Take A Bow Part 24

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I'm not sure where any of this will lead me, but for the first time, I'm taking charge of my life. I'm not acting. I'm being me.

That's all I ever wanted.

I'm well aware that I have a goofy grin on my face while an Oscar-winning alumna gives our commencement address. It has nothing to do with whatever it is she's saying.

I've got a lot to smile for. I'm staying in New York to study music, I'm with the one person I've longed to be with, and, above all, there's silence.

For the first time in my life, those screaming voices in my head have disappeared.



The only thoughts that circle my mind are happy and practically serene.

And, of course, the dominant thought that controls my mind is love.

The love of Emme, the love of my family, the love of my friends, and the love that I finally have for myself.

I can't wait to see what I can do, now that I'm no longer standing in my own way.

The four of us wait in the wings. Ethan playfully flicks at the tassel on my cap.

Ben puts his arm around us. "You know, it was hard enough trying to get a song featured when we had to compete against you two separately, but when you decide to write a song together, what hope does any of us have? Although I don't mind being the Harrison to your Lennon/McCartney."

"Wait, are you calling me Ringo?" Jack opens his mouth in mock horror. "Well, kids, it's our last official show as CPA students. I know this isn't lunch, but I figure ..."

Jack holds up his hand as the three of us protest. We thought the days of hearing about our demise were over.

He grabs us and we get into a huddle. "The rise of Teenage Kicks at CPA was a magical experience. After graduation the four talented musicians have to go their separate ways to college: dashing charismatic leader Jack to sunny California, where he will become a famous movie composer; the quiet yet strong Ben to Oberlin to be a producer; and then the power couple Emme Connelly and Ethan Quinn staying in Manhattan, who will no doubt become a songwriting duo to be reckoned with. And while the foursome will be apart, they will forever have a piece of each other's hearts."

I feel tears sting behind my eyes. I never expected Jack to be so sentimental, especially before we have to perform.

"I love you guys," he says. We all hug. Ethan grabs me and gives me a kiss.

"Get a room," Jack teases.

We hear our names called out to perform the song Ethan and I wrote together.

The four of us step onto the stage and into the spotlight.

Where we belong.

It feels extremely appropriate to do a curtain call for all of the people who are responsible for making this book, and Author Elizabeth, a reality.

Everybody at Scholastic for working behind the scenes on my books. A standing ovation for Erin Black, Elizabeth Parisi, Sheila Marie Everett, Tracy van Straaten, Bess Braswell, Emily Sharpe, Leslie Garych, Ruth Mirsky, Joy Simpkins, and all of the sales reps. I'm ready for a few more encores if you are!

Bravo to my friends who've helped me along the way. Jennifer Leonard for once again coming to the rescue with your reader comments. The lovely David Shannon for answering my art questions. Kirk Benshoff for making my website sparkle and shine. T. S. Ferguson for brainstorming so, so many possible titles. Natalie Thrasher for helping me stay semi-sane (no easy feat!).

It was my love of music and playing it throughout my life that led me to write this book. I'd like to thank my mom for paying for all those music lessons. My siblings (Eileen, Meg, and WJ) who didn't make fun of me too much while I practiced. And, of course, my father, who had to put up with all of us. I'd also like to give a big shout-out to all of my music teachers through the years, especially Carol Larrabee, Michael Tentis (aka "T"), and the guys at the Guitar Bar in Hoboken (I still like to think I earned that Student of the Week award, and it wasn't because I wore you down).

I'm inspired every day by music. So many of my favorite artists influenced this book, especially my magical friend Marketa Irglova for lifting the backstage curtain so I could see what it's really like to be in a band, and the superb Gary Lightbody for his beautiful lyrics that helped me whenever I needed some motivation.

I've been fortunate to have so many author friends in my life, first as a publicist and now as an author. It means the world to me to have the support of wonderful and talented friends who understand that having voices in your head can be a good thing.

Finally, a bouquet of roses to all of the booksellers, librarians, and bloggers who have been so enthusiastic about my books. I'm truly honored and humbled by your support and hope we've got a long road ahead of us.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR.

Elizabeth Eulberg has loved music for as long as she can remember. Although she didn't attend a performing arts school, she is currently trying to make up for it in karaoke bars throughout the greater New York area. She is the author of The Lonely Hearts Club and Prom and Prejudice. For one brief, shining moment in the late '00s, she was chosen as the Guitar Bar of Hoboken's Student of the Week. You can find her on the Web at www.elizabetheulberg.com.

www.thisisteen.com/books.

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Take A Bow Part 24

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