Every day, like clockwork, Claire would walk out of her room at exactly 8:45. She would eat breakfast with her family, making little to no conversation, and then quietly traipse back up the stairs to her bedroom.
Her parents knew the drill. Hunter would have just set the biscuits out on the table when his daughter would drift into the dining room and wait silently for brekfast to be served. Clanking of forks on plates and the occasional 'can you please pass the butter' were the only sounds that would be made in the morning as mom and dad, together, watched their daughter deep in thought; they could practically see gears turning in the young girl's mind.
When breakfast ended, that would also be the end of human contact for Claire, that morning. She'd silently put her plate in the sink and ascend the stairs.
A similar routine would come about during every meal.
And more importantly, as quiet the atmosphere was in the dining room, things would be the exact opposite once Claire made it to her small bedroom. Hunter and Catherine would wait in silence as a door clicked, and music would slowly drift down towards them.
Hunter would smile to himself as he typed away, editing a script to an advertisement he was creating for the State Farm Insurance Agency. Claire was so talented. She'd win first place at the talent show, for sure.
Catherine, on the other hand, was not so keen on allowing her daughter to lock herself up in her room for weeks. With every day that passed, Claire's mother became more and more irritated. She had to grip the edge of the dining room table during every meal, just to stop herself from going ballistic at her daughter.
It was a Monday afternoon when Catherine gripped the table so tightly that her knuckles began turning white. She'd gone through three weeks of this crap, and she'd had enough.
Catherine gazed distastefully at her daughter who silently studied sheet music while eating a turkey and cheese sandwich. "Please give me your sheet music," Catherine said, reaching her hand out towards Claire.
If Catherine hadn't been so agitated, she would've found Claire's reaction amusing. The girl flinched and looked up, bewildered at hearing someone speak to her for the first time in forever. "I-"
Catherine gave her a look. The one where her neatly-plucked right eyebrow arched, and her piercing green eyes practically borred a hole through Claire's soul. The look that said, 'You'd better fucking do what I say before I flip this table.'
Claire handed over the sheet music.
Catherine smiled and set the music on the floor next to her feet. "You will eat, and you will socialize with your family."
"But I need to study for the talent show!"
"Great! And now I'm going to be the only one that's not prepared-"
Catherine stood up, empty plate in hand. "Hunter? Please correct your daughter. I'm going to put this in the sink."
The man paused, frozen in his seat. He looked up from the newspaper he'd been reading and folded it carefully. Crap. What were they talking about? C'mon, Hunter, think.
Hunter had long since mastered the art of tuning people out just enough that he could jump back into the conversation, if need be.
He looked at his daughter for a moment and remembered the last thing she'd said. Oh! That's it!
"Claire, sweetie. Your sentence would be, 'Now I'm going to be the only one who's not prepared. Use that when you're talking about a thing, and who when you're talking about a person-"
"I'M NOT TALKIKG ABOUT HER GRAMMAR, HUNTER." Catherine stormed off angrily.
Hunter looked at his daughter in confusion. Claire simply shrugged, picked her sheet music up off the floor, and headed to her room.
"And next, we have Claire Hathaway, who will be singing 'Blackbird' by The Beatles!"
Everything seemed to go in slow motion as Claire was called up to the stage. She swept her bangs to the side, out of habit, and stood up. Her navy blue dress sparkled as she walked to the stage. Claire's heart pounded loudly in her chest as she stepped into te bright lights on stage. Holy shit these lights were bright. You'd think the new messiah had arrived, or something.
The girl was handed a microphone by the talent show host who was way too excited about hosting a highschool talent show. It looked like the redheaded man was either high, or on four cups of coffee.
The music started, and Claire took a deep breath; she then bagan to sing.
"Oh, fuck." Idina struggled as she tried to get her shoe unstuck from some gum on the cement. She looked like a bad mime as she ran frantically in place.
After about three minutes of ignoring the strange looks she got for stumbling on the sidewalk like a drunken mime, Idina sighed. "Oh, fuck it," she said, taking her shoe off. The freakishly strong gum would win this round.
Idina walked towards a building as she assessed her situation; she was currently stuck in New York with one shoe, messed up hair, and a son to pick up from the daycare across the street.
Also, more importantly, she really had to pee.
Idina opened the door to some sort of auditorium. There has to be a restroom in there. She walked in and shuffled silently down the hall in her best ninja stealth mode. She'd almost found her way to the restroom when she heard someone start to sing.
Blackbird singing in the dead of night.
Idina smiled and made her way towards the voice.
She opened a door and tip-toed silently to an empty seat in the back of a crowded room. Almost all the seats were filled; most containing crazy stage moms with camcorders, and bored siblings who secretly played angry birds as they ignored their respective siblings.
On the stage in the front of the room stood a girl. She was average in height, looking to be about 16 years old. She had dark brown hair and warm coffee-colored eyes eyes.
And her voice. It was soft and sweet, yet powerful and deliberate at the same time.
Idina smiled as she watched what she decided was a younger version of herself.
After the show, Idina called her agent. "Hey, I just watched a Lea Michele look-alike sing like a fucking angel. I want to work with her."
"Idina Menzel watching someone instead of picking up her son as soon as possible? This girl must be good. Give me five minutes and I'll be there."
Idina smiled to herself. She then processed all of what her agent said, and screamed "SHIT!" as she limp-ran frantically towards her son's daycare, hair flying in her face, now looking like a homeless person who just lost her job as a mime.