"Emma Taylor," I responded, trying to prevent my words from shaking.
"Okay, Emma. Now it says here on the application you are trying out for the lead in our new Broadway musical. So with that, you'll have to show us a dance combination and sing for us," ordered judge number two, an older man with glasses and spiky grey hair.
"Yes, sir," I answered. I hoped that all those months of preparing would pay off. It was my time to shine.
"I'll be singing No Good Deed from Wicked." I said nervously. Judge number three (who was a gigantic, scary looking man) raised an eye brow and scribbled something in this notebook. I took that as a cue to start.
I know my song was a really bold choice, and that's all I was thinking about as I began singing it. I'm almost positive that I looked like a mad woman up there, but I always felt like it was such a powerful song that showed so many emotions: anger, confusion, sadness. I wanted the judges to see how broad I can be with my acting. "Nessa....Doctor Dillamond....Fiyero..." Here was the big note. What if I mess up? Would they just stop me right there and tell me to go away? Oh God, help me. I didn't have anything to worry about. I hit it, and I hit it good.
When I finished, I was practically panting, and it took me a moment to calm down. The first judge, the woman, applauded lightly. The second just smiled a little bit, but the huge one made no sign that he had enjoyed it.
I was dancing to I Can't Do It Alone from Chicago. I've been a dancer since I was two years old, and I had never been this nervous about it. Somehow I managed to get through it. All the while, the judges were scribbling in their little notebooks. I finished my dance number and smiled a huge jazz smile at them until I finally got some applause from all three.
After my bold choice in dance, and even bolder choice in song, I decided to tone it down and keep quiet for a few minutes while they debated. After moments of agonizing silence, I heard a small cough from the female judge.
"Emma, you are dismissed," she spoke those words with so much contempt; it was obvious to me that I had not even had a chance from the start. I felt like screaming, but, as I walked calmly off the stage, the second judge, an older woman with dramatic black hair and red nails, winked at me. Confused, I walked into the railing of the orchestra pit, not paying attention. She smirked slightly, and I was even more confused. Walking into the arms of my mother, I glanced back at the woman, but she and the other judges were already enrapt watching the next audition.
Hours later, back at my house, I heard my mom scream. Rushing through the elegant halls of the lavish mansion my dad funded post-divorce, I sprinted downstairs. My mom happened to be very accident-prone and the last time she had screamed, she had nearly cut her finger off with a knife while making dinner.
I froze, my legs suddenly feeling weak. I pulled away from my mom and stared at her, not sure I had heard right. "I got cast?" I asked feebly. There was no way this was happening. I mean, this was what I had dreamed about for years—getting the role. Sure, I had been cast in some spots, but they were always minor characters. To hear my mom pronounce me being cast in the main role... it was amazing.
Those words knocked me out of my daze and I started bouncing up and down. "This has GOT to be a dream! Pinch me! Pinch me!"
My mom laughingly pinched my arm and after that, chaos broke out. I went running around the first floor, screaming and giggling. There were a couple of times when I bounced onto one of the couches, but for the first time in my life, my mom didn’t shout at me to get off. She was too busy calling people to tell them about my role.
Later on, my mom and I sat in the kitchen with bowls of pistachio ice cream—my favorite. My mom leaned forward. "Emma, I’m so incredibly proud of you."
I smiled tiredly and scraped my bowl to try to get the last bit out. "Thanks."
"I think your dad would be proud of you, too. Have you told him yet?"
I froze. It was an amazing occurrence for my mom to ever mention my dad. I was getting ready for the world to end then and there. "No….."I said slowly. "I haven’t called him yet." I wasn’t sure that I wanted to call him, but I didn’t tell her that.
"I think you should," she said quietly.
After saying good night, I walked upstairs to my room and flopped onto my four-poster bed. I stared at the ceiling for a little bit and then rolled over onto my stomach and stared at the phone.
Taylor Lynn's part-
Then, after a few minutes of simply staring at it, I suddenly lunged forward, grabbed the phone and dialed Dad's cell phone number. I knew that unless I did it now I would never make the call.
The phone rang five times, six times, and I was about to hang up when someone picked up on the other end.
"Hello?" my dad said.
"Dad? It's me. Emma," I replied.
"Emma! Hey, honey, how's everything going?" he exclaimed.
"Everything's going great, Dad," I answered. "I wanted to- Mom thought I should-"
"How is your mother, anyway?" he asked, full of energy. As always.
"She's fine," I said, uncomfortable. He didn't seem to notice.
"That's great, honey, just great. Hey, you'll never guess where I am now!"
Dad was a photographer for a travel magazine, and he was always in a new place. In the beginning, Mom had fallen in love and married him because she loved how adventurous and energetic he was, but they ended up divorced for the same reason. Dad couldn't stay in one place, and he was always traveling to new locations for his work. Mom just couldn't keep up, especially with a baby. Me.
Dad hardly ever called, but it wasn't that he didn't love me; it was because he got so caught up in his work that he didn't remember to. Or so we told ourselves.
"Guess, Emma. Guess where I am."
"Um... I don't know, Dad."
"I'm in Paris! Paris, France. Isn't that great?"
"Um, yeah. Sure."
"Hey, so, what's going on with you? What have you been up to?"
"That's actually why I was calling. I... I was cast as the lead in a new Broadway musical." Saying the words made me giddy all over again. I still couldn't believe it.
"Emma, that's fantastic!" Dad practically shouted. "Congratulations!"
"Thanks," I said, smiling a little.
"So, when should I fly in for the performance?"
I sat stunned for a minute. This was not what I expected to hear. Dad wanted to fly in for my performance?
What was I supposed to say?
“I-I'm not exactly sure when it is,” I answered.
“Oh, well that's okay!” Dad said, not losing a bit of his energy. “I'll be done in Paris in a week or so, why don't I make reservations at the hotel near home, and I'll stay till your performance is done.” I sat, stunned. There was little doubt in my mind that Dad had completely changed. I had expected him to be happy for me, but definitely not to come down here and see my performance.
“I, uh. . .” I mumbled, unsure of what to say. He didn't seem to notice.
“Great, I'll see you in a couple of weeks!” The phone went silent, letting me know he had hung up. I turned off the phone and plopped onto the bed, facing the stars my mom had helped me put on the ceiling so long ago. The ceiling was indigo, contrasting with the silver stars. My eyes widened, and my heart nearly stopped. I lay there frozen, staring at what was in front of me.
Well, not what I saw, more like what I heard. A voice I kept telling myself I never wanted to hear again.
I shot up, suddenly aware of the guy who was leaning against my doorframe. A thousand memories came rushing back with one look at his disheveled brown hair and clear blue eyes. That lopsided grin that used to seem reserved only for me. I wanted to melt away, right then and there. What was he doing here? He had absolutely no right.
“James? What are you doing here?” I said, my tone sharp.
“I heard through the grapevine that you’ve been cast as Elena. I just wanted to say congratulations,” he said, his voice still smiling.
“Why do you care? We haven’t talked in months.”
“That’s not exactly my fault,” he said, narrowing his eyes at me.
I swallowed the impact of those words. True, I fled, even though James was one of the greatest persons I’ve ever known. From the way he always cared, right down to his amazing voice. But I was scared of getting hurt. So I broke up with him, for no good reason whatsoever. And now he’s dating Lani Samuels, a dance major at our performing arts school, and it’s too late fix what I messed up.
“I know.” My words came out as a whisper.
“Anyways, I just thought I’d stop by and say congrats. And to let you know that I’ve been cast in the show as well. I’m Ethan.”
At first I thought I misunderstood. But then the words sunk in. Ethan is the male lead of the show.
I was starring in a Broadway musical, opposite my ex.
I wouldn't see those blue eyes, and remember the look in them as we had laid beside one another in the grass field behind the high school, legs intertwined and lips only inches away from each other.
I wouldn't see that hair I'd once run my fingers through just to feel the strands fall through my fingers. Just to feel connected to him in any way possible.
This wasn't the end of the world, I told myself. In fact, it would be a learning experience. I would reallyput my acting skills to the test. If pretending that the boy you're acting beside isn't actually the ex who you left broken-hearted months ago than I don't know what is.
Elena and Ethan. We're just Elena and Ethan.
Unfortunately, all this convincing went right out the window the first night of rehearsals.
I looked around my dressing room I had been assigned and couldn't help but squeal like a delighted little girl. MY dressing room. MINE. I had dreamed of having a star on my door for so long..... I still couldn't believe it.
I pinched myself once more... just to be sure.
I heard the sounds of feet shuffling near my door followed by a knock. "Time for rehearsal." a man's deep voice came from behind it.
"I'm coming right away!" I said taking a deep breath. This was the beginning of it all. A bright future lay ahead.
I flinched as I thought about Ethan. No, I would not allow my feelings to get in the way of this. I put on a brave face, checked my hair in the mirror once, and and threw my shoulders back and walked out as confident looking as I could.
I walked up towards the group of people surrounding the stage and sat down pretending to read my script. Truth be told, I was looking for him.
I glanced up and caught him walking by in the corner of my eye.
He looked straight at me and started to walk over.
Oh boy. I thought to myself.