5-A Question and A Song (Edited)

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**Picture of Chris is now available ------------------------------------------------------>

Now that it was established that Mr. O’Neill was actually Christopher O'Neill, I was more than a little hesitant to follow him. I still wanted to pursue my dreams, but the idea that the only other guy I'd liked in high school was extremely successful while I was barely taking my first step toward something bigger, was daunting.

Crystal didn't seem to feel the same way, because strode past me with the same stupid smirk she'd been wearing since she first saw him. The look in her eyes worried me, because it could only mean one thing. She was planning something, and if I knew anything about my best friend, it was that whatever it was was bound to be interesting.

As distracted by my thoughts as I was, I hadn't even realized that my feet had automatically followed her until I noticed they were no longer supporting my weight. I had seated myself in the conference room table across from Chris.

“So I guess we should get down to business and get the basic questions taken care of. After that you can perform the song you chose prior to coming here. I believe it was Andrew Lloyd Weber’s ‘Angel of Music,’ am I correct?”

Words failed me, so I just nodded in response. It was embarassing, really, that I couldn't seem to find my words and worrisome that I'd being singing them in a few minutes. I wasn't a stranger to nervousness, but the way my mind was freezing up was just ridiculous.

While Crystal was answering some question I hadn't even heard Chris ask, I tried to convince myself that this little performance was no different than the countless times Crystal and I had sang over the past forever. The only problem was it was leagues different, because it was Chris.

Not wanting to experience another embarrassing silence where they looked at me expectantly for a response to a comment that hadn't been paying attention to, I realized I really needed to stay out of my head. It was it a scary place in there.

As if he were attuned to my resolution to pay attention, Chris turned to me and asked, “Why now? What’s inspired you to pursue this career?”

I thought about the myriad of responses I could have easily replied with, but eventually settled said, “I have something to prove. To myself and to someone else, but at the end of the day there is nothing like the rush of performing.” I gave Crystal a small smile. “I know it won’t be easy, but there’s nowhere I’d rather be than on that stage with the best friend I’ve ever had standing right next to me.”

Crystal looked surprised by my response and if I were being honest, I was right there with her. I glanced at Chris, ready to prompt him for the next question, but when I looked at him... If there had been a literal way for words to die in someone's throat, they died in mine.

That phrase about eyes being the window into the soul must’ve been inspired by a moment like the one we shared, because as he was looking into my eyes contemplatively, I felt as if he could see into my very soul. His gaze was all consuming and my heart felt like it was trying to beat out of my chest  while trying to stop beating at the same time. It was amazing and scary as hell. I’d never experienced anything like it in my life. Not even with Nate, and we’d had plenty of “moments” over the years.

My thoughts of Nate seemed to sever whatever connection we had, because I no longer felt the mesmerizing pull. At the exact same second, Chris blinked and the moment passed; it was almost as if it had never even occurred.

He cleared his throat, leaned back in his executive chair and asked if we were ready to sing.

I glanced at Crystal in confusion. We had a quick, but silent conversation with our eyes; it was a skill we had mastered after years of friendship.

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