Episode 402: Money Changes EverythingAdria wrung her hands. She stood up. She sat down. She stood up again and paced the hallway outside of the auditorium.
She checked her watch. Ten minutes. Ten minutes before it happened again. Before she climbed the stairs and poured her heart out on the stage. In ten minutes she’d feel incredible. So proud of herself. Her hopes would soar. And then someone would crush them to dust again. Tell her she didn’t have the talent to pursue her dream.
Her chest grew so tight that she felt like it would explode. Adria grabbed her purse and jacket and scurried down the hall. She burst from the exit, running for- she wasn’t sure where, but hands stopped her, clasping her shoulders.
"Am I too late? Did you already audition? Damn, I wanted to surprise you, you know, be here to support you. Not that you wouldn’t be great without my support. It went good, huh?"
Adria looked up, finding so much love in Ryley’s eyes that, though tempted to tell him she’d auditioned and failed, that she’d tried to meet his ultimatum - but she couldn’t lie to him.
"I chickened out," Adria admitted and tears streamed down her cheeks. "I just can’t deal with that again. I can’t. It hurts too much. Please," she begged. "If you love me don’t ask me to put myself through this. I’m happy just being with you."
"They’re not going to reject you," Ryley insisted.
"You can’t know that for sure."
"Yes I can. Trust me on this."
"Did you pay them off or something?" Adria frowned yet at the same time felt blessed that he cared so much.
"First of all," he said, brushing his hands over her hair. "Your talent is more than enough to get you into this summer program." She shook her head doubtfully. Ryley grimaced. "Second of all, paying people off isn’t my style, it’s your father’s. I don’t want to tell you this, but I guess I’ve got no choice. You’d better sit down."