45 - Reunited: Day Sixty

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There was a buzz of excited energy within the Majestic Theatre in Austin, Texas. It was a small venue, with a capacity of just over two thousand people, and was to be the location of the first full concert with Melanie. She'd grown to love rehearsals and working with the dancers and the band. She was comfortable going off on her own and exploring the venue and exhibited a childlike curiosity about every new experience.

Although she seemed ready and eager to perform in front of a large group of people, her friends were still a bit apprehensive about this new venture. Simon and Sam had arranged for the venue to be smaller than what had been planned prior to the accident, just to get an idea of how Melanie was going to react. Tickets were sold with a warning to the fans that Melanie would not be guaranteed to perform. Regardless of the caveat, tickets sold out in only a few minutes and other venues were already requesting concert dates.

Fully comfortable with her friends and the crew, Melanie relished in her new-found freedom. She took the opportunity to wander the venue whenever she could and performed enthusiastically during the girls' rehearsals.

The girls had been scheduled to do a full dress rehearsal prior to lunch, with the boys following with their dress rehearsal after the meal. Having lost so much weight over the last month, Kenny, the girls' costume designer, had prepared temporary replacement outfits for Melanie until she could fit back into her regular costumes. It had been like watching a child on Christmas, watching Melanie as she tried on each of the outfits.

The girls had been given a short break in between songs when one of the straps of Geri's top for the last costume change had torn. While the other girls milled about backstage, Melanie bounded off to explore and see what people were doing.

She quietly opened the door to the green room where the boys were doing a Skype interview with a radio station from Los Angeles and she looked curiously at the interviewer on the computer screen with the small image of the boys in the bottom corner.

"Is that Melanie?" the interviewer asked, catching a glimpse of Melanie in the background. The boys turned around and smiled at her, motioning for her to join them on the couch.

"Who's that?" Melanie asked, leaning over the couch between Nick and Kevin to get a better look at the screen.

The boys introduced Melanie to Kurt, the man conducting the interview, and she timidly greeted him. She answered a few of Kurt's questions before Camilla quietly coaxed her out of the room to rejoin the girls on the stage.

"Come on, darling. Just one more song and we'll break for lunch," Camilla explained. "Is that all right?"

Melanie nodded, taking Camilla's hand and looking curiously back at the screen.

"Where's mum?" she asked, still staring at the screen as Camilla tried to coax her out of the room. Camilla looked from Melanie to the screen questioningly before realizing why Melanie looked so confused.

"We can call all kinds of different people on Skype," she chuckled. "We can call your mum a bit later, all right?"

Melanie nodded and said goodbye to the boys before allowing Camilla to lead her out of the room. Simon was in the hall, walking toward the two girls with his eyes glued to his phone. He looked up as the girls approached him and smiled to greet them.

"Look, Simon!" Melanie exclaimed, pulling at the bottom of her shirt to show off her new costume. She had a huge grin on her face and looked back up at Simon for approval. It hadn't been apparent how much Melanie had actually regressed until she'd come out of her shell and become more vocal. She had a very innocent, childlike demeanour and was extremely inquisitive.

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