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After Rain

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Chapter 2: Here We Go Again

And not a minute spent,

To think that we’d regret.

So we just take it back,

These words and hold our breath,

Forget the things we swore we meant.

I’ll write you just to let you know that I’m alright.

~Here We Go Again- Paramore

“How’d you get this anyway?” I asked as we drove around the Auditions theatre, looking for a place to park.

Annabelle shrugged. “The company making the movie emailed me with the flyer,” she told me as she switched on the car’s blinker.

“What? How’d they get your email?” It wasn’t that I really doubted Bells or anything like that, it just seemed strange. Julliard rarely even got many flyers or advertisements for auditions. We had agents and scouts come, sure, but as far as I knew, we did get many emails about things like this.

Annabelle shrugged, then winked at me playfully. “Connections, darling,” she said in a weird, almost indescribable tone. It was sort of dramatic, and fake. Sort of like a bad actor trying to fake a British accent, but failing miserable. Which, by Bells’ choice of words and her wink, seemed to be what she was going for. A couple moments later, we finally found a parking spot, only about a five minute walk from the auditions theatre.

“Whoa,” I said as we rounded the corner. Along the side of the building, there was a long line of screaming people, mostly girls. It was kind of what you think you’d see at a Justin Bieber concert, not an audition. “Um, Bells, you sure we have the right address?”

She laughed. “Yeah, I think so.”

“Well. We’re gonna be waiting for a while, then. Tell me why we’re here again?” I headed towards the end of the line. Before I could make it very far, Bells grabbed my wrist and pulled me back. “What? Where are we going?” I asked as she pulled me towards the entrance, where some scary looking guys were attempting to control the raging crowd.

“Invitation?” One of them demanded when he saw us. Invitation? To auditions? This was insane. Just what film was this? What film needed locked auditions and already had a gazillion fan girls? Was this what the girls at Starbucks were talking about yesterday? I mean, there couldn’t be a lot of locked auditions in New York that just so happened to happen now, right?

Bells pulled the flyer out of her bad and handed it to him.

“It’s black and white,” he stated, looking at us like we were stupid.

No, really? I felt really tempted to blurt out. But you know, I didn’t feel really tempted to die today, so I didn’t.

“It was emailed to us,” Bells replied calmly. The guy motioned to an official looking guy by the door. The guy walked over, holding a clipboard.

“Name?” he asked.

“Annabelle Jackson.”

He flipped through the pages on his clipboard. “She’s in,” he said a moment later.

“Company?” the first guy asked, raising a hand to stop me.

“Open,” the second guy replied. The first guy dropped his arm and led us through the mob to the entrance. He pulled out a key and silently let us in.

“That was weird. What auditions have that much security?” I asked Bells quietly once we were inside. Bells shrugged and stepped up to a counter.

“Call Me Cupid?” the bored looking girl behind the counter asked. Bells nodded. “Down the right hall, second door on the left.”

A couple moments later, we stepped into a room filled with about two dozen other people. It was probably the waiting room. Most of the girls were running through exercises. There were also a couple older people dressed in suits beside them, probably their agents or coaches, given that half of them were helping the girls, the others on their phone.

“What is this film?” I asked, taking in the room with wide eyes. When it said auditions, I thought it would be people who were studying theatre, like me. Not aspiring actresses with agents and coaches and everything. Talk about intimidating.

“I have no idea. I didn’t expect this,” Bells replied as we sat down in two chairs tucked in the corner.

“What’s the movie called? Call Me Cupid?” I asked, pulling out my phone. She nodded and looked around the room, somewhat distracted. I opened the web and entered the name in Google. Whoa. It was only in the stage of auditions and it already had an official website and a couple fan sites. Okay. Maybe it was a film based off a really popular book. I clicked on the official site. Or maybe not. It was an original film. Slowly, I scrolled through until I found the plot.

Alyssa Jacobs is the good girl matchmaker. Colton Walker is the bad boy romance advisor. They want nothing to do with each other, but when Keera, Alyssa’s best friend and Colton’s cousin finds out about their Cupid’s-Assistant activities, things get messy. Alyssa and Colton are blackmailed into making an online dating manual. It’s just two months of living together. Survivable, right?


They’re absolutely determined to make each other’s lives hell.

Directed by Brett Hastings.

Script written and co-directed by Kallie Fleming.

I almost dropped my phone. “Bells. This is Kallie and Brett’s film,” I told her.

For a moment, she was silent. Then she shot me a slightly guilty look.

“You knew?” I whispered, jaw dropping slightly.

Bells sighed. “Kallie emailed me with the flyer, asking me to come. It was also an audition, so I figured it would be for you.”

I blinked and stayed quiet, trying to absorb all the information. It was quite likely I would see Kallie again. I was auditioning for her movie. It was also quite likely I would see Brett again as well. The thing that scared me was who else I would see.

“Are you mad?” Bells asked, pulling me out of my thoughts.

I shook my head. “Not really. I just wished you had warned me.”

“She was your best friend too.”

“Yeah, three years ago. I haven’t talked to her ever since… You know.”

About a month after I left, I had tried calling Kallie. Things were going pretty well at RHS, so I was in the mood to try again. That mood had died a bit (okay, a lot), when Kaden answered the phone. He had sounded pretty normal, neither happy nor sad, just normal. It was that that had gotten to me, though. Really, it had just been his voice and all the memories it brought back. I was tempted to hang up, then curl into a ball and cry (weak, I know, but it hurt, okay?), but I didn’t. Instead, I pasted on a smile, despite him not being able to see me, and in the brightest tone I could manage asked ‘Is Kallie there?’. For a moment, it had been silent, and I had assumed the Kaden was getting her. But I never heard my best friend’s voice. Instead, the only sound that came through was the dial tone.

I didn’t call again after that.

I told myself it was because Kaden hanging up obviously said Kallie didn’t want to talk to me, but that had only been a small part of the reason. Honestly, I was scared something like that would happen again, only when it did, Kaden would be happy when he picked up. When he picked up, he would’ve moved on. Or worse, there would have been someone else in the background, someone he was completely happy with.

It was a pretty lame excuse not to call your best friend, but I was honestly terrified. It was stupid, but I didn’t want to hear that he had moved on. I still didn’t, which was why I turned off the TV or radio every time people started talking about him.

Bells was saying something, but it wasn’t registering in my head. All I felt was an almost drowning sense of panic. “I can’t do this. I’ll meet you back at the apartment,” I said, standing up.

“Raine,” Bells protested, following suit.

“I can’t do this,” I repeated.

Too late.

Someone came flying at Annabelle, her long blonde hair swinging out behind her. “You came!” Kallie exclaimed, pulling away.

Then she noticed me. “Oh my god, Raine? You brought her? This works out perfectly! You’re auditioning, right?”

“No,” I responded quickly.

“Yes,” Bells corrected barely a second later.

“I was just leaving.”

Kallie pouted. “But you should audition.” Before I got the chance to protest, she grabbed my arm and began dragging me up to the desk at the front. What is it with people and dragging others with them these days? I mean, ‘follow me’ would’ve worked. Okay, maybe not, but whatever.

“Kallie, I can’t,” I whispered, flinching slightly at the multiple curious looks from around the room. It was already intimidating that the people trying out here had actual agents and coaches, but add that to the fact that it Kallie’s film and the fact that the fan base was huge…

“Why not?” she challenged. There have been a lot of times where I wished Kallie wasn’t as stubborn as she was. This was another one of those times.

“There are lots of people here, they can audition,” I replied, avoiding her question because the only reason I really had was me being scared, which was pathetic. And, well, there was something else, but I didn’t even want to admit that to myself, much less Kallie.

“Come on Raine, this would look amazing on your resume. And it’s just an audition. It’s not like I’m forcing you to sign some yearlong contract,” she said.

“I don’t know the script,” I told her, the excuse just hitting me now.

“No one does. It’s exclusive information.”

I didn’t reply, instead just looked at her, trying to figure out how she wasn’t even the slightest bit mad.

She stared back at me.

“Fine,” I caved, not wanting to cause more of a scene.

“Yes! Do you have another set of forms?” Kallie asked turning to the girl sitting behind the desk who wordlessly handed Kallie a pile of papers. “Thanks. Just fill these out and bring them when you’re called,” Kallie told me after taking them and handing them to me.

“Thanks,” I replied, slowly taking the papers from her. How did I get myself into this? Auditioning for my best friend –can I even call her that anymore? Are we still best friends?– film and running the risk of meeting- No, Raine, don’t go there. I made my way back to my seat, waving weakly at Kallie as she disappeared into the auditions room.

To be honest, I wasn’t paying much attention as I filled out the forms. It was standard stuff, and I was pretty distracted by recent events. Why wasn’t Kallie mad? I mean, I haven’t contacted her for three years! Not to mention I had ignored her messages the first couple of months until she stopped. It wasn’t that I wanted her to be mad or anything, I just found it weird that she wasn’t. Was she planning some sort of revenge or something, maybe? Was that why she was being so nice?

Wow, Raine, you’re so trusting and positive.

“Raine,” Bells whispered, snapping me out of my thoughts. “They just called you.” Shoot. I quickly scribbled my signature at the bottom of the forms and stood up. As I made my way across the room, I sneaked a look at the clock. Whoa, had it really been ten minutes already? I really need to stop getting distracted by my thoughts. It can’t be good for me.

I walked into the auditions room to find a large, plain white backdrop with two stools in front of it and a bunch of cameras. Beside the cameras, there was a desk with Kallie and an early-thirties woman with dark hair sitting behind it.

“Raine, this is Rory Thompson, our executive manager from Summer Productions. She’s filling in for Brett,” Kallie told me as I handed her the forms.

“Hi, nice to meet you, Ms. Thompson” I said, shaking her hand while praying that she wasn’t married. Not as like that, but because if she was, then I got her prefix wrong and that would be kind of awkward.

“You too,” she replied. Someone guided me back so I was standing between the two stools, in front of the backdrop. “So, Raine, it says here you go to Julliard?”

“Yes,” I confirmed, tapping my fingers against my leg nervously.

“Have you ever been in one of their plays?”

“Yeah, I played the modern-day fairy god-mother and best friend in our re-vamp of Cinderella.” I remember I had been so proud of being able to land that part. I still was, but it seemed so small now. It probably was, compared to the other people auditioning.

“Impressive for a sophomore,” Rory Thompson told me. She shot me a kind smile as she marked something down on her clipboard. Okay, well, at least she’s nice. And it sounded genuine, so yay.

“Thank you.”

“Alright, so, if you could memorize the passage handed to you and perform it for us. You can add in any gestures you’d like, make it your own.” As soon as she finished an assistant handed me a piece of paper with a small paragraph of writing.


Let’s talk excuses.

Okay, first up: ‘My friend’s cousin’s co-worker’s son-in-law’s best friend’s pet fish died’.

Three things wrong with that.

One, when it’s past five mutuals, it doesn’t really work.

Two, pet funerals are for family and a few close friends. Yes, everyone else will smile politely at you when you invite them, but really, they secretly think you’re insane.

Three, if you believe that… You’re an idiot.

So, overall, if she uses that excuse, get a hint.

Uh, next up, repeated reasons. Let me just say, as awkward as it is to announce this to the Worldwide Web, a girl cannot have her time of month, four times a month.

I re-read the passage twice, before looking up. Then I noticed a blinking red light on one of the cameras. “Whoa, wait, the auditions are being filmed?” I asked staring wide eyed at the cameras.

“Yeah, it says that on the contract Raine. Did you read it?” Kallie asked teasingly.

Oops. “Oh, um, sort of.” I probably looked like a complete idiot right now.

“You know, if you don’t let us kill you for purposes of the auditions, we can sue you for a million dollars,” Rory Thompson told me, smiling slightly.

“What? No. That’s now how- No. Um. I’ll just, uh, start my auditions now.” And now I probably looked like a human tomato. Or a fire engine. Whichever’s redder. The audition wasn’t hard. It was a fun passage to perform, she was a fun character. There wasn’t a lot I could add other than some facial expressions and some hand gestures, but despite that, I felt like I did okay. Or, at least I didn’t fail miserably. To me, that is.

Neither Kallie nor Rory Thompson said anything after, just scribbled on their respective clipboards. Well, talk about awkward. Was it really that bad? It didn’t seem like it to me, but they weren’t saying anything.

“Uh, is that all?” I asked uncomfortably after a couple moments of silence.

“Oh, no! Um, I’ll be right back, just stay here!” Kallie exclaimed, jumping up and walking out of the room quickly. I blinked. Okay then. I shot a look around the room. A couple people were walking around with clipboards and technical equipment, Rory Thompson was scribbling on her clipboard and a poor dog in the corner looked like it was about to cry. Other than the sound of pen moving on paper and light footsteps, it was silent. Well. This is ever so slightly, just a little bit awkward.

I took a seat on one of the stools and waited for Kallie to get back. A couple moments later, I heard her voice from outside the room. “Where were you? You were supposed to be here ten minutes ago!”

“Sorry, got caught up with fans,” a second, just as familiar voice said. No way. It couldn’t be. Not today. Not now. Not here. Oh my god. I mean, yeah, it made sense because he was her brother and it was her movies, but still. No. I just didn’t want to see him. I wasn’t ready. Even after three years, as pathetic as that may have sounded.

“I’ve had people run lines with Nadia, but she just went for a coffee break and there’s someone I need you to run lines with.” Audition rooms need more exits. And less people. It’d be so much easier to conveniently disappear.

The door opened.

Before he could notice, or even see me, Rory Thompson walked over and pulled him into a hug. “Kaden! Nice to see you again,” she said, smiling widely. I tuned out of their conversation as I mentally psyched myself. Okay, Raine, you can do this, it’s been three years, and no one cares anymore. Just don’t act affected. You go to Julliard under a half-scholarship for performing arts, you can do this. Oh screw it, this is not working.

“So who am I running lines with?” he asked, starting to turn around. I gulped and braced myself. Immediately, we locked eyes.

He hadn’t changed much. His hair was maybe a bit longer, his eyes maybe a bit bluer. His face was just a bit more defined, stronger somehow, though I wasn’t sure if that came from getting older, or simply having to change to fit the role of whatever character he had played in his last movie.

I wasn’t sure how long we stared at each other for. I would say not too long, since Rory Thompson didn’t make a comment, and neither did anyone else in the room. I was first to break the eye contact by turning to look at Kallie. “So, uh, what scene are we doing?” I asked in the most un-affected tone I could muster.

“Right! Can someone give them Scene Eight? Kaden, you can take a seat next to Raine since you’ll be sitting at the start of this scene anyway,” Kallie called out. At the sound her of voice, people scrambled into action. Someone handed me and Kaden a scripts. Someone else gave me a laptop and him a leather jacket, which I suspected were props for the scene- no really? Um, I should stop talking to myself. A couple other people got behind the cameras. And despite all the chaos, I didn’t miss the weird look Rory Thompson shot Kallie. All because I was desperately trying to avoid Kaden’s eyes.

“Oh, and Raine?” I looked up. “There’s a part in that scene where you’re supposed to get up to turn off a camera, don’ bother, just standing up is fine since we don’t have a camera for you to turn off,” Kallie told me as she and Rory Thompson sat back down at their desk.

“I know you guys just go the script, so I don’t expect you guys to memorize it, but please try and act as if this is the real thing. Do the actions, expressions, changes of voice, whatever’s possible. You can, of course, look down at the script. Take a couple moments to look over it now, and we’ll start in five,” Rory Thompson instructed before taking a big breath which made me grin a little bit a wonder how many times she had recited that speech today.

I was still smiling slightly when I looked down at the script. It didn’t last long, though.

Out of all the scenes in the movie, most of which probably have more insults and hate, Kallie had to give us this one. Just a page in and I could already tell why Rory Thompson had looked at Kallie funny when she called out the scene.

Usually, in a movie where the two main characters have a more hate-love relationship, the people auditioning are tested for ‘rotten chemistry’. Especially when one of the people playing one of the characters is a famous ‘Hollywood heartthrob’.

This is where the disadvantages of the co-director being Kallie and the famous one being Kaden came in. We had all grown up around each other. Kallie knew just how well Kaden and I were at ignoring and insulting each other. We had done it for almost all our lives. Sure, it had been three years, but old habits die hard. It was pretty likely that Kaden and I still had the ‘hate’ thing down.

Which meant Kallie had to test us on our real ‘chemistry’.

The scene she gave us wasn’t exactly a love scene, but it was pretty close. The annoying thing was, it wasn’t even some drunk part scene or a scene that was played more on lust, a scene that any other director probably would’ve chosen to test ‘real chemistry’. Scenes that played on lust worked fine, they showed that the two people could stand close contact and other awkward things. Yeah, it was extremely awkward to act out, but it was easy. But no, Kallie was Kallie and the scene she gave us played on mind games and emotional tension.

Which was a lot of staring into eyes and lines that seemed just a bit too real.

Damnit, Kallie, you never give up, do you?

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