Song 38 ♪ Livin' On A Dream

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We weren't allowed to go home for Thanksgiving. Instead, our parents were summoned to the school to meet with the Mother Superior and Sister Louisa.

They made us sit outside of the headmistress's office as we waited for our parents to arrive. Lincoln, Madison, Ashton and I. Quinn and Ayrton were off the hook because them going to the contest hadn't interfered with any school activity. Still, they were in the hallway with us, waiting to see what the verdict would be for us four.

I took a deep breath, thinking of how important getting into this school had been for me last summer. How I knew, somehow, that it would change my life. Ashton grabbed my hand and laced our fingers together. We looked at each other and for the first time I realized that even though I didn't know what was going to happen to me, if the consequences of my actions would lash out negatively, I was okay with whatever outcome. I wouldn't change a thing.

Yesterday had changed my life. This was a fact I'd remember even in the crazy years to come.

We'd made it to the contest in our full private school uniforms, which was a surefire way to not have been taken seriously. But my roommate had our backs. Just before she left to join her parents for a last Thanksgiving together, she gave Ayr a bag full of t-shirts she'd apparently been working on in secret. Each one was different but all with the same logo she'd designed for Casual Friday Funeral, black and white and as Madison had put it, fangy. We changed in the van and looked at each other with amusement.

Madison had tied a knot at the front of her t-shirt, baring her midriff and toeing the line of school girl fetishism. When I pointed it out she said, "That's my plan all along. I'm counting on some sleazy men being part of the jury."

Addy knew I was not for flashy and I just tucked my short sleeved t-shirt into my skirt. I was sure I looked like a little girl in comparison, but that didn't matter. I just had to impress them with my pipes.

Ash and Quinn were showing quite a bit of skin in matching wife beaters with side openings that plunged all the way to the bottom. In my mind I thanked my roommate for the eye candy but I tried not to be too obvious as I stared at them.

"Aw man," Link said then, looking at his simple t-shirt with no frills after he'd gotten out of the car. "Does Addy think I have no guns to show or what?"

Ayrton laughed as he jumped from the driver's seat and locked the van. He motioned down at himself wearing a matching wife beater. "Sorry, bruh. I claimed dibs."

We joined the line of contestants in time before they closed applications and were given the number 63. My nerves ran amok as I watched the other bands give it their all on stage. Some were abysmal but most of them sounded like they had experience. Even I could tell.

The feeling of anxiety propagated among my group of friends until we were all bouncing and jittery with every passing second. It was probably two hours until we had to perform and at some point I stopped realizing where I was and what I was doing.

I only seemed to wake up when I found myself standing in front of the glare of a spotlight. It was so bright that I couldn't see anybody in front of me. Not the judges. Not anybody in the crowd. It was as though the place was full of nothingness, except for that beacon, and thinking that it was just me and my friends calmed me down. I grabbed the microphone.

"Hello everybody," I said. "We are Casual Friday Funeral and we're here to rock your brains off."

I ignored the sounds I heard after that, a strange combination of boos and the indifference of wane applause. I turned back and Link gave me a thumbs up. Madison nodded at me with her little smirk that I'd found intimidating when I first met her. Quinn saluted me with his sticks. Ashton just smiled that placid little smile that reached his eyes and turned them into the Caribbean ocean in a quiet summer morning. I felt myself returning the gesture before I faced the microphone again.

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