Chapter 60: Stars - Youngblood Hawke
“We’re so going to win this, Ry.” Cece rubbed Ry’s forearm.
He eyed the hand on his arm with eyes narrowed, but didn’t vocalize his disapproval. “I was not questioning it.”
“Well, yeah, but I just wanted to say it anyway.” She removed her hand but remained unnecessarily close.
He was not eating up the attention she was giving him in the way he ordinarily did when approached by women. He was visibly distraught and the reason was far from clear.
“Hey, what is wrong with him?” I leaned in Milo’s direction.
“Is there an abbreviated version?”
“He doesn’t trust Art with Elle.”
“Now that wasn’t so hard.”
He looked over at me with a small smirk. “It requires so little to please you.”
“I will take that as a compliment.”
“Adam, have you been feeding info to the girls?” Finn approached us with his hands on his hips.
“No, but I am very surprised you care. You never care.”
“I refuse to buy tampons in a tube top and go shopping with Elle. It is a matter of dignity.”
“That’s what is at stake?” I struggled not to smile.
“Yes. Is your answer still ‘no’?”
“Yes. I swear.”
“The Elle-Stars are about to go on.” Julia announced.
“Let’s roll, Gang.” Ry lead the pack.
“Hello, we’re The Elle-Stars. I chose this name because my name is Elle and my team is a compilation of superstars. The first person we have singing for us tonight definitely lives up to that title. In our group of friends, she’s our shy sweetheart, but she has a killer voice. Get on up here, Morgan.” Elle introduced before she handed her microphone over to Morgan.
I turned to Milo and asked, “Morgan can sing?” in a hushed tone.
He breathed out small laugh. “Something like that.” He said vaguely, still laughing to himself.
“Wow, thanks for all the pressure, Elle.” Morgan joked, taking the microphone into her hand.
“I don’t know about you guys, but I was TERRIFIED my first day here. I had no clue where I was supposed to do or where I belonged. I used to be so scared to be myself, worried that no one would like me. I was willing to be whatever it was each person I was with needed until this year. I just desperately wanted to be apart of everyone else’s story, assuming that mine wasn’t worth writing. It turns out that it is. In fact, everyone deserves to have their voice heard. It just takes some people, myself included, a bit longer to find it.” She addressed the audience before giving a head cue to Sami, who was seated at the piano.
As she started to sing, I held my breath, anxious to hear what she sounded like. Her voice was as lovely as she was.
The second song led by Sami picked up the tempo, but the true spectacle started when Elle sang the pre-chorus. The lights were later turned off and they started glowing in the dark due to special costumes.
It was insanely cool, especially when Iz and the guy she was dancing with started doing flips and other acrobatic-style tricks while glowing in the dark.
“I should’ve known she’d go to Kenny!” Ryan cried as soon the crowd started going crazy for them.
“How are they doing this?” My mouth was agape.
“The lighting and sound guy, Kenny, is obsessed with Elle. She called in a favor, which is UNFAIR!” Ryan continued on his rant. “Could you have done this?” He pushed Finn.
“Well, yeah…but I didn’t think to. None of us did. Sami is my ideas person.”
They kept up their uncanny theatrics through the rest of their set, especially the end.
“It’s tough to think that we’ll simply be a memory to you guys in a few short months. Seriously, I’m getting a bit misty-eyed just thinking about graduation, but it’s necessary to move on with our lives. As much as I’ve loved my time here, High school doesn’t go on forever. I love this place and everyone in it. My team and I had a very long discussion about what we wanted our legacy to be.
And ultimately, we just want you guys to remember to keep shining like that stars that you are. Never let anyone put out your fire. It’s burning within you for a reason. We’ll never forget any of you. And we’d like you to promise us that you’ll never fade into the background. The whole world is your stage and like us, you were born to stand out. Do it with pride. It gets lonely at times, but if you stand strong long enough, someone will take your hand and join you on your journey to stardom.” Ellen said lastly, swiping away a tear as she handed over the mic.
Their song choice drove that whole performance home. It had the perfect energy to close out a show - it felt like an ending, but it was still energetic - like a closing of one era and the opening of a new one. Very bittersweet and beautiful. The ‘wow’ factor aspect of this number was the projection of supernovas lighting up the night sky that somehow ended up on the back wall of the stage. The beautiful colors contrasted well with the darkness of the pitch-black sky. Elle made the decision to have the stage-lights dimmed out, making only their silhouettes visible as they danced. It was representative of the fact that their time to shine at SMA is almost over and the underclassman are to be the new stars to light it up to keep it from going dark in their absence.
As an unbiased third-party that had nothing to lose, I had a hard time imagining the girls losing after a performance like that.