Chapter 13

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Maude was still fuming that evening as she stood backstage in the Morningside Theater listening to the other La Cenerentola auditions. She was also feeling increasingly nervous as she watched the other students perform for the lead roles. She still couldn’t get rid of Matt’s words that were echoing in her head again and again. Although she hated to admit it, his musical advice was sound even though he hadn’t at all perceived her personality correctly.

To think he saw her as a pampered, spoiled brat!

She couldn’t, wouldn’t dig too deep in her feelings of abandonment, sadness, and loneliness she’d felt in Carvin. She’d better push them away and pretend they weren’t there. She felt that if she unleashed them, they would consume her, and everyone would see who she really was: the poor, abandoned orphan whom they would all feel sorry for. Maude wanted to be able to hold her head high, not bow under the burden of pity. How would Matt react if he really knew the truth about her, her miserable, bare life in the basement of a tyrannical foster mother?

Maude forced a smile as she saw Thomas wink at her before walking on stage, faced Ms. Tragent and started to sing his solo. Thomas was incredibly at ease as Prince Charming and was a talented tenor. Nothing ever seemed to daunt this assured Prince Charming, who didn’t seem to have a worry in the world, just like its interpreter. Thomas took singing very seriously.

Even in Ms. Tragent’s class, his concentration rarely wavered. He never was shaken by her sharp glares and icy remarks directed towards him, which he viewed as sharp stones on a necessary road towards improvement. Underneath his calm demeanor, brewed an ambition of steel and an unvarying search for perfection, which made him a thorough artist. He was determined to get to the top and knew he possessed the talent and will to become a famous pop artist. Even if he had to go through Ms. Tragent’s boring classical lessons.

Maude almost clapped when he finished singing, but stopped in time to prevent embarrassment.

“So, how was I, Queen Maude?” he asked as he joined her backstage.

“The perfect Prince Charming!” she exclaimed.

“Am I your perfect Prince charming?” he asked, looking at her with a deep, serious look.

Maude faltered, but before she could answer, Lindsey shoved her and headed towards the stage.

“Sorry. You were in my way,” she said snidely.

“Good luck,” Maude said calmly. “Break a leg,” she added, happily imagining Lindsey limp in crutches.

“Only losers need luck. I have talent,” she said and started to sing Cinderella’s solo.

She did have loads of talent, Maude thought as she listened to Lindsey. Her technique was perfect, her voice assured and steady and disciplined by years of hard work and singing classes with the best of coaches. As Maude continued to listen to Lindsey she found something lacking. Lindsey was standing hands on hips, holding her head high as if she owned the world. Her attitude clashed with Cinderella’s solo that was supposed to be a lament and hope for a better life.

Maude looked at Thomas, and saw by his frown that he was thinking the same thing.

“She isn’t in character,” Thomas, whispered, his frown deepening.

Maude nodded. Although Cinderella was a spirited character in the opera, in this song, she was supposed to be melancholic. She wasn’t the least bit presumptuous like Lindsey was at that moment, looking like she would just trample over her evil stepsisters if they appeared on stage at this instant demanding their clothes and breakfast.

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