The club was alive, the moment I walked through the door there were people doing things everywhere, people standing on the stage, talking to people offstage, people running around the floor mostly in black, but there were far too many people in black to find the one I belonged to. I first saw two older men, one sat critiquing whatever was happening on the stage, the other stood, his arms folded nodding along to what was being said until he spotted me, he looked me up and down, thought then turned.
“Harry?” He shouted, “Someone for you.” He added, I stood straighter then saw my person in black come towards me.
“Jesse?” He asked, I nodded, he smiled, “Harry.” He added before turning, “George, he’s one of mine.” He said. George, the man stood arms folded smiled at him.
“Take him to your lair, but be nice.” George said, I looked at Harry but followed him, back out the door I’d come and through some corridors until we reached a set of stairs, which I followed him up and into the lighting booth. I walked towards the barrier on my own accord, looking out over the entire club.
“You like lights?” Harry asked, I nodded.
“It’s my favourite thing to do.” I said, looking at him over my shoulder, “I tried sound, that was not my area.” I said, subconsciously touching my ear, I shook it off before he noticed, “And I’m not powerful enough for stage management. Lights is like, quiet creativity.” I said, he smiled.
“So, you know your way around a lighting board?” He asked, I nodded.
“You can tell your lights apart?” He asked, I laughed.
“Well obviously.” I said, he laughed.
“Cool, you can do tonight’s show then.”
“What?” I said turning to him, he laughed.
“Testing the cockiness.” He said, sounding rather pleased with himself, “I leave in about a month, my husband and I are adopting. So, I will be working alongside you the next three weeks, will just be watching you the fourth week, then I’ll be gone.”
“What does your husband do?”
“He’s a teacher, teaches drama mostly, so I need to be home during the day whilst he works.” He said.
“So this is a full time job?”
“No, not really, this isn’t the only job I’m leaving.” He said, I nodded, “We, you, will work here on Wednesdays and Saturdays. On Wednesday, you do the lights for Jamie’s show and tonight is the showcase, so you spend practically the full day here: planning, rigging and rehearsing.” He said, I nodded.
“What is this club?” I asked, Harry’s expression almost made me laugh.
“You don’t know?”
“No, I saw lighting job and just applied, I didn’t read the fine print.”
“This is a drag club.” He said, I looked back at the stage.
“Wait, like drag queens?”
“Like drag queens.” He repeated, “There’s three Queens currently, usually there’s four, but things have been a bit weird lately, there’s Jamie, Jake and Sam, but Sam’s leaving soon, he’s been here a long time.”
“What about the fourth?” I asked, Harry shrugged.
“We haven’t had a fourth Queen in about eighteen months.” He said then responded to his name by looking over the barrier.
“Cherry Blossom.” Was all that was shouted back up, Harry seemed to understand this and took a seat at the board.
“You can just watch today, Wednesday you can start to play with the lights?” He said, I agreed then leant on the barrier to watch what was apparently Cherry Blossom. A very tall thin man walked onto the stage, he must have been in his twenties, maybe mid-twenties and he was beautiful. Even in baggy shorts and a t-shirt, he had short cut ginger hair and brown eyes which were currently looking at me as I looked at him.
“Ready to go Blossom?” The man that wasn’t George said, Blossom nodded back lifting the microphone to his lips and he began to sing.
“Oh my God.” I said, Harry laughed behind me, I turned to look at him.
“That’s why Blossom is the Queen.” He said then pressed a button, I watched what the lights did, seeing Cherry Blossoms falling across the curtains. Blossom noticed turning whilst singing and nodding, smiling at the lights behind him. “Jamie is very easy to please with lights.” Harry said, I laughed, “Jake and Sam, not so much but Jamie, put something pretty and he’ll love it.” He said almost fondly, I smiled.
Harry was on the technician sandwich run, so took the opportunity to introduce me to everyone.
“This is Paul, he does the sound.” He said, I nodded, Paul nodded back. “He is like the Sound God.” He added, Paul laughed then took his tuna sandwich, “And these are the Queen’s PAs.” He said, “Ben is Jamie’s ASM, William is Sam’s and David is Jake’s.” He said, passing the just ham, just cheese and chicken salad sandwiches to them, “And our stage manager is Richard.” He said whilst waving his hand absently, “And these, these are our Lord and Masters.” He said and lead me to George and the other man, they both stood, “George, he’s the Queen Manager.” He said, I shook George’s hand, he seemed surprised by that but shook mine back, “And Terry,” He said, I shook his hand as well, “The King of everything.” He added.
“That is my official title.” Terry said, I laughed.
“He bought this club, then made this club.” Harry said, Terry nodded.
“I basically live here.” Terry said, I smiled. “What are you here for?”
“Lights.” I replied.
“Ever felt the pull of drag?”
“Don’t steal my replacement Terry that is not allowed.” Harry said, Terry laughed.
“Enjoy your dinner then sit tight, the show is always far better than the rehearsal.” He said then winked at George who laughed.
* * *
“Jess?” Mum shouted, I frowned down towards her voice. “That means leave your room.” She added, so I did, slipping my phone into my pocket as I looked over the banister.
“Gosh, you’re actually listening today.” She said, I tilted my head at her.
“Oh.” I said.
“He wants to tell you something.”
“Family, get downstairs.” She said simply, so I did, sitting on the seat beside my sister, Alexa. As Aaron, our brother stood on the other side of the table. “So go on, get on with it, don’t leave us in anticipation Aaron.” Mum said.
“I’m having a baby.”
“What?” Alexa said,
“Seriously?” I asked.
“Say that again.” Mum said, Aaron laughed, “With, with?”
“With Lily.” He said nodding, “And you know I’ve been dating her for ages. I’m not Alexa who is attracted to anything that breaths.”
“A penis is needed too.” I said, Alexa hit me because she couldn’t reach Aaron, Mum pretended to ignore the remark.
“You’re having a baby?” Mum repeated, Aaron nodded.
“Yes, Jess you’re going to be an uncle. Alex, an auntie.” He said, we both looked at Mum and she stared back at Aaron. She couldn’t be angry with him, really, he’s twenty-five it’s not as if he’s the youngest of us all, he has been with Lily for years. I can only ever remember Aaron with Lily. “You’re going to be a grandma.” He attempted, that seemed to get her, she softened instantly and hugged him, I saw him breathe a sigh of relief over her shoulder.
Aaron was forced to stay for tea, when I disappeared back into my bedroom, he soon followed, he knocked.
“Why are you knocking?” I said as he came in, “It’s still like fifty percent your room.” I added, he laughed.
“I don’t see my bed anymore.”
“I sold it, bought a PlayStation.” I said, he laughed and sat beside me on the bed.
“Nice.” He said nodding, “You proud of me?”
“For what?” I replied frowning.
“Oh, you’re asking if I’m proud of you for getting off and getting something from it?” I said, he pushed me, I began laughing. “Can I spoil the baby shitless?” I asked, he laughed.
“I guess so.” He said sighing, “Ay, I heard you got a job.” He said, punching my shoulder lightly.
“I did, I actually did get a job, very easily as well.” I said, he nodded.
“I knew you would.” He said simply, “You’re like so smooth.”
“I didn’t even interview.” I said, he laughed. Well I did, but it went something like, can you operate a lighting board? Yes. Do you want a job? Yes. And that was pretty much it.
“Lights.” I said nodding, “On Stanley Street.”
“Oh, Gay Street?” He said, I nodded.
“Underground and everything.” I said, he laughed.
“Cool. Careful, you might end up with a boyfriend.”
“Unlikely.” I said, he laughed and nudged me.
“So pessimistic.” He said, “If I can have a baby, you can get yourself a boyfriend.” He said, I laughed, “Got to make sure it works Jesse.”
“Shut up!” I said, covering my ears far too over dramatically, “Oh my God shut up.” I added then began laughing as he began to pull my arms away from my ears. Which, of course, became us wrestling with each other. “When you’re a dad you can’t wrestle with me anymore.”
“Because you’ve got to be an adult, because you’re a dad.” I said simply, he responded by hitting me with my pillow, I cupped my ear, so he dropped the pillow covering his mouth.
“Shit sorry.” He said, I looked at him, “Jess!” He said simply, I began laughing, “You…” He began then picked up the pillow again to attack me, I grinned back at him.
“You’re twenty-five and you still fall for it.” I said happily, he scowled.
“Mum would kill me if I broke your hearing aid.” He moaned slightly.
“You’ve only broke it once.” I almost cooed back, he punched me.
* * *
Harry decided sending me up the ladder was far more of a sensible decision than him going up himself, so he stood, steadying my ladder with one foot and instructing me on what to do with each light. Jamie sat at the back of the stage, a notepad open on his legs and a bottle of water at his side. George lingered, watching me mostly, probably praying I didn’t kill myself on the ladder.
“Blossom, red or pink?” Harry asked, Jamie looked up, glanced at the light then nodded.
“Pink.” He replied, so Harry passed the pink colour gel up to me. Jamie watched me as I put it in.
“How old are you, Mr Lights?” Jamie asked, I looked down at him.
“Seventeen.” I replied then looked at Harry who was now leaning on the ladder.
“Oh you’re a baby Mr Lighting.” He cooed, I rolled my eyes at him as I began to tighten the light.
“Ms Blossom can you stop distracting my lighting technician?” Harry said, Jamie laughed, “Otherwise you will not get your pink spotlight.” He added, Jamie gasped.
“Mean.” He said simply as I began down the ladder.
“Just the floor lights.” Harry said, I looked around all the individual bulbs around the stage. “They’re all LEDs.” He said, I frowned at him, “We took the inside out a few years ago, if one of them blew, the whole club blew so we made them inactive and put LED lights inside them.” He said almost proudly.
“Was that your idea?”
“Possibly.” He replied amused, “We had to make Terry leave the club though, there was never a chance we were taking up them bulbs if he was in the room.” He said shaking his head as he crouched by the side of the stage and flicked a switch, every one of the bulbs turned on, all of them different colours.
“We control them from up there?” I asked, pointing at the booth.
“Nope we set them now, they’re like Christmas lights, they just sort of run themselves.” He said then pressed a button making the colours run around the stage.
“Cool.” I said.
“But…” Jamie murmured, Harry laughed.
“But during Blossom’s show, they’re a low white.” He said, pressing the button a few times until they looked dimly lit. “Doesn’t distract the attention that way.” Harry added, I laughed.
“Right, is the attention easily distracted then?” I asked, Jamie scowled me, “Don’t anger a drag queen Jesse, it’s not a good idea, ever.” He said amused, I smiled back at him.
“How long have you been here?” I asked as people began filling up the club, there was a lot of hugging going on below me.
“Too long.” He said, I laughed as he pressed go and all the lights flickered, “I’ve been here since I was seventeen, started here during college just to get some extra money. I took a mini break when Josh and I got married, but other than that, I’ve been here since I was seventeen.”
“And you’re what?”
“Thirty.” He replied.
“Wow.” I said, Harry laughed and pressed go again,
“I love this place, I really do. I do plan on coming back, I’m thinking of this more maternity than leaving.” He said, I smiled. “Ready?” He asked, I nodded, he’d put me on the controllable lights, the booms and the spotlight, the pink spotlight that was needed pretty much straight away. I followed her as closely as I could as I gawped at how she’d come out. She was of course still tall and thin, but she’d complimented it with a knee-length watermelon skirt and a red crop top, she’d matched it with white ankle socks and white Vans and a long ginger wing, that when she turned was braided all the way down a full Elsa braid which sat over her left shoulder. She walked down the stage waving to people, little tingly waves before raising her microphone and singing.
“Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure everyone has feelings for Blossom.” Harry whispered as he made all the cherry blossoms fall behind her, “Gay or straight.” He added, I glanced at him, he laughed, then talked into his headset.
“Booms.” He said, I began to tap the booms to the music.
“But, how does a guy end up looking like that though?” I said, Harry laughed.
“I’m pretty sure Jamie is a wizard.” Harry said nodding. “George too actually. They’re all wizards.” He said amused, I laughed as Blossom finished her song and began to talk to the audience, flirting with them, laughing with them. “Not as good as Jasmine though.” He said thoughtfully.
“Jasmine?” I asked, he nodded.
“She was the Queen, before Jamie, she was a show stopper you stopped, sat down and listened when Jasmine came onto the stage.” He said then held the headset over his right ear and pressed go again.
“Standing by.” He said, “Standing by spotlight.” He said, so I did stand by, watching as Cherry Blossom walked back to centre stage, she smiled playfully then began to sing again.
Alexa had a lot of dresses, so much so that she had to store them in Aaron’s and my room, because we had a longer wardrobe. There were dresses in every wardrobe of this house. I knew that. Most were Mum’s, office dresses, but the rest were Alexa’s and they were all different, all of them different styles, different colours, different shapes.
“Jesse!” Mum shouted, I shut my wardrobe. “Tea.” She added, I turned and walked down the stairs, she smiled as I walked into the kitchen, Alexa soon followed.
“Keep is due the end of this week.” Mum said as she picked up her own plate and came to join us at the table.
“Is Sunday acceptable?” I asked, she nodded.
“As long as you pay it.” She said, “I don’t care how you get it, just pay it.”
“Prostitution it is.” Alexa said, I almost choked on my spoonful of sweetcorn.
“How’s the job kid?” Mum asked, I shrugged.
“Okay. I haven’t got into the work yet but, good I guess.” I said.
“Liar.” Alexa said, I shrugged.
“Lights all I can do. I might as well do it.”
“Why don’t you do something with your music maker?” Mum said, she meant my guitar, we’d come on a lot, it used to be my noise maker.
“What exactly?” I asked, they both shrugged, because they were both extremely helpful.
“You could go into accountancy.” Mum said, I laughed.
“You have the qualification.” She said, I frowned at her.
“I have a maths qualification, why aren’t you trying to get Alexa out of prostitution?” I said, Mum laughed which in turn made me smile as Alexa laughed herself.
“She’d be happy in prostitution, you don’t seem too happy?” She said, Alexa almost choked on her laugh.
“I would. I would be happy.” She said, I sighed.
“I am happy.” I replied, “I like being in a theatre.”
“He’s like our token gay isn’t he.” Alexa said almost affectionately, I glared at her.
“I collected one of each, I am happy.” Mum said, I rolled my eyes.
“Money is money, a theatre is a theatre and I enjoy doing lights. Therefore, I am done with this conversation.” I said.
“Careful he’ll turn his hearing aid off.” Alexa said, I kicked her under the table, she kicked me back. I hadn’t come out. Not in so many words at least, they knew I liked boys, I hadn’t done too well at hiding that, especially when I used to share my bedroom with Aaron, he knew first of course, because I’ve always been crap at keeping secrets. Somehow Alexa found out, I neither cared nor wondered how. Mum knew pretty soon afterwards and again, I truly didn’t care how because it didn’t matter to me that they knew I liked boys, it didn’t matter to me that I liked boys because I wasn’t going to do much about it. It came with being asexual and gay, to me, the world could know I’m gay and react however they wanted to but I knew the likelihood of acting stereotypically gay was never going to come. My family thought that I should be dating by now, with three weeks to my eighteenth birthday I should have been dating ages ago. Apparently.
* * *
“LX standing by.” I said, Harry smiled at me then continued to watch over the balcony so I watched too, pressing the button when I was told and watching as the rainbow of lights travelled around the stage.
“Now, count to twenty.” Harry said, I began to, “And when you get to twenty, press the button again.” He added.
“Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen, Nineteen…” I whispered then pressed the button, Harry nodded.
“LX stand by.” I heard down my headset, I nodded.
“Standing by.” I replied.
“Go.” I heard, so I went, turning my head and smiling as the entire stage transformed around the Queen I’d learnt went by the name Violet.
“That’s pretty.” I said, Harry nodded to me.
“Very pretty.” He agreed then stood over me so I looked at him, because he smelt good, I wanted to ask what he was wearing but refrained because telling your boss he smells good is never wise. So instead I looked at him, because I guess he was attractive even though he was both almost twenty years older than me and married, I stopped looking at him as he looked back at me. “I will let you play with the LED screen.” He said, “I promise.” He added, I laughed.
“I’ve not played with an LED screen before.” I said, “That sounds like fun.”
“It is, believe me.” He said amused then looked over the balcony again as I held the comms closer to my ear. Harry squeezed my shoulder, I smiled up at him. He took back over when Cherry Blossom was due back on the stage, he rolled me on my chair to sit beside him whilst taking the comms off over my head.
“Harry on LX.” He said, then he laughed, looking at me, I tried not to squirm. “Yeah he’s quiet.” He agreed, I pulled my tongue at him. “We’ll take him out for a drink, liven him up a little.” He said winking at me, I shook my head back ensuring I looked amused. “Cherry Blossom ready?” he asked then he smirked, “Standing by.” He said, I rolled my chair to the balcony, leaning on the barrier, my chin on my hands to watch. Cherry Blossom seemed to grace the stage, she was a ball of energy coming out in a knee length skirt with a London Taxi on and Big Ben, a white crop top and white Chuck Taylors with white frilly socks. She waved to everyone laughing as she sang her first song, the lights almost following her around the stage as she moved without thought, she blew a kiss up to the lighting booth once her song had finished then began talking to the audience, twirling in her skirt, playing with her hair and leading flawlessly into her song. I heard Harry laugh from behind me, I turned my head to look at him.
“You like Cherry Blossom?” He asked, I nodded.
“She’s flawless.” I said in a deep breath, Harry grinned.
“Careful, you’ll give her an ego.” He said, I laughed back.
“You telling me she doesn’t already have an ego?” I replied, he winked at me.
“Come for a drink Jess.” He said, I shook my head.
“Seventeen.” I whispered back.
“A soft drink?” He suggested, I began nodding.
“A soft drink.” I repeated.
I felt very small as I sat amongst the technicians. The Queen’s ASMs seemed to take pity on me, so sat me right in the middle of them, William leaned closer to me as a glass of coke was set in front of me.
“Soft?” He asked, I nodded taking a long sip out of the glass.
“I’m only seventeen.” I whispered back.
“Seriously?” He asked, I nodded unsure whether he was asking if I was seriously seventeen or if was seriously not breaking the law. “Harry you adopted him, not hired him!” William stated, Harry almost choked on his pint.
“He’s going alone next week.” He said, I scowled him, “I will not intervene, I shall merely sit and watch the show.”
“As if.” The ASM on the other side of me said.
“Shut up Ben.” He said simply, Ben didn’t seem impressed by that.
“You can’t sit by as much as Blossom can’t wear a skirt that goes under her knees.” He said.
“Oh Drag Sass.” William said, “I miss my Jasmine.” He cooed, I took another long sip from my coke.
“I will not intervene.” Harry repeated, he smirked at me before drinking the rest of his pint.
“What if I ask you to intervene?” I queried, Harry smiled at me, it comforted me, in a Dad smile kind of way.
“I will intervene.” He said softly, I nodded to him.
“So, where did you come from then? Backstory.” William asked, I frowned whilst looking into my glass of coke.
“I, I always sort of did tech.” I said then looked at Harry, he smiled at me so I continued. “I did drama in school so because I was doing drama as a lesson, in drama club I decided to do something else. They had me control the sound first, then they moved me onto lights and I enjoyed it.”
“So you’ve not actually been trained?” Ben asked, I shook my head, “Harry, I want to do lights.” Ben said, Harry laughed.
“You’re Cherry Blossom’s bitch and you want to give that up?” He almost cooed.
“Jesse can be Blossom’s bitch.”
“Oh Jesse might enjoy that.” Harry said.
“I’m not a good ASM, I get too distracted. We discovered that when I was fifteen, ASMing a musical.”
“Which do you prefer Jesse?” William asked, I looked at him, “On or back stage?” He asked, I hummed back.
“On.” Harry said, I looked up at him, “You can tell.” He added, “I’m married to an actor, an actor who decided one time to come and help backstage here. He couldn’t quite handle not being on stage with them, even if Josh would never do drag.”
“You think I yearn to be on the stage?” I asked, he shrugged at me as he sipped his pint.
“Ben, you can do lights when Blossom leaves.”
“That bitch is never leaving.” Ben stated sound exhausted, “The only way she’ll leave is if she is forcibly evicted.”
“Or executed.” William murmured, I laughed.
“But I do love lights.” He added, “It’d be fine if Blossom wasn’t the Queen, we could make a deal and I could do lights on a Wednesday but no.”
“Fight it out with Jesse.” Harry said, “I’m on maternity.” He said, they all laughed.
“Don’t you like the Queens?” I asked. Ben smiled at me,
“I love Jamie.” He said nodding, “Jamie is legitimately one of my best friends, Blossom is a bitch.”
“But he can say that because Jamie’s one of his best friends.” William said, I smiled, “I used to be Jasmine’s ASM and my God it was the best ever because Jasmine and Jason alike were amazing. No Queen that follows can live up.”
“You’re Buttercup’s. Now?”
“Yeah but Sam’s leaving in a few weeks, so I’ll be a general ASM again, I guess.”
“Or you could be Blossom’s ASM and I could do lights.” Ben said, Harry grinned at him then looked up.
“Husband.” I heard so I turned, finding another tall, reasonably attractive man who was pointing at Harry.
“Did I miss curfew?” Harry cooed back as he stood, all the technicians began cooing at him, he shut that up by kissing his husband, of course starting the catcalls. “Jesse I’ll give you a lift.” Harry said amused, I stood without saying a word. “Take the baby home.” He added pulling me towards him, I went willingly. “I’ll see you guys Wednesday.” Harry said, everyone waved and shouted loudly, I followed him out. “Jesse meet Josh, the designated driver.” Harry said, I nodded to Josh as he went into Harry’s pocket getting his keys out.
“The designated driver who had to walk to get here.” He said as he jingled the keys in front of Harry’s face, Harry laughed.
“Get yourself a husband Jesse they’re handy.” He said, as Josh unlocked the car, I got into the back.
“I’m not looking for a husband.” I said.
“Neither was I.” Josh replied, “He just wouldn’t leave it was easier buying him the ring.”
“I’ve drank but not that much.” Harry replied then turned to me, “Happy to go alone next week?”
“I think so.” I replied, “I mean, I know what I’m doing.”
“We’ll play with the LEDs on Wednesday then you’ll be perfect.” He said nodding.
“As long as I don’t stare at Blossom instead of pressing my button, we’ll be good.” I said.
“Fancy Blossom do you?” Josh asked, I laughed loudly.
“I do not.” I replied, “She is just flawless and the best drag queen I’ve ever seen.”
“The only.” Harry whispered loudly, “He doesn’t watch Violet or Buttercup.”
“They aren’t flawless.” I whispered back, they smiled at each other.
“Have you actually spoke to Jamie?” Josh asked, I blushed. “Yeah you’ll see the flaws when you do.”
“Jamie might be flawed, Blossom isn’t. Simple. Oh, first on the left.” I said, Josh turned into my street, “This one.” I said, he parked outside my house. “Thank you.”
“I’ll see you Wednesday yeah?” Harry said, I nodded.
“Wednesday.” I repeated as I opened the car door. “Thank you.” I repeated then got out of the car, they waited until I got into the house to drive off. Alexa was in the kitchen as I walked in, her hair up in a bun, a big jumper on and pyjama pants, she watched me as I walked in, following me to the cupboard with her eyes.
“What?” I snapped at her, she raised her eyebrow at me as she ate ice cream off the spoon.
“Work.” I replied, she hummed at me.
“Attractive man dropped you off.” She said, I laughed.
“And his husband.” I said, “Enjoy your ice cream.” I added. “Another breakup?”
“Hook-up.” She said, I cringed, “He was great, tall, muscular. And his dick…”
“So long and my word did he know how to use it.”
“Alexa!” I repeated.
“Oh I wouldn’t have left, I’d have done it again and again… and again.”
“Oh my God shut the fuck up.” I almost growled at her, she grinned back and it was evil, pure evil.
“Oh Jesse one day, when you’re no longer a virgin you’ll know.”
“There is only one thing bad about being a virgin and it is not the lack of sex.” I said, her eyebrow cocked, “You can be sacrificed.” I mumbled, I’m sure she’d have been laughing loudly if she wasn’t my evil big sister.
“Oh baby Jesse.” She said, I scowled as I got a cookie out the cupboard.
“Sex makes you stupid.” I said then walked away, getting to the bottom of the stairs before taking my hearing aid out, so I didn’t have to listen to her anymore. Mum walked into me at the top of the stairs, I read her lips.
Home late Jess. I nodded. Work? I nodded again then she checked my ears, I smiled back whilst signing to her.
Alexa was annoying me
She laughed, although she pretended not to, but I saw it. Being unable to hear gave me the uncanny ability to read lips whether that was words or emotions, Mum knew that so covered her mouth until the laughter subsided.
Goodnight Jesse she signed to me.
Goodnight. I signed back, we walked around each other, I saw Alexa at the bottom of the stairs, I put two fingers up to her, lowering them when Mum turned to see why Alexa had rolled her eyes.