Kayla moaned and pulled over her head as she woke up the next morning to the sound of the phone ringing. After two rings, she heard her mother pick up in the kitchen. Sighing with relief at not having to answer it, Kayla squeezed her eyes shut and attempted to go back to sleep. A moment later someone knocked on her bedroom door.
"Telephone!" Emily yelled.
Pushing away the pillow covering her face, Kayla sat up and grudgingly reached for the phone. "Hello?"
She immediately winced when she heard her own voice. She was completely hoarse from talking to so many people on the phone yesterday, including Brian. He had called back as promised, and they had discussed some business items as well as a few personal things.
"Kayla, it's me," Sara said quickly.
"Sara? Why are you calling me at..." Kayla checked the clock. "At six thirty in the morning? Why are you even up at six-thirty in the morning?"
"I was running. But that's not the point. Have you seen the paper this morning?"
"Um...considering I was asleep until you called...no."
"Well go check it!" Sara commanded.
"Sara, I just woke up."
"I don't care. You have to check it now!"
Grumbling, Kayla got to her feet and padded down the hall towards the kitchen. "Sara, I swear, if this is something stupid, you're dead," she warned.
Sara laughed. "Oh, it's not stupid. Trust me."
"Yeah right," Kayla muttered. She collapsed into one of the chairs at the kitchen table and reached for the plastic bag that contained the morning paper. Yawning, she held the bag upside down and started to shake it, making rolled up paper gradually slide out.
"Okay, where I do look?"
"The front page. Where else?"
Kayla got the newspaper all the way out and turned it over so that the front was facing up. As soon as she saw it she jumped to her feet and started squealing.
"Local Girl To Sing Duet With Teen Pop Sensation!" the headline screamed in huge bold letters. Right under that was a copy of Kayla's head shot, the one where she appeared to be flirting with the camera.
"OH MY GOD!" Kayla screeched, jumping up and down.
On the other end of the line, Sara couldn't contain her laughter. "Kay...la..." she gasped.
"Mom!" Kayla shrieked. "Dad! LOOK AT THIS!"
Her mother and little sister came running into the kitchen to see what was going on. Kayla waved the paper in their faces.
"Look! I'm on the front page!"
Just as her mother grabbed it and started to say something, Sara started yelling into the phone.
"Hey, Kayla! Turn on the channel five news!"
Kayla dashed over to the TV and quickly turned it on to channel five, only to find a news anchor speaking with two photos in the background. One was the shot of her from the paper and the other was a group shot of the Boys. She started screaming again as best she could due to her hoarse voice.
That's when her groggy father stumbled into the room. "Kayla? Honey, what's going on? Why are you screaming?"
"I'm on the news! And in the paper! Ahhhh! I can't believe this! Sara, thank you!" she yelled into the phone.
Sara was still laughing. "No prob, Kayla. I have to go. See you at school. You're coming to school, right?"
"Yeah, yeah!" Kayla answered, nodding furiously.
"Bye!" Kayla said. She hung up the phone and set it down on the couch before flinging herself into her fathers arms, screaming once again. Her mother joined in, picking up Emily as she yelled and making the four year old mimic her, screaming at the top of her little lungs.
Fifteen minutes later, the Prescott family was finally calm again.
Kayla could feel butterflies in her stomach as her mom drove the car up to the front door of her high school at eight thirty that morning, about two hours later. After seeing herself on the news and in the paper, she was starting to get a little nervous about facing everyone. She took a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves.
Her mother noticed. "Are you all right?"
Kayla swallowed. "I think."
Mrs. Prescott smiled and patted her on the back. "Just go find Sara and Linz, honey. You'll be fine."
Kayla took another deep breath. "Okay." She leaned over and kissed her mom on the cheek. "Bye, Mom. I'll call during lunch. Bri said he'd call again today."
"Bri, Brian...whatever," Kayla said, grinning, as she opened the car door. "Bye."
Kayla stared at the ground, keeping her head down, as she walked up the steps to the front door of the school, not wanting to attract any attention to herself yet. As soon as she got in the front door, she made the mistake of heading towards the far stairs, the ones that were closest to her locker. She forgot that at the bottom of those stairs was where a big group of people that she knew always hung out in the mornings.
As soon as she reached them, she heard someone yell. "Hey, LOOK! There she is!" Kayla took a step backwards in surprise and blinked.
When she opened her eyes, there was a crowd of people charging towards her. Seeing how fast they were and glancing behind her, she realized there was no chance of running away. Next thing she knew she was surrounded by people, and everyone was asking her questions.
"Kayla, how did you get the part?!"
"Kayla, why did they pick you?!"
"Kayla, will you sing for us?!"
"Kayla, will you sign this for me?!"
"Kayla, Kayla, Kayla!"
Her head started to throb, and she tried to back away, but she was trapped. "Guys..." she rasped, clearing her throat to try to get rid of the hoarseness. No such luck. The crowd started to get thicker and thicker, so that she could barely move.
Suddenly she felt four hands grab her right wrist and start to yank her in their direction. She let out a surprised little shriek. "Let go!" she cried.
Whoever was pulling her paid no attention as they continued to drag her through the crowd. As soon as they were free of the swarm of people, after about thirty seconds, Kayla looked up and saw that her kidnappers were Sara and Linz. They grinned briefly at her. Linz let go of her hand and started to take off down the hall.
"Come on, Kayla! Run!" Sara said excitedly, following their friend and dragging Kayla behind her. Kayla couldn't think fast enough to object as Sara pulled her down the hall and to their destination, the girls' restroom. Linz was already inside, holding open the door to the large handicapped stall. Sara and Kayla ran inside, and Linz closed and locked the door. Kayla collapsed against the wall, gasping for her breath.
"Oh...my God..." Sara breathed.
"That is fucking insane!" Linz said, gesturing towards the place out in the hall where the people were gathered.
"Everyone knows who you are now, Kayla!" Sara agreed.
"Hey, are you okay?" Linz asked, noticing the fact that their friend looked traumatized. "Speak to us!"
"Just...a little overwhelmed," Kayla murmured. She grimaced. "And my throat is killing me from all of the screaming and talking I've been doing."
Linz clapped her on the shoulder. "Smart."
Kayla grinned. "Shut up. How am I going to go back out there? I'll get mobbed again."
"You need a bodyguard," Sara said.
"Well, I have you two," Kayla said, laughing.
Linz smirked. "Just wait until the bell rings and be late," she suggested. "Then there won't be as many people in the halls and you can get by unnoticed."
"It's the only way you're going to be safe!" Linz said. "Your teachers will understand."
Kayla sighed. "Okay..."
"Well, listen, we don't have excuses to be late, so we have to go," Sara pointed out. "God, can you imagine that the rest of the week is going to be like this? When are you leaving again?"
"Saturday," Kayla said. "And today's only Monday!"
"Well, good luck," Linz wished.
"Thanks," Kayla said wryly. "I think I'm going to need it."
Sara and Linz returned the dry smile before starting towards the door.
"See you two in English," Kayla said.
When Kayla was alone, she groaned and put a hand to her forehead. The rest of the week was going to be like this,
just as Sara had said, and she didn't know if she could take it.