As Aretta's annoyingly, fakely chipper voice droned on and on, threatening to give Casady a headache, the hands of the clock seemed to tick more and more slowly. Was it just Casady's imagination, or did it appear that everything in the Force was manipulated to drive him crazy? In addition, his arm was falling asleep, making it increasingly uncomfortable to keep it draped across the back of Brookie's chair.
Inwardly fuming, Casady clenched his teeth and forced himself to keep from removing his arm from its position. You're trying to impress and woo the girl, so you've got to stop being squeamish. Trying his best not to grimace, he took a deep breath, then let it out.
Brookie reached across and patted Casady's leg, ever so tentatively. "Hey, did you hear what she just said?"
Realizing that he had not been paying even one iota of attention to Aretta, Casady shook his head. "No; I got bored of her oh-so-interesting comments and rants," he muttered, finally allowing himself to relinquish his arm, as much as he hated himself for it. "Did she say something memorable, for once?"
Brookie giggled softly, nodding. "Yes. She asked you to go up to the front and sing a piece of your solo for us all. She wants you to demonstrate what it means to put emotion into voice."
You're kidding. Lifting his eyes, Casady found Aretta staring expectantly at him. "You're kidding," he said, verbalizing his thoughts.
Aretta laughed. "Of course not! I want everyone to see what an excellent Singer you are." She beamed at him, and Casady got the sinking feeling that she was, once again, attempting to flirt.
Oh, the disgustingness of it all.
Making his way to the front of the room, Casady ignored the mixture of cheers and boos from the crowd, choosing to play the part of nonchalance. But when he looked out over the sea of students that waited expectantly, his heart failed slightly within him. He was supposed to Sing to that many people?
Well, soon enough, he would be Singing for more than just these students. As directed, he began the strains of his solo, singing only a select portion of it. The rest would have to be a surprise.
At the end, Vinnia entered. But instead of applauding, she motioned urgently for Casady. Something was wrong.