Tuesday, July 16, 2013

THE HOTNESS: A Modern Teen Pride and Prejudice (chapter eighteen: Sugary Spice)

Chapter Eighteen
Sugary Spice
     Darcy almost laughed out aloud when he noticed Mackenzie making a show of praying before eating her lunch the next day. Mackenzie had decided to seat herself between The Princesses and The Praise & Worshipfuls as if she was committed to both groups. Darcy knew, deep down, Mackenzie had good qualities but he disliked her hypocrisy. Mackenzie knew saying Grace before the main meal and being a Sunday Christian was not enough. Mackenzie was all for show, something Darcy abhorred.
    Darcy would never accuse himself of being dishonest.  He knew Mackenzie well enough to know she’d often had to be told to wait by her mother at Christmas time when she’d tried to wolf down her meal. Yet in public, of course, Mackenzie was the height of manners. How typical, Darcy thought. Suddenly, Mackenzie was acting like she had a patent on God.
    Meanwhile, Honey and I brushed past Darcy in the hall as I was on my way to Spring Awakening rehearsal. He actually smiled at us which was quite surprising. I was thinking about my callback for the TV show and how I’d combine it with my rehearsal schedule for Spring Awakening.
   I was pretty excited to have a singing part – even though I was the youngest main cast member. I religiously drafted our story, along with Honey, who drew the pictures during breaks. Our little e-read, the one that had just started as a story about Paige and Darcy and Sunrise High had become a kind of Sunrise High journal of our freshman year. It was getting really juicy… who knew how many actual publishers would bid for it?
    “Or maybe we could just put it on the web when we are finished and start our own publishing house,” Honey stated. Honey is always busy with marketing plans and she has a really good head for business. Me? I’m all about the art, really.
    “I’m so excited,” Honey whispered to me during rehearsal as she praised one of the sketches we decided to add to our chapter titles (Honey thinks up the titles). “Mrs Tartt said we might be able to use this as our class project elective. Aces!”
    “Great!” I replied, it beats reading the required text yet again.
     Paige was required to stand next to Rys on stage. Rys was playing a caddish teenage boy (European – any similarities?) who has just dropped the hand of Paige’s character. That was as far as our version of Spring Awakening went – hand holding.  Mr Sparks had updated and re-translated most of the dialogue. We added a song at the beginning and end (which I got to sing). It was kind of fun.
    To be honest, I’m not sure why they still called it Spring Awakening (Part Two)  but I guess since the original story was out of copyright they could call it anything they wanted.
    Meanwhile, Darcy wondered what sort of divine intervention he’d need to stop the powering train that was Paige Bennet making him look both socially and academically foolish. He knew if he was less prideful, (a better man), so to speak, he wouldn’t care. But he was a teenage boy and Paige had really gotten to him.  I know this because I saw him scrawl PB on his play script and those letters didn’t stand for Personal Best. (They stood for Paige Bennet of course!)
    Darcy had wandered into the school theatre where Mr Sparks was setting the stage lights and he had been raked into working as an assistant for extra credit. Paige was helping out as prompt that afternoon. I was singing. The play itself was unintentionally funny.
    Darcy, even sitting in the audience, was unfocused on the task at hand. Exhibit A: When I missed a cue he was oblivious to it. It was clear from the way he glanced at her, that Paige Bennet, even now, was infiltrating his train of thought. As I stood center stage, he was glancing over into the curtains where Paige stood. This annoyed me. I would not be upstaged even by a swan-like older girl who the talk of the school was obviously in love with.
     When the band started playing, I sang out. Everyone listened, even Darcy and Paige who were previously so wrapped up in each other’s sight lines.
     And the next day? Darcy spoke. He said hi to me, Veronica and Honey as we walked into the hall and paused and said, “hey, aren’t you the freshman playing the lead in Spring Awakening? You’re a really good singer.”
     My face went bright red.
     Honey giggled. 
     Veronica chewed her gum and smiled.
     Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles.