Winners Take All

TOGETHER we stand.
TOGETHER we fall.
TOGETHER we win.
and WINNERS take all.

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1. Prologue: Auditions

"Bella, I'm scared!" one of my best friends, Eme Foreman, whined. She was nearly 17 but typically acted like a 2-year-old on five hour energy.

"Just calm down, Eme, we'll do fine." I patted her shoulder assuredly. Honestly, I was just as nervous as her but being the most 'mature' member of Main Street, I had to put on a brave face. In all honesty, none of us were mature, but compared to Eme and our other bandmate, 18-year-old Lucy Bonner, I was the closest to 'mature'

We'd been the band Main Street since I was 11, (I'm now 17) and every year, we'd always wanted to go on either The X Factor or American Idol, but each of our parents always had a reason, every year, to not let us go. Typically the excuses had to do with our maturity and responsibility. but now that Lucy was legally classified as an adult, she could go, and if we had a legitimate adult in our band, the parents would let us go. Since we had become Main Street, we'd been playing in town. Our first gig was actually performing a Beatles' song at our primary school's talent show. That was a lot of fun, so we practiced more and became a real group. I even learned how to play piano. Since that performance, we played around town at restaurants and in the downtown park, at some parties, and of course a lot of shows for the mirror in Eme's bedroom.

"Eme, calm down. You're giving off bad vibes," Lucy coaxed soothingly in a fake mediator voice. But no matter how fake it sounded, it still soothed Eme.

"Sorry," Eme's tone softened, "It's just- I mean- Like- We've never played for this many people before." I could hear her biting her fingernails.

"NUMBERS 12783467, 12783468, AND 12783469!" we heard a man shouting from closer to the stage. I gasped as I recognized my number, Lucy's, and Eme's. I grabbed Eme's wrist, Lucy following right behind us.

When we reached the man, he pushed us into a line forming for the stage. We were 3 away from going on. A man was talking to us backstage when we were 1 away.

"Okay, what's the group, what's the names?" the man asked straight off. I glanced at my bandmates, silently telling them I'd answer.

"I'm Bella Hayes, that's Lucy Bonner, and that's Eme Foreman. We're a trio called Main Street." I explained. The man nodded with genuine interest.

"So -- is it all-voice or does anybody play an instrument?" the man questioned, scanning us all over.

"Piano!" I called.

"Guitar," Lucy replied. Eme shook her head, meaning she didn't play anything. I could tell the man had more questions, but just then, the act before us exited the stage, in tears because he didn't get through. The man gave us each a pat on the back, then let us go.

We wandered out into the bright lights of the stage, luckily finding our way to the red x. I smiled as the crowd applauded.

"Okay," Simon sighed in exhaustion, "What's the group and what's the names?" Lucy answered this one.

"We're called Main Street. I'm Lucy Bonner," she replied.

"I'm Eme Foreman," Eme cut in.

"Bella Hayes," I stated.

The judges nodded, then L.A. added another question.

"How long have you all been playing together?" he questioned curiously.

"6 years," I blurted. The judges all reacted with some shock.

"6 years, huh? And how old might you all be?" Simon narrowed his eyes, suspicious that we were lying about the six years.

"I'm 17, Eme's 16, and Lucy's 18," I explained, pointing at each one of us. The judges all nodded, again, responding to our ages with a silent reaction.

"What are you all going to be singing today?" Demi leaned forward. It was the first time we'd heard from a female judge the entire time we had been standing on the stage.

"Girl at Home, by Taylor Swift." Lucy announced.

"That's one tough song. You girls sure about it?" L.A. asked in disbelief. Not one person in all the cities for auditions had dared to try a Taylor Swift. And we were in the final city, Toledo. We'd traveled from Southern Michigan to get down here for the auditions.

Lucy, Eme, and I nodded in unison. The track was cued and started to play. I nervously bit my lip before I started my solo.

 

Don't look at me,

You've got a girl at home,

And everybody knows that,

Everybody knows that,

Don't look at me,

You've got a girl at home,

And everybody knows that.

 

I don't even know her,

But I feel a responsibility,

To do what's upstanding and right,

It's kinda like a code, yeah,

And you've been getting closer and closer,

And crossing so many lines.

 

And it would be a fine proposition,

If I was a stupid girl,

But honey I am no-one's exception,

This I have previously learned.

 

So don't look at me,

You've got a girl at home,

And everybody knows that,

Everybody knows that,

Don't look at me,

You've got a girl at home,

And everybody knows that,

Everybody knows that,

I see you turn off your phone,

And now you got me alone,

And I say,

Don't look at me,

You've got a girl at home,

And everybody knows that,

Everybody knows that.

 

I just wanna make sure,

You understand perfectly,

You're the kind of man who makes me sad,

While she waits up,

You chase down the newest thing,

And take for granted what you have.

 

And it would be a fine preposition,

If I was a stupid girl,

And yeah I might go with it,

If I hadn't once been just like her.

 

Don't look at me,

You've got a girl at home,

And everybody knows that,

Everybody knows that,

Don't look at me,

You've got a girl at home,

And everybody knows that,

Everybody knows that,

I see you turn off your phone,

And now you've got me alone,

And I say,

Don't look at me,

You've got a girl at home,

And everybody knows that,

Everybody knows that.

 

Call a cab,

Lose my number,

You're about to lose your girl,

Call a cab,

Lose my number,

Let's consider this lesson learned.

 

Don't look at me,

You've got a girl at home,

And everybody knows that,

Everybody knows that,

Don't look at me,

You've got a girl at home,

And everybody knows that,

Everybody knows that,

Wanna see you pick up your phone,

And tell her you're coming home,

Don't look at me,

You've got a girl at home,

And everybody knows that,

Everybody knows that,

Don't look at me,

You've got a girl at home,

And everybody knows that,

Everybody knows that.

 

It would be a fine proposition,

If I hadn't once been just like her

 

The crowd was on their feet by the time we finished. I knew it. We'd blown them away. The judges were even on their feet. Including Simon! Simon Cowell had thought we were good enough for a standing ovation! Just last night, weren't we the three dorky girls singing into hairbrushes for a mirror? And now we're the three girls who Simon Cowell gave a standing ovation to.

"That was amazing!" Demi complimented after everyone stopped clapping and sat down.

"You three," Simon said flatly, "are the most talented people I've ever seen come across this show. Thank you for performing tonight." 

I giggled and squeezed Eme and Lucy's hands with excitement.

"I have to say yes." L.A. put his hands up in defeat, "I'd be crazy to say no."

"Definitely yes," Demi set her papers down.

"Yes," Britney smiled, "That performance was astounding!"

"Of course, yes," Simon smiled as we all jumped in the air, forming a perfect High School Musical Photo Op.

"Best day of my life," I murmured under my breath as we ran off stage excitedly.

Only the beginning.

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