Chapter 7.12

Cheyenne

Like WHO needled me into going to this party? Because with blue beer spewing all over me, the floor, and the people around me, I wasn’t having much fun.

Quickly, I mashed my hands over the gushing alcohol. If the frat boys sniffed out I single handedly blew a whole keg on the floor, I’d be banned from future parties with a warrant out for my arrest.

Well, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to get banned. I didn’t really like going to parties. I wasn’t some sorority girl. That was my bff, Kristie. And she made me come to this one.

Finally, the fizz died down and I released the keg.

Some jock rolled his eyes then said, “Don’t worry, folks, I’ll save the party.”

He almost pushed me aside trying to get to his liquid salvation. I shook my head. I hated guys like him. Jerks who thought they were God’s gift to the world. He was obviously a football player, frat boy, I-wanted-nothing-to do-with dude.

Then it was as if the clouds parted and heaven shone down on me. The same thing happened to him! Take that, party savior.

Kristie giggled. Uh oh. Was somebody attracted? He seemed like her type.

But I had to get my digs in while I could. “And you were saying something about saving the party?”

“Well, shit. I didn’t know the stupid thing was busted.”

“Oh but you thought I was a dumbass instead.”

He put his hand on his hip and snorted, “You said it, not me.”

I glared. “Ha ha.”

He hit his friend on the shoulder and said, “I think this calls for a round of pong. What do you say, girls?”

I didn’t even know the jackass’ name but it was game on. We’d show him a thing or two. I happened to be really good at beer pong. “What do you think, Kristie?”

She smiled. “Why not?”

She fluttered her eyes at Mr. Jock then sized up the cups. I prayed it’d sink. I wanted that guy to eat his smartass words.

She flung her arm expertly!

But the ball dropped behind her.

CRAP!

“Aw…looks like you’re drinking, Blondie.”

She cursed in defeat.

The guy’s friend went next. In between sets, they introduced themselves. The jerk’s name was Zachary Hawthorne and his friend’s name was Van Savage.

And of course, Van plopped one in instantly.

Not fazed, Kristie lifted her cup and said, “Here’s to your turn, Chey. Go get ’em!” Gotta love my bff!

But the party gods were not in my favor and before I knew it, I was guzzling, too.

For some reason, losing to that asshole got under my skin worse than ever.

Why did he have to be so smug?

Kristie gave him this hardcore stare that’d put most guys in the hospital. He was toast. Ha!

After I’d gone to the bathroom later, low and behold, the creep got her alone on the couch.

Well, Zachary was her type after all. And if anyone could tame his jerk ways, she could. I had to get used to guys flapping around her like interested flies after all these years. I sometimes got her leftovers (which was fine by me.)

But I wasn’t in the mood to flirt with Van (even though he was hot as hell!)

Instead, our dorm had an awesome piano and I loved to dive into a song. Good excuse to not have to make small talk with the guy.

But after my fingers started aching, I grew bored and decided to get another beer.

Head swimming just a bit, I figured I could handle one more and then I’d go back to my dorm room. The party was lame and I knew I probably wouldn’t see Kristie for the rest of the night. Phoebe was talking to my brother, Kian, (her now boyfriend, can you believe that? I still couldn’t get used to it) so I couldn’t hang with her.

This night sucked hairy ass balls.

*****

Good Lord, my head pounded like it was inside one of those huge bongo drums.

What the hell happened last night?

I remembered guzzling down a few drinks.

Oh and Van thought he could score with me since his friend was with Kristie.

I let him have it. I wasn’t some ho he could pick up and have a night’s screw. God. What was with guys these days? How about a little talking and getting to know one another first.

Then I drank a bit more and the whole night flew from my mind.

And now some ape was laying on me.

My eyes flew open.

It wasn’t an ape.

Oh my GOD!

It was Zachary!

Pushing his body off of me, I dropped to my feet then nudged him. “Hey, Zachary, wake up!”

He rolled over and threw that infuriating smirk at me!

“What’s the matter, sweetheart? Wanting to go for round two?”

Round two? What the hell?

“What are you doing here? W-Where’s Kristie?”

“She kind of got mad when she saw you throwing yourself at me.” He shrugged then scratched his cheek. “I was down though. You’re way more fiesty than her.”

My head felt like it was about to explode. No way in HELL did I sleep with this creep. I tightened my hands into fists. “For one thing, if I did sleep with you, it was only because I was super wasted and all sense flew out of my head. And two, if I hadn’t been drunk, you sure as hell wouldn’t be here. Now get your clothes on and leave. Now!”

He rose up next to me but instead of grabbing his shirt and jeans, he wrapped his warm arms around me. For some reason, I didn’t resist.

“That’s not how you felt last night. You told me you loved me.” He tightened his grip, making my heart flutter. “It was a little fast but I kind of liked it. Love at first sight is pretty romantic. It’s never happened to me before.”

Blinking, in total shock, I stammered, “I…I c-couldn’t have said that. I-I don’t even know you. You’re making things up.” I couldn’t understand how I could have thrown myself at him, drunk or not. My psyche hated him and yet my drunk self told him I loved him? “Tell me what happened. I don’t understand. One minute I’m fighting with your friend, Van, and the next I’m in bed with you. How?”

He lifted the side of his mouth. “I’ll tell you all the details if you go to my game tonight. I’ll leave box tickets at the gate. You can bring some friends, too.”

“What game?” I asked.

He snickered. “You’re probably the only one at this school who doesn’t know, but I’m the quarterback, sweetheart. Named All-American this year. But I kind of dig that you don’t know. Makes you that much more interesting.”

Oh God. Of course he was the quarterback. No wonder he had this dominating, insufferable air about him. Well, if he thought I was going to show up to a game I knew nothing about just because his almighty-ness deemed it so, he had another thing coming.

Sorry I didn’t shout out sooner but thank you to Aud for giving me Zachary to play with!

And thanks to LadyLobster for Mateo in the previous chapter! ❤

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Chapter 7.11

Warning: Slight NSFW, sexual situations

Zachary

Is this thing on? Yeah, sorry. I’m not used to cameras. This is Cheyenne’s world. Not mine.

So, yeah…like how did I meet her?

Well, I’ll never forget it. We were partying in the dorm common room. It was a Friday and I was supposed to be getting some rack because I had the big game the next day (but you know, none of us guys ever turned in before midnight on a Friday. We also would never let the coach know either. Heh.)

Anyways, I was hanging back, surveying the crowd. Okay, actually, I was scanning for hot babes. Not gonna lie. And one caught my eye right away.

She was this gorgeous blonde with a knock out face and an even better, knock-out body. I definitely had to chat her up.

So, when I was about to give this girl one of my best lines, no shitting, Cheyenne tried to tap the keg and beer sprayed everywhere.

Talk about awkward.

It’s funny now, but I felt sorry for her back then. Little did I know that moment would change the course of my life.

Mateo

She was my everything. My best friend. My world.

But you know that though, right? Nothing new. God knows the piece of shit paps wouldn’t let us alone.

So…how did we first meet?

Both Cheyenne and I liked to keep it a secret. It was just between us, but even she didn’t know when I first saw her. When I knew I wouldn’t rest until I made her my girl.

I was at a party in one of the Britechester dorm common rooms. I’d just gotten off work, playing an afternoon gig at a local dive bar when a buddy of mine told me about how Friday nights pop at the college.

I really wasn’t going to go. I was tired as hell and needed to check out early since Saturday I had a double shift plus had to play at one of the clubs until 2 am.

But when he said there’d be pretty girls overrunning the place, well, how could I refuse?

So when we got there, no joke, I was about to turn around and leave. It just wasn’t my scene.

Preppy girls and guys who all probably got weekly allowances larger than my month’s salary? Nuh uh. I had nothing in common with spoiled rich kids.

But then it was like an angel’s voice stopped me in my tracks. Honestly, I thought it was piping out of the speakers somewhere. A new track I hadn’t heard yet. I elbowed my friend and asked him what new song that was playing. He laughed and said that was just Cheyenne fooling around on the piano.

Quickly, I ran over to where she was, mesmerized.

Cheyenne didn’t notice me. She was too involved in the mood of the song.

Right then, I knew I wanted her in my band. And there was something about her that made me want even more than that. Call it love at first sight or destiny or any of those stupid labels people try to pin on a memory to cheapen it. But I somehow knew that girl would be mine one day.

Jin

Hey, guys! Good to see you again. Thought the documentary you made of my group, TBS, went swell. Just thought I’d mention it since I haven’t seen your crew in years. Congrats on your recent award! Amazing!

Yeah, sooooo…Cheyenne Day…wow.

Okay, I don’t want to get emotional…but how can I help it? I loved her.

Everything about her was flawless. I’m not overstating things. She was the most meticulous professional in our field that I’d ever worked with. And that’s saying a lot since I’ve been all over the place recently.

And she was the best lover.

I still remember everything as if it was just yesterday. Sounds cliche but it’s true.

Yeah, so how did we meet? Um…well, the official version is that we did a commercial together that went viral and the rest was history, but that’s not true.

It wasn’t the first time we met. I actually first saw her when she was in college and very unknown.

I’ll never forget these red ponytails bobbing up and down the set. She was fetching drinks and snacks for the cast.

Usually, I wouldn’t care about the interns running around because they came and went so quickly but she was different. There were like these sunbeams shining from her face!

Someone told me that she was James Sanderson’s granddaughter and that she was doing odd jobs in the business to understand it more. She didn’t want help from him. I was also told she was crazy talented. I shrugged and thought I would never cross paths with her again.

I’m so glad I was wrong.

Aarav

Let’s get this over with, okay? I don’t have a lot of time, you know.

I can smoke? Right?

Hell, I’m going to smoke whether you lot like it or not.

Cheyenne Day. Now there’s a name that raises my hackles.

Take it how you wish, mate. Good or bad.

For me it was…good. Mostly.

When it came to her, I’d do anything. I was a man obsessed. Most men in love are obsessed you know.

But I wasn’t the only one, was I, eh?

Okay, I’ll answer your bloody question.

How did we meet?

According to the rags, we met on the set of Pirates of Barnacle Bay.

And yes, that’s when we made a go at it. God, she was so infectious. It was like I was diseased or something. She took over me like an illness.

I’ll admit, our relationship borderlined on toxic.

But when you’re that passionate about something, you’re going to fight for it. Right?

And we were fucking passionate.

Damn.

Zachary

What would I change about us if I could?

God, I don’t know. I mean, some things are meant to happen. You know? She was meant to be in my world at the right moment.

I’m all right with that.

Yeah…I’m all right. I have to be or I’ll…

…go crazy.

Mateo

Change is a tricky thing. Who knows?

All I can say is that I cherish every damn moment I had.

Treasure it forever.

Jin

I’d have whisked her out of Del Sol Valley.

My mother would have adored her, you know. But she couldn’t make the journey to the states. Cheyenne told me she’d run away with me, too. Anywhere I’d wanted.

But…

Shit.

Aarav

How can you ask me such a question?

God.

What would I change?

Everything.

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Chapter 7.10

Cheyenne

I couldn’t believe it was P time. P as in Performance! I’d been looking forward to and dreading this part of camp ever since I’d arrived. I mean, I LOVED performing. In the past, when I got on stage, something just came over me and my body decided to do what I’d been working on almost magically!

But then it was also scary. What if I made a total fool of myself by tripping or hitting the wrong notes or forgetting my lines?

As the haunting music started in our dance show, my legs jumped and slid exactly like Mr. Irvin had taught us.

Jake was the star (of course) so he was at the head of the line. I was on the very edge so if I screwed up, no one would notice.

But did I care? No! It took the pressure off. And since I felt relaxed, I actually did the dance perfectly!

Who knew I could dance? Not me!

The following night was the talent show. Jake was the star again. (Did I sound like a broken record?)

But I sang and played piano, my fingers flicked acrossed the keys. I loved playing the piano the most out of everything at the camp. Acting came second. It was like I was home when I played a moving piece. And I could feel the audience’s emotion, too.

But when Jake jumped up on the piano AND played his violin without missing a beat, the crowd roared and applauded.

It was so much fun!

No one won anything in our talent show. It was just like a recital, but if we had, I bet we would have nabbed first place.

*****

Finally, the following night was the play. I was sooooo nervous. And so was Phoebe. But the magic of the stage affected her, too!

She oozed snark as she rattled off Fakespeare’s antiquated lines.

I was so proud of her!

In between scenes, Mr. Graf came up to me and asked, “Would you find Kristie and Hunter? They’re on in five minutes!”

Oh yeah…they played Truliet’s parents which was the next scene after the intermission. I thought I’d seen them in the dressing room.

I heard Kristie’s voice. “Oh my GOD, Hunter! I can’t believe you lied to me this whole time! Aren’t I your girlfriend? You know I’d keep your secret.”

I wondered what secret Hunter didn’t want to share with Kristie. It could have been anything. I felt like I was intruding but eek! They were about to go on stage. But before I could interrupt, I heard “Jack Rackham” and I suddenly froze.

“Babe, Jack made me promise. If everyone knew he was THE Jack Rackham, he would have been bombarded with fangirls. Think about it. How do you think Cheyenne would have treated him?”

“But don’t you get it? I wouldn’t have told her. I’m not as much of a fangirl as her. You could have trusted me. I’m so mad at you!”

Their words were going so fast, it was hard to process. But once I thought it through, it was like someone dumped a bucket of ice water on me.

Jake was JACK RACKHAM! And he lied to me…to the whole camp…for all this time.

Plus, my BFF said she would have kept that secret from me! My whole body felt like it’d been crushed with a ginormous boulder.

“But I told you now, babe, so doesn’t that count for something?” Hunter said with a smirk.

I couldn’t move, I was in such shock. I totally forgot why I was peeking in on them in the first place.

So, Mr. Graf had to tell them to get out on stage.

I didn’t care. It was like I was in a hazy dream. I just kept going through how I’d always worn Jack Rackham t-shirts right in front of him this whole time.

And to think I’d even felt sorry for him that he might get looked over in the music industry because he SORT OF looked like Jack. But in fact he WAS Jack.

God, I was such a stupid idiot. I bet he was snickering behind my back this whole time.

And he saw all those Jack Rackham posters in my room! How cringy could I get? I wanted to crawl into a hole and hide forever. My embarrassment had reached an all time high. I’d never be able to face him!

But as they say, the show must go on. Jack and I had our final scene. I got through it bit by bit.


It was like I was on autopilot. But even though I said all my lines, not missing once, inside, I wanted to scurry away.

My mind kept thinking about all the things I’d said to him.

And how he made me think he was my friend all this time.

And how I’d stage-kissed him like a ton, but never enjoyed it.

Tonight made me want to cringe. I didn’t even think while I was kissing him. Not really.

I couldn’t.

It was like I was out of my body and someone else was kissing Jack Rackham.

After we took our final bows, I slipped into a side room so no one would find me.

I didn’t want to see my parents. I didn’t want to see my grandfather (who was always hanging around Ms. Christianson. Wtf????) And I most DEFINITELY didn’t want to see Jack Rackham or my traitor BFF.

Unfortunately, after only five minutes, Jack found me. “There you are, Red! Everyone has been asking about you! Why aren’t you at the after party? You did so well tonight! We both did. Aren’t you happy about that?”

When I didn’t say anything, he added, “And that kiss was amazing. Can you really tell me you were just faking? Come on…say you liked it. The play is over now and we don’t have to pretend anymore.”

I spun around. “Oh really? Like you don’t have to pretend anymore? JACK!”

Guilt riddled his face like machine gun fire. “Uh…er…you found out?”

“Yes, I found out. I’m not stupid. Well, I am stupid to fall for your assholery, but now I know. I also know you’re waaaay too important and famous to think of me as a real friend. That’s why you couldn’t tell me…but whatever. I get it. Don’t worry. I’ll leave you alone. And for what it’s worth, Jack, I’m NOT your number one fan anymore so you don’t have to worry about me fawning over you.”

I pushed past him, trying to get as far away from him as I could.

The warm night hit me as I ran down the stairs. Crickets chirped like they didn’t have a care in the world. I was so jealous of them.

This was supposed to be the most amazing night of the summer. I was supposed to cherish it forever!

But now it was just another notch in the list of embarrassing moments of my life. I would never talk to Jack again. And I was going to burn all my posters, t-shirts, and whatever else I owned that had his jerk mug emblazoned on it.

Why did he have to lie? I really liked Jake. Like I was beginning to think I liked him liked him. But I liked the normal guy who wanted to do his best and get better at his art so hopefully, someday his dreams might come true.

Just like me.

But he already had everything.

And he didn’t need me as a friend.

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Chapter 7.9

Cheyenne

Ugh!

I hated dance.

I was soooo terrible at it!

And we had our recital right around the corner.

Everything was about it hit: dance recital, talent show, play. My parents were coming out to see everything too while they visited my grandpa. And then in a few days it’d be time to go home. NOOOOO!

“Okay, from the top!” Mr. Irvin said, walking toward the piano. One thing I did like about dance was the music. Not some canned stuff from an album, he’d choose just the right melody for whatever we were working on.

But everything went so fast, I could hardly keep up.

It seemed I was always a beat behind.

How did everyone remember all those hard steps?

There was no way I’d be ready by the time my parents came.

“Faster, people,” Mr. Irvin shouted. “Point those toes!”

Finally, the torture was over. I really definitely was never going to be a dancer. Singing, acting, and playing the piano were the only things I felt comfortable with. At least I found that out now. UGH!

When class was over, I was about to ask Kristie if she wanted to sit by me at lunch but then I spotted stupid Hunter waiting for her outside the door.

Geeze. It was like they were married or something. I vowed NEVER to let a boyfriend come between me and my bff. EVER!

She ran over to him like a trained dog. I barfed in my mouth a little.

Okay fine. I was a bit jealous. Could anyone blame me?

Before I could throw myself a righteous pity party (because, hello?, I deserved one), Jake asked, “You want to eat with us?”

“I heard they were catering pizza today! Yay!” Phoebe added.

I looked over at Jake and lifted the side of my mouth. I couldn’t be rude and would never tell him this but he wasn’t my bff. It was weird. We’d eat and talk about stuff we liked but I really didn’t know him at all. Every time I’d ask him about his life at home, he’d change the subject.

But what choice did I have but to hang out with them? Kristie didn’t remember I even existed. “Yeah, it’s supposed to be a ton of different kinds of pizza, but you know which one I like the best? Hawaiian!”

“Ewww…do NOT tell me you eat pineapple on marinara sauce. That’s just gross!” Phoebe scrunched her nose.

How did I know Phoebe would say that?

“I agree with you, Red,” Jake said. “Ham and pineapple tastes amazing.”

Was Jake trying to piss me off by kissing up?

After lunch, Phoebe had to meet up with her mom so Jake asked me if I wanted to play video games during our break. I shrugged not having anything better to do so we went up to his room.

But GROSSSSSS!!!

Kristie and her dweebie boyfriend got there first.

So we hightailed it to my room. Fast.

Dang. Jake was so good at Blasting Cities IX.

“WTF, Jake. Let up on me, please!” I howled, hitting the bomb button a thousand times. But it wasn’t working.

“It’s doomsday, sweetheart. Read it and weep.”

While I was getting annihilated, I asked, “Are your parents coming out for the play, Jake?”

He shook his head. “Nope. Haven’t talked to my dad since I was a little kid and my mom hates this kind of stuff.”

Wow. That was like a hit from a torpedo on the game. I felt like an ass for even asking him. “Oh,” was all I could say.

“I mean, it’s not that bad,” he said, shrugging. “That’s just the way things are in my life.”

I stopped playing. I was losing anyway. “But if your mom hates the arts then how did you get the money to come here in the first place?”

“Oooh, heh heh…” he laughed then didn’t say anything for a while.

Finally, he added, “Um…I won it in a singing contest. Like Sims Idol only for kids. And local. You totally wouldn’t have heard about it.”

Before I could say anything back to him, I heard someone yelling in the hall. Jake and I looked at each other then sneaked out to peek.

“Uh oh,” I whispered.

“Yeah,” Jake agreed.

“Your acting today was the worst. How are you going to make your dream a reality when you won’t even try? And to think you can’t even make the wicked step sister seem evil. It’s just awful. You’d make a wonderful Truliet but you couldn’t even earn the part and now…oh my god, you’re just pathetic!” Phoebe’s mother was laying into her. I couldn’t believe it!

“We should probably get out of here, Red,” Jake whispered to me.

“Yeah, let’s go,” I said.

Phoebe’s mother was wrong. SHE was pathetic.

I felt sooooo badly for Phoebe, I thought about it all day. I mean, I didn’t really want to be Truliet. My heart of hearts loved playing evil characters. Since I totally wasn’t like that, it was fun. That’s what acting is all about. Right?

So the next night, I decided I’d give Mr. Graf reasons to recast. Phoebe would make a better Truliet. She was meant for the part. And I would totally rock the wicked step sister part. Phoebe’s mother was right. It was obvious her heart wasn’t into it.

Why these adults didn’t cast it that way was totally beyond me. It would just take a little convincing.

“Why…if it isn’t my Truliet! What makes you grace my evening, my dear?” Mr. Graf said in his dramatic way.

I swallowed. I had my plan all laid out in my head but nothing came out.

“You’re doing a swell job, my dear. If you’re worried about tomorrow’s dress rehearsal, there’s no need.”

“Look…no…that’s not it. I…uh…think Phoebe should do the part. She’s waaaaay prettier, and better at acting, and totally would kick ass…I mean butt doing it. So, please oh please oh please, Mr. Graf, can she do the part and I’ll be the wicked step sister?”

A slow smile spread on Mr. Graf’s face. Was he convinced?

Getting up from his chair, he came over and patted my shoulder. “There, there, my dear, it’s just a little stage fright. You’ll get over it. Once you get the dress rehearsal over with you’ll find the real thing isn’t much different.

“And you’re a born actress! Don’t ever let anyone make you think otherwise.” He flung his arms up. “When those stage lights go up. you won’t even see the audience and you’ll BECOME Truliet!”

Before I knew what was happening, I found myself ushered out of Mr. Graf’s office and back to the way things were. I was going to play Truliet, Phoebe would do a horrible Grizella, and her mom was going to be cruel to her afterwards.

I wished I knew how to fix it.

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Chapter 7.8

James

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.

*****

Cheyenne

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.

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Chapter 7.7

Cheyenne

My heart was racing with all sorts of sick feelings in my stomach. My grandpa had to come out and speak to the camp director! How embarrassing!

“Sorry about this, Grandpa,” I whispered. “I feel so bad.”

“Don’t worry yourself, Peanut. I know you probably had a good reason.” He winked.

Aww…Grandpa was the best! Thank God it was him here and not my dad! UGH! He would have blasted me with his scary eyes and disappointed face.

Phoebe’s mom eyed my grandpa like she knew him. Well, of course she knew him. Everyone in the world did since he was such a superstar. His bodyguards were waiting outside the camp. Kind of embarrassing, but he had some weird stalkers.

“So…you’re James Sa…?” the lady started.

“No. Just look like him,” Grandpa said, cutting her off. I had to squelch a laugh since I knew he had to dodge saying he was THE James Sanderson. The woman probably would want selfies, autographs, the works!

She sighed loudly, looking away. Then she hissed at her daughter, “I can’t believe you’d get yourself in such a mess, Phoebe Marie. It’s bad enough you did horribly in practice today, now you might be kicked out of the play entirely! How could you?”

Phoebe waved her arms. “I’m telling you, Mama, she started the fight! I just asked her to help me.”

Her eyes narrowed. “Help you? You shouldn’t need help. You should be doing your best. I’m shocked you weren’t chosen as the lead, but if you weren’t, you should make the wicked stepsister the most memorable of all. This situation is YOUR fault, and I’m thoroughly ashamed of you.”

Those words cut into Phoebe. It was written all over her sad face.

Wow. I couldn’t imagine having a mom say awful things like that to me. My second hand embarrassment just exploded. I really felt sorry for her.

After the camp director had a meeting with all of us, she then wanted to talk to me and Phoebe alone without the adults.

“You two realize my hands are tied. You will not be allowed to participate in the play. We have a zero tolerance policy with fighting. I have half a mind to kick you both out of the camp unless you can explain what happened in a satisfactory manner.”

I heard the clock tick tick ticking on the wall. Getting kicked out??? For pushing? I mean, it’s not like we punched each other like Jake did to Cameron. But Ms. Christianson didn’t see them fight so they were off the hook. Just stupid me shoving Pheobe and Phoebe trying to keep me from pulling out her hair. Ugh. Why didn’t I just ignore her?

She looked between the both of us. “Well…I’m waiting. Phoebe, what do you have to say?”

On the verge of tears, she just shook her head and shrugged. OMG! If no one said anything we WERE going to get tossed out!

Heart in my throat, I blurted, “Listen, Mrs. Martin, we’ve been under a lot of pressure with the play and all. Both of us kind of had a bad time at practice today and lost it. But I’m really sorry I snapped at Phoebe.

“It was mosly my fault and I won’t do that ever again. I’ll do anything to make things up! Honest! Just please don’t kick us out.”

She looked between the two of us. Oh why wasn’t Phoebe saying anything to back me up?

Finally, Mrs. Martin said, “Hmm…well…” she huff a little shaking her head. “Against my better judgement, I’ll let you off this one time but…you two had better start getting along. You’ll also need to work together to clean up the cafeteria. I think everyone is finishing dinner about now. Understand?”

We both nodded and shuffled out of there. I was thankful she gave us a break. Geeze. That was close!

Once we’d entered the cafeteria, the savory scent of turkey and stuffing dinner wafted over me. My stomach gurgled.

And the cafeteria was a huge mess. It was going to take us a long time to clean. We weren’t getting our supper anytime soon.

“Why don’t I mop while you clear the dishes. Okay?” I asked.

Phoebe just gave me a sad face and nodded.

I started on the floor. Who threw all this gunk around? It was like they had an art project explosion in here.

To be honest, I kind of had the easier job. Those messy plates looked disgusting. And Phoebe didn’t seem too happy smelling that gunk either.

I only needed to sponge off a few more spills and then we’d be finished.

Putting some leftovers in the refrigerator, I slammed its door. All done!

Turning to Phoebe I said, “Okay now we can get out of here and never have to look at each other ever again.”

Wincing, she said, “Hey, Cheyenne, I really want to talk to you, if that’s okay. Like somewhere private?”

Huh boy. Was she going to yell at me for getting her kicked out of the play? Well, I deserved it. I’d take her tantrum, say I was sorry, and leave.

Following her to her room, we both sat on the couch at opposite ends. Neither of us looked at the other. I mean, what was I supposed to say? I wasn’t the one who asked us to talk.

But after five minutes of no one saying anything, I couldn’t take it anymore. “Okay, Phoebe, out with it. Tell me what a creep I am for getting us kicked out. Honestly, I feel like total crap for losing my temper and I’m REALLY sorry for pushing you. I had no right and if you don’t forgive me, that’s fine. I get it. But I do promise that won’t happen again.”

“Actually…um…” Phoebe swallowed a few times then went on, “I know I’ve been acting meant to you lately…”

“Yeah, I don’t get that. What’d I ever do to you?”

“It’s not what you did to me…I don’t know why it happened but every time I looked at you, I got angry. Like why did you get everything in the world and I didn’t? You sing, play piano and guitar, and are both Ms. Eskildsen’s and Mr. Adam’s favorite. It’s like not fair! My mother found out you got the lead because of your singing even though Mr. Graf thought I did the best at the audition. So, I’ve been super upset about it, but…after what my mother said to me, I feel awful and I’m not going to blame you anymore. She’s right. I have to do these things on my own if I ever want to get good. So I’m really sorry for everything I’ve done to you. Okay?”

Wow. I never thought those words were going to come out of her mouth.

Sounded like we were mad at each other for silly reasons. I mean, yeah, she was mean but at least she figured it out. And I’d been jealous, too–I understood what that felt like. Plus I could tell her mom put tons of pressure on her to be that little Miss Perfect. At least Phoebe apologized. What more could I expect?

Awkward silence surrounded us again, so I decided to change the subject. “Hey, you want to do something really fun?”

She gave me a sideways glance. “What do you have in mind?”

I motioned for her to follow me and led her into Ms. Christianson’s room. Her couch was the most squishy, and I’d wondered throughout my time at camp what it would be like to jump on it.

To my amazement, it was EXTRA bouncy!

We both giggled and jumped and laughed and I almost forgot about how angry we’d been with each other.

Who knew I could have this much fun with Little Miss Princess Phoebe? Not me.

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Chapter 7.6

Cheyenne

It’d been a few weeks and the play was almost here! I couldn’t believe it. Paris and I had become really good friends. She was so sweet and easy to talk to. She was actually from Del Sol Valley and her parents worked in movies. Her mom was a sound editor and her dad was a boom operator so she pretty much got in free to any premier. She was soooo lucky! I had to wait until I could visit my grandpa to go to movies. My parents didn’t really like them too much.

After all of our classes for the day were over, we chilled in the rec room, playing foosball with Hudson and Kristie.

I got the feeling there was something going on between those two even though Kristie denied it. They were inseparable after last week’s practice when Hudson (who played Lord Sapulet) had a few lines with the nurse (Kristie’s part).

But I didn’t care. Hudson was a cutie! I told Kristie to go for it but she just rolled her eyes and said I was making things up.

“Darn! I missed!” Paris said after she flipped her rods in the game as the ball rolled by.

“Never fear, partner, I got ’em!” I said, flicking my foosball players and snapping the ball into the other team’s goal.

“Dang! She got us!” Kristie yelled.

“Well, we’ll just have to get them back!” Hudson cried, yanking on his bars like he was playing pinball. But it was too late.

I flicked the ball right back into their goal and won!

“YES!” Paris cried.

“Told ya!” I said, making a fist. She bumped me in celebration.

“Don’t worry, Kristie,” Hudson said, nudging her arm, “we’ll get ’em next game.”

Just then all my elation over winning deflated when I saw Miss Snooty-princess swish into the room.

She and Cameron were a thing since like five days ago and they were always rubbing it in everyone’s face, constantly clinging to each other like monkeys on a vine. Yuck.

Even if I did have a boyfriend, I wouldn’t always hold hands and be all lovey dovey. That makes everything awkward for everyone! Puhleeeeze!

And then I remembered our awful session in play practice today.

Phoebe messed up her lines about ten times. I couldn’t believe it. How hard were they? She only had about twelve to learn. I had pages and pages!

“Pheobe, dear, it’s not ‘look what the cat dragged in’, it’s ’twas but soft as a cat and you are nary a one.’ Got it?”

Pheobe whined, “Mr. G, can’t we just amp up the lines? The originals are too hard to understaaaaand! And I can’t remember all those words.”

He crossed his arms. “Fitzy Fakespeare is a legend and we won’t revise his words no matter what millenia it is. Now say your lines correctly or I’ll find someone who can.”

Yikes. When Mr. Graf got angry, it was like a knife in the heart. I was so glad he wasn’t giving me that stone face.

“Yes, sir,” she moaned. I almost felt sorry for her.

Almost.

And then I noticed a woman with a pinched face glaring at her. Was that her mother? Sure looked like her. Wow. I was TOTALLY glad my grandfather wasn’t here eyeing my every move.

Next, I heard Jake’s voice, breaking me out of my thoughts. “Hey, Red, can I play?”

I figured Jake only wanted to join in the game because Hudson, his bff, was making goo goo eyes at Kristie and he was like joined to the hip with him. Jake honestly didn’t mix with any of the other boys which I thought was strange. And he always made fun of me–what I was wearing, how I said my lines, how my hair looked–pretty much whatever he could, he’d tease me. I wasn’t in the mood for it. Dealing with him in the play was bad enough, ESPECIALLY since I had to act like I was in love with him. HUGE EYEROLL! But that’s what ACTING was all about, I guessed.

I just gave him a “don’t mess with me” look.

“Please?” he asked. “I promise I won’t talk about how you must have gotten that t-shirt at a second hand store for old ladies.” He arched an eyebrow looking at my obvious terrible choice in fashion.

I squinted at him. “Nice. Well, I was just leaving anyway. Have at it.”

Some other kids were watching Moonlight Massacre and I’d rather watch zombies eating people than endure any more of his not funny jokes.

As I strode past the lovebirds (shocked they weren’t making out in front of everyone), Pheobe said, “Hey, Cheyenne, could I talk to you?”

I stopped and said, “Sure. What’s up?”

She shrugged and asked, “Could we like go over our lines? You really made me mess up today and I don’t want that to happen again.”

I made HER mess up? Unbe-freakin-lievable. “How exactly did I mess you up?”

Cameron’s face scrunched up. “Seriously? You have to ask? Just help her, will you? How selfish can you be?”

Phoebe put on some fake tears.

“Listen, if she wanted me to help, she should have asked like a normal person instead of blaming me for her screw ups. So no. I’m not going to help until she stops acting like a spoiled princess.”

Before I knew what happened, Cameron shouted, “You take that back!” and pushed me down.

I landed hard. I wasn’t hurt though. More like…shocked.

But the next second, I heard a pop and saw Jake smashing his fist in Cameron’s face!

OMG!!!!

Then Jake helped me up. “Are you okay?”

My face heated up a gazillion degrees being this close to him. “Um…yeah. I’m fine. Thanks.”

Phoebe fake cried even more. “Look what you’ve done!

“I can’t believe you’re being such a BITCH! All I asked was for a little help…”

I didn’t know what came over me. I guessed it was the combination of her tripping me and glaring and doing all sorts of mean things these past few weeks.

The only thing I heard was “BITCH” and I lost it. Running at her, I said, “I’m so tired of your queen bee act. Leave. Me. Alone. Got it?”

“Uh…guys?” Jake shouted. “Ms. Christianson is right outside the door. I think you better…”

“What’s going on here?” I heard Ms. Christianson hiss, but I was so mad, it didn’t even register.

“She’s being a bully!” Phoebe yelled as she pinched her fingers into my neck.

Even though I was probably up to my pigtails in trouble, I wasn’t going to let her get away with being brat. Not this time.

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Chapter 7.5

Cheyenne

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.

Crud.

“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.”

UGH!

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Chapter 7.4

Cheyenne

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

Cheyenne

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!”

Not.

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!