Behind The Curtains
Chapter 1- Prologue
[The Ride Estate in East Hampton. The dining room/living room area. Minimal light from the window is cast on Max. Thunder booms, lightning flash. Broadway music is drifting in from her father's study.]
The little seven-year-old girl, Maximum Ride, stared out the window, face sad as she watched each tiny raindrop trickle down the window, making a drumming nose. Then, her eyes wandered past the rain, the fog, and the greenery, landing on the empty driveway. It had been empty for the past three months, after her mother, Valencia Martinez, and twin sister, Maya Ride, went to Hollywood to get her sister some more fame; not that she really needed it in the first place. Because she was 'so special,' had 'so much talent,' unlike Max — Little Miss Nobody, No-Talent, No-Fame.
Biting her lip, Max tried not to cry as she looked away from the window. Compared to Maya, Max was nothing. Not even a speck on the radar. Not her mother's radar, not on a manager's radar, and definitely not on Nick's. And that's exactly where Maya wanted her; as a nobody. As a shadow hidden behind the sun. The footprint washed away from the shore after rain. Suddenly, tears fell down Max's face, tears she had been fighting for three months. The thoughts just… brought them out.
Sobbing and shuddering, she didn't even notice her father, Jeb Ride, who had come over to see what was wrong, until his arms wrapped around her. Curling into his chest, she just let them all fall, and the sobs shook her tiny frame. Her father tightened his grip, smoothing back her hair and kissing her forehead. "Baby, what's wrong?" he asked her, his voice soft and loving. Max and her father had always been close, probably because Maya and Valencia were always off on business. It was almost always just Max and Jeb. The two leftover scraps nobody wanted.
"I-I'm n-n-nothing. Maya's so much be-be-better th-than m-me, i-in every wa-ay, and Mom l-l-loves her m-m-more than m-me," she choked out, and Jeb shushed her as she hiccupped, eyes screwed shut tightly. "Sh-sh-she's best friends wi-with N-Nick, a f-f-famous movie st-star, and I-I'm best friends with Ari, the h-h-huge, t-t-tough, w-w-weird s-s-six year old. I l-love him li-like a br-rother, bu-but…"
Jeb pulled back a little, smiling at her, an idea sprouting in his mind. "Well… what if it was the other way around?" he asked, and Max sniffled, rubbing her eyes and silently asking him what he meant with them. Smiling, Jeb winked at her, picking her up piggy-back style, and bringing her to his writing desk, or his 'Magic Station.' Max's eyes widened and she chewed on her bottom lip.
"Daddy, what're we doing at your Magic Station? Are you going to write a musical?" she asked, her sobs finally subsiding and her curiosity coming out. He laughed, smiling at her and setting her on his lap as he sat down. Looking at the old-fashioned typewriter, Max squealed a little.
Jeb was a famous Broadway musical writer, and so Max grew up writing songs with him. She, even at the age of seven, was amazing at it by then. "Maxie, I'm not going to write a musical," her father said, and she deflated, frowning. Then, he turned her to face him on his lap, winking and grinning. "We're going to write a musical! You and me, Miss Maximum Ride, just like always."
Max grinned toothily up at her father before squirming off of his lap and running to the dining room table, where the two had stacked various Max's artistic masterpieces. Pulling out her sketchbook, she ran back, flipping through it until it came to rest on a picture of six kids that resembled older versions of Max and her friends, Nudge, Iggy, Gazzy, and Angel, and then the famous Nick to the side, arms folded over his chest. They all had wings.
"Daddy, this is our play. Maximum Ride," she said, voice excited and dramatic as she shoved it towards him, "The Musical."
Jeb looked over the idea before grinning, picking up his daughter and swinging her around. "Maximum Ride: The Musical…" he mused. "By George, I think we've got it! You're a little genius, aren't you?" he asked in awe, and Max beamed, blushing. All of her previous sadness had been forgotten as soon as he had said the word 'musical.'
[Blackout, scene change, nine years later, waiting room for a Broadway musical producer.]
Max fiddled with her fingers in her lap, biting her lip. Jeb was inside, talking to a producer about their musical. She had finally finished the last line, and he called it a masterpiece. Max had thought it was an overstatement, but Jeb was so happy she couldn't take it away from him. He hadn't had a hit Broadway show since she was nine, and he was certain this was it.
Iggy, her best friend, was on the other side of her, groaning about how he didn't even understand how he was in any way part of the Musical. Angel, who was turning twelve that year, next to Iggy, just kept on whacking his arm and telling him to shut up. Gazzy, Angel's twin, and Nudge, Max's other best friend, the fourteen year old fashion-ista, were on the other side of the room, asleep.
But, ever the calm one, Max's old pal Ari was sitting in the middle of the hallway, meditating. Sitting in that position, he looked kind of weird, since he was a stocky fifteen year old football-star-quarterback boy that looked like he was twenty. Max shrugged it off; whatever floated his boat.
Smiling serenely, Ari peeked out at Max, waving a little. She saw the irony in the boy she had made his character, and chuckled quietly. The others, from her perspective, she had gotten pretty well. For a moment, she wondered who would be playing them all, before dismissing it. All she cared about was who was playing Fang — the main male, and the one her character ended up with.
Biting her lip, Max stared at the ceiling, wincing as she thought about who Fang was based on. Nick Davidson, her sister's ex-boyfriend and her ex-celebrity crush, from when she was eight to when she was fourteen. It made her shudder just remembering the day her sister came home after the break up one year earlier, hair a mess, eyes wild and crazy, make up smudged. She had looked like she had come from hell. Sad to say, despite the fact them being twins, Max couldn't care less.
Humming a little, she couldn't help but feel down that the musical was finished. She had been working on it for nine years — working out the kinks, editing the characters, fixing up dialogue. It was like her diary — it held all of her innermost thoughts and secrets, but in a science fiction shell. A shell no one, other than Ari and Jeb, of course, could see through.
Speaking of her father, or rather, thinking, the door to the office busted open, and Jeb walked out with a broad grin, which he directed right at Max, holding his arms out. "Maxie, we're in!" Just those three words made her heart stop, in shock, before grinning and yelping, jumping into her father's outstretched arms. She might have been sixteen, but she didn't weigh more than one hundred fifteen pounds, so it was easy for Jeb to swing her in a circle.
"We're in! We've made a musical!" Max exclaimed, voice so happy, it was contagious, and her friends began to cheer, hugging and dancing around. Ari just smiled softly from the ground up at her. The excitement was bubbling in her veins, as she laughed from pure glee. It was as if happiness was jolting through her, making her heart glow. Because, for once — just once — in her life, she had something extraordinary that Maya could never, ever beat. Not even if she tried.
And, boy, did that feel good to know.
P.S. three people wrote this:
Fluffy Bunnies Are So Cute, Anna Ride, and Unicorns. Bubbles. Awesomeness., hence the "BAF" in the penname. The "SACA" stands for Super Awesome/Amazing Co-Authors! Which we are :)
Anna: And, ah, I want to apologize to MusicLuver, who has been on my back about my new stories...AND TELL HER NOT TO SEND ME ANOTHER SCOLDING MESSAGE! THEY MAKE ME SAD AND FEEL GUILTY.
Fluffy: And I would like to say… YES! I HAVE A NEW STORY! Hehe… Silly me :) But I get to write with amazing people!
Bubbles: I, uh, don't really have anything to say other than this story is going TO ROCK THEIR SOCKS OFF!
Okay everyone, us three are going to be doing duel stories. As in two stories? One. Two? So be on the look out! We'll let you know when it's up! VERY SOON!