Exit Stage Left

Exit Stage Left by Gail Nall Read Free Book Online

Book: Exit Stage Left by Gail Nall Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gail Nall
all the hurt and fear, I find the right words. “Your audition was great, and you are going to be a fabulous Maria.” I cross my heart and give her unjazzy jazz hands.
    “Really? Because truthfully, I’m a little nervous about it.”
    “You shouldn’t be. You’re amazing,” I say. And she is amazing. If this were any other situation, I’d be absolutely thrilled for her.
    “It means a lot to hear you say that.” She leaps forward and gives me a bear hug. “Come on, I’ll drive you home. Or to the wonderful Bureau of Motor Vehicles, so that, you know, you can get your license.” She finally lets me go and smiles.
    “Not today,” I say in the happiest voice possible. And it sounds believable, because I can, after all, act. Or at least, I think I can, although my entire future has shriveled up into a supporting role. And I’m alone to boot. I can’t even make myself feel better by hooking up with Trevor.
    The jealousy is like a slime creeping up from deep inside. Amanda has everything: an undeniable musical talent, my role in the musical, a future far away from here, hair that’s never heard the word frizz, a dad who’s actually around, and a driver’s license. And I have . . . nothing.
    We’re all sitting in a circle on the stage to do the read-through the next afternoon. Trevor’s sprawled between peppy Danielle and me. Not by my choice— he sat next to me . I’m trying really hard to ignore him, and Gabby is shooting me pointed looks from across the circle. I’m sure he’s thinking that since the auditions are over, I’ll come crawling right back to him. I’m not. I have more pride than that, even if nothing else has gone the way I planned.
    Since I have hardly any lines in this show at all, I briefly considered not even showing up today. It’s not like anyone would notice a missing nun. But 1) that’s totally unprofessional, and 2) Amanda looked genuinely freaked the hell out when she saw exactly how many lines Maria has. She needed a friend sitting next to her, sending her vibes of support and encouragement, which I’ve mustered up as best as I can. But it doesn’t take long for my mind to start drifting, first to thoughts of me onstage as Maria, and then—annoyingly—to imagining myself on a beach with Trevor, complete with palm trees and crystal blue waves.
    I tune in during the scene with Liesl and Rolf, aka Kelly and Harrison, mad at myself for indulging in any Trevor-related fantasies. Harrison’s frowning. I wonder if he’s contemplated smashing baby food jars against Ms. Sharp’s door. Kelly is happy and smiling, untilshe reads the stage direction They kiss .
    “Oh,” she says.
    “Kelly, that’s not part of the script.” Ms. Sharp’s eyes narrow as she looks at Kelly. “And I expect my actors to be professional.”
    “Sorry,” Kelly says.
    Harrison’s face has a green tinge. You’d think he’d be prepared for this. I mean, the world is full of gay actors who have to play straight. Not a big deal. Of course, I can’t tell him that until he bothers to let me in on his big secret.
    I begin counting the pages until I come back into the play. One, two . . . twenty-four . . . thirty . . .
    Silence. I look up to see what’s going on.
    “Oliver, you’ll need to speak up. We can’t hear you.” Ms. Sharp cups a hand behind her ear.
    Then Silent Hollywood Guy delivers the line perfectly. What’s up with that? And is he really from Hollywood? Since I need something to keep me from dying of boredom or wasting away from theater-induced depression, I decide he’s someone super famous, undercover to research a role as your average drama student at a not-so-average Midwestern high school. I study his face, trying to figure out whether he looks like a movie star. He catches me staring and turns as pink as Kelly’s shirt.
    When Hannah calls the read-through finished—the only thing she’s managed to say during the whole two hours—Amanda and I walk to the lobby

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