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Angel Misery: Chapter Twelve

“Beauty and the Aiden?!”

Maria and Aiden walked the halls during the lunch period looking at events that have been posted on the school bulletin.

“Bleh, most of these are about sports, and not even the fun kind.” Maria said, reading the notes.

Aiden stood behind her as she read them.

“What is it you are looking for?” Aiden asked Maria.

“I’m looking for something I can compete in, Generals need to win battles after all.” Maria said to Aiden.

“The art club is hosting a rising star competition, you can join that.” Aiden said to Maria.

“Nope, not interested. I like to draw to distract myself, not for a competition.” Maria responded.

Maria continued to look through the pages.

“Alas, what beautiful maiden has claimed the glances of mine eyes.” A theatre kid came from behind Maria.

Maria looked at him.

“Ah, who are you?” Maria asked him.

“It’s a pity. My charm and elegance causes the goddess to suffer from a short respite of amnesia. No worries my fair maiden, I shall reintroduce myself. I am Marquis Alvinarado Di Cornao the Third.” He responded to Maria.

Maria just looked at him unamused.

“His real name is Alvin Cornao, he’s in our 7th Bell with Miss Richards.” Aiden told Maria.

“Oh, you’re like a side character huh?” Maria said to him.

“A side character, no, my dear. I am the main event, the lead actor. The star of the show!” Alvin responded to Maria.

“Why’d you come to bother me?” Maria asked him.

“I have seen thine gaze cycle across the board of wisdom and wanted to guide thine attention to the performance of Beauty and the Beast.” Alvin pointed out to Maria.

Maria looked at the board.

“Okay, and why should I care about that?” Maria asked him.

“Because there is no beauty in this school more beautiful than thee.” Alvin said to Maria.

“Beauty and the Beast has a Princess in it, and a Beast man who turns into a Prince right?” Maria asked Alvin.

“That is correct, you will be my Princess.” Alvin said.

“Gross, I don’t want you as my Prince. I chose Angeal to be the Prince.” Maria said to Alvin with a smirk.

Alvin then looked up at Aiden.

“This brute is not qualified to be the Prince of the story. He lacks finesse and spazazz. You might as well leave him for the dogs. Since you know they eat poop.” Alvin said to the two.

Maria then looked up at Aiden. “Aiden! You can’t let him insult you like that. Make him suffer!” Maria said to Aiden.

“I don’t really care. He is inconsequential to me.” Aiden responded.

“See, plebs know their place when around mua.” Alvin said in response.

Maria then started laughing.

“Oh, this is going to be good.” Maria then gained a menacing smile. “Looks like I am going to be in your stupid play.” Maria said to Alvin.

“Wonderful news my-” Alvin started saying but was interrupted.

“But Angeal will be my Prince!” Maria taunted Alvin.

“So it’s a duel you want!?” Alvin said, looking up at Aiden.

“Not really.” Aiden responded.

“Then we shall duel. See you at try-outs.” Alvin said blowing a kiss at Maria then left.

Aiden had his same bored expression.

“Haha, now it’s your turn to humiliate someone. That is an order from the General!” Maria said to Aiden.

“Oh well, guess I’m in it then.” Aiden responded.

Maria and Aiden walked over to the theatre rooms and found the folders that held the try-out scripts for the play.

Maria dug her hand into the Prince’s Scripts and handed it to Aiden.

“I bet you already memorized it.” Maria said to Aiden after he looked at it.

“Yes I did, it’s only 3 lines.” Aiden said to Maria.

“Yes, but you have to read those lines perfectly!” Maria pointed at Aiden.

“I won’t make a mistake.” Aiden responded to Maria.

Maria grabbed the Princess role.

“Looks like try-outs are tomorrow. So we can practice at the Headquarters.” Maria said to Aiden.

“I was wondering what kind of bottom of the barrel wannabe actors were going to come and grab a script during lunch.” A girl who was sitting in the theatre room said as she came out.

“Are all of you theatre kids rude?” Maria asked.

“Only to those who do not know the pecking order of stardom.” She said to Maria.

“Aiden, do you know who she is?” Maria asked Aiden.

“She isn’t in any of our classes. So I can presume she is in the 7th Grade.” Aiden told Maria.

“He is correct, I am Leanne Howard, a 7th Grader, but that doesn’t make me any less than you two amateurs.” Leanne said to Maria and Aiden.

“Oh, a 7th Grader. Then why are you being so aggressive. I’d think you would try to stay out of people’s way.” Maria responded.

“Because I am going to take over this school! And I want to make sure everyone knows.” Leanne said to Maria.

Maria then turned around and started leaving.

“Hey! Don’t ignore me!” Leanne called out.

“I mean, sure. I’m not going to get in your way.” Maria responded.

“But you are. See, you even have the script for Princess Beauty.” Leanne pointed out.

Maria then covered her laughter. “Oh! You are aggressive because you wanted this part.” Maria said laughing.

“Of course, I’ve been in theatre my entire life. Taking that script will mark you as my enemy! Especially since you are an inexperienced plebeian.” Leanne said.

“What is with you theatre kids using that word.” Maria asked. “I’m not even that devoted to this part. I’m just here to make sure my Best Friend secures the role.” Maria continued.

“Probably for the best. Since you were just going to waste your time.” Leanne responded.

“Whatever.” Maria and Aiden then left the Theatre rooms.

Lunch time was about to end and students began to make their way to the classes.

Ashley spotted Maria and Aiden leaving the Theatre area.

“Never expected to see you coming from there.” Ashley said to Maria.

“Some guy, I forgot his name, was being aggressive towards Angeal, so now we are going to take his prized lead role from him.” Maria responded.

“You mean Alvin? Yeah, that guy’s weird. So you aren’t just trying to find an excuse to kiss.” Ashley looked at Maria teasing her.

“Kiss? Why would I try to kiss?” Maria asked.

“You don’t know the story of Beauty and the Beast?” Ashley asked.

“I do, it’s about a girl who goes into a castle and becomes friends with an animal man.” Maria said.

“Then they kiss at the end.” Ashley said to Maria.

“They kiss? When did that happen?” Maria asked.

“You must have never seen the end of the story. Basically Beauty spent too much time away from the Beast. She imagines the beast was unconscious and felt bad. So she went back to the castle and saw the beast actually unconscious. Realizes she loves him and they kiss. Then the curse is broken and he becomes a normal man.” Ashley told Maria the story.

“What! That’s not a cool story at all. Why’d they have to ruin it.” Maria continued.

The bell for the next period rang.

“I have to get to class. But if Angeal is going to be the Prince then whoever is Beauty is going to get a kiss from him.” Ashley said, continuing to tease Maria.

Maria then grabbed Aiden’s arm and they went to Miss Wang’s class.

Maria was thinking to herself during the class.

Aiden looked down at Maria.

“Something wrong?” Aiden asked Maria.

Maria was mumbling to herself. “I don’t want to kiss anyone, but I also don’t want anyone kissing Aiden…” She continued to try and think.

“How about we just disregard the play and do something else?” Aiden said to Maria.

“No, because if we withdraw then Albert, or whatever his name was, can say that you were scared to compete. I can’t allow him to have a victory over you.” Maria said to Aiden.

“I don’t really mind.” Aiden responded.

“I super duper mind, so I think I have a plan!” Maria thought of one at that moment. “Oh, so how about I secure the part as Beauty and you can become the Beast, and when the time to kiss happens we just change the script.” Maria told Aiden.

“I’m okay with that. I have zero qualms about the sanctity of the script.” Aiden responded to Maria.

“Ah, difficult words.” Maria said to Aiden.

“Those are words from the vocabulary list for this week.” Aiden said to Maria.

“I know. I’ve been studying. Just don’t want to think about it.” Maria said as she placed her head on the desk.

The school day ended. Maria went home with Allison. And Aiden went to the back of the school to meet her back in her room.

“It’s starting to get too dark too fast for me to be able to go out to your place before mom tells me to come back.” Maria said to Aiden.

“Then we are going to have to make use of the Angel Excuse more often if we want to use the Headquarters more.” Aiden responded to Maria.

“So I guess for now I am just going to have to practice in my room.” Maria said to Aiden as she pulled the script from her backpack.

Maria looked over it.

“This isn’t that hard.” Maria then tried to say some lines. “Father, please bring me back a Beautiful Red Rose.” Maria went back over her lines.

Aiden watched Maria move her hands around as she read.

“Are you supposed to move around that much?” Aiden asked Maria.

“I don’t know. I think that’s what actors do right?” Maria asked Aiden.

“Doesn’t seem like it, at least not from movies.” Aiden responded.

“I think acting in movies and acting in plays are supposed to be different.” Maria said to Aiden.

“Let’s just look up a performance of Beauty and the Beast then.” Aiden said bringing a laptop from the Headquarters back to Maria’s room.

They both watched a small part of the play.

Maria fell back onto her bed. “Ah! Why did I challenge him! This is so dumb!” Maria said to herself.

“I guess you were right, they do exaggerate their movements quite a lot.” Aiden said, continuing to watch the video.

Maria then laughed to herself.

“Aiden. Looks like you are going to have to be expressive. That is going to be funny to see.” Maria chuckled to herself.

“It seems so.” Aiden responded.

“Let me see you read your lines.” Maria commanded Aiden. 

Aiden grabbed the paper from his pocket.

“Don’t pity me. You are here to serve your father’s punishment.” Aiden read the lines with nearly zero expression.

“Ah, throw in some more passion.” Maria said to Aiden.

“Don’t pity me. You are here to serve your father’s punishment.” Aiden read it again with practically the exact same as he did the first time.

“You didn’t do anything different.” Maria noted to him.

“I did. I said ‘Don’t pity me’ with a little more force.” Aiden said to Maria.

“Couldn’t tell.” Maria said as she got up from her bed. “Let’s keep practicing!” Maria continued on.

The next school day flew by, and it was the time for the try-outs.

Maria and Aiden stood in line. There about a dozen or so students also lined up.

Alvin came out of the try-outs room and noticed Aiden and Maria.

“Oh you actually showed up, Angeal. I figured someone as smart as you would have known when thine defeat was imminent.” Alvin said to Aiden.

 “You aren’t a competition to me.” Aiden responded.

Those words struck Alvin deeply within his heart. Even though Aiden just said them as a matter of fact. The Competition was really between Maria and Alvin’s Pride.

“You will regret those words!” Alvin said to Aiden.

“You already did your try-out, so there’s really nothing you can do now, Albert.” Maria said to Alvin.

“Ah, it’s Alvin.” Alvin tried to correct Maria.

“Okay Algore, that’s not the point. The point is that Angeal still has a chance to steal your role, and you don’t.” Maria said to Alvin.

Alvin then held his head high. “I am not even worried. I gave a perfect performance. Try as thine may. Yee shall not surpass perfection.” Alvin said leaving the area, giving Maria a wink.

Maria shivered. “Yuck.” Maria said to herself.

“Aiden! Are you ready?!” Maria asked Aiden.

“As ready as when I first picked up the script.” Aiden responded.

“That means you aren’t ready! What about all that practice?” Maria asked Aiden.

“Okay, I am beyond ready.” Aiden responded to Maria.

“That’s what I like to hear Corporal.” Maria said.

“Up next!” The student in charge of letting other students in for try-outs said.

“I’ll go in first.” Maria said to Aiden as she stepped into the room.

Aiden nodded his head.

Maria stood in front of the 7th Grade English teacher, Miss Ruth.

Miss Ruth was recording what she thought about the prior performance before looking up and noticing Maria.

“Hi, Miss Li!” Miss Ruth said with a surprise smile on her face. “I didn’t expect you to be trying out!” 

“You are not wrong Miss Ruth, I am trying out for the part of Beauty!” Maria said with confidence.

“How exciting. You may start when you are ready.” Miss Ruth said to Maria.

Maria cleared her throat and started reading. “Father, please bring me back a Beautiful Red Rose.” Maria said, gesturing her hands around like a performer.

The male stand-in then read the Father’s line.

“Of course my Dear. But is a rose all you want?” The stand in said.

“Yes Father, it will make me the happiest daughter.” Maria continued to read.

“Your smile will make me  the happiest father.” The stand in also continued.

“Be safe Father.” Maria said waving her hand goodbye.

Miss Ruth clapped her hands. “Very good Miss Li. Have you been studying other performances?” Miss Ruth asked.

“A little.” Maria responded.

Miss Ruth then looked at her scoring criteria. Maria wasn’t placed so high. “She may be better suited for the role of an Older Sister. After All, Leanne did give a better performance.” Miss Ruth was thinking to herself.

Maria continued to stand.

“Miss Li, are you and Mr. Heavens still friends?” Miss Ruth asked.

“Yes! We are still best friends. He’s actually standing outside right now for the role of the Beast.” Maria responded to Miss Ruth.

“Those two have amazing chemistry with each other. I’ll just have to see Mr. Heaven’s performance. Mr. Corneo and Miss Howard have horrible chemistry, so that would be a much better alternative. Though I could pair Miss Howard with Mr. Corneo…” Miss Ruth was thinking to herself.

 “Ah, am I done?” Maria asked.

“Oh yes, just exit from the door you came from.” Miss Ruth said to Maria.

Maria then left and she gave a thumbs up to Aiden.

“You got this!” Maria said to Aiden with her typical confident smile.

Aiden then walked in.

“Mr. Heavens! I am beyond ecstatic to see you again. It’s been far too long.” Miss Ruth said to Aiden.

“Greeting Miss Ruth. Good to see you are in good health.” Aiden responded.

“Yes! I feel like a brand new person. After spending the Summer Break in meditation focusing on the principles in that book you allowed me to read, I feel 10 Years younger.” Miss Ruth said to Aiden.

“Amazing to see that work for you.” Aiden responded.

“Okay Mr. Heavens. Miss Li said that you were trying out for the role of the Beast right?” Miss Ruth asked.

“Yes, that’s correct.” Aiden responded.

“Okay, whenever you are ready.” Miss Ruth said.

Aiden then began to read his lines. “Don’t pity me. You are here to serve your father’s punishment” Aiden said with little expression.

“Yes! Of course! I was the one who asked my Father for the rose. Please do to me as you wish.” The female stand-in read.

Aiden then turned from her uncaring. “Clean yourself up. You smell like filth.” Aiden said again with very little expression.

“You aren’t going to lock me up?” The stand-in read.

“I said, clean yourself up. I can not have such a filthy woman join me for dinner.” Aiden said finishing the section.

Miss Ruth clapped loudly. “Perfect! You captured the Beast’s serious, uncaring nature. The tough guy personality that you can tell beneath lies someone with genuine love! You have once again blessed me with this!” Miss Ruth said to Aiden. She was thrilled.

Aiden continued to stand as if nothing was happening.

Miss Ruth filled out her sheet to note down Aiden’s performance. “I look forward to seeing you perform in the auditorium.” Miss Ruth said to Aiden as he then went to the door.

Maria watched Aiden as he left.

“So how’d it go? Did you read your lines any differently?” Maria asked Aiden.

“No, I read them like I always do.” Aiden responded.

“Come on Aiden! It’s like you wanted to lose.” Maria complained.

“It seemed Miss Ruth was happy with my performance.” Aiden responded.

“Really? So we still have a chance.” Maria said to Aiden.

“I can just about guarantee that I got the role of the Prince. But it seems that Miss Ruth may be leaning on giving the role of the Beauty to Leanne.” Aiden told Maria.

“What! But my performance was incredible too!” Maria said to Aiden.

“I was just looking at the piles of papers on her desk. Leanne scored higher than you in 4 of the 5 tables.” Aiden said to Maria.

“You think you can change them?” Maria asked Aiden.

“I don’t think those notes will be used to determine the roles, I think they are just being used to jog her memory. So changing the scores won’t change her thoughts.” Aiden said to Maria.

“Oh well, guess we will see the results tomorrow during lunch.” Maria said to Aiden.

Aiden then looked at Maria confused.

“Is that it? You’re going to leave it at that?” Aiden asked Maria.

“Well I can’t do anything else, unless you can change Miss Ruth’s brain.” Maria said to Aiden.

“Technically I could, but that may be taking it a step too far for a part you have no interest in.” Aiden said to Maria.

“Yeah, that’s why I am leaving it at that. We already secured you victory, so we can just head home.” Maria said as they both went to the front of the school where Maria’s mom was waiting for her. Allison was sitting in the car reading for her English Assignment.

Back in Maria’s room Aiden and Maria did their homework and she went downstairs afterwards to play on her gaming console.

Aiden looked at Maria who seemed to have something on her mind, but was hiding it.

The next day the cast list was presented.

Maria and Aiden looked at it. Maria started from the bottom looking up.

“So the Butler is played by Paul Lewis, the Store owner is played by Tyler Williams, ah these are all useless. Where am I?” Maria said as she read the list. She then went to the top.

“Hey Aiden look! You got the Beast’s role. We won!” Maria said to Aiden. She then continued. “The role of Beauty is Leanne Howard!” Maria was shocked. “Then who am I playing?!”

Maria looked through the sheet. She wasn’t seeing her name.

Aiden then went over and pointed at where Maria’s name was.

“It says you’re playing as one of the Sisters.” Aiden said to Maria.

“One of the older step sisters! That’s not what I even performed for.” Maria said aloud. “Wait, if you got the Beast, that means.” Maria said, looking for Alvin’s name.

“Ha, he is playing the father!” Maria laughed.

“Well now since we already claimed victory we don’t have to continue with the play.” Aiden said to Maria.

“That’s going to stain our good name. Now we have to give the best performance this school has ever seen.” Maria said to Aiden.

“But why?” Aiden asked Maria.

“Because that Leanne girl beat me for the role, I can’t let that stand, I have to make up for that by being the favourite performance of the entire show.” Maria responded.

“Then we will focus on making that happen.” Aiden said to Maria.

“Exactly!” Maria said to Aiden as they both went into the lunch room.

Maria finally was eating the lunch her mom prepared for her rather than the outside food she typically ate.

“So the performance is in 2 weeks. I think during that time I can get the role of Beauty.” Maria said to herself.

“You really want that role?” Aiden asked Maria.

“It’s not that I want it, I just don’t want anyone else to have it. Completely different.” Maria said to Aiden. “Let’s come up with a plan Corporal!” Maria said to Aiden.

“About you getting the role of Beauty. I suppose during rehearsal you could memorize the lines of Beauty and make sure that Miss Ruth sees you performing them while Leanne performs during practice.” Aiden suggested to Maria.

“Too much work, I need something simpler. I could just break her leg.” Maria said to Aiden.

“Isn’t that a bit cruel just for a role. If you want to do that you could just go up to her and threaten to break her legs.” Aiden said to Maria.

“Well then she could tell on me, and then I’d just get kicked out of being in the play all together and she would still be ‘Beauty’.” Maria said to Aiden demonstrating with her food items.

“Making her sick would be okay.” Aiden said to Maria.

“That is a good suggestion, but knowing her she would power through it. Though if she was sick she shouldn’t be allowed to kiss you.” Maria said to Aiden.

“Kissing me while sick isn’t going to do anything to me.” Aiden said to Maria.

“How do you know that? Have you kissed someone before?” Maria asked Aiden with genuine curiosity.

“No I haven’t.” Aiden said to Maria. “But sickness comes from germs, which are living entities, which means they would have no effect on me.” Aiden said to Maria.

“You really never kissed anyone? Not even in the heavenly realm?” Maria asked Aiden.

“No I haven’t. But I thought we were talking about the role. Not whether I kissed someone.” Aiden said to Maria.

“So your first kiss is going to be with Leanne? Oh no, I can’t let that happen!” Maria said to Aiden.

“Then I won’t let it happen.” Aiden responded to Maria.

“How are you going to do that?” Maria asked.

“I’ll just create a separated object over my lips and then she won’t be kissing me.” Aiden said to Maria.

“But it will still look like it, the entire school would think she kissed you and she would think that too. They wouldn’t believe you if you said you had on some sort of lip mask.” Maria said to Aiden.

“Then I guess making her so sick that she can’t perform on the day of the performance is the plan.” Aiden said to Maria.

“Like really sick, incapacitated levels of sickness.” Maria pointed to Aiden.

“So you learned the word incapacitated but not echalon?” Aiden smiled at Maria.

“I learn words that I want to use.” Maria smiled back.

Some time passed and it was the first day of rehearsal.

They all stood in the large auditorium stage. The stage workers had constructed the set and the stage hands were on the ropes.

“Greetings everyone on the first day of Rehearsal!” Miss Ruth said.

“Good Afternoon Miss Ruth.” The students responded.

“Today we will go over Act 1, a quick run through. This scene will have the Father who begins as a rich man who loses all of his wealth. The sisters and beauty will be in the house cleaning, and it will end with the father receiving news that his investments were successful. Then we will finish the day with the daughters requesting gifts.” Miss Ruth said to the students.

The stage hand hands Maria, Leanne, Heather and Alvin their act one script. The background characters also receive their scripts.

Alvin steps up in front of the stage. He seems to be upset initially then takes a deep breath in and out.

“You are on a ship and about to be ambushed by pirates.” Miss Ruth says to Alvin.

“Unhand me foul men! You may take my riches and cargo but leave us with our lives!” Alvin reads his script.

The background characters fight with one another to act as though pirates were fighting against the crewmates.

“There are too many of them, retreat!” Alvin says loudly pointing to the left of the stage.

The stage workers demonstrate most of the ships sinking and the narrow escape of the Father.

“Bravo Alvin, now we will transition to the cottage. Leanne, Maria, Heather, take your places.” Miss Ruth says.

Maria stands next to Leanne giving her a mean look.

The stage workers hand them brooms.

Aiden watched from the side.

“Sister, may you please help me with sweeping the floors.” Leanne says as her lines.

“You can do that yourself.” Maria says without reading the lines.

Miss Ruth was impressed with Maria’s genuine improv. 

Throughout the entire first scene Leanne was able to feel Maria’s character of the spiteful Sister. Miss Ruth was pleased with Maria’s performance.

“Look at her, I bet she’s looking forward to kissing Aiden.” Maria thought to herself as the scene continued.

The last part of act one began.

“I have been informed that one of my ships made it to port, having escaped the dire situation that has befallen my compatriots. I am heading into town to collect our wealth, is there anything you desire from the city.” Alvin says to the girls.

“Father, please give me the finest dress from town, I have missed it ever so much.” Heather reads her line.

“My weapons would be pretty nice.” Maria says, despite her lines being to ask for jewelry.

“Father, please bring me back a Beautiful Red Rose.” Leanne says to Alvin.

“Of course my Dear. But is a rose all you want?” Alvin responds.

“Yes Father, it will make me the happiest daughter.” Leanne said without even needing to read from the script anymore. She gave her most adorable look she could.

“Your smile will make me the happiest father.” Alvin responded, trying to look like the most caring Father.

Maria felt like she was going to gag watching the performance.

“Be safe Father.” Leanne called out as the Act ended.

“Very Strong performances!” Miss Ruth said, applauding the students.

Miss Ruth then went to the stage hands to try and give them pointers.

Leanne walked up to Maria.

“Wow, that was pretty impressive. It felt like you were really the character. Maybe I judged you wrongly.” Leanne complimented Maria.

“Sure, yours could be better in my opinion.” Maria said with a hint of spite.

“You are a method actor, never getting out of character. I understand that. I might have a bit to learn from watching you.” Leanne said as she went to talk to Heather.

Aiden then walked up to Maria.

“That seems to have gone well.” Aiden said to Maria.

“Do you see how committed to the role she is already, I bet even if we put her in a coma she would find a way to perform.” Maria said to Aiden.

“She seemed nice to you now. Are you sure you want to do something like that to her?” Aiden asked Maria.

“Of course! She’s just pretending afterall.” Maria responded quickly to Aiden.

“Okay, actors. Line back up. We are starting from the top.” Miss Ruth said to the characters of Act 1.

Maria walked back to the front of the stage.

The first day of rehearsal ended. The students all started leaving.

“Great performance Maria! I will see you tomorrow okay!” Leanne said leaving the stage.

“Did you two become friends?” Aiden asked Maria.

“No.” Maria responded quickly. Her and Aiden then went outside.

The next rehearsal was underway.

“Today we are going over Act 2. This is where the father gets swept up in a storm, lands at the beast’s castle. He picks a rose from the garden after enjoying a meal. The Beast comes out from the castle and threatens the Father. The Father pleads for his life saying the rose was for his youngest daughter. The Beast agrees to release him, in exchange for the Youngest to become his bride, or else the Beast would destroy the entire family.” Miss Ruth explains.

Aiden, Alvin, and the background characters step onto the stage.

They then begin to go over their line.

Leanne stands beside Maria.

“So how long have you both been such close friends?” Leanne asked Maria.

“If you must know, it’s been more than half a year.” Maria says to Maria with an upset look on her face.

“That’s pretty long, most friends that I make stop being my friends after the final performance.” Leanne says to Maria.

Maria was able to sympathize with this. But she did not want to show that.

“You’ll make a true friend one day. You aren’t that bad if you drop that arrogant attitude.” Maria says to Leanne.

“It’s not arrogant if I can back it up right?” Leanne asked Maria.

“It comes off that way. It’s not even that fun kind of arrogant, like what I have. Yours is mean.” Maria says to Leanne watching the background characters host Alvin.

“Wonder why no one told me that before.” Leanne says quietly.

“Probably because no one could stand talking to you when you aren’t acting as a different person.” Maria says harshly to Leanne.

“Then I will learn from your example! Especially if I want to take over the school!” Leanne said to Maria.

“You really don’t have to. Just do what makes you feel good, and if someone wants to try something new don’t tear them down.” Maria said to Leanne.

“What are you doing, thief! I shall swiftly deliver your punishment for the crime you have done against me!” Aiden said to Alvin.

“Please! I didn’t know this was your garden. I was admiring its beauty. This Beautiful Rose was for my Youngest Daughter. Please let me return home to give it to her. I won’t ever disturb you again.” Alvin said to Aiden.

Aiden stood tall over Alvin. The stage workers put a bear-like cloth on him to make him look like a beast.

“Then go and bring your youngest daughter back to me in exchange for your crime. She won’t be treated as my prisoner but as my potential bride. If you don’t return I will find you and your family and destroy you all.” Aiden says to Alvin with his uncaring emotion.

“Angeal is really good too. He is capturing the calmness and calculative nature of a prince, but also the intimidation and despair of being a beast.” Leanne says watching Aiden.

Maria nods. “Angeal is amazing at everything, that’s why he is the greatest best friend.” Maria responds.

“So lucky!” Leanne responds.

Alvin returns to the side of the stage. He is visibly upset.

“That was my role! Why’d she pick that brute over me!” Alvin complained to himself.

Alvin kicked a bucket and it went across the stage.

“Calm down man. It’s just a play dude.” A stage hand said to Alvin.

“This theater performance is not a mere play, this is the stage that shall showcase the brilliant splendor of mua. My Beauty stands over thine, yet I am forced to play the role of her father. Why shan’t I be upset!” Alvin responds.

“Because you could just talk to her during school?” The stage hand says.

“Performance art is the most genuine form of communication! But what would a simple stage hand like yourself understand about that?” Alvin responds.

“Bug off dude. I was just trying to help.” The stage hand says leaving Alvin alone.

Aiden walked up to Maria and Leanne.

“You did great Angeal!” Leanne said to Aiden.

“Thanks.” Aiden said to Leanne.

“Do you see how angry Alex is?” Maria said, pointing at Alvin.

“You mean Alvin?” Aiden responded.

“Yes, that’s what I said, Alijah.” Maria responds.

“You’re doing that on purpose.” Aiden says to Maria. They both then look at Alvin throwing a temper tantrum.

“I guess some people just don’t cut it.” Leanne said, looking at Alvin. “But you, you are the real deal.” Leanne says to Aiden. “Tomorrow we will be acting together.” 

“That is correct.” Aiden responds.

“Don’t get too excited. Angeal is just acting like your prince.” Maria says to Leanne.

“I know that.” Leanne responds.

“As long as you do.” Maria says.

“In your places, let’s go back over from the start of Act 2.” Miss Ruth said as Aiden went back out.

Alvin shook off his anger and fixed his face for the scene.

They then went over Act 2.

At the end of rehearsal Leanne waved bye to Maria. Maria gave a small wave in return.

“Warming up to her?” Aiden asked Maria.

“No, we are still going to go with the plan.” Maria said to Aiden.

They both then left.

The third day of rehearsal began.

“Today we will be going over act 3 of Beauty and the Beast. The Father returns home with wealth from the castle. Beauty discovers the agreement despite the Father trying to hide it. The Brothers want to go and slay the Beast, and the Daughters blame Beauty. Beauty agrees to go to the castle. Her time at the Castle the Beast tries to win over Beauty, but she only sees him as a Friend. She misses her family and the beast lets her go. She stays too long and the beast collapses from heartbreak. She returns to the castle after having a dream and cries over the beast’s dead body. Having realized her love, the beast awakens and becomes the Prince. They kiss and the curtains fall.” Miss Ruth says to the cast.

“That isn’t too hard.” Leanne says taking her place.

The cast run through their lines.

“Do you like this library?” Aiden says to Leanne.

“I love it!” Leanne says.

“Then it’s yours.” Aiden says to Leanne.

“Thank you! Thank you! I couldn’t ask for a more perfect gift!” Leanne says to Aiden. She then hugs Aiden, of course because that’s what she was supposed to do in her role. Leanne looks deep into Aiden’s eyes.

Maria feels a bit of jealousy seeing someone else hug Aiden.

She backs up too far and hits a board causing a cascading collapse of the wood panels.

Everyone in the auditorium watches the wood panels fall.

Leanne then let’s go of Aiden.

“Well that ruined the mood.” Leanne said.

“Okay, Stage Workers, clean that up. Let’s start from where we left off.” Miss Ruth said.

Maria apologizes feeling a bit of embarrassment.

The end of the rehearsal was coming and after Aiden transformed into a Prince Leanne is holding Aiden’s head in her lap.

“Thank you Beauty, my curse has been lifted. Does this mean you truly love me?” Aiden says in her lap.

“Yes, yes it does.” Leanne says looking down at Aiden.

“And now you kiss.” Miss Ruth said to Aiden and Leanne.

Leanne then lowers her head to kiss Aiden.

“Okay, that’s good. Let’s start from the beginning.” Maria interrupts the moment right before Leanne’s lips touch Aiden’s.

“Why’d you do that?” Leanne asked Maria.

“We already know you know how to kiss, I think we should focus on the earlier parts.” Maria said, laughing nervously.

“That’s the spirit, Miss Li.” Miss Ruth said. “Okay, everyone take your places, we are running through it again.”

The actors ran through rehearsal over and over. And Maria found an excuse to interrupt the kiss at the end.

“I understand why you two are such good friends. Angeal has something about him that is so mesmerizing.” Leanne says to Maria.

“If you say so.” Maria responds to Leanne.

“I wish I could be real friends with you two.” Leanne says to Maria.

Maria looks at her, finding it hard to keep being upset.

“It’s not hard.” Maria responded.

Rehearsal then ended.

“Okay, I will see you next time!” Leanne said as she went outside.

Aiden walked up to Maria. They both then left.

In Maria’s room she was working on her homework thinking about the earlier rehearsal.

She continued to imagine Aiden’s head on Leanne’s lap.

Maria got up from her seat and sat on her bed.

“What was that for?” Aiden said to Maria’s sudden movements.

“Aiden! Lay your head on my lap.” Maria said to Aiden.

“Why am I doing that?” Aiden asked Maria.

“I need to show you the proper way to do it, just come on!” Maria said to Aiden.

Aiden then walked over to Maria then he laid his head on Maria’s lap.

“Is this what you want?” Aiden asked Maria.

Maria then became extremely red.

Aiden continued to have his head on her lap. Waiting for what she wanted him to do.

“Yes… this is correct.” Maria had a hard time saying. “Now close your eyes, like you’re dead.” Maria said to Aiden.

Aiden closed his eyes. Maria looked at his gentle face.

She started to benign her head down to his. 

Her lips were getting closer and closer to Aiden’s.

Their lips were nearly about to touch.

Maria then brought her head back up. “I can’t do it!” Maria exclaimed. Seeming like she just ran a marathon.

Aiden then looked up at Maria. “That was actually pretty good acting.” Aiden said to Maria.

“Okay, you can get up.” Maria said to Aiden as she then sat back in her seat.

The rehearsals continued and Maria managed to make sure that Aiden and Leanne never kissed.

But it was the time of the actual show. And if Maria ruined it she would make an embarrassment of the entire production.

Aiden and Maria went backstage.

“So are we going to make her sick now?” Aiden asked Maria.

“No, she’s not so bad of a person. I don’t want to do that to her.” Maria said to Aiden.

“So you two did become friends.” Aiden said to Maria with a smirk.

“It’s not like that.” Maria responded. Leanne then walked up to the two.

“Break a leg out there guys!” Leanne said.

Leanne had a genuine smile on her face. She felt like she made a real friendship connection with Maria and Aiden.

She then left to get on her costume.

“Break a leg, that’s what you wanted to do to her at first.” Aiden said to Maria.

“Ironic right?” Maria responded.

The play then began and Alvin was on stage riding in a large ship.

The audience were completely engulfed in the performance. 

The play continued and each of the actors were performing remarkably.

The performance was being recorded and sold in the back of the auditorium.

The audience were surprised to see Maria on stage.

“Does that mean Angeal is also performing?” some of those in the audience asked each other.

Leanne and Maria’s performance together was well done. They had a sibling rivalry with one another.

After their parts were done. Alvin walked through the castle gardens. And picked up the red rose. He tried to capture the audience’s heart with his performance.

Then Aiden walked out from the left side of the stage.

The audience gasped at Aiden’s showing. The attention was brought back. Alvin hated the command that Aiden had with his presence.

“You are a disgusting, immoral, foul, rechtred, no good, incompatent, evil beast!” Alvin called out.

Leanne and Maria looked at each other. “That’s not his line.” Leanne said to Maria.

Alvin continued to hurl insults at Aiden each chance he had. And Aiden stood uncaring.

“I guess a Prince doesn’t care about the words of someone lower than him.” An Audience member said.

The performance continued and it was near the part of the kiss.

The audience were engaged. They watched the beast try to show how much he cared for beauty, then in the end collapsed from heart break.

Leanne came back on stage and grabbed Aiden’s body. She placed Aiden’s head on her lap and cried.

Maria watched them. Biting her lip with nervousness. “What do I do, what do I do?” Maria thought to herself trying to look around.

Leanne’s lips once again came down to Aiden’s.

The audience leaned towards the stage to see it happen.

Maria quickly looked around for a way to end it.

“This is the moment.” Leanne thought to herself exchanging air with Aiden.

Then the lights cut off. 

“Hahaha! You thought you were going to share a kiss with Beauty!” Alvin yelled out having pulled the switch on the electricity. “You will never beat me for the starring role, Angeal!” Alvin said as the stage hands grabbed him and turned back on the power.

Miss Ruth smacked her hand on her face.

Leanne and Aiden then looked at one another. “Moment’s ruined as usual I guess.” Leanne said to Aiden.

“Just continue with the end.” Aiden said, standing up and holding Leanne.

The stagehands changed their costumes to be wedding attire. Maria and the other actors, except for Alvin, came on stage in their wedding attire.

“And they lived happily ever after.” The narrator said as the curtain fell.

The curtains then lifted back up and they all bowed.

The audience gave an enormous applause that surrounded the entire room. Flowers were given to Leanne and Aiden.

They all bowed again.

“Somehow that happened.” Maria thought to herself looking at Aiden and Leanne.

Maria then smirked.

Alvin was being reprimanded by Miss Ruth.

After the performance, the actors all met up in the back.

“Sucks that you guys never got to kiss, that would have been the cherry on top. You two were amazing!” A stage hand said.

“Yeah, maybe next time.” Leanne responded.

“Probably not.” Maria laughed.

Leanne hugged Maria. “You were amazing out there! I hope we can hang out even after this.” Leanne said to Maria.

“Sure. As long as you remember that Angeal is no longer the Prince.” Maria said to Leanne.

“I am a professional actor, I don’t bring the characters’ relationship to real life.” Leanne laughed.

The actors of the play congratulated one another. And the performance of Beauty and the Beast came to an end.

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