November 23, 1998
"Mama? Papa? Mama!? Papa!?Mama where are you?! Papa?!" wailed a young girl, panic rising with each passing second as people in the audience and performers hurried around her. Tears began streaming down her little and slightly chubby cheeks.
"Es-tu perdu?" said a soft voice from beside the crying girl. She turned towards the voice, confused but relieve someone had seen her, with a lost look in her eye. The girl had beautiful silvery hair, and was most assuredly a year or more older.
"Sophie, elle ne te comprend pas. Elle parle anglais," (Sophie, she doesn't understand you. She speaks English,) a boy said, or rather stated to the girl. He had the same silvery hair, and looked a bit older than the girl.
"Oui, Leon," the girl named Sophie replied in a slightly patronizing tone, and then continued in heavily accented English. "You are very pushy brother," turning to the little girl in front of her, her voice softened. "I'm Sophie; this is Leon, my brother. Are you lost? What is your name?"
"S-Sora," she stuttered out. "I can't find my mommy and daddy," she said sadly, another fat tear rolling down her cheek.
"Sophie, we don't have time for this. Mom and dad are waiting fo-" he cut off as she sent him a positively murderous glare. "Fine," he sighed, resigned to do as his sister bid.
"Come on Sora. Let's find your mommy and daddy," Sophie said as she took out a handkerchief and dried some of the little girl's tears. Sora took the square of soft fabric from Sophie as she offered it to her, and clutched it tightly in her little hand.
"Sora!" May shouted, abruptly shaking Sora from her memories and effectively bringing her back to the present. "Sora, have you hear even a word of what I just told you?" she asked, very clearly exasperated.
"Maybe?" she replied feebly. "Okay, no, not really,"
"I said that Ken asked me out!"
"What? Really? That's so great May! It's about time too," Sora exclaimed, happy for her longtime friend. It was no secret that Ken Robinson, one of the stage managers at Kaleido Stage, had a longtime crush on May.
Originally, when Sora had first started out, Ken had shown some interest in her. But as soon as May walked on stage Ken was completely captivated by her. It worked out well for Sora, seeing as she really didn't like Ken in that way.
"I know! I can't wait! You have to help me get ready tonight. We're goin-" May gushed going on and on about her upcoming date, while Sora tuned her out. Currently the two of them were in practice room 2 on the trampoline. They were rehearsing for the upcoming production.
As of yesterday they were officially performing Romeo and Juliet. Of course Yuri Killian was to play Romeo, and Layla Hamilton Juliet, it wouldn't be the same without them as the leads. May was cast as Rosaline – much to her delight – and Sora, much to her chagrin, wasn't casted as a part in the production, but rather asked to learn May and Layla's roles and act as their understudies. Thus the reason she was here with May, to learn her part.
It was nothing short of a miracle that Layla had been able to come back to Kaleido Stage after breaking her shoulder. She had taken a few months off, at which time she tried acting in some Broadway productions and met Cathy Taymor, the producer of one of the minor shows she had starred in.
Sora began practicing what she knew of May's part. She had learned about the first minute yesterday watching May practice. She was about thirty seconds in when a knock at the door broke her from her practice.
"It's open!" she hollered from her spot in midair. May was still prattling on with no signs of stopping, and Sora hadn't been able to hop off the trampoline without risking injury.
The door opened and Mia poked her head around the side. Mia Guillem, one of Sora's first friends at the stage next to Anna, was directing this production with the help of their usual producer.
"May, I need to take Sora now. Sora, it's time for Layla's rehearsal," Mia said, motioning at Sora to hurry.
The latter hopped off the trampoline, and after a hurried goodbye and confirmation to practice the following day, grabbed her bag and ran towards the stage where Yuri and Layla would be rehearsing.
Rehearsals dragged on the rest of the day until well past dinner time, and Sora didn't get back to her dorm room until after Sarah had locked up the dorms for the night. Luckily Sarah had given Sora a copy of said key so she could get in.
Layla had decided that they needed to finish the scene tonight, and that Sora had to be present for it all, and prove she could perform the scene with Yuri. And Sora had also had to rush back when they had a twenty minute break to help May get dressed for her date.
By the time she had made it into her dorm room she only had enough energy to take a quick shower, eat a small snack, and flop down onto her bed. Her head had barely touched the pillow and she was dreaming.
"Sora, do you like the circus?" Sophie asked as she and Sora searched for her parents, Leon close behind them.
"Yes, it's so pretty. Everyone looks like they're having so much fun! I want to perform onstage one day," she replied enthusiastically.
"They say a true star can create a stage with no competition. It has been said the Angel's Maneuver/Act can make a person a true star," Sophie said with a wistful sigh.
"That sounds so pretty… Sophie?" Sora asked tugging slightly on the older girl's sleeve to gain her attention. "My mommy and daddy," she said pointing to where she saw the two.
"Sora!" her mother and father shouted as they saw her walking with Sophie and waved her over.
Then suddenly Sora couldn't see them. She could only hear the horrible screeching of a car losing control, and screamed.
Shooting upright in her bed Sora confirmed it had just been a nightmare. There had been no car accident that day. She had found her parents and given Sophie a light blue ribbon her mom had used to tie her hair with that day. The ribbon had the characters for her name embroidered on one end, and a flower on the other.
She had seen neither Sophie nor Leon since, but she hadn't been back to Paris since then either. She doubted they would remember her. But she would always remember them. She still had Sophie's handkerchief, it was made from some mix of white cotton and silk, and in the corner had an embroidered 'S' in light blue, accompanied by a yellow moon and star.
Sora hadn't left the house without it, ever. It was the one thing she always carried with her. A while back she had bought a locket of sorts that she could fold the fabric into, and wore it around her neck 24/7.
Like she kept the handkerchief, Sora had also held onto Sophie's words about a stage with no competition. But she hadn't been able to find anything on the Angel's Maneuver/Act, and as she didn't have a computer she couldn't really look it up online.
Less than half an hour later Sora was in the dorm's cafeteria/kitchen getting a bowl of cereal and an apple.
She had showered, changed and run through her usual morning yoga.
She plopped down into the seat next to Mia, and across from Anna and May.
"Morning Sora. Are you coming to rehearsal today? Or are you and Marion going to practice?" Anna asked as Sora sat down.
"Well, I was going to help Marion learn another one of her mom's simpler routines in the morning, and maybe alter her mom's old costume… but I can come to the evening rehearsals?"
"Good. Sora, meet me in practice room four later," May said, or rather ordered.
"Okay, see you guys. Anna, have fun practicing your clown act, and Mia, May good luck at rehearsals!" Sora said as she got up to leave.
As she hurried to the Kids Stage Sora could see, and hear, Marion and Jonathan playing.
"Hey Marion, Jonathan!" Sora called as she walked towards the gate to the stage.
"Arf!" Jonathan replied as he bounced a ball back to Marion.
"Hey Sora!" Marion called. "I thought you wouldn't be able to help me today, but I'm glad you're here,"
"Yeah… well May and I decided to practice later… so you know," she replied sheepishly. "Anyways, which routine today?!" she asked, her mood changing to almost over enthusiastic.
"Well, I don't know. Mommy's book is over there. I think we've done all the easy ones already,"
"That's okay! We can start to work on the harder routines. I know you can pull them off Marion," Sora said as she reached for Cynthia's stage notebook.
"I really like the one from Romeo and Juliet, it's for two people. And I was kind of hoping Kalos would let me perform it with you," Marion hadn't been cast in the show, but Sarah had convinced Kalos (the company's director and Sarah's boyfriend of sorts) that if she came up with a good routine, then she could perform during the party scene before Anna's clown act.
"I'd love to Marion! Let's get to work then," Sora replied, smiling and flipping to the routine.
By lunch they had most of the act down, and it just needed a bit of polishing.
"Arf! Arf, arf?" Jonathan barked from his spot in the pool.
"Jonathan says its lunchtime!" Marion called mid twirl. "Can we go eat now?"
"Yeah! I think my stomach agrees with that idea," Sora replied just as her stomach gave a loud growl. "In fact I know it does," she added on sheepishly.
"Come on Jonathan! Its lunchtime!" the younger girl crowed as she scooped up her furry friend and sat him on her head.
"See you later Marion! Bring your mother's costume!"
As she entered the lunchroom she quickly spotted Anna and Mia and quickly made her way over to them. As she made her way over she noticed everyone seemed to be talking about the same thing. All around she heard people asking: 'do you know who the new performer is?' and various bits of gossip.
"Anna, Mia, who are they talking about?" Sora asked as she pulled out a chair across from them and sat down.
"Oh, you haven't heard?" asked Anna, not unkindly but rather surprised.
"There's a new guy coming to the stage, someone from France I think," Mia informed her.
"What! Really?" Sora exclaimed completely thrown, it wasn't usual for someone to start in the middle of a season as far as she knew.
"Yep, he starts in three days, on Monday." Anna said and then she tacked on. "I wonder how he feels about practical jokes,"
"Anna," Mia and Sora groaned.
'A new guy… I wonder what he'll be like, he's from France huh?" Sora thought to herself.
Currently she was rushing towards the dressing rooms to meet with Marion for the second time today. The plan was to see if Cynthia's costume was small enough to be just barely altered to fit Marion and make Sora an original based on it, or if Sora should wear it and they make one for Marion. Either way they would need to make one costume, even if they didn't use it in this show they planned to perform the routine on the Kids Stage.
"I'm here!" Sora shouted as she burst through the door of the dressing room.
"Hey!" hollered Marion from behind a rack of colorful costumes. Followed by an "Arf!" from Jonathan, who had perched himself on Marion's head.
"I found my mommy's costume, Sora!" she said as she emerged from behind the costume rack. "But I think it's too big," she giggled as she pulled the costume from behind her back and held it up for Sora to see.
It was a knee length midnight blue practice dress with layers of light, gauzy fabric added over the skirt. The bodice had a silver ribbon sewn under the bust with some beading hanging off the edge. Overall it was a really simple and elegant costume. There was even a silver and blue mask to match.
"It's beautiful! Do you want to make an exact copy? Or should we make you a costume that is similar but all your own?" Sora asked, gently fingering the beautiful costume.
"I think that we should make a costume similar, but not the same," Marion replied, unsurprisingly. "You should see if my mommy's costume will fit you Sora," she said as she all but shoved the costume into Sora's arms.
They spent the next hour going over costume stuff before Sora had to leave to practice with May.
[AN (as much as I hate to put one in):
I'll try to update soon. This isn't exactly where I wanted to end this chapter. Anyways, reviews are welcomed even if critical.]