By the time Kelly got backstage to her dressing room, she felt positively broiled in sweat, and her legs, which had been so strong and supportive onstage, felt like butter. Melting butter, on hot disgusting sweaty toast. She wasn’t sure if she was shaking in fear or on the edge of orgasm.

The fact of which was helped not at all by the smiling short-haired girl sprawled over her couch, with her dress pulled up to her thighs, revealing long brown legs. “Hi there.”

Kelly shucked off her jacket and threw it over a chair, grinning her delight. “What the fuck are you doing back here? I thought you were supposed to be in the audience, you bitch.”

Mandy shrugged. “I decided that I should wait for you back here.”

“And seduce me?” Mandy made an innocent face, and Kelly gestured to her bared legs. “Little Miss Skirt Around Her Waist.”

Mandy grinned. “Its at my knees, not my waist. And I’m here to congratulate you, so be appreciative.” She stood up, pulling her dress back over her legs and walking slowly on heeled feet over to Kelly. “I do have to admit, though, I was kind of hoping to take advantage of your post-performance endorphins...” She draped her arms dramatically around Kelly’s neck.

Kelly rolled her eyes, hands coming to rest on Mandy’s hips. “I’m not sure that I get those. Its more like post-performance rats in the stomach.”

Mandy looked perplexed. “Isn’t it supposed to be butterflies?”

“Those just kind of flutter. These are eating my intestines.” Kelly unwound Mandy’s arms from around her neck and sat down on the couch with a sigh. Mandy followed, slightly worried and a little taken aback at the lack of kissing. Kelly had met her backstage at countless concerts and it always ended in frantic post-show making out in Mandy’s dressing room. Why should this be any different?

Still. Mandy was supposed to be a supportive girlfriend, and if Kelly could get her through the bad Walk To Remember reviews, she could get Kelly through this. She put her arm around her girlfriend, who leaned her head on Mandy’s shoulder. “What if I suuuuucked?” she moaned.

Mandy made a disgusted noise. “Kelly, what the hell are you talking about?”

Kelly shrugged, nestling her face against Mandy’s shoulder. “I performed on this show, and now everyone’s going to see it, and they can’t just say that I’m fat or I’m bitchy or I’m spoiled, they can say that I suck and that I’m not nearly as talented as Daddy, or even Jack or Aimee, and…fuck. This fucking sucks.” She looked up. “And now I got makeup all over your shoulder. Fucking hell.”

Kelly stood up and walked quickly into the bathroom, Mandy following with a frustrated sigh. “First of all, I don’t care that you got makeup on my shoulder. I was actually hoping I’d already have your makeup a couple of other places by this time,” she said over the running water. “And you’re not spoiled. You’re only bitchy in a good way, and people only call you fat because American media is absurd and expects all women to look like—”

“You?” Kelly said, then went back to drying her face with a towel.

Mandy sighed, annoyed. “Yeah. I guess. Even if I think I’m too skinny... But you know I think you’re beautiful, and sexy, and I love you. And you kicked ass tonight.” She hugged Kelly from behind, kissing her on the back of the neck. “And everyone’s going to remember your performance from tonight. The way you looked, and the way you sang, and just how completely wonderful you are.” She kissed Kelly again, this time beneath her ear. “Because I know I can’t be the only one who sees it.”

Kelly turned around in Mandy’s arms. Her clean-scrubbed face still looked skeptical, but she was smiling, just slightly. “So I didn’t suck?”

“You didn’t suck.”

“You promise?”

Mandy kissed Kelly on the nose. “I swear on my MTV Movie Award.”

“Okay, I believe you. I didn’t suck.” Kelly shrugged nonchalantly. “Good to know.” She leaned forward and kissed Mandy lightly on the lips. “So, I guess I should say congratulations. Miss Breakthrough Female.”

Mandy raised an eyebrow. “I thought I was Little Miss Skirt Around My Waist?”

Kelly grinned, nipping her lightly on the chin. “Do you want to be?”