Liam sat at his desk, chewing on the end of a pencil. He had been staring at his homework for too long now, but he was too tired to move. He sighed deeply and banged his head on his desk, moaning. He was behind in all his classes but choir and it just made him more irritated that he couldn't complete a single math worksheet.
He made an inhuman noise and rolled off his chair onto the carpet, face down. Then his bedroom door opened and the sound of laughter filled his ears.
"Liam? You okay?" His best friend, Cassi asked in between giggles. Liam moaned into the carpet again. Cassi squatted down next to Liam and rubbed his back, her giggling ceasing.
"I'm sorry." She said, smiling, and pulled the homework paper off the desk, grabbing a new pencil. She put the work on Liam's head and then started writing.
Liam mumbled something and then rolled over, grabbing the pencil and paper from Cassi and erasing her nonsense scribbles.
Cassi sighed. "You need a break Mr, or your gonna kill your last brain cell." Liam shot her a look but got up, yawning and stretching his arms over his head. He hummed softly, looking at his homework.
"I'd love to trust me, but I'm busy." Cassi made a faint pleading noise.
"C'mon Li, be reasonable." She asked, using his special nickname. Then she shot up like somebody had electrocuted her. "Amelia is having a costume party tomorrow night for Halloween! You should come!"
Liam scrunched his nose. "I'm good, no thanks." He hated parties and hated Amelia even more. She was the richest, most popular snob in all of Eagle Mountain Academy. Cassi frowned and put her hands on her hips.
"Liam Ray Johnson you are going to that party!" She stated. "And don't you forget it!"
Liam looked at the giant building in front of him. Cassi had called it a house but it seemed more like a mansion to him. Bright, flashing lights hurt his eyes and loud music blared in his ears.
Liam had dressed up in ripped black jeans and a navy blue shirt with a blazer, a white mask covering his face. He was Jack from a video game called Torn To Pieces. Suddenly the front door flew open followed by Cassi, running straight for Liam in her costume.
She was decorated as a pixie. Her pale pink dress went to her knees and her white flats contrasted perfectly. Her hair was up in a crown of braids with flower-incrusted jewelry woven into it. Her makeup was minimal, but she seemed to glow under the blush and lipgloss.
"You're here!" She cried. Then she stood on her tiptoes, trying to unclip Liam's mask.
Liam jerked his head away. "If I'm staying, so does the mask." Cassi opened her mouth like she was going to argue but decided against it and grabbed Liam's hand instead.
"Oki doki!" She laughed and pulled Liam into the chaos. Liam closed his eyes and prayed he didn't run into anybody in this sea of people.
Finally, Cassi stopped and shouted, "Open your eyes silly!" Over the music. Liam did and blinked a few times. The floor beneath him was changing colors at an alarming rate and his brain could barely register what colors they were before a new color popped up like a jack-in-the-box.
A giant disco ball hung in the center of the room and a stage was behind them. A DJ dressed in neon colors stood on the stage, controlling the music and pumping his fist.
Liam looked at Cassi, nose scrunched, and hollered "Can I go?!" But Cassi just giggled, grabbed his hands, and weaved her way to the center of the dance floor.
She laughed at Liam's attempts at dances when suddenly the music stopped and the lights stop flashing. Amelia stood on the stage, a microphone to her vibrant red lips.
She was decked out in crimson and Liam took a step back. She looked like she was covered in blood. She had a tight shirt on, accenting her chest, close-fitting skinny jeans, red stilettos, and a crown of red roses sitting on her head.
"Attention peasants!" She cried and Liam rolled his eyes. "We're gonna be doing a little competition!" The crowd went ballistic. Amelia smirked and pulled out her bedazzled red phone. "Just type in RedQueen4Ever in Google and you'll be taken there!" Everybody immediately pulled out their phones.
"Wait!" Cassi shouted and Amelia looked at her. "What's the competition?" Amelia laughed.
"A very good question! This competition is a...." She paused for dramatic effect and you could almost taste the tension. "Singing competition!!"
If the crowd was loud before, it was defining now. Girls were screaming and clapping, boys were stomping their feet on the dance floor and Liam felt like he was going to throw up.
"All you have to do is fill out the form with your name, what song you'll be singing and we'll call you up!" Amelia answered and Cassi nodded, quickly looked back down at her phone, thumbs tapping furiously.
Liam slunk away to a corner, pulling out a fidget toy to keep his hands busy. The throwing up feeling slowly went away as he watched person after person get on the stage and sing. After they sang the crowd would vote on their phones.
Liam shut his eyes and leaned against the cool wall, calming his racing heart. He hated parties. No question about it. Then his eyes flew open and he stared in disbelief at Amelia.
"Next up we have... Jack from Torn To Pieces!" She said, scanned the crowd and Liam pressed himself against the wall. But she spotted him. "Jack!" She cried, smiling and all heads turned to Liam.
Liam forced himself to swallow. "I erm you see, there must be a mistake, I-I never signed up- and-" He started but then somebody grabbed him and pushed him onto the stage.
Amelia grinned and handed him the microphone. "DJ hit that track!" She called and moved to the side of the stage. The opening notes of Lies by Will Jay started and Liam could feel his heart hammering in his chest as fast as the beat.
He glanced around. Bright lights. Booming music. Screaming people. Amelia's blood-red outfit. Cassi's smiling face. Wait, Cassi's smiling face. He locked eyes with her and she grinned sheepishly. She had signed him up.
Liam felt like screaming at her. He didn't want to be here in the first place. He didn't want to be on stage. He didn't want to make a fool out of himself in front of Amelia and everybody else at school. But there was nothing he could do now.
So he took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and started to sing.
"I wrote a song about being broke
It kinda started out as a joke
I didn't go to college, what would I know
About student loans?
Just wanted you all to relate to me
Most of my songs aren't true
I faked heartbreak I didn't go through
Even when I told you I've never been in love
I already was
Just wanted you all to relate to me
I don't mean to mislead you, I promise
So uncomfortable bein' dishonest, ah-ah
And I think I just realized I would say anything
To come off a little more interesting
That's why I tell
He could hear the crowd going crazy below him but he refused to open his eyes as he belted out the lyrics to his favorite song. He could feel the energy in the air and smiled, singing louder. When the music died down he cracked open an eye.
Everybody was going insane. They were screaming and clapping and shouting things Liam couldn't make out. Except for one.
"Go Li!!" Cassi screamed hands cupped to her mouth. Liam grinned and handed Amelia the microphone back, hopping off the stage to join his friend. Cassi hugged him tightly. "You did A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!" She cried and Liam couldn't help but smile wider as people around them agreed.
"Your such a dork." He told her, hugging her back loosely. Touching wasn't his thing.
Cassi giggled. "Yep! I'll take thank you nows."
After the party, Liam and Cassi were walking home when Cassi's phone dinged. She pulled it out, clicked on the notification, and then squealed loudly. Liam cringed.
"Li! Li, look at this!" She cried and shoved the phone into his face. Liam blinked, grabbing Cassi's wrist and pushing the phone away so he could see it. It was a leaderboard of who got the most points from the competition.
First Place- Jack from Torn To Pieces.