A/N: Italics means it is a memory.
Bold means it is a memory within a memory.
(Might be a little confusing...)
People from all over the city gathered under the stadium-like tent, ready to witness the grand opening of 'Christianson's Amazing Circus'. The thought of wild, ferocious lions trapped in cages, gigantic elephants stomping onto the stage, the evil yet hilarious clown who would make you laugh to death and a top secret act, only revealed during the grand opening were fresh in their minds. The heavenly aroma of food wafted about, drawing any starving customers towards them.
Behind the curtains on the stage, I laid down, ready for the show. I sunk into the small foldable chair as the chaos of hysterical performers and make-up artists surrounded me. They bustled from place to place while I was immersed peacefully in my own little world. I imagined that how the show would be the greatest I'd ever witness. I rolled my eyes at what we'd never have. I pitied those people who were expecting a thrilling performance.
My face had been covered in thick white make-up. My eyes were painted with a black cross and red paint was smudged around my lips to draw a huge, goofy grin. I also had a big honking, red nose of course. Wearing a colourful shirt, a pair of baggy pants (four sizes too big and held up by long straps that reached all the way to my shoulders) and a hideous frilly coat, I was certainly feeling stupid. A small black hat was slapped onto my head to top it off. Yeah, I was the 'evil' clown.
The crowd thinned as everybody wandered off. My eyelids drooped as my mind and body longed for rest. I gave in to my weariness.
Memories of my audition for this circus flooded into my mind. I tried to fight off those painful visions, biting my lip to hold back the tears. I couldn't do it!
A picture of a big, modern building filled with excited people clouded my vision. To my dismay, I could remember that day as though it was yesterday. I closed my eyes in defeat…
I was sitting in an uncomfortable chair, trying to stay calm and patient as I awaited my turn. I watched and noticed that those who had left the judging would slouch past me, disheartened.
"Next! C'mon, we don't have all day!" yelled a deep voice from the other side of the door. When it snapped open, I jumped slightly before quickly craning my head to find same woman opening the door for the contestants.
I whirled around and stared as the next man carefully rose from his seat beside me. He eyed me lazily before striding into the judging room. The woman stared nervously at him but ignored her as he swept his dark hair out of his eyes. I almost laughed as that woman by the door huffed in frustration after being ignored. She slammed the door shut, a little harder than necessary.
I relaxed as I scanned the large room. It was nearly my turn. I had been discouraged when people jeered, 'You will never become a Ringleader!', but I managed to keep my hopes intact.
The sound of the lock turning had me slowly turning around. I could feel my heart thumping against chest. At that moment, I regretted even coming to this audition.
From outside, I could just make out two figures shaking hands. He exited the room looking all smug and a grin plastered on his face. He practically strutted through the doorway. The man smirkedat me as I glared icily at him.
"Good luck trying for another circus!" He sneered. I was seething with rage – how dare he say that?!
"You heartless JERK!" I growled, attempting to shove him back. He stayed adamant, looking me in the eyes. He pushed away the hopeless assistant who had tried to stop us. I frowned back and replied in a deadly voice, "You hear me? A heartless jerk."
"Oh, so I don't have a heart? Who told you that you had a right to tell me whether I had a heart or not?" he snarled.
"You don't deserve to become a Ringmaster!" I bellowed. Memories of my childhood blinded me as I remembered my first visit to a circus.
I was ecstatic when I found that the clown was giving out balloon animals. The Ringmaster was walking past the little crowd of children when I was pushed aside by a little boy, around my age. He didn't care.
"Are you alright?" the Ringmaster asked anxiously, holding out a hand. I took it. I lifted my head and from the corner of my eye I watched as the same little boy eyed me jealously, his skinny arms crossed. I stuck out my tongue at him.
"What's your name?" he asked me sweetly. I gave him a big smile.
"Well Leslie, let's go and find your parents. First of all, though, do you want to get a balloon?"
I nodded vigorously and watched him chuckle. I turned around and looked back at the boy while the Ringmaster led me to the front of the queue. He had rushed off, not bothering to wait for a balloon.
It was then that I had decided I wanted to be a kind-hearted Ringmaster, like him.
"I said you don't deserve to be a Ringmaster! You are a heartless jerk!" I spat as clenched my fists. He narrowed his eyes. "I don't need to hear that from you," he said icily.
Unexpectedly, I burst into quiet tears; my heart had finally shattered into a million cold, hard pieces. I looked down to try and hide it but it was already too obvious. Water rolled down my cheeks. I could barely breathe.
Staring at his back, warm tears continued cascading down from my emerald green eyes. Through my blurred vision, I wasn't certain but I swear I had seen him turn his head slightly. It looked as though he felt guilty but I shrugged the thought off. I didn't need his sympathy.
Then I ran.
I felt like a coward as I ran away.
In the blink of an eye, I found myself flying through the air, the unpleasant ground growing ever so closer. I could hear a loud mix of gasps and whispers. I curled up into a ball, waiting for the excruciating pain to come… but it didn't.
Rolling down the aisle, I could hear sniggering. I was praying I would not crash into anyone. I quickly broke free from the ball, waiting for the collision—
I was standing upright without a scratch. It seemed amazing how well I handled the problem.
"BRAVO, my lady, BRAVO! I hope you'll join our circus as our very own clown!" A familiar deep voice filled my ears—he couldn't possibly be one of the judges…? I beamed when he placed a hand on my shoulder. I agreed to join, not knowing how tough it would be to work there.
My eyes jerked open to find the Ringmaster's face, millimetres away from mine. My heart skipped a beat.
"Don't fall asleep!" he barked. He stood up, and straightened himself before pushing aside the heavy curtains. His enchanting voice boomed throughout the whole tent, captivating the entire crowd.
I glowered at the red curtains which separated me from him. I wanted him to suffer the pain I had when he had opened his big, fat mouth!
Suddenly, an idea popped into my mind.
I grinned maliciously. One of the only two people backstage scooted away from me, the other slowly edging backwards, twisting the knob frantically as he tried to get out the room. I immediately stopped grinning as the Ringmaster returned and gave me a weird look. I ignored him; he was the last person in this world I would care about.
Snuggling deeper into my chair, I tried to concentrate on my plan. It felt impossible when I was ALONE with him. He took a seat next to me and he settled down. I tried looking around the room to distract me. Why did he have to sit next to me? Unfortunately, I caught his eye. I stared into his cold eyes until finally he dropped his gaze.
"Don't forget you're up next." He hissed at me with the voice I oh-so hated very much. I looked away but nodded my head to show that I understood.
Time flew by and groaning like a little kid, I stood up with goofy smile on my face.
A thunderous wave of polite applause greeted me as I appeared before them, smiling. I had decided that I would mess up the performance, the one the Ringleader had tried over and over to perfect! My nerves were no problem, but as I looked at the audience and their cheerful smiles, an agonizing tug at my heart told me that my revenge wasn't worth it.
I took a deep breath.
In what seemed like a flash, the show ended. I was already walking to my car. The deafening applause at the end of the circus act brought a smile to my face. I was glad I hadn't gone through with my stupid plan.
"Hey," I heard a VERY familiar low voice call out to me. I swung around and glared at the unbearable-to-look-at face of the Ringmaster.
"What is your problem? Don't follow me around wherever I go!" I spat.
"My car is over there," he defended, nodding to the shiny car parked next to my unpolished one. I stared at him before forcing the small car key into the keyhole.
"Wait!" he insisted. I glared even harder. Stupid guy – just leave me alone!
"Nice job, Leslie." He said quietly and took a step towards me. I froze.
Slowly he raised his head and showed me his first genuine smile. My face softened, breaking into a grin.