It was a week before Halloween and the atmosphere had made its way around the university. People started wearing costumes and putting on gloomy make up. Some freaks even wore rather strange costumes. It all looked dark, at least for me. I always hated Halloween. It wasn't because there was no Halloween celebration in Indonesia but, it was just, I didn't like it. In every classroom I saw decorations of pumpkins, skulls, faces of Frankenstein, velvet rabbits, and many others. Maybe it was time for me to get used to it.
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I came to campus with Casey. Our classes started at the same time and it was still half an hour to have our classes started. Both she and I were very disciplined about time. We didn't like being late. We went to the cafeteria and sat there while we waited.
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"Umm, Cynthia," she paused and laughed softly. She made me start to ponder what it was that she was about to tell me. I insisted that she speak up. She managed to speak. "Last night..."
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When she mentioned 'last night', I became interested. My eyes were open wide as I waited for what she would say next.
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"I couldn't explain, just see what I have here." She didn't say anything more but took her IPhone. I saw her opened the gallery and pressed the video menu. I was about to take her IPhone but she held it and said, "But please don't be angry because I record this." I promised her and she gave it to me.
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I saw what was in that video. There was a guy in a room and he was propping a girl bridal style. The girl wrapped her arms around the guy's neck as if she was holding a bolster. What's this? A short movie clip? Then the guy laid the girl on the bed slowly but she didn't let him go. She even put one of her legs on the guy's body and locked him there. Not wanting to wake her up, they guy took her hands and put them on her belly and her leg onto the bed. I didn't know who the guy and the girl were until the guy turned his body toward the camera and light shone his face before the video stopped afterward.
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I was frozen. The guy in the video was Gee Kay and no doubt that the girl was me. I didn't turn my face to Cassie or gave her IPhone back because I felt embarrassed.
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Knowing my reaction, Cassie said, "Cynthia, it's fine." Her voice woke me up as if from a deep slumber.
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"No, no, no," I moaned. "Oh God, what am I supposed to do with this? How can I meet him again?"
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Cassie chuckled. "Hey, hey," she touched my arm. "You'll be okay. Relax. It's all fine."
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I rolled my eyes and faced this roommate of mine who considered everything was fine. For me it wasn't fine because it had been me there in the video and I did-I did that!
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"But trust me, Casey, I didn't think of anything dirty or - whatever it was when I didn't let him go." I paused and felt reluctant to continue but I needed to tell her. "I was dreaming, well, I, well," I hissed, "I dreamed I hugged him because he did a great job in reading Indonesian text."
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"Okay, okay. Whatever it was, just relax," she tried to calm me down. She rested her palm on my shoulder. "If you tell him, he'll understand. Really. You know him, right?"
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I sighed and nodded. I tried to think that all was fine just like what Cassie said. Perhaps I could pretend that I had never seen the video and never knew what I had done. Sure. Gee Kay wouldn't notice.
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The sky was pretty clear when I looked up in front of the campus building. It was nice seeing the blue color that I really liked. I walked slowly toward the parking lot and stopped beside Cassie's car.
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I remembered that my daily living fund had been transferred to my bank account that I had made a month ago. I also had paid my debt to Julie for the money she gave me to pay the medicine. I still had enough money to buy anything I would need. I was considering having a part time job since the university allowed me to do it although I had full scholarship. It could be an experience for me here. Who knows that I would work here before I go back to Indonesia? I probably would start looking for a job that was appropriate to my skill after I got back to Argenta.
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My phone buzzed. I took it out from my jean pocket and saw Brenda's name on its home screen. Her message said that she wanted to meet up when I was available. I replied to her that I was in the parking lot and she could come to see me for a while if the reason she wanted to meet up was important. I got another message from her that said she would come very soon.
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Brenda did what she had said. She came less than two minutes. I counted it. I mean it. She showed up with -- Oh no, Gee Kay! I need to hide -- and they were walking closer to me.
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Cynthia, relax, relax. Pretend that you have no idea about last night. While I acted normally, I kept talking to myself to calm me down until they were right in front of me. "Hi all," I greeted. I hoped that none of them knew that I gave a forceful smile. In fact, I can't even smile now! I feel embarrassed!
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"Uh, Cynthia. Let me go to the point. Gee Kay told me that he wanted to help me in making my movie project and he would become an actor as he wished," Brenda glanced at her brother and then back to me again, "But I also rewrote the story to make it more interesting."
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I was listening to Brenda as if everything had been fine. I remembered an article I read on the internet in overcoming embarrassment and I did my best according to what was written there. Well, I think I made it. They don't recognize it.
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"Well, at first, there was only one character in my project, but because I found you, the real Indonesian--"
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"Wait up," I broke in. "Are you going to say that you want to involve me in your movie?"
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Brenda nodded in confirmation. "Please say yes," she begged. "I really need you now, because ethnicity is considered the most. Please."
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I was thinking about it. I knew I was a Theater student, so acting was my life, but I still had this problem. I still needed some space to forget what I did to Gee Kay in the previous night. What was I thinking when I was sleeping? All I could remember was the last thing I did; listening to Gee Kay reading. Maybe for other girls, it was nothing. However, for me, an Indonesian who was considered, as always, as a never-touched-by-any-guy-because-I-don't-want-it-before-the-marriage girl, what I did last night was bad.
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"Cynthia, I know you can." Brenda brought me back from deep thinking.
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"Yeah, I know, but," I paused and continued, "Okay, I'll help."
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"Yay!" Brenda gave me a hug. "Thank you."
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"Don't mention it." I said as she pulled away from me.
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"Oh, hello." As if out of nowhere Cassie appeared. Both Brenda and Gee Kay turned their sight as well as I did to her. She stood beside me. "Are you going to take Cynthia with you? If yes, then I can leave her with you."
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Brenda shook her head. "No," she answered. "But, Gee Kay will pick you up at six because we'll take the first shoot tonight."
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"Tonight?" I was taken aback. "You don't even give me any time to prepare anything."
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"We won't have any dialogue today, Cynthia. So, you don't need any preparation," Brenda explained. "But I need you to wear a pink dress."
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I gaped. "I, um," I scratched my head, "Don't have any pink clothing."
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Brenda and Cassie laughed, while Gee Kay tried to hold himself from laughing by covering his mouth his fist and turned his head to the other side.
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"Yeah, I know, I know. You're thinking I'm not a genuine girl, aren't you?" I crossed my arms over my chest. "Gee, if you want to laugh just do it. I won't be offended. I know laughter would always be a reaction for this."
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"Are you sure you don't have at least one thing which is pink?" Cassie said in disbelief.
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"I don't have any. I just prefer other colors," I defended myself. "Okay?"
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"Okay, okay. You can wear mine," said Brenda. "Just wear anything you have, but remember, you have to look feminine."
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I shrugged it off. "I'll try my best." I replied.
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Cassie wrapped her arm around my shoulders. "You can count on me to make over this girl, Brenda." she offered a help that was directly accepted by Brenda.
I was a little bit tired but I couldn't sleep though I had tried my best. Take it easy, I said to myself, while the other side of me replied No, I can't. How can I do that? I was struggling inside. Not knowing what to do to overcome this feeling, I got up from bed and put aside my intention to take a rest at least an hour. I sat on the chair beside my bed and took my Bible to read it.687Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡAWVAU0uqVR
Reading the Bible was the best way to calm myself down whenever I got a problem. Believe it or not, it did work. Always. It felt like God spoke to me directly. I wondered why so many people didn't even touch their Bible. I finished my reading and I looked at my digital clock on my desk that showed 4.30 PM.
I took a shower fast and by the time I finished, Cassie showed up from somewhere I didn't know - because she hadn't been in the room with me since we got here - and she was sitting on her bed as if she had been waiting for me and ready to make over this lack-of -sense-of-fashion girl. Me.
Cassie got up from her bed and told me to sit on my bed because it got more light from the open window. I did what she told me. I made myself as cozy as I could be because I was afraid that this make over operation would take forever. She took the chair beside my bed and dragged it closer to the bed. She sat on it and opened her make up case. I peeked into the case to see what she had. She was truly an awesome girl. She had everything she would need to make herself beautiful with cosmetics; blush-ons, lipsticks, mascaras, foundations and so on.. I gaped seeing it.
"Can I sleep?" I asked as she was about to smear some lotion on my face.
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Cassie hissed. "Hey, I will give the simplest one, it won't take long," she said. "Just close your eyes, but don't sleep."
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"Okay." I replied simply.
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As long as I could remember from what mom taught me, after the lotion, what came next was foundation or powder, then blush-on and the last was lipstick or lip gloss. Okay. I remembered it all. The simplest one, I mean. However, I didn't feel like doing it every day just as Cassie and Julie did. They are great girls, maybe I can learn more from them in case I need it in the future. But later.
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"Finished." Cassie declared.
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I opened my eyes. I felt a little bit drowsy but I was okay.
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"I did it fast, right?" Her voice sounded cheerful.
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"Why are you smiling like that?" I asked as Cassie gave an amused smirk. "Okay. I hope I won't look that bad." I got off my bed and walked toward the mirror.
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Speaking frankly, I was seeing a different girl at the moment. My reflection didn't show the normal me. I was astonished and I liked it. Cassie did a great job. She didn't do as my mom did which I considered as a little bit too old for me.
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"See, you like it," Cassie stood beside me and looked at me through the mirror. I gave her a nod. "You should do put on some make up sometimes."
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"I always do, only without blush on and lipstick." I defended myself.
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"Whatever," she rolled her eyes. "Now turn around." She forced me to turn my body facing her and then she stepped backward. Her eyes squinted exploring my body from up to the bottom. She flicked her hand, and she opened her dresser. She was digging around for something until she found what she was looking for and brought some pink fabric wrapped in a transparent plastic to me.
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I took it from her. "What's this?" I asked.
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"I think Brenda's size is too big for you so I bought you this," Cassie answered while pointing what I was bringing.
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"What?" I unsealed the wrapper and took out a pink dress from it. "A dress? You bought this for me? So this is the reason why you were not here with me since we got here? But why did you buy me this?"
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Cassie chuckled. "Hey, that was like three questions you gave at the same time to me," she said. "I don't know. I just want you to give you something pink." Then she chuckled again.
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"Oh my goodness."
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"But, you gotta promise me that you won't get rid of it just because you don't like pink," she said again as a warning to me.
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I shook my head. "I won't do that," I told her. "Thank you very much, Cassie." I gave her a hug.
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"Now go, put it on. I think it will look nice on you."
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I nodded then entered the bathroom and changed my casual clothes with the dress Cassie bought me. It fit on me! How could she know my size? Without lingering inside the bathroom, I came out and asked Cassie how I looked.
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She gave me two thumbs up. "You look really beautiful," she complimented.
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"Really?" I walked toward the mirror and looked at myself wearing a pink dress for the first time. I liked it.
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"But, um, there are some problems," Cassie said while she was looking down.
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I frowned and then looked down as she did. "Shoes?" I guessed and Cassie answered with a nod. I flicked my fingers as I remember something. "I have a pair of white wedgies my mom put secretly into my suitcase." Without waiting for Cassie to respond, I walked toward my bed, took my suitcase from inside a bunker under my bed. I opened it and found a pair of wedgies wrapped in a plastic bag.
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"That's suitable for the dress!" Cassie exclaimed as she saw the wedgies I brought. "Put them on, put them on."
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I did what Cassie said. I sat on the edge of my bed to put the wedgies on then I stood up. "I hope I'll be a good girl."
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"You mean not fall?"
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"Yeah. Back when I was in Indonesia, I only wore high heels and wedgies on Sunday," I told her. "Especially, when I'm on the mood."
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Cassie giggled. "Chill. You'll be okay," she said. "You'll have Gee Kay on your side to catch you when you fall."
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"Cassie! Don't tease me," I demanded. She reminded me again of the incident last night.
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"Okay, okay!" she said but she was still giggling.
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"See how glad you are," I hissed.
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Cassie moved closer to me and held my arm. "Oh come on. Be cool." She smiled nonchalantly.
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I rolled my eyes and moaned.
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"Oh!" her too-loud-and-sudden-'oh' took me aback. "You need two more things." She released my arm then opened her multi-stories drawer and took a tiny thing I didn't know and a white purse. She gave them to me.
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"A purse and a hair clip?" I said when I saw those things on both her open palms.
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Cassie nodded. "Here, let me help you." She took the hair clip again. Then she did something with my hair, flipping it out and put the hair clip on it like a hairstylist and muttered "Nice," after she finished.
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I walked toward the mirror and looked at my self-image again for the last time. "Thank you, Cassie," I told her.
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"Don't mention it," Cassie replied as she walked and stood behind me. She glanced at the wall clock and then said, "I think you need to go now. It's almost six."
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I nodded then got all my important stuff into the purse. Walking side by side with Cassie, I made my way downstairs. There we sat on a couch while we're waiting for Gee Kay to come to pick me up.
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As the sun that never came late, Gee Kay's car stopped in front of the building. I looked at Cassie and took a deep breath. With a single smile she gave that made me sure to act cool as she had said before, Cassie and I stood up from the couch.
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Gee Kay entered the door and walked toward me and Cassie. He glanced right and left while he was tossing his car's key repeatedly.
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"Hi," I greeted Gee Kay as he was already in front of me and Casey.
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At first he frowned and a second later he gaped. "I thought you were someone else. I kept looking for you to see if you're around."
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Cassie giggled. Again.
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I looked at her and bit my upper lip for a while and then looked back at Gee Kay again. "Well, I think Cassie did a great job that you didn't recognize it's me," I said.
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"Yeah," Gee Kay responded. "She did. You look," he paused, "beautiful."
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I smiled. "Thank you, Gee," I said but then I sensed Cassie was about to tease me again when she showed a hidden smile that I could see clearly. I grabbed Gee Kay's arm. "But now, let's go from here, because I believe Brenda wants us to be there soon. See you later, Cassie." I pulled Gee Kay as I glanced at Cassie and then we left her standing there alone and laughed eventually.
Gee Kay's car stopped in front of a nice house located in Kings Row street that seemed to be near our church. He and I got out of the car then walked toward the house. We entered the door which was wide open and I saw some cameras on their stands and some other stuff filled the room. I assumed those would be used for the movie project.
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Brenda appeared from inside a room and smiled when she saw me. "Wow, is it Cassie?" She asked me while she approached me.
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"She did what she promised," Brenda looked at me from the top of my head to the bottom of my shoes. "You look perfect. Just like what I expect for these scenes."
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I furrowed. "Scenes?" Hearing the plural word made me breathless.
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"Yes. This movie has more scenes without dialogue and today we will do about 5 scenes. But over the next few days you will do less." She explained as if she had not noticed my reaction after hearing the many scenes I would do. "Oh, Justin, pass me the script." A guy that came and tossed a bundle of papers to her. Then she gave it to me.
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"And what should I do?" I asked her.
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"This mark," Brenda pointed at a red sticky note that was used as a mark, "Shows you the pages you should read. Those are for today's scenes. Gee Kay has read them and he will help you. Now, I gotta go, there's something I still need to prepare."
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"Okay." I responded briefly and Brenda left. I turned to Gee Kay.
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"Let's take a seat and I'll help you to learn the script." He led me to a couch on the corner of this living room and we sat there.
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I read the script on the first page that had a mark. There I noticed my real name was used. "Why doesn't she use another name?" I glanced at Gee Kay but he only shrugged. I turned back to the script.
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"I'll get you a drink while you read what you need to act today," Gee Kay told me and I responded with a nod without taking my sight away from the script. Then he left.
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I read all my parts and memorized them. It was not too difficult for me to act it out since I had been practicing a lot how to perform in a play at campus. As a good actress, I had to be able to be everything, including changing me from being a tomboy into feminine as required.
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I was absorbed in reading the script that I didn't realize Gee Kay came until he nudged me. "Oh, you're here," I said. "Sorry. And thanks for the drink."
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"No problem," he replied with a smile. "So, have you learned all that you have to act out?"
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I nodded. "But the last two scenes will be with you, so I think I need to practice them with you," I told him.
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"Okay. Let me see," Gee Kay took his script and read his part.
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We did the practice for some twenty minutes until finally Brenda showed up and asked me and Gee Kay to prepare for the shoot. I got ready in the place as directed by Brenda. I acted out as what I had learned. The first three scenes only had a take each. Each scene only lasted for about three or four minutes. Then, we took a break.
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"Great job everyone," Brenda exclaimed. "Now, let's have a dinner before we go on. I know you've worked hard."
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The dining room looked large when I as well as the others entered it. It had black and white decoration. Even the cutlery, plates and glasses were black and white. The owner of the house must like simplicity. There on the table, the food was ready to eat.
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I sat in the table with Gee Kay on my right and Brenda in front of me. We said grace and then we had chicken soup as the appetizer.
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While eating, everyone was talking. I only listened to what they were talking about. I heard they said that they'd gotten a problem when choosing a theme for their project at first. Brenda suggested her dream country which seemed to be Indonesia. They eventually got the permission to make Indonesia as their project after making some hard efforts to ensure their lecturer that they could make it. The reason was me, because I was originally an Indonesian. I didn't give any comment but a grin. Inside my heart I said my gratitude to God for making me a blessing for them. After we had steak as the main course and fruit salad as the dessert, we got back to our work.
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These two last scenes needed to be concerned more than the previous ones because I needed to act with Gee Kay. Remembering what I had done to him the other night, I became nervous. However, I prayed that everything would be fine. I kept Cassie's words in my mind and tried to be cool as if nothing wrong had happened.
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The setting in this scene was a library. Gee Kay came and sat in front of me without permission. I was reading a book and I didn't care of him or everything he did to attract me. Because of my indifference, he took me by the hand and made me look at him until I was locked and couldn't move my eyes from him.
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Nevertheless, the nervousness came to me again. I was overwhelmed with it. I felt that I was about to fail to continue because all that I had memorized just disappear. However, somehow Gee Kay took my other hand and encouraged me silently with his smile. It wasn't in the script but we kept on going. Like magic, I remembered again what to say and I acted again.
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"And cut!" Brenda shouted and the fourth scene was over.
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Gee Kay released my hands from his. I turned my body toward the other direction but I was still sitting.
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"Hey, I know you did an improvisation," said the cameraman who was behind me. I gazed at him as well as the others.
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"But it was really nice. It looked natural," the one Brenda called earlier by Justin remarked. He came closer and stood between Gee Kay and me. "What made you do that?"
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Gee Kay shrugged. "I, um, it just came naturally," he replied.
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"Wow, then you're a great actor. You improvised but didn't ruin anything. Cool!" Justin patted Gee Kay's shoulder and then left.
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"Okay, one more scene," Brenda announced. "Cynthia, you move to this side now." She pointed to another spot but still in the same room. I did what she said.
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The last scene was better than before because I wasn't nervous anymore. What Gee Kay did really influenced me. All went well until we finished.
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"All done. We'll continue again two days later," said Brenda. She sat up from her seat and everyone started to pack all the stuff used.
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"You did a great job," Gee Kay put off the hat that he wore as a prop for the movie and put it into a box that was used as a container for all the props.
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I smiled. "You too, Gee," I said. "I don't know that you have such great talent in acting."
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"I never knew it before as well," Gee Kay responded.
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"By the way, thanks," I whispered. I looked right and left to see no one was around to hear what I wanted to tell Gee Kay. "You knew I was in trouble and you helped me out."
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Gee Kay showed me a smile. A sweet one, if I may say. "You know you can always count on me if you want," he said.
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I shrugged. "Yeah, I think so. You're always there when I got any trouble these days," I said as I realized it. "Thank you again."
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"My pleasure, Cynthia," he gave me another sweet smile.
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Why, I feel something. I spoke to myself. It's like, I don't know, there's something moving all around my body giving me goose bump. I rubbed my arms to make it disappear.
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"Are you okay?" asked Gee Kay. He might think I was feeling cold.
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"No. I mean yes," I corrected quickly. Oh my, I get nervous. Again! I calmed myself down and said, "I just need to get back home. It's almost ten now."
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Gee Kay nodded repeatedly. "Okay, let me drive you there," he said.
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