I’m really busy with orientation at school but it’s Dem’s birthday today.
Francie relaxed a little as she danced, the false smile melting into a genuine one after a few minutes. That was until she was suddenly pulled out of her dance partner’s arms. She let out a surprised gasp, until she realised it was her husband, and then she giggled softly, shooting an apologetic glance at the Lord who she’d been pulled away from before smiling up at Jay.
She visibly relaxed when he kissed her, and nodded, “It is the happiest day of my life.” She assured him, smoothly. And it was the truth, she really was very happy to have married him, regardless of any doubts or worries she had. She swallowed as he pulled her closer and chuckled, her cheeks darkening a little. “Good.” She said letting out a breath, “Then we’ll be alone.”
"Yes…" He whispered to her, kissing her again, but his lips were tugged from hers by a rough hand. Daniel was standing impatiently beside them.
"You know better than to handle me-" Jay began, but Daniel lifted a hand to cut him off. Others around them gasped at the gesture, shocked that he’d commit such an offense to the prince, but anyone who knew their relationship would have thought nothing of it.
"The coronation will begin in the throne room in ten minutes." He announced, signalling for the couple to follow him and prepare. They would change from their wedding clothes to their coronation clothes and practice their oath before God and the People to rule with kind and merciful hearts, to protect and love their own and such.
"Come, then, darling." Jay tugged at Francine’s arm. "I suppose it is time."
Francie’s head snapped round to look at Daniel as Jay was pulled off her. A few weeks ago, she would have been horrified by the way he acted towards the prince. But since coming to the castle, since she had started spending time with Jay, and in turn with Daniel, she was used to it, and so she gave no reaction to him silencing his master. As the others around them gasped, she bit her lip, hoping that he wouldn’t get into trouble.
But then he told Jay that the coronation was about to begin, and that worry melted away- Jay was about to become King. There was no one that could do anything to anyone he employed anymore. Which also meant that she was about to become Queen. Francie felt a knot form in her stomach at that thought. Everything she had ever been trained and educated for was about to happen. And she just happened to have been married to one of the least conventional men she had ever met.
Although her thoughts were disjointed, but she felt the tug on her arm, and forced herself to concentrate. She didn’t speak, just followed him. Once they had separated from the guests, she stopped in her tracks, there wasn’t a lot of time, and they still needed to change. But she needed to say it now.
She looked up at the husband she had been promised to since birth, knowing that she had never expected to feel the way she did and suspecting he had never expected it either, which made it all the more important. “I love you.” She said- the words tumbling out of her mouth a little too fast, she swallowed, “I mean it, I really do.” Her heart was pounding, and the young bride turned and looked at Daniel, “We should get ready…”
The confession stopped both men in their tracks, both stopping to turn to the tiny blonde as she affirmed her statement. Daniel remained stoic, watching her with his serious eyes, while Jay, perhaps lacking the ability to be stoic for anything, just blinked at her with dark eyes.
Jay simply had no words, no means of speaking. It was as if someone had stuffed his mouth with cotton, his tongue flattened into place. it wasn’t as if he didn’t know what to say back, he just didn’t know how to pluck the words from the air and present them to her.
When she turned back to Daniel, Jay could only nod and follow. It was too much to take in at once, a marriage, a coronation, and now a love proposal. How much could one man take in a simple evening?
"I need another drink." He huffed to Daniel.
"After you’re crowned, Your Majesty." He assured Jay in return.
He left them to be dressed in the ceremonial clothes, the same his father and grandfather and their grandfathers had worn when they were crowned. Daniel stayed with Francine as she was taken behind a private shade to be dressed by her lady servants.
"Are you ready to be Queen?" Daniel asked her.
"I’m not gonna make a fool of myself auditioning for Danny." He shrugged, his hands anxiously folding in his lap now that Mr. Harris had snatched his sheet music. "You know I wouldn’t get the part."
He didn’t want to say he didn’t want the part, because he did, but he wanted to get the point across that it was a waste of his and everyone else’s time. The part was going to Calvin or Dustin, that was just how things worked.
"I thought Kenickie maybe." He shrugged. At least it would give him a romantic stage presence with a Rizzo and it would let him be a dick to the lead, but it was probably going to whichever of the aforementioned two didn’t get Danny.
The more he thought about it, the more he accepted with sadness his inevitable role in the chorus.
"Olivia should be ChaCha." He put in.
David couldn’t help but roll his eyes. God, inhibitions were so annoying. But he couldn’t just tell the kid to ‘suck it up and stop being such a coward’. He had to be a mature adult. That’s what he was. An adult.
"Look. You’ll never know if you don’t try. What’s a moment of embarrassment to a lifetime of what if?" He handed the music back to RJ. "Last…year, was it? The revival of Pippin started casting, but I opted out of auditioning to focus on becoming a teacher because I was totally bummed out after being rejected from Jersey Boys. I could be in Pippin, but I’m dealing with a bunch of bitchy teens, RJ." Pretty sure his example was related, but he usually ignored whatever came out of his own mouth.
With a pat the the kid’s shoulder, he jerked a thumb over his shoulder to the stage. “Last call for Danny. You can do it before the rest of them get back, then audition for another role, if that’s what you want.”
RJ rose a brow at his teacher. There was no doubt about it in RJ’s mind that this guy was weird, and as many weird teachers as RJ had had, he could rarely stand them. He liked Mr. Harris enough, but he was in fact weird, and it sort of put him off. He obviously wanted to be a teacher and that’s why he was here right? Then again, why would anyone truly want to be a teacher?
"Alright." He agreed suddenly to the audition, taking the music in his lap and following. He moved briskly, not only to get it over with before he changed his mind, but to get it over with before any of the others could come in and watch him. A few underclassmen were standing about inside, but he didn’t mind them seeing him in the auditorium, it was the others, the Elites, he didn’t want watching.
He leapt up onstage with a bound of enthusiasm and dropped the sheet music on the piano and assumed a position onstage, giving Mr. Harris a nervous nod. “Ready?”
RJ nestled between her legs, scarred arms tucking beneath her and holding her body close. His palms found their way under her shirt, scaling up her body and letting his thumbs brush her skin. Continuing to kiss her neck, he worked towards exposing her stomach, undressing her, but trying to keep her comfortable.
He moved his hands down to her hips and pulled them into his own, the friction working him up. Between light grinds, he unbuttoned her shorts and slid them down her legs, again, working towards undressing her without making her uncomfortable.
"I’m really looking forward to this." He whispered into her ear, nibbling her ear slightly before lifting his head to connect with her, checking up on her.
RJ was warm and solid and, Aidan acutely realized, very flat-chested. For a moment It felt like she was being held close by a friend - until the reality of the situation finally came crashing down upon her, evoking a startled gasp. He’d been kissing and undressing her while she’d zoned out, her body going through the motions for those precious seconds part of her had disappeared.
That was never a good sign.
His whisper and subsequent look confirmed it: Aidan couldn’t do this.
All too aware of her state of undress, she felt tears smarting the corners of her eyes. This is ridiculous. I never should’ve done this. Never should’ve let him. I’m so pathetic. He’s gonna hate me. Everything felt wrong.
"RJ," she tried to say with as much dignity she could muster, yet her voice had become little more than a choked whimper, "I’m s-sorry, I c-can’t. Oh God I’m so sorry."
It was normal for people to get nervous, to get cold feet, even, but RJ tended to try to push people through it for two reasons: One being that, they wanted to do this for a reason, and that whatever status quo or moral consensus that was changing their mind was rarely genuine, and the other being that he didn’t want to give them their money back.
But the fear he saw in her eyes alarmed him, the way her voice was small and fragile on her lips. He didn’t know what to do with her, his hands feeling as though they were crawling where they touched her. RJ could do nothing else but yank down her shirt and attempt to hike her pants up around her hips before he withdrew, his hands up in surrender.
"Whoa, hey, it’s alright." He assured her. "We don’t have to."
So this was how it was supposed to feel: awkward and weird. At least it didn’t feel wrong, or disgusting, and for even that RJ was grateful. She touched his cheek and he wished he had shaved and she kissed his lips and he wished he hadn’t just eaten a Dorito taco and his heart raced a little at the scent of her. It was awkward and weird and imperfect and RJ was happy about it.
He parted his lips slightly and brought her lip between his once, then again. How many times should he do it? Three? Four? Four. Four times he introduced his lips to hers, timidly stroking what he could with his tongue without being too forward. And it was over.
He pulled away just slightly, lingering awkwardly, floundering for a decision to either lean back in and kiss her again or to look at her, or to look away. He sat back upright and turned away, looking straight ahead again, then dropping his gaze to his lap, where he folded his hands.
Was he bad? Was he good? He was probably too good… He had lied about never kissing anyone before.
"Thanks." He murmured.
Was that what you were supposed to do when you kissed someone? Thank them?
He turned his head away from her. She couldn’t see him well in the darkness but if he was blushing or if he had something in his teeth he didn’t want her to see.
All of it felt so strange, so uncomfortable, and so, so wonderful.
She didn’t even know if she was doing it right. The whole kissing thing was completely new to her. Her hand rubbed just slightly against his cheek feeling the stubble on his face. Though she didn’t mind it, she liked the stubble feel of his cheek. Her body started to relax just slightly into, the awkward weird kiss. The kiss was still good, he was good for someone who had never been kissed before. Maybe too good, but she tried not to think about that at the moment.
Eyes closed she sighed only slightly as he pulled away lingering in her space for a moment. Her eyes gazed at him for a long moment before she blushed slightly and pulled away looking down at her hands.
"Ah thanks, I mean yeah no problem." She muttered trying to stop the small blushed that was covering her cheeks. Looking up at him for a moment she smiled. "You were ah good." Oh god was she even suppose to say that? Where you suppose to tell someone they were a good kisser?
"You sure you’ve never kissed anyone before?" She teased just trying to calm her nervous. She didn’t know if this kiss was going to make things awkward, at least she hoped it didn’t. She liked her new friend she didn’t want to lose him.
He couldn’t bring himself to laugh along. He wasn’t sure if it was the drugs leaving his system that gave him a downward rush, or if the statement had really put him that far off, but he knew his mood was killed almost completely by it.
"I have." He admitted his mistruth with a dart of his blue eyes across the room. He felt bad, he didn’t want her to be mad at him, she didn’t want to regret what they’d done, he cared enough to be honest with her, if only for the second time.
"I…" He murmured softly, almost inaudible with the sound of the city around them. "I… don’t like to think about it."
"It’s just popular, so a bunch of random people audition for it and they don’t know anything about theatre or how it works. Sure, lots of people come see it and it makes the department money, but god I’d kill for a chance to do Spring Awakening or Hair. No one would ever let us do those because of the subject matter but they’re such great shows…"
Not that RJ had ever seen either of them, aside from the bootlegs on YouTube.
"I guess I can see what you mean." She gave him a small smile and set her papers down beside her. She had been able to see many plays as a child thanks to her parents, so she understood the want for them to show up more. Though these popular plays would be more veiwed, they would also have too many kids auditioning for roles they don’t really care about, in a program they have never been interested in.
"I just wish that more kids in theatre actually cared about what we were doing. It’s that whole idea that this is some, easy way to get through life. I guess it sounds a bit arrogant but I wish we could filter enough so that people who really wanted and deserved the roles got in." At this point she knew she was rambling. She just had a lot of issues with people who did that sort of thing, when it was something she wanted to spend her life doing, and rarely got the chance to because of some of them.
“Exactly!” He agreed, sitting up and facing her eagerly. Finally, someone who understood, someone who felt the same way he did. “Like, they keep casting pieces of shit. Even if they can act and sing, they never bother learning their lines or choreography. The directors always preach that if you aren’t responsible or good to work with you won’t get re-cast, but then they fucking cast them again.”
It was clear by the way he moved his hands in rapid strokes, the way his cheeks turned a bit pink and how he slumped back in his chair after his small speech that he was quite passionate in his hatred of most of the people in his school’s theatre program.
Pauly couldn’t help but feel scolded, sort of like Stiles was calling him either judgmental, or an idiot. Maybe a judgmental idiot. He knew it wasn’t probably Stiles’ intention, but he suddenly felt bad for treating him like he had, but he had his reasons.
"I’m sorry." He said quietly, fingers tapping gently on the glass of wine. He felt disowned and dismissed, like Stiles was saying that he didn’t want Pauly looking out for him. “I can’t help but wanna take care of the new kids.”
The big brother in him never died even when his sisters did.
He wanted to tell him his reasons, to justify it all and make Stiles want to come under his wing, to let him take care of him, but he refrained. Stiles was a big boy, he could take care of himself. He didn’t need Pauly. Nobody did.
"I’m all party." He corrected. "But people you party with aren’t your real friends." He smirked a little and took a sip of his wine. "Looks like you figured that out already."
Stiles gave a soft, vaguely apologetic smile. He wasn’t really the type to outwardly express apologies, but the nonverbal ones sometimes meant more anyway. “No, believe me, I appreciate it. I mean I was shocked to begin with when I walked in but I’d probably have gotten my ass handed to me if you hadn’t actually been nice. I expected a lot of things the first time I walked in there, but sensitivity wasn’t one of them.” It did make things more bearable, he had to admit.
Pauly’s words hit him with a slightly delayed reaction, and they were words that stung just a little bit. Not because they were all that offensive, and he knew that wasn’t the intention behind them, but because Pauly was right to an almost unbelievable extent. “They’re acquaintances,” he protested jokingly, mocking offence. “Very distant acquaintances. I get invited by people I know, but they’re always with people they know. And back home, I guess I didn’t have a lot of time for partying. I had to grow up too fast,” he explained. Living with one parent tended to have that effect on people sometimes.
“I’ve got real friends. Just not here or anywhere within a day’s drive of this state.” Stiles gave him a one-shouldered shrug like he was trying to express a lack of concern on the subject, though his tone indicated otherwise. “The college thing isn’t really what I had in mind, honestly.”
"The guys aren’t that bad when you get to know them." He explained. "Just that… We lost one of our own recently and some of them felt like you were trying to replace him." He mimicked Stiles’ aloofness on the subject. "They’re good people." He promised, taking a drink of his wine again, the crimson drink lingering on his lips as he paused to add "Most of them."
He felt bad. It was one thing to pack up and disappear, to try to forget about the people who used to be your friends, even best friends, but it was another to struggle through those relationships from a thousand miles away, trying to hold on. Sometimes it was best to let go, but he’d never let Stiles know that. If he had good friends, he should try to keep them, rather than trying to find some diamonds in the coal mine that was New York City.
"Sorry…" He offered. "But hey, you’re doing the right thing with this whole college thing. You’ll be better off than any of us, be a doctor or a lawyer or some shit." He huffed a laugh. "Forget about all of us…"
He smiled, but pain rattled him. Failure. He’d never be anything but a stripper, he’d probably never even get his GED, his parents would be ashamed if they were still alive. Not only that, but the reminder that Stiles would forget all about him once he could make enough money to pay himself through school settled into his skin.
He set down his glass and clapped, as if the worries were chalk on his hands, disappearing into the air when he slapped his palms together.
"If you really wanted to, you wouldn’t need convincing." RJ shrugged. He should have taken the advice himself, but even he was on the fence about auditioning. The competition was fierce and he wasn’t sure if he’d even be able to practice music or lines at home without his parents finding out.
"Tell you what." He glanced over at her. "If you audition, I’ll audition, and we’ll just see what happens. Worst case scenario, we don’t get in and we’re both still stage managers."
Matilda smiled up at the boy and nodded, shrugging as she fumbled with her hands. “I suppose that is fair. I’d like to do that.” She let out a sigh and rubbed her forehead. She had been too nervous to audition from the fact that she had a bit of trouble with stage fright. The thought of someone being there with her, in a similar situation at least.
She was almost certain she wanted to audition. She wanted to, she thought she might be good enough to get somewhere in it, and she definitely thought it would be a fun experience. It only took one person, and one suggestion. She’d do it.
"Alright." He nodded, flipping through the music one last time in front of him. "Let’s go." He rose and made his way to the stage, forgoing the stairs and simply jumping up onto it, his arms straining as he pushed his body up onto the stage and lifted his leg to stand himself up.
He’d chosen One Song Glory from RENT to sing, having decided Judas’ Death from Jesus Christ Superstar would be edgy, but way too difficult for his voice.
"What’re you gonna sing?"
"I don’t get why anybody would study for a class before it even starts." He chuckled, tapping his pencil on the single notebook he toted around for his classes. He wasn’t even sure why some kids carried around a backpack full of textbooks, notebooks, folders, pencils, and god knows what else when he got by just fine on the bare minimum.
"You’d seriously get overwhelmed just cuz you don’t know what a teacher’s gonna be like?"
"No.. No, I didn’t say that. I said I already know the teacher, but I studied to know what the class would be like. Syllabus, previous students, stuff like that. It’s good stuff to know." Beth corrected, pursing her lips and turning back to her books.
"Some students do.. I usually don’t, but I don’t want it to happen, so better safe than sorry."
"Alright." He gave her a strange and mocking look, as if he thought she was the punchline of his own, funny, private joke.
What was the good in that? So what if you learned in advance that you’d absolutely hate the teacher? It wouldn’t make the class anymore bearable, in RJ’s opinion. It was like pissing off his parents. It didn’t matter if he came home late knowing he’d get a beating or if he came home to a surprise pummeling, it didn’t make the pain hurt any worse.
"It doesn’t matter to me." He shrugged. "I hate ‘em all."