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I'm Gonna Be Me

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Her mother wouldn't approve.

Priscilla stops short at the thought, people around her grumbling as they correct to avoid running into her. Like there's not enough room in the square. She puts up her nose and levels each of them with a look she's practiced so they all know how far beneath her she sees them. It gives her something to look at other than Frankie.

The thing is that she'd rather look at Frankie. No– she'd rather walk the rest of the way through this sham of a shindig– what new imaginary Luskey accomplishment are they even celebrating?– and step between Frankie and Cody Burns. The two of them are standing by the stage that Frankie just hopped off of, smiling over something while the next act sets up. From the look of them– Cody with his hands waving as he speaks, Frankie looking both proud and shy– he's complimenting her performance.

Priscilla could be doing that– and it'd mean a lot more coming from her anyway, right?

Okay, maybe not. But it should. She wants it to.

Suddenly, one of Cody's fluttering hands is pointing her way. When Frankie follows his lead and spots Priscilla staring, her smile drops and takes Priscilla's stomach with it. She jerks, turns it into a pointed cross of her arms and pivots to look out into the crowd on the makeshift dance floor. Everyone is milling around while they wait for the next set, laughing and having a good time.

It isn't going to happen anyway, so she lets herself imagine being out there with Frankie; arms around each other and smiling like they had back then, when they sang together.

"Hey, Priscilla," comes Frankie's voice from almost close enough, making Priscilla jump. She turns with wide eyes and there's Frankie, hands clasped behind her back and a new smile on her face. Far away onstage, the band is announcing their first song. Frankie glances back at them– no, Priscilla realizes with annoyance, at Cody– then back to Priscilla. She takes a deep breath, holds a hand out and asks, "You… Do you wanna dance?"

Priscilla doesn't know what to say. She knows what she wants to say, but– her mother wouldn't approve. She still remembers seeing her after the idol contest, the disappointment cutting deep and bleeding the happiness and pride that had warmed her the whole way home. She remembers her mother's eyes glaring into hers like searchlights. There was more to that glare than Priscilla's loss, not that Priscilla herself understood it yet.

She remembers Frankie singing, Don't be afraid of what they say.

Her mother isn't here. She's in jail, refusing to accept Priscilla's visits since she found out Priscilla knew about the Bots.

Frankie's here. Priscilla's here. So, maybe what they want is more important. No, definitely. Priscilla isn't a girl who doubts what she wants, why should she start now?

So she takes Frankie's hand, smiles like she's just learned how and says, "I'd love to."