I couldn't believe we were here- in the backstage group, waiting to get up on the stage. If we passed the first round, then we moved to the next round.
There was a band playing on stage and they weren’t so bad. I was watching them. They were kinda cute.
“Jaiden!” I was called over by Trey.
“Okay,” Alana said. “We can do this!”
We had been living, breathing, hardly sleeping, making sure we put together the perfect dance routine together. Everything was leading up to this moment.
As I was turning, someone bumped right into my shoulder. He was one of the guys who were just on stage. He had black hair, his skin was darker than the others in his group, and he smiled, causing me to smile. I looked away as I was pushed onto the stage.
Alana did the talking for our introduction. They asked us questions like, "How long have you all been a group?" and, "How old are you?" and other such questions.
Then, we took our spots on stage. The music started. Heart pounding, I pushed everything out of my mind and did what I do best- dance.
We hit every step, flip, spin- everything- perfect. The song ended with all of us next to each other, and we couldn't help but smile and hug each other. The judges talked about how clean the dancing was and how it seemed like we knew what we were doing. I zoned out for a bit when I noticed that the band who was before us was watching us.
I was poked in the side, pulled back to what the judges were saying.
“You understand that if you move on the whole world will be watching you, following you. Will want to know everything about you. Can you handle that?” said the judge with a black goatee.
‘Yeah’ and nods came from us. I caught myself glancing towards the backstage. That band was still watching us. My heart was still pounding as I looked out at the sea of critics (also known as an audience) facing us and staring us.
The judges put themselves in a huddle. Then they faced back at us, smiling.
“It’s amazing to see strong girls who can dance- who really have genuine skills. There's nothing fake about you all. Well, I would like to wish you good luck and can’t wait to you guys next time. You are moving to the next round!” the female judge said.
I didn’t know what to say or do. As the other girls pulled me into a hug. I squeezed them back. Then we un-huddled.
We had huge smiles glued on all over our faces as we waved to the crowd and headed off the stage.
The girls pulled out their phones and so did I. I was about to call my mom and let her know that we were heading to the next round when a voice stopped me.
“Congrats.” I looked up. The voice belong to the guy who I walked into before.
“Oh, thanks, same to you guys. You sounded amazing.” And you looked amazing too, I couldn't help but think.
There was a small pause.
“Calum,” said the guy, sticking out his hand.
I looked at it, puzzled. Where I was from, no one my age shook hands.
“You shake it,” Calum said. He cracked a smile.
Rolling my eyes, I shook his hand and said, “Jaiden, call me Jay.”
Before I could get to know him, I was pulled away by the girls, who seemed not to notice I was in the middle of talking to someone. I looked back to see him looked at me- well, more like us, but I liked to think that it was me.
We had to stay around to fill out more paper and do a interview.
It was my turn to get snacks. My arms were full and I was trying to get Mari’s candy without dropping anything.
“Need help?” a voice said.
“Sure, thanks,” I stepped back to see Calum again. “Oh, hey.”
“Hey.” He placed a candy bar on the stack of food and drinks I was holding.
“You would be surprised how much we can eat.”
I smiled. Taking a step back, I gasped as some more items began to fall.
“Let me help.”
“You don’t…” But he was already taking some from me.
“Lead the way.” He smiled.
“Um, this way.” What was I going to tell the girls when I showed up with this guy who was a stranger (albeit a cute one)?
He followed me down the hall and around the corner, where Turn Around had claimed a spot. Of course, it was not too close or too far from the bathroom or the food station.
“Sorry, girls, I needed help,” I said, Calum right behind me.
“Who’s he?” Trey asked.
“I’m Calum,” he said.
“Don’t listen! He’s really Superman...um, that’s the only explanation why I can think he’s helping me.”
“I can think of another,” Alana said softly, and gave me her crooked smile and her "uh-huh-sure" look.
Rolling my eyes, I said, “That is Alana"- I pointed to the girl with blondish-brown hair and green eyes-"Trey"- pointed to the girl with black hair and blue eyes-"and Mari.” I ended by pointing to the girl with natural red hair that was streaked with dark blue.
They got up and came to me to get their food.
“Where are your friends?” Alana asked Calum.
“They went to get really food,” he said, holding out the food he was carrying.
Right then, his phone buzzed, and he texted something then put it away. There was an awkward silence.
“So…,” Calum and I said at the same time.
Right then, my "All Time Low" ringtone went off, reminding me what today was. Aaron’s birthday. It was strange to think he wasn’t here. Didn’t get to help tackle this with me. My eyes burned.
“Are you alright?” Calum asked.
I shielded my phone and I blinked a few times so that the tears didn't come out. “Totally.” I could feel everyone watching me.
“I have to use the bathroom.” I sat my food down and took off.
“Jay?” all the girls said.
“No really, I’m fine,” I said, my back to them. “I’ll be right back.”
I kept myself from crying, something that I wouldn’t have been about to do last month. But the people were right, time helps a bit. It still hurts, but it was a pain I was starting to be able to handle.
I walked out of the bathroom and rounded the corner to see Calum sitting with the girls. The girls were talking and smiling, which made me smile. Getting to know the guy would definitely help me get over this.