“I don’t love you” was the last thing Kim had said before she left him in the backyard back then. It had been two months now. She didn’t even know why she counted. It was the right thing to do, and honestly, she didn’t give a shit about him anymore. Or did she ever? Nevermind. She didn’t need him, and he didn’t need her. A stupid love song was playing on the radio as she opened her computer. It was as if that was all people did these days. Making love songs, as if they actually had someone to sing it to. Why was that again? People are weird. She didn’t get people, like, in general. “All they do is talk and judge and then talk again when they should really just shut the fuck up for once” she mumbled. She often had conversations with herself - she was the most reasonable to talk to, after all, so why not? She looked at the time. 8:30. She was late, and even on the first day of school. In a hurry, she got up, picked up her back, her headphones and was out the door. Though it was math in first period and she didn’t even get math anyway, she couldn’t be late. She had to prevent the embarrassing moment of walking into class, everybody else looking at you. She hadn’t worn her uniform all summer, but it still fit. Luckily, cause she couldn’t get a new one. Damn she hated those blue and black colours. But she had to wear it. She couldn’t get thrown out of this school too. She just couldn’t. As she ran along the pavement, she looked at the time. 8:40. Damn it! It would take at least 5 minutes to get there. Frustrated, she gave it another notch and ran faster than she ever had before. It might just be class, but it was as if she was running for her life. Or running into the arms of someone… a picture of Damon formed in her head and a tear ran down her cheek. No! Not now. She shook her head and tried to clear her mind. Not now. Not ever. Not….
“Auch!” she yelled, when she was suddenly on the ground. She had turned the last corner for the entrance of the school, and some girl had been standing in her way, and now they were both lying flatly on the pavement. She sat up and touched her forehead. She was bleeding. Damn it! But oh well, at least that was a little touch of red to the boring uniform.
“Watch where you’re going” she mumbled and started to pick up her stuff.
“I-I’m sorry” the girl almost whispered, as if she couldn’t speak properly. What a loser. Kim just glanced at her and got up. Before she left, she had a quick look at the girl. Her hair was actually quite cute.
“Jones” Mr. Moreen sighed as Kim entered, 5 minutes late.
“Moron” she replied and smiled her usual smile, received by his usual irritated glare.
“It’s Moreen” he sighed and pointed to an empty seat in the back corner. Her and Moreen had a very, well, special relationship (to put it shortly, they hated each other). Kim dumped down on the seat in the back but didn’t even bother to pack out her stuff and he didn’t expect her to, he learned that lesson last year. She didn’t care for math, only language and arts, and they only had arts a few times a week. She was just about to fall into her usual slumber when she looked up. The girl. The girl that had been in her way was standing in front of the class. What the hell was she doing here? Anger was starting to rise in Kim’s chest. She was the one. The one reason she was late. She could’ve made it. She looked at the girl furiously as she started walking through the classroom, towards - the seat beside Kim. This was a god damn lie. It was Moron doing this to her, she could see it by the triumphant look in his eyes. She considered putting her boots on the chair beside her as if saying “that’s a no go, honey” but too late. The stupid little girl was already sitting beside her, and even looking at her as if actually expecting a conversation.
“Hello, my name is Amber” she said, lowering her head a little. Kim couldn’t care less about her name, so she just turned her head, but apparently, this girl didn’t get the hint. She just kept looking at Kim as a little creep. “Sorry about that” she said and pointed at the fling above my right eye. Kim just nodded. At least she acknowledged that she was wrong in being in her way.
“Are you ever going to tell me your name?” Amber mumbled after a while, unsuccessfully trying to keep the conversation going. Kim was automatically about to shake her head, but hesitated. She was going to find out eventually anyway.
“Kim” she mumbled and looked out the window. Amber nodded and smiled, but the smile faded when she didn’t get one back.
“So, now we know each other’s names… want to start over?” she asked and reached out a shaking hand, obviously nervous about the answer. She was so pathetic. Kim never did great with friendship and stuff, but somehow, she wanted to grab the hand. Maybe this could be the start of something new, a life with actual friends. She laughed a bit of herself and turned so she could see Amber with the corner of her eye. That was all the eye contact she would get. Before she could change her mind, she reached out, quickly shook the hand and mumbled “okay”. Amber smiled widely, and Kim sent a little smirk back that could almost count as a smile. The rest of the class, Amber just kept smiling stupidly as Kim looked out the window.
“Why are you even sitting with me if you’re not going to talk to me?” Amber asked and stuffed some mashed potatoes into her mouth. Kim was sitting at the other end of the table, picking at her pies.
“Because you’re sitting at my table” she said at bit her upper lip. Suddenly Amber started slightly laughing. What the hell was she laughing about? If anybody should be laughing it should be Kim, with those dorky glasses of hers.
“Why do you wear those big ass glasses anyway?” she asked. Amber got a panicking look in her face and Kim couldn’t help but smile.
“Dude - I know you don’t need them. I noticed when we were sitting on the ground this morning that you could clearly see, even though you had dropped them. Nobody with that big glasses can see a thing without them on!” she took a sip of her coke. “So why?”
Amber looked down a bit, as if embarrassed.
“So… so that I feel smarter.” She mumbled. Kim finally looked up. Feel smarter? By glasses? She had got to be joking. Kim had sneaked a look at Amber’s paper in the class, and she had winged all the questions in no time. Why the heck would she need to feel smarter?
“Why would you need that? Smart is just an illusion in your head that others might or might not agree with.” Kim said. Amber looked up again, and before Kim realized, she had caught eye contact.
“Maybe….” she said and tucked some hair behind her ear. “But I need to be smart. Or, I need to be more than smart. I need to be brilliant, which means, also by my appearance. You seem like a reasonable person, you would understand how stereotypes affect people. By looking “smart” you get an image of being smart. And if people don’t see me as smart, I’m just quiet little Amber. I’m not good with words, but with these glasses, at least I appear as smart. Also, I’m only good with math and other scientific subjects. I don’t know how to use words or how to express myself in any way, other than through my glasses.” She sighed and took another mouthful, as if to prevent herself from talking more. Kim looked at her, her mind puzzled.
“But you’re a teenager -how can you not know how to express yourself? It’s what we live for!” she said, trying to catch Amber’s eye contact again, but it was long gone. That girl was too much. What the heck was up with her? Did she go to a bloody concentration camp or what? Without even realizing, Kim slammed her hand in the table, scaring the shit out of Amber and maybe drawing a little bit too much attention from the other tables.
“That’s it!” She yelled, Amber looking slightly scared.
“I’m gonna have to teach you how to express yourself!” Kim continued, Amber just slightly nodding. Kim didn’t know why this suddenly meant so much to her, but it did.
“But how? I can’t do anything creative” Amber mumbled, still scared by Kim’s sudden intense look.
“Can you sing?” Kim asked and leaned in over the table. Somehow she had ended up standing without even noticing. Amber moved a little further away, but still looked at her.
“Well… I guess I…” she muttered.
“CAN YOU SING??” Kim asked again, this time yelling. Now they had definitely drawn too much attention from the surrounding tables, but Kim didn’t even care anymore. Amber leaned all the way back in her chair, her eyes widening.
“Uhm, yeah…” that was all Kim needed. Before she could think twice, she grabbed Ambers hand and started walking. There was going to be a musical at the school auditioning today that she was going to go to anyway, so why not drag a bloody little moron along? Maybe she could even get a role in the play, like, maybe a backup or something! Amber was almost falling over her own feet behind her, but at least she didn’t struggle. Kim glanced back at her. Her glasses were about to fall off and she struggled to catch her breath, but she was smiling all along. As they turned the corner, everybody’s eyes following them, Kim smiled a little too.
As they arrived at the theatre hall, Mr. Gaile was just about to close the doors.
“NO WAIT WE NEED TO GO TOO I’VE BEEN WAITING ALL SUMMER FOR THIS” Kim shouted and almost detached Ambers arm as she sprinted for the doors. Gaile just laughed at them and let them in. Gaile was one of the only teachers that Kim had a decent relationship with because she was actually interested in theatre.
“Got yourself a little friend there, huh?” he asked and smirked at Kim. She just nodded and continued in the door. As they sat down, she realized just how harsh this run had been on Amber. Beside her, the shy girl from before was sitting, her glasses hanging from only one ear, hear hair way out of order, her body as if paralysed and her eyes so lifeless they were almost dead. But then she started laughing like a maniac. Kim didn’t know how to grasp the situation, so she just laughed along. Not that she wanted to, but somehow she couldn’t help it. The two of them fell back in their chairs and laughed so loudly that they could probably be heard all over the school. The doors closed, and Gaile gave them a serious look to shut them up, still smiling though. They pulled themselves together and finally sat up straight. As the first participant was getting ready, Gaile walked for them and said “So, since you two were the last ones to participate you’re going to be last. Okay?” We nodded in unison, almost as if we had planned it. Gaile laughed a little and winked at Kim, who just stuck out her tongue as a response. Gaile wasn’t really a teacher for Kim, actually he was more like the big brother she never had. Not short after, people started finding their scripts and Amber got a panicking look in her eyes.
“Relax” Kim said and wavered hers. “You can look with me!” A relieved smile spread over her lips.
“So what even is this?” Amber asked and looked at the front page. “Dreaming in trees” it said.
“It’s a musical.” Kim said and moved a bit closer. “Very cliché love story, almost made me vomit.” They both couldn’t help but laugh at that last comment. Kim received an evil glance from Gaile, but she just laughed again and gave him the finger. “But you get to sing! Which is awesome” She continued, and handed Amber the script. Amber looked at her nervously.
“D-does that mean I’m going to have to sing? In front of all those people?” she stammered. Kim could see that she was just about to run off, so she grabbed her hand firmly.
“So this is how the audition is going to go” she said, and turned so that she was face to face with Amber.
“First of all, you’ve gotta be you when you act. Therefore, off with the glasses!” she said and snatched Amber’s glasses before she could object in any way. For a second she squinted her eyes as if she couldn’t see, but when she received a judging look from Kim she dropped the act and smiled awkwardly.
“Secondly” Kim continued and opened the script on the first page.
“You’re going to recite a scene with Gaile. Don’t worry about him, he’s just an idiot with a script” she said, winking at Gaile who very obviously heard them. Amber laughed.
“And then last, but not least” she said and turned to the last page
“You’re going to sing this song. You know how to read sheet music, right?” Amber just shrugged with a confused look in her eyes.
“Don’t worry, you can just listen to the others preforming, it’s the same song. You’ll get the first tone and then you can figure out the next ones, it’s all maths! You’ll figure it out!” Ambers look just turned more and more nervous, but as Kim smiled at her she smiled back anyway.
There were many participants this year, but of course they were all girls. No boy on this school would ever think of joining the musical. “Too gay”. Luckily, they had a great makeup team so any girl could be transformed into a boy. Kim often became a boy because of her short hair, but she didn’t mind it, the female characters were always awkwardly unsatisfying. Somehow during the auditions Ambers head had lowered and she had kind of started leaning against Kim. In a friendly way, of course, but somehow Kim felt uneasy about it. She didn’t wanna complain though, so she just let it happen. It was getting hot in there and Kim was starting to feel sleepy, but she couldn’t fall back. She needed to be fresh for her performance. She rubbed her eyes and straightened up as she suddenly recognized a voice and looked up at the stage. It couldn’t be… was it really?? And there he was. Damon fucking Carter, on the stage, auditioning for this musical. This wasn’t happening. She couldn’t work together with him?? She almost stood up of bare anger, but held herself back. Clenching her fists, she sat and sent him death stares, hoping for him to notice it. But of course, that lame motherfucker didn’t notice a thing. Suddenly she heard a squinty voice beside her, remembered that she was still holding Ambers hand and quickly let go.
“Sorry” she whispered and smiled awkwardly.
“It’s alright” Amber whimpered and shook her hand, but seconds later she was smiling anyway. Though she might not have a definite personality, that girl was tough to stay with Kim for this long without giving up.
Suddenly, this horrible, nasal sound sounded through the room, and the girls’ attention was drawn to the stage again. Kim’s face lighted up like a Christmas tree. She had almost forgotten how horrible Damon was at singing! He was never ever gonna get a part! God, why was he even trying?? She fell back laughing and didn’t even care to hold it back anymore.
“Do you know him?” Amber asked, also laughing. It was impossible to take Damon’s singing voice seriously.
“He’s m-my - ex” Kim stammered between constant laughter.
“I bet you’re glad you escaped that?” she whispered, probably afraid for him to hear her.
“Yeah” Kim said, tears starting to run down her cheek.
“He was a bit of a screamer” she added, and she was sure he heard that, because he sent her a very long death stare. Amber almost couldn’t hold her laughter back anymore either. Even after Damon went off, they continued laughing until Mrs. Ivers, one of the judges, sent them a very sharp glare. Leaning against each other, they still giggled a little bit for the next 10 minutes, if not longer.
“Kimberly Amanda Jones”
Kim cringed a bit. She never liked it when people used her full name. But anyway. She got up and took the script. This was what she had been practicing for all summer. She could do this. Before she went up, she quickly glanced at Amber who mouthed her a “good luck”, and smiled before she went up. Gaile was sitting on the stage, waiting for her.
“Hey, what’s up bro” she said and they fistbumped.
“Not much, sis” he replied and tousled her hair.
“To the scene, please” Mrs. Ivers said dryly. She obviously didn’t have time for their shit, so they sat down and did the scene. It went awesome, and they even “pretend flirted” a little bit during the scene, like winks and stuff. Mrs. Ivers didn’t see the fun in it, though. When it came to the song, she pretty much nailed it. She had been practicing this song all summer, and it was hard but she did it well. It sounded good and she knew that she was one of the best singers at the school, and the judges seemed content with it, as content as 60-year olds with hearing problems could be. And she was content with her own performance when she went down. Amber was literally jumping in her chair, all excited over Kim’s performance, that had apparently been “top notch”, as she said it herself, and Kim couldn’t help but smile at her. Just as she was down, they called Amber up. There had been a little break between the other performances, but now, apparently, they just wanted to be done. Kim squeezed her hand once, handed her the script and whispered “you can do it” before Amber walked up for the stage. Even her walking style was awkward and nervous. Kim sat down, leaned back and smiled at Amber as she looked at her from the stage. Gaile lightly touched her shoulder and sat her down so that they could do the scene. Somehow he had always been good with the “newbies”. The scene started. Amber wasn’t that bad an actor after all. She was nervous in the start, but she quickly caught up. You could see that she was happy herself with her performance, especially when it was done and she smiled widely down at Kim. Now was the singing, the part that she had probably been the most nervous about. She got the tone from Gaile, and he started playing the intro on the piano. And then she started singing. Kim didn’t know what she had expected, but this was definitely not it. Somehow, that little girl created a sound that was absolutely… incredible. Kim even leaned all the way forward, not to miss a single note. She didn’t know how to describe it, but it was beautiful. She could feel that the judges liked it too, and Gaile even had trouble concentrating on the piano sometimes (totally understandable, by the way). When Amber reached the high note, Kim had to sit down. This was good. Amber was even better than herself. Way to go for expressing yourself! Kim was just about to start laughing of excitement. She was happy that she had brought Amber here. She really was. Though she might challenge Kim herself, she would still be in the play because she would probably just get the other big role. And it had been a while since they had had this kind of voice in the musical. This was fucking awesome! As Amber finished, she looked down at Kim nervously, but Kim’s facial expression said everything so Amber lighted up into a smile. She almost ran down from the stage, and since Kim’s arms were still half up from excitement, she saw it as an invitation for a hug and basically jumped around her shoulders so Kim almost fell. She let her down on the ground again (since Kim was so much taller than Amber that she was literally dangling from her neck), and as they walked to the door, Amber grabbed her arm, but she didn’t dare to resist.
“You two did well” Gaile said and padded both of them on the shoulders, smirking a little bit longer at Amber, who, as a result, instantly started blushing like crazy. He laughed at her and went on. “Oh, by the way, the roles will be on the board on Friday. And also” he blinked at both of them “you guys are a cute couple!” I could see Amber’s body stiffen, and I quickly sent her a jokingly look to let her know he was just joking. She relaxed again instantly. Definitely straight. Kim sent him a quick death stare and he laughed as they went on, Amber walking a little bit further away from her than before.
“Don’t mind that, by the way” Kim said after a few minutes of silence.
“M-mind what?” Amber answered, trying to sound calm but not completely succeeding.
“Hey, it’s alright!” Kim said and laughed. “He teases everybody like that! He didn’t mean anything by it.” She smiled, as if to underline what she just said. Amber smiled back, a bit awkwardly though. Definitely straight. Definitely.
“I sometimes tease him too because his name is so close to gay” Kim said and laughed. Amber started laughing too. Back to normal. Phew, that was a close one. It’s not that Kim liked Amber in that way, in any way, but you never know. Typical Gaile. It’s not that… no. She didn’t want anything yet, and she had promised herself that. Amber was bloody straight anyway, so there was no fucking chance. But… oh my god, why was she even considering this? They literally just met today. She shook her head, and Amber looked at her a bit weirdly, but Kim just smiled to show everything was alright and Amber smiled back. She actually had a pretty cute smile, so Kim didn’t mind it.
She didn’t mind it at all.