Ginger Hollands, age fourteen, hated school more than anything else in her world. Second to her family, or non-existent family that is. The only good thing about school was that she got to attend Central Visual and Performance Art high school, or Central VPA as it was called. A school in south St. Louis for students who wanted more than the regular old education. She wanted more in life.
She wanted to be a superstar.
Why did she need to learn about math or history or science when that was not going to help her rock a mic? Getting a high school degree did not guarantee you would be rich or successful. She wanted the fame, the money, and of course all the boys. Her young mind was already dirty at fourteen.
For now, she would suck it up and do the school thing. She was forever trying to be discovered. She had a YouTube channel, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook where she posted nothing but videos of her singing and dancing. Somebody had to see it. She deserved more out of life than to be little orphan Ginger with no family and no friends.
Until the day she met M'Liyah Wilson and Melodie Francis.
It was after school and she was using the auditorium to rehearse for her dance number for the showcase. See, as much as Central VPA was a performing arts school, they had no vocal major, so she was a dance major. Did not matter, because she could dance better than all the Lil chickenheads at that school.
Just a freshman and she was the top dancer at the school. All the upperclassmen hated her. Most of her peers hated her and she did not have any friends. Her only friend was Anthony Russo, and that was only because he was her foster brother and had to hang with her. She had only been with the Russo's a year. He was a dance major as well and if it was not for him she would be a loner.
She knew she was pretty, but she did not think she was anything special. Brown skin, frizzy reddish-brown hair she mostly wore in a bun, and she had yet to develop into her body. Five feet tall, ninety-five pounds, skinny, and near flat-chested. Being fourteen sucked.
Anthony was two years older and a junior. He was tall, dark brown, and wore his dark hair in a chunky fro or braided. He was an only child, so his parents took in foster kids to get that government check. His mother was not the motherly type, and his father constantly cheated on his wife. Anthony attended Central VPA since his freshman year and when he found out she was interested in music and dance, he told her to audition to get in.
While he liked playing big brother to her, he constantly tried to get in her pants as well. She did not think he was cute though. He was smart too, making all As. If it was not for his super-intelligent mind and him doing most of her homework, she would be flunking out. He may be smarter than her, but when it came to dancing, she danced circles around him.
They were going to critique each other's routine, but when she got to the auditorium, some little girl was sitting at the piano on stage and playing like she did not have a care in the world. This was her time, she signed up to use the auditorium like she was supposed to.
"Excuse you! Like, who the fuck are you? Me and my boy got the stage," she said as she climbed her lil self on the stage and tossed her bag to the side. She would be ready to fight any chick that came to her wrong.
The girl wore red-framed glasses and had colorful braces, looking like a big dweeb. She was brown-skinned no blemishes and had long brown dread locs to the middle of her back. She was short and petite like her. She must be one of the music majors playing the piano.
"Hi, I'm M'Liyah," she said to them, pushing her glasses up on her face.
"I didn't ask your name, hoe," Ginger said, coming up to her. She was cute in the face and she could not stand pretty girls.
"Gin, calm all the way down and chill," Anthony said. "M'Liyah, I think I heard about you. Lil freshman that everybody says is the next Alicia."
"Phuh! There can only be one Alicia Keys, and that's Alicia Keys. Besides, so what, she can play the piano. What does that have to do with being a superstar like me?"
"Gin, you need to stop being so mean," Anthony said. He walked over to the girl. "You're a cutie. I'm Anthony and that's my lil sis over there Ginger."
She giggled, moving locs behind her ear.
"Boy if you don't-"
"He-ey! What y'all doing in here? Every dang time I try and come in here someone wants to take my spot" A little white girl with messy sandy brown curls barged onto the stage.
Ginger eyed her up and down, ready to pounce.
"First of all, check how you talking to me, you don't even know me, and girl I will slap the taste out ya mouth!"
"Whoa!" Anthony said, getting between the two girls. "We can solve this real easy. My girl Gin and I signed up to be here for thirty minutes starting now, so Imma need y'all other two to sit back and wait your turn."
"I signed up for now," the white girl said, checking her phone and holding it in Ginger's face. "See, look! I gotta rehearse this song for the play yo, stop playing with me."
"What play you in shorty?" Anthony asked the girl.
"What you mean what play? The school play."
Ginger and Anthony laughed.
"Whaaat? How you gonna be in the play and we doing the Wiz and as far as I remember, ain't no white girl in it. I mean, you background or something?" Ginger asked.
The white girl rolled her grey eyes and tossed her bag down.
"If they can have a Black Cinderella they can have a white girl Dorothy in The Wiz," she said, crossing her arms across her chest.
"I like her," Anthony said.
He felt that way about every little girl that passed his way. He already had a reputation and he was only sixteen.
"All I know is, y'all in my time and I need to practice. Ant, play my music so I can run through this real quick. If these hoes wanta check my steelo, they more than welcome. I ain't scared."
"When am I supposed to rehearse? I just showed you this my time slot," the white girl said.
"I want to hear you sing, shorty," Anthony said. "You a freshman too, because I would know you if-"
"Yeah, so? I'm Melodie," she said.
"Anthony and Melodie, I like the sound of that together," he said, smiling at her.
She blushed. Ginger rolled her eyes.
"How about this," M'Liyah said, standing up. "You...Ginger, can do whatever you need to do, ten minutes, Melodie, you run through your song, and then I can finish my practicing...but my mom is coming to pick me up soon."
Ginger let out a frustrated sigh.
Anthony played her song "Birthday Cake" by Rihanna and she did her choreo that she worked on for weeks. Anthony helped a bit, but it was ninety percent all her. The other two girls sat on the edge of the stage and watched her. When she finished they both clapped for her.
"That was dope! You're really good. I dance a little, but singing is really my thing," Melodie said.
"So why are you a theater major?" Anthony asked.
"Duh! No vocal major," she said, standing up. "But it's all good, I like acting. Let me sing this song for y'all though."
She sang "Home" from The Wiz and Ginger had to admit, the girl could blow. She did not even sound like a white girl, she sounded like she was Diana Ross herself. She had a lot of soul in her voice. For once, Ginger felt there was somebody her age that actually could sing better than her. She felt a twinge of jealousy.
Anthony was sitting beside her, and he grabbed her arm and whispered in her ear.
"I'm in love."
She rolled her eyes. Anthony was in love with every girl he sort of had a crush on.
Ginger didn't clap for her, although M'Liyah and Anthony did. Ginger shrugged at her.
"You were cool."
M'Liyah went back to the piano, she looked nervous like she did not want to perform while they were all watching. She closed her eyes and let out a breath. Then she started to play and sing and Ginger's mouth fell open. Not only could she play like Alicia Keys, but she could also sing like she was Queen Bey herself. The bitch was good. Like she hated her for real.
"Ooh, lil ma, you got some competition," Anthony said to her.
Ginger jumped up and got back center stage.
"I can sing too. You know, I dance cuz I wanted to go here, but I really want to sing. Can you play Listen by Beyoncé, M'Liyah?"
"Sure," she said.
She wanted to sing the heck out of that song, but once she started getting her groove, M'Liyah started to sing with her too. First, she was mad, then she just went with the flow and blended her voice with hers. Then the white girl jumped in and they were all singing the song like it was a trio singing it instead of just Queen Bey.
"Yo! My girls are good!" Anthony said. "Y'all sounded like Destiny's Child up there. Destiny Child 2.0"
"Man, whatever," Ginger said, grabbing her bag. "We were all right."
"Seriously Gin, y'all should be a group. You always talking about how you want to make it and be bigger than life, these girls got it too. Y'all three little bitty cute girls that can sang! Wooo!"
"I ain't with that group life," Ginger said. "Tell me a girl group that ain't got drama?"
"True," Melodie said. "But I'm down if you down."
"Me too," M'Liyah said.
She closed her eyes and said a quick prayer to herself. "Lord, if I don't kill these girls in three months, I'll do the group with them. But if any of those wenches try and take my shine, I'm out."
She opened her eyes, closed them back again real quick. "Oh, Amen."
She opened her eyes back and looked at both the girls.
That was three years ago...