Ki$$ & $ell: Chapter Eleven

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Chapter Eleven

“It’s out! It’s out!” McCartney screamed at the top of her lungs.

I turned to see her running after me as I navigated my way through the school parking lot, and cringed as everyone near us shifted their focuses our way. It was way too early for this kind of enthusiasm. Especially from McCartney, who was typically the morning crank. But when I saw how excited she was about Sylvia’s article, I couldn’t exactly burst her bubble.

The only problem was: I didn’t know how I felt about it. In fact, I still wasn’t sure whether the feature even portrayed me in a positive light. Until I figured that out, I didn’t exactly want to publicize it to everyone I knew.

Clearly, McCartney had found no problem with it though. So, I put a smile on my face and joined in my friends’ enthusiasm. “Do you really think it’s good?” I asked her.

“Duh! You’re mentioned in our favorite column ever!” she exclaimed. “How much better can things get?”

“What’s going on, ladies?” Phin asked as he slipped in beside us.

“Sylvia Longood wrote her whole article about Arielle!” McCartney practically screamed and then waved the paper around for Phin to see.

“Awesome!” Phin said, and paused. “Who’s Sylvia Longood?”

“You’re dead to me, you know that?” McCartney said, her face serious.

“She’s this reporter at The Kennedy Daily,” I explained to Phin. “She’s got her own column about people living in Kennedy and stuff.”

“Sounds fascinating,” Phin answered sarcastically. “So, why did she write about you?

“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” I snapped, before explaining, “She wanted to know about the whole eBay thing.”

“Here, listen to this,” McCartney said, opening up the paper to Sylvia’s article as dramatically as one could.

“Dating isn’t just tough for single adults in Kennedy—teenagers are even feeling the stress of finding a partner. More than a few times, I’ve vented about how difficult it is to meet people in this town, let alonefind someone that you want to see past the first date.

But after talking to Arielle Sawyer, a freshman at Kennedy HS, I realized that we’re all in the same boat—no matter what age we are. This 14-year-old is so bothered at the fact that she hasn’t kissed a boy yet, that she’s resorted to putting her first kiss up for sale on eBay! “I really just want to get it over with,” Sawyer said about the posting.

With bids well over $200, it’s starting to look like this young lady had the right idea. Which leads me to wonder—Are we so starved for love that our only choice to find it is to sell it online?”

McCartney shut the paper and turned to hug me tightly around the neck, cutting off my air supply in the process. “Girl, you have officially arrived!” she squealed.

“Whoa, calm down, Cart,” I said, dislodging myself from my friend’s embrace. “Being mentioned in a local newspaper is definitely not a sign that I’ve arrived.”

I felt my cell vibrate in my pocket just as McCartney began to argue with me. Looking down at the screen, I saw that it was my mom. Uh-oh. She rarely called me at school, so of course my imagination immediately went to worst-case scenerios. There’d been an accident and she was lying in a ditch somewhere. She’d been kidnapped and was being held by a crazed lunatic in some out-of-the-way cabin in the woods. Gramps had died. All these thoughts flashed through my head as I flipped the phone open.

“Hey, Mom. Everything okay?” I asked, plugging my other ear with my finger so I could hear.

After a few minutes of just listening to her, I closed the phone, and gently placed it back in my pocket. The silence grew around us, but I barely noticed it.

“Hello?! Who was that?” McCartney asked finally, searching my face for some kind of answer.

“My mom just got a phone call,” I said, slowly. “A news station in New York wants me to be on their morning show. Tomorrow.”

“Shut up!” McCartney screamed, and started dancing around in a circle.

Phin whistled loudly and patted me on the back.

“Now,” Phin said. “I think it’s officially safe to say that you have arrived.”

*          *          *

I could barely concentrate throughout the rest of the day, settling for walking around, my head in a fog, oblivious to the hustle and bustle that was happening around me. And classes? Forget about it. I know I went, but I have no idea what we learned.

            When my miserable math teacher, Mr. Haan made a comment on my paper, calling my handwriting, “worse than chicken scratches,” I muttered, “thank you,” and slunk back to my seat without putting up a fight. It was only later when my classmates began snickering, that I even looked up and acknowledged that he was there.

            “Huh?” I asked, forcing my attention back to the subject I was supposed to be working on.

            “If you spent as much time studying as you do daydreaming, Miss Sawyer, you might be passing my class,” Mr. Haan said, clucking his tongue as he walked back up to the front of the classroom.

            If I weren’t already so freaked out about the phone call with my mom, I might’ve been embarrassed. Or annoyed. Possibly both. But even Mr. Haan’s usual bullying tactics couldn’t take my mind off the fact that in less than 24 hours, I was going to be on live TV.

            And yeah, it may only be local news, but it was still TV.

            Suddenly, I felt a headache coming on, and lay my head in my hands, allowing my forehead to touch my desk. A few moments later, I heard a noise. More specifically, a coughing sound, like someone clearing his throat.

            I looked up, to see Mr. Haan standing over me again.

            What now? I grimaced as I looked at the frown on his face.

            “Hi, Mr. Haan…”

            “Miss Sawyer, if it’s not too much of an inconvenience for you,” he started, “you may want to wake up long enough to go home.”

            I looked around and noticed that everyone had already left the room. The bell must’ve sounded and I hadn’t even heard it.

            “Let me try this again: The period’s over, Miss Sawyer,” he said, sighing. “Do us all a favor and try to get more sleep before class tomorrow, or don’t bother coming at all.”

            “But,” I started and then let my voice trail off. There was no point in arguing with the guy, when he was already halfway out the door.

            I pulled my bag from the floor and packed up my stuff slowly. All I wanted to do was go home and take a nap.

            Maybe if I was asleep I wouldn’t stress about being seen by hundreds of strangers on TV. I placed my bag over my shoulder headed home.

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