The Truth About Angelina
Tadiella, or Taddie for short, wanted this more than anything in the entire world. She really wanted the part! Princess Bravora was the lead in the school play, Mission Meridell. She crossed her fingers as she entered the tryout room. Inside was Mrs. Quiggla.
“Um.” She was really nervous. You only got one tryout, one chance to prove yourself to the director. “I’m Taddie, and I’m trying out for Princess Bravora.”
“And what scene will you be performing?” Mrs. Quiggla asked.
“I’m going to do Scene III. Is that okay?” Taddie asked nervously. She was suddenly hit by the fact that Ixi were not the most glamorous neopets in Neopia. What if Mrs. Quiggla was looking for a creature more beautiful – for example a Uni, or Peophin? Or maybe something painted – royal or faerie. She was suddenly very self-conscious of her own green fur.
But she began. She was reciting a monologue. All went well, until - Oh no! She had forgotten the line! Now Mrs. Quiggla would never give her the part. “Um,” she nervously finished. That’s all.”
“Is that all?” said Mrs. Quiggla. “That was awfully short. I guess you’ll return tomorrow to find the results, but I shan’t tell you to get your hopes up...” She trailed off.
“Yeah,” said Taddie quietly, her eyes downcast. She slowly retreated into the hallway of Mystery Island Middle School.
Suddenly, she bumped into Angelina Genevieva Queena Bowlina. A faerie Uni, she was the most popular pet in the entire school. Her outfit was always put together – from her perfectly manicured hooves, to the pretty pink tiara that rested just above her pierced ears. And if that weren’t enough, her grades were straight A’s! Taddie couldn’t help but cross her hooves again. If Miss Angelina-face tried out for Princess Bravora, Taddie would never stand a chance!
She confidently glided into the music room, and announced for the world to hear, “I’m Angelina Genevieva Queena Bowlina, and I’m trying out for Princess Bravora!”
Taddie's heart sank. She knew she would never get the part now. What was the point of hoping? She meandered home, too depressed to say goodbye to her friend, Melodia. When she arrived home, she went straight to bed.
Taddie woke up, refreshed until she discovered that sinking feeling in her stomach that she had failed to complete her homework! She would have detention for the first time this year. Mrs. Lola, her teacher, would be so disappointed. She went to her closet to wear her favorite sweater – maybe, if nothing else, that would cheer her up. It had a huge stain the size of Kreludor! She couldn’t wear that. What about her M.Y.N.C.I. T-shirt that she had bought at their concert last summer? It was in the wash. Oh well, she’d wear her boring red T-shirt. As usual.
She went to have breakfast, but her favorite cereal, Neggy Bites, was all gone. She ended up having oatmeal. Yuck! Then she had to walk the long four miles to school. When she arrived, she found out she was late. Nothing was going right today! She slipped in her seat. Mrs. Lola didn’t seem to notice.
“So class, let’s correct the math homework! Number one is four times four. Angelina, why don’t you answer that one?"
Angelina smirked. “Sixteen!”
“Excellent!” praised Mrs. Lola. Angelina beamed. “Now who will do number two?”
Taddie slumped into her seat, hoping Mrs. Lola wouldn’t notice her.
It didn’t work. “Taddie?” Mrs. Lola asked. “Why don’t you give us the answer to 11 times 9?”
Taddie had no idea! What could she do? She looked around the room, her eyes searching for something she might use as an excuse. Then she saw Mrs. Quiggla out in the hall. She was taping a pink piece of paper onto the wall. What was it? She squinted her eyes, just enough to decipher the top line. “Cast list,” it read.
Taddie squealed, “Look in the hall! Cast list!”
No sooner had she spoken than all thirty two of the students in Mrs. Lola’s math class had stampeded out of the classroom, hoping for a glimpse of their name on the printed list.
Taddie wasn’t sure she wanted to look. She was just stalling for time while she could figure out the math equation. But eventually Taddie had to give in to curiosity. She scanned the list – hoping for just a glimpse of her own name. Then she saw her name! She saw it! Taddie Winslow! She leaned in closer to find her role.
“Understudy,” it read.
Understudy. Understudy. Understudy. Now what was that? Oh yeah. Those are the actors who don’t even have parts. They just step in if someone gets sick. Great. Just what I always wanted to be...
She read the list for other roles.
Braker – Prince Benjy
Baker – Prince Penjy
Melody – Queen Olivia
Just great. Even the class clowns and my best friend get roles!
Marilyn – mermaid #1
Carolyn – mermaid #2
Jethro – Court Jester
Chumo – King Jaboo
She didn’t bother to read all the names, but there were a lot of them. Am I the only one who didn’t get a part?
Suddenly, she wondered who won the lead, the part that she had so desperately wanted. She glanced towards the top. There, in Mrs. Quiggla’s fancy script it read:
“Miss Angelina Genevieva Queena Bolina.”
Now Taddie was starting to get angry.
Figures! She gets everything she wants. I hate her! And her snotty little friends!
Taddie tried not to scream. Angelina got everything! Why couldn’t Taddie just get this one thing, the thing she wanted most in the entire world! Angelina had the most expensive clothes, a painted petpet, and she was painted herself. She had straight A’s and everything a girl could ever want! It was all Taddie could do to keep from crying.
“Class! Class! Now that you’ve seen it, let’s please continue back into class. We still have to correct our math homework!” Mrs. Lola practically had to shout over the commotion.
There were a few groans, but within a minute or two everyone was back in their seats.
“Now Taddie, what was it that you said your answer was?” Mrs. Lola asked.
Taddie said nothing.
“Taddie? What was your answer to number two?” Mrs. Lola repeated.
Taddie again said nothing. What could she do?
The classroom was filled of cheers and shuffling papers and thirty two kids running outside for recess. Saved by the bell – literally!
Taddie took her math outside and completed the homework over recess. After a lunch of goopleberry jelly and rolls, and giggling with her friend Melody about the stupidity of the Bori brothers Braker and Baker, she felt as though maybe the rest of the day would turn out okay after all.
That afternoon, the entire cast gathered for play practice.
Mrs. Quiggla explained the practice schedules and handed out the scripts, and let everyone go. “Taddie, I’d like to have a word with you.”
“Me?” Taddie squeaked. Why in the world would Mrs. Quiggla want to see her?
“Yes. See, as the understudy, you fill in when people get sick, so I need you to know all the parts, at least a little. Okay?”
Taddie nodded. So her job was all work, and no glamour. Just like her life. She sighed as she walked out.
Practices were held every other day for three weeks. Finally, finally, finally, it was the night of the show. Taddie showed up only to support her friend Melody. “Wish me luck!” Melody whispered.
“I will!” Taddie replied.
Suddenly, Mrs. Quiggla said, “Angelina! She’s gone! Go find her- now!”
Taddie sighed. She didn’t mind searching, but why oh why did it have to be Angelina. Anyone else in the world would have been fine. She was about to say no, but Mrs. Quiggla was glaring her in a way that said, ‘you had better or else.’ So she wandered out to the hallway to find Miss Angelina Prissy Pants.
She looked all over the school
Classrooms, check! Hallways. Check! Bathrooms? Right there. All clear, except for some sobbing coming from the last stall. Wait, sobbing? Who could it be?
“Hello?” she asked.
“Go away!” said a voice that could only be Angelina.
“Angelina!” she hissed. “Don’t you know that the play has started! You have the lead role! You have to get out there!”
Angelina looked down. “I’m not going!”
“What do you mean you’re not going? I said it once and I’ll say it again. You’re the lead role! You have to go NOW!”
“Well, I’m not! I’m sick of being Miss Perfect. I’m sick of having to wake up every morning an hour earlier than anyone else so I can do my hair just so. I’m sick of spending my weekends sitting around studying so I can get straight A’s. I’m sick of wasting my afternoons practicing a play I don’t want to be in. I’m sick of it, okay? So leave me alone.” She was sobbing.
Taddie had never felt so guilty. She’d hated Angelina, envied her, despised her, when all Angelina had needed was an understanding friend. Oh, why had she been so cruel? She felt stupid. “There, there, it’s okay.” She tried to be comforting. They hugged. Taddie wanted to stay, but she had to go back to Mrs. Quiggla.
“Please don’t tell Mrs. Quiggla I’m here. Please? She’ll make me go on, and I really don’t want to!”
“Don’t worry,” Taddie said. “I’ll tell her you went home sick. Bye, Angelina!”
“Thanks,” said Angelina, “And you can call me Angie.”
Taddie left. She ran back to the auditorium, just as Act I was ending.
“So where is she?” demanded Mrs. Quiggla.
“She went home sick,” said Taddie, as promised.
“Then you had better get dressed... QUICK!”
“But why?” asked Taddie, “I don’t think I understand.”
Mrs. Quiggla snapped back, “You’re the understudy, aren’t you? And Act II starts in thirty seconds and you aren’t even dressed yet!”
That was enough to get Taddie moving. She changed the fastest she had ever changed in her life. She ran onstage, just in time to deliver her lines. She messed up a little, but... she had a lot on her mind! Like Angelina, whoops, Angie, for example. It looked like they were really going to be friends!
The show ended, the audience cheered, and people swarmed around her, showering her with compliments. Taddie felt as though she was in a daze. She escaped as soon as she could to the bathroom to visit Angie. She wandered in just in time to see Angie’s owner giving her a tirade. “Angelina Genevieva Queena Bolina! What did you do tonight? Playing hooky? You’re grounded for two weeks! No friends! Nothing! Just studying and thinking about what you did and how you can re-establish your acting career! And you can’t go shopping for a month either!”
Taddie slipped out, ashamed. What had she done? She silently watched a dejected Angie follow her enraged owner out. Angie had time for a quick whisper, “Don’t worry – it wasn’t your fault,” before a glare from her mom made her fall silent. Taddie watched Angie’s departure with tears in her eyes, before heading home herself to bed.
After that, everything seemed to return to normal. Angie became Angelina Geniveiva Queena Bolina again, with her snooty outfits and straight A’s. Needless to say, she didn’t skip out of the next play, and anyone besides Taddie would say everything returned to normal. But Taddie, well, Taddie knew the truth about Angelina.