed. "Isn't she a beauty? I got her about a year ago. I'm not big into a lot of material things, but I do love the '50's era and especially the cars back then, so this was my one indulgence when the show became successful."

He looked at her amused expression. "Sorry, I guess I sound like I was talking about my girlfriend there, didn't I?" He patted the dashboard, a wistful expression on his face. "I'm afraid she's the only girl in my life."

What a shame, Angel thought to herself, fighting the smile that threatened to expose her true feelings about the matter.

"A guy like you? That's hard to believe." she said.

"Well, being a so-called celebrity isn't all it's cracked up to be, I guess," he sighed.

Angel looked at him. "No, Johnny. I don't mean it's hard to believe you don't have a girl because you're famous. I mean, it's hard to believe you don't have a girl because you're so sweet, and so kind."

Johnny smiled softly at her as they pulled up to the deli, parking around the back where they could talk in undisturbed peace. "Why don't I run in and get our food and bring it out here? Somehow I don't want to share you with anybody else right now." She smiled and blushed. "What would you like?"

"A turkey sandwich and a Pepsi would be great, thank you," she answered. He left, returning to the car in a few minutes.

He handed her food and soda, and unwrapped his own sandwich, taking a bite with a long sip of root beer. Famished more than they realized from rehearsals, they quickly downed their lunches and sat back to relax and enjoy the rest of their break.

"Angel, it was very sweet, what you said a few minutes ago. Between doing the show and touring with the group, I don't get much of a chance to meet anyone, at least not anyone I'd like to spend time with." He softly touched her long, dark auburn hair. "But you're very special, Angel. You're so nice, and you treat me like a real person, as if you like me for who I am, not what I am."

"Johnny," she said softly. "I do like you, so very much. You're the most gorgeous and talented guy I've ever met, and you're also so warm and funny and charming, and..."

He silenced her gently with a finger pressed to her lips as he gazed gently into her green eyes. "Shhhhh," he whispered. And with that, a small, sweetly knowing smile crossed his almost supernatually perfect features as he leaned close to her. Breathlessly, she closed her eyes as Johnny pressed his full, warm lips to hers and pulled her close.

Oh my god...

After a few moments, he pulled away slightly. "Now I wish I hadn't had that tuna sandwich for lunch," he smiled with a wink.

She laughed softly. "I don't mind, not at all..." Angel sighed as she parted her lips, wrapping her arms around his neck and returning his deep, sweet kiss.

Soon, the pair realized the lateness of the hour, and reluctantly scurried back to the studio, Johnny's lean but muscular arm around her all the way, her head on his shoulder.

They parted ways to get into costume and makeup. At the taping, Angel had to clamp her hand over her mouth to keep from bursting out laughing and ruining the candy store segment which was the first to tape. The sight of the guys dressed like young "Our Gang" rejects was just too much to bear. Johnny, sporting short pants, suspenders and a well- greased Alfalfa-like cowlick was an image she'd never soon forget.

They then taped their street scene, the guys dancing merrily with umbrellas as Santini sang lead on "Trickle, Trickle," Johnny's unmistakable background falsetto finding its way right into Angel's ears, and her heart.

They taped the concert numbers next, Screamin' winning over the crowd with his piano virtuoso on "Breathless." But the audience fell silent as Johnny wove his magic, crooning "I'm In The Mood For Love," sneaking a glance at Angel at every opportunity. The girls all screamed and applauded when he was done, of course, but somehow Angel knew that he had been singing just for her.

Finally, it was time for her song. The set had been transformed into a romantic high school dance, with a mirrored ball and dim lights as Angel, her hair in a soft beehive hairdo, and dressed in a soft green, full-skirted satin dress, serenaded Johnny - so handsome in a tuxedo and a pink carnation in his lapel, hair slicked back- while they danced together. At the instrumental section, the cameras went to the others, giving the two of them a brief chance to whisper back and forth.

Angel smiled. "I can't believe how lucky I was that your producer came to see me and decided to book me on the show." She leaned in to his ear with a soft grin. "And I feel especially lucky that the writer changed his mind and gave you the part..."

Johnny grinned, still holding her in his arms and dancing with her. "What would you say if I told you that it wasn't just luck?"

"What do you mean?"

"I caught your act, and I thought you were amazing," he confessed. "So I told the producer that he had to see you. He did, and when he asked to have you on the show, like I knew he would, I begged the writers to write me in."

"Oh, Johnny, thank you!" she exclaimed, throwing her arms around him in a tight embrace, nearly forgetting herself and the fact that they were in front of an audience.

And as the song ended, Johnny didn't fake the beautiful, tender kiss he gave to Angel this time, his mouth on hers filling her heart with bliss.

They walked backstage hand in hand, and Johnny said "I hope that this show helps give your career a great boost, Angel. You're very talented, and you deserve it"

Seeking his sweet lips again, Angel whispered. "Oh Johnny, I found you. That's the best thing of all that this show could have brought into my life..." He smiled with a soft, seductive grin, pressing her gently against the wall with his body, his hands resting above her head on the wall, and kissed her deeply.

A year later, Angel's second album, "Johnny's Angel," was a gold record smash hit, thanks in large part to a certain tenor adding his gorgeous background vocals to the mix. And still, despite her great success, it was Johnny's sweet love, as it was back then, that remained the most precious gift she received that unforgettable day not so very long ago...

THE END

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