Chapter 76: Star Boy

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 286

Noah was terrified.

Forget the song, and his friend's, he didn't want to go up on stage anymore. Apparently this fantasy had made him forget the fact that this wasn't his cup of tea. It wasn't even his coffee. 

He paced back and forth on stage behind the curtain. The student's had just been called out of class to start pulling tickets and getting people seated. It was in the auditorium and the lighting crew had dimmed all the lights except for the ones on stage. 

They'd also finished re-construction. Right on time to. The auditorium was bigger and more spaceous and the seat's were way nicer where you didn't have to kill your back to get comfortable but that wasn't really the focuse at the moment. 

The group had decided after a long drawn out debate to wear all black from the waist down and different solid colored hoodies. Elizabeth was wearing red, Noah was wearing yellow, Carter was wearing blue and Connor was wearing green. The plan was last minute but it looked good at least. Made them all look like an official group rather than a bunch of randoms.

Noah noticed that Elizabeth seemed to be happier than ever today, a solid contradiction to how she'd been the last couple of days. Whatever funk she'd been in she seemed to have pulled herself out of. It only served to make him feel even more guilty for what he was getting ready to tell her afterwards even though what he was telling her wasn't actually a bad thing...unless you were her. 

She didn't ask about the party or even mention it so Noah didn't mention it either. If she didn't care then he wouldn't tell, simple as that.

"Noah you ready?" She asked excitedly.

When he gave her the thumbs up she jumped up and down on her toes and squeezed him tight to her chest. He wrapped his arms around her, memorizing the feel of her skin. Depending on how she reacted after the show he might not get to feel it ever again. 

He opened his nose to her scent. She smelled like strawberry's even though he knew that strawberry's were known to be scentless.

"Thank you so much" she whispered. "I mean it Noah. I couldn't do this without you."

"You're welcome."

She swung her body back and forth and light pink spread over her cheeks. 

"Hey um...after the show I have something I need to tell you."

"Oh! too."

She laughed. "Guess that check's out huh?"

"Yeah. I guess it does."

She left him to go talk to some of the other people she knew. Inside, his heart was racing. What did she want to tell him? What could she possibly have to say? 

To distract himself he peeked his head outside to see how many people had shown up so far. He groaned. The auditorium was filled two thirds of the way up starting from the very front. And right in the first couple of rows he could make out the rest of his friend's and Gabriel's crew. And in the third row...Dorian and his crew.

What were they doing there? I mean...ok, maybe they just wanted to watch the show. Maybe.

He pulled his head back through the curtain and shook it. What if he messed up? I mean granted, his friend's would probably just laugh and Gabriel would probably just roll his eyes and make a stupid comment, separate from Justin who would probably make fun of him for months but Dorian and his group would never let him live it down. They were like bees that kept searching for you even after you went under water. 

"Quit worrying so much."

Carter twirled the drumsticks in his hand and hit Noah upside the head with them. 

"I'm not worried" Noah hissed. 

"Shut up, yes you are. I know you. You're worried because your boyfriend's out there."

"Subtly never hurt Carter."

Carter laughed. "Subtly for what? You're still telling them after the show right?"


Noah turned around and rubbed his face with his hands. Outside he could hear the audience murmuring. "I'm scared Carter. I don't want to tell them. I don't want to tell her."

"I know you don't but it's the only way you're gonna be able to keep this thing you've got going on going. You deserve to have your relationship and they-she deserves to know the truth."

"What if she hates me?"

"She's not gonna hate you Noah. And if she does...that's her loss."

He slapped his best friend on the back and squeezed his shoulder. "We're with you no matter what and so are the rest of the girl's."

"How do you know?"

"Well I mean, I know Monica is. I mean she's practically figured it out already."

"What? How?"

Carter shrugged. "I mean she notices alot. Like ALOT. Even I can't stop that."

"Alot as in-"

"Ladies and Gentleman! Welcome to Emerald Valley's seventh annual Talent show!"

"Shit, it's starting."

The crowd applauded. Back stage everyone started moving frantically. Finding props, fixing outfits, moving out of the way, shutting phone's off...waking up. Noah made his way over to the back table and took the guitar off of it, strapping it around his neck. They weren't performing until the very end of the show but he wanted to be prepared regardless. 

Connor appeared from the west wing, out of breath and red in the face. 

"Where have you been?" Carter asked laughing.

"Practicing in the music room."

"It's literally connected to the auditorium, why were you running?"

"Quit asking me so many questions! Face the curtain."

They went around to the side with everyone else to watch the performances. 

The first performance was Gracie Piles. She got up on stage and sang Amazing Grace. Her voice broke a couple of times mid line but other than that she was really good overall. Next up was Ed Ed and Eddy, a trio of junior boy's who did a comedy skit based off of the show. Kelly Myer's did a spoken word of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Andrew Yang played Careless Whisper on the sax. 

Keegan did a comedy skit that was so terrible he didn't even get one laugh from the almost two hundred kids in the audience. 

"How did he get in?" Connor whispered. "Don't you have to be like...good or something?

"You're his partner" Noah said to Carter. "Did you tell him to do it?" 

"Hell no."

The performances were actually pretty varied. Whenever Noah heard the word Talent show, singing was always the first thing that came to mind but it was so much more than that.

The clock ticked down. There were more comedy skits, dance routines, poetry recitals, solos and duets. The second to last act finished and Noah plugged up the guitar as the crowd clapped.

Elizabeth appeared from the East wing with a mic. Carter's drumset was already set up and so was Connor's Piano. The plan was that Noah was going to walk out by himself and start it off for about thirty seconds or so and then the curtain was gonna come up revealing the rest of the the band who would come in on beat right behind him.

Noah felt sick. Carter slapped him and smiled. "It's all you bud."

"Gee, thanks."

"...And here they are performing an original song titled, Him."

Noah took a deep breath. He poised his hand above the strings and it was then that he knew, everything was gonna go as planned. 

He strummed the first string of notes and then stepped through the burgundy curtain. The people in the booth put the spotlight on him as soon as he did, expertly tracking him as he moved back and forth across the stage. 

There was not a crowd of kid's but rather an endless sea. There were so many people out there he couldn't tell who was who. But he wasn't looking at them either way so who could blame him. He didn't want to look at them. If he did he might fumble. 

The notes came easily to him where as he'd stumbled in practice. The weight of the spotlight was heavy but he could carry it for the moment. The four note strands went by as easy as pie. He doubled back across the stage and then




The curtain behind him opened up and his friend's came in right on beat, including Elizabeth with the lead in's and the first stanza. 

Her voice was steady and strong. When the rest of the band came in most of the audience started clapping and it took Noah more than a minute to figure out that they were cheering and clapping for him. 

The group blended together in something like perfect harmony. Noah could tell just by the sound of Elizabeth's voice that she was pouring her heart out. She was giving it everything she had and yet he still wondered in the back of his head who it was that she was singing the song to. 

At the head of the crowd, Mark pulled out his phone, put the flashlight on and started waving it slowly back and forth. Justin did it, and then Gabriel. One by one people noticed them and started doing the same and eventually the entire auditorium was under a spell, a giant syncronized movement of arm's and flash lights.

By the time the song ended Noah was so caught up in the moment he almost forgot to cut off. But he did and they bowed and the audience cheered so loud it could be heard blocks away outside the building. There were whistles and clap's. The spotlight fell on him in red this time and the audience went nuts. 

Noah heard Carter's voice through all the commotion. "That a boy Noah!" 

The curtain closed on them. Noah put the guitar back in it's case and they had their own little mini celebration of yelling and highfives.

The only thing Connor had done was play piano in the background but from the way he looked you could almost guess that he'd just tight roped the Grand Canyon. 

"I can't believe we just did that."

"Me neither."

"I want to do it again."

Carter shook his head. "Slow down there partner the day's not over with yet."

Noah jumped up and down a few times while shaking his arm's. Adrenaline was coursing through him now where it hadn't been just a few moments ago when he was actually on stage. 

It took a while for administration to get all the kids to leave the auditorium and go to class. While that was going on all the performers gathered back stage to take pictures and have cupcakes.

Carter played a drum solo with some of the Juniors singing backup and Keegan told a few more terrible joke's that cleared the room.

Noah dawdled around outside in the lobby and waited until Gabriel came out. It seemed kind of creepy when he really thought about it but what guy didn't want to see his boyfriend first thing after a performance?

"You did great" the boy said. He pulled him to his chest and hugged him ruffling up his curls with his hand. "Made me proud."


Mark shook his hand and Justin nodded and made a corny joke about his outfit. 

"I didn't know the Wiggles were supposed to play today. You guys do birthday parties?"

Vanessa hugged him and congratulated him and so did Paula and Heather. 

He fist bumped with Anthony and after chatting with him and Joseph for a minute about the guitar walked a little ways across the linoleum to talk with his other friend's. Jake was the most pumped out of everybody, waving his arm's around and congradulating the rest when they came out to join them. He stole one of Carter's cupcakes and ran around the lobby while the blonde chased after him. 

A small tap on Noah's shoulder made him turn around. Elizabeth smiled at him and pulled him gently aside. 

Noah scratched the back of his neck. His heart was pounding like never before. "Uh-you go first."

"Me?" She said nervously. She turned around and then turned back. "Ok, well, um..."

Please don't say it. Please...don't...say it... Say anything else, he thought. Anything. I can take anything but that. 

"I like you Noah." 

His heart fell. A dive off the edge of the Empire Stare building is what it felt like. His breath escaped him and he put a hand over his mouth in his dissapointment. 

"I like you alot and I um, I have for a while now and...I-wanted to ask you if-if you wanted to go out with me."


Noah couldn't control the muscles in his face apparently because they fell almost immediately after the finished talking.


Both group's of his friend's were watching them. He could feel their eyes boring into his back. Their questions were loud and clear. What were they talking about? Why did his face look like that?

His stuttering triple folded as he fought to get his words out in an orderly fashion. "I-I-I cant-"

"You can't what?"


"You're what, Noah."


He'd never known what it was like to see someones face physical drain of all joy...until now. 

Her mouth set in a position he'd never seen it and it only spoke one word to him in a careful whisper.


In Noah's eyes she was like a Sour Patch kid only in reverse. Sweet and then sour instead of sour and then sweet. 

Their eyes connected and Noah lost all his fear. He was tired of hiding from people. From his friend's. From his parents. For what? What would they do? What could she possibly do to him at this point that would make him feel any less than he was supposed to. 

"I'm gay."

The space was so silent you could hear a pin drop. Noah wanted to drop one, if only to get the sound going again. 

Monica snapped her finger suddenly and smiled. "I knew it!"

"You lied to me" Elizabeth whispered. 

The short laugh that escaped Noah's lips was an accident. It was just because the accusation-the situation was just so damn funny to him.

"Lied?" He echoed. "What did I lie about?"

"Everything. You led me on."

"No, no, no. I didn't lie about anything. I didn't lead you on either. I was nice to you. I walked you to class and carried your bag and helped you with homework because that's what friend's are supposed to do with their friend's. You just took it the wrong way."

She rolled her eyes. "So that's your excuse?"


"Excuse for what? I didn't do anything."

"You hid this from me. You should have told me this when we first met."

Now Noah was mad. Beyond mad. Livid. What gave her the right to know this whan they first met? What gave her the right to challenge him on something personal that was his?

"No. I shouldn't have told you at all. I should've just told you no and went on about my life. That's what I should have done. Why would I tell someone that that I've just met? That's personal. That's my business." 

"You lied to me."

"You lied to yourself."

"It's him isn't it?"

The abrupt question caught Noah off guard. She pointed at Gabriel and glared through the loose strands of her hair.

"It's him isn't it."

"Yeah it is him."

She laughed. "I knew it. I knew it and I kept trying to convince myself that I was crazy. That there was another reason you were-" she extended her arm's and did air quotes with her hands "-"hanging out" with him so much."

"Why'd you say it like that? What's that supposed to mean? Why are you so upset?"

The look on her face told him he'd asked her the wrong questions. Her features contorted from shock to anger and then to rage. 

"Why?" She spit. 

She pointed one crooked finger at Gabriel and his friend's and spat, "What the hell do you mean why Mitchel. A little more than a month ago he and his friend's hated you!"

Noah flinched. Carter took a step forward and put his hand out in a calming gesture. 

"Woah woah woah I don't know who pissed in your cereal but you need to calm down."

"And who are you again?" 

Noah knew Carter wasn't the type to hit girls but from the way Monica was looking she'd do it for him. 

Carter opened his mouth to speak but Gabriel beat him to it. 

"I never hated him."

Noah looked at him. The older boy was standing there with his arm's crossed. Everything about him at the moment looked positively bored. Everything except for his eyes. They looked dark and angry, a mirror image of the cloud's hovering just outside. Maybe it was Noah's wild imagination or maybe the other boy was actually royally pissed off.

Elizabeth rolled her eyes. "Dont play coy now Captain. You bullied him every day."

"I didn't bully him. Maybe you'd know that if you actually fucking asked him. I messed with him. There's a difference. And yeah ok sure when I first met him I thought he was a fucking loser-" 


To their left Justin snickered. Mark punched him and told him to shut the fuck up. 

"- but I told him that. I got over it and I worked with him didn't I."

When she didn't say anything he turned his hat backwards and nodded.

"Yeah. Exactly."

He stepped back and she let him go in favor of turning back to snap at Noah again. 

"I can't believe you. I trusted you. I liked you. And you hid thing's from me. And you put him over me. What does he have that I don't have?"

Noah coughed into his arm. "A car. A potential scholarship with Ohio State. A job at Footlocker. A boyfriend. A golden retriever. A position on the football team-oh and I almost forgot to mention...he's the captain."

Silence then,

"Ok Noah. Sure."

She walked away and never once turned around to look back. 

He stood there for so long his legs seemed to loose feeling. 

Carter rubbed his back and made a face expressing sympathy. 

"You ok?"

When he didn't answer Gabriel swung around to face him and lifted his chin. 

"You ok?" he echoed.

"She hates me."

"She doesn't hate you Noah."

It didn't matter. He'd told her and now she hated him, last month aside. Talent show aside. Walks to class and hugs and excited pats on the back aside. Lunch meets aside. 

"She hates me."


Submitted: February 12, 2020

© Copyright 2021 B. A. Anderson. All rights reserved.


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