Confessions Of A Musically Inclined Hissi: Part Three
"W... what?" Yes, I had regressed. I was back to unrecognizable syllables.
"Yup." Tiffany giggled, seemingly joyous at my expense. "I've known Adrian, since, like... before I was painted Faerie and Usuki. Like, when I was all disgusting and only Pink."
I don't reckon I'd ever met anyone so... idiotic and shallow.
"Oh, that must've been a long, long time ago. Since you're sooo pretty now." My voice was monotone, but she latched onto the word 'pretty' like a starving Skeith.
"Aw, thank you, sweetie!" She smiled, showing off her bleached teeth. "But yeah, Adrian's what I call a 'quitter'. He's your friend until his ego catches up with him and he thinks that he's too good to be your friend. He also stopped hanging out with his best friend named Jonny; he was a Kougra that Adrian knew in pre-Neoschool, before he was best friends with me. I, of course, was a naive little, not-so-pretty girl like you. But now I am beautiful and empowered and I'm here to say that you can be too, if you just ditch that creep!"
I don't really know what shocked me most: the fact that Adrian really actually might just drop me sooner or later, the fact that Tiffany basically called me ugly to my face, or that she knew what 'empowered' meant. So, I just decided to take it all as an even 'WHAT THE HECK' moment and said:
And then she broke out into this evil smile that put the Malevolent Sentient Poogle Plushie to shame. "'Oh' is right. Seriously, Melody." She used my full name this time, and it almost sounded sincere. "I'm telling you this for your own good. One day he's just going to up and ignore you, and will be following around the next new thing. You're expendable. I mean, if I was expendable, anybody can be. He's not a good friend. Good singer, good actor, not a good friend."
I cannot excuse my following actions, under the pretense that I know that I knew better. I knew Tiffany was mean, manipulative, as well as a snobby liar. I knew that she was the one who was in charge of my harassment on my first day of school. I knew she hated me and that I, without a doubt, hated her.
But... my insecurities trumped all. I didn't want to be alone. After having a taste of popularity, I wanted more and more.
So, with all of the stupidity I owned flooding into my brain, I nodded.
I started hanging out with Tiffany and her little group shortly after agreeing to what may or may not have been my death sentence. I looked quite large, awkward, and out of place in comparison to the petite little clique, which consisted mostly of Cybunnies, Unis, Aishas, and Usuls. But I was accepted with open, sparkling, jewelry-clad arms by all of the girls, and I knew why: my voice.
It turns out I had not gotten lead in the school play, though, because of my 'lack of experience'. And, to my utter shock, neither did Tiffany. The lead role of Fantasia in the musical, 'Fantasia's Sorrow' ended up going to this upperclassman named Aria, a plain, blue Acara who I remembered had a sweet, soprano voice.
My new 'friends' were outraged.
"You guys should make her quit!" squealed Ella, a white Aisha. "Make her pay."
"Don't let her steal your part, only you two deserve it!"
"Get rid of her!"
"Make her cry!"
I remembered my first day, back when I was new and awkward and alone, and when those girls laughed me off the stage, kicked me, literally and figuratively, when I was down. And now, months later, I was on the opposite side of the spectrum. And I actually was fuming, actually was furious that this scrap of an Acara took my part. And I wanted her to suffer.
I didn't feel bad, at all, until I was storming hideously through the halls, teeth bared, and my eyes caught a trace of periwinkle blue. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, Adrian slipped into view, and I just... stopped.
I hadn't seen him in what must have been ages. He was giving me this... disappointed look, and said, softly, "Mel... what happened?" The implied 'to you' was not lost on me.
But I was bitter, as well as mean from extended periods of time spent with Tiffany. "Nothing that you need to know about," I snapped.
The hurt in his eyes was evident. I tried not to feel guilty. "Mel..."
"It's Melody, to you," I said, not really thinking.
"Okay, Melody," he said, defeated, a hint of anger in his hardened stare. "I don't know what Tiffany told you, but you've changed. You're not any better than her, going off and bullying that Acara girl."
I thought, for a moment. He was right. But then the anger came and hit me full force. Tiffany told me he'd do this; he'd act like he was this little angel and that I was this horrible monster that he couldn't be seen with.
I decided I'd be the one to end our friendship, not him.
"Get lost, Adrian," I sneered. "I don't want to see your loserish, backstabbing face ever again."
I almost winced at how much I sounded like Tiffany.
"Whatever, Melody." Adrian rolled his eyes and was about to turn away. He paused, before finally saying. "Oh, and by the way-"
"I don't have all day here!"
"-You may be talented, you may be pretty, and popular, but you'll learn that being happy is more than that."
And then he walked away, head held up high, leaving me open-mouthed and... alone.
Despite my brief interlude with Adrian, I was still fuming and spiteful, so I went on with Tiffany and her groupies in attempt to take down Aria.
It wasn't that hard. As soon as we swarmed her in the bathroom, she burst out into instant tears, and said she'd talk to Mr. Arpeggio about dropping her part.
I was almost shocked by how easy it was.
I was even more surprised when the next day, Mr. Arpeggio, the old Chia, came up to me after school went out, and asked me if I would be interested in the part of Fantasia.
"That Aria was a flaky thing," he admitted snootily. "I thought that because she was older, she'd be more inclined to work harder. But, alas, she quit very quickly. You were actually the one I wanted for a part, but I feared for your lack of experience. I apologize for my assumptions--but would you be interested in playing Fantasia?"
I had accepted almost instantly, and enjoyed the perks of ultimate popularity shortly after. Pets came up to me, asking if I would sing at their birthdays, if I would hang out with them; somebody even asked for my autograph. It was INSANE.
And I loved it. I feel horrible for admitting this, but at that point, I couldn't have cared less about anyone other than myself. The popularity was flowing to my head way too quickly and in immeasurable amounts: I think that I even out-populared (yes, I made up the word) Tiffany for a short while. I was the leading prima-donna, with an appropriately starry paint-job, and the school's populous kind of looked up to me. I went from loser-girl to singing sensation in what, five months? And who was it all thanks to?
...Adrian. But it's not like I had given him his deserved credit, not only as a teacher, but as a friend. I was angry at him, and had become a self-centered diva. It sounds quite harsh, but was also very true.
And although I was surrounded by people, surrounded by fans and fame and everything a smalltown, Meridellian Hissi could want, I was...
I was lonely... I-I was alone. I was just like I was on Day 1, when I was crying by myself in the girl's bathroom. I wouldn't have admitted it then; I was too afraid to even let such thoughts cross my mind. I wasn't supposed to be the scared, doe-eyed girl. I was now bathed in limelight, supposedly brimming with confidence, poise, and composure. I was a star.
But whenever I'd see Adrian pass in the hall with his real friends, or even that poor Aria girl, I felt more insignificant than the foam that floated over the Maraquan sea. Whenever I'd catch sight of Adrian's sad, dark eyes, I was smaller than any speck of starlight in the night-sky. I was nothing.
I was lying to everyone, even myself-
The truth about being 'popular' was, well... it was miserable being up there, all alone. I didn't love it, like I tried to convince myself I did; I hated every moment of it.
Truth had this funny (read: HORRIBLE) way of reaching out to me, about a week after I got the part.
I was sitting in my room, flipping through the script. I was highlighting all of my lines, and once I was finished (it took a while, since I was the lead), I went on to the musical scores.
Only to come to realize one key factor that I was missing:
I could not read music to save my life.
The notes swerved together, illegible swan-curves to my unknowing eyes. I blinked once; twice. I could barely tell when the song was getting higher and lower, and faintly recalled Adrian teaching me what an 'F' or maybe a 'G' sounded like, but that was all that came to mind. I stared blankly at the music for a few minutes more, before the panic finally settled in.
"Oh my gosh," I screeched. "What am I going to do?!"
I had three solo songs, one duet, and five more full-chorus songs that I needed to learn. The play wasn't for a while, but I highly doubted I could perfect all of the songs with the minimal practice offered at school. I assumed Tiffany and her dopey friends wouldn't be much help; they weren't exactly musical champions, but they could get by on their own. I, on the other hand, needed a teacher.
Not too long before that day, I had one.
I felt sick. My thin, scaly body was numb and I think that was when reality caught up with me. I was still the scared Hissi-girl. I was all alone.
I almost screamed, but I couldn't- no sound would escape. Instead, I trudged to my bed, pallid and almost ghostly as I coiled over the sheets and tried to sleep away the fear.
The date of the musical was coming closer and closer, and I was a nervous wreck. My lack of time taunted me with the bright, bulging numbers splattered over the advertising posters. I spent hours and hours at rehearsal, trying to get the notes right, but I just couldn't do it all. Aria had become my understudy; she basically knew every one of my lines as well as nearly perfected most of the songs. I wanted so badly to ask for help, a guiding hand, but I was too ashamed to even talk to her.
So I simply fumbled my way through every song, trying to recall whatever it was I learned at practice days or weeks before. The cast was shocked, as was my teacher. I wondered if Mr. Arpeggio doubted his choice to put me into the lead, if he planned on changing it before it was too late. Deep, deep down, I hoped he'd take me out: it was hard enough watching as my fellow cast-mates watched me struggle with disappointed eyes. I didn't need any more of it.
And part of me knew that he wouldn't. It was a decision I'd have to make on my own.
"What was with you at rehearsal, yesterday? Or just at rehearsal in general?" Tiffany asked me in her offhanded manner. She was pulling a track-record for Queen of Multitasking by fluffing her hair and applying lipgloss as well as reading her script while criticizing me.
"I'm just not too good at reading music," I replied evenly, although it sounded weak even to me.
"Mhm. You said it." She scowled, painting over her lips for the fourteenth time. "It's kind of sad, really. I mean, you're such a good singer, but it looks like that voice has gone to waste."
"Waste?" I asked, through gritted... fangs. I was on edge as it was; I didn't need her obnoxious opinion.
"Well, you don't really know how to sing without your little Lupe friend..." At my shocked expression, she gave a fake, apologetic smile. "Oopsie, that slipped! Sorry, Mel-"
"Stop talking," I sneered, before quickly shuffling out of my seat and slithering away.
I went through the rest of the day in a daze, ignoring Tiffany's glares. She was actually becoming too much to physically and mentally handle. I also tried to not think of my impending doom after basically kicking myself out of the popular girls' group- but that was quite difficult when the entire Neoschool's population was watching your every move.
I darted down the halls and out of the school as soon as the bell signaled the end of the day. I didn't say bye to 'Tiffie' and 'Ellie' and simply made my way home, alone. I basked in the warmth of the spring sun and kept my eyes shut for most of the way, letting memory guide me home.
Once I made it to the small, white house, I noticed my owner, Daniella, picking her way towards the garden. Something sank into the pit of my stomach: when was the last time we'd spent time together? The last time I talked to her, told her I loved her?
Shame overcame my senses, and I gave her a strained, meek: "Hi, Danny."
Her bright blue eyes lit up beneath her thick lashes, and she smiled warmly. "Hey, Mel! No friends over today?" She seemed a bit relieved at my lack of Obnoxious Usul.
"Nope," I said, but my voice sounded more dead than anything.
"How was your-"
"I'm going to go to my room." I cut her off without even letting her finish; I really didn't want to talk about my day.
"... Okay," she replied, a sad, sad look painting over her ordinarily pretty face. "See you at dinner."
The worst part was, that had been our deepest conversation for such a long while. I no longer helped her around her beloved garden, never offered to help with dinner or the dishes or asked to go out together. I was a horrible pet.
It needed to stop.
To be continued...