The final assignment from my creative writing course. All feedback welcome.
Syd’s job as a singer in a casino was not conducive to her health or her bank balance. She had a penchant for cocktails and gambling, a combination that could have been her downfall were it not for the unwavering support of her older brother, Roberto, who had managed to secure the biggest gig of her life; it was a dream come true.
She took a step back and studied herself in the mirror. She was glad Lucia, her dresser, had suggested the azure dress, which emphasised the midnight blue of her eyes. The dress was hip-hugging, perhaps a little too tightly, she mused, making a mental note to give away the box of chocolates that had been delivered to her dressing room by an admirer. Her long, dark hair swept down in front of the sultry made-up lids. A little of the gold glitter which was sprinkled throughout her locks, had escaped onto her mouth, accentuating the deep ruby gloss of her full lips.
Brushing some stray locks from her forehead, she twirled the strands into tight ringlets; a nervous habit from long ago.
‘I can’t do this, Lucia.’ Syd turned to her confidant and best friend. ‘This is huge! What was that brother of mine thinking when he arranged this gig?’
‘Syd, this is your dream come true. This could be your ticket out of Venezuela – it’s what you’ve always wanted.’ Lucia whispered. She admired her friend, in more ways than she could imagine.
‘You’re right, I can do this. I look fab and I’m at the top of my game.’ She laughed, taking a large swig from her mojito, ‘and if I keep telling myself that, I’ll be fine.’
She took one last glance at herself and sighed, her bosom heaving on her in-breath. She blew a kiss to Lucia and made her way to the stage.
Behind the heavy, red curtain, Syd played with her hair, pacing before the microphone. The clink of glasses and murmurs of the audience did little to hide the thump, thump, thump of her heartbeat.
She reflected on how performing in front of the King of Venezuela was a dream she’d had since she was a young girl and now it was about to come true, thanks to her brother’s intervention. He had always been the smart one – the star pupil; and now his job as a hot shot lawyer had brought him influential contacts.
They’d been brought up by their Aunt Sophia when their parents were killed in a car crash; she and Roberto being the only survivors. She suffered flashbacks of the accident, particularly when under stress and now she felt under immense pressure, she was starting to get panic attacks.
She needed a drink. Peering into the wings to see if she could catch a glimpse of Lucia, she was thrilled to see her deep in conversation with Roberto. Getting their attention with a quick snap of her fingers, she mouthed, ‘Mojito’. Her brother rolled his eyes upwards and he and Lucia shared a joke before Roberto tenderly brushed her arm and departed to get Syd’s much-longed-for drink.
Syd felt a pang of jealousy at the affection between her friend and her brother. Lucia looked at her and shrugged her shoulders. The girls both knew how they felt about one another, and this was one of the reasons Syd wanted to leave Venezuela; a relationship such as theirs would be frowned upon. Syd loved her country, but there were many sad memories and her salary as a casino singer failed to cover her lifestyle – she was a sucker for the roulette table. She desired to take Lucia to Las Vegas, where they could start a new life together.
The booming voice of the MC shocked her into the moment, just as Roberto returned with the mojito. She barely had time to take a sip before the curtain parted. Looking up and to her left, she spotted King Hugo standing in the royal box, applauding madly. She took a step towards the front of the stage, raised a hand to her hair, smiled up at him and curtseyed. Facing the audience, she held out both arms in welcome, took the microphone from its stand and starting to sing.
When the concert was over, she knew by the King’s reaction that her ticket to Las Vegas was guaranteed. She searched backstage for Lucia and Roberto to celebrate her success; disappointed to find they were not waiting for her in the wings.
Descending down the steps at the side of the stage, she heard laughter coming from behind a closed door. Opening the door quietly, she saw Lucia, champagne in hand, smiling down at her brother. Roberto was on one knee, presenting her with a diamond ring.