Celine pictured Jules taking a final bow after her last performance. The swell of applause. Her bright smile. Her hand to her chest. The fake sweetness. The false modesty. It all made Celine want to retch.
If you asked Celine, Hope had the more beautiful voice, but she was shy, content to be Jules’s backup singer in the chorus instead of standing in the spotlight. It was Celine’s duty as Hope’s mother to make sure she had every opportunity. Hope was Jules’s understudy again tonight. It was her chance. She just needed a little push.
Right on schedule, Jules emerged from the trees, rounding the dark curve. It was quiet. The only sound was the gentle padding of her sneakers against the asphalt. Celine turned the ignition, flipping on her bright lights. Jules turned, confused, shielding her eyes. Celine decisively pressed the gas.
An hour later, when she slid into her seat seconds before the show began, another mom leaned over to whisper in her ear. “They just made an announcement. Jules didn’t show up. No one can find her. Her parents are at the police station.”
Celine frowned. “How awful. I do hope she’s all right.”
The lights darkened. Tears stung her eyes as she watched her nervous daughter take her rightful place.