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The audience buzzes with energy and it carries back to where we’ve begun our final countdown to show time. The palpable electricity teases the hair on my skin.
Before every performance some of the Glam Club members get so nervous they sweat faster than their deodorant can keep up with. Others just throw up. That’s why backstage smells like Lysol laced onions. Me? I’ve always been able to channel the excitement and tense energy into my performance.
This, our last show of the school year, is set to begin and in about five minutes the stage lights will come up, the audience lights will go down and Glam Club’s star — Rio Montgomery — will take her spot on stage in front of the packed house.
There’s only one small problem.
“Where the hell is Rio?” Mr. Rockwell, our music director, zigs and zags nervously amongst us. Everyone scatters to keep out of his way. “Has anyone seen Rio?”
“Only every guy at Salem West High School, I hear,” Abi whispers beside me with a grin. A snort slips from between my lips and Mr. Rockwell gives us a quick, but no-less-caustic, glower.
“I’m glad you find this so funny Hatfield!” Thankfully his wrath is diverted by the buzzing of his cell phone.
Abi Gayle Conway is my female best friend.
My eyes roam around the room for my other best friend, Preston Monroe. Our eyes meet with smoldering, unbridled passion. No, wait. Wrong movie. I mean, yeah, our eyes meet. But nothing more than a flicker — more like a pathetic fizzle — passes between us. I think I even catch an eye roll before he looks away. Preston’s mad at me. Well not exactly mad-mad. But I know he’s disappointed in me. That’s why he’s on the other side of the room and not with Abi and me right now.
“Right?” Abi brings me back to my senses. (She’s good that way.)
“I’m sorry, what?” I mumble.
She follows my eyes and shakes her head when she catches me watching Preston pathetically. “Jesus Mol. I wish you two would just do it and get it over with.”
“What? What? Preston and I are so not going to do it. It’s not like that. We’re just friends,” I hiss.
“Oh get over yourself Molly Hatfield. You’re the only one who doesn’t see it,” she lectures with her hands on her hips, all full of Abi-tude. “You could do worse than Preston Monroe you know.”
“Ladies,” Boston Remke — fellow Glam Club member — tips his imaginary hat in our direction in a lame attempt to be studly.
“Like I was saying,” she whispers to me. To Boston: “Oh hi Boston.” And just like that, the conversation we’ve had too many times to count is over as she takes his arm and they walk away.
I’d never go for Boston Remke. Not in a million years. Bedsides, even though she denies it, Abi’s had it bad for Boston since she moved up here in second grade.
It’s obvious to me by the way she tucks her short blacker-than-black hair behind one ear. Or maybe it’s the way she bats her contact lens enhanced big purple eyes not-so-coyly up at him.
I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.
“Okay, listen up people!” Mr. Rockwell claps his hands together to get our attention. “Change of plans. There’s been an accident. Rio had a minor fender bender. She’s on her way, but won’t make opening.