Poo-Poo-Bird Pouts and Puppy Eyes.

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Akiko stomps to my curtains, draws them apart and opens the window. "How long have you been in bed? It's starting to smell funky in here."

The sunlight stings, I hiss like a vampire and bury my face in a pillow.

"Rae!" Akiko growls and rips the pillow from me. "Give me the headphones!" She holds out her hand expectantly but I pretend I can't hear her. This encourages her to pull the earpiece away from my head. She bends down to listen. "Is this Lauren Odyssey?" She sighs. "It's worse than I thought. You're on an Odyssey binge."

"I can't help it," I say. "Her voice makes me feel better."

Akiko rolls her eyes. "Yes, she's a beautiful singer."

"She's rock-angelic," I add with a sniff.

Akiko slips her hand into the mound of blankets and searches blindly for my phone. When she finds it she glances at the screen, her eyes widen. "Have you been listening to this song on repeat?" she asks.

"For 6 hours."

She stomps her foot. "That's it! I'm taking you outside."

"No! What if they call to tell me I got the part? I can't leave."

"Rae, this is a cell phone," she says slowly, as though she's talking to a misbehaving child. "You can take it with you."

"The battery's drained. I need to stay by the charger."

"Gee, I wonder why?" she says, turning off Odyssey.

I start to whimper and stick out my bottom lip, in what my dad so quaintly refers to as the poo-poo-bird pout.

"Don't do that." Akiko covers her face with her hands. "Not the puppy eyes, you know I'm a sucker for the puppy eyes."

"It's been two weeks, Kiki."

"What?" she asks, peeking through her fingers.

"Two weeks." I reach over and grab my calendar, shoving it in her face. 14 ✖️ 's show how many days have passed since the audition. "They said they would call the person they picked within ten days."

Akiko sits beside me and pushes the hair out of my eyes. "Maybe they lost your number," she says.

"Maybe I bombed the audition."

"You can't say that."

Her unbending faith in me is a little reassuring, but it's not enough to fill the gaping hole I feel in the pit of my stomach. "You weren't there. It was bad. Do I need to remind you of the booger stick?"

She opens her mouth to say something and is cut off by a knock at the door.

"Rae? Akiko?" my dad calls.

Akiko goes to him, closing the door behind her as she sneaks into the hallway. I can hear their muffled conversation.

"No improvements," Akiko says.

"Do you know what happened?" dad asks. "I just hate seeing my little girl like this."

"She, uh."

I can guess the conversation in Kiki's mind is going something like: "Do I tell him the truth and risk the wrath of Rae or do I say...?"

"Boy problems," Akiko says.

Smart choice my friend. Smart choice.

My dad clears his throat. "A boy didn't...I don't need to...I mean, if I have to I will."

"It's not like that Mr. H," Kiki reassures.

"Well, that's good." There's a moment of awkward silence, finally my dad adds, "Why don't you two come downstairs and I'll make you my famous pancakes."

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