47: Call-In

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Autumn gets an email. 

Adrian gets an email. 

Both emails are forwarded to the other. 

"I got a call-in audition for ensemble!!"

They drive out together, both marveling at the odds that both of them get a call-in and through tens of thousands of people.

 They arrive at the studio exactly ten minutes early. Autumn is out of breath, as if she had run the whole way to New York, and when Adrian asks can't explain why. 

"It's like... I've been running... all day..." she pants, "Must... be a... side effect... or something..."

Adrian nods and claps her back, and when she's breathing normally again they join the twenty or so people in the room. 

They are asked to read from the script, and two of the four producers would have their eyes closed, as it's a voice-over, so expressions and movement don't matter. 

Autumn performs with a few of the strangers in the room, but never with Adrian. She can’t help it. She coughs every other line.

“I’m so sorry,” she says afterwards. “I’m... just getting over a cold,” She somehow doesn’t want to tell the truth, and hopes it’ll be forgiven. 

At the end of the day, the twenty of them are dismissed and congradulated. The cast list is emailed to them in three hours, and both refresh every few seconds to check. They're anxious to know. 

At the same time, a new message comes in on both of their inboxes, and they gasp in unison. 

They don't even look at each other, but scroll through the names. 

Ensemble:

Carl Mason

Samantha Barks

Adrian Strickland

Marcia Thompson

Robert Madge

Mark Jones

Benjamin Hall

Jaxson Prince

Lindsay Fitzpatrick

Please email back your acceptance of the ensemble role by Tuesday. Thank you. 

"Adrian!! You made it!!" Autumn shouts as she reads through. She hugs him briefly before skimming for her own name again. 

With each name, her heart sinks closer and closer to her feet. 

It drops at the end of the list. 

"I..." she says, then simply decides she shouldn't say anything. He knows. 

He looks at her. "I won't accept this role,"

She looks at him incredulously. "What? Of course you will! People would die to be in a Disney movie!" She almost laughs. "Don't give it up just because I didn't make it."

"No. It won't be any fun without you!"

"You'll meet people!"

"You wanted this so much more than me."

"So? You still wanted it."

"Yes, but I don't want to do it anymore!"

"Yes you do!"

"Not without a friend doing it with me!"

"You're so lonely,"

"Yup."

"You're okay with that?"

"Sure,"

"So you'll do it then?"

"I never said that!"

"So now you just don't want the role at all?"

"Do you think they'd let me give my role to you?"

"This is Hollywood, of course not."

"Worth a shot,"

"But then I'D be lonely!!"

The bicker for longer than they should be wasting their time. In the end Adrian assures Autumn he'll take the role. 

"Fine. Fine! I'll do it. Maybe it'll be fun," he gives in finally. 

"I do really think you'll love it. I could tell at the audition you were enjoying it," 

He smiles a little, and composes an email. 

He writes:

Mr. Henry Lexington - 

I would love to accept my role in the ensemble of your production.

When Autumn agrees that's ok, she turns her head, and he adds more. 

However, my friend Autumn Paisley I saw was not cast. Forgive me, but I'm not sure I'd like to participate in this production without her in it too. Thank you for your time and I appreciate the role, but I think someone else would like to be in it more than I would without Autumn. 

Thank you, 

Adrian Strickland

He sends it before she can see. 

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