As the latest audition left the stage, you held back tears and a yawn. It had nearly 2 hours of this; auditions from everyone wanting to join the drama club. Some were decent, though a vast majority were a drag to watch. You knew Club Day would be difficult, but this many people definitely didn’t show up last year. You wanted to ditch and head home, but as the appointed President of the Drama Club, you were obligated to see it all through. The few other members that were helping you screen auditions didn’t make things easier, they seemed all too eager to reject as many people as they could.
“Would it kill you guys to accept a few people?” You hissed. “Unless you’ve forgotten, we have a club quota to fill.”
“Chill out Yuna-senpai, it’s just that almost everyone isn’t good enough.” Wataru, your VP, said.
“Quit it with the senpai stuff, I’m younger than you.”
“Is it really that bad that we have high standards?” He whined, completely ignoring your complaint. At that you hesitated. It wasn’t bad to have high standards for the club, she would hate to let it fall to disarray but….
“No, but we have a quota no matter what. Instead of outright rejecting everyone how about we---” You were quickly cut off by a slap on your thigh, your attention brought towards the next person that had stepped up for audition.
You didn’t remember seeing him sign up earlier in the day at the stands. He must be the one who signed up while I knocked out….
He was rather plain looking. His hair was dark and fashioned into a bowl cut. In this day and age? From his expression he seemed incredibly nervous, and he seemed to have pretty severe acne. You assumed he might be barely taller than you, but you supposed he was kind of cute in that shy nerdy way. He cleared his throat once, twice, thrice, he started coughing from trying too hard.
“What’s your name?” You asked politely, hoping to make him feel more at ease.
“Nice to meet you Karamatsu-kun.” You couldn’t help but giggle when he snapped to attention. “You can start your audition when you want, take your time.”
It took a few minutes, but he eventually held up his script and started.
Only a few lines in, you were captured. You didn’t even notice yourself lean forwards, full attention on Karamatsu and his performance. This feeling, the same feeling that led to you falling in love with theater in the first place. You hadn’t felt it since the last time you were allowed to perform. You didn’t know how, but somehow, Karamatsu was bringing these feelings back to you.
His performance was over far too soon for your liking, your heart aching for an emotion you thought you’d never experience again. After an extended period of silence, your realized everyone was waiting for your verdict. Karamatsu stood in silence, watching you with trembling legs and bated breath. Pulling yourself together, you hopped down from your chair and approached him, grabbing his hands in yours. You briefly noted your assumption on his height from earlier was correct, your forehead reaching his nose. Touching him your could feel for yourself how he shook, and you quickly put him out of his misery.
“Welcome to the club Karamatsu-kun.”
Waiting there after his audition for a decision was the longest minute of his life. Karamatsu couldn’t handle the blank stare the Drama Club’s President had levelled at him. He knew it was foolish to sign up, he shouldn’t have done that without actually speaking to her. She probably pretended to fall asleep then in hopes he would go away and he didn’t take the hint. All he wanted was to join a club like most of his brothers were doing, and in their current state he knew he couldn’t apply to any of the same ones they applied to. Yet…
Even if he signed up mainly for convenience, the feeling of performing was unlike anything he’d ever experienced. He felt as though he truly was someone else, as if he’d escaped the dim reality of his life and was someone else entirely. He felt like an individual, rather than a set. It felt…exhilarating. The feeling lasted for a few seconds after he was finished, before being replaced with anxieties when the Drama Club members save for the President discussed among themselves. Her gaze didn’t leave him, her expression impossible for him to decipher and filling him with dread. Did he do badly? Perhaps he only felt as if he did well because it was his first time. That must have been it, she was probably unimpressed.
He flinched when she suddenly jumped out of her seat and stalked towards him, then again as she grabbed his hand. At this point he couldn’t hide his nerves, his face heating up at her sudden proximity. Distantly he noted that she smelled like rubbing alcohol and cherries.
Then she smiled at him, all sweet and pure. “Welcome to the club, Karamatsu-kun.” She said. He almost questioned why before biting his tongue. Thanking her profusely after she informed them of their next meeting, he walked out of the auditorium. His walk quickly turned into a run as he made it outside, before devolving into a full sprint as he raced home. He couldn’t help the laughter that bubbled out of him. He just couldn’t believe it, he made the cut!
“Thank you, Akatsuka-sensei!”
That night, you stared up at your ceiling, cuddling a cat plush as you thought back on the auditions from today. By some miracle you had managed to meet the club quota a go a little further. There were definitely some promising acts in this year’s bunch, but it was obvious that no one had stood out to as much as the one boy did.
You were looking forward to working with him this year, and hopefully getting to see him perform even more.