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"Just Another Act"
Author's note: I hope that you understand it doesn't matter what you love to do. You should never stop doing it. Especially if what's making you unsure is just you caring what everyone thinks. Don't be afraid to show people who you are and what you love.
Act VI:(Leona leaves home with her fiancé, Vincent and Prudence seek revenge, close curtains.)
Scene 7: (Open curtains, Leona tells Vincent and Prudence about her love.)
(Storms in with a groan.) What is it?
(Sighs) It’s Leona, dear. Apparently she has something very important to tell us. (Pause. Rolls her eyes.) Sit down.
(Looks down and speaks.) It’s true. Watson and I are in love, and we’re engaged to be married.
(Stands up) We’ve arranged you to marry Collins! In love? ABSURD! Who do you think you are?
(Looks up and quietly says) Maybe you should list...
“Raellyn, dinner time!”
“Just a second Mom; I’m just finishing a scene.”
You would think by 17 I would have a little more freedom.
“Come on. You know better than anyone that writing is not going to get you anywhere. Especially in Utah,” she says.
Thanks, Mom. I love you too. I quietly walk down stairs, hiding my embarrassment. Breathing in the scent of burned food, I almost go back upstairs. My mom’s not a bad mom. Honestly, she just doesn’t know any better, and I’m not the girl that’s about to put her in line. You could say I’m shy, but more than that; I’m just not sure of myself.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Beep. ‘You have reached the maximum limit’.
I went to bed at around two in the morning last night. There were a lot of things going on in my mind, and I had to talk it out. Naturally, I called my two closest friends, Rachel and Jade. When they didn’t answer I left them a few voice mails dragging on and on. The lady would always cut me off before I finished talking. There’s no limit to my venting. That was how my night went after a horrible dinner with my unsporting Mom Dad and perfect brother. I had to complain.
I may have a few social issues right now, but at least the few friends I have care about me. They called me back the next day and laughed instead of thinking I’m an idiot.
I strongly dislike social websites. This whole Tweeting thing just pisses me off. Why would you sit there and waste your time telling everyone exactly what you’re doing? Sometimes I wish I weren’t in this generation. Don’t think just because we’re friends on Facebook that it makes us best friends. If you want to get to know me hang out with me in person, or at the very worst call me. Don’t check out my profile.
I’ve just decided to ignore all of that crap. It’s pointless to me. It might mean I won’t be so connected as others, but it’s easier to find real friends without it. As far as finding real parents, that can be a task.
The morning after the voice mail mess I work diligently on my manuscript. I get comfortable on my bed with my laptop and turn off my phone so I don’t have any distractions. It doesn’t take long before it’s noon and thirty minutes later I’m done. I smile widely. Getting up from my bed I think of much work I’ve put into it, and I can’t help but fall on my bed and scream into my comforter with excitement.
Ten minutes go by and I’m exhausted from smiling and running around for so long, and I decide to do something productive. My stomach growls, so I head to Starbucks.
As I shove my manuscript in my bag, my dad runs into me. I wave a subtle, ‘Hi’.
My dad grunts in response.
Shaking my head with a laugh, I’m reminded of the nickname I gave him long ago. I called him Mr. Berry. Short for Blackberry of course. Nobody thought that was funny, but that’s what makes it ten times more hilarious. Still smirking, I jump into my old, beat-up Jeep. With a screech my seat falls all the way back and I swear I get whiplash. That’s one way to turn a smile upside down.
I walk up to the barista to take my order. “I’ll have an ice cold, Grande, no-whip, Java Chip Frappacino.” I never get sick of saying that.
I push a shiny, black ringlet out of my face and take a sip of my drink. I take out my manuscript and flip through it real fast. My phone vibrates and I see Rachel’s number. I haven’t talked to her in so long; I grab my phone and run out of the coffee shop.
When I get home, I decide to do a little editing on my manuscript. I grab my bag out of my locker and dig around.
It’s not here. Huh? I swear I brought it with me to Starbucks. Running upstairs, I try to stay calm. Ten minutes later my room is a mess, and my manuscript is nowhere to be found. My breathing deepens as I pace my room.
I spot my computer under all the disarray, and I know that my manuscript is safely typed and saved inside. Then I realize the last time I saw it was at Starbucks; it has to be there somewhere. I guess I’ll go there tomorrow morning and ask around. Although that’s not what freaks me out. What if someone else has my manuscript? Have they read it?
With about a dozen chimes to announce my arrival, I enter Starbucks. My bag gets stuck in the door jam and the chimes go crazy as I tug it out. Considering my bad mood, I tug it, a bit too hard, and I almost fall to the floor.
I nod in return to the stares I receive for my grand entrance. My lips form a straight line. I walk towards the cash register.
“Hey, have you seen a manuscript anywhere? I misplaced it yesterday.”
“Oh you poor thing! I knew right when you walked in you had something on your mind,” Ms. Barista trails off.
My lip curls over. I wish she would just say everything's okay and hand it over. Right about now, her rosy cheeks and a cheery attitude are starting to make me mad. Get to the point.
“Actually yesterday a man approached me and told me he found a manuscript and if I saw the owner to tell them to give him a call. Here’s his number.”
My eyebrows furrow together.
“Um, okay, thanks.” I take the number from her and wonder what all this could be about. Why would someone take my manuscript? Why would they bother? Despite all the wonder I make a note to call him before tomorrow. Honestly, right now I just want to relax. I finally finished the manuscript, just to lose it. Remind me not to mention it to my mom.
I take more caution as I climb into my Jeep. As I drive home, I turn on the radio. It’s a commercial.
“Feeling low and not wanting to go anywhere? Just having pure bad luck? Blaming it on yourself?”
Okay, okay, isn’t this when they tell you what they can do about it?
“Cymbalta can help!”
Ugh. I roll my eyes. I’m not that desperate. I click the radio off.
Pulling into the garage, my brother, Skylar, waits at the door. I turn my key wondering what he’s doing.
“Hey, Sky. What’s going on?”
He looks at me seriously and says, “I was using your computer today because mine is not working. Wait. Before you say anything, I saw your manuscript and...”
I’m not even sure what he says next.
“And I really liked it.”
Wait a second. Did he just say ‘like’?
“I really think it’s funny how you are relating it to Mom and Dad and how they treat you.”
Oh yea, hilarious.
“You liked it?” I ask, not daring to believe.
I’m flattered, truly. I only have one question.
“Well, because it’s well written and interesting. Definite page turner.”
“Wow,” I blush. “Thanks. It means a lot.”
“You’re welcome,” he smiles. “I told Mom and Dad that they should really read it because it’s not just junk.”
“Well, I’m not sure they’d be so up for it.”
His face drops and he looks angry.” I know. That’s what’s so annoying. I didn’t ever think you were any good at writing. No offense. Now, I feel stupid for ever agreeing with the whole posse.”
“Thanks, I guess I didn’t realize that either.”
Getting excited, I run up to my room to call that guy who has my printed manuscript. Maybe it’s time to face my fears.
“Hello, this is Emmet Smith,” he recites.
“Hey, I’m Raellyn Jones and I wrote a manuscript and left it at Starbucks the other day. I heard you have it.” I’m not sure what else to say.
“Oh, yes, yes I do. I’m so happy you called. I’d really love to talk to you in person,” he says.
What’s going on?
“Talk about what?”
“About your manuscript, of course.”
Of course? “Okay, I guess we can meet at Starbucks.”
“Wonderful, see you than.” He hangs up.
I slip down so my back’s against my bed. Did he read my play? My sorry excuse for a romantic tragedy? It’s only a rough draft. I sit staring at the blank wall in wonder, until my mom interrupts my trance.
“Come downstairs, Rae, we need to talk.”
I sleepily walk downstairs, not prepared for what’s about to come.
“Honey,” my dad says. Mr. Berry has said more than an animal sound? Now I’m awake. I swallow and all my confidence disappears.
“Skylar told us about your manuscript. What’s this nonsense all about?” my mom says. “You really need to go outside more. Do a sport like your brother. Writing is so isolating.”
Like my brother. We’re on this kick now. They’re always on some kind of sick mission aren’t they? So determined to crush my dreams.
Grunt. “I am so busy,” my dad says. “I’ve got clients coming out of nowhere. I can’t deal with this.” He sighs once more to finish it off.
Talk about anxiety. Then he stands up as the chair screeches. He looks at me, nods, than walks outside and hops in his Prius. I nod my head. Yup, that’s my dad. My mom turns to me.
“All right let’s forget about all this. It’s silly.” She smiles.
Oh, you’ve tried so hard to reassure me mom. Thanks, I know it’s hard being a mom, but at least you tried to talk it out.
“Yeah.” I choke the word out. I focus my attention directly at her eyes. I know I’m sure I look like a bobble head right now, but I am too astounded.
“Maybe you should read it some time. You and Dad are in it, and I’m thinking you might just learn one or two things about me.”
With that, I walk into the garage and get into my lovely Jeep. I believe I have an appointment.
I enter Starbucks with my head held high. A middle aged man waves me over.
He stands up.“Hey, I’m Emmet Smith.”
On the table is a Chai Latte. He seems like an organic type of guy.
“Hey, nice to meet you.” I shake his bony hand and have a seat.
“Nice to put a face to the words. I really enjoyed your manuscript,” he says.
This has to be a joke. This is the part where the camera crew pops up and says, “I’m an actor; we’re all actors; there are hidden cameras everywhere; you’re on MTV; and you just got Punked!” All right, all right, I wonder how long they’re going to carry this on for.
“I’m a bookworm.” He laughs. “Flew right through it. Page turner. I would really love to see this published.”
Did he just say published? Come on, Raellyn, if your perfect angel of a brother Skylar likes it- others can too- right?
“There was one problem though,” he says.
Here we go.
“The ending was awful. The whole time, your play, your characters are building up to a climax. Right when you think nothing could get any worse, and there has to be some good finally given to Leona- it ends. It’s sad.”
Okay, understandable, but that’s the ending because that’s the truth. For now.
“Look, I have a friend. His name is Julian Marshall and he works for the publishing company Scholastic. You might have heard of it.”
Might have? Finally I speak. “Wow, are you saying you want to help me get published?” When I say that, my voice goes high and cracks.
“Well.” he pauses. “If you change your ending. Make it happy. Then yes. I would be thrilled. Julian and I are very close, and he’ll read it as soon as possible.”
“Thank you so much. Wow, this is amazing. I will fix that immediately.”
“Okay, and obviously we’ll have to have your mom’s permission since you’re underage. That shouldn’t be a problem.”
Ha, no problem at all. Easy peasy.
“Perfect. Send it to this email.” He hands me a piece of paper.
“This is a dream come true. I don’t believe it.” My parents will refuse it.
“All right,” he stands. “Thank you for your time I look forward to hearing from you.”
“Thank you so much.”
Then he’s gone. He’s left me alone in Starbucks. Where it all started.
Change my ending. That shouldn't be too hard.
In my room, I sink down on my bed. After minutes of thinking, I sit down at the computer and pull up my manuscript. I sit there watching the cursor flash for about 30 minutes. Finally, I stand up and walk in Skylar’s room.
“Hey,” I say. “Guess what happened today?”
“What?” he asks, looking up from his iTouch.
“I talked to someone that wants to publish my play.”
“No way, congratulations!”
“Thanks, I know it’s nothing compared to winning the championship” I trail off. “I finally feel like I can go somewhere with my writing.”
“You are so talented. Don’t even compare football to publishing a play. Have you told Mom?”
“About that- who said she ever has to know?”
He raises his eyebrows and stops playing games on his iTouch. “This is big. You know she’ll find out whether it’s you telling her or someone else.”
Was that a threat?
“Okay, I’ll tell her.” I say. I start to walk out and pause in the doorway. “Eventually.”
The doorbell rings and I run downstairs. My mom makes it before I do, so I decide to stay hidden behind a wall close enough to hear who it is. My mom unlocks the door and pulls it open with her happy face on.
“Hello, my name is Julian Marshall.”
I laugh a little at his British accent. “Wait, Julian Marshall is here?Now?” I whisper.
“Hi, I’m Christine Jones. How may I help you?”
“I’m a publisher at Scholastic. A friend of mine read your daughter’s manuscript and told me to read it. Although it needs a little work, it is so amazing I had to come over and congratulate her and make sure we have her parent’s approval.”
This is not happening. I look over at my mom momentarily to notice her mouth wide open.
Julian continues, “Is she here? I’d like to speak with her if you don’t mind.”
He searches around and almost tries to push past my mom. I have a feeling she won’t let him get past the doorway until he explains himself.
“Wait,” my mom says. “You’re saying that my baby -Raellyn- has written a manuscript and you’re thinking of publishing it?”
Yup, I was right.
“That’s correct. Your daughter is very talented. She could potentially have a career as a professional writer. I’m sure you’ve read this great manuscript of hers; you shouldn’t be surprised.”
My mom looks like she got slapped in the face.” I-I,” she stutters. “Haven’t gotten around to it, but I guess I wasn’t aware that it was anything serious.”
“Well, I would very much suggest it before it potentially gets published. It would be quite embarrassing if all these strangers have read it and her mum hasn’t.”
He said mum.
Again- her eyebrows furrow up and she nods her head. “Yes, that does sound...” she pauses.
Now she’s shaking her head. She inhales deeply, and finally gets back into the present situation.
“Oh, Julian come in. I’m so sorry. Just a little tired today.”
Julian steps inside. She leads him into the dining room and I make sure they don’t see me.
Before they’re completely out of sight I hear my mom ask him, “Would you like some tea?”
Julian laughs, “Just because I’m British doesn’t mean I like tea.”
“Oh, okay- scones then?”
Their voices trail off. Did that really just happen? Does my mom finally get it?
It’s been a long night. Mr. Marshall has just left at 11 p.m. He talked to me for a while about the resolution of my play in front of my mom. She looked like an adopted puppy dog just trying to do her best with this new family. I learned a lot of great things, and finally have ideas for my ending. Although I was so inspired I was convinced I would pull an all nighter, I wanted to soak in what it’s like now that my mom realizes I have talent. It’s not just football practice. You don’t win just if you make a touchdown; you succeed from the very start. I love writing- no matter what- it makes me feel as if I scored a touchdown every time I finish writing things.
I’m helping my mom clean up the kitchen now. She tried to impress Julian by making scones. Not her best idea.
“Tell me about this play, sweetie,” she says.
I smile- right at her. “Maybe you should just read it for yourself,” I say. “I’m going to finish it tomorrow and send it off to Julian.”
She smiles up at me and says, “I’m sorry. I knew you enjoyed writing, but never thought of it as professional.” She grimaces. “When you were little you always stayed inside reading books. Then once Skylar came around, he was always outside and with his friends. Naturally, I started to worry. I wanted you to succeed and be happy.”
I just might cry.
“Now I see that you’ve already succeeded. I’m the one that’s been pulling you down.”
Who knew one talk with a funny, little British man would change her whole perspective.
“You don’t have to be like Skylar. I was close minded and stupid. Here I am, feeling like this publisher knows more about you.” She shakes her head. “Go to bed and get some rest, and know that I’m proud of you.”
I smile and give her a big hug. “Thanks Mom. I’ll keep that in mind. Night.”
I start walking up to my room.
“Love you,” she calls after me.
“Love you too,” I say.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The next morning, I wake up bright and early. I have a ton of inspiration. With my curly hair still sticking up and in knots, I sit down at my computer and start to write my ending.
I hear footsteps upstairs and a knock at my door. “Come in,” I say.
My mom smiles at me with her head cocked to the side.
“Good morning,” she says. “I made your favorite. Sticky buns.”
Is she trying to bribe me to forgive her? Hmm-mm, works for me.
I smile up at her.
“Be right there. Just finishing up.”
She walks back downstairs. I’m so close to finishing, but first I need some food. I walk downstairs- still yawning.
Awaiting me at the table is my Mom, Dad, and Skylar. This is strange. It’s Mom that speaks first.
“Hey sweetie, sit down. We’re having a pre-celebration for your play.”
Joy. I look over at my dad just to make sure the world hasn’t stopped completely. Nope, we’re all good. He’s having a conference call at the table. Well, it’s more than he usually does, right?
Spoke too soon.
“Chris, I gotta jet. Lots of work to do.” He pauses and looks towards me, nods. “Raellyn.” Another nod.
I think that’s his way of congratulating me. I’ll take it. He walks away and does a little wave and continues talking on his Bluetooth as the door creeks shut.
“Well then,” I say. “Let’s eat.” I sit down next to my mom and brother.
As I devour the sticky buns, I think how my dad’s never going to change. He loves me, but he’s not good with words. I can accept that now that my mom and brother finally understand. For the first time, I don’t mind staying at the table a little longer.
Act VI:(Leona leaves home with her Fiancé, Vincent and Prudence finally approve of the lower class man, Vincent and Prudence give them their best wishes, close curtains.)
Scene 10:(Open curtains, Watson and Leona meet parents and bid adieu.)
(Sitting down at table) I would like to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage, sir.
(Harrumph) Very well. There’s not much I can do to keep you two apart. (Nods at Leona and Watson. Walks away.)
(Smiles at the couple) I’m happy for you two. On you go.
(Puts arm around Leona’s waist and stands in doorway) Thank you. Off we go.
(Waves gently and smiles) I bid you adieu.
(Smiles and gives hug) Thank you, mother. Farewell!
Watson and Leona leave and set off for their new life with best wishes and proud parents. Watson- though he may be in a lower social class, is everything Leona could ask for.
You can never choose what you love.
End Scene. Close Curtain.