CHAPTER TWO: Speculations, Arise
-TW: THIS CHAPTER DELVES INTO THE TOPIC OF S*LF-H*RM, READ AT YOUR OWN RISK-
Later that day, Inverted City started to become a little more populated, now that the news of Robyn's event started to spread around. By the minute, more and more people began to show up, not only to see Inverted City itself, but just to wait until the event begins. At the time it currently is, there are 2 hours before the event begins, and during the time before, Sylvia gets ready inside of the hotel room by herself. Sylvia knew exactly how to prepare herself, because she always knows that Robyn appreciates good beauty when she sees it. A select few times in the past, Sylvia had actually managed to impress Robyn a few times with some new looks she was trying out, until Sylvia found the look she liked the most; the most recognizable part of it being her light blue off-shoulder shirt. But for this occasion, Sylvia prepared something special. She took Robyn's interests, and found a dress and special hairstyle that Robyn was immensely interested in. Sylvia had that one thought in mind. "Maybe giving in to her will make her trust me again," Sylvia thought to herself.
Just in that moment, Noodle busts into the hotel room in a daze, causing Sylvia to jump up in shock. Sylvia quickly notices he looks a little pale, and he ambles in and collapses face-first onto the bed Sylvia is sitting on. She swiftly turns herself around and hoists Noodle up onto the bed. "Noodle?! What happened to you? Are you okay?" questioned Sylvia. "Haah.. I'm fine. Just got a little dizzy, is all." assured Noodle, much to Sylvia's worry. Noodle fixates himself and sits up, clearing his head. "I, uh, just got a little shaky after a conversation I had with someone. But that's besides the point." Sylvia hugs Noodle, and he blushes a tiny bit. "Alright, as long as you're safe. Then that's what matters." said Sylvia. She pats Noodle on the head and then stands up. She grabs the dress and begins to make her way to the nearby bathroom. "Uh, give me a minute, I'll be out. There's something we gotta go over before this." said Sylvia, with a warm smile. She steps in to the room, but before she fully enters, she peeks her head around the frame. "Oh, and give me your honest opinion on how it looks!" She enters the room and shuts the door. Noodle sighs and looks out the large-scale window. He stands up and surveys the city. But then, he looks out far in the distance and sees the dim light coming from HomeChurch. He focuses his vision on it and then, right at that second, the light fades out, making Noodle feel a little down.
From behind him, the room door opens, and Derek, Cori, and Fenton enter. Fenton and Cori instantly rush to the second bed and collapse onto it. "Hey, Noodle. Can I talk to you about something real quick? It won't take long." Derek asked. "Sure. Tell me anything!" said Noodle. "Um, it's gonna be a little hard to say it.." said Derek, concerned. "Oh no, is it something bad?" Noodle asked, becoming more down on himself. "Well, fifty-fifty. Uh.. okay, there's no way to sugarcoat it. We saw Robyn arriving at HomeChurch. What happened?" Noodle paces around the room a bit, and then stops. "I-I don't know why she did, but she told me some very specific.. things," said Noodle. "Well, what were they?" Noodle thinks for a second, and then the memories start to flood back.
"Robyn?" he asks. "I know, pleasant surprise, huh?" Robyn asked. "Well, they were right. You really are part British." Robyn giggles to herself. "Yup. As everyone knows, if they know me, that is. But, I came here just to tell you a few things. But don't tell anyone, alright Noodle?" "How do you know my name?" Noodle asked, in suspicion. "See, that's why I'm here. Look, what happened to you when you were younger?" Robyn asked, not hesitating in the slightest. "I'm just confused, why are you even asking me this?" Noodle asked, becoming more frustrated. "I'm just wondering, is all. Plus, if you're this aggressive about it, then you must've be keeping it locked up for longer than it should've been. You can talk to me about it." said Robyn. She fully steps into the room and sits on Noodle's bed. Noodle continues sitting at his desk in a silent rage. He does manage to calm down, still not continuing to look at Robyn. "My mom.. was killed by these people when I was young. I had to flee, and on the run, I found this bag to disguise myself, and it's now a personified part of my general appearance." "Wow, that sound rough," said Robyn. "Well, there's my story," said Noodle, desperate to just be left alone. Robyn gets up and begins to leave. But she stops at the door. "Also.. I know you're here with her." Noodle turns around in surprise. "If I see her again, just know one thing. I'm okay with killing someone if it means the rest of us get to live." Robyn leaves the room, leaving Noodle in a mortified state.
"Damn, dude.. I'm sorry it went that way," said Derek. "It's fine. I would imagine if I kept my composure, then everything'll go smoothly," declared Noodle. Derek's group looks at each other in worry. "Okay, are you ready to judge the outfit?" Sylvia called out from the bathroom. "Yup! Step on out!" "Wait, what's happening?" Derek asked. "Oh, forgot to mention. We need to give our opinions on Sylvia's outfit for the event." said Noodle. Cori looks up and deeply gasps, her eyes sparkling. "OUTFIT?" questioned Cori excitedly. Cori quickly flies to Noodle and Derek, and Fenton slowly walks to them as well. "Alright, here's the not-so-dramatic unveiling!" Sylvia exclaimed. The door opens, and Sylvia steps out. Her attire consists of a frilled lilac purple dress, a short wavy hairstyle, red lipstick, and alexandrite earrings. "So whaddya guys think?" Sylvia asked, hopeful that everybody's opinions are satisfactory. Derek's group praises the dress, and Noodle's entire face goes red. Enough to the point where he steps back and buries his hands in his face. "Wow, you really outdid yourself for this!" said Derek. "AAAAAHHH IT LOOKS SO GOOD!" exclaimed Cori, her excitement going through the roof. "Not bad, Syl," said Fenton. Noodle turns around, his face still red. He tries to clear the redness, but it seems to be near impossible to. "W-whoa.. you look so adorable- I mean, cute- I MEAN.. you look really, really good," Noodle commented, extremely flustered. "Haha, thanks guys! I'm glad you like it!" Sylvia checks the time and sees that there is an hour left until the event begins.
"OK, guys. We got an hour left until this all goes down. Derek, is the stuff in the box?" Sylvia asked. "Just liked you asked," replied Derek. "Hold on, Noodle. I got something that's gonna help us out.. I think," Sylvia declared nervously. Sylvia heads outside of the hotel room door, and right when she leaves everyone's line of sight, Derek's group turns to Noodle. "What?" questioned Noodle. "Well, it's friggin' obvious," Fenton claimed. "You have a crush on her!" Cori cheered. The room falls silent instantly. "Shut up, shut up, shut up, it's not true!" Noodle tried to cover it up, but everyone could see right through his lie. "Sure, man. I mean, it's been obvious for a while now. Not like you can hide it," Derek noted. Sylvia then walks back into the room, now carrying a small box. She sets it down on a table and opens it up. Inside of the red and black box is a tiny, pea-sized dot microphone, and a regular microphone. "Finally, they're here. The two microphones!" Sylvia cheered. "What do we need these for?" questioned Noodle. "Well, I kinda wanna do this in a way where I can pick up and remember any info we learn about Robyn, so Derek? Do you wanna explain the plan?" Sylvia asked.
"What's gonna happen is me, Cori, and Fenton are gonna be behind Studio Palace, and how the mic works is.." Derek picks up the dot microphone and the regular one. "..this dot microphone will go on Sylvia, and she can easily talk to us through it, and we can talk to her through the normal one here. And the best part is, it has some kind of weird technology behind it where she is the only one that can hear us through it. You two will go in and figure this all out." Derek hands the dot microphone back to Sylvia, and she hands it to Noodle. He looks at her for a second, not breaking eye contact for that moment. "Would you like to do the honors, Noodle?" Sylvia requested, with a genuine sense of hope rushing through Noodle. "Anywhere on the front will do." "Uh.. alrighty," said Noodle nervously. He looks around the front of Sylvia to find a spot to put the mic. During the search, he slowly becomes entranced by just how beautiful Sylvia really looks. The way her natural beauty makes her looks truly become something for the ages, and Noodle can't help but really stop and appreciate it. However, that proves to be his undoing, as this happens for a bit longer than it needed to be. Noodle and Sylvia's faces get redder and redder by the second, causing the two to freeze up looking at each other. "M..M-maybe I should put the mic on.." Sylvia murmured, extremely flustered. "Yeah.. h-here," Noodle said, handing the mic back to Sylvia. She takes it, with a trembling hand, and pins the mic on the left shoulder strap. "There we go. Nice and pristine!" Sylvia does one last little twirl, finally completing her attire change. She stops and checks the time, seeing that there is a half-hour left until the event begins. "Alright, guys. Ready for this?" Derek's group nods in approval, and then Sylvia turns around to Noodle and takes his hand. "Shall we begin?" Sylvia asked. "Yes, I most certainly am," Noodle replied. "Let's do this."
With Derek's group successfully able to sneak behind the once-beloved tourist attraction, Sylvia and Noodle are officially able to enter Studio Palace. And both friends are equally nervous to do so. The whole experience for Sylvia was going to be nerve-wracking since she hasn't seen Robyn since she was nine, and she didn't know if she acted the same or not. Noodle was also nervous since he was still reeling over what she had said to him. This was going to be the two's first major moment together in a long while. Noodle looks over at his hand, which is still holding Sylvia's. He gently caresses her hand, and Sylvia looks at him. She smiles, and a warm, tingly sensation sweeps through him, causing him to smile back. The two arrive at the entrance and then finally step inside. The interior of Studio Palace is as clean and shiny as ever, with it looking like something out of dream. The large area, double staircase leading to a top balcony overseeing said area, the stained-glass windows, and the large overhead chandelier, all mix together to create something special. "How the hell does this place look so.. amazing?" Noodle said to himself. "Yeah, well, a good event doesn't make a good person hosting it. And in this case, you know who it is." said Sylvia, sarcastically. The place was populated, probably a few hundred people inside of it. They were all on the bottom area, with the staircases being locked off by a ribbon gate. "Guys, can you hear us? Do we have contact?" Sylvia asked into the mic. "Yes, we do. We hear you loud and clear. No, we hear EVERYTHING in there loud and clear," said Derek through the other end. "Anything you hear in there, we can hear too." "Remember everything that happens in case we forget. Over and out," said Sylvia. "You know you didn't have to say that like it was a walkie-talkie, right?" Noodle asked. "It kinda felt authentic to do that," Sylvia expressed. While they are talking, Noodle and Sylvia are approached by two girls. The slightly taller one had a red dress, heart earrings, and her hair tied back. The smaller one had short, fluffy hair with one streak dyed a light purple, square-framed glasses, a purple and blue off-shoulder dress, and freckles.
"Hey, I recognize you from somewhere.. You're Robyn's childhood friend Sylvia, right?" The first girl asked. "Uh, yeah. How do you know me?" Sylvia asked. "Well, you didn't know, but when you and Robyn were younger, I was the witness to what happened to you. She had mentally broken you down so much that you became oblivious to everything, and she had gotten you lost in the outskirts of the area outside of the city, right?" "That's.. all true." said Sylvia, a little shaken. "I was the only one to witness her behavior. I'm really sorry that all happened to you. Believe me, we know how you must be feeling. We have as much against her as you do. Now that that's out of the way, do you mind if we all make official introductions?" The first girl asked. "Um, sure. Hi, I'm Sylvia as you already know, and this lil' lovely over here is my best friend Noodle." Noodle waves to the girls. "And who are both of you?" Noodle asked. "Oh, right! I'm Marilyn, one of Robyn's old acquaintances. And this is my ten-year-old little sister, Ashlyn. She's special in her own way, since she has mutism, meaning she refuses to speak because of a.. past trauma. So she communicates through a notepad." Ashlyn writes in her notepad, and flips it around to show everyone, smiling. "hello, u two. it's nice to meet some fresh faces. u both look nice!" the message read. "Aww, thank you! And you both look good as well!" Sylvia complimented. Ashlyn gets an idea, and quickly jots something down in her notepad. She flips it around, silently laughing to herself. "u two look cute together!" the message read. Sylvia and Noodle both blush and look away from each other, nervously laughing. "Hehe, y'know, I can agree with that," said Marilyn.
Suddenly, the lights dim down, and a spotlight shines on the balcony area. An announcer comes over the speakers, and an overhead orchestra on the second floor begins to play. "Ladies and gents, it's the moment you've been speculating would happen. And tonight's the night!" the announcer said. The crowd begins cheering, as a short little graphic advertising Avylis is projected on the back wall. "Celebrating the release of the highly anticipated line Avylis, the subject of the biopic 'SANCHEZ,' and the host of this event... presenting, yours truly.. Robyn Sanchez!" Robyn walks out from a side door and stand at the edge of the balcony looking out through the audience, the cheering growing as she appears. And then, she notices Sylvia. But she brushes it off like it's nothing. As she surveys the audience, and the applause continues, seeing Sylvia makes Robyn flashes back to when the two were kids.
A young Robyn and Sylvia burst through their room door and jump onto the bottom bunk bed, laughing. "Oh, man! That was so much fun!" Sylvia beamed. "I know, right? This city is really a cool place!" Robyn gushed. The two stop and then hug. "But, you know how much happier you make me when you're here," said Robyn, Sylvia hugging her tightly. The two stand up and walk to the other side of the room, where inside of the side door is an old closet modified into a playroom. Robyn shuts the door behind her and the two sit at the plastic table, the old checkerboard still lying on top with all the pieces in place. Not a single one out. The two begin a game of checkers during their conversation. "So, what happens now?" Robyn asked. "What do you mean?" Sylvia questioned. "Like, for our futures. What happens now?" Robyn reiterated. "Well, I think, that when we get older, we should stick together and make a company. You did wanna make that makeup thing, right?" Sylvia asked. "Yeah, I'm still looking forward to that. But.. what if nothing goes good? What if I'm just a failure to everybody?! What if-" Robyn is cut off by Sylvia. "Hey, I can say right now that you're loved by everyone. Especially me. Don't put yourself down. You're okay, and you WILL be okay." said Sylvia, assuring Robyn. "Hold on, I have to use the bathroom real quick." Robyn excuses herself and rushes out of the closet, into the bathroom. She quickly shuts the door behind her and breaks down into tears, trying not to let Sylvia hear. She quickly steps up to the sink and looks at herself in the mirror. Pulling down the shoulder strap of her shirt, she looks and prods at seven scars lined up, going down her arm. Robyn then picks up a small razor blade and holds it under the seventh scar, considering an eighth, but she stops at the last second and throws away the blade in a trash can. She sits on the floor and cries to herself, thinking about how the world would really see her if she was known all around it. She lifts her head up out of her arms and stands up, emotionless and seemingly in a catatonic state. She steps to the trash can and picks up the blade, caressing the edge very lightly with the tip of her finger. Again looking at herself in the mirror, only two words could slip out of her at that moment, "I'm sorry." She holds the blade against the area on her arm.
Looking over the edge of the balcony and seeing Sylvia and the rest of the audience, Robyn continued to act natural, with as much spirit as possible shining through her. Almost like she just accomplished something great.
END OF CHAPTER TWO