Chapter XIX

"In another life,

I would make you stay.

So I don't have to say you were

The one that got away."

The One That Got Away

Katy Perry

So, this is what happened.

The security guards led me outside, and I stood five feet away from the door, waiting patiently. Then, one of them led me back inside after five minutes, signaling that Gabrielle was just about to get on stage. He had also told the Brigade band what had happened, explaining the plan that I had come up with in its entirety.

The hallway was empty, save for Allison, who smiled happily.

"Are you alright?" she asked, then brushed the comment aside quickly, "Of course, you're alright. You're fine, right?"

"Of course I am," I grinned, and I stooped in to hug her, "I'm ready."

Allison sniffed, trying not to tear up, and she thanked the security guard before taking me under her arm and guiding me back to the backstage area. We didn't bother creeping by Gabrielle's dressing room- we knew that she was getting ready to step onto the stage at any moment.

We did have to sneak past Chris, though.

Rex was standing by the refreshment table with the rest of the band, looking pissed and angry at what had happened with me moments before. Allison and I tried to gesture to him with big arm movements. Finally, Steve noticed us waving around like lunatics, and he motioned for Rex to go and talk to Chris.

"Excuse me?" I heard him ask, "I'm not gonna talk to that miserable-"

Steve pointed at me, and I waved happily.

"Okay," Rex agreed immediately, and he walked over to Chris to distract him.

Chris was distracted. Steve, Riley and Marcus made their way over to us, and Allison joined them in their attempt to hide me. We made our way to the opposite side of the stage that Chris was on, trying to attract as least attention as possible.

Which was saying a lot. Everybody noticed us.

Except Chris and Gabrielle's henchmen, which was all that mattered.

We made it up the short flight of steps and we got to the sidelines of the stage. Steve and Allison whooped in triumph.

"We did it!" Allison yelled.

"We completed our task!" Steve agreed.

I said nothing- getting up three stairs didn't seem like an accomplishment worth celebrating.

I looked out onto the stage and watched Gabrielle make a joke that nobody laughed at. I tried my best to ignore her, saving the fury for what was to come, but I couldn't help but stare at what she was wearing.

"What the hell is she wearing?" I half-shouted, gasping in shock.

Allison's face screwed up in disgust, "It looks like two strips of cloths tied together, and leather pants."

Riley shook his head, "That's disgraceful."

Gabrielle laughed nervously, showing to me that she was incredibly scared. She was probably wondering if she could pull off the task that was ahead of her. She cleared her throat and announced that she was about to sing a new, unheard of song, and she hoped that everybody liked it.

The first word didn't match her lips.

She was really bad at lip-synching, to be honest. When she started the first line, Steve muttered under his breath something that sounded like, "You would think that she had practiced for something like this."

We all laughed silently in agreement.

It was getting to the part where our plan would go into action. I turned to see one of the security guards standing suspiciously next to the power box on the opposite side of the room, ready to shut the lights off. Marcus and Riley were shaking out, and Steve was rolling his head, cracking his neck from side to side. Allison stared at me wondrously before pulling me in for a hug.

I heard nothing except the whisper of her voice in my ear.

"Are you ready?" she asked, "This is your moment. Everything changes here."

I laughed, "I was born for this moment."

I truly felt that I was. Like every fiber and bone in my body had been made for this event to happen. My purpose was to fight. In this moment, I shined my brightest.

Allison pulled away from me, her hands on my shoulders, "Remember: No matter how hard you fall…"

"You always get back up," I finished.

She spun me around to face the stage, and I ran.

My mother's words surged in my head like a war chant, and I sprinted with all of my strength. There was no room for hesitation. No room for asthma attacks. There was definitely no room for Gabrielle Sing on that stage.

This stage was mine.

Watch out, world. Here I come.

I slammed into Gabrielle, and she screamed bloody-murder before she was ripped away from the microphone, the words to my song going on without her.

Then, everything stopped.

I looked up in time to see Christopher's face. I could see the disbelief in his eyes, and the concern, but most of all I took joy out of the complete grief set in his entire being. The regret. The sorrow.

I smiled with anger and confidence, and I shouted at the top of my lungs, "That's what you get for not believing me!"

The stadium turned black.

Some obnoxious girls screamed as the dark consumed every corner and took away peoples' vision. Friends felt each other's faces to check if they were still there, others waved their own hands in front of their eyes and could see nothing. It was black. If it wasn't so loud from the screams, they could have probably heard as the microphone stand fell to the floor up on the stage and the fake musicians with the instruments they were paid to not play scatter.

Nothing happened for a couple of minutes- just the voices of fans of the Brigade and Gabrielle Sing whisper to each other as the dark receded a fraction and their eyes adjusted to the dark. What happened? Why couldn't they hear anything on the stage except feet moving around? It was scary to sit here, waiting for what seemed like hours but was only a mere two minutes before the lights on the stage swam into a pool of spotlight around a figure.

And that figure was me.

The stadium was silent for a moment, confused, but then the rest of the lights on the stage turned on and the Brigade was illuminated, standing with their respectable instruments.

Brigade fans screamed as Steve, smiling and waving, bent over the microphone as he took his time to adjust it my height. Rex was on my other side, and he hopped up and down onto the stage, while more of the fans screamed. "I love you REX!" was heard from the stands and he smiled and blew a kiss. Steve nodded at me before he turned the microphone towards him and started to speak.

"Hey," Steve said.

The crowd screamed.

"I'm Steve Mayor," (screams) "This is my brother, Rex Mayor," (more screams) "and this is my cousin, Cambria Williams." The screams weren't as full hearted as the others when my name was called out, but they were still screams.

"And to all of you Pinkies out there," he bowed his head, "I bare you bad news that we would very much absolutely positively love to deliver to you," the singer and lead guitarist turned and looked at me, "Would you do the honors?"

"Hmm. I don't know…" I pretended to be hesitant, but I grabbed at the microphone and yelled, "Gabrielle Sing is a FRAUD!"

Silence. Not even a whisper was heard, before gasps and raised voices roared through the audience.

"Gabrielle Sing is not the singer she has let you believe-" screams interrupted Steve as Rex did a back flip behind him. Steve scowled before continuing, "And I know, because I, as well as the Brigade, played the music in 'Another War is Starting'" Screams ensued, "and Rex and I also did the music for that lovely song you heard the beginning of. If you guys haven't already seen, Gabrielle was lip synching and that horrible band that was playing our talented music was not talented enough to match our amazing skills.

"The thing is," he continued, "We can now bless you with the presence of the real band, and the real singer."

Rex stepped up and yanked the microphone out of Steve's hand and yelled.

"Ladies and gentlemen! I know give you the one and only artist of "Another War is Starting" and "I Know What It's Like", Cambria Williams!"

Screams of joy rose to the ceiling of the closed stadium as everything turned black once more.