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The Curtain Call


T A Y A

“Where the hell is he?” Hallee was literally screaming.

“None of us can reach him,” Gabe replied.

It was performance day and it was chaos. Judah didn’t show up for the call time and we waited and waited, and he never came. We tried calling him, we looked everywhere for him, but none of us could find him.

“He’s not picking up my calls either,” I said as I threw my stupid phone on the dressing room table.

“Guys, we’re fifteen minutes away. What should we do? Should we cancel—“

“We can’t cancel the freaking show, Patrice!” Hallee yelled at our stage manager.

And at the height of all the stress and tension, suddenly the backstage door swung open and Judah emerged. He was limping a little, his clothes were ragged, and his face was all torn up. It was as if he just came out of a car crash.

“Judah!” The whole room shouted in unison and everyone went over to crowd him.

“What happened?” I demanded, following the row of people before me.

“It’s nothing,” he said and looked away.

His wounds were fresh. Had he been fighting?

“It’s not nothing,” I stated.

“We’ll talk after the show,” he said simply and I sighed.

As much as I wanted more information, he was right. We didn’t have time for that right now. Judah was being pulled around into different directions as the make up team came at him with powder and brushes and the costume team came at him with his armor and helmet.

“Everyone on your spot! Get ready! We are live in just two minutes!” Mrs. Zee shouted over us all and the knot in my stomach tightened.

“I feel so nervous, I think I’m gonna hurl,” I said as I clung onto the hem of my gown.

“Don’t even think of doing anything as much as sneeze! Your make up is legit on point right now and we’ve spent an entire night stitching your dress into perfection!” Hallee threatened.

“Calm your tits, you’re gonna do great,” she said to me, although I felt like she was telling herself that as well.

Hallee gave me a quick supportive hug before walking off to the side of the stage. I took a moment to steal a glance at the audiences through the tall curtains and I saw my mom sitting in the front row with Kai next to her. I watched as people piled in and filled almost all of the empty seats in the auditorium, and somewhere in the back I spotted Blake as well.

Whatever you do Taya, just don’t puke your guts out!

I closed the curtains and turned around, trying my hardest to calm my nerves. I looked up to see Judah and our eyes met. He was trying to get to the other side of the stage when our paths crossed.

I noticed how the make up team did a great job covering up his bruises with a ton of concealer and that he was wearing this knight costume, like the one Leonardo DiCaprio wore in the movie. Despite everything, he looked drop-dead gorgeous. I shot him a smile and expected him to smile back, but he just looked at me for the longest time, and he looked away.

What was that all about? Well, maybe he was just feeling nervous like me.

I made my way over to the middle of the stage. There was a fake human body being placed there and I, as Rose the vampire girl, was supposed to be sucking the life out of that body as the curtain rise.

Talk about a grand opening.

I looked over to where Judah was standing on the side of the stage, and he was staring right at me. Our eyes met again and he shot me a weak smile this time. Judah smirked and smiled playfully a lot, but this was that rare and genuine smile that I didn’t often see on his face. I smiled back in response, and somehow I felt much calmer.

“Ready everyone? We are live in 10… 9…”

I focused on my breathing as I heard the countdown nearing to its end. The next thing I knew, the curtain was raised. The spotlight shone brightly on my eyes, and I couldn’t see anything or anyone. Taking a deep breath and ignoring the blinding lights, I bent over to the fake body and proceeded with doing my scene.

“Freeze! Don’t move,”Judah spoke his first line as Jack, and I turned to see him walking towards me, taking his sword out.

“Be careful with that. You don’t want to hurt yourself,”Rose replied, standing up before tossing the fake body on the ground.

“A… Are you a vampire?”Jack spoke in a shaky voice.

“Aren’t you a smart little one?”Rose retorted sarcastically.

Jack was about to attack Rose with his sword, but she was quick to dodge his attack and snatched the sword skillfully from him. She raised the sword up to his neck as he stood in shock and fear.

“Are you going to kill me?”he said with a gulp.

“Are you going to give me a reason not to?”Rose raised her eyebrow playfully.

Jack looked as if he was about ready to give up his life, before suddenly he twisted Rose’s arm around and snatched the sword back. They continued to fight each other until they reached a standoff.

Now I didn’t know where this sudden surge of confidence came from. Somehow everything else faltered around me and all that mattered was how much I wanted to tell this story we had. I was enjoying myself the whole time, and I could tell that Judah was too.

The crowd cheered with us, laughed with us, and cried with us. One by one, we did our scenes until we were left with only the last scene. The ship that Jack and Rose were on hit an iceberg and it was sinking. At this point, Rose was severely injured after fighting the evil vampire, Lord Valderolt, and she was dying. Rose and Jack declared their love for one another before holding onto one another and jumping off the sinking ship together.

They died at the end, but they had lived happily close to forever.

“I will always love you, Jack,”

“And I, you,” his eyes were as bright as it ever was. I never saw his eyes shone that way before.

A tear trickled down my face. It was involuntary, as if it was just a natural reaction.

The curtains dropped as Jack and Rose shared their last kiss before jumping off. The sound of people cheering and clapping filled the air. I could even hear a few sobs from people on the front row. The cheering and clapping went around for a while, and when the curtain rose back up, people were on their feet giving us a standing ovation.

It was such a rush. The most exhilarating thing I had ever experienced in my life. I couldn’t stop myself from smiling from ear to ear, and I could see that Judah was too. Happy tears trickled down my face as we took one last bow and waved to everyone at the audience and the curtains dropped again for good.


“That was so…” I turned to face Judah with the biggest smile on my face.

“Yeah…” He smiled back, his hand reaching out to wipe the single tear on my cheek. I blushed instantly and he pulled away.

“Oh my goodness! You guys were so brilliant!” Hallee raced over to us in no time and pulled us both for a hug.

She was a crying and sobbing mess. This was her baby after all. She worked on the script for an entire summer and all of us worked really hard to make this happen for the past five months or so. It was an amazing feeling to see the things that you had dreamt up became a reality.

“Oh baby, I am so proud of you,” I heard mom’s voice from behind me and I turned around to find her standing there with Kai.

“Yeah, I didn’t fall asleep midway, so it wasn’t that bad,” Kai added.

“Gee, thanks,” I wanted to shove him, but mom was quick to pull me in for a hug.

Meanwhile, Hallee and Judah moved towards the back as they joined Gabe and the rest of our crew.

“I’ve recorded everything here so we can show your dad when he came back for Christmas,” mom pulled out her old handy-cam.

My heart swelled at the thought of seeing my dad again for Christmas. He desperately wanted to make it back today so he could see the show, but he couldn’t. Still, having him back for Christmas would be enough for me.

I was just chatting happily with my mom and Kai about our plans for Christmas with dad, when suddenly Blake appeared in front of me.

“Taya… hi, can we talk?” his voice was small and he was holding out a bouquet of roses to me.

“Blake…” I said as I received the beautiful bouquet. They smelled amazing and I was rendered speechless. No one ever got me flowers before…

“Mrs. Williams, Kai,” he greeted mom politely and she smiled back at him.

“We’ll give you two some room,” mom whispered to me before pulling Kai away and she started chatting up Mrs. Zee.

“Thank you for these, they’re beautiful,” I said to him, referring to the roses.

“Sure thing. You were amazing out there,”

“Thank you,” I said again, not knowing what else to say.

We shuffled uncomfortably for a few seconds before he finally spoke up again.

“Look, Taya, I know you’ve been avoiding me. But I need to know something. I told you how I feel about you at the dance, I told Ryder, I did everything you wanted, but you just left. I mean, I thought you liked me?” his eyes looked so sad and my heart broke a little at the sight.

“Blake, I do like you…”

“So why were you avoiding me? I like you and you like me. I did what you asked me to do. Why can’t we be together now?”

Or maybe I did…

“Taya, are you playing me? Is that what it was? You wanted revenge?” he said again as I couldn’t muster any words to say.

“No! Blake, that’s not it at all…”

“Just answer this then: do you want to be with me?”

“I… I…”

“Taya, do you want to be my girlfriend?”

“I…”

My eyes darted to Judah who was talking to Gabe and Hallee in the background. Judah noticed that I was looking at him and he looked at me right back. I figured that he would throw me his signature cocky smirk, but he didn’t. His lip stayed in a straight line and he looked away.

“Taya?” Blake said, and I turned my face back to him.

I looked at his handsome face, his eyes were pleading with me, and yet I felt nothing. I never wanted to string Blake along. I wasn’t attracted to Judah in the beginning and I only let myself into this deal with him so I could get back with Blake. I got what I wanted now, except maybe it wasn’t what I wanted after all…

Hallee was right. This game ended up biting me in the ass.

My eyes went back to Judah again, who now had his back turned to me. Blake followed my eyes and his gaze turned dark.

“I see,” Blake said as if he could read what I was thinking. “Well, when you make up your mind, you come find me. But I’m just telling you, you need to be careful with him. He’s not what he seems,”

Blake gave me one last look before he turned away. I could see the hurt in his eyes and it pained me to see that I had done that to somebody. I played my games and I hurt an innocent soul. I was a lousy excuse of a human being.

“Blake, I’m sorry…” I muttered under my breath but he chose to ignore me and walked away.

I watched as Blake exited the auditorium in anger and sadness. Then I looked over to Judah again and he looked up to see me. Our eyes met again and there was this tension in the air.

I needed to get this off my chest. I needed to tell Judah how I feel about him… and I hoped to god he feels the same way.

As I made my way over to Judah, Gabe and Hallee noticed the tension in the air and scurried away knowingly. Judah just stood there with an uneasy look on his face.

“So,” I breathed.

“So,” he replied.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m peachy,”

“You wanna tell me what happened?”

“My bike slipped and I fell,”

“That’s the lie you told Hallee and Gabe. What’s the truth, Judah?”

“Blondie,” he hissed.

“Judah, tell me what happened,” I took his hand in mine but he pulled it out of my grip in an instant.

“Nothing happened,”

“You’ve been fighting, haven’t you? Were you hanging out with Ava and her brother again?”

“So what if I have?” he scoffed and I was taken aback.

“Judah…”

“Are we done here, Blondie? I got someplace to be,”

“Wait,” my hand reached out for his arm. “Can we talk?”

“About what?”

“Well… umm, so now that the play’s ended, what happens to us now?”

“What do you mean? We just go back to our lives. You do you, I do me,” he shrugged.

“Judah, why are you being like this?”

I realized my hand lingered for a second too long on him and he realized it too. I quickly pulled away awkwardly.

“What do you want from me, Blondie?” he sighed and raked his hair.

“I…”

“The show’s done,”

“Right, I know that,” I felt my heart sunk to my feet.

“But…” I started.

“What?”

This was the most amazing experience in my life and I’m so grateful that it brought us together.

But, do you really think that that’s it for us? We just ate cake, and now that’s all? Did none of these mean anything to you?

I wanted to say all that but I couldn’t. It was to embarrassing to say. So instead, I told him:

“Blake just asked me to be his girlfriend…”

“Okay… congratulations,” he breathed, pausing for a second before saying, “That’s what you wanted, right?”

“I… don’t know anymore…”

“Sure you do,”

“I don’t, really,”

“Look, I don’t know why you’re telling me all this, Blondie. I’m not into girl talk. And I gotta go,”

I’m telling you all these because I like you, you moron.

“Wait!” I yelled and he stopped his tracks.

“I’m telling you all this because I need to ask you something and I need your honest opinion,” I paused for a beat and looked him square in the eyes. If I was extremely nervous before the show, I was twice as nervous now. With a trembling voice and hopeful eyes, I asked him:

“Do you think I should go with Blake?”

Or in other words: do you want me to stay, with you?


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