The stage was as alive as the stars and the moon in the sky, ever so sparkly and bright, as it was beautiful and wonderful. Everybody was pulling off their best performance and enchanting the audience like they knew best. I was pulling on my costume with Helena’s ever helpful hand, then dismissed her with many thanks when somebody else needed her help. I always wondered why Helena never asked me for bigger roles on stage, I would have gladly given her Princess So Shi’s role if she had auditioned for it. She had talent, was it just that she couldn’t see it, or she didn’t want it to be exploited on the stage? Many great performers lost their charm when acting became a mere job more than a passion, it could fool the audience, but never another fellow performer.
So far, I knew I hadn’t lost that spark yet, nor was I intending to let it go anytime soon. I would always be in love with acting, singing, and dancing. However, sometimes I wondered if being attached to performing was only an excuse to be accepted in the world, after those so close and so dear to me turned me down on the entrance of my home. I shook my head from those thoughts and kept casting glances at the audience.
“Hey Adams, have you seen how packed is your theatre tonight?”
I whirled around, trying to connect the oh so familiar voice to a face. Behind me stood Steven Parker, my friend from university and highly trained lawyer from the best law school in the country. He had helped me set up my solo career when I decided to leave the performing companies to start one of my own. He had helped a lot with the legal stuff, and at times, had hinted something between us that gone beyond friendship, but I always discouraged that flame in his heart. I wasn’t ready to fall in love; and he has a piece of my mind several times in a year, especially when he asked me out, then invited me to stay the night in his apartment. Poor thing.
“Steve, what are you doing here?” I asked, lightly wrapping an arm around his neck, careful not to ruin my make-up and costume. “I thought I said no visitors during intermissions and especially not when a scene was being acted on stage. Who let you in?”
“I think it was that new boy you told me about,” said Steve sheepishly. “I told him I had to speak with you, and he waved me in. He was by the vending machines talking quite comfortably with a young lady.”
I shifted on my feet, unhappy because of James’ unprofessional behaviour. I had to have a talk with him once the show was over. “Is there something you want to tell me?”
“Not really, I was just curious of what happened behind the scenes. You never really let me in, even though we have known each other for so many years.” He buried his hands on his pant’s pocket and swayed. “The show is a real success, you know?”
I nodded and said. “I wouldn’t expect less, I only work with the best.” I meant every word I said, and he understood it perfectly. “I think there’s something else with this mysterious and rash visit. For friendship’s sake, what is it?”
“Well, you’re quite right. Sometimes I hate you for being right all the time.” He nudged me with his shoulder. “Actually, I wanted your opinion on something.”
“I was thinking, maybe after the show...”
I sighed. “Steve, I told you we can grab as many beers as you want to together, and celebrate like the great friends we are. But I can’t go out on a date with you. I’m not ready to start a relationship just now...”
“I know that, and, I wasn’t going to ask you out.” He sounded hesitant, timid at my reaction. “What I wanted to ask was, do you think I should invite Helena out on a date tonight?”
I raised my eyebrows in surprise. I wasn’t used to be turned down, especially not by sweet Steve. But what really caught me off-guard was his question. “Helena? Wait, do you have something with her? If so, I never realized.”
“Well, I was just thinking about it, and as of late, I cannot stop thinking ofher. When she was on stage, it was great, I felt bliss to watch her perform. I have to admit, she is really pretty. So, what do you think?”
I let my mouth hung open. What could I tell him? It was strange, I felt slightly uncomfortable right now...was it envy? No, there was nothing between Helena and me... we were both girls for crying out loud! But somehow, it didn’t feel right that Helena would date Steve.
But duty as a friend preceded over me first. “Of course you should ask her out and see how everything turns out. Maybe you guys might end up liking each other a lot.”
Steve was relieved. “Thanks Cara, I needed your words. I shall ask her out.”
“After the show,” I warned him.
“Sure, sure!” he said and started exiting the backstage. “Good luck with the rest of the show!”
I had to be happy for him, but somehow, I wasn’t.
I was standing on the right side of the stage, readying myself for my cue, when Isabella went up to me.
“How is it going?”
“It’s great,” I replied. “Everybody is doing great. Ready for your next appearance?”
“Yes,” she said coolly.
I caught sight of Helena and smiled at her. Isabella noticed.
“I don’t mean to intrude in your personal life, but, is there something going on between Helena and you?”
My face shaded in several colours of red and pink. Was it so obvious my inclination towards her? “Why do you say that?”
“By the fact that you keep smiling at her, only.”
I blushed, indignant. “I don’t favour her, if that’s what you’re hinting. I treat everybody the same.”
“Oh, I didn’t mean that,” Isabella rapidly explained. “I just thought, and forgive me if I’m too bold, that maybe you have some feelings for her?”
“No,” I replied almost immediately. “No, I don’t have feelings for her, and I’m sure she doesn’t either. What crazy ideas you have, Bella.”
The problem was, it didn’t sound so crazy. To make sure Isabella didn’t suspect anything anymore, I told her, “Besides, Steve is asking her out tonight.”