A Little Taste of Heaven

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"You've got me laughing while I sing." (2)

And just as I read Lady Gaga, the music explodes in the theatre. Nicole and Kayla look startled, and then all of them run to the backside of the stage to watch Leslie perform. I put my journal back in my bag and followed them. When I reach my friends, I see their mouths are hanging open. So, I looked at Leslie, and she was completely in character and dressed like Lady Gaga. I don’t want them to know she’s going to win. They’ll know it later, anyway.

“We’re never gonna beat her!” Nicole hisses, crossing her arms, and then turns to the twins. “You two better performed your best earlier!”

Kayla pouts, looking worried. “No way, the guidance would allow that kind of clothing.”

Leslie is like wearing a one-piece swimming costume, but she has stockings on. So technically, there was no dress code violation. But, I’m pretty sure it was still against the school’s clothing policy because of the boldness of the outfit. She is singing Bad Romance, which was one of my favourites. Célina and I always dance it in Just Dance.

Jealousy and regret are clearly shown in Kayla’s face as she ogles at Leslie and her goons on stage. I believe Kayla wanted to perform using one of Lady Gaga’s songs because she is trending.

But I shrug. “Just like Jared said, I’m only here for the grade,” I sigh. “Although, thinking about it, I should’ve been the one singing Lady Gaga.”

Nicole touches my shoulder. “Honey, you don’t like Lady Gaga.”

My head whips upwards as I stare at her in confusion. I am shocked. “Uh, I don’t dislike her.”

Kayla nods. “Well, when we were still choosing the singers, you refused to sing a Lady Gaga song.”

It looked like it was my fault.

Andrew steps in. “Girls, what’s done is done. There’s nothing we can do anymore.” He wraps his arms around us. “Besides, even if Leslie wins the competition, we have won the hearts of our fellow classmates. Plus, we were great out there. The audience is the witness!”

I laugh at the realisation of my friend’s air for leadership. “That’s why you won the presidency.”

Andrew smiles but is confused. “Yeah, I might consider that.”

Oops. I didn’t mean to say it out loud.

Kayla whines. “Guys, she’s so good,” gesturing her hand at Leslie. “Look, even her backup dancers are good!”

Jason elbows Paul.

“Come on, Kayla,” says Jason. “We did our absolute best. Right, Paul?”

Paul agrees. “It doesn’t really matter who wins or loses.”

Kayla still pouts. “But I’m pretty sure Mrs Liao is looking for people she’d be training hands-on, and I want that. It would be good for my resume!”

Jared and Jason laugh. “Dude, we’re still freshmen.”

I beam at them. “The only thing we need to do is tell Mrs Liao then.”

They look at me, confused, but they practically get the hint. “Oh, snap!” says Paul, “seriously, Mariana?”

I nod. “Yeah, Mrs Liao just pulled me aside before I reached the dressing room. She actually wishes for us to win.”

Kayla excitedly jumps up and down, forgetting Leslie. “This is way better than winning this competition.”

I laugh as Jared and Jason look uncertain at the news while Andrew and Paul look neutral, but Nicole and Kayla look like they just won the lottery. I am excited, too. She used to act on Broadway. BROADWAY! Who am I to pass that opportunity?

The competition subsides, and it is clear Leslie is the winner; it said so in my journal, too. But I never wrote what she sang or what her outfit was. We line up on stage and wait for the hosts to announce the winner. Tension builds up, and the drum rolls. Every student in the theatre shouts their representatives’ names. Yet, the way my homeroom chants my name overpowers the noise of the audience. The hosts already announced the F. F. or ‘Favourite Five,’ and my crew and I are part of that alongside Leslie Casillas (of course), two from junior year and duh? Ryan Kaufman.

“The scores are tight, ladies and gentlemen!” says one of the hosts. “You all were fantastic, but unfortunately, only one can win.”

The tension becomes thicker, but to me, it’s nothing because I already know who’s gonna win. “Guys?! Who’s your pick?!” says the other host.

Just the five of us to pick, everyone shouts their bets.

The hosts announce the prizes for the winner. “Claim your tickets for the choice of your Broadway Stage-Play,” says one of the hosts, “the amazing exclusive New York City Tour!” says the other as the drum rolls, and then both of them say, “and of course, rocketing grades from yours truly, beloved teachers!”

To my surprise, one concluded history had been re-written when the hosts announced, “Give it up to the Freshmen!”

“OH, MY GOD!” I gasp, this is all wrong!

But my crew and homeroom jump in joy and keep shouting my name. BUT OMG! What have I done?! The hosts give us the prizes. “Here you go, 1-D. You deserve it!”

We get the prizes and thank the judges and our homeroom for support. I still can’t believe we won. We go backstage to get our things and change back into our uniforms. I open my journal and write: “What now? Leslie is not the winner.”

I hide in the corner, so I’m the only one who can see.

It replies. “Just go with it, but please don’t stray anymore.

I roll my eyes. “I just did what I had to do. What on earth happened back there?”

I don’t know. Maybe you impressed the judges so well they decided to declare you the winner. Just enjoy it! If something changes in the future, I will definitely fill you in. Or, you will know it anyway.

But then again, it was not the whole truth. I nod and write, “Alright.” But wait a minute. I thought to myself and wrote again, now annoyed. “If you don’t want me to change some things, then why did you bring me here in the first place, huh? You could have just let me be!” I wait for it to answer, but no response. I shut my journal and head back to my friends.

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