Hello all! First, I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everybody who has e-mailed, tweeted, facebooked, etc. about Better Off Friends - I'm thrilled with the response. You guys are kinda my boss, so it makes me really happy when you're happy! Now to the task at hand!
I think this goes without saying, but just to be clear, if you haven't read Take a Bow yet...
When I first wrote Take a Bow, I included a "10 Years Later" epilogue that let the reader know what ended up happening to Emme, Ethan, Carter, Sophie, Ben, and Jack after graduation from the New York City High School of the Creative and Performing Arts. It's just a short snippet but answers a lot of questions I get from readers about "What happened to..." We didn't include it in the book because my editor and I preferred the book ending the way it did with (again, SPOILER ALERT!) Emme, Ethan, Jack, and Ben stepping out into the spotlight to perform at graduation.
I always knew I was going to post this, but wanted to wait until enough time had passed (I can't believe it's been two years!). So without further ado, the (unedited so please excuse any errors) Take a Bow epilogue. Take it away, Emme!
TEN YEARS LATER
I study my face in the mirror. I feel like the same person who graduated from CPA ten years ago. But I’m older and allegedly wiser.
But I don’t think I’m wise enough to give the commencement address to this year's graduates.
“Why aren’t they making you do it?” I call out to Ethan in our West Village apartment.
“Because you're the public persona of this partnership.”
He wraps his arms around my growing belly. “Oh, I don’t know, probably since you gave such an amazing acceptance speech at the Oscars that made practically everybody cry.”
“I just talked about not letting your dreams go ‘n stuff. See, I’m not that eloquent.”
“Yeah, but do I really have to tell you what we were like at CPA? We needed to hear that. We were beaten down so much with all the auditioning and placement. These students need someone to remind them why they are there in the first place. Plus, CPA probably wants you to wear the Oscar and Grammys as a necklace so they can brag about you even more.”
The doorbell buzzes. I look over my final draft of the speech. When I sat in that audience, I never imagined that it would be my picture up there at the beginning of the year, or that I’d be asked to come back and speak.
It was always supposed to be Sophie. But Sophie decided to forego college and did some Off-Broadway chorus work and then worked on a cruise ship. She never talked to me again after the Showcase. She did contact our production company after Ethan and I won the Record of the Year Grammy two years ago for a song we wrote. I was tempted to see her again, but Sophie wasn’t interested in me when I was struggling at Juilliard or worked as a barely paying temp at a record company.
I guess it’s nice to know that some things never change.
“From Ben.” Ethan brings in a huge bouquet of flowers.
Ben! He’s a professor at the Puget Sound Music School. Ethan and I have gone each semester to visit him and talk to the students about songwriting. Basically it’s an excuse to hangout with Ben. A few times Jack has flown up from LA when he wasn’t busy working on his TV scores to join us. It was Jack who recommended Ethan and I to a friend who was composing a movie score. Who knew we’d get an Oscar?
I smile at the thought of the guys and our get togethers. The four of us jam, pretend like we're teens again, give each other crap. Same ol’, same ol’.
I can’t think about people at CPA who influenced me without remembering Carter. We’ve been in and out of touch through the years. He designed our wedding invitations. He started up a design company, which has won countless awards. I can’t ride the subway without seeing his logos or designs on an ad. Last time we talked, he was opening up yet another branch, this time in London.
We all went to CPA to be these big stars. But life gets in the way. So does reality. Sure, none of us have our names on the marquee, and none of us are getting stalked by paparazzi (thank God). But in our own ways, most of us found ourselves and happiness along the way.
Because what’s the point of having fame in your life if you don’t have anything else.