Kayla was typing away at her computer Friday afternoon, writing a quick email to one of her friends, when the phone rang. She checked the caller ID and smiled when she saw "blocked number." Ten bucks said it was Brian. She pressed "talk."
"Hey you," Brian replied.
Kayla grinned at her telepathic abilities. "Hey. Whazzup?" she asked exaggeratedly.
He laughed. "Not much, yo," he said, matching her tone. Both of them laughed. "How about you?" he asked in a normal voice. "How are ya? How's life?"
"Good," she answered. And it was. During the past few days, she had gone from being unknown and at the bottom of the social ladder to standing at the very top. Everyone in the school suddenly knew who she was. The popular people at school who had looked down on her forever were now at her every beck and call, and although Kayla could not have cared less about her social rank, she got a lot of amusement out of the way the cheerleaders were suddenly trying to suck up to her. In addition, reporters were after her wherever she went. She had already appeared on three radio shows and two TV shows, and it hadn't even been a whole week yet.
"That's good to hear," Brian said. "MTV after you yet?"
"No, they just ran my picture on the news once or twice."
"Be glad," he replied wryly. "They have the most relentless reporters you'll ever meet."
"Oh, goody," Kayla said sarcastically. "So why are you calling so early anyway? Is something wrong?"
"Couldn't I just be calling you Kayla?" Brian demanded, sounding hurt. "Why does something always have to be wrong?"
"Shut up," she said, rolling her eyes.
He laughed. "Actually, I'm just checkin' in early because we're pretty busy tonight. I'm confirming our meeting tomorrow."
Kayla felt butterflies forming in her stomach when he mentioned that. She was scheduled to meet the Boys and then fly to Orlando with them tomorrow around three o'clock. She still couldn't believe it was actually happening, despite all of the fuss that was being made over her and all of the time she and her mother had spent packing the previous evening. Kayla tried to fight away the nervous feeling. "Yeah. Three o'clock tomorrow in the Delta terminal, gate 14A."
"Exactly," Brian said. "You excited?"
"Um...I think terrified would be a better word," she admitted. Even though she had known Brian for less than a week, she already found him easy to open up to and felt a bond forming between the two of them.
"Because you're leaving home?" he assumed.
Kayla grimaced. Sure, that may not have been what she had been thinking about just now, but that was one of the major reasons why she was so apprehensive. "Yeah."
"Aw, you'll be okay, I promise," Brian swore. "We'll take care of you. You'll be so busy you won't even remember to miss your house."
Kayla sighed. "I know I will, but...I'm only seventeen. I was supposed to have at least a little while longer before I went out on my own." Then she shook her head. "You know what? It could be worse. Nick had to leave when he was only thirteen, right?"
"Right," Brian agreed. "And if you remember, I was just about your age. A little younger, actually."
"Oh, yeah," Kayla recalled.
"But speaking of Nick...you wanna talk to him?" Brian asked, seeing Nick heading towards the room.
"Um...sure," Kayla agreed. Over the past week she had said quick hellos to A.J. and Howie, but she had only spoken extensively with Brian.
"One minute," Brian said before covering the mouthpiece with his hand. "Frack," he said as Nick entered the room.
"Yeah," Nick said, sounding kind of bored as he went over to the refrigerator in the break room. They were in the middle of a photo shoot. Howie was off getting individual shots done at the moment, and A.J. and Kevin were on deck. Nick was already finished, and Brian was due in hair and makeup in just a minute.
"Talk to Kayla," Brian suggested, holding out the phone.
Nick shook his head as he opened the refrigerator and looked inside. "Uh-uh."
"Dude, you were the one who wanted to get her number inó"
"Shhhh!" Nick interrupted, gesturing frantically towards the phone.
"She can't hear you."
"Just tell her I'm busy," Nick muttered, pulling a can of soda out of the refrigerator and shutting it before walking back out of the room.
Brian rolled his eyes and put the phone to his ear again. "Kayla?"
"I have no clue. Probably video games," Brian joked.
Kayla smiled. "Oh."
"Listen, babe, I have to go in just a minute because we're in the middle of a photo shoot right now and I have to call my mom."
"Aw, how cute," Kayla cooed.
"Shut up," Brian said, sounding embarrassed.
She laughed. "Listen, before you go talk to your 'perfect fan,' I have a little bitty favor to ask of you."
"Okay, I know that my family is already coming to see me off or whatever, but would you mind if I brought two of my friends also? I want to say goodbye to them and plus they really want to meet you."
Brian smiled. "No problem. Would these two friends be Sara and Linz, by any chance?"
"Yes, they would," Kayla said, grinning.
"Cool. Can't wait to meet 'em."
Kayla grinned before glancing at the clock. "Ooh, I have to go too."
"Our school has a football game tonight and I'm singing the national anthem. I have to leave like...oh, ten minutes ago."
Brian laughed. "Well, have fun."
"Okay, you too. Bye. See you tomorrow."
Kayla hung up the phone and grabbed her change of
clothes and purse before racing out the door.