A university student who never gets noticed finally gets a break. But, how long will it last? Angst only in parts. Not always romance either.
"It's AmeliÃ©, pronounced, Ah-mel-ee-ay." She didn't like how the audition judge speaking to her was already staring over the rims of her garish glasses at her, but she was used to it, and had experienced it many times.
Her music cue came and she went through the dance routine she had put together for the Panic At The Disco dance auditions. It was a mixture of ballet and jazz, her two strongest styles. Everything was going well until near the end, when for some reason,, her usually graceful self tripped over her own foot. Of course, it would never happen when it didn't matter, like when she was walking to the audition, or even upon entering the audition room. It had to happen at the most crucial point in her routine. By the time she finished she knew she had ruined all of her chances for even having a thought of surviving.
Later that night, after showering and changing in her hotel room, she lay flat on her stomach talking quietly to her friends back in Winnipeg.
"So?" Was the first presumed question. "Do I get to meet Jon Walker?" And there was the second.
"Sorry, Jennifer." AmeliÃ© sighed over the speaker phone. "I think I most definitely screwed us all over for meeting Panic ."
"It went that bad?" Alex asked sympathetically.
"Let's just say this trip was a waste of time and money." She rolled over onto her back. "Which reminds me, I better phone my mom and dad later and thank them for flying me out here."
I'm sorry it was such a bust, but, I mean, you're in Vegas for crying out loud Do something exciting "
"There isn't much to do when you're underage. I suppose I could at least take some photos to add to my gallery collection." A beep on the other line signaled call waiting. "I should go, there's a beep."
"Okay, but think of this, maybe Panic Is looking for a photographer, maybe they'll hire you." Alex tried to cheer her up.
"Definitely. They're going to hire someone who just started in Fine Arts at the University of Hicktown Manitoba and is about three and a half years away from a degree."
"You always have to kill the bright side, don't you?" He asked rhetorically. The three in the phone conversation said their goodbyes so that she could talk to her mother on the other line.
AmeliÃ© was staring into space again, for the billionth time that night. She was standing in front of a blown up screen of one of her pieces: an old abandoned warehouse with broken windows and a rusted parking sign in the front focus. Her two friends stood by another picture, speaking in low tones.
"I don't get it. This is her own gallery of her own work. She's been dreaming about this since she was old enough to click a shudder button. Why is she spacing out and being all weird?" Jennifer asked in between smiling and greeting the public.
"She's been acting like this since Wednesday. That was when it started: three days after she got back from Las Vegas." As if both were having the same thought, they walked over to where she was staring at the picture, her green eyes unfocused behind her black thick rimmed glasses.
"Okay, you need to tell us what is going on." Alex confronted. AmeliÃ© regained control of her sagging mouth and turned to them with worried eyes.
"You guys are going to hate me." She bit her chapstick coated lip.
"Oh Jesus, what did you do now?" Alex mocked, knowing that although she was slightly morbid and emo, she could never say or do anything bad to anyone. She seemed to take a long while to think before answering.
"Wednesday night, as I was pulling photos together for the gallery, I got a phone call from Panic 's manager." Both sets of eyes went wide and mouths dropped. "They told me that although I had flubbed the audition, the auditions were taped and the final decision went to Panic themselves. They wanted me as a back up dancer." Jennifer's mouth stayed open in shock and disbelief, but Alex was already trying to prepare himself for whatever she did. "They wanted me to fly back to Vegas to learn choreography."
Both Alex and AmeliÃ© could sense one of Jennifer's "build-up" screams fighting to be released and they rushed to cover her mouth so as not to disturb the guests.
"But," AmeliÃ© continued. "They wanted me to fly out tonight."
Alex and Jennifer walked around the art gallery watching the people and talking in hushed voices.
"I still can't believe AmeliÃ© didn't accept the back up dancer job because she was having a gallery tonight." Jennifer complained.
"Stop thinking about yourself. You're just pissed because you don't get to meet the band." Alex snapped. He never usually had the patience for Jennifer's "me" complex. He had no idea how AmeliÃ© put up with her. "I support her decision. It was a hard thing for her to give up that job. It meant a lot to her, and it certainly would have paid more than this gallery, but she needed to think about her future."
"But if she took that job, she wouldn't have to worry about the future, and neither would we. Panic would see how awesome she really is and they would all become friends and they would support her and fiver her hobs and then she would introduce us and we would be friends with them and then we would get jobs too " Jennifer visibly inflated with excitement.
"Oh come on, be realistic. None of that is going to happen. Besides, what happens if she hurts herself or is passed her prime for her dance career, what will she do then?" He argued. Just then, they were interrupted by a young man in black skinny jeans and a vintage pink top, half of his face was hidden by a flip.
"Excuse me, is this AmeliÃ© Ladda's gallery?" He asked. His voice was surprisingly average for a male whose features were so soft and feminine.
"Yes, this is it." Alex replied. Jennifer was busy staring at her shoes, trying to think of another argument.
"Is she here?"
"Yes. She's right over there standing next to the pillar." Alex pointed. The man thanked him and went to introduce himself to her. Alex turned back to Jennifer, his hands clasped casually behind his back, a smug look on his face.
"What are you so smiley about?" She sneered.
"While you were busy trying to think up another brainless argument, I was busy speaking to Ryan Ross of Panic At The Disco." Normally gloating was not his style, but this opportunity was too good to pass up. The look on Jennifer's face was as priceless as a MasterCard commercial.
AmeliÃ© leaned against the pillar, watching people pointing at different pieces and commenting on them. She was glad that it all mixed together in a low jumble of conversation with the music. She didn't want to know whether the comments were good or bad. She chewed her bottom lip, her hands shoved into the back pockets of her dark wash jeans.
"Excuse me, Miss Ladda?" A voice from behind pulled her from her reverie.
"I've never been addressed as Miss Ladda before." She turned around, a forced smile on her face. Her eyes went wide. "Holy crap." She recognized Ryan."It's an honor to meet you." She shook the hand he offered her.
"I should say the same. Your artwork is amazing." She flushed at the compliment.
"Thank you. I think your lyrics are powerful."
"That was really random." He laughed quietly, making her color a bright red.
"I'm sorry. It's just..." She took a deep breath to calm herself and tried to explain. "If I ever met you, or any of the other band members, I wondered what I would say. Although I didn't think it would force its way out of me."
"It's okay, I was only teasing. I'm glad you liked them. It makes me feel like it's all worth it after all." He flipped his hair out of his face and looked at the ground.
"What do you mean by that? You're being very cryptic." She had a feeling she knew what he was talking about, but waited for confirmation.
"Sorry, I don't mean to be. I'm just glad that not every fan is following us because they think we're good looking." She nodded, her suspicions were correct.
"Just give it time. Right now, you are the new fad, but somewhere down the line, someone or something new will come along and all the superficial groupies will move on. Your true fans who love you for your music and the messages of your lyrics will stay by you." He looked at her and smiled. Not just a small smile, but a rather large one.
"You just made me feel a lot better. Thank you." He moved closer and hugged her. AmeliÃ© was glad she could help but was temporarily out of sorts with how friendly he was.
In the middle of the hug, she looked over his shoulder and saw a funny sight: three men were backed against a wall and Jennifer was talking a mile a minute and her hands were flying out dangerously in all directions. She was getting closer and closer to them the whole time and they were crowded together, trying to take up as little space as possible.
"Oh no." She pulled herself from the hug without saying anything more and rushed to the scene, Ryan trailing behind her. Alex did the same from the other end of the gallery. "Jennifer " she grabbed one arm and Alex grabbed the other and both pulled in opposite directions resulting in nothing but sore arms for Jennifer, not that she noticed. She was still busy raving at the trapped band members. AmeliÃ© let go of her arm and allowed Alex to drag her from the room.
Ryan was trying hard to keep a straight face. Brendon, Spencer, and Jon looked like children caught with their hands in the cookie jar.
"I am so sorry. I wish I could tell you that I didn't know she was going to freak out like that, but in all honesty, I did, so I can't." Ryan introduced them once they felt safe enough to give each other some well deserved space.
"Guys, this is AmeliÃ©." They all waved and greeted her. All three of them were wearing skinny jeans. Spencer was wearing a blue long sleeved designer dress shirt, Jon was wearing a plain black t-shirt and Brendon was wearing a fitted purple hooded sweater with the hood up over his head. He also wore his glasses. Ryan turned to her. "This is Jon, Spencer, and Brendon."
"Hello." She smiled, and it occurred to her to ask the question that had wanted to be asked since she realized they were there. "This might just be my potentially inflated ego showing up, but why are you here?"
"Don't think we came here just to see you." Brendon sneered from under his hood, his hands shoved in the front pockets of his sweater. "Winnipeg happens to be a very interesting city." AmeliÃ© blushed furiously and stared at the grout between the tiling on the floor. Brendon cracked a smile, unable to keep his face serious. Ryan tapped her arm lightly.
"It's okay, he's just being a diva. We are here to see you." She cleared her throat and blinked behind her glasses, still unable to look up just yet.
"Why?" Her voice was quiet. Brendon immediately felt guilty for bugging her when he hardly knew how it would affect her.
"We liked your audition."
"I fell." She stated, a hint of disgust in her voice.
"Yes, but your human. We know gravity affects you too, we didn't expect you to fly." He licked his lips. "Your routine was really good. It was the style we were looking for in the "Nothing Rhymes With Circus" tour. Did you do your own choreography?" She nodded. "Well, then we'll definitely need you to teach the rest of the dance troupe your choreography. Of course you would be lead, and heck, lets make you dance captain." She looked up, thoroughly surprised.
"I'm flattered. Really, I am, but there is a reason I turned down that offer to begin with."
"Ah, yes. That was because you were having this gallery of fabulous work tonight , and you needed to focus on this in case dancing doesn't pan out." Spencer piped up. "Correct?" She blinked.
"Um. Yes. How did you know." She bit her lip.
"Natural process of deduction. There was a reason you didn't accept, and you just got into university, so you're obviously trying to get a career started." She blinked again.
"That's why," Ryan chimed in. "We are offering you this position when you're ready to come. When you are finished this gallery and anything else you need to get done, then you can come. We just need you about a week before the tour starts, and that's in about a month." AmeliÃ© scratched her forehead. She needed to think about this. Needed to see if it was alright with her parents, after all, they were half supporting financially with school, so it would have to be decided with them as well.