Shine For You

By  Nish
Published on   Jan 24, 2022

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You are Penelope and you are a singer.

But you are far away from being popular or famous.

You have your dream and work super hard to achieve it. Right now, you are sitting backstage, waiting to perform.

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You are in full makeup, ready to go onstage.

I'm so nervous! I hope everything goes well...

At that moment, your manager and long-time friend Mark enters the rehearsal room.

Hey, Penelope! How's practice?

It's going okay, Mark. Did you get me that ginger juice I asked for?

Yep, here you go.

He hands over a bottle of ginger juice to you.

Mark fidgets for a bit before speaking.

So... I got a call from Mr. Red...

Mr. Red is the owner of a posh night club in the city. Anyone who performs there turns into a star overnight.

But, Mr. Red has ties to the underworld and you want nothing to do with him.

I don't care, Mark. I'm not doing it.

But he's willing to pay double the price.

Imagine, we can make half a million dollars for just an hour long performance!

And what about the charity work I do to prevent human trafficking and prostitution?

You want me to turn into a hypocrite for money?

Just think about it, honey!

Anyway, that new singer, Raymond Waters.. he’ll be singing with you tonight. Just a heads up.

And then you have a solo spot for your new song.

A solo spot for the NEW song? What?!

When did we decide that? You know I've been practicing my last single to perform, right?

Yeah yeah, but the organizers and I decided an hour ago, your new song would be the best fit!

Also, this Raymond guy is really trending right now. It could be really good for us!

Mark leaves you alone to gather your wits. You finish your juice and pace up and down nervously.

Before you know it, it's time for the show!

You are being announced on stage.

Ladies and Gentlemen, put your hands together... for Penelope and Raymond!

You walk out and Raymond joins you onstage.

You start singing and Raymond joins you after a stanza. Both your voices fit perfectly.

After the duet is over, the crowd goes wild.

Hmm... I know I'm supposed to perform my new song now, but 'Perfect' would sound so good after this performance...

While you think on this, Raymond moves centerstage and points to you.

He starts singing and beckons you to join him.

I found a love... for me...

Oh my god! Can he read my mind?

Awestruck, you join him and the two of you perform 'Perfect'.

The chemistry is undeniable and the crowd is spellbound.

There you have it, folks! What a performance! The best of the night, clearly.

Thank you, Raymond and Penelope!

You walk offstage and head towards your dressing room.

Raymond accompanies you.

Hey, I don't think I've had the pleasure of meeting you before. I'm Raymond. It's lovely to meet you!

Yeah, I know who you are.

I wish I could talk, but I'm busy. See you later!
Nice to meet you!

You don't even have a minute to talk?

Why? Is there something important?

Um... I just wanted to say that I'm a HUGE fan of yours.

Oh, well, thank you. That's great to hear.

You shoot him a friendly smile, give him a light hug, and walk away feeling happy.

You have no idea how much I love your songs! You've been an inspiration to me.

Really? Thank you!
I love your music too, especially the most recent song.

Wow! This is surreal.

You know, you're the reason I've become so spontaneous with my music.

Aha! I figured you were the spontaneous type when you starting singing 'Perfect' out of nowhere!

It's like you read my mind!

Yeah... it seemed like the 'perfect' sort of moment to sing that song.

I'm glad you enjoyed it, I loved our performance too!

I've gotta go - I guess I'll see you around!

Mark enters. He looks annoyed.

Can I get an explanation as to WHY you changed your songs during the performance?

You can't just do things like that! The organizers were furious.

Oh come on, it was a spur of the moment sort of thing. Besides, the audience loved it!

Yeah, well, it isn't that simple! You've been in this game long enough to know that you can't violate contracts, you can't cut corners and you can't compromise on money.

PLEASE don't tell me you're actually worried about getting paid less... because I sang another song.

It's not that.

I'm just worried that you're too comfortable breaking the rules.

The duet with Raymond and your newly released song achieve great success and brings you fame and fortune. You're on chat shows and opening for big artists!

Therefore, you are astonished when you hear that Mark is going to make you perform at Mr. Red’s bar.

We just need one more push, Penelope.

We're so close to superstardom!

Nope. I'm not doing it.
Alright, fine. I'll do it.

I can't believe you're turning down such a great deal!

You'll never understand my reasons, Mark.

One day, you end up at a bar and run into none other than Raymond himself!

Hey, Penelope! How are you? How's it going?

That's my girl! I'm so proud of you! You've made the right decision.

Frustrated and disgusted, you swallow your pride and perform at Mr. Red's.

You are relieved to see a friendly face.

You had been thinking about Raymond quite a lot. But, you're also confused about Mark.

Hey, Raymond! Good to see you. What brings you here?

I'm uh... I'm writing. Songs. Here.

Do you remember, you said in an interview a year ago, that you go to bars for inspiration?

Well, I've been taking notes.

Ah, yes. I remember.

I remember the days when I could actually write my own songs...


Are you telling me that you don't write your own songs now?

I do. But they're always so heavily edited now.

You're wondering whether you should tell him more.

Open up to him.
Say nothing more.

Oh yes, my music used to be quite different when the studio was editing it.

But I told my manager and he spoke to the producers and got them to stop the editing. Thank god.

For example, if I write 'I want you to enter my heart', it gets edited into 'I want you to enter my pants'!

Oh yeah! I totally get it.

My producers used to edit my stuff all the time like that! But then I got my manager to talk to them about it.

Ha! Must be nice.

My manager is the one who asks the studio to make my lyrics more and more sexual.

But I'm nowhere close to being as popular as you.

I guess whatever your manager is doing is working in your favor... a lot!

Mark IS very dedicated to advancing my career.

Maybe I do treat him unfairly. It looks like he's always after money, but he HAS made me a star.

Still. I think you should fight to get YOUR lyrics and YOUR sound out there. You're the singer.

Tell me something... are you happy?

I - it's complicated, Raymond.

For a while, I've been struggling. To be honest, the last time I was truly happy singing was when we were on that stage, improvising!

I don't know...

Well, Penelope. I - I can make you happy.

I've been in love with you since I first saw you on TV and now that I know you for real, I feel a real connection.

I'd love to be part of your life, even if it's just friends. But I'd also love to be more than that...

Oh wow. That's a lot to consider, Raymond.

I have to think about it, but you're so sweet.

Flustered that he kinda, sorta just proposed to you, you hurry out of the bar.

You're thinking all the time about Raymond. He's so spontaneous and a positive influence. But you also just met him...

On the other hand, Mark was occupying a lot of your mind too.

You walk onto the set for your new music video, ready to work.

Mark walks up to you as you enter the sound stage.

Hey! I missed you, superstar!

It's so good to see Mark even though you saw him a few days ago.

Hey, Mr. Manager! How are you?

You're finding it awkward to speak in front of him, now.

Mark smiles fondly at you. Before you know it, he's taken you by the hand and gently led you to a private corner.

Penelope... I've been trying to get this out for a while. But I fear that if I don't say it now, I never will.

Penny, I like you. God, I've always liked you.

That's why I left my career to be with you, to be your manager.

And I'd really like it if we became more than friends.

Think about the headline! 'Penelope is dating her manager!' It would boost your ratings so much.

You let out a smile.

He's always thinking about you and your career. Even when proposing to you, he's thinking about your ratings!

One thing's for sure. Mark will never leave your side.

But is that enough?

You begin thinking.

I do crave a real connection on a spiritual level and I love how I feel around Raymond.

But is that spark enough to last? What happens when it wears off?

On the other hand, I've always felt something for Mark. And I like the stability he brings to my life.

The ultimate decision.

Stability or spark?

What do you choose?

Mark! I choose Mark.
I want to try with Raymond.

Mark, it's always been you. I'm just seeing that now.

Yes, I'd love it if we were more than friends.

Mark smiles, hugs you tight, and brings an end to your confusion.

He also closes the distance and kisses you passionately on the lips.

No, Mark. We can't. I don't want you.

I - I think I need a fresh start. I'm tired of singing about things I don't believe in and performing for mafia bosses.

I want to write what I feel and develop my career on my own terms. I'm done with you.

What? You want to leave me?

Listen, I can keep my feelings for you hidden, but don't throw away all this! I did all of this for you!

Date whoever you want but don't leave this career behind.

No, I can't be the star you want me to be. It's just... not me.

You've made millions off of me. That's yours to keep. I - I guess we're even, then.

Right now, I need someone new. Something exciting.

And that's Raymond.

I need a clean break from you. I'm going to see if Raymond wants to make music together.

Mark fumes as you turn your back on him and walk out.

You take out your phone, call Raymond, and tell him that you want to be with him. You can feel his smile through the phone, and your heart feels fuller than it has been for a long time.

You've made your music, you've made up your mind.

But... have you made the right choice?

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