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"Every human life has value."

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As I walked onstage, I took a deep breath. 'Just forget about everything and just sing,' I thought. "Hey, everyone. My name is Aria Daniels, and I'm 17 years old. This is the first time I've ever sung in front of an actual audience, so bear with me. I'm going to be singing "My Buddy" by Christina Grimmie. I hope you like it," I said. Then, I began the piano introduction.

My Buddy

As I was singing, the last man that I expected to see walked into the coffee shop. Sean Hayes. One of the actors on my favorite show of all time, Will & Grace. He also happened to be one of my biggest heroes. The best part was that he was openly gay and no one ever judged him for it because he was that awesome. And that's why I looked up to him because after my parents kicked me out of the house, I was so afraid to tell anyone that I was gay. When I laid eyes on Sean, everything else around me seemed to fade away. While I was singing, it felt like we were the only two people in the room. 

But the feeling ended with the song, and I got a standing ovation. Once I took my bow, I walked offstage, acting as professional as I possibly could as I went over to the bar. But before I could order anything, I realized that I had left my wallet in the car. Luckily, the man himself sat down beside me. "Don't worry, I've got you covered. What do you want?" he asked. "Vanilla latte," I said. Then, Sean turned to the bartender. "One grande caramel flan latte for me, and a tall skinny vanilla latte for the lady. And keep the change," he said as he slid a ten to the bartender, who nodded as he went to prepare our drinks. "Thanks. I just realized I left my wallet in my car. I have got to stop doing that," I said, laughing with embarrassment. "Don't worry. It happens to the best of us. You were amazing, by the way," he said. "Thank you. I'm Aria," I said. "Sean," he said as we shook hands. "I know. Huge fan, by the way. Jack McFarland is basically my spirit animal," I laughed. "Who got you into the show? Because I know that you weren't old enough to watch it during its original run," he said as the bartender gave us our drinks. "My 11th grade American History teacher, Jasper Vincent. It's a really funny story, actually. It was the end of the semester, and Mr. Vincent thought that he would do something fun for us. So the entire class went over to his house the Saturday after Finals and we literally binged the entire first two seasons of Will & Grace. It took us exactly 11 hours because Mr. Vincent already had lunch and dinner prepared for us. And we knew that we would probably get done with the marathon pretty late in the night, so we all brought duffel bags and spent the night at his house. There were 7 girls and 7 boys in the class, so it really wasn't a problem," I said. "How did you guys make the sleeping arrangements work?" Sean asked, laughing very hard. "Well, Mr. Vincent was fairly rich and he had 3 guest rooms on each floor, and it was a two story mansion. So, the girls took the first floor, and the guys took the second floor. Simple," I said. "And what happened the next morning?" he asked. "We all drove out to IHOP in the morning and went home after that. And the best part of all was that Mr. Vincent had an extra copy of the 3rd season box set, so he gave that to me," I said. "Sounds like your 11th grade history teacher is a really amazing guy," said Sean. "Yeah, he really is," I said.

Suddenly, I felt something warm trickle down my left arm from under my sleeve. I looked over to see that there was a growing red stain on my left sleeve. 'Crap! I must have opened a wound! I can't let Sean see this!' I thought. But before I could do anything, he noticed it. "Everything alright, Aria?" he asked. "Yeah, everything's fine," I lied, attempting to hide my arm. But he grabbed it before I could move a muscle. "Judging by that stain on your shirt, I know you're lying," he paused as he turned to the bartender. "Do you happen to have a first-aid kit on you?" he asked. "What do you need?" asked the man. "Latex gloves, rubbing alcohol, and bandages," said Sean. The man nodded as he quickly got Sean what he needed. But when I tried to stop him from rolling up my sleeve, he gently grabbed my wrist and set it down on the table. "Just let me do this. I only want to help you," he said. I nodded, turning my head away as he rolled up my sleeve, revealing the bloodstained bandages that I had put on the wound 2 hours ago. I took a deep breath as he took the bandages off, revealing the two cuts that I had inflicted on myself before the performance. The top one was bleeding again. I must have been moving my wrist too much. I should have expected that this would happen since the cuts had only stopped bleeding thirty minutes before I went on. "Sorry, this might sting a little," said Sean as he cleaned the wounds. It didn't hurt too bad, but it still made me flinch. "How long has this been happening?" he asked. "This was the only time. And believe it or not, I am not a masochist. I actually have a reason for doing this," I said. Sean sighed. "What could possibly warrant you to hurt yourself? You're lucky these cuts aren't too deep or else you could've died if these went untreated," he said. "Well, you obviously haven't been through what I went through yesterday! You have no idea what it's like to live in the hell that I'm living in right now!" I exclaimed, looking up with tears in my eyes. Sean looked up as well as he finished cleaning the wound, moving on to the bandages. "Aria, what happened?" he asked.

I reached into my shirt with my undamaged wrist, revealing my necklace. "I'm gay. You starting to get the picture?" I asked. Sean sighed as he finished putting the bandages on my arm, rolling my sleeve back into place. "There's a balcony on the other side of the room. I think we should go there," he said. I nodded as we went there, both of us standing by the railing. "Bad coming out experience, right?" he asked. I sighed, a tear rolling down my face. "A day ago, I told my parents that I was gay. I thought they would support me because they were my parents. I thought they loved me. But what happened next was not what I expected at all. They disowned me and said that I had three hours to pack my things. And as soon as I had everything packed up, they gave me money for a hotel room and kicked me out of the house. The only two people that I thought would unconditionally support me no matter what turned their backs on me. As soon as I checked into the hotel, I fell on my bed and cried all night. I didn't even go to school today because I was so afraid that someone would find out and do something even worse to me. And I cut myself because I just felt so worthless. I feel like no one can ever understand what it's like to live like this," I said.

And before I could say anything else, I completely broke down. "Oh, you poor thing. Come here," said Sean as he pulled me into his arms. I hadn't cried that much since last night. The only difference was that someone was actually there to comfort me. "You are not worthless, Aria. Not in the slightest. And you're wrong. I totally understand what you're dealing with," he said. "You do?" I asked. "I mean, I haven't experienced your struggle personally, but I've met a lot of kids who have. Los Angeles is basically a safe haven for homeless LGBT youth. And the fact that kids like you make up 40% of all of the homeless kids just breaks my heart every day. We live in a cruel country. But we can make it better if we stick together," he said. I pulled away, having stopped crying at that point. "What do you mean?" I asked. "Do you have any family you can stay with, Aria?" asked Sean. "Knowing my parents, they'll probably tell my entire extended family to cut me off, so no. I'm probably going to live in a hotel until they kick me out because I'm broke. Then I'll probably be on the streets for a pretty long time," I said. Sean took my hand. "You're not going to live on the streets. I won't let you," he said. "How?" I asked. "Because I'm going to adopt you," he said. My eyes widened. He had to be joking. "You're serious?!" I exclaimed. "Yeah. You're a great kid and I would be happy to have you as my daughter. And you're gay and a singer, so you'll fit right in," he said. I laughed as I hugged him. "Thank you. Thank you so much," I said. "No problem. My husband, Scott, is going to love you," he said.

"Miss Daniels?" asked a voice. We turned around to see the owner of the coffee shop. "Yeah?" I asked. "The customers loved your performance. They actually loved it so much that they want an encore. Do you happen to have another song ready?" he asked. Sean and I looked at each other and smiled. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" I asked. "It's a good thing I have that piano part memorized. Let's do it," he said as we walked back into the building and got onstage. "So, I've been told that you guys want an encore. But this time, it's going to be a little different. I've invited someone up to do a duet with me. You probably don't know who he is, though," I joked. Everyone laughed, perfectly familiar with the man that was onstage with me. "I'm kidding. We all know that Sean Hayes is up here with me. And I just couldn't waste this opportunity. So, for all you Will & Grace fans, this is for you," I said.

Unforgettable (A/N: Just imagine that Aria is singing Karen's part. Also, completely disregard the fact that Karen is drinking an alcoholic beverage. This video is just for the music. Ignore the laugh track at the beginning, too.)

After that night, Sean and Scott officially adopted me and I became Aria Hayes. I went back to school the following Monday, got my absence cleared up, and even introduced Sean to Mr. Vincent, who almost fainted when Sean walked into the room. And to top it all off, I got a girlfriend that day as well. Her name is Rebecca Lewis, and she just so happened to be my best friend. The funny thing is that she's a singer as well (so Sean and Scott love her, too). Long story short, my life is going amazingly well. And it's all thanks to a crappy coming out experience. No matter what life throws your way, there's always a light at the end of the tunnel.