The autumn leaves crunched underneath my footsteps as I walked briskly, leaving a trail of crushed leaves in my path. I normally stopped to enjoy the cool breeze and sweet, crunchy noises of fall, but today was simply not a good day to halt.
I tied my hair hurriedly in a messy ponytail, trying to keep my bag steady as I did so. Not an easy task. I stumbled a little as I stepped on a rock, sending me on a frenzy. My hands were still working on my thick, brown hair—that can actually use all the work it can get. My hair was still wet from my bath a while ago, and I didn't have enough time to actually dry it.
So why exactly was I in a hurry? On a weekday, no less?
No, I am not a study-holic, unlike some people in my school. And no, I am not part of the student council or any other club-slash-organization that required me to come to school as early as possible.
Today was the audition for the Theatre club, and—although I hate to admit it—I am super excited—like, giddy excited—love-crazed schoolgirl excited.
I have this weird addiction to scripts and plays. Ever since I was a little child, I have been entranced by movies like Titanic, Romeo and Juliet, and other adaptations of original works by some famous author. What can I say? I loved acting—so much that I'm willing to give up everything. I can honestly say that that includes my family.
My mom doesn't care. She spends all her time babysitting my older sister, Maika. Maika isn't really disabled, or autistic, or sick—my mom just loves babying her, giving her everything she wants. That's because when she was little, mom spoiled Maika into thinking that she'll always be there for her whenever she needed her. Maika's always been normal (as normal as she can be as a fifteen-year old spoiled child) until she got into drugs. Mom's really worried and sad, and suddenly, all the attention I got from her disappeared in a snap.
My dad actually lives in our house once every two months. He's a businessman. He used to be around a lot when I was a kid—he used to watch me act on our "stage" and clap as I bowed. Business has been booming, so I don't see him very much. My mom spoiled my sister, my dad spoiled me. Unfortunately, without him around, my days in that house have pretty much been hell.
The school was unusually silent. Very few students loitered the halls. I ran the brush over my overly-messy and too-tight ponytail. I had no time to fix that now, the auditorium was in sight. I ran as fast as humanly possible. I wasn't late, but I wasn't early either, so I had nothing to worry about.
I swung the doors open, to be greeted by a dark room occupied by six people. I blinked furiously to adjust my eyes to the darkness, three of the six sat on huge chairs on the stage, each in their respective position.
"You were almost late," Alexa Veliones said, eyeing me with that cold gaze of hers. Her dyed blue hair was tied in a its usual, neat ponytail—that I could never pull off. Her face (which was usually filled with emotions on stage) was scrunched up in an unreadable expression. She was tapping her foot impatiently, and her eye twitched every so often.
"I wasn't late," I said. "I wasn't early either. I was just in time."
Gerti Smith tapped her digital wristwatch, which displayed the time clearly despite the darkness. She flicked her long blonde hair away from her forehead, showing off her bright green eyes. "We set an audition time. To see who really wanted to join the theatre club."
I raised an eyebrow in confusion. "What?"
Gerti's watch blinked twice and let out several high-pitched 'beep's, just as the door slammed open to reveal a boy with shaggy brown hair. He was panting, taking deep and steady inhales and exhales. He said nothing, and he stared at us blankly, observing us.
"Just in time," Gerti said, smiling and looking at her watch. "That's all the auditionees, or auditioners—whatever. "
"That's all?" I said, checking my own watch, which was worn-out and tired from all the times I've hurriedly tied it around my wrist. "It's only six-thirty. Audition time is at six-forty five. Twenty people—ten freshmen—signed up for this audition. You can't just do—"
"Do what?" Rinoah Crezda said, uncrossing his legs and standing up to full height. "We appreciate that you actually care enough for the people who stood out among the others and signed up, but unfortunately, this is the Theatre Club. Nothing ever is normal around here. The auditions will start in five minutes. Ready yourselves."
I walked to the seats in front of the stage, and sat down next to a girl with short brown hair and glasses. She looked at me rather curiously, blinking her blue eyes as she did so, but then resumed her attention on stage. I raised my eyebrow at her, but she didn't look at me again.
The boy beside her looked oddly familiar. He had jet-black hair and striking blue eyes. He released an aura of indifference, and I wondered how the other girl could sit beside him.
"Hello there," the boy who burst in a while ago said as he plopped down next to me, saluting as he did so. "Early, I see."
"I was 'almost late,' as well," I told him. "Name?"
"Leo Reed," he replied. Now that he was sitting next to me, I took in full account of his appearance. His shaggy brown hair looked untameable, and I was sure that he had tried to fix it during the morning, due to the hair-gel residue at the ends. His blue eyes sparkled with innocence and naivety. It seemed as if he knew nothing about the evil in this world—about heartbreak, torture, hate, and other acts of violence. "What's your name?"
"Heria Wriths." I had opened my mouth to answer, but was interrupted by Alexa Veliones, who smirked at us pointedly. "Sixteen year-old aspiring actress, currently known as Yates High's 'Wannabe Drama Queen.' Born on the twenty-first of March. Famously known for her sassy and sarcastic comebacks, indifferent attitude, and—surprisingly—high grades."
I raised an eyebrow at her. "How in the world would you know that?"
"The Theatre Club has its resources. Besides, we have to know everything about the people who audition. We won't be able to get in touch with their deepest, darkest, points and perspectives if we don't know anything about them," Alexa replied. "We have gathered data from selected students from this school, courtesy of our members."
"Ness Russoniello," Gerti piped, flipping papers placed in a folder. "Sixteen years old. Former candidate for Miss Popular. Born on the nineteenth of April. Most famously known for her drop-down on the popular list, scar on her throat—caused by a thief in the night, apparently ripped out—and the loss of her ability to speak."
The girl beside me smiled, assuring Gerti that the information was, indeed, correct. I stared at her. She couldn't speak? How was she going to communicate? How can she recite lines? How can she perform her audition?
A scar really was on her throat, though it was faint. How could she have survived that? Millions (I love exaggerating) of questions swirled in my mind, but I knew now was not the time to ask.
"Leo Reed," Rinoah read, interrupting me from my thoughts about Ness.
Leo saluted at him like did to me. "That's me."
Rinoah nodded and continued. "Seventeen years old—football quarterback, star player—born on the sixteenth of February—most famously known for "The big finish" during the last season."
"Slow down there," Leo commented, laughing slightly. "But yeah, that's true. Man, you get information re—"
Alexa cut off a conversation once again, making my whole body freeze as she did so. That name—actually, no, the owner of the name—was the person who sent me into oblivion when we were young. He was the bane of my existence, the thorn in my gut—I had completely forgotten about him.
"Seventeen years old—basketball star and genius student—born on the twenty-third of June. Known as the "Wicked Darling" of Yates High. Famously known for his striking good looks—" Alexa gagged "—arrogant and cocky attitude, pride, and popularity."
I shivered as nostalgia flooded my entire body. I knew him—yes, I knew him. As Alexa had said, he was famous—so damn famous that even someone as popular as Leo couldn't talk to him. He was part of the "Elite" some sort of popular group at Yates High.
We were friends—once. When we were young, we were both loners. I was a loner because I tend to concentrate more on my scripts more than actual people. He was a loner because of his freaky German accent, and the fact that he knew next to no one in town. We loved acting, and we spent every passing hour together. Our mothers—who became close—even allowed sleepovers between us, even though he was a guy and I was a girl.
Then—something happened. I called it "The Fallout." Kinda cheesy, but it was the perfect title for what happened. You see, when Hanz discovered the secrets to popularity, he began to isolate himself from me. I think he soon found out that the reason why I was his only friend was because I was weird—and unsocial. Well, maybe I was. I disliked people.
"There we go," Alexa said, gathering the papers and closing the folder. "Let the audition begin."
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