Mollie, Emeline, Ensemble
Mollie beamed widely, teeth flashing as she danced carefully backward from the low stage. "We're so happy that you're here for the season's big premiere!" she trilled, tossing her hands elegantly in the air as the crowd continued to clap, the chorus girls finishing off.
"And it's only for you!"
The music died and the curtain went down with a final flash from a tourist camera. Mollie's grin dropped with it, yanking the heavy headdress from her blonde hair and shaking it out. Her eyes skimmed the bustling backstage area, searching for the familiar black ensemble of her mother. Spotting her talking to a very tall, elaborately garbed performer, Mollie hurried over, sequined heels clicking delicately on the extended boards of the stage.
The dazzling smile was back in position as she reached them, placing a hand on her mother's arm. "Morning Gangle. Excuse us?"
The tall man opened his mouth to retort, squinting down at her in the low light. Seeing who it was, he bowed so deeply his nose brushed his knees. "My pleasure, Miss Mollie," he said in an unnaturally high voice. "Emeline." He nodded once before turning gracefully on his heel and striding away.
Mollie was practically bouncing up and down in impatience. "How was I? Tell me!" she exclaimed, gripping her mother's sleeve ever tighter.
"Delightful, Mollie. Just perfect," Emeline replied, delicately loosening her daughter's vice-like grip. "You've come a long way since the beginning of the season."
The false smile Mollie had worn for the masses became genuine as she pressed further, barely able to keep her tone under control. "And was he watching?" Emeline pursed her lips, and Mollie's face fell. "It's been three months!" she exclaimed in exasperation. "He never comes to see the show." She sighed, turning her head and gazing up in the direction where she knew he would be situated, speaking more to herself than anyone else. "Even a word from him... just one..."
Emeline, if she heard, ignored her daughter's wishful words. "He does seem distracted as of late," she mused.
Mollie turned her attention back to her mother. "Distracted?" she echoed, eyebrows raising. "Is he working on something?"
"Something," Emeline answered, "but he's keeping everything under wraps. Shuffling papers and shoving things from sight when anyone's let in to see him. If anyone's ever let in to see him."
"If," Mollie said, drawing out the word. "If... Well, I won't stand it any more."
"What do you mean?"
"I'm going to see him right now."
"Mollie Benoit, you will do no such thing."
"Who's going to stop me?" she said childishly, striding past her mother toward her dressing room.
"This is your mother you are speaking to! Your mother and your producer!"
"So what?" Mollie nearly snapped, turning on her heel in the doorway of her dressing room. "Don't act as though you're not just as curious as I am as to what has been keeping the famous 'Mister E' holed up in his bird's nest for so long! Even his spells of... depression, anxiety, whatever they happen to be, don't last this long. I am going, and you cannot prevent me."
Emeline's eyes widened at her daughter's outright audacity. "Young lady, you cannot just storm up to the aerie in such a state! He'll have—" Before she could finish, she found herself talking to the brightly colored door.