"Hey, guys, I'm so sorry I'm late!" Jenna Wilson said as she rushed into the main auditorium of Elliot Repertory Theatre.
Craig Wilkins, her best friend, started to laugh. "You should be, Jen. We had to hold the audition for a whole five minutes."
"Shut the hell up, Craig," Jenna replied, also laughing. "My watch is fast, okay?" She dropped her bag down on the front row seat right next to the one he was sitting in.
He grinned. "I love you, Jenna!" he recited in a sing-song voice.
She gave him a sexy smile. "Save that for later, babe," she told him in a husky voice.
"Don't say hi to us or anything, Jen," Jimmy Elliot, the owner and namesake of the theater as well as the frequent director of the shows, chimed in. He was a blond, baby-faced man in his late twenties with dark blue eyes. If he had been straight, chances were he would be very popular with the ladies. Of course, the same was true for Craig, with his dark hair, green eyes, and natural good looks. Except he was in the closet, so he was very popular with the ladies. To their dismay, however, he never got with any them. Only Jenna and the rest of the staff at the theater knew why.
"I'm sorry, Jim, you know I love you too," Jenna said, flashing him a grin as she searched around in her bag for something. "And Eddy, Mike, Victor, Paulóbefore you even say anything, I love you all too," she added, referring to the other men who were sitting in the second and third rows. Jenna finally located the correct item in her bag and pulled it out. It was a folder that was practically bursting at the seams from being stuffed with so much paper. She set that down on the seat, opened it, and pulled out some sheet music. "Okay, Paul, ready for this?" she asked the musical director.
"Whatcha got for me, Jen?" he asked with a grin as she walked up to the piano bench where he was sitting. "And if you say 'Sixteen, Going On Seventeen,' I'm gonna kill you," he added.
She smiled. "We haven't even started doing the show and you're already sick of the music," she observed, laughing. "No, I've got 'My Funny Valentine' today." She handed it to him.
"I can handle this," Paul decided.
"I don't even know why you need me to sing for you. I've only been here since I was three," she remarked as she went up on the stage.
"'Cause otherwise it wouldn't be fair," said Victor, the assistant director and house manager.
"I don't care about fair...this is show biz," Jenna whined.
"Prima donna," muttered Eddy, the choreographer, with a grin.
"Yeah, up yours," Jenna shot back.
"Okay, Jen, we ready?" Paul asked. "Or must we insult ERT's employees all day long?"
"Careful or you'll be next in line," she warned. "Yes, I'm ready. Screw the little verse thing at the beginning, okay? I'm just doing the chorus."
"Sounds good, here's your note," Paul replied, hitting a piano key.
Jenna took a deep breath and winked at Craig, who mouthed back, 'You sexy bitch!' Suppressing giggles, she started to sing.
"My funny Valentine
Sweet, comic Valentine
You make me smile in my heart
"Your looks are laughable
Yet you're my favorite work of art
"Is your figure less than Greek?
Is your mouth a little weak?
When you open it to speak Are you smart?
"But don't change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little Valentine, stay
Each day is Valentine's Day."
Jenna luxuriously held out the last note before she let it go and Paul played the closing chord. Immediately, Jimmy, Craig, Eddy, Victor, and Mike, the man who worked sound and built scenery with Craig, who did the lights, all burst into applause. Craig gave her a standing ovation.
"Thank you, thank you," Jenna said with a small bow, light brown hair falling into her blue eyes. She went to get her music back from Paul before going back to her seat. Or rather, to Craig's seat.
"Hey, baby, did I do good?" she asked in a husky voice, climbing into his lap and straddling him.
Craig grinned. "Oh, soooo good," he moaned.
"You think so?" she asked, trailing a finger down the middle of her chest.
"Oh, I know so," he said, putting his hands on her hips.
"Jenna and Craig, control yourselves, please," Jimmy said, grinning. "We're letting in the first person."
Jenna and Craig both started coughing nervously and she turned around and sat down in his lap.
"Sorry Jimmy. Won't happen again."
Jimmy grinned. "Good. And aren't you supposed to be running this audition?"
"Yeah, yeah, I have the papers right here," Jenna said, pulling them out and quickly setting them up. "Gimme the list, will you?" Mike tossed her a clipboard, and she smiled sweetly at him before looking at the first name. "First up is Michael Green. No, not you, babe," she said, winking at Mike.
"I'll send him in," Jimmy said, "since some of us are too lazy."
"I'm not too lazy, Craig's lap is just too comfy," Jenna said, leaning back against her best friend, who kissed the top of her head.
Michael came in and, under Jenna's direction, sang his song and read one of the sides with Jimmy. The scene was, of course from The Sound of Music, the musical that ERT would be rehearsing and then putting on over the next two and a half months.
Jenna gave Michael a thank you when he was done, told him he would be called, and sent him out.
"Jimmy, you just take the list. I don't like having to yell across the room," Jenna said. She tossed it to Mike, who got up and gave it to Jimmy for her.
Rolling his eyes at her, Jimmy mouthed "lazy" before going out into the lobby and yelling out a name as the door closed. Jenna's eyes instantly widened, and she turned her head towards Craig.
"What name did he just call out?" she asked.
Craig shrugged. "I wasn't paying attention."
"I thought he said Kevin Richardson!"
Craig smirked. "Ugh...I hope not."
"Who the hell's Kevin Richardson?" Victor wanted to know.
Jenna made puking noises while Craig grinned. "Popular guy from our high school," he explained.
"Yeah, everyone thinks he's so talented because he's in all the school plays, butó"
At that moment, the door opened, and Kevin himself walked in, followed by Jimmy. Jenna exchanged a look with Craig as he walked up onto the stage.
"Hi," Kevin said with a slick, confident smile that was more of a smirk than anything.
"Hello, Kevin, is it?" Jenna replied, making Craig stifle a snicker.
"That's right, Kevin Richardson," he said with another smile as she located his form and photo.
Jenna held back a gag and smiled sweetly at him. "What have you got to sing for us today, Kevin?" she asked.
"'Sixteen Going On Seventeen,'" he said.
She gave him a funny look.
"The guy version," he added quickly.
"Oh," Jenna understood. "Well, go ahead."
Paul started playing the intro, and Jenna unknowingly set her face into a sour expression, ready to be severely unimpressed. When Kevin actually started to sing, though, her eyes widened, and she sat there staring at him in slight awe.
"You are sixteen, going on seventeen
Baby, it's time to think
Better beware, be canny and careful
Baby, you're on the brink..."
Jenna caught herself staring and, realizing that he was eyeing her strangely, shook her head quickly and wiped the idiotic expression off of her face. She shifted awkwardly in Craig's lap.
"You okay?" Craig asked in a whisper, touching her side.
She nodded silently but kept her eyes locked on Kevin as he drew the song to a close.
"You need someone older and wiser
Telling you what to do
I am seventeen, going on eighteen
I'll take care of you."
"Okay, thank you," she said when he was done, forcing emotion out of her voice. "Now, if you'll pick up side four and read that for us...I'll read Liesl, you read Rolf."
"Why don't you go up there with him, Jen," Eddy called.
"Yeah, Jen, we haven't seen you read for us," Jimmy added.
Jenna shot him a sarcastic smile and patted Craig on the leg. "Be right back, babe," she told him with a flirtatious grin before picking up the sheet of paper that Kevin had gotten and getting up there next to him. As soon as she was standing near him, she became vaguely aware of the fact that he was staring at her. She frowned at him, and, looking a little embarrassed, he quickly looked away. "Ready Jim?" she asked, turning towards the audience.
"Ready," he answered.
She turned to Kevin. "Go ahead."