A/N: WOOT! Here's a new story! Excitement! I'm not exactly sure how the update schedule is going to go, but I'm hoping every week and a half. I think I can manage that. Maybe... We'll see. Anyway. This is in the third person, which I rarely write in, so bear with me, please. The title is a theatre term, and as the story progresses, why I chose it should become clear. I have a feeling that this story will get very angsty in some places, so just a fair warning. Oh, and concerning all of the plays mentioned in this chapter, I do NOT own. Okies? So...yeah. Haha.

Enjoy!


A SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF

INTRO

Leland Madison collapsed onto his best friend's bed with a happy sigh.

It was the first day of summer vacation—the first day of freedom from Worchester's Academy for Boys. For two and a half months, there would be no more homework, no more tests, no more waking up early, no more snoring roommate, no more of that damned uniform, and most importantly, no more being a sophomore. As of right now, Leland was officially a junior. He grinned.

This year's going to be the best. I just know it.

He felt the bed sink next to him as Rawnie plopped herself down next to him, shoving at his shoulder.

"Move over, you incredible fat-ass," she said, and Leland laughed.

"You got the 'incredible' part right," he told her, shifting over a bit so she had room to sit. "But I'm afraid you're mistaken with the other bit. I am, by no means, a 'fat-ass'. My butt happens to be in perfect proportion, thanks."

"I'll be sure to remember that for the next time you're taking up more space than you should be," Rawnie said flatly.

"As you should!"

Rawnie rolled her eyes at him, though she was smiling. Leland grinned back before he sat up, leaning his back against the wall next to her. Almost immediately, she put her head on his shoulder, picking up his wrist so she could see his watch, and then sighed.

"What?" Leland asked.

"You'd think that Aunt Liz and Uncle Jack would've gotten home by now," she said. "You know…with us coming back today and all."

Leland glanced at his watch. "They should be home soon," he told her when he saw the time.

"Kay," Rawnie mumbled, and Leland draped an arm around her with a small smile on his lips.

Rawnie wasn't just his best friend, but his cousin as well. She'd been living with Leland for about seven years now, ever since she'd lost her parents in a plane crash when she was eleven and he was ten. And though he knew no one could ever replace Rawnie's actual mom and dad, his parents filled the role pretty well, treating Rawnie like their own daughter. Leland wasn't exactly sure, but he thought that she might think of herself as that too, even if she still referred to them as her aunt and uncle. It didn't bother him and never really had. In fact, with the circumstances that had caused her to live with him aside, Leland had been happy about it. He had never liked being an only child, and when Rawnie came along, he'd gained a best friend and a sister, although the latter wasn't technically or biologically true.

A few minutes later, Rawnie sat up straight, yawning and stretching. Smirking, Leland poked her in the stomach, laughing when she squeaked and swatted at him. Then, he moved so he was sitting cross-legged in front her, and grinned widely, giving her his sole attention.

"So, how 'bout you tell your incredibly awesome and favorite person in the world what your plans are for drama this coming school year," Leland said. "I know you already have something in mind. What do you say, Ms. White?"

Rawnie raised her eyebrows at him, her light blue eyes full of amusement. "I say 'no', Mr. Madison. Despite how awesome you think you are, and how awesome I know my idea is, you're just going to have to wait until September like everyone else."

"Rawnie! Come on!"

"Nope!" she laughed. "Even favorites don't always get special treatment."

Leland pouted at her. Rawnie went to Worchester's Academy for Girls, which was about fifteen minutes away from the boy's school he attended. And because they were sibling-schools, and wouldn't have enough students on their own for a show, the drama program was combined between the two. Leland and Rawnie had been a part of it ever since they were freshmen, though Leland's first year was during Rawnie's second and by then, she had already been appointed director, despite her only being a sophomore.

Leland hadn't really been all that surprise since he knew Rawnie was more interested in directing than acting, unlike him, and had a way of making people listen to her. She was intense too, which he had found out during that first show she'd been in charge of (being her cousin and best friend hadn't stopped her from working him like a slave along with the rest of the cast). Though, he couldn't really complain seeing as that show had been amazing because of it. So had last year's show, and this year's.

But he knew that next year's show was probably going to be the greatest since it was Rawnie's senior year and she wasn't about to leave without making sure it outshined all the rest. That's why Leland wanted to know what she had planned; it was just too good of a secret for him not to know.

"Will you tell me if I guess it?" Leland asked.

Rawnie smirked. "I might."

"Wizard of Oz?" he asked hopefully.

She shrugged.

"Pippin?"

"Maybe."

"Wicked?"

"Perhaps."

"Phantom of the Opera?"

"Possibly."

"Oh, c'mon!" Leland exclaimed. "At least give me a hint, Rawnie! Please?" He looked at her with puppy-dog eyes, hoping that she wouldn't be able to say no to those, but she just laughed at him.

"No," Rawnie said. "I want it to be a surprise."

He glared at her. "You. Suck."

"I know," she chirped happily, beaming at him.

Leland whacked her with a pillow.

*

Kaleb Jacobs threw himself on his bed with a scowl, turning the volume up on his iPod to the point where it was almost painful to listen to. He didn't care. It had been the last day of school—the last day of dealing with stupid douche bags and sadistic teachers, and then he would be free to do whatever the hell he wanted for a whole summer.

And, of course, he had gone and fucked it up.

Or rather, Joey Sullivan had. If the guy wasn't an absolute dickhead, then maybe it wouldn't have happened. Maybe, if Sullivan hadn't been running his mouth like he always did, Kaleb wouldn't have punched him.

But he had, which was why he was home two hours before he was supposed to be. What a joke, being sent home earlier on the last day of school. Kaleb might have actually found it funny if he wasn't so pissed off and knew he wasn't in as much trouble as he was. His parents had warned him about getting into any more fights; he knew there'd be hell to pay if he did. And yet he had gone and punched Sullivan in the face for picking on a freshman—not even him, but a freshman Kaleb didn't even know.

Would that matter to his parents, though? No. Would they care that Sullivan was the King of Douche Bags? No. Would they remember that this was the seventh fight Kaleb had gotten in this year? Yes.

He rolled his eyes.

Typical. That's what I get for not being like C—

"KALEB!"

Kaleb glanced over to the door, where both his mom and dad were standing, glaring at him. Rolling his eyes again, he sat up and pulled his earbuds out.

Here we go. Again.

"What?" he said flatly.

"You know exactly what, young man!" his mother snapped. "I thought we made it clear to you what would happen the next time you got in a fight! Or did you forget?"

"No."

"Then why in the world did you punch that boy!?"

Kaleb just sat there and stared at her, not even bothering to open his mouth. It would have been pointless since there wasn't a reason that either of his parents would accept or even understand. He'd learned that out a long time ago. When it came to him doing something wrong, his parents never cared about the why; they always focused on the what.

"Your mother asked you a question," said Kaleb's father. "Answer it."

Kaleb looked over at him with a blank expression. "I would, except I see no point in wasting my breath when no matter what I say, it won't make a difference. Either way, I'm still going to get in trouble."

"And don't you think you deserve it?" his mother asked. "For god's sake, Kaleb—this is the second fight this month! I'm sick of the principal calling me during work just to tell me you're in trouble again! I won't stand for it anymore!"

"I'll keep that in mind for future reference," he said sarcastically as he looked back down at his iPod. He'd heard the same thing from her ever time he got in trouble, and honestly, he thought she should come up with some new material.

"That's it!" she screeched. "I have had enough of your attitude and your acting out! Give me your iPod right now!"

"What?" Kaleb said surprised, snapping his gaze back up to her. When he saw her outstretched hand, he scoffed and shook his head. "No way!"

"Give it to me, Kaleb!" his mother demanded.

Kaleb glared at her for a long while with his jaw clenched before he grudgingly handed over his iPod. He didn't want to, but he also didn't want to make things even worse for himself than they already were. Though he toed the line on a daily basis, he knew when he shouldn't cross it, and this was one of those times. But he still winced as he watched his mom shove it carelessly into her pocket. That iPod was his baby; he had no idea how he was going to survive without it.

"From this moment on, you're grounded indefinitely," said his mother. "No iPod, no computer, no phone, no car, and no friends until I say so. Do you understand me?"

"Yes," Kaleb ground out through clenched teeth, desperately trying to keep himself in check.

"Good," she said. "And you're to stay in your room for the rest of the night."

She then turned her back on him and began making her way out of his bedroom. Kaleb watched her go, getting angrier with each passing second. By the time his mom reached the door, he was seething, and though he knew that it probably wouldn't help his case at all, Kaleb just couldn't hold his tongue any longer.

"I suppose this means you're gonna ship me off to that boarding school in September now, huh?"

His mom stopped where she was and looked over her shoulder at him. When their eyes met, she just stared at him for a moment before answering in a cold, detached tone.

"I don't know what else to do with you anymore, Kaleb."

And then she left, her husband following her close behind.

Kaleb wanted to scream at her. Like hell she didn't know what to do with him! How about paying attention to him or listening to him for once! How about actually giving him a fucking chance instead of just writing him off because he wasn't the perfect son! How about accepting him for who he was instead of wishing he was more like his goddamn br—!

"Kaleb?"

"What?" he snapped. Connor was the last person he wanted to deal with right now.

"She won't really make you go," his older brother said sincerely. "If you just lay low for a while, I'm sure mom will—"

"Connor," Kaleb growled, cutting him off. "Shut the fuck up and get the hell out of my room."

Connor stared at him while Kaleb glared back. After a moment, his brother sighed and shook his head. "Whatever, man."

Then he turned around and left. Kaleb waited until the door closed behind him before he allowed himself to fall back onto his bed. For a while, he just stared at the ceiling, taking deep, slow breaths in hopes of trying to calm himself down, but it didn't work. He swung his arm out so the bottom of his fist hit the wall with a dull thud, which worked better, though not by much. Exhaling hard and groaning, Kaleb rolled over and buried his face in his pillows.

I want my damn iPod back.