Alice in LalaLand


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“What a nerd,” Elsa declares as I sweep back to my seat at the back of the class. As if a solo talk wasn’t humiliating enough. Actually Elsa, I don’t even like Star Wars, therefore, I am certainly not a nerd. I slip behind my desk, hanging my head so my hair covers my face.

“Excellent Alice,” Miss Anderson lies from the front of the class. I fix my eyes on my lap, looking all retarded and socially awkward, which, by the way, I am.

“Jenny, you’re up next please.”

I stick my earphones in, not bothering to be discreet about it. I hate talks. I hate attention. I hate people looking at me. Listening to me. Laughing at me. Like anyone actually cares about the history of My Chemical Romance anyway. I’m surprised half the kids managed to stay awake through the whole thing. But it’s over now, and I’m totally over reacting about this. It was just a talk. One. Little. Talk.

 ***          

“Alice?”

Damn my life. “Can we talk?”

Damn my life even more.

“Not right now, Jay, I’m busy.”

“Doing what?”

Nothing. I sigh, tucking stray hair behind my ears, then turn round.

Blonde hair. Blue eyes.

“Hey Jay,” I whisper. He smells of expensive aftershave, the kind they sell in the stores that I can barely even look at because of the prices they have.

“Why didn’t you answer any of my calls?” He presses, stabbing his fingers through his loose waves. Because I’m trying so hard to move on. And right now, you are one-hundred-percent not helping.

“Sorry. I’ve been busy,” I lie. He knows me too well.

“Alice, you’re always busy these days,” He rubs a fingertip against his honey-coloured temple, like he’s circulating his brain to think. Then he looks at me. Hard. “Is it a guy?” His voice is weak, so weak he has to clear his throat once he struggles to push the words out his beautiful, slender lips. Don’t think of him like that.

“No, Jay, no. It’s not a guy. It’s just..” I swallow nervously, “Music and stuff.”

“Music,” he echoes, those bright blue eyes fixed somewhere off in the distance. I nod.

“Yeah, my band is really taking flight right now. Gigs and...everything.”

What. A. Lie. For a start, I don’t even have a band. Jay’s eyebrows roll into a thoughtful frown.

“And everything?” His silk warm hands plant on my shoulders. “Alice, please. I’m not dumb.”

Please Jay... just go. I groan silently. Say it, I tell myself. Get it out. I shake his hands away and take a breath.

“What’s history is history,” I squeak. “We are history.”

His expression haunts me, and I practically want to eat my words. No, Alice. Listen to your own advice. What’s history is history. “I’m sorry Jay, but please leave me alone now. Find another girl.”

He doesn’t even say anything, which hurts even more. I shake the pity out of myself, and brush past him, heading out the school gates. I’ve probably missed my bus. But right now, home is not the place I want to go.

 

            “One coffee please. Extra strong, light on the milk.”

“One pound sixty eight please,” the frizzy haired waitress replies.

I get my usual window seat, and pull out the copy of RockHard from my school bag. Ade Donnoughue’s face is plastered across the glossy cover, his intense green eyes staring right into mine. He’s the typical teenage heartthrob for the girls that aren’t into sweet baby-faced pop singers. He’s the kind that can get drunk and stoned and get away with it because he’s hot. And rich. Very, very rich. I mean, his dad is the Darrel Donnoughue, front man of Thrift (which, by the way, is only just about the best band ever). I sip my coffee, turning the page, and then something flutters out, landing by my feet. Questioningly, I pick it up. A light blue slip of paper is folded in half, the vague outline of letters showing through from inside. I open it.

THE NEXT BIG THING

COULD YOU BE “THE NEXT BIG THING”?

 THE BIGGEST BATTLE OF THE BANDS OF THE CENTURY!

AUDITION FOR THE CHANCE TO STAY IN NEW YORK CITY, AND A CONTRACT WITH DONOUGHUE RECORDS!

APPLICATIONS MUST BE IN BY MAY 28TH

An empty application form is printed underneath.

New York City.

Record contract.

Donoughue Records.

The Next Big Thing.

No, I don’t even have a band. I might as well bin this right now, forget about this silly little form. But I don’t. I stuff in my pocket, and catch the next bus home.

           

My bedroom walls are plastered with posters of pretty much every decent band that has ever existed. There’s a lot of Thrift posters up there, and even more of Ade Donnoughue. Don’t judge me, you can’t say he’s not fit. I open up Facebook on the cheap hand-me-down laptop that’s so old it even needs a cable for internet.

Me: Hey Chazzo.

Charlie: Really? I thought I told you that was lame ;)

Me: Hehe. Look,  I just found this thing.

Charlie: Explain..?

Me: It’s an application form for a competition called The Next Big Thing

Charlie: The one with the dude from thrift?

 

I take a deep long breath. Just say the damn thing, Alice.

Me: That’s the one. I was thinking, you don’t have to, like you can say no, but, I was thinking maybe we could start a band and..enter. Only if you want to.

He’s going to say no. He’s going to freaking say no and I’m going to look like a fool. I already regret asking him. I’ve ruined everything. Way to go Alice, you screw everything up.

Charlie: Sure, that sounds pretty cool J

I have to read that twice before I realize I’m not just seeing things.

Me: Dude, are you serious?!

Charlie: Yeah! I’ll talk to some guys I know and see about getting a band together! This could be awesome!

Awesome? This is freaking super-cali-fradgilistic-expialidocious.

Me: Charlie, you are the best.

I am so going to make mum eat her words. I’ll show her just how productive music can be. I will get my ass in a band, and I’ll be The Next Big Thing.

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