Chapter 1 – Ultimatum
“It’s too late, it’s too late.”
Renly glanced at the clock on the hall wall and wailed in pain, his habit of sleeping in should really be changed. Although it is said that today’s audition has no time regulations, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., any time throughout the day to arrive, but if he did not crave the laziness of the nest, at this time he would have been waiting in the queue, who knows whether the people in line for the audition today will fill the entire theater.
At that moment, the phone rang abruptly, the melody of Bach’s unaccompanied cello suite mellow and melodious, flowing slowly in the golden sunlight, but for Renly, it just made him more and more flustered. He picked up the phone and skimmed it, then dropped it into his backpack, took the keys from the TV table by the door in his hand, and quickly left the room, leaving the wooden door buzzing with a thud and a groan of complaint.
The only good thing about getting up late is that you avoid the rush hour. Otherwise, in the big city of New York, there are millions of cabs, but few can be stopped in times of emergency.
“Broadway Avenue, Sixth Street.” Renly shouted, before bringing the door up, and the cab immediately started the engine again.
The phone in the backpack was still tirelessly ringing, the melody like a river of moonlight persistently calling for Renly’s favor/pleasure. The actual fact is that you can find a lot of people who are not able to get a good deal on a lot of things.
“Hello, this is Renly Hall.” Picking up the phone, Renly quickly said.
“Renly, what the hell are you doing! You should know that it’s a very rude thing to do to refuse to answer your phone.” A dignified and elegant, yet stern voice came from the other end of the phone.
Renly could effortlessly picture the other person in his mind, a white lace shirt with coffee-colored straight suit pants, a spotless sky-blue blazer, today’s “Times” in front of her, next to the aroma of black tea and dessert.
“Mother, you should know that there is a time difference between us, and it is now 10:30 a.m. here. “Renly slowed down his speech, unhurried composure, gentlemanly manners in the midst of elegance, but the words were countered with a hint of hidden sarcasm.
On the other end of the line was none other than Renly’s mother in this life, Elizabeth Hall, who lives in London, across the Atlantic, and owns an art gallery located on Piccadilly Street, not far from Smoerset-House.
“Are you telling me that you just got up?” Elizabeth’s voice lifted slightly with a nonchalant air of authority, “You shouldn’t let yourself live unbridled like that, and you know it.” Renly pursed his lips, a hint of disapproval in his eyes, but no intention to retort, they have argued more than enough, there is no need to keep going over and over again.
Elizabeth also seems to realize this, taking a deep breath, readjusting her emotions and speaking again, “I know your dream of being an actor, and after much thought, your father and I thought we should give you a chance to showcase yourself, or at least let you prove your talent. So, you buy a ticket to come back to London today, next March, ‘Hamlet’ will soon be back in London’s West End, and we have secured the opportunity for you to perform.”
“What? ‘Hamlet’?” As one of Shakespeare’s four most famous tragedies, this play was naturally famous enough, and if he could be part of the regular cast, it would definitely be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
However, after the surprise, Renly then began to question why his father and mother, who had never supported his dream of becoming an actor since he was a child, and even strongly opposed it, had changed their attitude today. He had been in New York for three months, and even if he were to do something different, he had already missed the boat… Was there something special about today?
“You mean it?” Renly’s eyebrows couldn’t help but frown slightly, “Then what happened to your occupational prejudice against actors? Aren’t you guys worried that after I become a real actor, there will be no turning back?”
“Are you really prepared to make acting a lifelong career?” Elizabeth’s tone seemed a bit hard, even if not deliberately upward, but the hint of coldness hidden in it is not to be doubted, “you are prepared to spend your life out in the open, and then lowly plead for jobs, exposed to the limelight to sell the privacy of your life, to entertain others with yourself, to become the talk of the world after dinner? As a performer, you will always be just a plaything for others! You will always be a joke! Renly Hall, you should know that your name is far more noble than that!”
The slightest of slights, even without a single swear word, is enough to make a person shiver with rage. But all of this is something that Renly has long been accustomed to.
“Give me the phone.” A majestic voice came next to him, from far away, and then the firm, steady voice came through, “You should know that this is your last chance.”
It was his father in this life, George Hall, a fallen British aristocrat, the current holder of a hereditary Baronetcy, working for Barclays Bank, responsible for managing the trust funds of the magnificent family.
“I have made arrangements up and down the line for you to enter the cast of ‘Hamlet’ as Leotis (Laertes). As for whether it’s the first or second cast, it depends on your strength.” George’s cold, hard voice carried no warmth and thundered out orders, “The play will be staged in London’s West End for three months, and when the three months are over, you will go back to Cambridge University, finish your studies, and we will arrange your future work for you.”
So that’ s how it is.
They had everything set up and organized, giving him three months to realize his dream and then meekly revert back to their desired trajectory of development. This is what they call a compromise, expecting him to accept it joyfully and then worship them with gratitude.
But, he didn’t want to, and he wouldn’t be able to.
“No!” With a short but strong answer, Renly once again firmly stated his position.
“What? Are you crazy?” George’s voice did not just explode, but sank deeper and deeper, the hidden anger began to gurgle, “We have allowed your ridiculous request, given you three months to achieve that stupid goal, and you still are not satisfied?”
“I want to be an actor, a real one.” Faced with his father’s oppression, Renly did not flinch, his eyes burst into a glowing light, “I will work tirelessly toward this goal, even if the end is the abyss, I will never regret it.”
“Heh.” The low chuckle rolled in George’s throat in anger, “Should I say you’re naive, or just stupid? You should know that there are eight hundred thousand, if not a million people in the world who want to become actors. But how many of them can actually reach the top and create a great career? Five hundred? Or eight hundred? Everyone thinks they are special, everyone thinks they are a genius, everyone thinks they are unique, but I tell you, no. They are not, and neither are you. They’re not, and you’re not. There aren’t that many geniuses in the world, and there aren’t that many miracles, you’re just a fool who daydreams, and the chances of you succeeding are equal to zero!”
“This is my dream.” Renly said word for word, like a lighthouse in the midst of a violent storm, about to topple, yet indestructible.
“A dream that will never come true!” George said coldly, not caring that it was his son on the other end of the line, sparing no effort to hit the other side, “You’re not a genius, never have been! A real genius, he should know how to measure his talent, he should also know how to put himself in the right position, and should know the difference between choosing to give up and choosing to persist. You are not. You have seen how a real genius should be, and since childhood, you have been surrounded by too many geniuses. Therefore, you should understand that unnecessary persistence is just stupidity, not only is it a waste of your time and energy, but also a hindrance to everyone around you. You are not stupid, you should at least know how to give up.”
Faced with his father’s bombardment, Renly did not respond, he just listened quietly, as if a statue, silent, on the other end of the phone came the ultimatum of the other side of the Atlantic, “You hear that? You don’t have the talent to perform, you should give up! If you don’t know how to give up, then it’s time for us to give up on you next. So come back to London and join the ‘Hamlet’ show, that’s my concession and your last chance.”
The “beep-beep-beep” noise was like a drum hitting the eardrums of Renly. The final warning, today, was his first audition in New York in three months, but also his family’ s ultimatum.
He knew his father’s prowess and that George was a man of his word. Although it is true that he has held on completely by his own hands for the past three months, without taking a single cent from the family; he knows that today’s ultimatum is different, and could very well mean their abandonment, banishing him completely to his own devices. Even if it wasn’t an expulsion from the family, it shouldn’t be far off.
Perhaps, as George had said, knowing how to give up was the ability of a wise man, but was giving up on a dream, on freedom, the same as giving up on life? In his last life, he chose to follow the rules and regulations; in this life, is he going to continue to repeat the same mistakes?
No, he refuses! God gave him the chance to start over, and this time, he would not miss it!
T/N – Welcome to the new adventure – adventure of Renly Hall. This is going to be so fun. BTW, what do you think of the first chapter, are you as excited as I am?