Chapter 5


Part Jump

Part A
Part B
Part C

Transcript for Chapter 5

Transcript for Chapter 5A

Title Page


Chapter 5 - Meeting

Jade sits at a desk with an open sketchbook in front of her. She holds a marker in one hand and taps the cap against her bottom lip.

Opens outside the hotel at night.

Voice: Yes, Thank you. Tomorrow at eight. I'll definitely be there.

Inside the hotel room, someone hangs up the phone with a click.

Amber: Whew, Round Three, here I come.

Jade sits on one of the beds with an open box of pizza in front of her.

Jade: You're not going to break down and bawl this time?

Amber starts to put her hair up into a ponytail. She's holding the tie betwen her teeth.

Amber: I don't have time to feel things anymore, Jade. I only have time to practice.

The scene pulls back and we see that Amber's wearing clothes she can dance in, including black leggings that have the word "Maximum" written down each leg. She has a look of determination on her face.

Amber: I'll be dancing in the hall if you need me!

She smiles and waves as she leaves the room.

Amber: Tah!

Jade takes a bite from her pizza. Her phone buzzes and she picks it up. She holds the pizza in her mouth as she scrolls through her phone.

The phone has a message from Justice, which Jade has written "Pustice."

Text message: You're in! :)

Jade chews a giant bite of food and tosses the phone behind her. It bounces on the bed.

Jade: Bully for me.

Jade's mother is on the other bed, feeding Mica as she holds him in her lap. Mica's wearing a bib and the mother is holding a little spoon and a jar of food.

Mom: So, can I assume that buzzing sound coming from your phone means you also made it to Round Three?

Jade: Yeah.

Suddenly, Jade whips around to look at her mother.

Jade: Wait, what?

Jade gets more and more flustered as she tries to figure out what to say. Meanwhile, her mom stays completely calm and focuses on the baby.

Jade: I mean, how did you...what?

Mom: While you girls were gone today, a handsome young man came to this room and had me sign a bunch of forms.

Jade frowns, not believing it.

Jade: Handsome?

Mica tries to grab the spoon and feed himself, but Mom keeps a good grip on the spoon. Mica's face is a mess.

Mom: I told him he was making a mistake, because I'd already signed those forms for Amber two months ago. But he just laughed and said, "No, ma'am, these are for your other daughter."

Jade looks away, disgusted.

Jade: Aw, man.

Mica's finally got the spoon, but Mom's focus is on Jade now.

Mom: Jade, listen. It's not that I have a problem with you auditioning. But I'm not sure you've thought about the trouble is could cause between you and Amber. What if one of you gets in and the other doesn't?

Jade: Not gonna happen.

Mom: Why not?

Jade: I made them put a clause in my contract that says I only have to join if Amber gets in, too. It's both or neither.

Mom: Just because your contract says that, it doesn't mean Amber's does.

Jade: Mom, listen carefully to me.

Mom gives Jade her attention. Jade speaks very meaningfully.

Jade: It was always both or neither.

Mom's eyes widen as she gets the full meaning of what Jade has said.

Mom's quiet for a while, thinking. Mica smiles up at his mommy as she slumps back onto a pillow.

Mica: Buh!

Jade lets the rest of the pizza get cold and gazes at nothing. Finally, her mother speaks.

Mom: You're a good sister, Jade.

Jade: Thanks.

Mom: But changing your while future for Amber...I don't know. You should have to do this.

Jade forces herself to smile.

Jade: Too late, now. I'm already doing it.

The next day...

There's a closeup of a left hand, covered in little bugs and monsters drawn in black marker. Behind the hand we can see Justice in the background. He's angry.

Justice: What are you doing? What the heck are you wearing?

His head lines up perfectly between the thumb and forefinger of the hand. When we pull back, we see that the hand belongs to Jade. She's wearing a black t-shirt, a long black jersey skirt, and unlaced combat boots. She's holding a Sharpie in her other hand. She mashes her thumb and finger together and makes a squishing sound, like she's squeezing Justice's head.

Jade: You told me to wear a skirt.

She glares at him.

Jade: I'm wearing a skirt.

Justice: It's unacceptable. You look like the homeless love child of Morticia Addams and G.I. Joe. And why is there ink on your hand again? Jade, you can't keep writing on yourself!

Jade shouts.

Jade: What difference does it make?

Justice leans in toward her, annoyed.

Justice: To be frank, your body is our canvas now, not yours. Don't you have a sketchbook?

Jade: I have dozens of sketchbooks, and they're all full.

Justice is looking at his phone.

Justice: We don't have time for this. You're supposed to be in the meeting, and you're out here loitering around in the hall like the paps.

Jade: What meeting?

Justice: The Round Three meeting! The mandatory Round Three meeting! Do you have no awareness of what's going on here?

Jade yells at him. She might be losing it a little.

Jade: Of course I don't! You came into my life like a tornado, sucked me up, and dumped me in the middle of idol auditions! I've just been doing what you tell me to ever since! What happens to me if I win? When is this all over? Tomorrow? A month from now? I have no idea!

Justice tries to hold his temper.

Justice: And that's why you need to go to the meeting! They're going to spell out the rest of the auditions for you-

Jade: And they're going to be speaking idol-tongue and I won't comprehend a darn thing! Can't you just explaint his whole thing to me yourself? Like, from the beginning, so I won't be confused?

Justice: Actually...yes.

Transcript for Chapter 5B

Opens with a presentation by Justice in chibi mode. Justice is grinning happily, but Jade looks angry.

Bouquet Auditions for Dummies!

Jade: Dummies?

Justice: Be quiet and pay attention.

Justice: So, the first thing you need to know is that Bouquet follows the revolving member model. Do you know what that means?

Jade smiles darkly.

Jade: They get to shoot me when they're done?

Justice: It means that members come in when they're young, usually between thirteen and fifteen years old, and then they leave when they're old enough that they don't fit the image anymore.

A happy young girl runs toward a marry-go-round filled with cute girls. An older girl is just leaving the merry-go-round, looking worn out and exhausted.

Jade: That's gross.

Justice: It's brilliant. We move them out one at a time and bring in one replacement, and that only happens about once every year or so. That lets the audience stay attached to the whole group while they get use to the one newbie, so the girls stay profitable long after the original members are gone.

Harrison stands triumphantly atop a pile of money, where he's planted an American flag.

Justice: They've been doing this for decades in other countries, but Harrison's responsible for bringing it to the U.S. and making it mainstream when everyone said American culture would never tolerate it. That's why he's such a genius, and also why he's so rich.

Jade: You're not making any sense. You said they only bring in one new girl at a time...

Justice: This audition's a little different because we lost two girls close together. Normally Bouquet has eight members, but right now they have six because the old leader, Caitlyn, aged out, and Bobbi decided to go to college instead of renewing her contract. So we have two spots to fill. It's a big deal. The whole country's into it.

Jade: The whole country is stupid.

Justice: I'll tell them you said that. Anyway, we pick new girls by using an open application process. Any girl in the country, as long as they fit the basic age and health requirements, can request to be a part of the audition. They send in pictures of themselves, or videos, and letters like the one you wrote. We got forty thousand requests this time. But we only picked the best fifteen hundred to invite to L.A. We ended up with twelve hundred; we always lose a bunch because kids applied without a parent's permission and we were never able to get it.

We see a snapshot of a young girl with pigtails, along with her handwritten letter to Harrison. The letter is written on cute stationary and is decorated with little hearts and flowers.

Letter: Dear Harrison, I love Bouquet sooo much. I really want to join! My friends all say I'm cute enough. Love, Melissa

The girl's tired mother, wearing an apron and holding a spatula, looks over the consent form. The pigtail girl in question is in the middle of a tantrum.

Mother: I'm not signing this.

Girl: Why are you ruining my life? This is so unfair! You must hate me! You never let me do anything I want to do!

Jade: Lucky kids.

Justice: So we started the actual auditions this time with twelve hundred girls, and all the rounds except for the final round last exactly one day. Then in the evening we cut the girls, call them to tell them whether or not they passed, and the next morning it starts all over again.

Two video editors work together in a dark room in front of a long row of control boards and dozens of screens.

Justice: The other thing that happens at the end of the day is that all the footage from that round is edited and sent to the network. To be honest, Dad could probably cut the girls from forty thousand to eighty with just the letter, the photos and the bio. But that's the one concession he's willing to make with the network: they're determined to get a solid week of good ratings out of the deal, so auditions are patterned after a reality show. But Dad keeps total control over the process and always hand-picks the winners himself, in person.

Harrison stands on a stage with a mike, addressing a huge outdoor crowd. Beyond some trees, we can see skyscrapers in the background. A girl jumps up and down on the stage next to Harrison, thrilled.

This one time, four or five years ago, the network tried to pressure Dad into letting America vote on the winners. Dad got mad, pulled every deal, and held the auditions live in Central Park in one afternoon.

Justice smiles like his dad's a hero.

Justice: He lost a fortune and he didn't even care.

Jade: Does he need help finding a soup kitchen?

Justice loses his good humor.

Justice: Pay attention, I'm getting to the important stuff.

A girl sits on a chair, nervous but trying to smile, while Ilsa and one of her imposing male hairdressers studies the girl.

Justice: The Bouquet auditions are only four rounds long. Today is Round Three, so you're already halfway through the process. But this is when it gets really hard. Today you're going to have a big makeover, where we decide what style suits you best as an idol. Then you're going to do your solo vocal performance.

A girl records a song at a mike while a long line of faceless people wait behind her for their turn.

Justice: We record the solos one girl at a time, alphabetically, so you'll be one of the last ones. It takes the whole day to do it this way, so in-between you'll have more photoshoots and mini-interviews.

Jade: What about Round Four?

Justice: Round Four is basically this super-intense two-day practice for a live concert at the end. And the whole time you're still doing shoots and interviews and stuff. In other words, get used to always having some kind of camera up in your face.

A girl conducts an interview with Evan immediately after finishing a dance routine. She's wiping sweat and having a hard time keeping her smile on her face. Behind her, other girls perform a dance.

Justice: The audience wants to know all your inner thoughts about the audition process.

Jade: Trust me. They don't.

The chibi-style explanation section is over; we return to the regular story. Justice's arms are crossed and he's annoyed at Jade.

Justice: From now on, you have to assume that someone will always be filming you. So you can't do ridiculous things like blacken in your arms or wear your funeral clothes.

Jade plucks at the skirt.

Jade: This is the only skirt I own, and, yes, I wore it to a funeral. So sue me.

Justice: Couldn't you have borrowed something from Amber?

Jade rolls her eyes.

Jade: If I did that, I think she might find out I'm auditioning.

Justice is surprised.

Justice: You haven't told her yet?

Jade: No way! I can't tell her something like that without telling her why, and that would break her heart. Forget it.

Justice tries to get through to her.

Justice: She's going to find out pretty soon, Jade. You know, in fifteen minutes when you're in the makeup room getting made over like all the other girls.

Jade: Isn't there...

Jade turns to Justice, trying her best to appeal to him with something like a cute face. She can't pull it off; the black ghosts of some dead hearts seem to waft away from her weird expression.

Jade: ...something you could do about that?

Justice just smirks.

Justice: Like what? Whip out your purse and do your makeup myself?

Jade: I don't know.

She looks down, depressed.

Jade: I just...I really, really don't want Amber to find out that I'm-

Voice: Jade?

Jade whips around, shocked.

Jade: Amber!

Amber is beautiful after her idol makeover. She wears tasteful makeup and a white daisy in her hair. She's surprised, and maybe a little worried, to see Jade.

Amber: What are you doing up here?

Transcript for Chapter 5C

Opens with Amber after running into Jade. She's a little confused and worried to see Jade there. After her idol makeover, her hair falls in long, blonde waves and she wears a soft white babydoll dress with flower straps.

Amber: This floor is supposed to be for contestants and employees only. You shouldn't even be able to get on the elevator.

Jade forces a smile and tries to look nonchalant. Justice gazes on.

Jade: a good reason for being up here.

Amber: You do?

Justice gets serious.

Justice: Just tell her, Jade.

Amber: Tell me what?

Jade lowers her eyes, depressed because she knows there's no way to explain this away.

Jade: Okay, the truth is that I've

A lightbulb flashes as an idea comes to Jade. She looks thrilled to have thought of an excuse.

Jade: ...planning a big surprise for you!

She gestured grandly to Justice. Justice stands there, caught off-guard.

Jade: Surprise!

Amber's innocent face is adorable.

Amber: What is it?

Jade: I arranged a meeting for you with someone special. Amber, I would like to introduce you to Harrison's son. His name is-

Amber tears past Jade before Jade can finish her explanation. Jade's hair and t-shirt are pulled in Amber's draft.

Amber grabs a surprised Justice.

Amber: Justice!

Justice tries to smile even though he's confused.

Jade looks surprised.

Jade: You know who he is?

Amber is still grabbing Justice, but she leans back to talk to Jade. Justice is mostly hidden by her speech bubble.

Amber: Are you kidding me? Every fan of Bouquet knows that David Harrison has one child with his second wife, a sixteen-year-old named Justice.

We see Amber's face up close, from Justice's point of view; she's adorable and amazed at what she's found.

Amber: The story is that he works at the studio, but no one ever sees him.

Justice smiles and raises an eyebrow at Jade; he thinks her half-cocked plan is both funny and stupid, but he's on board. Jade gestures to her sister.

Jade: Until now! This is my sister, Amber.

Justice: Oh, I know.

He takes her hand and gazes at her with affected romantic smarm. She blushes and stares up at him.

Justice: I've seen your tapes. You're very talented.

Amber: You think I'm talented?

Justice: And beautiful.

Amber: I think you're beautiful, too.

Justice: Thank you.

For a moment he stands there, still grasping her hands.

Then Justice releases her and tries to make his escape.

Justice: Well, it was great to meet you, Amber. But it's time for me to get back to-

Jade elbows him in the gut and he doubles over, hurghing a little.

Justice: I mean, uh...

Jade claps her hands and smiles.

Jade: It's time for the second half of the surprise.

Justice, still bent over, looks annoyed.

Justice: What second half?

Jade grins nervously. Justice stews.

Jade: You know, the second half that will keep Amber busy for a while, and make this "special introduction" story a lot more plausible.

Amber grins, excited.

Amber: What is it?

Justice crosses his arms and glares at Jade, who is definitely feeling the heat of trying to fool Amber.

Jade: Uh...

Jade suddenly recovers and puts a hand on Amber's back. She's in full control of the situation, now.

Jade: Justice here is going to take you on a private tour of his dad's studio.

Amber presses her fists together in excitement.

Amber: Really?

Justice is not amused.

Justice: The studio? Jade, the studio is three miles from here.

Jade: Remember? You were going to take the limo and everything.

Amber grabs Justice's arm.

Amber: Limo?!

Justice's eyes are huge.

Justice: Jade...

Jade: And now's the perfect time because it looks like Amber is one of the first ones done with her makeover. So you can take her to the studio and I'll find something to do around here for, what? An hour or two?

Justice glares at her.

Justice: Jade.

Jade takes his other arm, and Justice is now trapped between the two girls.

Jade: And whatever it was that you needed to get done, I'll take care of it. Okay?

Jade looks up at him, trying to make him understand how important this is to her.

Jade: Anything you want.

On one side of Justice, Amber grips his arm happily. He smiles beautifully down at her. Then he turns his attention to Jade on his other side and gives her the stink eye. Her eyes widen nervously.

Justice: Listen carefully. In the makeup room, there's a mannequin wearing a hideous black wig.

Jade: Okay.

Justice leans down and talks to her through his teeth. Jade recoils.

Justice: Clean it up, put some high heels on that thing and change the black wig out for a warm brown. You got me?

Jade makes a disgusted face.

Jade: Brown?

Justice expression is confident and inarguable.

Justice: Level four. The makeup people should be able to help you find one that works.

Jade is still holding his arm. She considers his order, looking a little depressed. But then she sees how happy Amber is and she exhales, defeated.

Jade: Fine. I'll make it happen.