Title: Growing Up
Series Title: Losing Neverland
Disclaimer: Disney owns all.
Spoilers: JONAS Season 1 (general spoilers)
Summary: "They had made her grow up well before she wanted to-and for that reason alone she knows that she can never truly forgive them." Fangirl meets reality-and it sucks. Macy-centric.
She knows that the one thing that teenagers hate above all other things is when they think they're being treated like children. She understands the sentiment-there's nothing worse than the roiling rage that stirs in your belly when you think someone's talking down to you. She used to feel the same way and heaven help the person who had thus offended Macy Misa (she was a nationally ranked athlete with a steady position on the school honour roll-what possible excuse could a person have for talking down to her?). And she would have continued on feeling that way if it hadn't been for The Incident (traumatic life events need to be capitalized).
Look, we know she's awful. But she's a friend and we said we'd let her record.
It occurred to her, not long after The Incident (meaning once she had stopped running around and sobbing like a lunatic), that though teenagers love to think of themselves as little mini-adults, they were in fact closer to being children than they would ever admit willingly. She knows this because while she's moping around in her room, post-Incident, her eyes soak up the world she's created for herself. Some people say that there's nothing as scary as a teenage fan-girl, and for once she knows what they're talking about. There's something unsettling about the sheer depth of her obsession with JONAS that had never occurred to her before. Her room was a shrine to all things JONAS, even at the expense of the constant and irreplaceable things in her life (she used to have a family picture framed on her desk-she replaced it with a JONAS snapshot ages ago). It never bothered her before now, and she might have chalked it up to bitterness if the oncoming epiphany hadn't smacked her right across the face.
Teenagers were plagued by a child-like faith in all things impossible.
We're not even going to use it on the CD anyway.
Teenagers weren't just obsessive with the things they liked-they were delusional as well. It wasn't so much the thing itself than the ideal it represented. Epic love stories brought out the inner dreams of every young girl out there (and the gorgeous sparkling men were just bonuses that sealed the deal). Reading about rich girls on the Upper East Side allowed normal girls to live vicariously through a fake group of celebutantes that were fabulous and sophisticated every step of their lives. And musical groups with heaps of love songs that every girl imagined were just for her created the illusion of a relationship that was never real to begin with (this increases exponentially with the degree of cuteness of aforementioned musical groups). She was sure it was the same with guys and their sci-fi/comic book/gaming things.
All these obsessions allowed teenagers to create a fantasy world in which everything was idealistic and impossibly perfect (the modern day Never-Never-Land). These obsessions lived only through the sheer faith of the teenagers that created them and the false idols could only be maintained through the unwavering, unquestioning love of those crazy fans. And it was that child-like faith that allowed teenagers to adore those things that in reality were less idealistic than they thought and nowhere near as perfect as they imagined.
We know Macy isn't the greatest singer. As soon as we were finished recording we're going to erase her voice and no one will ever have to hear her singing again. We were just trying to get through this without hurting her feelings.
She wasn't usually this introspective, and she found that she didn't like it one bit. But it was inevitable now, because of The Incident and how it shattered those fairy-tale ideals that she had wrapped around herself in the midst of her fangirl frenzy. And the more she thought about it, the harder the realizations became. All those things she had believed in, all those fantasies she had indulged in (because those boys were too cute not to give her a fantasy or two . . . hundred) were based on a reality that she had conjured out of thin air. It wasn't their fault she had thought them perfect, worshipped at their feet like they were some modern day Greek gods brought to life. It wasn't their fault that she had dreamt of how they would be long before she ever met them face-to-face. And it certainly wasn't their fault that she had created for them a higher set of standards than they could never hope to achieve.
Life had been better when they were fantasies, dancing and rocking out just beyond the reach of her fingertips. Back then they had been perfect examples of what boys were meant to be: cute, romantic, and emotionally mature to a point that could make any girl swoon. And now, now that she had touched them, felt them underneath her fingertips, and heard them speak; it became all too clear that they weren't who she thought they were. They were, by no fault of their own, nothing more than three teenage boys who lied, sputtered, and made mistakes that were more hurtful than innocent.
I want to apologize. I really didn't want to hurt your feelings and made it way worse.
Hearing them talk about her singing like that had been a slap in the face. First she wasn't sure what she was hearing, but it became clear pretty quickly. Her first muddled thoughts were of Stella and how she knew that this was her friend's fault. After all, who had told her that her singing was great to begin with? But then she remembered that Stella was a friend who had always smiled and nodded along while she sang, but never pushed her to try her hand at it seriously. A little white lie that had been told to spare her best friend hurt, but Stella would have never gotten her into a situation where she could humiliate herself in front of others (music industry others at that).
Afterwards, fumbling to her house with tears blinding her way, she knew it wasn't just that they had lied to spare her feelings. That part was understandable (she doesn't like hurting people's feelings either). But what got to her was the sheer extent that they were willing to go to in order to avoid having to tell her the truth. They would have erased her voice afterwards and just let her carry on telling people that she was on backup for their new CD because they didn't want to deal with an emotional sixteen year old girl. And she would have gone on, telling her fan club members and pretty much anyone that would listen that she had been on the CD. It would have only been a matter of time before she would open her mouth to demonstrate her skill . . . and then she would have found more profound and long-lasting embarrassment when everyone discovered the truth that she hadn't been smart enough to realize on her own. The thought of all those potential mocking laughs and jeering faces made her sick to her stomach.
They hadn't done it to be mean. They had done it because they were too cowardly to deal with her on their own. And the realization that her idols were less ideal and perfect than she had imagined them to be was like having a bandage ripped off violently and without warning. She looked around her room and saw all those things she had loved with new eyes. And one by one, all those fantasies warped, contorted, and fell down at her feet-deformed and imperfect in ways she hadn't seen before. Those things she had believed in before, the aspects about them that she had loved at face value, shredded right before her eyes and she finally became that mini-adult she had always imagined herself to be.
She looked to her DVD collection and realized that Robert Pattison was beautiful, but he was playing the role of a monster that was in a constant inner struggle to not kill his wide-eyed trusting girlfriend. Her bookshelf was laughable because she imagined all those Upper East side rich girls texting away to Gossip Girl, and failing high school because they couldn't possibly have time to study and do homework with all the *ahem* extracurricular activities in which they participated. And her posters, well they were a homage to a boy band who, for all their pretty poetry, were still nothing more than three adolescent boys.
I should have been straight up with you from the beginning. I'm so sorry I wasn't.
She knew it wasn't their fault, but she couldn't help the anger that came the night of The Incident. She tossed and turned, unable to fall into that dream world that usually awaited her during sleep. There were no more fantasies of sparkling men who pledged eternity (who was she to demand eternity from anyone? She was sixteen for crying out loud!). There were no more make-believe shopping sprees in New York (she would never spend more than forty dollars on a pair of jeans, so why bother pretending?). And there were certainly no more fairy-tales with three interchangeable Prince Charmings, all equipped with love ballads to make her swoon (because face it, they never even knew she existed when they wrote those songs).
In the morning there were no more tears, just deep-seated resignation that wasn't supposed to exist within a happy, bubbly teenage girl. She doesn't have to check her phone to know that she missed numerous calls last night (the boys would have called Stella to clean up their mess because they obviously weren't good at doing it themselves). She changed into her uniform, pasted a fake grin on her face to get by her parents, and finally called Stella on her way to school. She tuned out the anxious apologies given on the behalf of the Lucas boys and assures her best friend that she is fine (which of course only alerts her best friend to the reality of her misery because that's what best friends do). There's a chocolate bar and a hug waiting for her at her locker and Macy feels herself give a short-lived smile (the first since The Incident).
She's the picture of devastation as she navigates the hallways that day. She can feel eyes on her back and is only reassured by the fact that none of her schoolmates would know the true reason for her bleak mood (they would be terrified of letting out the news of what they had done to a devoted fan-might reflect badly on them). He approaches her just before the end of lunch and she can see his apprehension a mile away. His apology is sincere and heartfelt and she feels some of the bitterness sweep away. He was (they all were), at the end of the day, just a boy who made a bad choice.
And so she smiles for him and nodded her head, letting him think that all is forgiven and she's touched by his honesty and caring. He doesn't know that while she's standing there, assuring him everything is fine, that she's mentally making a list of things to do before the day is done. She smiled at him and thinks that after school she will take down all their pictures from her locker. He shoots her a relieved look and she plans on de-JONAS-ifying all her notebooks. They share a laugh and she knows by tomorrow she will have handed over leadership of her fanclub to her vice-president and offer up ownership of her website to anyone who was willing to take it.
The bell rings and he gives her a cheerful goodbye and she reasons that telling everyone her sudden loss of interest in JONAS is due to real life will lead people to think that she's too busy with school, sports, and work to spare anymore time to her favourite boy band. And as she walked into class and slid into a chair (as far away from a Lucas brother that she can get without actually being in the hallway) she knows that no one will ever guess that 'real-life' actually meant reality and that she was done worshipping a group of boys who were as disappointingly juvenile as all other boys her age. And as she scribbled notes down while her English Lit teacher drones on and on about Romeo and Juliet, she realized that she lied to Kevin about accepting his apology.
They had made her grow up well before she wanted to-and for that reason alone she knows that she can never truly forgive them.
A/N: A little depressing, I know, but I promise that I'm going somewhere good with this.