"Thanks everybody! Goodnight!"
The thundering applause echoed throughout the entire arena, the cheers almost drowning out the dazzling singers, who bid their fans farewell. After a collective bow was taken, the thick velvet curtain met the stage, confirming that the concert was over.
"That was such a rush!" Alvin exclaimed, high on the energy of their final song.
"Definitely our best song of the night," his blue-clad brother replied, wiping his glasses on his shirt; the shirt that was custom made for the routine they had just performed.
"We were amazing!" Eleanor gushed, as the six made their way to their dressing rooms. "Did you hear the audience?"
Everybody could still hear the crowd from backstage, albeit muffled. As they took some water to cool down, Alvin wondered what they'd encounter at the stage door. He hoped it would be a mass of fans waiting for autographs, because if he was being honest, he didn't want this feeling of euphoria to end.
"That's all for tonight, but you've been a great audience!"
The moment the Chipmunks and Chipettes were met with the familiar sight of the curtain hiding them from the screaming fans, they started to make their way off the stage.
"Great show tonight, everyone," the eldest chipmunk said, wiping the sweat from his brow.
"I totally nailed that high note," Brittany mused, checking for lipstick smudges in her compact mirror.
"As always," Jeanette smiled. She checked the time on the wall and suddenly gasped. "That reminds me, I need to get home as soon as possible. It's a big day tomorrow."
"I still haven't finished preparing my speech," her counterpart suddenly remarked, rushing past her and into his dressing room.
"It's crazy to think we're graduating high school tomorrow." The blonde chipette took a moment to reflect before deciding to get ready. Theodore did the same.
That left Alvin and Brittany standing alone in the corridor. The chipmunk smirked.
"Well," he said, stretching, "I guess it's time for me to go sign some autographs. The fans just can't resist me."
His counterpart let out a single laugh.
"If you could just tell them that I'll be there in five, that would be great," she responded, and added with a cheeky wink, "since it's me they're waiting for."
"It's been a real pleasure, goodnight!"
The duet blew kisses to their adoring fans as the same curtain fell before them. A couple of roses managed to slip their way underneath the heavy velvet before it was finally over. No longer under the blinding stage lights, both finally let out a sigh.
"Great night, huh?" The red-clad chipmunk mused, still standing on the stage. His jacket glittered under those stage lights, his grin wide, still wide.
"Yeah," Brittany replied, staring at the curtain for a moment before turning. "Shame it was the last though."
"W-what?" Alvin spluttered, eyes wide. His reverie was shattered. As people around him removed props, he stared at Brittany in disbelief. "What do you mean our last?"
"Let's face it," the redhead began. "We're not the group we used to be. We're older now, four members down, and I think it's time we start pursuing our own careers."
"No buts, Alvin. You really think this was working?" She gestured to both him and her, as well as the empty stage. The chipette frowned. Then sighed, looking away. "We're finished."
The chipmunk felt his stomach twist into several little knots, the reality of their situation not being something he wanted to accept. He wanted to feel nerves mingle with excitement each time he walked out onto that stage, feel the energy course through his veins when he sang his heart out, and cherish the joy when he'd finish for another night. It couldn't end. Not yet. Was it his fault his siblings went on to do other things? Was it his fault Jeanette and Eleanor didn't follow suit and sing with their sister? Why was Brittany doing this? He thought she wanted this.
Brittany, after deciding that letting this fragile silence between the pair linger was a bad idea, turned to head backstage, but a sudden hand clutching her wrist would stop her.
"Wait! Britt don't go! It doesn't have to be over. We can keep singing, we can keep making our fans happy, because this is what we want. This is what we both want." He held on tight, trying to make sense of it all.
She couldn't deny, singing was one of her true passions. She fought so hard to make that dream come true... The chipette cast her memory back to her younger days, working so hard just to get by. Before the Chipmunks, before Alvin.
"Britt?" Alvin half-whispered, swearing that he could see the beginnings of tears in his counterpart's ice blue eyes.
Shoving the young adult chipmunk away, Brittany angrily retorted:
"You don't know anything about me!" She shook herself free of his grip, shooting him a fiery glare. A glare that spoke a thousand words.
Clenching his jaw, Alvin cast his gaze to his left, where he could see his dark shadow on the red velvet. He could hear the faded muttering of a crowd leaving the arena, and closed his eyes in despair.
By the time he would open his eyes, Brittany would be gone.
Alvin bathed in the rapturous applause, taking a long bow, the sight of so many ecstatic fans making his night. He picked up a rose from the stage, and held it high, simultaneously blowing a kiss as the curtain swooped in and shielded him from sight.
He knew there had been a couple of shady faces in the audience tonight, watching his every move. He was a solo artist now, and the consequences of such were always going to follow him. The Chipmunks and Chipettes were officially disbanded, not that it was a decision he would want to make, but a decision that he had to make. It had barely been six months since the incident with Brittany, but he was doing fine. If fine meant the crawling anxiety he felt when he got closer to the stage door. Sure, he had bodyguards to protect him from the furious wave of journalists who were riding on the story that fans heard the argument behind the curtain. But it never used to be this way.
He wondered how everybody was. His brothers, the girls, Miss Miller... He still lives with Dave, waiting for the right house to appear on the market. Simon went to college, and so did Jeanette. Theodore went to cookery school, and so did Eleanor. And Brittany...
The chipmunk let out a long sigh. Sitting there on his vanity table was a ticket. Her first solo concert.
"Thank you for coming! Goodnight!"
The redhead was breathing heavily, taking in the cheers and applause as the curtain made its descent. Her legs were about to give out, but the excitement of having the entire stage to herself... it felt new, it felt amazing. Big routines, lots of dancing, and lots of exuberant and flashy outfits. The stage was washed in a sea of pink lights, and the fans were loving each moment, singing along and waving their hands in the air.
It was wonderful, but she knew the concert was going to present its challenges. At each opportunity, she found herself scanning the crowd, looking, and looking again. But struggling to see in the dark.
Everything was pink, and it wasn't until the very end, that she saw red.
Frowning, she stroked the velvet material, the strappy heels on her feet beginning to hurt. Deciding it was time, she made her way to her dressing room, allowing herself to be accompanied by an entourage. Security's sake, they say. The exhaustion was steadily coming over her, and as she stopped by the door, she sighed.
"Is there anything you need, Brittany?"
"No, thanks. I'll be fine." And with a subtle wave, she dismissed the entourage to allow her some time alone in her dressing room.
As she pushed open the door, a very particular sight took her by surprise, and awoke her from sleepy trance. A large bouquet of roses on her vanity table. Red roses.
"You've been a great crowd tonight! Thanks!"
Alvin waved as he bid his fans goodnight, the final song of the evening over. The arena was vibrating with the applause, the cheers ringing in the chipmunk's ears. But the moment the curtain hid him from view, he was gone. The smile was wiped from his face as he started to storm through the corridors, desperate to reach his dressing room.
"Alvin? Alvin!" One of his agents tried to catch up with him. "Alvin! A-a word, please?"
Letting out a low growl, he turned, scowling. He raised his eyebrow, a cue for the agent to speak.
"I thought that perhaps we could take this opportunity to discuss the interview-"
"Don't have to. Did you see that crowd?" The chipmunk pointed in the direction of the stage. "That journalist dragged me through the mud, and it's taking its toll."
"No!" He punched the wall, the frustration bubbling up inside too much. But he regretted it instantly, both for his aching fist, and the group of attendants now staring. Rolling his eyes, he let his voice drop to a hushed whisper, now cradling his fist. "I don't want to talk about it. Not tonight. Please just..."
"I understand. We'll discuss it at another time. Have a good night." The agent nodded, and left. And so did the staring attendants. Now Alvin was left to make the rest of his journey to his dressing room in peace.
Just over a year since he went solo, and things weren't as sunny as he'd hoped. It wasn't his fault, per se, it was one journalist who he was sure was out to get him. He asked about his bond with his brothers, the girls, Brittany, and then the argument. And he blew it.
After what felt like an eternity, he reached his dressing room. Shoving off his sequined red jacket, he pushed the door open, only to audibly gasp at what greeted him, or rather, who greeted him.
The chipette sat on the plush cream sofa situated at the back wall of the room, but she looked so small in it for some reason. Her hair was freed from its usual ponytail, dishevelled and tumbling down her back. She looked up from her lap, and Alvin saw that her eyes looked red, and her cheeks were marked by streaks of black mascara.
"A-Alvin..." Her voice was faint, raw, unsteady. Immediately concerned, the chipmunk closed the door behind him and edged his way towards his counterpart. It seemed as though she didn't really know where to look, or what to say. She looked lost.
"What's wrong?" He asked, setting his jacket down on the coffee table. Brittany loudly sniffed, and when her eyes met his, tears effortlessly spilled from her eyes.
"M-Miss Miller," she choked out. "She's..."
"She's what?" The chipmunk had a horrible gut feeling about where this was going, the trepidation creeping in his voice. Taking a seat next to her, he tried to encourage the chipette to speak.
The next thing Alvin knew, Brittany began to wail, as she threw herself against him, shoulders shuddering violently as she cried into his shirt. Feeling cold upon what could only be a realisation, the chipmunk placed a shaking hand on his counterpart's back. His mouth formed a tight line as he absorbed the news, his heart sinking. He knew how much she meant to Brittany, to all of them. The only parent the girls ever really had. He knew someday this would come, but he didn't want to imagine it like this. He never wanted to picture the moment Brittany was breaking her heart like this. Swallowing thickly, he tried to comfort her.
"There there," he muttered softly, using his other hand to stroke her hair. "It's going to be okay."
She let him continue doing this for about five minutes, although time itself just seemed to halt. His shirt was damp with tears, but he didn't care. Her body was aching with crying, but she didn't care. Eventually, she moved out of his embrace and looked up, taking a shaky breath. Blue met blue, and in that very moment, her features softened. He was looking back at her, worry etching his features. She bit her lip.
"She... she..." Brittany's voice wobbled as she tried her hardest to regain her composure. "She meant the world to me."
"I know," he whispered. "I know."
Wiping at her face, the chipette felt the sting of hot tears that she had cried on her cheeks. Furrowing her brow, she looked away.
"I-I... I'm sorry- I- I shouldn't have come. I just didn't know where to go a-and I-" She started to rise.
"Don't be sorry," the chipmunk interjected, placing a hand on Brittany's shoulder. "I'm... I'm glad you're here."
The chipette still refused to meet his gaze.
"I know it's been a while, but I really- I really..." The words died on Alvin's tongue, and he silently cursed himself.
"I need to go," Brittany suddenly said, standing. "Goodbye, Alvin."
Rushing out of the room, the pink-clad chipette left her counterpart in a whirl of floral perfume and the bitter, bitter smell of the rain.
"Goodnight! Thank you!"
Brittany smiled gracefully for the many fans watching her, cameras flashing as fans took their final opportunity to photograph the singer before the curtain dropped. The moment it did, she hurried backstage.
Attendants were hanging around with clipboards and although the chipette was offered a bottle of water to help cool down, she refused.
"Brittany," her agent approached her. "We have word that you have a visitor waiting in your dressing room."
"Is it him?" Brittany quickly asked, the anticipation evident in her voice. "Well is it?"
"I believe so."
The redhead needed no other cue, for after her agent had spoken, she marched through the corridors, mentally preparing all the things she wanted to say- no, yell at him. She'd been waiting for a chance like this.
Pushing open her dressing room door, she glared across the room to see her counterpart lounging on the sofa, dressed in his casual get-up, red cap tilted at an angle.
"You," she seethed, slamming the door shut.
"Evening, Britt," the chipmunk casually replied, stroking a silk cushion.
"Who the hell do you think you are, huh?"
"I don't know what you're talking about, toots," Alvin stood. "Maybe I could ask you the same thing. I heard your new song. Took a little dig at someone, did we?"
"Why didn't you show up at the graduation? You know Simon and Jeanette were hoping you'd be there!" Her words were laced with venom, as the moment they hit Alvin, he froze. Brittany was about to throw a self-satisfactory smirk, but after a few seconds, her counterpart hit back.
"I couldn't because I..."
"I had to perform, and I couldn't cancel at the last minute." Brittany laughed at the sheer ridiculousness of the chipmunk.
"Last minute? You knew about the graduation for weeks!"
"No buts!" The chipette interrupted, advancing towards the chipmunk. "Just admit it! Your singing career is more important than your family!"
The pair stopped, breathing heavily, staring intensely into each other's eyes. They were a couple of paces apart.
"Enough about me," Alvin began, voice back to a normal level. "Let's talk about you. You didn't answer my question."
"What question?" Brittany scoffed, glancing to the right to check in the mirror that her ponytail was sitting in perfect place.
"Your new song. Trying to sabotage me, are you?"
"Please, you did that yourself with your famous interview a couple of years ago."
"But you don't deny it, do you?" The chipmunk paced around the room, shaking his head. "You're jealous. That's what this is."
"Jealous?" Brittany had to restrain the laughter. "You've lost your mind!"
"You can't accept that I'm doing great on my own. Well, was, after you went and ruined it! You don't support me at all!" He stormed across the room, steadily getting closer to his pink-clad counterpart. He pointed to himself. "But me, I was there. I went to your first solo concert. Supported you. Wanted the best for you."
"This isn't my fault!" The redhead shouted. "And if you were really there that night, then where were you? Because I looked for you, Alvin! I do care!"
The shouted ceased, as the pair realised that they were inches apart from each other, their noses almost touching, their uneven breaths mingling. Brittany swore that the air conditioning hadn't been switched on, because the heat in the room was unbearable. The room was beginning to spin, and the several lamps of light framing her mirror blended into one golden haze.
Alvin opened his mouth, ready to speak again, but suddenly, Brittany stole the words from him by hastily closing the gap between them, pressing her lips against his, wrapping her hands around him.
The chipmunk made an audible noise of surprise, but after at least three seconds of shock, and standing completely still in the chipette's embrace, he melted into the kiss. He moved his own lips against hers, and whilst resting one hand on her waist, used the other to run his fingers through loose strands of her hair. It was passionate, it was needy, it was inevitable.
When they started to run out of air, they separated.
"Britt, I..." Alvin said quietly, moving a hand to touch Brittany's cheek. "You're... You're so beautiful, a-and I think that you're-"
"I know," she breathed, looking amused. "I read the interview too."
The chipmunk rolled his eyes, and smiled.
He was shushed by a finger on his lips, and the redhead in his arms shaking her head.
Neither could remember much after this point, other than being lip-locked, the night being a blissful, rosy glow.
"You've been a great audience tonight! It's been an absolute blast!" Applause. "But, before I go, I'd like to invite someone very special up onto this stage. She's sitting in the front row."
Alvin looked down to see his girlfriend slinking further into her seat as people surrounding her stared.
"Britt, will you come up for a sec?" He held out his hand as a gesture, and laughed to himself as he saw her fervently shake her head. In response, he fervently nodded. The chipette sighed, and allowed herself to helped onto the stage as the audience cheered. She hoped he had a good reason for this.
But he did.
Before the curtain fell, Alvin and Brittany's moments on the stage were characterised by three things: the weight in Alvin's pocket bringing him down to one knee, Brittany being unable to control her tears as the entire arena gasped on her behalf, and the one word Alvin was hoping for.
The red-clad chipmunk gave himself a final check in the mirror before spraying some cologne. He looked dashing, as always.
He finished doing his vocal warm-ups and so was about to make his way to stage, until a knock on the door stopped him.
"Come in," he called, but his visitors were already making their way in. "Britt? I thought you were sitting in the-"
"These two," she said as she gestured to their twins, "wanted to wish you luck before you start."
Alvin smiled as he watched his sons take in the vast space of his dressing room, not so much as they started fishing through his wardrobe.
"Okay boys," he said, pulling their attention away from his guitars. "I don't have long before I have to be on stage, so..."
He opened his arms out for the twins to run to him. The three shared a hug.
"Are you going to cheer extra loud for me?" The chipmunk asked.
"Of course," Al Jr. said.
"We always do," Alvin Jr. added.
"Everybody's waiting in the front row for you," Brittany said before giving her husband a kiss on the cheek. "Good luck."
"Thanks." He looked at his family for a few moments, then adjusted his cap. "Well, here goes, huh?"
"You'll be fine. Come on boys, we need to get to our seats. Say goodbye." The chipette ushered the twins out of the room.
Once everybody left, this was Alvin's cue to make his way to the stage, where his band were waiting. Several stage-hands were making last-minute arrangements, sorting out final pieces. His agent gave him the thumbs-up as he walked onto the stage, still masked by the curtain.
His heart was pounding, the adrenaline rushing through his veins as he desperately tried to focus on his breathing. He knew that everybody would be watching tonight. The whole family were there, waiting patiently in their seats. Waiting to see him. A stage-hand tapped him on the shoulder and handed him his beloved red guitar. Throwing the strap over his head, he felt a lot better already. He couldn't wait to see the crowd, see the fans adoringly chant his name. If he excluded his wedding day, and the birth of his sons, then being on stage definitely brought him one of the best feelings he ever experienced. Euphoria. He remembered as a child he never wanted that feeling to end, and he knew exactly why. He could let loose; completely lose himself in the music. No matter what, he could smile and enchant the audience to his heart's content while performing on this stage.
He looked ahead. Spotlights were shining against the velvet, roaming across the entire stage. He could feel the heat of the stage lights, and finally, hear an announcer call his name.
It was time. The audience went wild.
The curtain rose.