Chapter 7.5


My stomach was tickling so much! We were at the acting center where real live movies were shot!

The ceilings were ginormous!

And there were three sets all ready to go. I was wondering if these were going to be scenes from Momeo and Juliet.

When the tryouts started, Kristie went first! She wanted to get it over with. Couldn’t blame her at all.

She started on the first lines with such an eloquent voice. I thought she’d make a graceful and pretty Truliet!

But then she stumbled on her words and froze.

“Can I start over?” Kristie asked in a warbly voice.

Mr. Graf shook his head. “No, dear, I’ve seen enough. NEXT!”

Ugh! Mr. Graf didn’t give her a chance! Well, she did so well at first. I was sure maybe he already knew how talented she was and she’d get the part of Truliet anyway.

Crushed, Kristie drooped her shoulders as she walked off the stage.

Next was little Miss Princess. I was going to relish watching her wilt on stage.

Unfortunately, she was a naturally gifted actress.

She nailed her lines and even put in some perkiness to the part which I thought was clever. Barf!

The rest of the girls were honestly pretty horrible. They were mostly monotone.

Or overacted making my cheeks flush with second hand embarrassment.

Finally it was my turn. Oh. My. GOSH! If my palms sweated any more, they’d drip.

When Mr. Graf gave me the signal, I dove into the wicked step sister’s lines.

All I had to do was pretend I was dealing with little Miss Princess Pheobe and it was soooooo easy.

When I was finished, Mr. Graf said, “Um…could you do the Truliet lines now, dear? All girls must try out for the lead, you know.”

Oh crud! I must’ve messed up. My odds were totally low that I’d get any parts now. UGH! And there were a few girl parts and tons of girls were trying out! I was doomed.

Well, thankfully, I’d prepared.

“Momeo, where art thou? Over here or over there, my sweet?

“His beauty is divine. I could but taste it.

“Is that him climbing over yon window?

“My darling! You’re here! Would that our parents fall over a rose bush and die so that we could be together….FOREVER!”

That was it. All the lines given to us for try outs.

Mr. Graf looked less than enthused.


“Thank you, dear. NEXT!”

After I got off the stage, Phoebe said, “Well, you tried your best, Cheyenne.” She was so nice to me only because she knew she did great and was a shoe in for the part. Yesterday, she’d tripped me accidentally on purpose. I had the skinned knees to prove it.

Ignoring her fake act, I turned to my bff, “I bet you get a great part, Kristie. Your intro was so good, I was almost jealous! That’s why Mr. Graf didn’t need to see more.” I hoped I was right. I didn’t want to see Kristie cry.

Next it was the boys’ turn. Jake went first. And surprise surprise, he nailed everything.

His lines.

His marks.

And his projection. What couldn’t the guy do?

A huge smiled splashed acrossed Mr. Graf’s face. “Excellent, my boy! Well done!” He never complimented anyone all day. UGH!

And I felt sorry for the boys who had to go next. They all knew the part of Momeo was going to Jake. Well, there were tons more boy parts. The famous writer of this play, Fakespeare, was a male chauvinist if you ask me.

And even Jake knew he’d gotten the part. It was written all over his smirky face. Grr! He and Perfect Pheobe should go out or something. They’d make a great villain pair! You couldn’t write it better than that!

After everyone was finished, Mr. Graf gathered us around him.

“You all did very well! I’ll confer with my collegues, Ms. Christianson and Mr. Adams on their thoughts and then I’ll make my final decisions. I’ll have the cast list posted in the cafeteria by noon tomorrow.”

It was so painful waiting on the results. The following day, it wasn’t even posted after lunch. So I messed around in my room on my phone. After hours passed, suddenly, Kristie burst in and shouted, “I heard it’s up! Let’s go!”

My stomach twisted. “Oh my God! This is it!”

Once we arrived at the cafeteria, I saw a bunch of kids huddled around the sheet on a wall. My heart leaped hard like I thought I was going to choke.

“No matter if I don’t get a part, Kristie, I hope you do.” I said those words, trying to convince myself that being left out of the play would be okay when I really knew I’d cry when no one was watching.

Gasps and moans flew all over the place. Some people looked sad and others beamed.

I wouldn’t let my eyes glance at the paper until I was ready. Taking in a big breath, I inched my head toward the sheet.

And when I saw all the names, I gasped.

I was picked to be TRULIET!!!! What????

Then I saw Pheobe’s eyes tear as she shuffled out. Honestly, I really thought she did better than me.

Why wasn’t she chosen? Even though we didn’t get along, I felt badly for her. Maybe it was a mistake because she was chosen to play Grizella, Truliet’s wicked step sister.

And then I thought about Kristie. Wincing, I shook my head. Was she going to be crushed?

Before I could go to her, a cute voice behind me said, “Hey, I get to play your mother, Lady Sapulet! I think that’ll be fun. I’m so glad you were chosen.”

Aw…she was so sweet! “Thanks, Paris. I’m glad you got picked, too!” I’d gotten to know Paris Harrington in acting class. She was a really fun girl who liked the same music that I did.

Then Kristie interjected, “Hey, Shy! You got it! I’m so happy for you!”

“Thanks, Kristie. I totally wish it was you, though. I hope you’re not upset.”

“Hey, I get to be your nurse. That’s like being your bff in the play anyway. After I’d messed up, I’m just glad I got a part!”

Jake came up behind me and said, “Congrats, Red. You’ve won the lottery in being able to play opposite me.” He wiggled his eyebrows.

“Gee, I’m thrilled.” NOT!

“Seriously, though, it’s cool you’re Truliet. I thought you did great at tryouts.”

I glared. “Are you buttering me up for some ulterior reason or something? Cuz it’s not working.”

“No ulterior motive. Honest. I just don’t want you mad at me when we’re doing the play.”

Sounded like an ulterior motive to me. I scrunched my nose. He needed a different face in order for me not to be mad at him. But I guessed he couldn’t help looking SOOOO much like Jack Rackham. “Maybe stop acting like a stuck up douche would help.”

He just laughed and shot gun fingers. “You know you like it.”


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Chapter 7.4


I couldn’t believe how much fun I was having at the performing arts camp! Music was the best! Ms. Eskildsen was so cool, just like I thought she’d be.

As we all settled into our seats, she announced, “So, we’re going to start with violins then guitar and finally, you’ll choose between electric guitar and drums. We’re going to jam at a rock concert at the end of camp and all of you will participate.”

A rock concert! Wow. I totally wanted to play the violin.

She scratched her chin and said, “Let’s get to it!”

When it was my turn, I was pretty awful at it. But since I already knew how to play the guitar, I got used to the violin pretty quickly.

Ms. Eskildsen said I did great!

But dance was the WORST! I mean, I really liked Mr. Irvin. He talked about all the things we were going to learn.

We were going to do ballet, jazz and modern dance (even though I totally didn’t know what that last one was at all.)

“Now, I want to see what you can do. Where your levels of dance experience are. Show me your best moves. If you don’t have experience, don’t worry. We’ll work hard on a dance routine that you’ll do well on.”

Next, he showed us the dance we were going to do.

My stomach clenched. It looked super hard. How was I ever going to dance like that by the end of the month?

Kristie squealed, “That dance is going to be so much fun!”

I laughed. Easy for her to say since she loved to dance. I, on the other hand, had two left feet. But I didn’t mind the challenge.

Once Mr. Irvin finished, he said, “Now, it’s your turn!”

I did my best but…I could tell I was about the worst in the class. Kristie was amazing though!

And Jake…he was like a professional.

Definitely stole the show. Everyone stopped what they were doing and watched him.

Next, Mr. Irvin gave us each a dance partner.

I got Jake. At first I was upset. I mean, I hated the guy. First of all, he was always smirking. So full of himself. Secondly, he tried to look like Jack Rackham. All. The. Time. It was annoying! And third, he was the best at everything! Like why was he here if he was so good? Anyway, by the end of class, I started to warm up to him though. In fact, he taught me a cute dance and we weren’t half bad together!

When we were done, I said, “Hey, Jake. Thanks for teaching me some steps.”

“No prob, Red.” The way he said, “Red”, made me blush! Why oh why did he have to look so much like the love of my life????

The next day, we attended acting class. I was so pumped because acting was my very favorite thing to do. And Mr. Adams was my favorite counselor.

As soon as we settled onto our pillows, Mr. Adams announced, “I have a special visitor coming today. Give a warm welcome to our Theater Director, Mr. Otto Graf!”

In walked a weird dude with an even weirder hat. “Hello, young thespians. Today I have the pleasure to announce I will be having a try out for our new play, Momeo and Truliet, a tragedy.”

Mr. Adams cheered behind him.

Momeo and Truliet! My favorite play! Oh, I hoped I could be Truliet. But if not, I just wanted a part. Any part! Even if it was Truliet’s ugly step sister! Acting like a villain was the best.

Mr. Graf went on, “All those who wish to be in the play, meet in the theater tonight after dinner to sign up. We’ll hand out the scripts and have our first try outs the following afternoon.”

“SCRIPTS!” Mr. Adams punched his arms like it was the best thing since dessert.

“And don’t forget. when you’re performing, leave who you are at the door and…

“BECOME the character!” He made a strange laugh sort of like a master villain. “Muahahaaaa!”

This was going to totally ROCK!

Once I got my hands on the script, I wasted no time and dashed to my room to study. Goodness! There were so many parts! Which one should I choose?

I thought about Truliet. So beautiful and sweet. Could I act like that?

I remembered seeing the movie and I certainly wasn’t anything like Truliet. She had dark hair and was super de duper gorgeous. I was just a normal looking redheaded girl.

And OH. MY. GOD!

She had to KISS Momeo!!!!

I sighed. I didn’t mind kissing. I’d kissed my crush in fifth grade. Then he got annoying and I hid from him for two weeks. It was kind of hard since we were in the same classes. But I put on sunglasses and said I was sick. Poor guy got the message. I felt badly for him, but I was a dumb kid and didn’t know what to do.

Well, this was for the art. And I’d kiss a frog if I could be Truliet.

I’d studied all night until my eyes grew heavy and I fell asleep.

Next afternoon, the kids who wanted to try out all rushed over to the acting center.

It was where some movies were shot. Different sets would be on display for us to act in. Our theater director actually acted in movies sometimes! He was almost FAMOUS! Well, no one could compare to my grandpa, but still. I thought he was super talented.

I could tell since he was very dramatic. He threw up his arms and projected his voice even when he was giving us instructions.

I couldn’t wait to do my scenes. I’d decided I’d try for Truliet but seriously, I only wanted the wicked step sister part. She had red hair like me. And she threw on an evil grin all the time. I’d practiced it over and over.

“Okay, thespians, it’s time to show me what you’ve got! You may try out for whatever parts you wish, BUT the part you earn will be the part I believe you’re the best for so no tears! You are professionals so if you don’t get what you want, that’s the breaks. No sniveling. Got it?”

I was prepared. Even if I was just the maid, it was going to be fun just being on stage.

“Sure, Mr. Graf!” I said.

“Who’s he kidding?” Jake said in a hushed voice. “There’s going to be all kinds of wailing if people don’t get what they want.”

“Well, I’m going to be Truliet, so I won’t cry,” Pheobe said. Oh brother. I hoped she didn’t get that part. She’d lord it over all of us.

I wanted Kristie to get that part. She was the prettiest. And a very good actress. Before we entered to center, I put my arm around her and said, “I’m rooting for you to be Truliet! Do your best!”

She gulped. “I’m so scared, Shy. I’ve got jitters in my knees and my stomach hurts.”

I pulled on her and said, “Oh come on! You’ll do great. I know it. You’re going to be the best Truliet ever!”

“You think so?” she asked hesitantly.

“I know so.”

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Thank you to SoulGal7 for the amazing Otto Graf! He got a Maxis Fav on the gallery. Check him out here! OTTO GRAF

Chapter 7.3


Seriously, I couldn’t believe my luck! Jack Rackham here at MY camp? What were the odds?

I flicked a knowing glance at Kristie who was just as gaga as I was about it.

This was going to be a super-de-duper-callo-fragilistic kind of a day! No…MONTH!

I couldn’t help myself. I ran over to him and just blurted, “So, hey, Jack! What are you doing here? I thought you’d be on tour right now!”

He just looked at me like I was some kind of freak and said, “What?”

I went on anyway because superstars probs can’t hear really well cuz they were surrounded by loud music. “Like don’t get me wrong, I’m happy you’re here. I’m your number one fan, if you know what I mean.” I pumped my arm and winked. I was going over the top, but who cared? This was my biggest chance to actually meet and talk with him!

A girl sitting at his table sighed. “Are you serious right now? His name isn’t Jack. It’s Jake.”

“Yeah, dude,” another boy said. “He’s my best friend. Jake Broke. Who do you think he is?”

My face heated up a bazillion degrees. “My bad,” I said, lamely. “Just thought he looked like someone else.” My heart felt like someone had poked a pin in it and it’d deflated.

The long haired guy laughed. “I bet she thought you were Jack Rackham. What a stupid idiot.”

Jake snorted making me want to disappear into the walls. How embarrassing!

I slunk to the back of the room so no one would notice the total fail that had happened to me.

As I settled at a table with Kristie, trying to think about the fun stuff we were about to do, the lady who’d been talking to my dad waved her arms. “Okay, everyone, let’s quiet down. It’s time to meet your counselors. I’m Mrs. Martin–the Camp Director. If you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask me. You’ll all be placed into teams with a specific counselor who will be your Team Coach. If you have a problems, they will most likely be able to solve it.”

She pointed to the woman on the end. “Over here in red is Ms. Eskildsen. She’s your music counselor, working in all sorts of stringed instruments as well as song writing.”

“Yo, peeps!” She popped out her fingers.

She looked so cool!

“I hope she’s my Team Coach!” I whispered to Kristie.

“Next is your Singing counselor, Ms. Christianson. She’ll be doing all vocal coaching as well as piano training.”

“Welcome, campers!” she said all prim and proper like.

“She looks nice,” Kristie said.

I shrugged. “I don’t know…she might be one of those ‘go by the strict rules’ type. Would you look at those shoes? I definitely don’t want her.”

The camp director pointed at a long faced guy. “This is Mr. Irvin, our dance counselor.”

Mr. Irvin sort of raised his bushy eyebrows. Not sure about him, but whatevs.

The director blabbed and blabbed until I zoned out.

Then Kristie brought me back to earth. “I’m sorry that wasn’t Jack Rackham, Shy. He really looked like him to me.”

A kid who’d introduced himself as Brandon Cameron said, “What’s the big deal about Jack Rackham? His fame will be dust as soon as he hits puberty. I heard his voice is already toast and he had to cancel his concerts.”

Kristie shook her head. “I don’t know where you heard that from. I looked at his schedule and everything is fine.”

Shrugging, he said, “My father works in the industry. I’m telling you, his fame is almost up. You shouldn’t try too early for it. My father says I will hit right at the prime of my life. I just have to wait. How many child stars actually make it to adults? Jack’s voice is nothing special anyway.”

He did NOT just bust on my one and only. “Dude, why don’t you go bother someone else with your theories? My grandfather was a superstar from the time he could breathe. So SHUT UP!”

He threw a smirk at me and said, “Just you wait. In a few years when we’re seventeen, you’ll forget all about Jack Rackham and you’ll be wishing you were nice to me so I could get you back stage passes to MY concert.”

I wanted to barf right there but that’d be rude so I just rolled my eyes and pretended to listen to the rest of the camp director’s instructions.

Once we got back to my room, I stared at the Jack Rackham posters I’d asked Daddy to put up for me.

“I don’t get it, Kristie. He’s like an exact replica.”

Jake had the same hair, eyes, everything! Maybe that Jake kid knew he looked a lot like Jack so he tried hard to make everyone think he was a star. What an attention hog. I didn’t like him. That much I knew. If anyone had the nerve enough to try to make people think he was someone famous then diss them because of it, he was an absolute turd.

Kristie scratched her chin. “Maybe he’s a twin? Or a cousin?”

I didn’t know but it kind of annoyed me. But whatever. I wasn’t going to give him any special attention because he looked like the love of my life. I had about five different Jack Rackham fan shirts and just because the average Joe–Jake looked like him, I wasn’t about to stop my adoration.

He’d have to get over himself.

The next day, we got to attend acting class. I was soooo pumped! I loved acting! Even more than singing or playing the piano!

And our acting counselor, Mr. Adams, was so cool and fun, too!

He was sitting with everyone last night, cracking jokes. “Hey, Mr. Adams!” I said, when we entered his room.

We all sat in a circle on comfy pillows. Mr. Adams said we needed to feel our parts. Become one with our character. He wanted us to pick out a favorite character from either TV, movies, or even books that everyone would recognize. It was our job to act it out and everyone had to guess who we were! Sweet!

I decided to be the Wolf Who Ate Al Simhara since that was like the most famous movie on the planet.

Everyone guessed instantly! And Mr. Adams gave me a few tips on acting like another species which I thought might come in handy if I was ever cast in a B movie. That’d be like the dream (well at first. Grandpa said acting was like stairsteps. You start at the bottom first!)

Next, that turd-in-a-body-that-looked-like-my-dreamboat tried to act like SuperSandman. And unfortunately, he blew it out of the water. Huge eyeroll. All his great acting skills were going to do was give him a big head which he obviously had already anyway.

Then it was stuck up little Miss Princess’ turn. She thought she was all that. And made everyone think she was a star when it was all in her own head. Her name was Phoebe Reynolds and she made it clear she hated my guts for some reason. What did I do to her????

I snored when I saw her performance.

And Mr. Adams didn’t look too thrilled either. Ha!

After acting, it was time for singing. Kristie didn’t sing. She was into acting and dancing. So when I got there, who do you think sat right next to me?

You guessed it.

That turd, Jake. Ugh.

He gave me a look and said, “So…you really have a thing for Jack Rackham, huh? You know he’s a fake. I’ll be the real deal one day.”

I snorted. “You wouldn’t know the real deal if you tripped over it. Looks to me like you have to copy him because you don’t have your own talent.”

“This IS talent, baby.”

I fake swooned and said, “Oh I’m SOOOO impressed. Eheheheh!”


Brandon whispered, “Hey, guys, hush. The counselor is coming!”

In marched Ms. Christianson with her perfect hair and perfect face. She was too perfect in my opinion.

“Hello, everyone. Hope you’ve had an exhillerating morning. We will start off with scales. This will allow your voices to warm up and then we’ll go onto something classical.”

SCALES! Ugh. I knew she was going to be boring! Too bad Ms. Elskildsen wasn’t the singing counselor. We’d probably be doing raps to warm up. Sigh.

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Thank you to CitizenErased14 for giving me the beautiful Phoebe Reynolds! We will be seeing her A LOT throughout the story!!! ❤

Also, thank you to VanPelt for Ms. Eskildsen and Ms. Christianson. They are PERFECT!

And thank you to MonaSolstraale for Mr. Irvin and Mr. Adams! We’ll be seeing much more of them!

Chapter 7.2


My growing anxiety about allowing Cheyenne to attend that drama camp grew to an apex until I couldn’t take it anymore.

I’d made my decision. She wasn’t going. She was too young, too immature, and honestly, why were we allowing this acting dream to even blossom when I knew what that type of future held–nothing good. My dad’s decision to become the biggest superstar in the Sarvel Comic lore broke apart my family. Did we really want that life for Cheyenne?

After I’d put her to bed, my wife and I settled on the couch. Before she could turn on the tv, I stopped her. “We need to talk,” I said, trying to think of a good way to venture into the subject. Charlene was Cheyenne’s biggest supporter. But she didn’t understand that kind of lifestyle. And while I was proud of my daughter’s mind boggling talent, we really should foster other gifts. She’d make a brilliant scientist. Her mind was very analytical.

“What’s up?” she asked.

Wringing my hands, I blurted, “I…um…really don’t think Cheyenne should go to camp this year. She showed tonight that she’s way too immature.”

Charlene blinked. “You’re kidding me, right? Cheyenne’s been counting the days ever since she found out about it two years ago. We can’t go back on our promise now.”

I countered, “Do you really think it’s a good idea to encourage her to pursue acting? Look what it did to my family. I rarely even talk to my dad and that’s because he basically checked out when I was a kid. And Cheyenne acts before she thinks. She’ll be with a lot of influences that I’m not comfortable with.”

“What makes you think Cheyenne will be anything like your father? We raised her. Together. With our values and our love. It was totally different with your parents. Your mother didn’t even know her father until she was like…what? Eight? And your dad’s parents never really loved each other. It’s no wonder they both sucked as parents.”

“How does that make logical sense, Charlene? You don’t suck as a parent and you didn’t even have parents.”

“Because I knew I was going to suck so I read a ton of books on parenting, as you well know. Plus, I had you as a marvelous example. Look, all I’m saying is the acting isn’t what split up your parents. If they’d pursued a career in…I don’t know…knitting, I bet you a million simoleons they still would have divorced. They just weren’t right for each other. Now will you stop worrying? Cheyenne will become an actress whether we support it or not. Have you not seen how driven she is? So we either be her biggest cheerleaders and stay in her life or we fight her tooth and nail and alienate ourselves and never have the chance to be an influence on her when she needs us the most.”

I marveled at the intelligence of my wife. Of course she made perfect sense. Maybe I was hesitant because I just didn’t want to see my little girl growing up.

Charlene put her legs on me and said, “Now let’s watch some tv. You owe me a few hours of snuggling.”

I brushed my hands over her soft cheek, amazed at the overpowering feelings of love welling in me. I was so damned lucky. “How do you manage to always make me feel better?”

“Didn’t you know? I’m half witch and put you under my spell. That’s how I snagged you in college, you know.”

I laughed. “How about you cast more spells on me in our bedroom?”

Arching her eyebrow, she said, “Just bring the wand.”


Ugh. Kill me now. My uncle had been taking tons of pictures of us for the last hour. Like how many did he need? It was sooooo boring. I was hoping my bff, Kristie Barnes, would come over to relieve my suffering.

“Hold Makenna still, Kian. And smile, everyone!” Uncle Zack said. He was a professional photographer so that made him extra picky on how we were positioned.

But Makenna was so wiggly, it didn’t matter how we helped. She would try to squirm away and mess up the shot. I had to hold her back with my leg.

“Okay, I think that’s enough, Zack,” Dad said. Daddy was my hero at that moment. THANK YOU!

Kian wanted one more of us goofing off. I gave him rabbit ears for keeping me in that chair.

Finally, pictures were over and Kristie had arrived. I marched all of us to the piano. It was time to have some fun. It was hard to think up something that all of us would want to do. Little Makenna was a handful but she didn’t want to hang out with her parents (couldn’t blame her there) so in order to make her happy, we had to get creative.

I thought I’d teach her some notes like how Daddy taught me when I was her age.

But she was the WORST! She just banged on the keys making an irritating sound and scream-o-sang. Oh God, we had to do something else or my ears were going to bleed.

“How about we dance while Cheyenne plays, okay, Makenna?” Kristie suggested.

Yay for bff’s!

SMART bff’s!

So, I played one of my favorites–Flight of the Bumblebee. It had a catchy, bouncy sound, perfect for a toddler to jump to.

Plus it was good for me to practice. I wanted to be at my best by the time summer hit. Couldn’t wait until I went to Plumbob Pictures Performing Arts Camp. If only this school year would fly by.

After Aunt Myla took Makenna for her nap, Kristie and I plopped down on the rug and talked.

“You know what sucks, Kristie?” I said, looking through my calendar.

“Hum?” she answered.

“We’re going to miss the freaking Jack Rackham concert because we’ll be at camp.” I A-D-O-R-E-D Jack. I had all his posters, t-shirts, buttons, magazines. And grandpa even got me SIGNED limited edition tennis shoes. They were white high tops with real gold buttons and chains. SO FREAKING COOL!

Jack Rackham was exactly my age, too, and became a super sensational WooTuber turned teen heartthrob overnight. I felt a bit proud of myself because I’d discovered him WAAAAY before anyone else heard about him. In fact, I’d even had a DM convo with him back in the day. (Well, it was like last year when we were eleven, but still!) And now, he was so famous that of course he didn’t care about little ol’ me. I’d heard his manager scans all his messages so NO ONE gets to the real him.


“Well, we’ll be in Del Sol Valley. Maybe your grandfather can get us into a concert there,” Kristie suggested.

She was always good at suggesting stuff. And usually they were good ideas but not today.

“Nope. Jack is a thousand miles away all summer. I checked his website’s schedule. After he visits Bridgeport, he goes to Windenburg. We’re out of luck.”

The only thing that sucked worse than old jellybeans was not getting to see my crush when he was only going to be two hours away! But the drama camp would be worth it. I guessed I’d have to wait six months when he did the Santa Baby tour.


I thought the school year would NEVER finish! It drug on and on. But finally, June happened! After a snooze-a-roonie long plane ride, we were finally at Plumbob Pictures Performing Arts Center where they host the camp. The place was SOOOOOO amazing! I felt like there were tickle-bees inside my stomach. I couldn’t wait to get started!

Mom said hi and talked a bunch of boring grown up stuff with one of the camp counselors.

The lady seemed nice. She was going to teach us music. I’d signed up for the violin since I suck at it.

“Is there a strict curfew at this camp?” Dad asked. “I’d heard there were a few kids who’d snuck out last year.”

Oh, DAD! How embarrassing could he get????

“We’ve made a few changes to our protocol as well as upped our security. That won’t happen again.”

Well that didn’t sound fun. But still…I would never sneak out. Why was Dad even worried?


After I thought I was going to die a thousand deaths from all his ridiculous questions, Dad decided to embarrass me even more by picking me up and hugging me in front of everyone! Geeze! Didn’t he know I was almost a TEENAGER???

“I’m going to miss you, my pumpkin pie. What will I do without you every day?”

I giggled. Daddy might have been overdramatic and totally embarrassing, but I loved him anyway. “Gonna miss you, too.”

After I had to endure even more kissing and hugging from Mom, they waved good-bye and I was all alone.

I kind of had some nervous jitters but those all flew away when Kristie surprised me! Yay! My bff!

“Right on time!” I said. “Are we going to have fun or what?”

Now I figured we’d go to the cafeteria, get a few snacks and wait on our introductions by the counselors. But instead, I got the biggest shock of my entire life! No joke. I thought I was going to die of a heart attack right there.

THE Jack Rackham was sitting in the cafeteria as if he was just some regular kid!

My heart soared out of my chest. I was in literal heaven.

Thank you Haswh for providing the beautiful Kristie Barnes who will be Cheyenne’s lifelong friend! Thank you for letting me have her! ❤

I’ll be updating sporadically now since I don’t have as much time anymore. This is a busy time of year for me so…just be on the lookout for these. I’ll try to post Mondays always and then if I have time either Wednesday or Thursday. ❤

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Chapter 7.1


“Ahh!” I screamed in my most dramatic voice. My brother, Kian, was doing his best piratey scary act and I was the damsel in distress. Our little cousin Makenna was another damsel.

There were too many damsels.

I squeaked, “Oh please don’t make us walk the plank, mean old pirate! I have children who would miss me!”

Makenna just parroted, “Childwen!” She was the cutest three year old on the planet.

Mom and Dad sat me down this morning telling me how important it was for me to make sure I watched out for her. Ever since Uncle Zack and Aunt Myla had moved away to Brindleton Bay, we never got to see them much. But they’re here for a few days, on their way to see my grandpa in Del Sol Valley. And since I’m the oldest (I just turned twelve), I was supposed to babysit whenever the grownups did their boring blabbing. I didn’t mind at all.

And boy did she need watching. She almost fell out of the cardboard boat!

“Hold on!” I yelled, pulling her back inside.

“Uh oh!” she cried.

Whew. Tragedy eliminated. I decided to become a dastardly damsel instead.

Grabbing a sword, I thrust it under the offenders neck. “How dare you, scallywag! The princess almost lost her life in the sea!” I was pretty good at making up dramatic lines.

My brother even looked scared! But then he popped the fourth wall. “Geeze, Shy, I’m not the one who pushed her. She fell on her own.”

Oh. My. God. Did he not understand dramatic tension? He’s supposed to counter with a maniacal laugh and a parry. I crossed my arms and rolled my eyes. Brothers.

Then Makenna started slobbering all over Kian’s sword.

He wiggled it and yelled, “Get off it, Makenna. You’re not supposed to eat the sword.”

After a ton of bribing with cookies, I finally pried Makenna’s mouth off the wooden blade. Thinking fast, I became a talking water dragon and roared, “It is futile to resist, filthy plunderer! Lay down ye arms or I’ll waylay yon vessel with my mighty fire breath!” I snorted for effect.

Makenna squealed, “Mighty bweath!”

Kian laughed hysterically, raising his arms. “You’re so awful at this, Shy. Mighty fire breath? Hee hee! You’re the skinniest dragon I’ve ever seen!”

That was it.

I jumped to my feet (unknowingly bouncing Makenna off my back in the process) and screamed, “We’re just pretending, dork-face! Why can’t you just go with it instead of having to break character? God! Are you stupid or something?”

He shrugged like he was all innocent. “Is it my fault you don’t fit the part? Just saying…”


It was so good to see my brother. I’d really missed him. Ever since Myla got a job in Brindleton Bay as a vet a few years ago, we’ve drifted apart. Of course, we talked a lot on the phone but it just wasn’t the same. I couldn’t blame him for the move. It was a chance for them to be around Mom so she could babysit for them. It was so ironic. Mom was now a great caretaker of their little daughter, Makenna, when she was anything but while we were growing up.

Zack was telling a story about a photoshoot gone bad when I noticed my wife’s angry look.

Uh oh. I didn’t like that look. “What’s wrong, honey?”

“You don’t hear the yelling? I told you Cheyenne was too immature to handle babysitting with her brother.”

Sighing, I said, “I’ll go check on them.”


“You think you’re so much better? This is what I think of your acting.” I gave Kian a thumbs down. He was lucky I didn’t flip him off. “Plus, you’re an asshole for constantly ruining our fun.”

“Uh…Shy? I’d shut up if I were you…”

I was about to give him a pithy retort when my father’s cold stare shot me in the heart. Dead.

“Uh…hi, Daddy!” I said, hoping he didn’t overhear me call my jerk brother names. “Everything is just fine here. No need to worry. You can go back and do your grown-up boring things. I’ve got it all under control.”

“What do you mean, under control?” my lame brother sneered. “You just called me an asshole!”

Thanks, Kian. Way to make sure I was going to get it.

“Kian, take Makenna to her parents,” Daddy said with his totally scary-as-a-vampire voice. “Cheyenne, let’s go to your room and talk.”

Kian whispered, “Serves you right. I’d never call you an asshole.”

There were only a few things that frightened me. One, not getting the lead part in our school play every year. And two, disappointing Daddy. For some reason he had like this super power of making you feel really guilty without even saying a word. I guessed it was because I looked up to him so much that just thinking about screwing up and getting his angry face made my heart squeeze until it burst.

I was very close to tears as I faced him.

“I don’t understand, Cheyenne. You promised to be on your best behavior. Why are you calling your brother names?”

Thinking through, I did overreact. Why was I so dumb? “I’m sorry, Daddy. I shouldn’t have done that. It’s just…he makes me so mad sometimes.”

“We’ve talked about this. You must control your anger, Cheyenne. You’re too old to be acting like this. How can we trust you to go to drama camp this summer when you can’t get along with your brother for one night?”

Uh oh. Just the thought of getting drama camp taken away was like facing the big bad boss in The R.E.F.U.G.E. XII. I gulped. “I’m really sorry, Daddy. I won’t do that again.”

“But that’s what you always say and now, here we are again. How can I believe you?”

I chewed on my nails. What could I say? I mean, I wanted to be good but it was so hard sometimes, especially with an annoying little brother who thought he knew it all. But this was for drama camp! And it wasn’t any old drama camp. It was Plumbob Pictures Performing Arts camp in Del Sol Valley. I was finally old enough to attend. I would take classes for not only acting, but also singing, dancing and playing piano and guitar. It was going to be heaven for a solid thirty days!

But all I could say was, “I dunno, Daddy.” Tears pinched the back of my eyes.

Daddy put his hands on his hips and said, “I guess you’re not mature enough to handle a thirty day camp, Cheyenne. And that’s very disappointing.”

Panicking, I burst, “Oh Daddy, please let me go! I promise I’ll do better. How about if I’ll make sure Makenna is as happy as a bug in a fuzzy blanket rug and I won’t argue with Kian and I’ll even tell him I’m sorry. Honest, I didn’t mean to call him names and I won’t do it again even if he tells me I suck at acting or a hundred other possible things he could do to annoy me. Will you give me another chance? Please?”

He didn’t say anything which felt like the apocolypse was about to rain fire from the skies (or my bedroom ceiling). But then his face relaxed and I saw a twinge of a smile. “Okay, Cheyenne. One more chance. You need to get along with your brother faithfully. And if he’s doing something to annoy you, just ignore it. Okay, pumpkin?”


We didn’t hear a peep out of the kids for the rest of the night. Cheyenne truly came through with doing her babysitting job. We had told her we’d pay her initially, but since she’d gotten in trouble earlier, she offered to do it for free. I felt that was a step in the right direction.

When it was time for us to go to bed, I smiled when we came upon our children.

“Aww…” Myla said. “Isn’t that so cute?”

“Yeah, who would have guessed after the screaming match earlier?” Charlene answered. “Go figure.”

The kids were out, together, looking very happy. I’d always pictured mine and Zack’s children getting along like this. And that Cheyenne was sleeping on Kian’s lap meant they’d really made up.

After scooping up a dozing Makenna, Zack and Myla headed to their car.

Our house was set up for entertainment but only held three bedrooms–not enough for them to stay.

“Well, babe, I gotta hand it to you.” Charlene threw me a proud look over her shoulder. “You’ve got a way with Cheyenne. Looks like she did a great job here. Want to get her to bed while I take Kian?”

“Of course.”

Wrapping Cheyenne up in my arms, I walked through our living room to her bedroom. I caught a glance at our family picture we took while visiting Selvadorada last summer. It was hard to believe Cheyenne was turning into a young lady already. I wasn’t ready for it.

She still hadn’t had her growth spurt yet, so it was honestly hard for me to wrap my brain around her leaving us for a thirty day camp. I didn’t feel like she was old enough for it. But that was six months away. Surely, she’d do a lot of maturing by then.

She was so impulsive at times that it worried me. I mean, what if she got in trouble at the camp because she didn’t go by the rules? And worse.

What if there were boys at the camp? The thought of her flirting with any during that trip made my stomach roil.

She was still my little girl. Maybe attending the camp wasn’t a good idea after all.

Welcome back to the continuation of these crazy Days! And I must say this will be a crazy generation. 😝 Thank you for sticking with me through the much needed break. I’ll be updating on Mondays and Wednesdays. If you want to follow this story, please make sure to punch the follow button on this website. Or follow using discord where you’ll receive email notices.

See you Wednesday!

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