Raven stared at herself in the bathroom mirror, pleased at the way her super smudge non-waterproof mascara looked on her face, the black tears gave her an especially death-like vibe. Hopefully, her face got her at least a couple seconds of airtime because she had bombed the comp once again. To make matters worse, production hadn’t even called her into the DR! She sighed, turning on the tap, trying to hold back the tears when she thought of her mother’s disappointment. Now Raven, you have to try your hardest, I will be watching. If you don’t make it far enough for gastroparesis awareness month, consider yourself disowned. Do you know how important it is for you to make it as far as you can? You need as much airtime as possible. Momma can’t afford all these surgeries and medical expenses on her own.
Raven stepped into the shower, thinking of her mother’s last speech to her. Be as loud and arkansassy as possible. You have to ham it up everyday, remember our battle plan. First things first, find your showmance partner. Hell, find two. Remember, the more fighting in the showmance, the more comps you win, the greater your chances to get called into the DR. The DR is the most important part, constantly rehearse what you have to say everyday. Whatever you need to for optimal airtime. Now repeat after me: Airtime, airtime, airtime.
She emerged out of the shower, renewed with hope. She would get more airtime next episode, she would try harder. She would be even more energetic this week than last. She wouldn’t disappoint her mother. Her mother who suffered her whole life because Raven was sick. Her mother who said she loved her more than anything in the world. How dare she disappoint her?
She walked back to her room, past a giggling Jessica and Cody in the APSR. Her heart stopped when she heard Cody say ‘I love you.’ She willed her legs to keep walking as pangs of jealousy swept through her. Lucky Jessica...how come some people had all the luck in the world? Would she ever experience that? A man saying he loved her? Her mother said she would never live long enough to be married and have babies. Her heart ached.
She knew that Matt didn’t love her, if he did he would at least try to reciprocate… No, she wasn’t going to think about that stuff. The showmance was nothing but a showmance, she had to suffer through because mother said showmance partners got the most airtime. Mother was always right. And airtime was the most important thing, not her feelings. Airtime. So her mother could be happy, all she wanted was her mother to be happy.
She thought back to Robert, the older gentleman who her mother said she would have to live with because she couldn’t afford to house Raven and pay her medical bills. The man had helped her mom with Raven’s medical bills, he was very nice and rich. At first it had been rough living and sleeping with this man but she got used to it. Her mother said she had to do it if she wanted to live. She told Raven to pretend. Make a whole new personality for yourself, her mother said. Talk different, walk different and you will eventually feel different. Robert had said that he loved her but Raven did not believe him, she didn’t like him, he was old and ugly.
She smiled when she saw Matt waiting for her on the bed. At least Matt wasn’t ugly, it was easier to pretend with a good-looking guy. Her mom would be happy with how good she was pretending. If her mother was happy, she was happy.