Confessions Of A Musically Inclined Hissi: Part Four
I was sprawled sleepily in my room, skimming through a stack of old neomails and notes. Most were from Tiffany asking to hang out at the mall or something, while some were actually mails from other pets telling me how pretty my voice was, and congratulations for getting the part in the play.
None were from Adrian.
I ripped all of them up, in anger and guilt and shame. Looking back, I felt foolish for believing Tiffany so easily. And so what if they had been best friends? He probably ditched her because he realized she was mean and nasty.
I suppose I wanted to leave him before he realized as much about me.
I remembered his envy of my outspokenness, how he would look at me with those dark eyes. I remembered thinking him to be foolish; he had friends, why would he need words? It's not like I had them on my side, anyway.
And our places switched, only not completely. He was not as popular as he used to be, and I had toppled any records he held in that category. However, words were still out of my reach. I did not speak my mind. I hid behind cruel, snobby remarks and pretty, high notes. But that was all I had. I saw him during those days, standing up for the less fortunate pets during the school day, I saw him singing whatever he pleased, not just to get a crowd going, but to enjoy himself. And I was the jealous one now... only I didn't want to switch places with him.
I wanted to be there, walking right beside him, singing Cherry Blossom Tree as we walked to math class, I wanted to perform interpretive dance moves in the hall. I wanted my best friend back.
And before I went to bed that night, I noticed a slip of sheer, white paper on my vanity table. Curiously, I picked it up and folded it open.
It read: BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, in Adrian's bulky handwriting.
Tears slipped down the slopes of my cheeks like rainwater. I missed him. I missed our friendship.
And I knew what I had to do if I ever wanted to get it back.
I woke up the next morning a new Hissi.
I skipped (read: fell) down the stairs a half hour before school started, and was greeted by Daniella's elated smile.
"Ooh yay, you're here for breakfast!" She beamed. "What do you want?"
"Mm, could I have some toast, Danny?" I asked, almost flying on the inside.
"Sure thing, Mel."
All it took was a few words to make my heart feel lighter.
"What do you mean, you're quitting?!" boomed Mr. Arpeggio. "The musical is in two weeks! Two weeks!"
Shame-faced, I stared at the tiled floors, before finally mustering up enough courage to say, "Mr. Arpeggio, I don't deserve the part."
"Isn't it a bit late for second thoughts?" he hissed.
"No," I murmured. "I didn't get the part through talent. I... I made Aria give me the role."
"What do you mean 'n---WAIT, what?" He was taken aback at this point. "Melody, I.... I did not expect this of you."
Tears sprang in my eyes. "I know." I breathed in deeply. "I deserve any punishment you want to give. But I... I want Aria to have the part. She knows everything, anyway."
"Well, after what you've just told me, I would've given Aria the part back even if you still wanted it," he said slowly. "However, Melody, I do believe you to be a nice, kind girl. So... your punishment will not be by my will. Aria will choose."
THAT had to be the worst thing I'd heard all week. The Acara probably hated me more than anyone in Neopia. But I swallowed my pride, and gave a defeated. "Okay."
"And you have to tell her the news!"
I found Aria in front of the music room, her knees curled to her sky-hued chest, and the musical score in her hands.
"I sleep beneath the hum of starlight," she began singing one of Fantasia's solos. "All alone- Melody?!"
I'd never heard her sing so... genuinely before. My lips were parted in awe of her beautiful voice; I remained speechless for the longest time, until, finally, words made their way out.
"Haha," I chuckled awkwardly, when I was finally able to speak. "Um... well, I'm here to tell you that... you're Fantasia. You're not my understudy anymore."
Her gentle face, the one I had originally dismissed as plain and boring, was instantly riddled with suspicion. "Oh? And why is that? Didn't you really want the part?" Her tone was ice.
"Aria," I started, and she simply raised an eyebrow, waiting. I swallowed. "Aria, I'm so, so sorry. What I did... it wasn't just wrong, it was horrible. You won the part fair and square and I forced you to give me something I didn't earn or deserve. You're the perfect girl for Fantasia. Me? I can barely follow a tune on my own. I know you probably think this is sketchy and weird of me, and I don't blame you, but please, take the part. You can yell and scream and whatever you like; you don't have to forgive me."
She stared at me for the longest time, eyes almost breaking through me. I felt like a petpetpet being analyzed by a mute scientist; it was not until she spoke again that I remembered how to breathe.
"Only if you come to watch."
She was.... she was smiling.
My jaw went slack, eyes wide. I just... stared. "What...? That's... that's all?"
"I knew you'd come around," she replied simply. "You were struggling with the music, anyway."
I was almost offended, until I recognized the playful note in her voice. She was joking. Like... like Adrian and I had always done.
My lips curved upwards at the thought, and I whispered, serious: "Good luck, Aria. You'll make a wonderful Fantasia."
"Let me know what you think in two weeks, after the show," she said kindly, and for a moment, I saw a bit of Adrian in her eyes.
It hurt, but I kept my smile in place.
I was slinking through the halls, half-pleased with the small weight lifted from my conscience, when Tiffany decided to ruin my small moment.
"Oh, Mellie!" she called, her voice nasally and sickly sweet. "I need to ask you something."
I sighed. Enough was enough; I would end this. "Not now, Tiffany."
"Oh, yes now, dearie." Her lips were pulled back into a cruel smirk. A crowd was already growing, and the two of us had barely spoken ten words to each other! "I have a bone or two to pick with you."
I rolled my eyes at the surprised faces shrouding us. "Shoot."
"Well," she began, her voice hard and angry. "I'd like to know if you're purposely ignoring the fact that you owe me an apology, or if it has slipped your mind that it's been about eighteen hours since you flipped out on me-"
"Grow up, Tiffany. You annoyed me, and I snapped. The world doesn't revolve around you."
"Spare me, and don't play innocent, Little Miss Pop Star. Or, should I say Flop Star?" The responding gasps fueled her words.
I stared at her dumbly; how... she couldn't have known. "Tiffany, stop it, please-"
She ignored me, and went on. "Oh, didn't you guys hear? Mellie here isn't lead in the musical anymore. Apparently she got kicked out because she was just so untalented!"
People were staring, crowding around me with questions in their eyes. I was planted in place, unable to move, unable to speak; my eyes were glassy and my lips were slack, but I heard each and every whisper:
I guess I was wrong about her.
So the famous Melody Treble is nothing more than a fake?
I heard she bullied that one girl, Aria, into getting her part.
She deserves this, she's so mean!
Agreed, I passed her in the halls and she glared at me!
Tiffany always wins, especially when it comes to losers-
Hey, Adrian, didn't you used to be friends with that snakey girl?
At the sound of his name, the world stopped spinning and my vision cleared- Adrian came into view and he had this strange glint in his bright, bright eyes.
I felt my stomach sink. Here it came: ultimate humiliation. Goodbye, dignity, it was nice knowing you. Daniella, I love you and all, but I might just have to run away. Adrian, I'm sorry, please forgive me. Tiffany, I loathe you. Aria, good luck, I probably won't come to watch you because I'll be too busy wallowing in self pity-
I heard the humming tenor of Adrian's voice and snapped out of my reverie. I didn't realize I was giving him this painful, pleading look, and that he... he was looking at me, too.
"Leave her alone, Tiffany," he growled, eyes briefly leaving me. "Just back off and quit it."
"Well, well, well, if it isn't Adrian!" she squealed, clapping her hands together. "And he cares! About the talentless, loserish Hissi. How sweet."
He began to bare his teeth, fists curling. "I said back off."
My heart was beating a mile a minute.
"Oh, and just what does it matter to you?" Tiffany asked sourly. The crowd was larger than ever when she asked the question I was too afraid to voice: "I thought you weren't friends anymore?"
His eyes were back on me, and I could his gaze penetrating skin. "It doesn't matter," he began, voice taking a more gentle tone. "She may hate me for something I can't recall, but that doesn't matter right now. I still do care about her, and I'm not going to start hating her because you did."
She was taken aback for a moment, before fumbling for a reply:
"How noble," she snorted, trying to look bored, although it only made her appear more flustered. "I'm out of here. You two freaks can bask in your own lameness, for all I care."
She turned on her diamond-studded heels and disappeared down the halls. The onlookers soon followed, clearing out the narrow spaces until it was just me and Adrian, awkwardly trying to look anywhere but at each other.
I was mentally repeating what I was going to say, Adrian, I'm so, so sorry. I'm an idiot for believing Tiffany, and if I had knees I'd be on them, begging for your forgiveness-
I inhaled. Here I go.
We both abruptly shut up, and after a few awkward "you firsts", I managed to mumble out a meek, utterly pathetic. "I'm... I'm sorry."
And he just said, "It's okay."
Like nothing happened. I voiced this before my brain could process what I had spoken, and he shrugged.
"I was friends with Tiffany before, too. I know how she is. The way you were wasn't right... but it's in the past now. You've realized your mistakes." He opened his arms then, and I gave him a quizzical look. "You look like you need a hug."
I think this is when the tears began to prickle my eyes. "Thanks," I said, before darting into his awaiting embrace.
I could feel his grin. "Oh, for what?"
We were silent for a while, alone in the hallway.
I decided to end that. "Adrian?"
"Want to watch Fantasia with me when it comes out? Aria's lead."
"...Of course. But, you know what?"
I pulled back, looking him in the eyes. "Yeah?"
"I think you'd be even better."
I was blank for a moment before I burst out into a fit of giggles. He had no idea.
He watched on as I went on with quick, Soprano chimes, before eventually joining me, his own, warm peals of laughter grazing the air.
The sound was music to my ears. And I felt free.
Because I did have a voice. And I realized, maybe I didn't need microphones and auditoriums and lead roles and musicals to be heard.
All I needed was a friend who was willing to listen.