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4.8 Lizzie/Parker

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LIZZIE

Backstage before a staged show was magical. Girls and guys crowded in front of mirrors, fixing their hair and makeup inside of clouds of sticky sweet hairspray. Parker sat in the corner with a line of actors in front of her to get last-minute things here and there fixed. Some were humming or doing warm-ups. The ones that got ready the fastest were lounging anywhere and everywhere, laughing and talking over each other in full costume.

The buzz in the air alone made things surreal as if nothing would ever be better than this while we were all together.

Losing myself, I watched Parker sitting cross-legged on the floor with pins in her mouth as she fixed the drooping hem of one of the guard's pants. Tonight, she wore an all baby blue suit with beads spilling from her shoulders, so she matched Cinderella. Even her fingernails and eye shadow were blue. She glanced up for just a split second. She did a double-take when she noticed me and dropped the boy's pants.

She waved and my heart and hand waved back in unison.

It was that look in her eyes that could make me fall in love with her over and over again.

The playing field had changed. This wasn't about a bet anymore. This was about two real people with real feelings. Feelings with the horrid potential to get beaten, battered and bruised. The next time, I just prayed that Parker would take it easier on my heart.

"You look snazzy," someone said.

I spun, finding Emily dressed as a peasant with a bit of fake dirt on her jaw. Underneath her wool bandana hid perfect little ringlets for the ball later. She was already hooked up with her microphone, which looked like a little bean in the middle of her forehead.

"Thanks, you look poor," I said.

Emily forced a small puff of laughter. She sized me up in my concert uniform, a long black skirt with a matching black short-sleeved top with a weird square shaped neckline. After curling my hair and putting half of it up, Gina showed me how to put on eyeliner and she let me borrow her red lipstick. My mom also let me borrow her pearl necklace and earrings.

"What's in the bag?" she asked, referring to the paper bag in my hand from Miss Patty's shop. Tonight, I planned to give Parker her leather jacket. As a gift for doing so well with the play! No other reason. Not at all.

"It's nothing," I said, hiding it behind my back.

"Relax. I come in peace. Taylor sent me to remind everyone that the Opening Night Party is going on at her Dad's house. Not her mom's house. Do you need her passcode to get through the gate?"

"Oh, um I'm probably going to pass."

"Really?" Emily's eyes sparkled.

"Okay, you don't have to get so excited." I gripped my bag and started to storm off, making sure to yell over my shoulder. "Why don't you break your leg, Emily!"

"It's break a leg."

"I know what I said!"

#

The musical through Act One was incredible.

It began with a speech from Mrs. Donnelly, who lamented how this might have been the hardest production in her lifetime as a drama teacher, but she wouldn't have changed a moment. She thanked Miss Patty's Salon and even thanked Parker. She said, "Without Parker this production would've never been possible, but as we all know..." she smiled, "... impossible things are happening every day..."

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