Status: Hiatus

The Balcony Scene

Group Number

The cast are almost all here. Sixteen kids flipping through their newly-acquired scripts, seated in little clusters, subgenres of theater geeks. Most of the girls band together in a tight-knit group, especially since they are way outnumbered for once. The freshmen also cling to one another, Kellin included, sitting nervously in a circle away from everyone else. There are more of them than Vic would have liked, but it can’t be helped; they’re a talented class. The sophomores, juniors, and seniors talk to each other openly, and some of the more involved seniors are walking around backstage, fishing pieces of set from the labyrinth of rooms on Vic’s orders. There’s a checklist by the door, and only two names remain to be checked off. One is a freshman named Jack Fowler, who Vic has been told was out sick today.

The other is, of course, Andy Biersack.

“Does anyone known where Andy is?” Vic calls out for the fifth time as everyone sits around on chairs in the pit. The directors decided that the pit by the stage would be the best place for rehearsal; a little cramped, maybe, but that would just help the cast grow closer together as a community. Bonding has to happen somehow, right?

No one volunteers an answer. Vic fixes his gaze on the black-haired kid sitting by Craig, who Vic knows is a good friend of Andy’s. The kid is avoiding Vic’s eyes, smiling at something Craig is muttering to him. He isn’t even in the cast, but showed up to rehearsal anyway. He’s done work backstage for the last three shows, so Vic can’t exactly kick him out, but he has a strong suspicion that the guy is going to be a major distraction for the stars.

“Matt Good,” Vic calls. The kid starts and looks up. Narrowing his eyes menacingly, Vic asks, “Where’s Andy?”

Matt shrugs, looking uncomfortable. He actually seems like a pretty sweet guy, but he had definitely made some interesting choices in terms of friends.

Vic sighs, frustrated, slapping his hands down on top of the piano lid. Jaime is no help, of course—he’s sitting with the group of girls, trying for the fifth time to start and conversation with them even though they insist on ignoring him.

This was not at all how Vic planned on the first rehearsal going. He knew some kids were going to miss it—hell, he’s surprised as many showed up as they did—but it’s completely unacceptable for a lead actor to miss the first read-through without giving the director a reasonable excuse beforehand. Vic clenches his teeth together. Giving that Andy kid such a big responsibility was a huge mistake.

Well, there’s nothing he could do about it now. Jaime could take care of Detective Smith’s lines today. In the meantime, it’s time to get this show on the road.

Vic opens the piano lid, clears his throat, and plays a chord loudly on the piano. Almost all conversations die down, and the few that remain talking quiet down quickly enough as Jaime glares at them. Everyone looks at Vic expectantly, and suddenly Vic feels a swell of pride. He has put this together. This cast is in the palm of his hand.

He smiles warmly at them. “Hey, guys. Welcome to the first rehearsal for my musical Yeah Boy and Doll Face. I’m super excited that you all wanted to be a part of this with me, and it should be an amazing experience. If you didn’t already know, I actually wrote this musical, and this is also my first time directing an entire show, so this is all pretty new for me.”

Vic’s eyes roam over the cast as he talks, and although he tries not to, he can’t help but linger on Kellin’s face for a second or two longer than the others. Kellin is paying Vic rapt attention as Vic talks, which both encourages the director and makes him self-conscious. He clears his throat again.

After a break for air, Vic goes on, “Jaime Preciado is co-directing, so if you have any questions about anything in the coming weeks, consult with him before coming to me.” Jaime gives the cast a wink as they glance at him. Hayley rolls her eyes. “Today we’re going to be doing a simple read-through, very casual, just here in the pit. I’m gonna ask you guys to move around a little bit, though, so don’t get too comfortable. It’s just best for you to get friendly with the people you’re going to be associated with in the show.”

Vic takes another breath and glances at the sixteen actors, plus Matt Good and Jaime, and tries to organize them mentally. Hell, he barely knows half of these people by name, let alone what parts they play. He examines the cast list, clicking his tongue contemplatively. “All right. If you’re in the ensemble, sit on that side of the pit.” He points to his right and some kids get up and move, many looking none too happy about it. Other kids who are already sitting on the right stand up to make room. “Now, if it says on the list that you’re Soloist number one, two, or three, sit on that side, near the back. Anna, Norman J., Hotel Manager, and anyone else who gets killed off, you’d better sit in those seats in front of them. Detective Smith—well, never mind. Now, Darla, Drapes, Bobby, Luanne, and Carter, you four sit right in front. That’s right, don’t be shy.” Vic only half-registers that he’s calling the actors by their characters’ names.

Kellin, along with his junior and senior co-stars, move up until they’re right in front of the piano. The freshman looks pale, and Vic almost feels bad for him. None of the other leads even look at him.

“All right, that’s really good, guys. Now, let’s start with a vocal warm-up.”

They do so, starting in the middle and ranging higher and higher in their vocals, and then lower and lower until Vic feels that they’d properly warmed up their voices. He can hear Kellin’s sweet tenor from here, and it makes it so hard to concentrate on his job he wonders how he’ll manage to get through the next seven weeks until show night. He finds that he doesn’t mind a bit, though, almost purring to himself at the sound of the freshman’s gorgeous voice.

Rehearsal goes very well after that. Kellin’s nerves fade when he starts his lines, and Vic finds that he and Craig complement each other beautifully, the perfect ying and yang. Even though he feels ridiculous for it, Vic does get a little nervous when Drapes starts bullying Carter, maybe because he could see the same thing going down with the actors in real life. Kellin and Hayley also have a very convincing fake chemistry, and Vic even sees them having a conversation in whispers while a scene involving Drapes and Bobby goes on. Vic doesn’t bother to reprimand them; it’ll help the show more if he allows them to build an actor-to-actor relationship, even at the risk of distracting the other cast members.

Soon they’re about a quarter of the way through the script, in a scene where Drapes and Darla talk for the first time. Craig is leaning over Kellin slightly to talk to Hayley. “ ‘How’s my sweet baby doll doing today?’ ”

“ ‘Well, I singed myself this morning setting fire to all the photographs of my ex-husband, but other than that I’m doing just swell.’ ” Darla is one of those interesting characters where you can never tell if she’s serious or not. Vic is quite proud of her, and of Hayley for doing it so perfectly.

Craig laughs menacingly, actually sending shivers up Vic’s spine. “ ‘I’m sure you are, dear. You ever been to San Francisco, Darla?’ ”

“ ‘Twelve times, not including—’ ”

At that moment the door to the theater opens with a bang. Everyone looks up to the top of the stairs, behind the back row of seats, where a skinny figure is outlined against the light from the outside world. The entire scene is cut short as the figure saunters down the stairs one at a time, tight black clothing stretching and contorting over his thin form.

Vic is more than a little pissed off as the guy finally reaches the pit and throws his backpack over the railing. “You’re late.”

“My bad,” rumbles Andy Biersack in his throaty bass. “I had to go out for a smoke.”

“For forty-five minutes?!”

“You think I like having my life controlled by my addiction?” Andy shoots back. Craig busts out laughing, and many of the other kids join in quietly until Vic silences them with his death glare.

“Uh-uh,” says Vic when Andy makes a move to sit by Matt. “Go sit over there with the victims. You’re about to start investigating their deaths.”

Andy shrugs, unfazed, and takes a seat by Ronnie Radke, who’s playing the hotel manager who gets killed early on. Ronnie smirks at Andy, who stares ahead smugly and slouches in his seat. He’s wearing tighter pants than Vic has ever seen on any man.

“All right,” Vic sighs. “We’re on page thirty-one. Here’s your script, Andy. Try not to destroy it.”

The rest of rehearsal is not nearly as smooth as the first half. Once the magical flow of the show was severed by Andy’s unceremonious arrival, it’s difficult for everyone to get back on track, especially the kids who don’t have as many lines. There are about six students who don’t have individual roles at all, and though Vic plans to make it a fun experience for every single member of the cast, he knows how difficult it can be to be patient while everyone else shines. None of the freshmen have gotten a speaking role except Kellin, and they all look horribly bored—and a little betrayed by their classmate for deserting them for the big time.

The same goes for the “victims”, who have varying stage time depending on how early they get killed off. Of course, Vic thinks they could probably concentrate a little better if a certain goth sophomore wasn’t sitting in their midst. Before Andy’s arrival, the individual conversations had been kept to a minimum. But now that the instigator is here, no one in his immediate vicinity has much interest in the show anymore. It takes all of Vic’s willpower not to lash out at Andy, releasing the Mexican inferno within upon the poor wretch, but he doesn’t do so for three reasons. One, it would provide an even bigger distraction for the cast, a few of whom, like Kellin, are still dutifully focused on the read-through. Two, there is no better way to look like a jerk than to throw a tantrum during the first fucking rehearsal. And three—Andy is just plain talented. As soon as his whispered antics are about to make Vic scream, one of Detective Smith’s scenes would come up, and suddenly Andy is a different person. In a flawless British accent he would go over evidence, deliberate over different crime theories, and on occasion have a breakdown because he wasn’t able to find the true killer. When his death scene arrives, Andy croaks out the Detective’s final words—“You . . . your face . . . my god,” with such emotion it wrenches Vic’s heart, and he thinks he can’t possibly stay angry at Andy, until the sophomore leans forward to mutter something in Craig’s ear, causing Craig to chortle right in the middle of one of his lines.

Finally Vic, at his wit’s end, is able to say, “And curtain.” The first act is over. A few quiet conversations begin, but Vic calls over them. “All right, guys. That’s the first half of the play, and it’s where we’ll stop for today. Thank you so much for your hard work, and I’ll see you all tomorrow for Act II. And don’t forget to pick up a schedule on the way out!” He has to yell over the sudden uproarious bustle of activity now that the sixteen actors, plus Matt Good, are free.

As the kids crowd around the stairs leading from the pit to the seats, and then the laborious trek from the bottom to the top of the theater, Vic slumps forward, burying his face in his arms on the piano, causing a cacophonic combination of notes to be regurgitated from the instrument. He hears Jaime shouting, with that unmistakable voice that not even seventeen teenagers could talk over. “Hey! We need to see Kellin Quinn, Hayley Williams, Craig Owens, and Andy Biersack at the piano please! Now, come on!”

Vic lifts his face as Jaime hops up to perch on the body of the piano. One by one, the four actors fight their way out of the crowd and make their way to the two directors in confusion.

Once all four of them are there, Jaime points at Andy and says, “I’ll get to you in a second. Now, Kellin, Hayley, and Craig. How do you think today’s practice went?”

“It was pretty good,” says Hayley casually. Kellin nods at her side.

“Good,” says Jaime. “You see, you three are our jewels. The MVPs of the musical, if you will. Vic and I want to be in constant communication with you guys to make sure things are going smoothly, so don’t be afraid to speak up if you have any thoughts on how things are going. Got it?” The three leads nod. “All right, you can go. Good job today, Kellin,” he adds at the end, smiling warmly at the freshman. Kellin smiles back, and Vic is pleased to see that he looks satisfied. He deserves to; he’s been a trooper today, putting his all into his character even through the distractions around him.

When the three stars are halfway up the stairs, Jaime turns to Andy and says, “Come here, Andy.”

Andy does so. The look on his face could not convey his thoughts any clearer; Vic knows just from looking at him that he has no intent whatsoever in buying into whatever bullshit they’re about to give him. He approaches the piano, actually having the nerve to smirk at Vic a little.

Jaime speaks calmly. “Listen, bro. No one’s forcing you to do this musical. In fact, I think pretty much everyone is wishing you would quit the damn thing since you clearly don’t give a shit about it. And lemme tell you, it would make putting this show together a hell of a lot easier if you weren’t here to screw up people’s lines and make everyone lose focus. But if you do decide to stick around, which I would recommend, you’re gonna have to get your shit together.”

Andy smiles a tiny bit wider. “Come on, where’s your sense of humor, Jaime? I’m making this show more fun for everyone. Isn’t that what it’s supposed to be? The other kids were dead before I showed up. Craig told me they were bored out of their skulls.”

Jaime laughs then, actually laughs, making Andy’s smile falter. “You think I care about how those fuckers feel? If they’re not going to put effort into what they signed up to do, then they deserve to be bored while the people that actually care have all the fun. No. What I care about is making this the best goddamn show that the school has ever seen.” Jaime sits up straight now, staring Andy down, making the younger student squirm. “This man right here, Vic Fuentes, has put his heart and soul into this musical. I watched him all summer—in his basement for days, fretting, lamenting over this stupid thing. I know, I don’t get it either. But Vic is my friend, and this is our senior year, and I’m going to do whatever it takes to make his dream a reality on this stage. That includes kicking your skinny ass if you do one more thing to fuck up this show.”

Andy stares up at the Mexican senior, his electric-blue eyes slightly narrowed, eyeliner making them pop all the more. It’s dead silent in the theater for a good ten seconds. Vic holds his breath, his heart racing, almost in tears over what Jaime is doing for him. Then Andy turns his gaze on Vic, nods to him, and says. “I got it. I really do—I wanna be in a band when I grow up. I know what it’s like to have a dream.” He shuffles his feet a little, leather boots scraping the carpet. “I’m really sorry, man. I didn’t think it was such a big deal to you.”

“It wasn’t really,” Vic blurts. “I mean—I understand that you want to have fun. I want this to be enjoyable for all of you, too, so a little goofing off isn’t always so bad. But we gotta work hard, too, all right? Make this thing a success.” He feels a forgiving smile creeping onto his face.

Andy grins in return and holds out his fist. Vic bumps it, the universal sign of comradeship.

“All right, thanks, man,” says Jaime, his old playful smile back on his own face. “See you tomorrow?”

“Yeah.” Andy fist-bumps Jaime as well, picks up his backpack, and begins his ascent.

The two directors wait until the door closes behind him, and then Vic rounds on Jaime. “What the fuck was that for?!”

“What? Me defending you?” smirks Jaime, hopping down off the piano and packing his water bottle into his bookbag.

“Well . . . yes!” says Vic, more befuddled than angry as he follows suit, beginning to gather his script, separate sheet music, various notes, schedule, and snack wrappers from on top of the piano. “I mean, I’m not mad or anything . . . It’s actually, well, that was kinda the coolest thing anyone’s ever done for me.”

Jaime isn’t even looking at his friend, digging around in his bag for a pack of gum. “Yeah, yeah. You’re welcome,” he mumbles nonchalantly.

Vic stares at his co-director for a few more minutes, not for the first time wondering just what Jaime is capable of. It seems to Vic that Jaime could rule the world if he wanted. Then Vic shakes his head and begins to make his way out of the theater.
♠ ♠ ♠
This is probably my favorite chapter, at least that I've written so far in this story. I've only got a vague idea of where this story is going haha, so I beg for patience as I sort that out.

On another note, as far as fan fiction goes I'm getting really into Fall Out Boy, so if that interests you then I've already got a oneshot up, and more will probably be coming on that front.

Sorry for that little promotion haha. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this chapter! Please leave comments, compliments, criticism, whatever you're thinkin! Love ya :)