Keziah took a deep breath and let it out shakily as she peeped through the heavy curtain at the growing crowd. Everyone that came in was dressed in beautiful formal wear and were all seated or making small talk with each other. Keziah sighed again, trying to settle her nerves. She walked through the other curtain backstage and watched as all the other performers were getting ready. "Hey." She recognized Zack’s voice before turning around to look at him. He looked incredibly hot tonight. His hair was gelled back and he wore a tux with a red tie but even that didn’t help settle her nerves.
"Are you nervous?" He asked. Keziah nodded and looked at the white clock against the one wall. They were to go on stage in a half an hour. "Don’t worry, it’s gonna be fine," Zack said and Keziah looked back at him. She shook her head a little. "I hope so," she said softly and dropped her eyes. "No, believe me it will," Zack said. Keziah looked up at him and just then Mrs. Knight walked up to them. She was wearing a pink suit or something that made Keziah think she looked like a rosebud. Keziah smiled at her. "Hello, you two! Are you ready?" She asked. Keziah looked up at Zack. Even in her open-toed black stilettos, he was still taller than her. She was wearing that black dress her mom had bought her on the day she found out about the ball and had her hair in a beautiful bun with curls hanging down the side of her face that looked almost like earrings from a distance. She had mascara and eyeliner on and a little clear lip gloss.
Zack nodded and smiled at Mrs. Knight. "Keziah’s just got some last minute jitters," Zack said and Keziah looked down. "Oh, don’t worry, Keziah! It’s going to be a wonderful performance. I just want to thank you two for being such easy students. It’s been wonderful teaching you two," Mrs. Knight said. Keziah hugged her. "Uh, ma’am, we, uh, we’d like to bring some drums into the performance," Keziah said. Mrs. Knight looked surprised. "Are you sure? We haven’t practiced with drums," she said. "We have. Today, ma’am. It makes both of us more comfortable and makes the performance sound so much better," Keziah said.
Mrs. Knight looked at them for a while. "You two are sure you want to take this chance?" She asked. "Positive," Keziah said. Mrs. Knight nodded. "Okay, I trust you two. I’ll go let the director know," she said and left. Keziah sighed. "Okay, that’s one thing taken care of," she said. Keziah felt Zack’s hand on her shoulder and looked up at him. He smiled at her. "Don’t worry. It’ll be fine," he said. She just looked at him. "'Cuz!" Keziah turned around and saw a pretty girl with long dark brown hair and beautiful bright blue-green eyes run towards her. "Annabelle!" Keziah said and hugged her cousin. Annabelle laughed. "Of course, silly," she said and let go.
Annabelle was one of those girls that defined the definition of beauty. She had a perfect hourglass body, full breasts, perfect lips, perfect cheeks and an absolutely amazing face. Only thing Keziah didn’t exactly admire about her was her obsession with boys. She was a serial dater. Loves them and leaves them. Keziah noticed Annabelle getting her flirting face on when she looked over Keziah’s shoulder at Zack. Keziah almost groaned. Now she’d have to introduce them. "Hey, you’re Zack," Annabelle said. Keziah looked at Zack as he nodded. "Yeah. You know me?" He asked. Annabelle nodded. "Yeah, I’m Annabelle, Keziah’s cousin. I met you a two years back on that summer when you and Eric came over to Keez’s house. Remember? You attempted an Olympic dive and ended up on your stomach," Annabelle said with a giggle. Zack grabbed his neck. "Yeah, not my best moment," he said. "Look, good luck to both of you. And you-" Annabelle looked at Keziah.
"Calm down, okay. I’ll be watching from the second table on the left. Look at me when you get really nervous. It might help," Annabelle said and hugged Keziah tightly. "Okay, break a leg," she said with a wink and disappeared through the back door. "She’s pretty," Zack said to Keziah. Keziah almost rolled her eyes. Here we go, she thought. Now he’s going to ask me for her number or something, she thought but he didn’t. She looked at him after a few seconds of silence. "You’re not gonna ask me anything about her?" She asked. Zack shrugged. "Am I supposed to?" He asked. "Keziah, Zack! You’re on!" Mrs. Knight called and Keziah felt her stomach clench painfully. "I don’t know if I can do this," she whispered.
Zack smiled encouragingly. "You can. You’re amazing now come on," he said. Keziah was still surprised at his words but she followed and he held the curtain open for her, she walked to the piano and Zack sat behind a drum set that they had brought earlier. The main curtains were still closed. The piano was set on its side on the right side of the stage (from the audience view) and the drums on the left so she had her back to Zack. "Hey." Keziah looked at Zack. He smiled. "Just calm down," he said softly and the curtains opened. Keziah saw the bright light and took another deep breath. She refused to look at the crowd. She positioned her fingers on the piano and started playing, feeling her nerves settle a little. She felt herself in their music room again when she heard Zack sing and before she knew it, she was completely calm and started with her part effortlessly.
How can you just walk away from me?
When all I can do is watch you leave,
'Cause we’ve shared the laughter and the pain,
And even shared the tears,
You’re the only one who really knew me at all,
So take a look at me now,
There’s just an empty space,
There’s nothing left here to remind me,
Just the memory of your face,
So take a look at me now,
There’s just an empty space,
And you coming back to me is against the odds,
And that’s what I’ve gotta face.
Zack let loose with the drums and Keziah felt completely at home with the song. Forgetting her nerves and just focusing on the music.
I wish I could just make you turn around,
Turn around and see me cry,
There’s so much I need to say to you,
So many reasons why,
You’re the only one who really knew me at all,
So take a look at me now.
She felt her voice hit just the right notes and had no doubt in her mind that, that was their best performance together. When they finished she heard a deafening applause and only then remembered that they were on stage. She looked over at the crowd and saw people standing and clapping. She smiled when she saw her parents. Her mom mouthed, "love you" and her dad looked immensely proud, they were both standing and clapping viciously. Keziah looked over at Zack. He was looking at her with a small smile on his face. They both stood away from their instruments, did a small bow and walked off the stage. Annabelle and Eric came running to them as soon as they got back stage. "Oh, my gosh, you were incredible!" Annabelle hugged Keziah. "I didn’t know you could sing like THAT! I mean I knew you were good but wow!" She said and looked at Keziah.
Keziah could only laugh and looked at Eric. He smiled and walked over to her. "I told you," he said. Keziah hugged him tightly and smiled. "Thanks, buddy," she said. He let go of her and smiled. "No problem," he said and took her hand. "Now come on, you guys are sitting at our table," Eric said and they walked to the junior section of the ball. On their way, Keziah and Zack got many compliments and congratulations. Keziah just smiled and thanked them, desperately wanting to get to their table. When they finally sat down, Keziah noticed she was sitting across from Todd. He smiled at her and she felt butterflies in her stomach. Zack sat on her left and Eric at her right. Annabelle sat between Eric and Todd.
There was another girl with long red curls that sat between Todd and Zack. Keziah recognized her as one of the cheerleaders at school. That girl must’ve felt like the heaven was shining on her, sitting between who were probably the two hottest guys in school. Keziah found it a bit funny that she was sitting at what seemed to be the hottest table at the ball. She didn’t fit in. She was a plain, nerdy girl that had a holiday of beauty and fashion tips with her mom. Annabelle was always the most beautiful and confident girl she knew, there was a gorgeous cheerleader, Todd was hot in a gorgeous, athletic, prince kind of way, Zack was hot in a dark, chilled, mysterious kind of way and Eric (although most of the time she forgot about it) was also amazingly hot.
Yeah, he was kind of goofy but that just added to his attractiveness and Keziah usually saw girls swooning over him. Then there was her, Keziah Jones, a few months ago no one knew her name on the school and now she was sitting at a table at the JTC and STC ball with all the "beautiful people". She could just smile and try to keep up with their chats. She felt Eric nudge her. She looked over at him. "You seem uncomfortable," he whispered. Keziah shrugged. "Do I belong here?" She asked. Eric raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean?" He asked. "Look at this table, Eric, then look around. Every teenager at this ball wants to be sitting here," Keziah said. Eric suddenly chuckled. "Keez, you’re probably the only one that doesn’t see it, but you’re more or less the prettiest girl in school lately," Eric said. Keziah’s eyes widened a little. Her pretty? This was some joke right? "And with tonight’s performance, get ready for some serious popularity. I’m gonna be the plain one from now on. You’re shining way past me. Just promise not to forget about the little person that’s been standing by you through high school," Eric added with a wink.
Keziah smiled and hugged him tightly. "You know I don’t say it a lot, but thank you so much, Eric. You’re really the best friend anyone could ask for hey," she said. Eric laughed. "Ah, come on. You’re not my best friend," he said. Keziah pushed him away and laughed. "Jerk," she said. "Let me finish. You’re not my best friend, you’re the sister I’ve always wanted," Eric said. Keziah smiled. "Aaaw," she said and giggled. "But you have two sisters," she said. Eric shrugged and took a sip of the grape juice that was in his champagne glass. "Yeah, but they’re both bitches from hell," he shrugged and Keziah shoved him. "You can’t say that about your sisters," she said with a laugh. He laughed as well. "Trust me, if they weren’t my sisters and I wasn’t forced to love them so much, they’d probably be dead," he said. Keziah laughed. That probably wasn’t true. Eric was too sweet to hurt a fly much less his own sisters.