Today I will share an inspiring and romantic story called Short Story 5: Nova and Lev. Although it’s been a while since I last published a story, I admit it feels nice to get back on the writing grind again.
Nova and Lev is based on my values of staying true to your dream goals, as well as being successful in today’s world. Everyone’s dreams are different. Not everyone wants to become rich and famous. Some people want to live quiet and peaceful lifestyles, and that’s okay too.
The most important thing to remember is to never give up. If you have a dream, you have to get out there and make it happen. No one else is going to do that for you.
If you want to kick back and read more, you can scroll down this post to see my other short stories.
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Now with that being said, let’s move on to Short Story 5: Nova and Lev.
Short Story 5: Nova and Lev
“Are you nervous honey?”
Lev holds my hands gently, planting sloppy kisses all over them. I take a few deep breaths before gazing at his sweet oceanic eyes. My husband gives me a reassuring grin while straightening the wrinkles on my glittery, black, one-shoulder dress.
“I’ll be fine. You’re sitting in the front row, so I’ll just look at you whenever I feel like puking,” I reply. I let out a dry chuckle but stop when I notice that Lev isn’t amused.
“That’s the weirdest compliment you’ve ever given me. Yes, I’m so happy you don’t throw up from seeing me. Thank you honey. I’m glad I’m not ugly.”
We both pause awkwardly for a few moments until we break out into freakish snorts. Lev bends over almost halfway and holds onto his knees. I just clutch my stomach, trying not to let tears escape my eyes.
I can’t afford to ruin my mascara before appearing on the show. Hailey, my stylist, said my makeup was waterproof. However, there were still some instances when it wore off, despite the amazing work she does.
I remember the time when mascara ran down my cheeks during the charitable marathon my team sponsored for children with disabilities. It looked like someone drew black sharpie lines on my face.
“Would you still marry me if I was ugly?” Lev questions. He seems to have calmed down from our laughing fit. One corner of his lips curls up as he stares at me expectantly.
“You weren’t that good-looking in high school, but we still got married,” I retort.
My husband rolls his eyes. “On second thought, I hope you puke on the show tonight.”
“You’re rude,” I say.
“I’m rude? You insulted me. I always think you’re beautiful.”
“That’s because I am. And you told me to never lie to you. Besides, puberty worked out for you and you got a major glow up. Why do you think we started dating?”
“Nova!” someone calls out.
Lev and I swivel our heads only to see my manager, Cairo, walking toward us briskly. Cairo glances at his expensive, diamond-encrusted watch as he stops a few feet away from us.
“We need you on set in five minutes. Let’s go. Mr. Yang is about to call for you,” he says.
Cairo looks over at my husband. “Hello Mr. Valentine. Would you like me to escort you to your seat after I send off Nova? You’re sitting next to me anyways.”
“That would be great Mr. Lacoste. Thank you,” Lev tells him.
Cairo nods in response, finally leading the way. My heart beats harder against my ribs. Something feels lodged in my throat as my body quivers. I try to hide my anxiousness, but Lev senses it immediately.
My husband slips his arm around my waist, providing comfort. I’m still nervous as frick, yet I try to focus on how warm Lev’s body is next to mine.
Cairo stops near the open doorway. The three of us watch while the show’s host, Dayton Yang, makes the audience burst out in laughter by telling another funny joke. He turns his head to the right and smiles wider when he sees us waiting for his cue.
“Two minutes,” Cairo comments. He directs his attention to me.
“You don’t have to worry about anything Nova. This interview isn’t different from the other ones you’ve done. He’ll ask the same old questions about how you became successful and yada yada. You did well when we rehearsed our lines.”
“The DayNite Show is the #1 talk show in America,” I state. “If I say something dumb, the whole country will laugh at me.”
Cairo’s eyebrows raise slightly at my remark. “And you’re Nova Valentine. The #1 singer of this generation. Who cares about what other people think?”
I glare at him. My manager always had a way of not giving a shit about other people’s opinions. Then again, it’s probably one of the many reasons why he’s the richest music manager of all time. Cairo Lacoste is a force to be reckoned with.
My ears perk up as soon as I hear the host start talking about me. Lev kisses my cheek, and I blush when he rests his chin on top of my head.
Some people teased me for how short I am. Not that I’m too short anyway. I’m 5’3. It’s the average height for women around the world.
I love how manly Lev is. He is almost a foot taller than me. His body is more on the skinny-side, but he’s built with lean and mean muscle.
Dayton Yang continues talking to the crowd. “-and a beauty too. Ms. Nova Valentine has sold over 500 million platinum albums and is the #1 artist on all streaming platforms.”
I smile when the audience cheers in unison. Some of my fans paid extra money in order to be seated in the first few rows. I make a mental note to take selfies with them after the show ends.
“I know many of you would rather hear Ms. Valentine sing, but today she is here to share some of her success secrets with us,” Mr. Yang says. “Even if you don’t want to be a musician, we all have dreams that are unique. I hope her story inspires you to get out there and make it happen.”
“H-Honey,” I voice out loud.
“Yes darling?” Lev prompts.
“I’m sorry for being rude earlier. I meant what I said though. You had acne on your face when we were teenagers. And you dress like a dork. But you’re still the most handsome man to me in the whole world.”
Cairo frowns at me. “What the hell are you talking about? Is that supposed to be an apology?”
Lev chuckles at my blunt words. “I love you too. I’m glad I’m your handsome, dorky husband who doesn’t make you vomit.”
I am about to say something romantic, but my time runs out when Cairo places a hand on my shoulder. He nods toward the stage.
“Let us welcome the beautiful and talented Ms. Nova Valentine!” Dayton Yang proudly exclaims.
I exhale a deep breath, finally making my official debut on the DayNite show. I wave at the audience and blow kisses to people before arriving in front of Mr. Yang.
We shake hands as Mr. Yang finally greets me.
“Thank you for coming onto DayNite, Ms. Nova. We are all happy you’re here,” he says.
“Thanks Mr. Yang. I’m happy to be here too. I’m kinda nervous. Like I don’t want mascara to run down my face nervous. But I’m still happy. I guess,” I ramble.
What am I saying? This wasn’t part of the script. It hasn’t even been a minute, and I already said something stupid.
The audience laughs at my words. I peer at the front row and see Cairo sitting next to Lev. My manager makes a gesture with his hands over his chest, signaling for me to relax.
Mr. Yang leads me to the guest couch before taking a seat at his desk. He hands me a mug of lemon water.
“It’s okay to be nervous, Ms. Valentine. Even the other people I interviewed on this show were nervous too. It’s natural to feel this way. No matter how many times you practice, we are all human,” he says.
I take a sip of water, thinking about how I should answer.
“Thanks Mr. Yang. I’ll do my best. I’ve done interviews before, but DayNite is the #1 TV show. This moment is different.”
Mr. Yang looks slightly surprised at what I said, and his cheeks color themselves with crimson. “You’re very kind Ms. Valentine. I’m fortunate that DayNite is a big hit in the US. Someday I hope to make a bigger impact on the world, but time will tell.”
The host peers at his script notes for a few seconds. Then he sighs, pushing the paper away. A shock of surprise courses through my mind when I realize Mr. Yang decided not to interview by his script.
“You can call me Dayton, Ms. Valentine. I’m probably a few years older than you. Mr. Yang makes me sound like an old man. And I don’t want you to feel nervous. Just be yourself. I have a good feeling about this interview.”
I nod, processing his words. “Okay. Thanks for the encouragement, Dayton. I’m ready now.”
The audience becomes more silent as we await his first question. Cairo crosses his arm with a steely expression on his face. Meanwhile Lev sends me a sweet smile, and I notice how his pretty-blue eyes shimmer in the lack of light.
“Can you tell us why you decided to be a singer?” Dayton asks.
Placing my half-empty mug on his desk, I swing one leg over another and rest my palms upon my lap. If the host wants to have an unscripted interview, I will follow suit too.
“I could say it’s because I love music. And I am good at singing. But my why is so much deeper than those reasons.”
“What makes you say that?” he prompts.
“I always felt like I was destined for more. I went to high school, went to college, studied hard, and got a degree. Just like many of you. I did what I was taught by society, but because of so many factors, it was still difficult for me to get a job. The jobs I went for were office and secretarial careers. Or jobs by the state. You know, the typical fancy corporate jobs.”
“I heard the job market is difficult nowadays,” Dayton says. “Why do you think it’s hard for people to get jobs even when they have a degree?”
“I’m not an economist. I don’t know all the reasons why, but one reason is because the employer’s expectations were misaligned and that alone makes it difficult to find a candidate. For example, entry-level office jobs will say on their description that they’re willing to hire a high school graduate, but they also want five years of work experience.”
Some of the audience members begin to talk amongst themselves, and I watch their heads nod in agreement.
“It’s a tricky situation. I suppose the 5 years of work experience are to make up for the person not having a degree. But it doesn’t help if all of these entry-level jobs ask for the same requirements,” Dayton mutters. “I’ve also heard that degrees are not enough these days. And with 5 years of work experience in your belt, a person should be earning a comfortable income. Entry-level is barely above minimum wage.”
I process everything Dayton said, nodding in agreement. “I don’t know. It depends on the individual and their situation. One of my friends told me that while his degree helped him get the interview for his job, his work experience is what really got him the job. I’m not saying a degree isn’t important. I think it’s better to have both, as well as to be more selective in what jobs you apply for.”
“That is very good advice, Nova. Thank you for sharing. What does this have to do with your dream of being a singer?”
“It’s because I went through this long and grueling process of working in jobs I don’t like. Even the job hunt itself depressed me. It made me feel kinda worthless, and there was a point when I wanted to give up. I didn’t really see the point of being here just to work some 9 to 5 job for the rest of my life. I tried to do what people expected me to. But I’m not here to be a slave. I just want to live life and be happy.”
The audience is stone-cold silent as they continue to listen to my words.
“It took me a while to discover how much I love singing. When my husband Lev and I were younger, I used to sing to him when we first started dating. This was my way of flirting with him. At school, I played my ukulele and sang songs to serenade him in front of our classmates. Obviously it worked because we’re married now.”
Everyone laughs at my funny remark. I joined them too.
I drink some water and elaborate more. “Yeah whenever I sing, it reminds me of Lev. My husband always told me how talented I am and how I could be rich and famous if I wanted to. So here I am.”
Dayton nods with an impressed expression on his face. “You’re quite the romantic Nova. So you tried following what most people were doing, it didn’t work out for you. And you started singing because your husband encouraged you to make something out of your gift.”
“Yeah,” I say. “Yeah I could have put it that way, but my mouth just rambles. Sorry I do that.”
“You’re funny Nova. I like how refreshing you are,” Dayton comments. “My next question is: How did you become successful?”
“There are so many ways to answer this question,” I begin. “Before I became famous, I used to post videos of me singing covers on my online channel. I didn’t get many views, even though I posted consistently for the first few years.”
Dayton holds his hand up slightly. “Was it because people didn’t think your voice was good back then?”
I shrug. “I don’t think it’s so much a matter of talent. It’s more like I started from the bottom, and I had to keep climbing my way up. My channel has blown up since then, but I remember when my videos all had less than 10 views each. I kept going. No matter what.”
“That is remarkable. I find your tenacity to be inspiring.”
“Thank you Dayton,” I reply. “Posting those videos paid off because I eventually received an email from Lacoste Records. The CEO, Cairo Lacoste, reached out to me and offered me a record deal at his company.”
I extend my right arm toward my beloved manager. “Mr. Lacoste is sitting there in the front row next to my husband if anyone wants to say hi to him. He’s the best manager ever.”
Everyone starts cheering for Cairo. Even Dayton Yang himself does so too.
Cairo’s face crinkles happily from the unexpected praise. He briefly stands up, turns toward the crowd, and bows to the audience. I can hear Cairo yelling thank you to everyone while Lev claps his hands like a proud dad.
I continue talking after most of the audience’s cheers quiet down. “Honestly, although my record deal from Lacoste got me off the ground, I still had to work even harder from that point on. I rehearsed every single day. Unless I was sick with laryngitis. You know, then that’s different. I kept showing up, and that’s why I’m here today.”
Dayton nods approvingly and starts clapping. Which makes the audience do the same thing as well. They do this for about a minute until the host motions for the crowd to settle down.
He opens his mouth to speak. “Thank you for sharing your journey with us Nova. I like how determined you were to make it. Many of us have watched your shows when you sing live on TV. Your performances seem flawless, and you even put so much effort into your choreography too. Your work ethic is an inspiration to us all.”
“Thank you. That’s nice of you to say.”
“I do have one last question before we move on to our next segment,” Dayton states. “What advice do you have for anyone who wants to become successful in life?”
I take a deep breath, smiling at Lev who winks at me in return. I chuckle to myself.
“Success is different for everyone. Not everyone wants to become rich and famous, and that’s okay. Honestly no matter what kind of dreams you have, everyone’s path is different. I will say the journey to success isn’t linear.”
“What do you mean by the journey to success isn’t linear?” Dayton inquires.
“For example, there is a common expectation that going to college will land a high-paying job right away. And while it can happen, the thing is, there are so many factors that get in your way. College itself can already be challenging. People struggle and fail classes. Family matters can delay you from graduating on time. And then you have to compete with people who are probably more qualified than you after you leave school.”
I pause for a moment in order to collect my thoughts. “Yeah and then you may not get the job you want right away. Maybe you have to work a job you don’t like for a while just to get some money and food on the table. There are so many things to consider, but the most important thing is to never give up. If you want something, you can’t give up. Well that’s one of the most important things.”
“What’s the other most important thing?” Dayton asks.
“I would never have made it this far without Lev by my side,” I admit.
Glancing at the audience, my eyes land on Lev whose expression morphs into one of love, trust, and gratitude. My face is blushing like a cherry tomato, but I don’t care about looking like some lovesick teenager on national television.
“Even though Cairo gave me the tools and knowledge to get to where I am now, Lev gave me courage and always supported me. My friends in the past laughed at me and told me to get a reality check when they found out I wanted to be a singer. I’m not friends with those jerks anymore. But Lev, he just, he just . . ,” I trail off.
Everyone is silent as they wait for my next words. A couple of tears escape my eyes, and I start smiling down at my lap.
“Um . . . Nova, would you like some water?” Dayton says.
I shake my head. “No, it’s okay. I’m just, I’m just, so grateful for my husband. There were news articles and shows that criticized me for marrying someone who isn’t famous. Honestly, they can suck it because nobody else compares to Lev. No one compares to him. That’s why I rejected my first AMA trophy.”
The host’s eyes widen slightly in recognition. “I remember you receiving a lot of hate from the public. They said you were lucky enough to get an award, and people thought you acted like it wasn’t important.”
“My AMA trophy was important,” I clarify. “I rejected it because it doesn’t belong only to me. It belongs to me and my husband. My success is also his success. His success is my success. We’re a team.”
“Did you ever get another award? I’m talking about your first AMA. We all know you accepted the other ones, despite that first incident.”
“Yes, I contacted the AMAs. I requested for the trophy to have a different plaque on it. They sent me one with mine and my husband’s name on it. Nova and Lev.”
Everyone is stunned into silence. I glance at Cairo who nods in understanding. I remember when Cairo told me to do a press conference so that I could apologize to the AMAs. I told him no and to let the public think whatever they think. I wanted to keep Lev’s name out of the media as much as possible.
“Now we know what really happened at the AMAs,” Dayton states. “I think it’s sweet how you want to give your husband credit too.”
“Lev deserves it. He’s my first fan. And he’s my life partner,” I add.
Dayton takes a look at his watch, grinning at me and the audience afterward. “We are actually in overtime right now. We will have to cut our next segment short folks. But in the meantime, we’ll be taking a quick break.”
“Oh I’m sorry about that,” I say.
The host laughs. “No, don’t be. You’re our guest. We asked you to come here. This was a very insightful interview, and we appreciate you being here.”
“Thank you. I loved being here too.”
“And we wish for you and your husband to have a happy life together. You gave everyone lots of knowledge on the realities of success. But you also emphasized on how important a loving marriage is. Thank you for your time, Ms. Valentine.”
I only smile back in response while Dayton turns to the audience. My grin grows even wider the minute I hear his closing statement.
“Everyone, let’s give it up for Nova and Lev!”
Thank you for reading Short Story 5: Nova and Lev! I hope you enjoyed it! 💜
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