Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pride and Princesses Joel chapter 12

Chapter 12

    I had to leave rehearsals early that afternoon because I was due to meet Joel for our scheduled half hour tutoring session. Basically, I go over his English essays and he signs my form to say I helped him. This is supposedly a win-win situation but he’s not usually very helpful when we meet in the library. I guess you could say he’s just not into this. He will leave if I’m even five minutes late and he’s not exactly grateful to be in my company. In Mrs Robinson’s Guide @p29 it is written: ‘....on the subject of appearing grateful within relationships; many men have stated that they just want a woman who is thankful for the little things in life, who doesn’t make them feel like they are being used as a husband and provider...’


     No problems in this town where most of the husbands and providers abscond for some reason. I’m not joking. The average marriage of all of our parents in Sunrise (Jet’s included) lasts around eight years. Most of the splits are ‘amicable’ divorces but very few people had actually ‘lost’ parents, except Mark and Petra.

     I overheard Tory gossiping in rehearsal about Mark’s long ago family ‘tragedy’ - his parents being killed.

    ‘It explains his reckless driving,’ Teegan noted. ‘He wants to push the boundaries.’

     I rolled my eyes when I heard this but Brooke just nodded sycophantically. I felt bad for Mark though. No wonder he relied so much on his friendship with Jet, who seemed more like a brother to him.


    I thought about rehearsal as I ran over to the library...

    Mr Sparks’ welcome speech was totally full of crazy innuendo but he’d never actually do anything about it. He could never even like another human being (let alone be attracted to one) more than himself. I guess Mr Sparks is kind of good-looking but don’t get worried. We’d never include Mr Sparks in the dating game. We’re not that delusional. But I have to admit, apart from the star trip factor, Mr Sparks really is a great director. He’s just filled to the brim with enthusiasm, drive and creative vision. It’s quite inspirational.

    Earlier in the day, Mark didn’t seem to notice Mr Sparks’ tantrum. He was obsessed with the lighting guide and talking to the other assistant stage manager, already in control. Meanwhile, Mr Sparks threw his hands in the air after a few hours of trying to coax onstage emotions out of Jet. Finally, Mr Sparks realized he’d never make a ‘true actor’ out of Jet and just praised him for showing up. ‘There is honour in the attempt,’ he said, quoting someone famous for sure. 

    Mouche was hunched in a corner with Miss Tartt. They were discussing costumes and holding up fabric samples in the patch of light peeping in between the blackout curtains. I started learning my scenes with Tory – joy of joys. We were loud and enthusiastic and Mark was hesitant and looked almost disapprovingly above the script as he prompted us. His lack of enthusiasm was beginning to annoy me. It didn’t bode well for Saturday night although Jet seemed far friendlier.

    It was almost dark before I managed to slip away and find Joel in A-block.

    He was sitting in an abandoned desk balancing a pencil and an eraser on his nose when I entered. Joel had been at track team practice. He was wearing a hoodie and baggy sweat pants.

    ‘Hi Joel,’ I said warily. ‘Did you bring your essay?’

    ‘It’s in my pocket,’ Joel said and pulled out a crumpled mess of papers patterned with coffee stains.


    ‘You mean you actually did the work?’

    ‘Don’t sound so surprised...you inspire me.’

    ‘Is that supposed to be a joke?’ I was pretty sure I’d heard that line before.

     Suddenly he sat up straight and pulled the eraser off his forehead.

    ‘Um...yes?’ He sounded sarcastic and unsure.

    ‘Well, I can take this home and check it and let you know if there is anything you need to change.’

    ‘I doubt there will be...’


    ‘Well, this one’s from the heart,’ Joel said, punching his chest.

     He was kind of funny so I smiled.

     We had to write an essay for English; add an unwritten chapter to Wuthering Heights. Joel didn’t like to read so I was surprised that his essay was at least six pages long. I flicked through it. There were some very deep and meaningful phrases...

     ‘There seems to be a lot of words here.’

     ‘Oh, that’s okay, you can just put a line through some of them...’


     Joel was a lone warrior. He never hung out in a group but seemed friendly enough with all of his exes. He got up and walked to the door after I’d signed his little form. I was left alone in the classroom.

    It was actually the junior class homeroom and I couldn’t resist noticing that Mark Knightly’s desk had some papers sticking out of it. I didn’t think it would matter if I just lifted the lid slightly in order to place everything in the correct order; a little-used copy of Wuthering Heights under some scribbled pages of Roman history notes. Then I looked at Jet Campbell’s desk. I saw a photograph taken at rehearsals and the person smiling out from the middle of the group was Mouche. It was bothering me that, once again, Mouche was the centre of attention but I was also glad Jet was crushing on her. I quickly took out my cell and snapped a photograph of the messy desk to add to the expanding guide.

     Mouche pulled out the note again as we jumped into the jeep.

    ‘Guess what?’


    ‘I found this note detailing: Everything I like about M.M. That’s me! I’ve compared this note to the notes on the lighting list that I need a copy of because I’m designing the costumes...’


    ‘And? It’s Jet Campbell’s handwriting.’


    ‘I think it’s kind of cute.  I’m going to keep it safe...maybe I’ll even get to corner him backstage in the dressing room,’ Mouche joked.

     I felt a little bristle on the back of my arms. Mark had practically ignored me all rehearsal. But I had to fess up.

     ‘I found this in his desk when I was supposed to be tutoring Joel...’

      ‘Now Joel is like, the ultimate unobtainable man...definitely third on my list after Jet and Mark,’ Mouche said.

     ‘Tell me about it...’

      Mouche reverted to the subject at hand.

     ‘I don’t get it. So Jet took some photos this afternoon...’

     ‘Yeah, you’re in all of them...’ I replied.


     ‘So, it’s obvious, he likes you...’

     ‘Well, maybe that’s because I grabbed him backstage and got on him after everyone else had left...’

     ‘Geez Mouche, are you serious? We’re not supposed to be...actually...doing it with them.’

     ‘I didn’t mean that... gross. I’m just kidding. I’ve never touched the guy apart from when I held his hand in the ocean. He’d have to actually date me a couple of times to get more than a smile. But I am considering an amendment to the rules. I think the girls should be able to chase the boys, if you know what I mean...’

     ‘The overwhelming majority of the guides are right when they state the boys have to chase the girls...or the guys are just not into it. It’s like a universal rule of dating.’ I didn’t want to admit I’d flirted with Trey. It was way out of character for me and I’d ended up looking ridiculous as usual.

     ‘I suppose, besides this game isn’t about losing our morals...but it might be fun to encourage the Princesses to lose whatever is left of theirs...’ Mouche said.

      Just then we were driving past a religious group protesting outside the local court with placards held up, one of which read:  Do you want to be a garden for Jesus or a vessel for sin?’

    ‘I’m just kidding. I’m totally waiting for true love, just like you, but you never know... Jet could be...the one. Look what he gave me after rehearsal today.’ 

    We’d put up a note from the wardrobe mistress asking everyone to bring extra clothing and unwanted items from home for the costume department.

    ‘Jet brought in this adorable, navy blue, velvet beret to add to my collection. It used to belong to his mother but she doesn’t wear it anymore.’

    ‘It will be great for the final, tragic scene when Tory gives you the poison.’

    ‘Definitely,’ I agree.

    ‘But I have to warn you, although I can’t wait for Saturday night, we have a problem...’

    ‘I know...’

    ‘Teegan has worked out that we are having a dating competition...and she wants in,’ Mouche added.

    ‘But she doesn’t even know the rules...’

    ‘Exactly...’ Mouche smiled.

    ‘Are you thinking what I’m thinking?’