Little Cheyenne meant the world to me. And when the school called me on the set of my newest film, I didn’t hesitate. Nothing could keep me away.
After the meeting in the camp director’s office, Cheyenne, in tears, told me she had to clean the cafeteria after the students ate. I felt helpless.
But one thing I’d learned in the industry was that rubbing elbows always helped.
So here I sat with the camp director herself. I guessed the counselors grabbed a bite after the kids were finished.
“Thanks again for coming today, Mr. Sanderson. Just having you here, supporting our camp is pretty surreal,” Mrs. Martin said, almost bursting. At least it seemed she was a fan. That might help me in getting Cheyenne some brownie points.
What she didn’t know was my ex was one of her camp counselors. That was how I’d found out about the camp in the first place and passed it on to Liam who’d told Chey.
Putting on the charm, I responded, “Of course. Your camp is world renown. I’d wished I’d attended back in the day.”
“Well, we do have history. Did you know Swish Hemswort went here? He credits the camp for his success.”
Swish was one of my co-stars in the Vindicator series. Younger than me and way more handsome, that little factoid did nothing to appease me. Although according to Sims STAR Magazine, my star had more power than his, I could feel it waning by the second.
“So, I’m honestly not believing my little darling Cheyenne would have the moxy to hit another child. Are you sure you have it correct? She says she only pushed the girl out of frustration.” Nothing like cutting to the chase.
“Honestly, Ms. Christianson witnessed the fight. You’re welcome to talk to her about it.”
Figured. Annabeth Christianson was my ex. God, I’d thought we’d work out but she didn’t like that I wanted to keep our relationship a secret. My fame ruined things with Lex, I sure as hell didn’t want it to hurt Annabeth. But since I wouldn’t tell my family about her, she’d had enough and split up a few months ago.
Maybe she was getting back at me out of spite? Would she really do that?
Heading into her office without knocking, I spotted her on her computer. As usual. Nothing had changed. Except she’d played her card against my darling granddaughter. No way in hell was I going to stand for that.
“So…beating up little children is still your pastime, I see.”
Sighing, not even starting at my intrusion, she answered, “Cheyenne got into the fight, James. I had to report it.” The fire she’d had for me was still in those eyes. Oh how I’d missed her. We’d met at the studio. She was doing some voiceovers for a bit part in a kids cartoon. She had the voice of an angel.
“You couldn’t cut her a break. Just this once? She lost her lead in the play.”
“Take off those damned glasses and maybe I’ll talk to you about it.”
Shit. I’d forgotton I was wearing them. Annabeth hated me always having to hide who I was in public. But could I help that I’d succeeded where she failed? I tried to get her a leg up with my agency, but she didn’t like to schmooze and that was all part of how things worked.
Pulling my glasses off, I said, “Okay. They’re off. Now start telling me why you’d take out your vengeance toward me on my beautiful granddaughter. There’s no way she’d actually punch anyone.”
“Is that what Mrs. Martin said? I didn’t tell her that. Only that she’d gotten into a fight.”
Shaking my head, I answered, “She says Cheyenne punched the girl and that’s an unforgiveable offense. But now you’re saying you didn’t report that?”
“No. I wouldn’t lie. Honest, James. And Cheyenne shouldn’t lose her part in the play. God, I’m sorry that’s what happened.”
Arching an eyebrow, I said, “So what are you going to do about it? Cheyenne is really upset and Mrs. Martin says it’s up to you.”
“Fine. I’ll talk to her. Don’t worry about it.” Annabeth went back to her work on the computer.
She was so cute when she was flustered. I shook my head. Why was I so terrible with women? Maybe she’d give me one more chance. I had to take this opportunity.
“Thanks…hey…would you like to go out with me tonight? There’s a horrible grade B movie at the Twilight Hills at nine. I know you love to critique bad flicks.”
Annabeth shook her head. “I…I don’t know…”
Aha…she didn’t say no. That meant yes…well, for Annabeth, at least.
Wrapping my arms around her and lifting her chin toward me, I whispered, “I’ve missed you, Beth. Tell me you’ll go.”
All she did was nod and that melted my heart. Maybe she would give me a second chance after all.
It was great to see Grandpa even though it was for a horrible reason. But I got over not getting to be in that play. I was going to be in this cool band for the talent show. Jake invited me. I was going to play the piano and he would play the violin. (He was pretty good at it too!)
We were about to do some ad-lib stuff today when Mr. Graf burst into the room.
“I want to make an announcement about the play. It seems there was a misunderstanding about Phoebe and Cheyenne’s little…er…disagreement.”
My stomach did a huge drop. How embarrassing! Why would he announce that out to everyone like that? I wanted to literally DIE!
He lifted his arm in the air. “Like any dramatic persons, there will be tussles but as they say in the industry, the show must go on!
“Therefore, I expect everyone in their spots after dinner. And I need you to emote, emote, EMOTE!”
What? Me and Phoebe are off the hook? YES! Way to go, Mr. Graf, for putting his foot down with Mrs. Martin. I beamed, “Looks like we’re in the play after all, Phoebe!”
Smiling, Phoebe gushed, “Wow. I never thought I’d be this happy to play that wicked step sister in my whole life, but I am!”
Kristie gave me a wink. Now I didn’t have to worry about spending so much time away from her!
At practice, Jake and I finally got to the scene where I was supposed to kiss Momeo. Ugh. Like how was I supposed to act something like that without laughing???
Jake tried to help me out by putting his forehead on mine, but it didn’t work.
Giggles bubbled up anyway and I broke the scene.
“Cheyenne. What’s the matter with you? This is a beautiful moment between two lovesick teenagers. Not a clown factory. Now try it again. Please.”
But no matter how many tries, I just couldn’t do it. “Like could we do something that isn’t so…personal?” I asked.
“Cheyenne, think of it not as a kiss but as art. This is YOUR art piece. You are not kissing a boy, you are creating a moment! Understand?”
When he put it that way, it did help.
So I tried to imagine kissing Jack Rackham instead. They sort of kind of looked alike although honestly, Jack was TOOOOOOTALLY better looking but I couldn’t blame Jake for being a counterfeit.
After practice, I got superdeduper angry. Like I was with Jake a lot because my BFF in the whole wide world left me in the dust for HIS BFF. And Jake didn’t really like to hang out with anyone else so I got stuck with him.
Glaring, I said, “Can’t they get a room or something? Like who kisses in front of everyone like that?”
“We kissed in front of everyone,” Jake countered.
“I did NOT kiss you. I was creating art. That’s different. And God, now they’re just being gross.”
Hunter was practically swallowing Kristie’s face whole!
Jake said to follow him, so we hung out on the merry go round. At least I didn’t have to watch them mate anymore.
“Want to spin us, Cameron?” Jake asked. We were taking turns to see who could spin someone off.
“And Cam, wait until I’m totally on this time!” Phoebe demanded.
“All right, babe. Like I said I was sorry last time.”
Phoebe was not very nice to her boyfriend. Pretty bossy if you ask me, but he, for some reason, was okay with it.
In the end, Cameron didn’t wait on her and totally flew it before she got on.
“CAAAAAAM!” she cried.
Even though she was mad at him, she got over it pretty quickly. I figured he just wanted to tease her.
I breathed in as I laid down. Things were turning out way different than I could have imagined even a week ago. Here I was not hanging with my BFF but with the people I couldn’t stand even a few days ago. But Phoebe was a cool person if you ignored some of her princess tendencies and Jake was actually being decent to me. Guessed he couldn’t insult me if he wanted to hang out. And Cam? Well, he was tolerable in an annoying way but I was dealing with it.
“Hey, guys, want to watch Superkids: Cortex Catastroph?” Cameron asked. “It’s out now.”
“Want to, Red? I’m down if you are.”
And that’s how we ended the night. Without my BFF. Too bad the movie was a total bust and I’d fallen asleep.