I wince as remember the startled scream that left my lips when I realized what was happening, but it was already too late.
Even after I fell, shock and shame had rendered my body paralyzed for several seconds, and all I could do was lie on the wooden floor in absolute horror, feeling deflated and humiliated. I just wanted to curl up and disappear.
I still kind of do.
My ungraceful descent was followed by the even more mortifying “aww” chorus from the audience, and even now, I can still clearly hear the stomach-churning sound of their collective pity and embarrassment for me still resounding in my head.
I reluctantly make my way toward the front of the stage, hesitantly pulling back one of the blood-red velvet curtains.
I take a peep at the evil steps that had claimed my dignity and ruined not only my night, but my entire Spring Break, and as I look at them now, I honestly don’t even know which hurts more—my pride or my leg.
A Crazy Frog tune suddenly disrupts the quiet stillness of the empty Theater, letting me know that my phone is ringing.
I really need to change the damn tune. I’m not even sure why I got it. Then again, I haven’t been bothered to get a new one ever since my ringtone-obsession phase wore off last year.
I see Sabrina, my roommate’s name, flashing on the screen in large bold letters. I pick up on the third ring.
“Hey, Sofie,” she says, her voice slightly hurried. “Where are are you?”
I frown. “At the Theater department. Still on campus. Why?”
“Oh, I dunno, I’ve been thinking…I think Lauren and I should just cancel on Padre and do something here in town. All three of us.”
I shake my head adamantly as if she can see me. “No, no, no. You and Lauren have to go!” I say firmly. “We’ve been planning this thing since forever, Brina. Besides the hotel reservations are already booked and they’re a pain in the ass to get refunded. Don’t let my bad luck ruin what I know will be an awesome time for you guys. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if you guys missed out on your last Spring Break because of me,” I add.
I hear Sabrina sigh, I can almost picture her rubbing at her temple with her eyes closed, internally debating over what to do—something she always does whenever she feels stressed.
“I promise, I’ll be fine,” I try to assure her, even though I know I won’t—at least not right away. “I just need you guys to take lots and lots of pictures so I can live vicariously through you and maybe I’ll actually convince myself I was there if I try hard enough,” I say with a smile.
She laughs at that. Even though my misfortune couldn’t have come at a worse time, I won’t let her or Lauren, my other roommate, miss out on their last Spring Break as undergrads on my account.
Sabrina sighs, presumably in a show of relenting. “How’s your leg?” she asks finally. “Did you take your crutches with you?”
“Yeah, I have them here with me,” I lie. I hate those things. They make me feel so incapacitated, and only make me look even more pitiful than I feel. But I don’t want to get into it with Sabrina over them.
“Alright, well I guess we’ll hit the road, then,” she says. “I’ll call you when we get there.”
I nod. “Alright, will do. You guys drive safe,” I say before hanging up.
As soon as I put my phone away, I hear the back door creak open.
I immediately turn to see who it is, and I come face to face with a pair of very familiar, very intense blue-green eyes; eyes that belong to none other than the infamous Mason Gabehart—the GTA from hell.
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