Status: Hiatus

The Balcony Scene

Enter Kellin Quinn

The next hour is spent in a haze. Eighteen kids walk onstage, do a page in the script, sing a few lines, and walk offstage again. Vic isn’t quite as dazzled by any of them as he was by Craig, but he is rather impressed by a girl named Hayley Williams who did a fabulous audition for Darla, the female lead and love interest and, as it turns out at the very end, the actual killer.

Now, after four auditions ranging from mediocre to poor, Vic has his head leaned over the back of the chair, moaning, “I’m gonna kill myself. I’m gonna kill myself.”

“It’s okay, bro,” comforts Jaime offhandedly, playing with a Ping-Pong paddle that he found backstage seven auditions ago. “Only one more to go, and then we’ll take a break, okay? We can start casting tomorrow.”

“Okay.” Vic sits up now, rubbing his eyes. Who knew watching forty high-schoolers try out for a musical would be so exhausting? “Bring the last one in.”

Jaime salutes him and stands up, moaning and stretching as he makes his way up the stairs like he didn’t make the same journey five minutes ago when he fetched the last kid. Vic buries his face in his hands while he waits, and then shakes himself and checks over the audition list for the fiftieth time to make sure everything was in order. While the kids were auditioning he made little notes next to their names to look back at later while sorting through the cast list, like Craig’s “Perfect for Drapes” or Hayley’s “Fits Darla’s description—work on the vocals for ‘Let Love Bleed Red’ ” or “Good voice—Bobby, maybe?” or just “Mediocre”. Reading back on these now, he frowns and takes out a red pen. Might as well start cutting kids now. There are a few so far who were simply awful, and as Vic only needs a twenty-member cast at the most, it’s good to get the cruel decisions out of the way. It almost pains him to scratch little red X’s beside the names, but that’s show business.

A few moments later Jaime is back for the last time, at least until it’s time to pack up, switch off the theater lights, and head home. “Last one,” he mutters encouragingly to his friend and director. “Freshman.”

Vic nods and looks up at the stage, where a small dark-haired kid is now making his way to the center, holding the designated script pages in his hand.

“Kellin Quinn?” Vic asks when the boy has halted in the middle of the stage.

“That’s me,” the kid confirms. He seems nervous, and probably rightly so, as a freshman. He keeps shifting the papers back and forth between hands, and tossing his hair out of his face. Still, Vic can’t help but notice how cute he is. Stop it. Freshman, remember? he chastises himself.

“All right. Who are you trying out for, Kellin?”

“Carter.” Of course.

Jaime chimes in, too low for the kid to hear, “Yeah, good luck with that, freshman.”

“Jaime, why don’t you read for Darla?” Vic asks him loudly. “Page sixty.”

He glares at Vic and sits up straight, flipping through his copy of the script while Kellin shifts anxiously from foot to foot onstage like he can sense what Jaime said. Vic doesn’t need to tell his co-director what line to start at, as they’ve gone through the same page over fifteen times today.

He clears his throat and says in a high-pitched voice, “What are you, some sort of hooligan?”

Kellin focuses on the script and replies in a professional voice, “ ‘I didn’t mean to be a nuisance. I’m sorry, madame.’ ”

“ ‘Oh, I didn’t say I minded. In fact, what do you say we go out for some ice cream tomorrow?’ ”

“ ‘I wouldn’t advise it. The forecasters predict rain for tomorrow, and I don’t own a raincoat. I don’t like walking around in wet clothes. Not to mention what the scholars say about those nasty chemicals in ice cream. Wouldn’t want to get run the risk. All in all, I’d say it’s a horrid combination of circumstances for me to get involved in.’ ”

This is one of the most difficult speeches in the script to get right, but Kellin pulls it off marvelously. He’s managing to sound intelligent, awkward, and a little nervous at the same time, just like Carter’s character. What’s more, he’s performing seriously while Jaime does his part of the conversation in a ridiculous falsetto. Vic isn’t sure if even he could keep a straight face while that was going on. He purses his lips and watches, wanting to make a note but restraining himself so he can observe the rest of the dialogue.

Jaime giggles femininely. “ ‘You’re so funny, Carter! Ice cream it is.’ ”

“ ‘Well, all right then, but don’t expect it to be a satisfactory date. Er, did I say date? Curse your devilish charms.’ ”

It’s conflicting, really. Kellin’s audition is flawless, but at the same time, his person is just a little too diverse from Carter’s character for Vic to really be satisfied. Kellin has the dark hair and the slim physique, but he’s also rather short and his voice is high-pitched. Not to mention the fact that he looks nothing like Craig, but Vic tries not to think like that. After all, he hasn’t actually casted them yet.

Jaime finishes off Darla’s part in the scene in a voice almost like a squeal. “ ‘See you tomorrow, darling. I’ll be the one in the raincoat.’ ”

“ ‘Don’t play games with my mind, Darla—if I may call you that. So long.’ ”

Jaime closes his script and slouches down in his seat again, smirking now that his job is done, though he certainly didn’t succeed in what was obviously a ploy to fuck up the poor kid’s audition. Vic couldn’t really be mad at him for having a little fun; Jaime was just as bored at Vic, probably more so since this wasn’t his musical.

“All right, that was good, Kellin.” It was good—but it wouldn’t be earning the freshman any leads anytime soon. “Thanks a lot, sweetie. The cast list will be up in a week.”

Kellin frowns as Vic begins to pack up his things, anxious to finally get home. “Wait, don’t I get to sing?”

Vic freezes and glances at the kid guiltily. Great, now he looks like an asshole for wanting to get out of there so quickly he forgot about the vocal part of the audition. He sits back up straight and for some reason his face feels hot. “Oh, yes, of course. Go on, then, show me what you got.”

Still looking worried and a little puzzled, like he really thought that Vic had been about to cut off his audition, Kellin nods and lays the script carefully on the floor. Jaime meets Vic’s eyes and shrugs, and Vic knows they’re thinking the same thing: This kid doesn’t need a script? What, has he already memorized the songs?

Apparently he has. Kellin closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, letting it out slowly. Vic can imagine he can hear the freshman’s heart pounding from here, and almost smiles. He remembers what that’s like, though he’s never had to audition in front of another student before—a senior, no less. The kid is probably having a heart attack up there.

Then Kellin suddenly screws up his face and, automatically placing one hand on his chest, begins the song.

Stay for tonight
If you want to
I can show you
What my dreams are made of,
as I'm dreaming of your face
I've been away for a long time
Such a long time
And I miss you there
I can't imagine being anywhere else
I can't imagine being anywhere else but here

How the hell did you ever pick me?
Honestly, I could sing you a song
But I don't think words can express your beauty
It's singing to me
How the hell did we end up like this?
You bring out the beast in me
I fell in love from the moment we kissed
Since then we've been history

They say that love is forever
Your forever is all that I need
Please stay as long as you need
Can't promise that things won't be broken
But I swear that I will never leave
Please stay forever with me.

And his voice is so high, so clear, so brilliant that it knocks the breath right out of Vic’s lungs. For a few seconds after Kellin’s voice has faded into nothing the Mexican director just sits in silence, unmoving, awed. His eyes can’t leave Kellin’s face; he can’t get the sound of that voice out of his head, and who even fucking cares that Vic wrote the song an entire octave lower than what the kid just sang, because he’s pretty sure that that was the most beautiful thing he’s ever heard in his life.

The silence is broken by the Clap. Clap. Clap of Jaime’s hands as he applauds Kellin slowly. Vic finally tears his gaze away from the freshman and glances at his friend, who is looking no less impressed than Vic over Kellin’s delivery of the song that they’ve heard a dozen times today but never like that, never so powerful, so meaningful.

Finally Vic finds his voice. “Um. Wow. Th-thank you, Kellin. That was . . . really good.”

For the first time Kellin’s face breaks into a smile. “Really?”

“Yeah!” Vic said the same thing to countless others, but now he really means it. In fact, “really good” didn’t do Kellin’s voice justice, not whatsoever. Vic feels he needs to elaborate, to communicate somehow the effect of the kid’s audition. “You have a really amazing voice, man,” is all he can come up with.

“Really?” Kellin ducks his head bashfully.

“Yeah, totally.” Vic suddenly can’t keep his mouth shut, and he feels his cheeks burning as he goes on, “I’ve never heard anything like it. It’s absolutely gorgeous.” He winces as Jaime stomps on his toe. “Anyway, uh, I guess we’re done here. Cast list will be up in a week—a-as I said before, I guess.”

“Thank you so much,” says Kellin, bending down to pick up his script papers before jumping lightly down from the stage and beginning the ascent up the stairs to the auditorium door. Vic and Jaime stand up and begin to pack up their things as well, not speaking, and as Kellin passes them walking up the stairs, Vic can’t help but beam at the still-smiling boy. Kellin offers a small wave before proceeding up the last few rows and exiting the theater, and he really is very cute, more so when you see him up close.

As soon as the door swings shut behind him, Jaime gapes at Vic. “Dude. That kid—”

“I know.”

“That fucking voice . . .” The co-director shakes his head, hitching his backpack over his shoulder.

They head out of the theater for the first time in two hours, and make for the front door of the school. No one else is in the hallways, though a few stragglers are chilling out on the benches outside. The sun almost blinds Vic when he steps out from inside the building; he squints for a moment before beginning his descent down the front cement steps. Jaime follows him.

“But, like,” says Jaime as they march slowly down the steps. “We couldn’t actually cast him as Carter, you know? He’s a freshman, and besides, that fucking voice sounds more like it belongs on Darla than Carter.”

“Totally.” Vic nods in agreement, though internally he’s having second thoughts. What Kellin Quinn did play the lead? Would it really be so bad? He certainly has the voice for a big role, though as Jaime suggested, it really isn’t appropriate for a male lead.

Then again, Kellin is a freshman. And, as much as Vic sometimes hates it, there is a hierarchy to the size of part in a show versus the age of the student. A freshman can get a moderate part at best, but it’s practically blasphemy to even suggest that a fourteen-year-old kid could get a lead role in any performance. Kellin Quinn is no exception, even if he does have a flabbergasting voice and good looks to boot.

As though Jaime can read Vic’s mind, he elbows his best friend knowingly, a small grin already forming on his features. “Of course, it probably wouldn’t take much for him to convince you to give him the lead, if he really wanted.”

“What?” As if he has no clue what Jaime is talking about.

Jaime laughs and hops down the last step. “Come on, dude. I know that look you were giving him. You couldn’t take your eyes off him, and it wasn’t because he gave a particularly enthralling audition.”

Vic rolls his eyes, trying not to let it bother him how obvious he was. “Yeah, the kid’s pretty cute. I wouldn’t date a freshman, though, Jaime.”

“I would,” shrugs the co-director, and then they part in two different directions as they head for their cars. “See you tomorrow, dude?”

“See ya.”
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I'm surprised people recommended and subscribed to this before Kellin even got here haha. But here he is.

I'm sorry I decided to include like the entire first half of the lyrics of James Dean as if we all didn't already know them. I feel like Tolkien or something.

Anyway, as always comments are very, very much appreciated. Love you! :P