I couldn’t believe it was P time. P as in Performance! I’d been looking forward to and dreading this part of camp ever since I’d arrived. I mean, I LOVED performing. In the past, when I got on stage, something just came over me and my body decided to do what I’d been working on almost magically!
But then it was also scary. What if I made a total fool of myself by tripping or hitting the wrong notes or forgetting my lines?
As the haunting music started in our dance show, my legs jumped and slid exactly like Mr. Irvin had taught us.
Jake was the star (of course) so he was at the head of the line. I was on the very edge so if I screwed up, no one would notice.
But did I care? No! It took the pressure off. And since I felt relaxed, I actually did the dance perfectly!
Who knew I could dance? Not me!
The following night was the talent show. Jake was the star again. (Did I sound like a broken record?)
But I sang and played piano, my fingers flicked acrossed the keys. I loved playing the piano the most out of everything at the camp. Acting came second. It was like I was home when I played a moving piece. And I could feel the audience’s emotion, too.
But when Jake jumped up on the piano AND played his violin without missing a beat, the crowd roared and applauded.
It was so much fun!
No one won anything in our talent show. It was just like a recital, but if we had, I bet we would have nabbed first place.
Finally, the following night was the play. I was sooooo nervous. And so was Phoebe. But the magic of the stage affected her, too!
She oozed snark as she rattled off Fakespeare’s antiquated lines.
I was so proud of her!
In between scenes, Mr. Graf came up to me and asked, “Would you find Kristie and Hunter? They’re on in five minutes!”
Oh yeah…they played Truliet’s parents which was the next scene after the intermission. I thought I’d seen them in the dressing room.
I heard Kristie’s voice. “Oh my GOD, Hunter! I can’t believe you lied to me this whole time! Aren’t I your girlfriend? You know I’d keep your secret.”
I wondered what secret Hunter didn’t want to share with Kristie. It could have been anything. I felt like I was intruding but eek! They were about to go on stage. But before I could interrupt, I heard “Jack Rackham” and I suddenly froze.
“Babe, Jack made me promise. If everyone knew he was THE Jack Rackham, he would have been bombarded with fangirls. Think about it. How do you think Cheyenne would have treated him?”
“But don’t you get it? I wouldn’t have told her. I’m not as much of a fangirl as her. You could have trusted me. I’m so mad at you!”
Their words were going so fast, it was hard to process. But once I thought it through, it was like someone dumped a bucket of ice water on me.
Jake was JACK RACKHAM! And he lied to me…to the whole camp…for all this time.
Plus, my BFF said she would have kept that secret from me! My whole body felt like it’d been crushed with a ginormous boulder.
“But I told you now, babe, so doesn’t that count for something?” Hunter said with a smirk.
I couldn’t move, I was in such shock. I totally forgot why I was peeking in on them in the first place.
So, Mr. Graf had to tell them to get out on stage.
I didn’t care. It was like I was in a hazy dream. I just kept going through how I’d always worn Jack Rackham t-shirts right in front of him this whole time.
And to think I’d even felt sorry for him that he might get looked over in the music industry because he SORT OF looked like Jack. But in fact he WAS Jack.
God, I was such a stupid idiot. I bet he was snickering behind my back this whole time.
And he saw all those Jack Rackham posters in my room! How cringy could I get? I wanted to crawl into a hole and hide forever. My embarrassment had reached an all time high. I’d never be able to face him!
But as they say, the show must go on. Jack and I had our final scene. I got through it bit by bit.
It was like I was on autopilot. But even though I said all my lines, not missing once, inside, I wanted to scurry away.
My mind kept thinking about all the things I’d said to him.
And how he made me think he was my friend all this time.
And how I’d stage-kissed him like a ton, but never enjoyed it.
Tonight made me want to cringe. I didn’t even think while I was kissing him. Not really.
It was like I was out of my body and someone else was kissing Jack Rackham.
After we took our final bows, I slipped into a side room so no one would find me.
I didn’t want to see my parents. I didn’t want to see my grandfather (who was always hanging around Ms. Christianson. Wtf????) And I most DEFINITELY didn’t want to see Jack Rackham or my traitor BFF.
Unfortunately, after only five minutes, Jack found me. “There you are, Red! Everyone has been asking about you! Why aren’t you at the after party? You did so well tonight! We both did. Aren’t you happy about that?”
When I didn’t say anything, he added, “And that kiss was amazing. Can you really tell me you were just faking? Come on…say you liked it. The play is over now and we don’t have to pretend anymore.”
I spun around. “Oh really? Like you don’t have to pretend anymore? JACK!”
Guilt riddled his face like machine gun fire. “Uh…er…you found out?”
“Yes, I found out. I’m not stupid. Well, I am stupid to fall for your assholery, but now I know. I also know you’re waaaay too important and famous to think of me as a real friend. That’s why you couldn’t tell me…but whatever. I get it. Don’t worry. I’ll leave you alone. And for what it’s worth, Jack, I’m NOT your number one fan anymore so you don’t have to worry about me fawning over you.”
I pushed past him, trying to get as far away from him as I could.
The warm night hit me as I ran down the stairs. Crickets chirped like they didn’t have a care in the world. I was so jealous of them.
This was supposed to be the most amazing night of the summer. I was supposed to cherish it forever!
But now it was just another notch in the list of embarrassing moments of my life. I would never talk to Jack again. And I was going to burn all my posters, t-shirts, and whatever else I owned that had his jerk mug emblazoned on it.
Why did he have to lie? I really liked Jake. Like I was beginning to think I liked him liked him. But I liked the normal guy who wanted to do his best and get better at his art so hopefully, someday his dreams might come true.
Just like me.
But he already had everything.
And he didn’t need me as a friend.