Chapter 5.41


So, you know when people tell you that modeling would be soooo fun and soooo easy?


Well, they were wrong.


It was soooo boring. And soooo stupid. I thought my brain was going to shrivel up as the photographer kept telling me to give him my “smolder”. At first, I thought he meant shoulder.

Didn’t matter.

Shoulder. Smolder. Satisfied the photographer anyway.


But it paid well. At least I had my 9-5 job at the animation studio. I was saving up a good chunk of change, too. I almost had enough to be able to afford a tiny place just a few streets over. With a bodyguard on call. Only one. Still. Beat having to wear a costume.

When I got home from work, I searched “apartments for rent”, hoping to find something a little less pricey. I heard a tap on my door.

“Come in,” I said, hoping to see Charlie. He’d been out for a few days, visiting his parents but was supposed to come home today.


To my surprise, it was James. Since the Heartthrobs had a little break, I thought he’d said he was going to visit his mom.


“Hello, Lexie. Finding anything decent to rent?”

I tapped out a few more parameters. “Nope. It’s either glitz or garbage. Nothing in my price range.”


“That sucks. Hey, I wanted to talk about something.”

I gazed up at him. He looked so cute today for some reason. “Yes?”


“I need to go shopping and wondered if you minded if I…” He winced then finished, “…went out as Jenny?”


It’d been months since I even thought about our falling out. I had mixed emotions. Part of me never wanted to see that side of him again.

But a bigger part of me missed her. A twinge prickled inside.

Acting like I didn’t give a flying twig, I said, “I wouldn’t mind hanging out with Jenny again, actually.”



“Do you need some shopping company? We haven’t done that in forever.”


“You…want to go shopping with…Jenny?” he asked. “In the rain?”


I arched an eyebrow. “You soooo need my help. Remember that awful leopard skin number you almost bought? Someone’s gotta reel you in.”


“That leopard skin skirt would have looked divine on my ass. Still regretting not buying it.”

I laughed. “Keep dreaming. I saved you from total humiliation.”

He chuckled then said, “Guess I do need your help. Meet me downstairs in thirty minutes.”

“You got it.”


It felt good to be friends with James again. And I thought I’d never say this but I was really looking forward to hanging out with him as Jenny.



Damn. I thought I was going to have a fight on my hands. I figured Lexie might have a problem if I went out as Jenny. But I was stir crazy and didn’t feel like being surrounded by my bodyguards.

But this?

Never would have expected Lexie to ask to come with me.

I hit the jackpot!


When I met up with her, Lexie was in her usual unusual mode. I wanted to giggle and kiss her, but instead, I did my normal Jenny diva routine (which I knew she liked when I gave her shit.) “Okay, baby doll. You don’t have to dress like a bag lady just for me. There’s plenty of them meandering downtown already.”


“What? You don’t like this outfit? Sorry, but no one will recognize me when I go out there. This shit’s your fault. Don’t make me rehash all the reasons why I have to hide my face.”


“Fine. I just hope there’s no paps or my fans will have a field day at your expense.”


Lucky thing, it was a downpour. No one, not even the most staunch paparazzi would have been out unless they were ducks. I could have gone shopping as me without the makeup and wig.


But to have Lexie by my side was worth it. I doubted if she’d have gone with me as just “James”. I knew Tsui wouldn’t have liked it. Probably wouldn’t like us being out together like this anyway.

“Sooo…you want to go into that store for dudes over there?” she asked.


I did. But I wanted to see her in some different clothes first. Half the fun was to inspect (and make fun of) what she’d pick out. We could hit the men’s clothing shop on the way out.


“No…let’s go upstairs to Couture Du Jour!” I suggested.


“But you need some new stuff, James. That plain t-shirt look is so overrated. How can you be so stylish as Jenny and so dull as James? I don’t get it.”

“Who me? I like my clothes.”


I added. “It’s you who needs help, doll face. How often do you get to have the benefit of my tastes?”


“Okay, fine. But we’re marching to a guy shop right afterwards. Got it?”


I nodded and winked at her. God, I’d missed this.


Once we arrived at the shop, Lexie threw up her finger and said, “We’re going to follow some rules here. 1. I get to pick out EVERYTHING I put on this body. I’m so sick and tired of stylists dressing me, I could scream. And 2. You will not laugh at me even if you think I look like a turd from outerspace. Got it?”


“Baby doll, why would you want to look like a turd from outerspace?”

She shrugged. “Because I’ve been primped and poofed so much at my modeling job that I’d like to relax for a change?”

I cocked my head at her and raised my arms. “Come on, sweetheart! Let me save you from yourself, at least. I get to have one look of disdain.”


She stuck out a finger. “Okay. One. But that’s all. This is Lexie time. Clothing done my way.”

I sighed and rolled my eyes, but inside I couldn’t wait. I really liked how Lexie dressed. It was so cute. So her.

After way too long, she finally came out of the dressing room with a goofy, adorable smile on her face.


“So?” she asked.

I pursed my lips. “So what?”

“God! I thought you’d notice them right away. My hair extensions? What do you think?”


I hated them. But she looked so proud of herself, I couldn’t disappoint her. “Well, I think I was distracted by those gawd awful shoes that I just…well…”


“Okay, but the extensions stay,” she said, “And I agree. This outfit’s lame. Even for me.” She marched back into the closet. In a little while, she came out in a blue blazer and jeans.

With a hopeful grin, she asked, “Does this scream, ‘I’m SOOOOO not a fashion model’ or what?”


“It screams all right,” I said, giving her that one look of disdain I was allowed. “It’s shriekng, ‘Take me off! I should be burned!'”


With an embarrassed face, she said, “Yeah…I thought so, too, but kinda hoped it wasn’t a total loser. I’ll do better.”


I put my hands on my hips. “I should hope so. Don’t make me come in there and dress you myself!”

She poked my chest. “I’ll deck you if you do, so I’d suggest you keep out.”

Lifting my hands, I said, “Just kidding, darling. Keep your panties on.”

She looked at me under hooded eyes. “I will. Don’t worry your little self about my panties, mister.”

“Oh, I’m sooo not a mister in these Louis Simton suede boots.”

Cheeks coloring, she hit me on the shoulder then ran into the closet.

After almost twenty minutes, I was getting worried. The outfit was going to be freaking awful. I’d found out in the past, the longer Lexie took to make a decision, the worse things got in the dressing room. She’d confuse herself so much that she’d just grab the first thing and go with it.

But I was shocked at what she popped out in.

“Well…Jenny, dear…what do you think now?”


The dress was simple, understated and perfectly fit Lexie’s sunny aesthetic. Usually, she’d pick out chunky boots (in probably bright orange or chartruese), but she didn’t. She went with classic light yellow heels that matched perfectly.

I pretended to wipe a tear. “I think my little Lexie is all grown up. What’s a style mother to do?”


And instead of giving me some smartass remark like she always did, she just locked her eyes on mine and smiled.














I will be out of town all weekend, so no chapter on Monday. Will resume the regular schedule on Wednesday! Happy Labor Day to my USA readers!















Chapter 5.40


This should have been the best night of my life. Two Simmy’s? It had never been done by a boyband. The Simmy’s had always been reserved for “sophisticated” artists. Teen dream bands were looked down on. But there was something missing at the moment I received my awards.


Instead of tearing up at my success, her eyes were all for Charlie. It cut me to the core.


I had a mission at the beginning of tonight. 1. To not think about Lexie and 2. To get shitfaced by the end of the night.

I’d already failed at one. I could do something about two.

Searching for a bar, I spotted one at the other end of the room.


As I made my drink, I thought through my feelings. Why was I wallowing this badly? I had everything. Guys would give their left nut for my life, but I wasn’t happy. It was like I was trapped in a cage. I couldn’t date anyone because my fans would string me up alive, and I couldn’t have the girl of my dreams. She was dating one of my friends.

While I was muttering about this to myself, I noticed Lexie passed out on the bar.

What the hell?


“Lexie?” I said, patting her hand.

She didn’t move.


“Lexie!” I said a little louder, shaking her, but her arm flailed in an unresponsive way. She was totally out of it. Rage filled me. Where the fuck was Tsui? He just left Lexie like this?


I smelled her drink. God. Rocket fuel was less potent. I didn’t get why she’d guzzle this stuff. Lexie didn’t like alcohol.

Searching through the partygoers, I spotted Charlie, laughing it up with Moono Bars and Dustin Jimberlake. I snapped my fingers and yelled, “Hey, Tsui! Get your ass over here. Your girlfriend’s passed out!” Everyone collectively stopped what they were doing as Charlie hustled over.

“Lexie?” he said, shaking her. “Baby, come on, wake up.”

Wobbling like a newborn foal, she flung her hand over her head. “Issat choo, Sharlie?” she slurred.

“Yes, baby, are you okay?”


“Of course she’s not okay, Tsui, she’s wasted. You need to get her home.” I had to take a deep breath or I was going to lose it. How could he let her drink that shit? Didn’t he know she’d be souped up on anti anxiety meds? She hated crowds. And worse. She hated famous people.


“Let’s go home, okay?” Charlie said.

Lexie didn’t respond.


Pulling her up by the hand, she stumbled into him.

I couldn’t take it any longer. “What the hell did you do, Tsui? Why did you let her drink all that shit? Don’t you know she isn’t used to alcohol? And now she’s so wasted she can’t even walk.”


“I…I’m sorry…” he stammered. “I…um…didn’t know. Damn…how did she get so…? I only left her for a minute.”


She bobbled over and sputtered, “Sharlie, why izza worrrld sspinning?”

I glared at Charlie in utter disgust. No way was he taking her home by himself. “Move over, dammit, I’ll help.”


We both walked her outside as the stars glimmered above us. Charlie looked so guilty. “I had no clue she’d drink like that,” he said.

I shook my head. “She usually wouldn’t. Where the hell were you that she could get so plowed?”

He sighed. “I guess I was talking too long with Moono and Dustin. I thought she’d get me when she wanted to leave.”

“Why the fuck would she do that? You know she hates movie stars and famous people. And those two are like the most famous in the room. Moono won four Simmy’s tonight. He’s way bigger than you or I could ever dream to be.”


“Yeah. I guess I wasn’t thinking.” His voice sounded low like he was ashamed.

Good. He should be. But I wasn’t going to let him off that easy.


“Charlie, why are you dating her? Is it to get back at me or something? Because if it is, you’ve won. You did it. I don’t know why you’d hate me that much, but it’s okay. I’ll get over it. Just let her be, dude. She needs someone who’ll love her for who she is not who they want her to be. She’ll never be the life of the party. And if you can’t handle that, I’ll fight you for her. She deserves to be treated better.”


He let out a long breath then said, “You’ve got it wrong, James. I do love her. She means everything to me. I just…fucked up. I…I won’t ever let something like this happen again.”

“You better not,” I growled, “or I’ll lose my shit. I’m warning you.”



God. I was a total fucking asshole. If Lexie never wanted to see me again, I’d understand.


I hated thinking I’d left her alone. She’d told me she wanted to leave almost the minute we got to the party. But I wouldn’t believe her. I didn’t understand how someone could have that much fear of…well…people. I mean, folks in the industry were just ordinary humans. They might have more talent than most but in the end, they all live and dream and hope and love just like the regular average joe out there. Why didn’t she understand that?


I stooped down to gaze at her. I loved everything about Lexie Day. Her beautiful upturned nose. Her gorgeous body. Her soft snoring. And her hilarious way she viewed life. I understood why James wanted her. Why he’d go to the lengths he did to get to know her. But unfortunately, I didn’t know her as well as he did. And that part gnawed at me.


I knelt down beside her, watching her chest breathe in and out. Lexie, why won’t you open up to me? I had no clue she was that terrified of being in a crowd of famous people. Didn’t know she’d take anti anxiety pills to cope. James filled me in last night on the way home. She was in for a hell of a hangover. I could only hope I could make her feel better.

Or that she’d let me.


After a few moments, she groaned and raised up. “Oh my GOD! Someone put a load of crap in my drinks. Is this what a hangover feels like? It’s like my heartbeat is pounding on my head like a cannonball. Shit.”


I winced, looking away. “I’m sorry, baby. It’s my fault.”


She rubbed her temple and groaned. “Damn…it was your fault. What the hell took you so long? Did you know a pint sized Flamer accosted me the whole night? Wouldn’t leave me alone with all his theories of my love life. Which were wrong, by the way. I’m mad at you, Charlie. That wasn’t nice.”


I held her head. “I’m really sorry, baby. I am. I didn’t know I was taking so long. Honest. I just…guess I got carried away talking. Will you forgive me? I won’t leave you like that again. Seriously. In fact, if I have another awards show, we won’t even go to the after parties. I know it makes you uncomfortable.”


She lifted the side of her mouth and chuckled, surprising me. “Well…I know of one way you could make it up to me.”

“What, baby? Anything.”


“Give me a kiss?”


“A kiss? Is that all you want? I mean, I could take you out to one of your favorite places. Didn’t you say you wanted to go to Simseyland?”



“Shut the hell up and kiss me.”


I lowered my head toward her as she slipped her warm tongue into my mouth. I groaned with pleasure as she deepened it.

I wanted to kiss her for the rest of my life.




Oh. My. GOD! If my head wasn’t pounding like a freaking konga drum, I would have said this was the dreamiest, most romantic morning of my entire life.

Rising up after a heavy breathing induced kiss, I asked, “Charlie…what did you do?”


“Oh, um…” He shrugged. “I just…made a few things.”


“A few things? Like ALL of my favorite to-die-for breakfast foods.”

He chuckled. “Yeah…well…you deserve it. Call it hangover food.”


Grinning, I said, “You’re so good to me, babe. Luscious pancakes, cheesy omelets, and strawberries are the stuff of life.”


Turning my head, I noticed the floor was covered in FLOWERS! “What the…flowers? For ME?


“H-How did you do all of that while I was sleeping?”

“There’s a 24 hour flower shop and well, I was always pretty good in art. Do you like it?”


Tears tingled at the corners of my eyes. “Yeah. I do.”

Scooping me up in his arms, he kissed me, making shivers swivel through my body.


Charlie Tsui may not be perfect. He made mistakes, sure, like the rest of us. But he was the best damn boyfriend I could ever hope for.

I was so freaking in love.





















Chapter 5.39


I was on my third glass of punch and feeling woozy. I wasn’t sure if it was my anti anxiety meds kicking in or this stuff was spiked. At the moment, I didn’t care. Charlie was supposed to talk to a “few” people and then we were going to leave. But it’d been over an hour. He basically forgot about me.


I looked around, searching for my boyfriend. Nathan and Brooke were making X-rated eyes at each other. Wow. I thought that was reserved for Elara and Lord Bloodmoon. Well, if it was them, they’d already be doing it on the dance floor in front of everyone. So, I was thankful they were in tame-character-mode at the moment.


Case Addison was still chatting up the guy who played Tam.


And looking at that Tam dude’s face, I had to wonder if they were a thing.


I spied a guy I knew growing up. He was Archer Ellis-Crowley. My dad used to baby sit him and his twin sister before I was born. Archer would always pull my hair whenever he’d come over for one of my grandpa’s barbecues when we’d visit (because Grandpa and Grandma were bff’s with his fathers). Such an annoying brat. I’d heard he’d gotten his big break in acting when he tried out for a bit part in the ongoing psychological drama, No Stars Over Uptown. And since then he’d played in all sorts of things, landing the lead role in a new movie, The Good Doctor. I’d read he was dating Saylor Twift, too. The rags were all betting how long it was going to last.

Archer was sitting next to Micky Mirage and arguing with Saylor right now. Well, at least she was talking to her boyfriend even if it was a fight.


Craning my neck, I finally found Charlie. He was soooo busted. I mean, how long was he going to take? I get that Moono Bars was THE hottest singer, but it wasn’t like they were best buddies. I could see him talking a lot with Christian Romano of the Heffners–they were friends. But maybe Charlie was a bit starstruck and instead of running away like I did, he had to chat.


I sighed. Looked like I’d have to camp out here for a while.


Before I could drown my sorrows in fruit punch, I heard a squeaky, “Hey, beautiful.” Was that a chipmunk? Sure sounded like it.


Oh, God. It was an annoying anklebiter. What the hell? Did I have a sign over my head that said, “YO! Any kid under the age of twelve, please come and piss the hell out of me”? I wanted to order some child-be-gone spray or maybe an evil talisman to ward them off.

“What do you want?” I snapped.


“I merely came over to bid you a kind bonjour since you looked lonely,” the rugrat huffed. “And this is the gratitude I receive?”


A likely story. No kid ever wanted to do something nice for me. The few times I met up with one since I’d been dating Charlie, one threw spit wads at me, one chunked mud in my face, and one even kicked me because she said I “hurt James’ feelings”.

I glared. “Thanks. Now leave.”


The irritating urchin narrowed his eyes. “I have some business to discuss with you, Alexis Bianca Day.”

“Business? What the hell kind of business could you possibly have?”


Then he whipped off his sweater and shirt and wiggled like a one of those inflatable tubemen you see at used car lots. “Blargh! I’m a Flamer!”


“Oh. That explains it.” I reached for my drink. “Okay, let me have it. You hate me because I dared to date James, the god of the Heartthrobs. I’ve heard it all before. So, what do you want? My eye? My foot? My first born child? At this point, I don’t even care anymore. Have at it.”


Lurching his head back, he answered, “You mistake me, Miss Day. I believe you are making a grave mistake with your romantic endeavors.”

I lifted the side of my mouth. Couldn’t argue with him there. Where the hell WAS my boyfriend? “Heh. I’m listening.”


“My name is Prince Bana. You may have heard of me.”

I shook my head. “I don’t watch Simsolodeon Jr. Sorry.”

He sighed emphatically. “I’m one of the best bowlers on the hit reality tv show, STRIKE! But what people don’t know is that I’m also a part of The Society of Genius Flamers. As their club president, I’ve been tasked at finding you and giving you a proposition.

“You see, we’ve uncovered scads of footage from survelliance cameras, researched the many articles about your dealings with James, as well as interviewed tons sources close to the people close to the friends close to the relatives of the both of you. Therefore, we’ve uncovered startling evidence, detailing your history as the best friend of none other than James’ sister, Jenny.”


I arched an eyebrow. “And?”

“And…we know that Jenny and James are one and the same person. We also know that you two are in love with each other.”

Now I’d heard everything. Flamers were the weirdest freaky fandom on the planet. “Oh my God, kid. You’ve got to be kidding me. Can you go and massively annoy someone else because honestly, I really don’t feel like hearing any more of this crap. You don’t know shit.”


“Then tell me, Alexis, why James is on the other side of this room, dancing alone?”


He went on, “And when I was frolicking beside him earlier, he wore the same forlorn face as you are right now.


“The Society believes you two are denying what your innermost being knows to be true. Keeping yourselves away from each other will do nothing but damage your essence or what we in the group call, your SS or Sacred Self.”


I cocked my head. “Let me get this straight. You think I should dump Charlie and go out with James. Is that it?”


“Well…I wouldn’t use those crass terms, but in a nutshell…” he wiggled his fingers, “yes.”


If only it was that easy. My heart wanted Charlie. I loved him. But where was he? Would James leave me to rot on this barstool, swilling spiked punch and feeling all depressed?


I didn’t say anything for a while. I felt as if a blanket of sad feelings swept through me. “Thanks, kid, for the advice. I’ll keep it in mind.”


“Alexis?” he added. “If you need anything, just give me a call. I’m a licensed psychologist in couple and family relations. I also dabble in sex therapy.” He handed me his card. Then he nodded. “The Society believes in you to make our wonderboy happy. Good luck. ”


With that, the pint-sized prodigy jumped off the barstool, saluted me, then sauntered away.

I shook my head. “Kids. I’ll never get used to them.”


Slurping down my juice, I wished this night was over already.




















Chapter 5.38



I knew this would happen one of these days, but I was in denial. Lexie had told me over and over she would never speak to “the fucking asshole” again (her words, not mine). I believed her.


Her face literally glowed, too. What the hell? Did James cast a spell on her?

I had to pull myself together. She was my girlfriend, not his. Jealousy was beneath me anyway. I needed to get control of my emotions and go in there as if I didn’t feel a damned thing.

I cleared my throat.


When she spotted me, Lexie popped up and ran over, giving me a kiss on the cheek. “Hey, babe. Oh my GOD, you look like one of those boy band guys!” She snapped her finger. “I got it! Charlie Tsui of the Heartthrobs! Ever heard of him?”


I laughed. This had the effect of dissipating all those unwelcome jealous feelings. Taking her hand, I said, “I see you found the dress I had Marco bring over. You look…breathtaking.”



I should have been celebrating our rekindled friendship, but I couldn’t. When Charlie walked into the room it was like a switch flipped in Lexie. She went from beaming at me to kissing him.


I had to stop this. Stop pining. Lexie would never be anything more than a friend. The sooner I got over her the sooner I’d feel better. I needed to focus anyway. Tonight was huge for our band. And the director wanted me to do a bit of the MC-ing.

Lexie was nothing but an uneeded distraction.


When we arrived at the Palace Dome, lightbulbs flashed as questions smattered over us. “Do you think you’re going to win all five awards?”, “What do you want to say to your fans, James?”, “Charlie! How are you and your girlfriend doing?” and on and on and on. Instead of this being one of the best moments in my entire career, all I was thinking was how I’d fucked up and how I wished things were different between me and Lex.

As the flashbulbs continued, I made a promise to myself. I was not going to think about Lexie Day at all tonight. I’d enjoy performing for millions and hopefully, getting my ass drunk by the end.




Oh. My. GOD!

I was screaming inside as Charlie and I were posing for red carpet pics. We were asked a TON of questions about our love life all of which Charlie told me just to smile and let him field the questions. He knew how to handle the press so I let him, of course.


And we had front row center, VIP seats in the Dome. Can you say BUTTERFLIES? I was beyond nervous about the whole night. We were supposed to go to after parties, meeting some of the most famous people in the biz and already my stomach felt like it was turning inside out.

Charlie nudged me. “Hey, baby, we have to get changed soon. Are you going to be all right by yourself?”


I nodded. “Dom will sit with me,” I told him, hoping she didn’t forget. Dom hated all this hoopla. It repped everything she despised–crowds, movie stars, and loud music. The Palace Dome was a huge, three story theater, most of which was above on the second and third floors where all the masses sat. I took a few cleansing breaths, literally praying Dom would get here so I would feel a little more anchored.


In a few moments, James took the mic from rap singer Micki Mirage and made some silly cracks about all the Heartthrob fans (and the Flamers), then talked about the first awards he was going to announce. I was shocked at how funny he was on stage. I always thought of him as musically gifted and very talented at dancing, but he really could pull off a comedy gig if he’d wanted to. I guessed he was good at everything he did which shouldn’t have surprised me at all.


Feelings of pride swelled as I watched him. James was truly my friend. I kept remembering how sweet he was in helping me get ready tonight. He wasn’t jealous. He didn’t get snappy about Charlie. He just did what he normally would do when he was Jenny. It was a full on happy dance moment.


What girl could say her bff was the lead singer of the biggest boy band of the century and her boyfriend was the hottest Heartthrob in tight pants? Me. That’s who!

After about two hours (God, awards shows were LONG!), it was time for the Heartthrobs to perform. They didn’t win best song or best album but they were still up for best group performance, best music video, and best artist of the year. I was crossing my fingers for them!

I still couldn’t get used to the fact that I KNEW the routine they were performing. It was new for everyone else, but I’d peek in on them from time to time when they would rehearse at home.


Charlie said James planned almost all of the choreography. I asked why Charlie didn’t do that since he was the most trained dancer.


He just shrugged and said James was better at putting routines together.


I sat back, drinking in their wonderful performance like a double chocolate strawberry shake. They were knocking it out of the park!

And, oh God, James’ voice.

When he’d go into his falsetto, I melted, Dom melted, the whole crowd melted.


We were all one big Flaming puddle of goo.

(Of course I’d never tell Charlie that!)


They did all these spins and jumps while singing, too.


I was out of breath just watching.


But the best part was gazing at my boyfriend. MY BOYFRIEND! He was looking the best out of all of the guys, and it was freaking awesome to know that he was going to love on me once he finished making everyone in the audience scream.

Yeah, I can honestly say, dreams really DO come true!


By the end of the show, Charlie was beaming as they’d won Best Artist of the Year and best group. The guys jumped up on stage, accepted the awards, acted a bit goofy and Charlie even winked at me while my heart pounded for him. It was so amazing!

But all the fun stopped dead when we got to one of the many after parties. The hostess for this first shindig was rap star Micki Mirage. OMG!!! I thought I was going to die. Seriously. I told Charlie I’d deck him if he left me and NOT to introduce me to anyone.


So what do you think my boyfriend did the moment we got in the door?

He introduced me to none other than Christian Romano (who played Chris Heffner in the HIT drama on Simflix, The Heffners.)

Christian took my hand and said, “It’s great to finally meet you. I told Charlie he was one lucky guy. You’re a very beautiful woman.”


I froze as my heart literally stopped. I’m not even exaggerating. “Um…er….” and that’s all that came out of my goofy, bumbling mouth. Did I eat sand for dinner or was that my mouth drying like the Sahara?


Feeling a bit woozy (and Charlie said I looked like I’d seen a ghost), he took me away from so many people (all of them freaking FAMOUS AS FUUUUUDGE!) to catch my breath when ANOTHER star swept toward me.


I was like a squirrel on the side of the road, trying to make a decision: 1. Do I move forward and get squashed? or 2. Do I turn around and save my life?

Like 99% of all squirrels, I decided getting squashed was a good idea.


The star was Molly Blanchard who played Galatea Straud from my favorite tv comedy of all time: Fangs for the Memories series. I watched the first two seasons over and over again and was enjoying the third season–I never missed an episode.

But GASP! Although I loved her character, that didn’t mean I wanted to MEET her! I’d just end up embarrassing myself.

As she walked over, my dumb boyfriend INTRODUCED ME! I shuddered, sputtering like an idiot, “Uh, bubba…bubba…bubba…”

“Oooh, I love Bubba bubble gum, too!” she said. Could she be any more gracious and HUMAN to a pathetic loser fangirl like me? I WILTED!


Before she caught on that my brain had the IQ of swamp-ass at that moment, I decided to do what I always did in these kinds of situations.



But it was like being in a Whack-a-mole game. I’d run from one star and get hit with the next.


I barged into Case Addison from the drama, Line of the Last.


He played this overly stupid but handsome diva king. Omg…he cracked me up.


I backed away when…


I was hit with another star who played Tam from the soap opera, Ashes To Ashes.


And then the walls started caving in on me. There was Saylor Twift and Griana Ande and Owen Jake and…


…Moono Bars and Dustin Jimberlake and…


I couldn’t take it anymore!


I had to get out of there so I could breathe.

Charlie tried to grab me but I was too slippery. I just needed a chair. Or a bar stool. Or even a scratchy bale of hay full of fleas and ticks. I was desperate!

Finally, Charlie wrapped his arms around me and tried to soothe me, telling me I shouldn’t be so freaked out. They were just people. I should think of them like I think of him.

But this was soooo DIFFERENT!

First of all, I hated crowds. I was super claustrophobic, but worse! I was Star-o-phobic (if there was such a thing). Sure I could mentally know those people put on undies and had to take showers and pooped in toilets (and maybe a bush or two). But get me near them, and I just worried I’d puke all over their $15,000 outfits.

Kissing me and handing me a drink, Charlie told me he just needed to say hello to a few more people and then we’d leave. I nodded weakly and ambled like a lost ant over to whatever looked like it could hold me up.


And then the sick feelings swept through me as I replayed all the embarrassing things I’d said and how goofy I acted, bumping into everyone.

Oh God. I just wanted to go home.










Thank you to my writer friends for allowing me to borrow your characters for a bit of starstruck nonsense! ;-D

And I’m out of town for the rest of the week, so the next update will be Monday! ❤



Chapter 5.37


The longer Charlie and Lexie dated, the worse living here got for me. I couldn’t even use the library. Last time I did, I heard them in the closet. It seemed like Charlie was constantly letting me know Lexie was all his by marking his territory in my usual spots. I wanted to get in his face and tell him to calm down. I got it. Lexie was his girlfriend. I didn’t care.


Except that was a lie.


I did care. I fucking cared too much.


The worst thing about all of this was I’d lost her as a friend. I’d give anything if she’d just talk to me again.




It was a typical Saturday night. Charlie asked me to make us drinks before we settled down, getting cozy on the couch.


Usually Charlie would make the drinks but he wanted to get right into a video game with Maddox and Kaluah. That left me to deal with my clumsy self. Can you say ANNOYING?

I didn’t drink much, so I made a non-alcoholic version for me. At least, I tried to make it.


But then I noticed James looking all lonely in the corner. He avoided me at all costs. Honestly, I wanted to make up ages ago, but it felt weird like there was this huge wall I’d built between us, and I couldn’t break it down to even say one word.

It was waaaay too awkward. I wanted him to say something to me first, but he’d just either flash angry eyes or sulk. That’d just shut me down, and I’d dive into Charlie or flee to the other room.


Aww…and he was reading the sci fi book I’d given him when he was living with me as Jenny. I wanted so badly to ask him how he liked it. I missed him as my best friend. He was the only one of my friends who would tell me I looked like a dweeb with what I’d picked out of my closet or if I still had spinach on my teeth. I missed our giggle sessions when we’d talk about the latest gossip or our insightful conversations on politics.


But how could I break down that huge wall? My stomach squeezed just thinking about walking up to him right now. I couldn’t force myself to do it.


And so we lived as strangers in the same room. He’d sit on one side of the wall and I’d meander and trip on the other.

That needed to change.


I thought about this for weeks and didn’t get a good idea until it was the Simmy Music Awards night. The Heartthrobs were nominated for a record five Simmys. Charlie said they probably wouldn’t win anything. Most boy bands were snubbed by the awards committee but I thought it was exciting anyway. And they were asked to perform. It was kind of a big deal, so I needed a beautiful dress. This was how I’d break the ice with James. I decided to wear the worst outfit. Well, even for me, so that was going to be pretty awful. James wouldn’t be able to take it, and he’d be forced to help me out.

I was proud of myself for putting this ensemble together. Dom helped me out with the gloves.


I walked up to Domina, looking like someone threw up a Valentine’s Day shake on me. “So, Dom, what do you think? This dress is soooo dope, huh?” ACK! Was I being too obvious? I could tell I was overdoing it by the way Dom was blinking at me.


She shrugged. “Eh…I think you should wear one of my dresses. You know, the one with the vampiric collar. That would set off your green eyes.”


“Oh my GOD! Dom, you’re right. And I think Elara has a wig I could borrow to go with it! Oh wait…I don’t think Charlie would like that. This outfit screams ‘classy’, you know?”


James glared at me.

It was working! I could tell he was about to bust a vein!


But he didn’t say anything. So, I had to send him over the edge with, “You agree, don’t you, Maddox?”

“Huh?” Maddox said, still watching the news.


Like a pent up powder keg, James finally blew. “Seriously, Lexie? You’re going to ask Maddox for HIS opinion? Who do you think styles him? I can tell you HE didn’t pick out that vest or his scarf. It was me. I’m the one around here who knows style and yet you won’t talk to me or ask me how you look because if you did, I’d tell you that what you’re wearing is the most hideous form of over-the-top nonsense I’ve ever seen. The designer who even thought up a dress like that should be fired.”


He added, standing in a huffy way. “Come on. I can’t allow a Heartthrob girlfriend to run around looking like an advertisement for heart shaped bubble gum. In your room. Now.”

I obeyed immediately, not saying a word. He took the bait exactly like I thought he would. Maybe this was the first step on the road back to our friendship. I hoped so, anyway.




I didn’t know Lexie had set me up until I opened her closet and saw a $10,000 Wera Vang original sparkling in it. Charlie must have had it sent over. I acted like she was too stupid to notice the dress, and threw it at her, snapping my fingers for her to put it on. She laughed and skipped to the bathroom. Once she was finished dressing, I ordered her to her vanity, and held out my hand for her to give me the makeup brush. I told her I would do her face since she would make herself look like a clown. She giggled, pleased with her little plan for us to become friends again.

What I didn’t realize until that moment was being friends was never going to be enough. I was in love with her. The ache I felt in the pit of my stomach gnawed at me. Maybe avoiding her was a good thing after all.


But she wore this silly smile I could look at all day. At least she was happy.


“Want me to do your hair?” I asked, gently.

She nodded, grinning up at me. “That would be awesome! Thanks, James!”

I put a bit of gel in her hair and combed it back into a tight bun, leaving some strands to frame her gorgeous face.


When I was done, I asked, “How’s that?”


“It’s perfect.”

I wanted to say, “You’re perfect.” But that would make things awkward. Stunning was more the word.


Charlie was lucky as hell. And I was the dumb shit who lost her.



Chapter 5.36


I’d become a fixture at the Heartthrob penthouse, basically living with my boyfriend. But that wasn’t what I’d wanted. Not yet. Charlie and I weren’t ready for that kind of commitment. Not that I couldn’t see us living together in the near future, but we’d only been dating a few months. It was too easy to get this comfortable.

I kissed Charlie’s neck and snuggled up to him.

Way easy.


I needed to find a place of my own somehow. It had to be fairly swanky since I’d have to get security. So, I dumped the lame hotdog gig for another lame gig. The problem with sidejobs was my face. I couldn’t show it. Not as it looked in the tabloids, so that left me with costume jobs or telemarketing. And talking to random angry strangers was soooo not going to happen. I was stuck.

That said, I landed a perfect job (I thought). I was going to work as a fairy at the local kiddie park in the Arts District. Problem was, I had to produce my own costume. But I was low on cash since I was scraping every penny to get out of the Heartthrob penthouse. Luckily, Brooke told me Elara had scads of costumes–every kind of fairy imaginable. When I talked to the queen of evil, she said she’d text me when I could come up to her “room” to get it. I put room in airquotes because one day there were workers who’d made a lot of racket on the top floor, so I wasn’t sure what I’d find when I got there.

Elara’s text pinged and up the elevator I went.

When I ascended to the uppermost room, I caught a glimpse of what was now known as “Shadowmoon”.

“I implore you, your evil imminence,” Lord Bloodmoon whimpered. “I did not mean to offend you. Please be gentle.”


Oh for the love of…

But I couldn’t even finish that thought.

“Hush. Not another word from you, simpleton. We have company. And I expect you to obey without a sound. Understand?”


I crossed my arms. “I hope he has a loincloth underneath your robes, Elara. What the hell?”


“He is without clothing for his due humiliation before you, Lady Alexis. He has been a very naughty boy.”


I shook my head and sighed. “Whatever floats your boat. Now where are the fairy costumes?”

Thank God I got the costume and fled before I was forced to see whatever dark desires Elara had in mind for poor Lord Bloodmoon.



The kiddie place was right smack in the middle of the city.


I’d wished it was built when I was a kid because I would have spent every day there. It was a true fantasyland!


A few anklebiters walked up to me. My insides flipped. I didn’t know why but the little cretins always gave me the chills. I didn’t like kids. I thought I was doomed to never have them in my future, but my dad and I had a discussion about this. He said I’d get over it because he was just like that almost his whole life until he and Beau had Bray. (I was a bit older when he’d first met me so that didn’t count. He assured me he loved me the minute he met me. Whatevs, Dad. Good story.)

I looked at them and they looked at me.


I guessed they were expecting me to wave some sparkle dust on them and chant a blessing. That’s what my boss told me to do. I had glitter in my pockets for such an occasion. Problem was, I was a horrible actor.


“So, are you like a real fairy?” one asked.


I shrugged. “Yeah, kid. The wings kind of give it away.”

“But would a fairy have a splotch of ketchup on her chest?”

Egad. I knew I shouldn’t have had that hotdog for lunch. “Where?” I asked.


He pointed. “There!”


Then the little twerp socked me in the nose. “Ow!” I cried.


They all laughed.

“Hey, what was that for?” I asked.

The blonde said, “For lying. We know you’re not real.”

“Yeah,” the other girl agreed, laughing.


Oh my God. They didn’t pay me enough to be abused by preschoolers.

“Listen, you little fartknockers, you don’t want to make a fairy mad. I can turn you into toads and throw you into that pond over there. You’ll be eating flies and turds for the rest of your lives.”


Two of them widened their eyes and bolted but one of the girls, a brave one said, “I’m telling my dad on you. You’re mean!”


I retorted, “Didn’t you ever read fairytales? Fairies aren’t very nice. The woman who cursed sleeping beauty was a fairy. Now scram! Rawr!”

The dust mite didn’t even blink. “Gosh, we just wanted you to give us some candy. This sucks.”


I watched as she put her hands in her pockets and walked slowly toward a gaggle of parents.

I shook my head. Kids today. I was seriously worried about our world’s future.

It didn’t take long when a parental type showed up.

“Hello there,” he said, smiling. I could tell he was trying to get on my good side because he knew his spawn was a brat. Probably had to keep an envelope of money around to pay off people for his offensive offspring.


But I decided to give him a break. I could use the extra cash. “Hello.”


“I was wondering if you’ve ever done any modeling.”


That wasn’t the question I thought he was going to ask. “Er…are you for real or is this some scam to get me to pay money for a portfolio. I’ve heard of shitty deals like that, so if it is, you can save your breath.”


“Oh no, this is legit. We’d be paying you. I work for a modeling agency. We’d pay for your portfolio. Everything.”


He then told me his name was Julien Dobson. He was an agent with the Fiord modeling agency. Even I’D heard of them.

“No shit!” I mused as he showed me his website. He was definitely a hoity toidy agent. His Sinked-In showed him in some flashy Italian suit. The guy cleaned up waaaay good.


He gave me his card then said he’d love for me to contact his secretary so we could set up a shoot. After that, he’d see about lining up some jobs.

I’d heard about people getting discovered at restaurants or bars or even apartment stoops, but this? It all sounded too good to be true.

But if it could get me a little extra cash and I could dump these silly costume gigs, I was all for it.

Stranger things could happen.


















Chapter 5.35


Living in the same house as Charlie was like living with your boyfriend as a teenager with your mother hanging around.


Make that five mothers.

“Uh…Lexie?” Charlie said. “We have company.”


So I called a meeting of the Sisterhood. The boys were kind enough to let us have an area for it outside on the deck of the penthouse.


“What gives, guys?” I asked. “You don’t like Charlie or something?”


Copper arched an eyebrow. “It’s not that we don’t like him, Lexie…”


Dom cut in, “But do you think it’s wise to get tangled up with a Heartthrob? Look what happened with James. And the Chuckers might be fewer but they are way more hardcore. We’re worried for your life here.”


I flipped my hands, not believing this. “But we’re living under their protection. Nothing can happen to me.”


“Beware the ides of March for doom is coming to us all,” Elara intoned in her weird voice. Sometimes I really missed my friend Brooke. She rarely came out now that Elara and Lord Bloodmoon were a thing. “And my dear, Alexis, you must be careful in these deadly times. Young maidens hide knives in their boots and poison in their lockets.”


“Look, Charlie and I have discussed this. We’ll be careful, okay? You’ve got nothing to worry about. ”


But the Sisterhood would not let me leave until I promised I would tone things down with Charlie.


So that left me and Charlie one avenue: sneakiness. What the Sisterhood didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them.

I walked in on the Heartthrobs during one of their practices.


Waving, I said, “Hey, guys, um…Charlie has this…um…phone call. Yeah. His mother called. It’s urgent.”


“He can call her later,” James’ angry voice blared out. “We’re in the middle of rehearsing. Don’t bother us.”


But everyone stopped instantly, chatting as Charlie beamed at me.

“What the fuck?” James snarled.”Where are you going, Tsui? We’re not done.”


But Charlie didn’t even glance back. He knew what I was up to. I thought we’d go off and get something to eat, but instead he took me to the library closet.


And attacked!


We had dessert before lunch. Can someone say, YUM?


We spent the best thirty minutes of my life in that closet, but when we came out all sweaty and out of breath, unfortunately, the Sisterhood was waiting for us.


Damn James. He’d tattled.


Charlie was fed up with the Sisterhood and the Heartthrobs. So, he decided to make it official. We were going on an actual date. To hell with the Chuckers. To hell with the world!

I agreed.



I’d been with Lexie for several weeks now but we hadn’t gone on a real date. I thought it high time I told her how I felt about her, too. The Sisterhood was making Lexie crazy with their overbearing mother routine and James sulked around like he’d made claim to her and she’d kicked him in the balls. Well, maybe that last part was true. I certainly wasn’t trying to flaunt our relationship in front of him. I just naturally wanted to kiss her. All the time.

When I entered her room, she took my breath away. She was so strikingly gorgeous. “Are you ready?” I asked as she dusted her cheeks with a pink tone.

“There. All done,” she said, brightly.


She bounced up in her usual awkward way and asked, “Where are you taking me? To the Ritz? The Broadmore? The Glamo-glam-glam?”


I chuckled. “It’s actually called The Star Club. I made sure to get a private room.”


Before I could say anything else, she pulled me in for a sudden kiss. She never ceased to surprise me.


Entangled in her warm tongue, I wanted more. “Are you sure you want to go out tonight? Your room is cozy right now. And that bed is calling.”


She pulled back and hit me. “You’re not getting out of this, Mister. We’re going on an actual date. I don’t care if we have to fight off a thousand Chuckers to do it. Got it?”



I was actually outside! With THE Charlie Tsui! And no Chuckers to stop us.

Well, there WERE a few paps and Chuckers with phones lighting up the social media highway. Thank GOD for the two bodyguards that followed us around everywhere. I soooo was not used to that. But they were a necessary evil.

“So, what kind of a joint is this ‘Star Club’? Does it have paper napkins and plastic forks? Or am I going to have to get out my ‘Ladies Book of Etiquette’ which, by the way, I’ve never read.”

He patted my hand. “Don’t be nervous, Lexie. No one will even be where we’re at, so you could take off your shoes and put them on the table and no one would care.”

I lurched my head back. “I wouldn’t do that! I’m not that uncouth. But yeah…that makes me feel better.”


The Star Club rose up like a beacon in the middle of the city. Flutters flew around my stomach. This was sooo not my style, but hey, it was one date. And Charlie was making it special which I appreciated.


Pictures of old starlets covered the fancy walls and the stoic maitre d ushered us to a cozy table in front of a piano. My back straightened from being in the cold seats. Uncomfortable much?

“What do you want to order, Lexie?” Charlie asked. “You haven’t even looked at the menu.”

I wasn’t used to all the swank. Give me franks and beans and a picnic blanket and I’d have been so fine. Charlie was raised by his very wealthy parents in Uptown of San Myshuno. His mother put him in ballet when he was just a tot and he even performed with the San Myshuno dance company in the Nutcracker when he was only thirteen, so he was accustomed to the finer things. He was so graceful with everything he did which kind of made me feel nervous. Even worse than when I was just some Chucker fangirl.

I only forgot our differences when he kissed me. Which was a lot. I blushed just thinking about it.


After we ate a bunch of things which had names I couldn’t pronounce (I had Charlie order it since I had no clue), dessert was served. “Oh my God!” I cried. “It’s got chocolate chunks on top of chocolate pudding. I think I want to marry it. Would you mind, Charlie?”

He winced. “So now I have to be jealous of our dessert? You hurt me, Lexie.”


But then he thrust his fork into the luscious pie. “How about we make this a three way relationship? I’ll marry it, too.”

The sweet wine blended well with the bitterness of the chocolate and I welcomed a tiny buzz of the alcohol. It made me relax.


After we’d finished dinner, somehow, the bodyguards snuck us in the back of a movie theater so we wouldn’t cause a stir. I felt like I was breaking about a hundred laws. Charlie assured me he’d gotten permission and our entrance was free. It was so weird. The bigger the star you were, the more money you made, but you didn’t need money at all because everyone and their uncle wanted you to come to their place so they gave you stuff for free. It sort of wasn’t fair, but I wasn’t going to complain.


I just focused on Charlie’s cute face, stuffing it with popcorn.


And he concentrated on distracting me. Mmmm…

Best movie ever! And I couldn’t tell you what in the hell happened in it.
















Thank you to RABOOSKI for her Star Club. It’s so beautiful inside!!! Perfect for date night!







Chapter 5.34


Once everyone got back home, I felt even more excluded and left out. Why was I still mad anyway? Both Charlie and James apologized to me. It was time to swallow my pride and at least “talk” to Charlie. James still had a way to go in the make-up points department. But Charlie?


The smell of luscious buttery toast wafted toward me, making my mouth water. I shrugged. Might as well eat some cheese AND crow all at the same time.


Charlie looked especially cute tonight, too, all wrapped up in that BOY sweatshirt. My cheeks warmed as my heart sped up. He could send me straight to dreamy-land with just one glance.


But then my heart died right there as he glared at me. “What?” he asked, defensively.

Uh oh. He couldn’t see the white flag I was waving.


I decided sarcasm was my best defense. “You DO realize that smells way too good. I mean, I might have to fight you for it, you know.”


Instantly, he laughed sending ZINGS through me. OMG! He was so freaking adorable. “You don’t have to fight. I’ve made a whole plate full. No one cooks around here but me.”




It’d been hard enough getting frozen out by Lexie but at least Charlie felt her cold wind, too.

Until now.


The two were getting cozy, bonding over a plate of cheese toast.


I shouldn’t have been surprised. I knew from the first day I’d met Lexie Day that she was a hardcore Chucker. Why should it shock me she’d melt around him after we’d gotten back from our tour?


“So I’ve been reading this series, Grimm Unbound. Have you heard of it?” Lexie asked, making small chitchat I wished she’d be making with me. When I’d lived with her, we often talked about the latest novels we were reading. She was a sci fi junkie, which I made fun of her about. But she gave me some good titles I actually liked.

“No, I haven’t. What’s it about?” Charlie asked. The jerk was really putting it on smooth. Hell, he didn’t even like to read.


“It’s a book series in your library upstairs,” Lexie explained “I guess someone else bought them then.”


Grimm Unbound? I wanted to raise my hand. That would be me, Lexie. I loved fantasy, especially fantasy with tons of horror elements. Grimm Unbound was the retelling of the scariest Grimm fairytales in a fast paced, nail-biting rendition.

If she would have thought back to our many discussions on horror and fantasy, she would have figured out who’d bought the seven novel series.


But no.

I was basically nobody to her. She’d wiped every single thought of me from her memory.


“You should show me. I’d love to read it,” the liar said.

That did it. I couldn’t take listening any longer. He could at least be a little more honest and tell her he didn’t like fiction. He was more into history and war chronicles.


“The premise sounds exactly what I’d be into.”


I could have been petty and taken the books from the library right then, but I didn’t. I had to somehow get her out of my mind. But that was fucking hard when she lived in the same place.

This sucked balls.




I thought Lexi was going to be mad at me forever. She’d done a pretty good job of avoiding James and me for weeks, but I guessed the time alone did the trick.

And some grilled cheese sandwiches.

If I’d known I could melt her with some cheese, I’d have made them a long time ago.

“So…do you want to read the books?” she asked. “I can show you where they are.”


I had no intention of reading them. I hated novels. Well, I take that back. I actually loved reading novels. Too much. They had a way of turning me into this nerd zombie with my face attached to the pages. I couldn’t put down a story, any story, until I’d finished it, so I had to basically put my life on hold. But I didn’t want to tell Lexie this. I loved the way her eyes lit up when she outlined the synopsis to me. And I wanted to share it with her. Or at least pretend to share it. I’d watch review videos to get the gist of it later.

“Sure,” I answered. “Why not?”


Lexie took me to our “play room”–a little place with books, a computer, a few retro gaming systems and an old keyboard. James basically owned most of it, so I figured the books must be his. He would come in here to think, read, and write songs. Of course, I didn’t want to tell Lexie that either. I liked the fact that she chose to warm up to me. James didn’t deserve her. Not that I thought I did either, but from that first night, I knew she was different from any girl I’d ever met. Such a unique spirit. I loved how she always surprised me by what might come out of her mouth or what she might do. And she made me laugh.

I just hoped one day she’d really like me enough to at least go out again.

Lexie waved her hand. “So, do you want me to get you the first one or all of them down?”


“Just one,” I said. “But I’ll get it if it’s way up high.”


She hit me. “Are you kidding? I’m taller than you are, silly.”

“But…” I raised my hand then thought better of it. I didn’t think it’d be nice of me to remind her how clumsy she was.


“Here you go. Read it and creep.” She winked at me. “But don’t read before bedtime because you’re basically not going to be able to sleep, you’ll be so freaked out.”

“Okay, warning noted,” I said, taking the heavy book from her.


When I opened it, I raised my eyebrows. This sure didn’t look like the horror story she’d detailed to me.


This was a real nursery rhyme book. “Hey, Lexie, this isn’t a novel. It looks like someone’s old childhood storybook.”


On the front cover, someone scrawled, “To Little Jimmy: This was my favorite book when I was a young girl. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I love you! Gran.”

I shut it really quickly, feeling a bit like I’d pried into someone’s personal closet. I smirked. Who knew James used to be called “Little Jimmy”.

“Oh, crap. They’re over here.” Lexie lurched toward the other bookcase, wobbling. I put my arms out to steady her.


But then I got a bit distracted.


In an instant, she lost her footing and tumbled toward me.


Luckily, I caught her.


“Are you okay?” I asked, looking into her beautiful green eyes.

She merely nodded, never leaving my gaze.


I dropped her down and before I knew it, I was kissing her, softly, not wanting to let go. Lexie Day had me wrapped around her clumsy finger. I could see the angry mob of Chuckers already forming. The last fiasco with James’ Flamers was bad enough.

Damn, I was in trouble.

But at that moment, I didn’t care.
















Chapter 5.33


I put on my Lexie-will-not-melt-under-Charlie-Tsui’s-glorious-smile face and braced myself for an over-wattaged onslaught.

“Welcome, ladies…Lexie,” Charlie said, arms outstretched as if he thought I was actually going to hug him.


When I didn’t move forward, he put his arms down and said, “Listen, I hope you’ll accept all of our apologies for what happened…you know…with…um…uh…”


“Jenny?” I finished for him with as much malice behind my voice as I could muster.


He coughed then said, “Look, I won’t give you excuses for my behavior where that’s involved. I just hope you’ll forgive me and move on. It’ll make living here a little less awkward.”


I lurched my head back. “Oh, so you want me to be the big girl and forget that the guy who I thought was interested in me allowed me to go out with a big fat fraud, is that it? And furthermore, that guy knew I would get blindsided by the fraudulent asshole because his plan was to tell me about Jenny that night. Hmm? And then when I fell apart, you’d be there with your arms wide open, ready to catch? Um no. So, if you’ll just show us to our rooms, we’ll get settled. ”


“Heh, well, okay then!” Charlie exclaimed, laughing nervously. “Your rooms are just up the elevator. I-If you’ll follow me…”


Elara let Lord Bloodmoon have it. He begged for hours.


Until, finally, Elara relented as he was pretty dang good on the piano.


Oh did I mean playing the piano? I meant ON the piano. Yeah…those two left little to the imagination. Dom yelled at them to “retire” to their chambers already.


The Heartthrobs had to delay their tour a bit because someone decided to punch out James. (Thanks, Dad!) It was pretty awkward for me because I was not going to talk to either Charlie or James, but they hung out a ton with everyone. That left me in my room for the most part.


But everyone else got so chummy that each decided to go with the boys on tour! Copper was done with her semester, Reese asked to take a leave of absense from her company, Dom could set her own hours at any time, Kate was between jobs and Elara…well…Elara ruled the world (in Larp-land). I guessed they were all certified Throbbers by now.


So, I had that huge penthouse to myself for six weeks.

I found the boys’ private library and read.




During that time, I decided I had to get out of there. It was like a guilded golden prison. I figured I needed to save up enough money to rent a small apartment with high security. The rabid Flamers still wanted to slit my throat. Word got out that my father hurt James’ pretty face so I was teen bubblegum target number one on their shit list.

So, I took a second job on the weekends as a hotdog at the flea market to pad my funds. No one would recognize me in that getup.

It was soooo humiliating. Luckily, I didn’t see a soul I knew.


And it was boring as watching cement dry. But it paid well.


To pass the time, I did a bit of people watching. There were five gorgeous guys who caught my eye.

Then my stomach plunged.


Oh. My. GOD! Did I see whom I thought I saw?


I walked over to the group quietly, trying to peek at them without them knowing I was peeking.


Then I saw his face.

Without thinking, (cuz that’s what I do) I bolted toward him. “CORY?” I yelled.

“Huh?” he said as he slowly turned around.


And I pounced on him like the mad clown hotdog I was. “Cory, it’s me! Lexi!”


“Lexi?” he asked, shock peppering his voice.

I couldn’t help myself. I thought I’d lost him all these years. Once I moved to San Myshuno, we lost touch. He didn’t have a simbook (I looked) and so I tossed it out as fate that we weren’t meant to see each other ever again and now…there was a party going on in my brain. My Cory was here in San Myshuno!


He stroked my face. “Lexi, is it really you?”

“Yes, you moron. I might look like a hotdog, but I’m still the same girl. Oh my God, I’m so glad to see you!”

“Me, too,” he whispered. I could tell he was still shocked.


I jumped down to see him better. He’d grown about a foot taller. I had to gaze up at him now and he was covered in some sort of surfer dude tattoos. Not a bad look at all. “What are you doing here?” I asked.


“Oh, I’m in a band…remember Wyatt?” He pointed at his tall bff from high school, Wyatt Roth. The guy got thicker, but he’d always been King Kong giant. I remember he wasn’t very good at skateboarding.

I wiggled my fingers at him and Wyatt said, “Hey.” Guy wasn’t much in the words department.

“SO…you’re living your dream then, huh?” I asked.

Cory nodded, smiling that million dollar grin of his. Oh my God, pinch me, I’d missed it so much. “Yeah, well, I don’t know about living the dream.” He laughed sheepishly. “We mostly play a bunch of cheap dive bars, but we’ll see. We’re here meeting with a producer. Want to get a drink and catch up? I’ve got a few minutes before we have to go.”


I soooo wanted to ditch this outfit and job for a few minutes with Cory, but…where would I find another one that hid my face so well? “I…can’t. I’m working. Maybe after your meeting?”


“Yeah, well, we have to fly back to Brindleton Bay right afterwards. Look, I’ll be in town again, I’m sure. I’ll give you a call. Okay?”


The way he said he’d call me filled me with gloom, but I kept a smile on my face. What was I thinking? I hadn’t seen the guy in years, jumped him in a hotdog suit, and I expected to pick up where we left off? Was I totally without brain cells or what? “Yeah…sure…we’ll catch up then.”


He wrapped me up in a bro hug and slapped my back. “Good seeing you again, Lex,” he said.

My throat thickened because I felt like we were saying good-bye forever all over again. “Yeah, good seeing you, too.”


After work, I looked him up online. He was in a retro surfer type band.


They called themselves, Surf’s UP. Totally fit him.


And then I thought back on our meeting and my cheeks warmed with embarrassment. He was in the industry. He had to have seen all the turmoil I’d been in with the Heartthrobs. Hell, the whole world did. God. According to the press, I was this total whore who went between Charlie and James at will and was living with them as they’d take pictures of me constantly coming out of their penthouse.

Tears flooded my eyes. No wonder Cory didn’t want to have anything to do with me.






















Chapter 5.32


Shouts and jeers rose over the rain. And one girl gave me a terrifying look that made my hair bristle on the back of my neck. It was like a scene out of one of those awful mean girl teen movies. And I was the stupid schmuck who was about to get eggs thrown at her.


But that was just in the movies. This was real life. These girls didn’t WANT to hurt me, did they?

And besides, I was much older than them. All I’d have to do was tell them to fuck off and they’d run like the puppies they were. Easy peasy.


With my head held high, I stepped into the middle of the mob but before I could get a word out, one of the girls pounced on me.

“Leave James alone, you whore!” she shouted. She peppered my body with stinging slaps and like a moron, I tried to fight back but was doing a horrible job at it.


Then I heard Dom’s scary voice echo, “LEAVE HER ALONE!”


Some girl said, “Who dat crazy bitch?”


But the girl kept slamming me, and I crouched to the ground to get away from her, praying that maybe some rando lightning bolt would end me right there.

When suddenly, the slapping stopped.

“Lexie, it’s all right,” I heard Kate say.


I looked up to see Dom holding the girl who had been hitting me.


Dom flung her aside and yelled at the girls to leave or they were all going to jail for trespassing. She reminded me of my fifth grade principal, Ms. Cracker. You did NOT want to mess with her. All she had to do was give you “The Eyeball” and everyone would pee their underoos.

Dom missed her calling. She would have made a great principal.

Shuddering, I wrapped my arms around my friends, so glad that ordeal was over. What would I do without my fearless friends?


Thunder rumbled above us and Dom said, “As much as I love the rain and darkness and cuddles, I really don’t want to get fried from a lightning strike. Let’s go!”


We hurried inside. I decided to take a PTO day. My nerves were a frazzled mess.

Thirty minutes after I talked with my boss, James’ number showed up. (Which flashed as Jenny.) I punched the green answer swirly. “What the FUCK do you want?” I boomed. How’s that for manners? I was actually proud of myself for answering him in the first place.




I woke to my press agent’s harried voice, telling me to check social media.

That was never a good sign.

It took five seconds when I saw Lexie’s face and my nemesis, FLAMESFOREVR plastered all over the place. (This psycho had a standing restraining order to not come within 1000 feet of wherever I might be nor was she allowed to attend any concerts.) Someone got a video of them going at it in front of Lexie’s house.

I decided to take over. I didn’t give a shit if Lexie wouldn’t speak to me.

“Hey, L-Lexie? Are you okay? I saw…what happened.”


Lexie spat, “Like you fucking care. And oh, by the way, don’t call me again!”


“Wait, Lexie! Please! I just want to help. Let me send a car around to pick you and the Sisterhood up. You’re not safe there. I’m afraid more fans might show up.”


“I think I can handle it. I’ll…” her voice stopped. Then she sighed loudly and whispered, voice cracking, “I don’t want anything from you.”


God. It was worse than I thought. But what did I expect? She hated my guts. “Do you want to talk to Charlie?”

I heard a scratchy sigh then she said, “Yes. Put him on.”


Charlie took the phone. I hated watching him get all her attention now. He wasn’t a saint in this either.


He’d lied to her, too. But there he was talking her through this situation and convincing her to stay with us until things blew over. I should have been celebrating. But I couldn’t. I wanted to punch something.


“All right. See you then,” Charlie said, obviously making plans to get her.

I shook my head.



This was nonsense, but…I was beyond-reason fangirling over Charlie. And although I was mad at him, too, because yeah, he the fuck knew what was going on. They all did. I couldn’t say no to him. But just to make Charlie completely sure I was still upset, I said, “Don’t come. Just send the car. Okay?”


“All right,” his soft low voice reverberated in my ear. I almost melted on the spot. “See you then.”

I dropped on the floor, not believing what I was agreeing to and chewed my nails. What was I doing?


I called a meeting of the Sisterhood.

“Let me get this straight,” Reese said, “The Heartthrobs want us to live with them?”


“Just for a little while. Until the fandom forgets all about me. Our address is toast. They’ll come back. And we can call the police every time, but who wants to do that? Plus, they could follow us at any time and ambush. Charlie says we’ll get the same protection they do–bodyguards and everthing.”


“Are there enough rooms for all of us?” Dom asked. “I won’t share. And I’ll need my equiptment for work.”


“Charlie assures me they’ll send movers here to bring over whatever we wish. He also said they have nine bedrooms. Only one of us will have to share.”


Elara said, “I’ll make the sacrifice and forgo my own room. Lord Bloodmoon has promised to give me his quarters after they’ve been renovated to my specifications.”


“Then we’ll fit. You all don’t have to stay there for long. Just until you find other places to stay. You’re not the ones the crazies are after.”


Copper looked at us sheepishly. “I just got word from our landlord that they’re going to put this house on the market anyway,” Copper said in her tiny voice. “So, it would be kind of the boys to let us stay until we found new places.”


“Then is it decided?” I asked.

Dom shrugged. “Sounds like our only choice at the moment. We’re the Sisterhood. How hard could it be living with one of the most famous boy bands of the century?”


Elara arched her eyebrow. “I’ll expect all of us to be royally compensated for this egregious impropriety. Lord Bloodmoon will surely pay as should they all. I’ll see to it personally.”


I tried not to imagine what Elara meant about that and instead focused on how I was going to avoid the asshole James all the while I was living in the same penthouse.

Damn Flamers. This was insane.