There I was—right at the top—Glory Girl. I clasped my hands together, feeling like my chest was about to burst open, and my head all of a sudden felt light.
I didn't bother keeping back the smile.
I'd done it, and this time it was even better because I didn't expect that I would. It was miracle. My eyes scanned down the list of names. Byron was The Remarkable Racer, just like he wanted, Lizzy was someone named Clair, and Caitlyn was Doctor Infamous. I laughed when I found Wood's name. He was playing as Mr. Gregory, the crazy cat man. Somehow that suited him.
I almost turned to Mr. O to get my script, but curiosity grabbed my shoulder turned me back around. I looked for Ashanti King's name, and she was listed right under me as Hillary Hopkins. I raised a brow. Normally the names were listed from biggest to smallest role. I thought the The Remarkable Racer would have been under Glory Girl. Maybe the reporter wasn't such a small role after all.
I went to Mr. O, who already had my script in his hand, a red duotang with Glory Girl written on the front. He winked and I beamed. "Good job, Daphne. I know you're gonna kill this."
"Thanks for choosing me," I said, breathless.
And then I left for home, and I swear to God I felt like I was walking on clouds. Clutching the folder to my chest, I closed my eyes and breathed in the smell of spring approaching. It smelt like wet things, like living things, and I'd never felt so much a part of that.
As much as I wanted to, I couldn't read the script as soon as I got home. This was frustrating. Now that the casting was out of the way, I was itching to find out what the show was about. Mr. O never let anything slip other than the portions of the script we had to read for auditions. That way we'd have to read the entire thing through to know what the hell was going on. Like Lizzy said, his scripts were always cheesy romance comedies with a strong female role, but each time there were surprises. I couldn't wait for this year. Superheroes seemed fun.
My senior year and I was going to be playing as the hero of Metropolis City. Everything was going my way, today, wasn't it?
I reached home and locked the door behind me. The house was empty. Normally I liked doing odd drama exercises in the living room when these times arose, but I had work in twenty minutes. I went to the kitchen and took the meat buns out of the fridge. I nuked them in the microwave and ate them on the couch. Somehow they tasted better than they normally did. My script sat on my lap, but I had to leave as soon as I finished eating.
The YMCA that I worked at was pretty far away, so I got there minutes before my shift began. I changed quickly, putting on my red life guarding one piece and walking out to the pool area. It was empty, except for a group of special needs kids who usually came during the afternoon. Their supervisor waved to me and I waved back, climbing up to the top of the life guarding chair with a clipboard and a pencil. While I guarded I did my French homework on loose leaf, scanning around the pool room every few seconds to make sure that everything was in order. I finished it in fifteen minutes, and then I took out my history cue cards. Jotting down a few more practice questions, I went through them and muttered the answers in my head. The script was in my locker because I knew it would distract me. As much as I loved theatre, I didn't want it to become a distraction to the rest of my classes. If it did, my parents might not let me do it.
I yelled at a few kids to stop running, and later on in the evening I lowered the pool depth for a swimming class. My shift ended at 5:30.
As soon as Harry, the tall white boy who took my shift, arrived out of the change rooms, I went into the locker rooms and retrieved my things.
Once I got home I locked the door behind me and began to make dinner. The rest of the family came home late on Mondays, so I opened some cans of soup from the pantry and put them on low to simmer. It was nothing special, but I didn't have time for special. The script awaited.
I left the pan uncovered, turned the timer on for twenty minutes, skipped to my room, and closed the door behind me. Then I threw myself on the bed. I flung the script open to the first page and turned on my lamp. The light shone a spotlight on the title of the show—Glory Girl. I giggled. That was me. I began to read.
Glory Girl ENTER stage RIGHT.
GG: Late again.
The Remarkable Racer ENTER stage LEFT.
RR: Actually, I'm right on time.
GG: To the second.
RR: As usual.
GG: So what did you call me here for?
RR: I just came back from Metropolis City Penitentiary. It's Doctor Infamous. It seems that she's escaped.
GG: You've got to be kidding me! How could she have—
RR: Someone broke her out this time. They're still looking, but I wanted to let you know before the news got out to the public.
My eyes devoured the lines, imagining how I'd say them, how I'd walk, what actions Mr. O would get us to do. Why did Glory Girl feel so strongly about Doctor Infamous? Ah, in Scene Two it was revealed. Doctor Infamous used to work with her father, but when bad blood formed between the two of them, she mutated Glory Girl right in front of her and then slit his throat.
It was a hilarious show, really, just dark. I knew Caitlyn would love playing Doctor Infamous.
Then Hillary Hopkins came in, interviewing two bad guys in their evil lair as they had their hand on the lever to shoot her full of one thousand volts of electricity. I laughed the whole way through. As much as I envied Ashanti, I had to admit that she was perfect for the role.
I heard the timer go off and I ran to the kitchen, turning the beef stew off and covering it to keep it hot. I returned to my room and kept reading.
As I moved through the play I got more and more excited. There were fight scenes, genius one liners, and the plot was actually really good. Even more, it was riddled with chances for me to show my ability as an actor. There were parts where I had to cry, parts where I had to scream, parts where I had to... had to... shit.
My eyes were glued to one line. I'd been so caught up in the heat of it all that I almost skipped over it. My fingers trembled and my heart stopped beating as I mouthed the words.
"I love you."
It was Act 3, scene 2. The only people there were Glory Girl and... and Hillary Hopkins. That couldn't be right. I licked my lips and turned the page, wide eyed.
"I know some people won't like it. I know I might lose some support from..." I stared at the monologue that I'd so passionately recited in front of the rest of the cast on audition night. I'd never thought of who she was referring to, and even if I had, I never would have imagined it was a woman. Main characters were never gay. The only time they were was when the entire story was about just that, and Glory Girl wasn't about her being a lesbian. Glory Girl was about a superhero trying to save cats from a satanic gang. What the fuck was this?
It was 6:30. My family would be back any minute now if the traffic was good. My family who, if given the chance to read this script would rip it out of my hands, shove it down the shredder, and ground me the rest of senior year. Possibly longer. That was if they were being nice. That was if they didn't start asking questions.
I read faster, ears perking up at every creak of a floorboard. Every time my neighbours took a step I flinched. Every time I heard one of the pugs trotting around their side of the house I looked up and swivelled my head.
My heart pounded as I got to the last page. I felt sick to my stomach.
At the end two main characters kissed before the curtains closed. I shut the duotang just as I heard the front door open.
"Daphne? Are you home?" Dad called.
My eyes widened and I pulled open the drawer at the foot of my bed, stuffing the red folder on top of a shirt, and then, hearing that I still had time, put it under the folded stack for safe measure. I shut it and sat on my bed just as Dad knocked and opened the door.
"You made dinner?" he asked, sticking his head in. He loomed inside of the door frame. He was handsome, fit and strong jawed. Mom wasn't lying when she said he was good looking. Good looking and intimidating.
I nodded, not trusting my voice yet. I felt like if I opened my mouth I would scream.
"We thought you'd be tired from work so we brought food home on the way."
"Oh," I said, forcing my voice to steady. "Thanks."
He pulled his head out and then popped it back in, frowning. "What are you doing in here? Just sitting?"
"Um," I said. Quick! What was I supposed to say? "Just thinking."
He raised a brown, grinned, shook his head, and left. I sighed with relief and got up.
What do I do? Tell them? Ask them to understand?
No! What if they didn't?
I could make them understand. They were my family.
I looked in the mirror, and the girl looking back at me looked scared, more scared than I'd ever seen her.
I wasn't ready to talk to them about this. I didn't trust them. It was horrible but it was true. I honestly had no clue what they'd do if they got a hint that I was gay. I could only imagine the worst.
In the mirror I changed my expression to something cool and neutral. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.
You're acting, Daphne. Go out there and do what you do best.
Of course. It would be fine. It would be fine. It would be fine.
I entered the kitchen a few seconds later. The smell of beef stew mingled with the fresh scent of sushi. Mom held out a carton to me.
"California role. Your favourite," she said. I smiled, thanked her, and sat at the table where I took a few packs of soy sauce from the center. Dad handed me a pair of chop sticks from the drawer and I poured my soy sauce on, keeping quiet.
"So did you get the part you wanted in the play?" Mom asked.
I didn't flinch. Instead, I acted as though I'd been expecting it, and the answer was disappointing. "No."
Gabe snorted and Dad shot him a look that shut him up immediately. When Dad got mad, it wasn't pretty. I continued, "I don't know what I did wrong."
"But it's still a good role, isn't it?"
I shrugged. "I guess. Listen, I was thinking, maybe you're right. It's senior year and show takes up so much of my time. I need to stay on top of my grades more than ever if I want to get scholarships."
Mom's eyes widened. She exchanged a look with Dad. Even Gabriel looked surprised.
"Are you... not going to do it this year?" she asked slowly.
"Yeah. I'll tell Mr. O tomorrow."
"Honey, are you sure?"
I nodded, giving a weak smile. "Yeah. I love it, but acting doesn't pay well. I can always do it as a hobby on the side when I'm older."
Dad smiled. "I think that's a smart idea, Daphne. Very responsible of you. And I know how much you love it."
"Thanks, Tatay." I stuffed a piece of sushi in my mouth to signal the end in the conversation. Gabriel rolled his eyes and picked at his food, and I tried not to throw up the roll as it went down my throat.
Was I actually quitting the play? Maybe, maybe not. That depended on whether or not I could know for sure if it would jeopardize my secret. I'd have to think about it more in the morning, but for now, as long as my parents were happy, that was good enough for me. For now I was safe. For now.