“Next is Emma Burton. Emma, please come to room 304 for your performance.” The speakers repeated on the hallway.
Today was the day where people see my dreadful dancing. I held my breath as I stepped into the hallway with blue and white tiles. Pushing the doors open, I examined the theatre room. It was fairly small with a small stage. It reminded me of those miniature theatres in museums that taught you informational history. Near me was a flight of stairs that led me to the back of the stage. If you hadn’t known. I am extremely nervous. My elephants in my stomach were back horsing around. This will determine my future.
“Hello. I am Mary and this is John,” she pointed at a mdidle-aged bald man, “What song would you like to dance to?”
“For hip hop I think Justin Timberlake’s ‘TKO’ will be fine and for ballroom, any slow song." I replied to her question as professionally as possible in my voice.
Soon enough a steady beat rang through the speakers that I recognized.
I can do this I thought.
Once I was ready, I thought of all the steps. During the middle, I saw Mary jotting down notes on her pad.
Whatever I thought. I continued to dance until Mary held her hand.
“Stop.” My heart pounded,” Go and do the ballroom dance with John.”
Did she not like it? Did she think I wasn’t good enough? Was my dance that bad? Questions shot across my head. My brain hurt from all the thinking.
“O-okay.” I stuttered. Changing into shoes, I breathed deeply to calm myself. Isn’t Niall supposed to be judge? He’s the guy whose looking for the girl anyway. I shook my head to get rid of the thought. He probably didn't know any dance moves so he put a professional choreographer to assess me instead.
I held onto John’s arm so we can be dance partners. I hope I don’t mess up. This small dance that would take me only a few minutes caused me blisters on my foot. Music from Christina Perri played as John and I movied by the beat. I peered past John’s shoulder to see blonde hair. No doubt it’s Niall. He’s watching? This made my heart beat twice as fast. How did I not think of that? Of course he would be watching. Even if he's not judging he would at least watch the performances.
John flinched and my eyes refocused to his face.
“Watch where you’re stepping.” he scowled, his eyebrows scrunched up with seriousness.
Oops. I might’ve pierced the heel into his shoes. My eyes wandered elsewhere. I looked where Niall was. He wasn’t there.
Did he not think I wasn’t good enough? I felt this weird feeling I couldn’t wrap with my finger. It was itching in the back of my head.
Was it jealously? Can’t be.
Was it depression? I don’t think so.
Was it anger? That doesn’t even make sense.
Was it longing? No.
Then what was it? I was frustrated.
My angry and stressed thoughts led me to something bizarre but everything happened to fast. Images zipped by. It all happened in a blur. My eyes were spinning. I couldn’t see anything. I panicked. Thrashing with my might, I fell with a big thud and a pain that shot into my neck. It surged through, spreading all over my back. I couldn’t breathe, my back was aching and blackness was covering my eyes.
“Emma!” I recognized the voice. Niall.
“Can’t... Breathe...” I croaked, my neck was damaged, as my throat was too. My breathing pipe must've damaged.
“It’s okay, I’m taking you to the hospital.”
Hospital. Wait no. No, no, no. I cannot go back there again. I can never forget the horrifying moment when I saw the heart moniter go *beep and become a full line. The pictures seemed like yesterday. How can I end up at a place where millions of death occur there? Especially my close ones.
“We’re in the elevator.” he reports. I need to stop him but my throat hurts so much. I tried and ignored the pain that shot into my mouth.
“Stop.” I strain. “I-I can’t go to the... hospital. Please... take me to my bed.” My voice was barely audible; it sounded like a faint whisper.
“But we have to get you better. You’re in pain, Emma. You can be blind forever if we don’t–” He tried to warn but I cut him off. I couldn't go there. It haunted me almost every night after that night that turned my life around.
“I’m begging you. Don’t go... to that place.” Tears were on the brim of my eyes. Some trinkled down my cheek as they dripped onto the floor. I cannot go to that place again. The white and red sickens me and the red cross made me feel an empty pit in my stomach whenever I think of that memory. I felt Niall’s stomach contract making a sigh.
“Okay. But please get better.” he held me gently. Soon, I felt myself letting go and placed on my pillow and mattress. I missed his touch immediately but comforted when he stroked my hair. I soon fell into a deep sleep.
“Emma.” Someone poked me. I groaned and turned around on the bed.
“Emma, they’re going to announce the results.” What results? Wait, I recognize that voice. Niall, smiling brightly at me, faced in front of me, when I squinted my eyes open.
“You know, the show?” My eyes opened wide.
“Oh, god.” I sat up. My neck has gone to a light throb. I wrapped my hand on the back of my spine.
“Are you okay?” Niall looked at me.
“Yeah. My head doesn’t spin, my throat isn’t raspy, I can see perfectly and my neck just hurts a little.” I told him.
“Well that’s good. Look I wish I can stay here longer but I have to go. I’m already late, but you need to come down in 10 minutes.” He informed me.
I nodded at this new information and a minute later, I was alone in the room.
I got up, trudged to my drawers where I put all luggage into. I looked into the mirror and saw hair piled up and sticking out. I’m going to be in live television. The most I’m dressing up is putting my hair up into a neat bun. And so I did. I switched my shoes from sneakers to my combat boots. I then took the stairs all the way down from the sixteenth floor.
I reached the first floor where the gameshow room was held. I sat down on the bleachers where cameramen point the cameras at us. One cameraman saw me and I made a silly face by sticking my tongue out. The cameraman chuckled as I looked at other cameras.
Jackie came out in a simple blue shirt with black handwriting on it. Her piano belt held her black pants as she was holding a microphone. A voice from the back announced, “The Next Big Thing! Here’s your host, Jackie Hessing!”
“Hello, ladies and gentlemen! Back in the first episodes were the interviews that each girl put up. There was a contest on One Direction’s website of who’s interview got the most votes online. The winner for that online mini-contest is Emma Burton!” All cameras faced me. I blushed. I won? I didn’t even try to win. I looked down. My once silly face was gone and my cherry face lit up.
“And now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Here’s the boy, that made you watch this show... Niall Horan!” I smiled when the topic changed. But girls screamed when Niall came out with a suit on. Oh, please. You guys are not all going to marry him.
“Hey,” His Irish accent was stuck out. Jackie was almost like interviewing him.
“So... do you have anyone in your mind from this lovely group of girls?” I cringed at the word, “lovely.” Lovely was an overstatement. I saw a playful gleam on Jackie’s eyes and I knew she meant me. I blushed and looked away from Niall’s eyes. I felt his eyes boring into my heart, trying to reach me.
“Actually, yes. But I think competetion will give me a better look at the true aspects of that girl.” And once he said that, the girls screamed all thinking it’s them. I’m probably the only one who doesn’t want to be that girl.
I mean, I do love him and all that girly things but I can’t risk my image with him. Me, a tomboy, with someone who would probably date a real girl who knows makeup, fashion, hair designs? Psh, yeah. Like that would happen. Also, Niall is someone so different. I know that the famous saying, “Opposites attract” is popular in those silly romance books, but is it actually true? Not in my world. I have doubt in my head. How can opposites even love each other when they would be constantly fighting and arguing about their differences? I cannot risk myself become heartbroken. I know so many girls who became heartbroken because of my brother. He’s a player; so many girls think he’s hot. They hook up with him and to the girl it means everything to kiss the great James Burton but to him, it’s nothing. Is that how Niall would feel about me? Like I’m nothing? Or for publicity? What other reason would he say that he has a girl in mind? To get more attention and paparazzi itching for more information from that tiny head of his. That’s a reasonable answer. To pump up his band’s already high popularity. There’s another possible reason. I’m scared to become one of a celebrity’s monthly fling. That’s the reason why I despise and think all celebrities are snobby. Niall may be an exception but I’ve known for less than a week. Who am I to be dependent and overconfident thinking that I’m his girl? Even though I love him, I cannot date a celebrity. My whole life would be different with paparazzi all over me, fans hating on me, Felicity plotting revenge on me, and most importantly, no privacy with Niall, my family or my friends.
“Wow... Niall Horan likes someone already! We’ll get to the results soon, after this commercial brought to you by Kleenex tissues.” Jackie smiled at the camera as we took a five minute break.
“Emma!” Jackie called. I jumped off the bleachers and landed next to Jackie.
“What’s up?” I asked. I haven’t talked to her in a while, ever since the first day here. We caught up on everything. I didn’t tell her about my doubt about Niall but she almost screamed when I confirmed my crush on Niall.
“Oh my gosh! I cannot believe it. You guys are made to be together!” My lips scrunched up with disapproval. I don’t believe in destiny. I don’t believe that someone, before we were born set up lives.
“Jackie! We’re going on air in a minute! Get ready!” A cameraman called.
“Okay, we need to talk more Emma. Let’s talk in dinner.” I nodded.
The announcer in the background counted backwards to one and the show was back on. All the girls and I were seated on the bench waiting for the results.
“Welcome back! Jackie Hessing here with the results. The chart that will be behind me soon displays who are in the top twenty. Those of you who are not listed are to be sent home. You’ll receive a One Direction poster of the new album ‘Midnight Memories’ as your own memory of spending your time here. The list is in ranking so the first is the top and the twentieth is the cutoff.” Soon, behind her was a list of names. My eyes scattered to read the names. My heart pounded as I go down more and more. Maybe I’m not on the list. I did mess up by falling off the stage. I don’t know who can do something worse than that. I really messed up. Suddenly I spotted my name next to the number 17. I was seventeenth. High enough to pass this challenge. Who can do worse than falling off the stage? Felicity was glaring at a girl with fizzy brown hair and another girl with a blonde slick ponytail. The top three was Jordan Reese, Daisy Condell, and Felicity. Felicity was always great at dancing in middle school, while I only paid attention to the hip-hop unit. Jordan and Daisy must be the top two because Felicity is jealous of their position.
I’m actually grateful for being 17th place.
I mean, at least I got into the top twenty. I peered over my shoulder to see a number of girls snatching a poster from Jackie’s hand and tears dripping down their faces. I pitied at the sight of them. Niall and I were not meant to be so why can’t I volunteer a position to one of those heartbroken girls?
Because I’m selfish.
It’s a horrifying trait of mine. I’m greedy of the ones I love. I can’t let them go yet I can. This makes no sense but it works for my feelings for Niall. I am too selfish to let go of him but I can let go of him by not being his girlfriend.
“Congratulations, girls who passed!” Jackie announced once every crying girl left. The audience who paid to come watch this episode whooped and clapped their hands to congratulate us. I felt a weird pit in my stomach. Why should I be celebrating when I saw those heartbroken girls? Sure, some are snobby but some actually seemed like nice girls. And my annoying shyness of communicating with girls prevented them from having a spot here. I looked down as Jackie continued to talk.
“Here is the new topic of the next week. You girls have survived another week. Let’s see if ten of you can survive in the the next topic: music. In this category, we are checking for a girl who can play an instrument of any kind, can sing various songs, and by the best of her abilities rap. We wish you good luck and good night world watching the reality show, The Next Big News!” The show ended as I went back to my room to organize my thoughts and decisions.
I planned the whole gameshow in my head and how it might end until the night sky sprung up and the stars gleamed through the windows.
Hello readers! Here's the newest chapter. I'll try to update on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. I hope you like this chapter as much as I did.
What do you think of it? What do you think will happen next? Will Emma give up her position so other people can win or not?
Picture on the side of Jackie Hessings,
Dedication to the most thoughtful comment.