44: Signing

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"I've decided,"

"And?"

"I'll do it,"

Adrian looks surprised. "Really? I expected a no way from Miss Shy," he jokes. 

Autumn continues. "If," she says, holding out a dramatic pause, "You'll come with me,"

His surprise magnifies. "But, I-"

"Don't say you didn't help! You're gonna do it!" she demands, unable to keep a straight face. 

He smirks. "Alright. I'll find a loophole somewhere,"

"Fine. But we have a book signing right after school on Friday. Cool with that?"

"I have track..."

"You always tell me how much you hate track," Autumn raises an eyebrow. 

"Fine! Fine, I'll go." He turns and leaves toward the senior wing muttering to himself. 

Autumn snickers. How he was going to worm out of it was something she was looking forward to seeing. She originally wanted him to go so not all of the attention would be on her, but Adrian was so reluctant that her motive had almost changed. Almost. 

Wednesday comes and goes. So does Thursday. 

Friday, Autumn drives to school in her mother's car and invites Adrian to join her. 

"I still can't believe you talked me into this," he mutters as he buckles his seatbelt. 

Autumn laughs maniacally and drives off. 

It takes only five minutes to get to the mall where they're to sign books. They enter, wondering how they're going to prove they are who they say they are without any proof their name is Audrey Prickland. 

"May I help you?" asks a woman with a name tag reading Molly E. 

"Uh, yes, actually... Audrey is here for a book signing, and she wasn't sure where to go," Adrian says, gesturing to Autumn. 

"Oh! Are you Audrey Prickland? It's an honor to meet you in person! I read your book, it was so creative! I'm so happy to be in the same room with you! It's just amazing!" she babbles, shaking Autumn's hand vigorously. "Yes, um, we have you set up at this table over here, follow me..." 

She leads the two of them down a few hallways, where the casual noise of a crowd all speaking at once gets louder. The pair exchange a glance. 

As they get farther down the aisles, they see a sheet of white set up like a wall; what seems to be the back of a backdrop. Molly guides them around it, where an enormous crowd hovers. 

"Audrey Prickland, everyone!" Molly shouts into a bullhorn that she picks up off the table. The crowd roars, each person holding a copy of her book. 

She inches her way into the seat at the table, and Adrian stands behind her. The crowd surges forward, eager for her autographs. 

She hasn't practiced signing her name as Audrey, though she kicks herself that she didn't think to. Instead, she signs AP, the same way she would Autumn Paisley. The sharpie on the desk starts to run out of ink. 

About a hundred APs later, the crowd is smaller, but still there. When no one else comes forward with a book, she picks up the bullhorn before she can stop herself. 

"Hello everyone,"

"HI!!!!!!" her fans shout. She smiles. 

"As you know, I'm Audrey Prickland," she's interrupted by cheers, "and this is, um, Stanley Banks, my manager and editor!" She gestures to Adrian, who waves. 

They all cheer again. 

"Stanley?" Adrian whispers into her ear. She shrugs. 

"Any questions for me? We still have half an hour, so I'll answer as many as I can!"

She does. She answers questions as honestly as she can. At the end of the half hour, she waves at her fans and leaves, only acknowledging the news reporter hounding her for the first five minutes. 

Adrian opens the door for her, and they exit the building, get in the car, and drive away before they can be followed. 

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