Status: Hiatus

The Balcony Scene

Line Dropping

The rest of the week’s rehearsals are much better than the first one. On Wednesday the entire cast returns to the pit to read through the second half, and this time Andy is on his best behavior. If Vic thought the goth kid was a good actor when he wasn’t even trying, then during the second rehearsal he is simply blown away by how fantastic Andy really is. Vic half-regrets not giving him a bigger role at this point, though the only bigger male parts are Carter and Drapes, both of which have been casted perfectly.

On Thursday only the five leads—Carter, Drapes, Darla, Smith, and Luanne—are required at rehearsal, and by the end of it even Jaime has to admit that the five of them have remarkable chemistry. He even says to Vic afterwards, when everyone is gone, that he was completely wrong about Kellin when he had doubted him during auditions, that the freshman is doing far better than he had hoped. In truth, Vic agrees with him. He was also nervous when he decided three days ago, against Jaime’s wishes, that Kellin would play Carter. But now—well, it’s incredibly difficult not to shout “I told you so,” in Jaime’s face every time Kellin completes the last note in one of his songs.

Friday is the last rehearsal of the week, and this time only Carter and Drapes need show up. Even Jaime skips out on it, claiming he has a lot of homework to do even though it couldn’t be more obvious that he’s just exhausted and, frankly, a little sick of Vic’s musical. Vic can’t blame him; this has been one of the most draining weeks of his life, and he knows that the stress level is not going to go down as time goes on.

When the final bell rings on Friday, Vic bolts out of his Calculus class and down one floor to his locker to get his things, and then down another floor to the theater. That’s one of the problems with being a student director; from six in the morning when Vic wakes up until whatever time rehearsal ends that day, he hardly has time to stop and take a piss. He spends lunch in the theater with Jaime and a couple of other theatrical seniors, digging through the endless sea of set backstage and fishing out potential pieces, which he labels with color-coded sticky notes. He also begins to block a few scenes in his mind, planning out stage positions and sketching them in his notes. After school is rehearsal, obviously, and as much as he begged Mr. Graham to let him to five minutes early to get to the auditorium before the kids, his math teacher refused. So Vic just does his best to get there as early as possible.

Today he fails. The door is already open when he arrives, and when he enters the already-lit theater he frowns for a moment at the odd noise booming through the sound system. It’s rhythmic, a beat accompanied by a familiar tune, and when Vic comes up behind the top row of seats and looks at the stage, he is greeted by a sight that makes him stop in his tracks.

Kellin is holding a microphone, one of the wireless ones stored in the sound booth, pressed close to his lips and is beat-boxing into it. He bobs his head slightly to the beat, and Craig sits on the floor nearby, watching and nodding raptly along with Kellin, and Vic has never seen Craig look so serious and respectful of another human being. Vic then realizes where he recognizes the tune that Kellin sings while he beat-boxes; it’s the Super Mario theme song.

Vic can’t tear his eyes away from the freshman; the kid is looking spectacular today, as always, dressed in dark skinny jeans and red, plaid flannel rolled up to his elbows, and he keeps tossing his dark locks away from that beautiful pale face, and his eyelashes are caressing his cheeks as he goes about his task, and Christ, the things that boy could do with those lips, and oh god what is Vic even doing? Standing there like a moron, that’s what. But he can’t bring himself to interrupt; even though rehearsal is pending and Vic’s book bag is laden with homework and digging into his shoulder, he wouldn’t sever this marvelous moment for all the world.

Eventually Kellin breaks off by himself, lowering the microphone and laughing beautifully as Craig applauds, and dammit this is the second time in as many minutes that Vic has thought of the boy as beautiful and that is not acceptable. Focus, Vic, he tells himself, actually giving himself a shake. You’ve got a show to make.

So he starts forward, skipping down the stairs lightly and keeping his eyes on Kellin. The freshman notices his director now and smiles shyly, blushing. Vic smirks and raises his eyebrows, alerting Kellin that he saw the whole thing.

“I didn’t know you could do that,” says Vic, throwing his backpack down in the pit as he crosses to center stage next to Kellin.

Kellin laughs again, a little nervously but it’s oh so adorable. “Yeah, I guess I have a lot of free time to master these things. You never know when you’re going to need to beat-box yourself out of a dangerous situation.”

“Gotta keep yourself covered, dude,” Vic nods. His heart skips a beat when Kellin flashes him a grin. Vic coughs and avoids his gaze, instead looking over at Craig. “Well, uh, do you guys wanna get started?”

Craig laughs and lies down on the stage, throwing an arm behind his head lazily. “Are you really asking that? You’re the director.”

“Shut up, Craig.” These three words have been repeated at least fifteen times over the past few days. Unlike Andy, Craig isn’t really a distraction for the rest of the group—just an annoyance. “Yeah, though, seriously we should probably get going here.”

Vic walks over to where Craig is lying down and plops down next to him. Kellin follows suit, lowering himself onto the stage delicately and folding his legs crisscross-applesauce with his script in his lap.

“Okay, I—sit up, Craig, Jesus—I decided to have a rehearsal today with just you two because I think your relationship is the most important one in the musical. Even though Darla plays a prominent role—I mean, hell, she’s the killer—the central focus of the plot is on the way you two battle it out, how Drapes, or rather the concept of Drapes, slowly infects Carter’s mind with insanity. So even though you two share a body, and therefore share experiences and emotions, kind of, you’re actually nemeses.”

Craig raises his hand. Vic points at him.

“Yeah, uh, I never really got that,” says Craig bluntly, rubbing his eye with one hand. “How can two different characters be, like . . . one character? Are we two different people, or what?”

Just as Vic is about to elaborate, Kellin surprises him by jumping in. “See, you’re thinking about it the wrong way,” says the freshman softly, eyes squinting slightly as he tries to put his thoughts into words. “Technically, we aren’t different characters at all; the two of us are portraying two sides of one person, the good side and the evil side. A classic battle between the two forces of nature. Drapes is what Carter hates about himself, but he never learned to deal with that part of his mind, so he formed it into a completely different personality. I think Vic wanted two different actors to play the different personalities because it would express in a clean way how different the ‘real’ version of Carter is versus the evil part of himself, Drapes. I mean, that’s just what I assumed.”

Kellin looks suddenly embarrassed and he ducks his head, but Vic is thrilled and amazed. He stares at Kellin and says, “You’re absolutely right.” Kellin looks up nervously and Vic meets his gaze with a soothing smile. “I couldn’t have put it better myself,” adds Vic softly, feeling suddenly lost in Kellin’s bright blue eyes, forgetting for a split-second that Craig is in the room.

Then the blonde junior speaks up, making Vic start and, if he’s not mistaken, Kellin start too. “Ah, I see. I think I get it. Anyway, what pages are we doing today, Director?”

“Oh, um,” Vic fumbles with the script in his hand, feeling a little weightless and disoriented. How the hell did Kellin’s eyes manage to capture him like that? And why is he having such a hard time resisting the temptation to let himself be pulled back in? “Uh, well, I was thinking we would do pages ten to fifteen, when it’s first revealed that Carter and Drapes are the same person. But don’t do it like you did before—n-not that it was bad before, not at all, but I really want you guys to concentrate on each other this time. Remember, as Kellin said, you’re the same person. You aren’t surprising one another, not really, but Carter still hates Drapes’s guts. All right, we’ll start with Drapes, ‘She’s a lovely sight’.”

They spend the next fifteen minutes going over the scene. Vic stops them periodically when he sees something that could be tweaked, perfected. It feels good to give them advice, knowing he’s strengthening the show a little bit every time he does—especially with Kellin. It makes his heart skip a beat when, after Vic says, “Okay, Kellin,” or “Kellin, I need you to . . .”, the boy looks up from the script, a little dazed from being ripped away from his character by Vic’s voice. The momentarily stunned glaze over those blue oceans on his face is too beautiful to bear. The scene takes longer than it normally does, as Vic just can’t help interrupt as much as he justifiably can. It feels good to say Kellin’s name.

All in all, though, they really are doing a fantastic job. Vic was nervous when he first put the two together—he had to admit, when he casted them he couldn’t fathom how their personalities could do anything but clash. But, as Vic witnessed earlier during the beat-boxing incident, the two boys don’t seem to mind each other’s company. It makes Vic happy; the show would be more of a success if everyone gets along . . .

But it also makes him a tad bit irked. Why should Kellin get along with Craig? They only just met. As far as Vic can tell, Kellin is a pretty reserved kid. Why can he be friends with Craig, just hanging out onstage enjoying a good beat-box, but as soon as Vic enters the room it’s all business? Is it just because he’s the director?

“Hey, Director. Dude. Vic.”

“Huh?” Vic realizes with a faint blush that he’s been spacing out for the last five minutes.

Craig stares at him. “I was just saying that I gotta go in like five minutes.”

Vic glances at the clock on his cell phone and frowns. “Rehearsal goes until three fifteen today, Craig.”

“Yeah, I know, but I have a doctor’s appointment.” Craig shrugs, for once looking sincerely apologetic. “I’m sorry, dude. My mom scheduled it, not me.”

Vic sighs. “It’s okay, man. No big deal. I think we got some good work done today, anyway.”

The three of them put down their scripts and converse casually until Craig has to leave. Vic likes moments like this, just sitting onstage getting to know the actors. When it’s just members of the cast hanging out, not really talking about the show or anything in particular, just chilling in the theater talking, that’s the best part of being involved in a show; anyone who’s involved in theater can vouch for it. However, Vic finds himself fading away from the conversation more and more as he shifts his focus to Kellin’s presence beside him.

Holy shit. When Craig leaves, it’ll just be Vic and Kellin in rehearsal. Vic doesn’t usually think of himself as a twelve year old girl, but right now the thought of him alone in the auditorium with Kellin is making him feel like one.

In what seems like seconds, Craig is standing up and saying his goodbyes.

“Bye, Craig,” says Vic, maybe a little too eagerly. “Don’t forget rehearsal on Monday.”

“I won’t.”

“See you, dude,” says Kellin.


Just before he walks offstage, Craig reaches down and pats Kellin’s hair fondly. Then he’s gone, stepping quickly down offstage and then up the stairs and out of the room, and all the time Vic is glaring at him and clenching his fists involuntarily and there’s some very strong emotion coursing through him right now but he just can’t pinpoint what it is and it’s driving him crazy. Don’t touch him, he is shocked to find himself snarling internally. Don’t you dare.

No. No. Calm down. You’re being ridiculous.

But it has never been like this before with Vic, not with anyone. He’s had boyfriends before and yeah, it’s been pointed out that he’s the jealous type, but this is overreaction on a whole new level. It was one touch. One itty-bitty touch. On the head. Kellin’s hair. A fucking caress. That soft-looking hair that Vic noticed the first time he laid eyes on the kid.

So how is it that one touch has pushed Vic’s emotions to such an extreme state, all of a sudden? Why does he want to smooth down that hair, that hair, where Craig mussed it? Surely he pushed the near-black strands out of place, and someone needed to make them right and perfect again . . .

He doesn’t belong to you.

But Vic wants him to. It’s official; he’s in crush territory now, and the more he dwells on that the more difficult it is to cope with the fact that the crush in question is sitting less than two feet away, uncomfortable and trying not to stare and probably wondering if Vic himself is a psychotic schizophrenic serial killer. He could see it now on the news: “Young Mexican director writes autobiographical musical, and proceeds to slay all the actors involved. Story at eleven”. Actually a good idea for a murder mystery, now that he thinks about it.

He inhales sharply when Kellin Quinn coughs beside him. “Um, Vic . . . Director?”

“Come on. Let’s go work on ‘Bulletproof Love’.” Vic stands up and turns stiffly toward the stairs.
He doesn’t offer a hand to help Kellin up. He doesn’t think he can right now. Is this what an epiphany feels like?

Kellin follows him down from the stage and into the pit, where he pulls up a chair by the piano like they’ve been doing in rehearsal.

“Can you stand, please? You need to get used to doing it standing up.” Dirty, dirty thoughts that make Vic feel ashamed and naughtily pleased at the same time. “When you sing it onstage, you’ll be standing, is what I meant.”

“Oh, okay. Sorry.”

Kellin moves hesitantly toward Vic, looking unsure of where to stand. Vic doesn’t look him in the eye, knowing that as soon as he does it will be like screaming his every thought and desire and intention to Kellin, so he stares at the freshman’s shoulder and beckons forward.

“Right there is good, sweetie. All right, you ready?”

“Well, I don’t know . . . I-I guess.” Kellin is shuffling his feet nervously, and Vic doesn’t like that Kellin is nervous because the director is more than confident that the freshman has this in the bag. Don’t be scared.

Vic’s fingers linger a moment over the instrument before letting them begin to flow over the piano keys, doing a quick on-the-spot intro even though the real version of the song starts immediately with vocals. This is good. He feels calmer now that he has something to do with his hands. As his improvised intro wears on, his inner hysteria, if it can even be called that, diminishes down to a simmer. He murmurs, “One, two, ready, go.”

I breathe you in with smoke in the backyard lights
we used to laugh until we choked into the wasted nights
It was the best time of my life, but now I sleep alone
So darling, don't, don't wake me up, 'cause my thrill is gone
In the sunset turning red behind the smoke
forever and alone.

Kellin takes the cue perfectly, and as soon as his voice hits Vic’s ears he’s right back to auditions. It’s amazing, really, how it could still hit him like a physical blow whenever he hears that amazing voice. It’s unreal, so full of emotion and depth and goddamn range, and sometimes he would dip down to a throaty, growly level at the beginning of a line and it’s sex to the ears. But Vic doesn’t think about that; not in so many words, anyway. He closes his eyes and plays the music he knows by heart, the music he wrote two months ago on the old baby grand in the basement, and listens to his poetry come to life in Kellin’s voice.

He’s singing along with Kellin, of course; no one in the show knows any of the songs well enough to do on their own, except maybe the ones they auditioned with. Kellin has been picking up all the songs frighteningly fast, though, and soon Vic just shuts up and lets the guy do his thing.

You've gone and sewn me to this bed, the taste of you and me
will never leave my lips again under the blinding rain
I wanna hold your hand so tight I'm gonna break my wrist
And when the vultures sing tonight I'm gonna join right in.

Is it even Vic’s music anymore? Kellin does the words more than justice; they almost seem ugly, unworthy coming from that mouth . . . the mouth that beat-boxed earlier, pounding the rhythms into the microphone, unaware than Vic was watching.

I'll sing along
'Cause I don't know any other song
I'll sing along
but I'm barely hanging on
No, I'm barely hanging on
By the time you're hearing this I'll already be gone
and now there's nothing to do but scream at the drunken moon.

No, this is definitely Kellin’s music; hell, why not Kellin’s show? Isn’t this what it had been about from the beginning? Why else even do the show?

This isn't fair!
Don't you try to blame this on me
My love for you was bulletproof but you're the one who shot me.

Fucking dammit, Kellin. If he doesn’t stop trying to seduce Vic with his voice, Vic really will bend him over the piano and have his way with him. That’ll be a good story for Jaime later. Another “Told you so” to check off the list.

And god damn it, I can barely say your name
so I'll try to write and fill the pen with blood from the sink
Woah oh
But don't just say it, you should sing my name
Pretend that it's a song 'cause forever it's yours
and we can sing this on the way home.

Vic is concentrating all of his energy on keeping his fingers from shaking as they stroke the keys, but it’s a losing battle, he can feel himself slipping; sweat beads on his brow, he chews his lip until he tastes blood, but none of it is any use, and before long he’s thinking, I’d like to play Kellin like this piano, and then it’s all over.

His hand slips, and a chord that is not a chord peals out into the atmosphere; a vulgar sound, the wrong one to finish the song on but now the song is over whether they like it or not.

Kellin halts his singing abruptly as Vic jerks his hands away from the piano keys like they electrocuted him.

“Whoops,” whispers Vic. “Sorry about that.”

“It’s okay.” Kellin’s speaking voice sounds almost scratchy after the song. “You wanna keep going?”

When Vic looks up from his seat on the piano stool and meets Kellin’s eyes, an almighty shiver rocks his entire body from head to toe.

“No. I think we’re done for the day.”
♠ ♠ ♠
Nice long chapter, although half the length is those goddamn lyrics I didn't even write haha. Lord knows what was going through my mind when I decided to type all those out.

Anyway, thank you for reading! Feel free to leave comments telling me whatcha think! Love you :)