Emma felt a strange sense of strength and peace. It wasn’t just that she didn’t feel like she had to run to the bathroom. She hadn’t bit her nails all day either. Usually by the end of first period the tips of her fingers hurt from making the nails too shot. Instead, she actually made eye contact with the teacher, and maybe a couple of other people. She felt great.
That only lasted until lunch time. She sat with her friends as usual; Kate, of course, and Katy, and Alisha. Katy was being catty again, talking about some cheerleader whose name Emma couldn’t remember while Alisha bragged that she could do a better cheer. Emma nodded, though she wasn’t really listening.
In her head, she was busy imagining what it would be like if everyone in the room knew she lived a secret life as a member of Gene and Tracy’s band. Even now people sometimes talked about how Gene and Tracy took over the school to hold auditions and only the best of the best could be in their band. They were even saying the band might go pro.
She could see the shock and amazement on their faces if they knew she was the lead singer. People wouldn’t think she was such a looser anymore. Maybe some would even want her autograph. She could really hold her head up and then.
“What are you smiling about,” Alisha said. “You think I couldn’t do it? Well I can.”
“I… I know… you can.” Emma nodded faster.
“Excuse me. Tracy is waving at me.” Kate abandoned her tray and went trotting over to the table where Gene, Tracy, and Justin were sitting. Even Bruce stood around.
Uh-oh. It looked like a band meeting. Right here in the middle of the lunchroom. Everyone was there, except Emma. So maybe they’d be calling her over next? But if she went, then wouldn’t everyone know she was in the band.
It didn’t seem like people would really think she was cool if they knew. They’d probably think she didn’t belong. They’d think she was sucking up or something. She could just see it. Instead of everyone looking at her with admiration, they’d be glaring at her and whispering. In her mind, everyone in the cafeteria put their heads together and whispered.
“She thinks she’s all that now just because she got into Tracy’s band,” Alisha said nastily.
“I know! It’s like she’s too good to hang out with us anymore. She’s such a b… oh, she’s coming back.”
If their friends were talking about Kate like that, how much worse would it be for Emma? Probably a lot worse.
Wait. Kate was already coming back? Oh no!
“Come on.” Sure enough, Kate had been sent to get her for a band meeting.
What was she going to do? Emma froze. Her face turned icy-cold and stiff. She couldn’t do this. If she went with Kate like it was nothing, then their friends would turn on her. They’d probably spit in her food while she was standing next to Gene and Tracy.
And there was Kate, already standing in front of her.
“Well? Come on.”
“Me? I.. I… but….”
“Oh come on. It’s for the band.” Kate gave her a hard look. “Are you or are you not going to do this?”
She wasn’t just asking about right now. Emma could tell. Kate was thinking that this was going to happen a lot and if Emma wanted to be a part of the band, she was going to have to accept it. She wasn’t going to be able to keep it secret forever.
But.. but.. now? Did she have to commit herself to it now?
“Look, you don’t have to do it at all. I’ll just tell the others you changed your mind. They’ll understand.” Kate turned her back.
Emma looked at Katy and Alisha. They stared back at her with looks of disapproval.
“I… I said I’d h.. h… help. Backstage.” The lie barely made it out. But it made it, and that was enough.
“Oh. Of course. Go ahead.” Katy smiled all polite and tight. She even did a regal wave of her hand.
“Th.. th… thanks.”
Emma bolted across the room behind Kate. As soon as she got to the table Justin smiled at her.
“Sit with us.” He waved at a chair that Bruce pulled out for her.
Kate already plopped down in a seat next to Tracy, so it was her they meant. “Thank you.” She sat down.
Justin smiled at her, then turned his attention to Tracy. Bruce was already looking at Tracy like helping Kate sit was just normal even though it was a weird thing for him to do. Everyone acted like she was supposed to be there. Like it was okay.
Pretty quick Emma could feel something inside her relax. She listened to Tracy talk about how she’d done everything she could to find a place for them to practice, and now they were all going to have to help her look because she was out of ideas, and about how Bruce said he had something they could use to record their session so they could hear what they sounded like to an audience. It felt good. It felt real.
Emma looked over at Katy and Alisha. Katy was leaning over Emma’s food and smirking. And Emma thought, was there really any reason to ever go back?
If you enjoy Suzie’s House and would like to see more, please leave a comment. Suzie’s House is powered by its readers.