competition

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"Mom, Ms Tricia gave me a solo!" Kaycee chirped as she entered the car, throwing her bag onto the backseat as she plonked herself down on the passenger's seat.

"That's great, honey. How come?" her mom replied with a smile, kickstarting the engine of the car. The eleven year old beside her was jumping up and down incessantly, and was so excited that she had forgotten to put on her seatbelt. It had been a while since she had gotten a solo, especially since she had recently been partnered up with another boy as a hip hop duo.

"Gabe can't make it to the competition, so Ms Tricia said I could get a solo," she explained, and when her mom shot her a look, motioning to her unfastened seatbelt, she sighed, buckling it in place. "Ms Tricia wants me to inpocorate some of my tricks into the hip hop solo. She says it can wow the judges, that gives me a higher chance of winning."

"Incorporate, sweetie," her mom corrected, driving out of the studio's carpark. Her daughter mumbled out an "oops" before settling down into her seat, slightly disappointed that her mother wasn't all too interested in her winning the competition. They sat in silence for a few minutes, Kaycee's mind filled with thoughts - wandering to the new trophy she was aiming to add to her collection, then to the choreography Tricia had taught earlier, then to the song they had chosen, and finally to the costume she was planning to wear.

"Mom? Could you wash the gold sequin tank top for my solo? The competition's on July 6," she asked, referring to the new top she had bought with her mom a few weeks back, "but Ms Tricia wants to see what we have for the costume."

Her mom nodded, then suddenly remembered something.

"The Thunderstruck International Finals? Miya texted me this morning, her family's going to be there. Oh, and Sean has a solo, I think he's competing in your category too," her mom informed her.

Ever since the two families met at a dance convention three years back, the two mothers have gotten very close despite the minor language barrier - it was a blessing, actually. Miya's English had improved tremendously and Laura had picked up some basic conversational Japanese.

Kaycee's smile faded as she groaned, her previous excitement gone within milliseconds. "Sean again?!"

"What's wrong with him?" her mom furrowed her eyebrows, confused.

"It's just that.." she paused, trying to think of a way to voice out her thoughts without sounding rude. When she couldn't, she decided to talk about something else about him that irked her a little. "H-He's weird! Always talking about those chemistry stuff."

The only type of chemistry she had known before meeting Sean was that one thing that Ms Tricia had repeated time and time again during her duet rehearsals with Gabe. But thanks to Sean, she now knew of another certain chemistry that was filled with gibberish and equations that look like a few scrabble tiles lined up, with those weird small numbers next to large letters.

"But you always say you're a weirdo, and you love it when people harness their inner weirdness, Kaycee. I'm sure there's something else."

That was when she realised that her mother had seen right through her and she couldn't find a way to sugar coat her thoughts, so she decided to be brutally honest. "He's a boy."

"And?"

"And the judges are going to play favouritism because he's a boy. He's going to win," she replied with a sulk, knowing that most of the time, the judges give higher scores to boys who compete in hopes of increasing the number of male dancers in the industry. She usually didn't really care, but somehow hated it whenever she lost to Sean. "That means I'm going to lose. It's so unfair!"

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