Chapter 10: The Real Deal Part 3

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"It must be something that we call love..."
The lyrics started to feel more familiar, like during rehearsals. They felt natural, like he didn't have to think about them, they just blossomed beyond his lips.
"Wherever I go I'm coming back. And time can not knock me off my track, this resolution is final..."
He glanced across the audience, his hand grasping the microphone no longer shaking. He glanced beyond the stage, catching a glimpse of Kostya, smiling at him. He felt his whole body loosen, he smiled softly.
"It must be something that we call love. It's when you're craving to say her name..."
He closed his eyes in utter disbelief that he was doing this- and he was doing it well. He wasn't shaking, or sweating- his voice didn't crack or stammer. The audience seemed satisfied.

"And my reality seems to break apart in her arrival." He opened his eyes, greeted by the emersed stares of the students before him, several of them turning on their phone torches or lighters and swaying them back and forth. This made him feel liked, adored, like he was relevant to the rest of the vast school for once. When he got to the chorus, he felt amazing, a confident, dramatized alter ego burst from beneath him like a new awakening inside. He wasn't Nikita anymore, he was simply... Alekseev. He was new, he was fresh- not a timid little boy anymore. The song was coming close to its end before he could even acknowledge it- he quickly remembered his cue as he spun around, showing off the gory back piece as he gestures to Tom behind the curtain. He pulled a rope, attached to a latch on the ceiling that opened up. Roses began to fall from the compartment as the audience applauded as genuinely as ever.

He energetically ran up to the boys.
"I did it! I did it!" He cheered, jumping up and down ecstatically .
"We're so proud of you!" Benji cried
"It was so cool. I didn't know you had it in you man!" Mikolas said, patting him on the back. Ari just sort of whooped as he set off an odd party popper he'd found, his eyeliner rubbed all down his face; the boys let him be, it had been a long night for all of them. Niki looked at Kostya. He stared dreamily for a few moments before wrapping his arms tightly around him. Nikita smiled and hugged him back, suddenly getting concerned as he felt Kostya begin to shake. He looked up at him, taken aback as seeing him smile as tears ran down his cheeks.

"Woah, are you alright?!"
"Yeah. " He sniffed, laughing through his tears. "I'm just proud of you Niki!"
He laughed, slightly embarrassed and wiped away the stream of tears from his face. "You have no idea how happy you made me feel when you were out there, I just knew that this was it. You'd finally find your confidence." Nikita blushed heavily, hiding his face and admittedly forcing back tears of joy.
"Wooh, we love a bit of sentimental shit don't we?" Mikolas laughed, putting his arms around the two of them. "Hey, I think the last act just finished."
"You know what that means?" Ari asked
"Voting!" squealed Benji, tired of being quiet. They decided to grab a drink before watching as Keiino walked on stage and began addressing the audience.

"Wow!" Fred announced to the crowd. "What an array of wonderful acts tonight! Now we all know what time it is now right?" The students cheered.
"Voting time!" Tom yelled. "Please log on to the school's website where you will see a new tab we've added. You can select your winner and the vote will be added.
"You have 15 minutes!" Alex shouted as Fred started a timer, projected onto a screen behind them. The students began to get out their phones and overload the school's guest wifi. Those 15 minutes were intense as could be. As the rows of students excitedly clutching their phones began to type and click, praying that their favourite act would win the contest, The Five Guys intently watched the crowd of teens clicked and tapped on their bright phone screens.

They saw Tom step back on stage and immediately knew what this meant.
"This is where shit goes down." Mikolas whispered intensely as they watched him grab a microphone and begin address the audience.
"The votes are in!" He began. "And let me say, this result may surprise you..." The guys looked at eachother, puzzled but interested.
"The winner is..." everyone held their breath. There was a constant state of tension, excitement and dread swirling in their heads as they waited for Tom to finish.
"We have a tie!" He called. The crowd gasped. "You know what that means?"
"Sing off! Sing off! Sing off!" The audience chanted.
"Can Kostyantyn Bocharov and Robin Bengtsson please come to the stage?"

Kostya stared at his friends, just as shocked as everyone else in the room was. Was this set up? Or very very close chance? As he gingerly walked up the steps onto the main stage. He made eye contact with Robin almost immediately. He glared at him, smirking menacingly as he studied his entire body; for once, Kostya felt slightly insecure.
"Okay, I take it back." Mikolas whispered. "THIS is where shit goes down.
"So would you guys like to agree on a song? Tom asked sweetly, trying to lighten the mood. He gestured for Robin to speak into the microphone.
"What about... Rise Like A Phoenix by Conchita Wurst?" Kostya recognised that this was a challenge. Not only for his vocals, but for Robins approval; he clearly thought that his opponent wasn't capable of pulling it off.

"I can do that." Kostya answered confidently. He smirked, raising an eyebrow at him.
"Well boys, take it away..." Tom walked offstage. Alex quickly ran on to hand the components their headsets, robin side-eyeing Kostya as he smiled smugly.
"Break a leg." He said, rolling his eyes.
"Break 'em both." Kostya muttered. As the track began to play, the components knew exactly what they were doing. They wouldn't distract eachother, they would shout over the top of eachother, they wouldn't fight over the attention physically. They'd simply duet. But this was no regular duet, this duet would be a show-off of exactly what they could do. Instead of a tacky fight for more attention, this would be an epic battle through song. A dramatized duo, the sing off of a lifetime.

As they strutted across the stage, powering their voices into the mics, they stared into each others eyes intensely as they worked harder and harder to appeal the audience's votes. As they reached high notes, they inched away from each others faces, almost snarling as they sang; both with and against eachother. The song ended dramatically, the boys throwing their fists into the air as the audience stood and clapped violently- whistling and whooping. Tom pranced onstage:
"Was that amazing or what?!" He called, "Log on to the website again to choose your winner. Will it be Robin?" Audience members began to cheer. "Or will it be Kostyantyn?" The same again. "You have all but 10 minutes to decide."

"Holy shit!" Kostya yelled as he ran back behind the curtains.
"What are you going to do?" Ari asked worriedly.
"Wait I guess." He answered. "I felt like maybe he might actually start fighting me up there. It was too intense."
They sat in some nearby chairs as they tried to evaluate exactly what just happened.
"He's gonna hate me for the rest of my life if I win."
"When you win. You've got this in the bag dude." Nikita sighed, smiling up at him.
"C'mon guys. It's a competition. It's not under Kostya's control." Benji pleaded.
"Yeah, surely he shouldn't have hard feelings." Ari muttered, taking a box of baby wipes out of his backpack and beginning to sleepily wipe off his makeup.
"There'll be hard feelings no matter what. It's Robin we're talking about here." Miki complained, putting his feet up on an empty chair. Kostya felt a hand tap his shoulder, he turned around- seeing Alex standing behind him.

"You're needed on stage." She mentioned, walking off into the darkness. He got up, slowly trudging back into the battle ring. He stood next to Tom, seeing as Robin was doing the same on the other side. Tom grabbed both of their hands casually.
"I'll tell you all it isn't a tie this time." He laughed, quickly switching back to his serious demeaner. "The true winner of of Euro High's Talent Show is..." Kostya closed his eyes. He sighed deeply, something inside of him telling him that this wasn't going to go well. All was silent. All was still. He was trapped in his own mind for a few seconds, trying to imagine the events ahead when he was suddenly pulled straight out of the endless void. He felt his arm being lifted into the air almost violently as the audience began to scream excitedly.

Hey! Can I just quickly thank uwu-vision for coming up with this awesome idea of who was going to win and the whole sing off scenario. Because honestly, I had no clue who I wanted so this really helped me out. Also, rosesintheattic did comment on my announcement saying who they'd like to see, so that was also a big help with this chapter. Thanks a lot you guys.
-Ellie x

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