Waiting in the Wings
by Tara Frejas
Genre: Romance / NA / Contemporary
Release Date: February 21, 2017
At twenty-three, theatre actress Erin Javier has yet to fall in love or kiss a boy offstage, away from the klieg lights. She is the perfect leading lady—whose heart men would fight for, win, and protect—unfortunately, only until the curtains fall and the lights go down. In real life, Erin is a certified NBSB whose heart has been hoping for a song to dance to for quite some time.
But when two (two!) men enter from stage left and right, Erin is confused. Who deserves to take center stage in her heart—Mr. Theatre Royalty whose attention and displays of affection make her pulse race, or a good friend whose steady support has helped steer her to success and fulfill her dream?
Erin hit the space bar on her laptop keyboard, pausing the video they were watching. Ramon blinked at the frozen picture on the screen and turned to look at Erin, whose narrowed eyes were fixed on him. “W-what? What did I say?”
“You’re not auditioning for lead?” she asked, echoing the sentiment he mumbled to her only a few seconds ago.
Ramon felt as though he was being interrogated, and a wrong answer could land him in prison. That, or he could get stabbed, which was more probable given Erin had a fork sitting in her bowl of rice and sinigang. “W-ell…I considered it.”
“Come on, Erin. We all know Pio Alvez is going to get lead.” If he sounded bitter saying that, it’s because he was. Pio had everything going for him. He could act and sing and dance, and his pretty face was the shiny red bow that held all that talent together. What’s more—he had a huge fan base, and that meant income for the theatre. Anyone who had eyes, ears and common sense would know he was a definite shoo-in for the lead role.
Was he only thinking about the lead role in the musical? Of course not. Because Pio was a shoo-in for the role of Erin’s leading man too, judging by the way her eyes twinkled when she described their first date earlier.
“So? Alternates exist!”
It was too late for Ramon to realize that Erin wasn’t joking. His laughter was cut short when she asked him what was so funny.
“Erin, I’m not going to get that part, okay? I’m almost 100% sure they’re not going to give it to me no matter how—”
“How do you know?”
Erin was getting upset. He knew by the way the tip of her nose slowly turned a bright shade of pink. If he failed to get his shit together, he knew her cheeks would soon turn crimson.
“Listen. I’m just not the type.”
“Who said that?”
“Every director I auditioned for?”
Ramon wasn’t exaggerating. He never got to play the roles he wanted. Even in college, he was told he was too lanky, too tall, too…everything each time he ventured to audition for something. He was praised for his talent, only to get shot down because he just wasn’t the type they were looking for.
Over time, he began comparing himself to the actors who won the roles he auditioned for. It became a bad habit every time cast lists came out and he didn’t find his name on it. And while he learned to be content working behind the scenes, somewhere along the way, he resigned himself to the fact that this was where his type belonged. Backstage. As one of the many faces in the ensemble, a shadow in the background.
“Well, they’re wrong,” she said, the conviction in her voice so strong he was almost convinced she spoke the truth. “Ramon, I know that a lot of us have to deal with a hundred ‘nos’ before we’re given a chance on that stage, but that doesn’t mean we should give up fighting for the ‘yeses.’ What you’re doing now—that’s giving up, and I’m not going to let you do that to yourself.”
Wait. He blinked at her.
“You remember the words, don’t you?” she asked, her gaze challenging. “I can see it in your eyes. You remember.”
He did. They were almost the same words he told her when she cried over her sprained ankle, convinced she wasn’t going to be able to go to her audition.
“Chin up. It’s fine to cry, but when you’re done, you mind this ankle. If you need to stay in bed a day, two days, that’s fine. But don’t stay there. Don’t give up. I’m not going to let you.”
Ramon sighed. “I can never dispute that memory of yours.”
A slow, arresting smile spread across Erin’s face, bewitching him once again. She must’ve said something he didn’t catch, because she waved her hand in front of his face, as though checking if he was still in there, somewhere.
“I said, let’s go.” She pulled her laptop screen shut, picked up her bowl, and got up from the carpet where they were both sitting.
“To the mall. I’m giving you a makeover.”
“What? What for?”
She winked at him. “You’ll see.”
Tara Frejas is a cloud-walker who needs caffeine to fuel her travels. When she's not on work mode, she keeps herself busy by weaving her daydreams into stories.
Aside from her obvious love affair with words and persistent muses, this full-fledged Piscean (who cares what NASA says?) is passionate about being caffeinated, musical theatre, certain genres of music, dance, dogs, good food, and romancing Norae, her ukelele. She owns a male bunny named Max who sometimes tries to nibble on her writing notes.
In another life, she wishes to be a musical theatre actress. Or a director, maybe. But in the meantime, she’ll continue being an avid supporter of the local theatre scene...one show at a time.
MORE FROM TARA FREJAS
Paper Planes Back Home | The “Forget You” Brew | Scandalized | Settle the Score/Hustle Play | Make My Wish Come True (a #romanceclass Christmas anthology)
Learn more about Tara Frejas and her works here:
What I like about the story:
Erin: Spotlight and Backstage. She is unstoppable! From being a lead actress to a Production member, I salute you, Erin! I like how Erin gives chance to others to shine on their own time and spotlight and at the same time, she is giving herself a chance to challenge herself being at the backstage.
Meet Pio Alvez ‘The Theater’s Dark Horse’ and Ramon Elias Figueroa ‘The Rising Stage’s Star’. Of course, there is a head to head fight over these two not only in winning Erin’s heart but getting the lead part. I’m already #TeamRamon as he entered in the Chapter 2. I was screaming for him to be Erin’s first boyfriend! He is like your typical boy next door who would be there for you when you needed. Pio, on the other hand for me is like a bad boy who has a soft heart and who would like to always shine.
Finding One Self and Loving Your Self More. I love how each character finds what they want and making their dreams happen on and off the stage. There are those who finally realize what their heart desires. There are few who take the risks and get out of their comfort zone. And there are those who are just waiting to be given a chance.
Character Interview (Thank you Tara for this opportunity! This is my first time!)
~If you will be given a chance to be a part of an International Musical Play, what would it be? Who would you like to be your leading man?
Ah! There are so many! I would love to be able to play Natalie Goodman in Next to Normal, or Cathy Hiatt in The Last Five Years, among others. But more than going international, I’d really love to help cultivate the common Pinoy’s love for local theatre and encourage them to see more of our homegrown shows.
But hey, if I should dream to be paired to be someone from Broadway, I’d love to work with Jeremy Jordan or Aaron Tveit.
~After being a wardrobe mistress, what position in the Teatro Lakambini production would you also like to try next?
I’ve actually been part of the wardrobe team a few times when I was a rookie, so putting that hat on again for Hanggang Ulap felt natural na. I really want to learn lighting and sound design though, so the next time Lakambini has a workshop on that, I’d definitely sign up for it.
~What are we going to look forward to you after your success as Aries Hernandez?
More shows, hopefully, because it’s always a learning experience to be working with like-minded and passionate people like my Lakambini peers. I’m not sure yet what the next Lakambini production will be, but I will be around to help in whatever capacity I can. I’d love to be able to choreograph again, though. Choreographing Hanggang Ulap was definitely memorable and if I can do more of that in the future, I’d be very happy.
~If you will be given a chance to act on stage with your girlfriend, Erin, what story would you like it to be? Or do you want your own love story to be a musical play?
Hah! Erin and I joked about this and we said we probably shouldn’t play lovers on stage because then we wouldn’t be acting and there won’t be any challenge! Kidding aside, it would be a joy to be playing any role alongside Erin. I’ve always admired the work she does and I know I have a lot more to learn from her in terms of acting.
~What is the most challenging portrayal that you've been acting on the stage? How do you prepare for it?
Every role I get is different so I treat each of them as separate challenges—some of them just require more research than the others. J As for preparation, I always seek out people after I’m done reading the script. The playwright, if they’re around... the director, my co-actors. We have discussions about the story and how we perceive the characters in the story. Sometimes I read books or articles related to the story, or watch movies that have similar characters, and I take notes. It’s almost like studying for an exam, only there are no actual right or wrong answers, just better ways of portraying people and telling stories.
~Are you going to be more active in theater or are you going to be more focus on television? If you will be given a chance to choose your leading lady, who would it be and why?
It would be nearly impossible to do both at the same time, but I’d like to try. Theatre is and will always be my first love, but I’ve also grown fond of TV and movies. If I’m given opportunities to showcase my talent through all these different mediums, I will take them, for sure.
I still want to work with Erin Javier. J I think we’d make a great tandem.
Garnet to Ramon
“I think Erin likes you but she doesn’t know it yet. Or she doesn’t realize how much. Because feelings are like that sometimes- like sleeping volcanoes taking their time, because nothing has moved them enough to make them erupt in a violent cloud of ash and lava.” –I agree!
Erin to Ramon
“I think I’ve fallen in love with you. I was so happy when you came to Lakambini. It felt like finding a missing piece of a puzzle that I’ve been trying to solve for so long.”
Ramon to Erin
“But there are people who are meant to stand in the spotlight, and there are people who need to hold the lights for them. That’s just the way our world works. We don’t all be stars, Erin. You know that. Some of us need to stay behind in the dark so others can shine.” –Very inspiring!
“At the back of my mind, I always thought that someone who shone as vividly as you deserved someone equally stellar or even more.” –And yes I love you Ramon!
How it ends:
Counting of kisses + Applause from the audience + Girlfriend’s Support + Boyfriend’s Success = Perfection!
Tara!!! Thank you and my heart truly loves you for creating Waiting in the Wings. This is the first story that I have to read the ending because I couldn’t wait to know whom Erin would end up to. I was getting crazy and heartbroken when Pio was being introduced. I read it backward and it was so sweet! I felt Ramon’s heartache, Erin’s confusion and Pio’s longing. The letter and the silver coin were incredible! I was moved emotionally and it made me remember when I was doing theater production. The title was very appropriate not just about finding love, but more about letting your talent shine on the right time. I want to re-read this story again with my own hands, yes, I’m going to buy my own copy! Please also write a story about Pio because he deserves a happy ending as well. Great job with the songs! Congratulations with your latest masterpiece.
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Perk’s rating: 6/5 (I highly recommended this novel!)