"It's one A.M. as it is! For goodness sakes, I've been here all night! It's past my curfew!" Kaydence Lirit yelled at her manager. "Hewitt, you know I have other things to do. I have an essay due in my AP English class, and I have a packet of obscene worksheets that I must complete tonight. Nevertheless the fact that I have to be at school—awake—at seven-twenty tomorrow morning, I don't care if we didn't get everything we needed to finish done." She flicked several strands of curled auburn hair out of her cerulean eyes and headed for the door, grabbing her car keys of the peg on the wall. "I'll see you tomorrow, don't worry, I'll be here. Four-thirty on the dot, you can count on me."

Fuming, she slammed the glass studio door behind her, causing Hewitt to cringe at the possibility of replacing a shattered door. Luckily for him, it didn't smash to smithereens on impact—it didn't even crack. Shaking his head, and muttering about ungrateful singers, he smirked with the realization that he needed her—she had been what made both of them big.

Meanwhile Kaydence jumped into the BMW 323i that her father had given to her for her sixteenth birthday, complete with a brand new hi-fi system, including new speakers, a six-CD changer and useless tape deck. She knew that he was just trying to buy her off, in apology for hardly being there while she grew up, but honestly she tried not to let it bug her anymore. Instead she tried to focus on keeping her newly developed after-school job, her schoolwork, her friends, and her protective mother in balance.

Flicking on her headlights and windshield wipers, she reached over to turn the volume of her stereo up, she grinned when she heard Kelly Clarkson's Miss Independent fill the car. Singing along, she quickly drove the two miles to her house, crashing when she reached her bedroom, completely throwing all of her misconceived ideas of completing her homework out the window.


            Kaydence blearily tried to focus on the whiteboard and tried to make sense of what her American Studies teacher was droning on about. Usually the class was fun, and the teacher was great, but after only getting four hours of sleep the night before, Kay wasn't exactly in the mood to focus on the foundations of the Constitution.

            The room began to grow hazy and sounds began to dim, as she realized she was about to nod off, her friend Emma poked her in the arm. "Wake up, you ditz! You don't want to be chastised by Ms. Brandon for sleeping in class. Remember what happened to Sam last week?" She shot Kay a reprimanding look, and sighed exaggeratedly. "Why have you been so out of it the past few weeks? I swear for the last few months you have completely disregarded school. It's so unlike you… I wish you would tell me what's going on."

            Exasperated with the subject, and patience made short from lack of sleep, Kay snapped, "Well, I would tell you if I could, and I will tell you when I can. Just drop it for now, I don't want to talk about it!"

            "Sheesh. All right, I will. But from friend to friend, you better get your act together, or you can kiss that 4.0 GPA, that you have worked night and day for, goodbye." She gave in as the teacher was requesting their packets. Holding out a hand, Emma waited for Kaydence to hand her her's, but frowned when Kay shook her head. "You didn't do it? Why not? We had three days." She made it rather clear that she disapproved of Kay's actions, through her facial expressions.

            The moment the bell rang, signifying the end of class, most of the students dispersed, and as Kay went to do the same, a rather disappointed Ms. Brandon called her back. "Kay Lirit, may I speak with you for a moment?"

            Kay walked up to her teacher and smiled warily. "Hello, Ms. Brandon. It is a very nice day, is it not?" The teacher didn't seem very amused with Kaydence's small talk, and got straight to the point.

            Reaching back towards her desk with one small, perfectly manicured hand, she pulled a packet of paper from under an open folder, which held some student reports and tests. "Kaydence, I was wondering if you had any idea about what your grade might have been on the last test?" Kay shook her head, but had a feeling she wasn't going to walk out of here grinning. Ms. Brandon handed her the test, her eyes grim.  "This is the worst you have done on any of my exams. Kaydence, you're a straight 'A' student normally. I don't expect work like this from you. I highly doubt you can even remember the last time you got a 'D' on a test. So, I want you to know, that if something is bothering you, or if you need help—with anything, it doesn't have to be history, my door is always open, and my ear is always ready to listen."

            Kay nodded, "I know. I may take you up on that offer sometime, but for now I must head to lunch." She quickly left the room, praying that she wouldn't get detoured by any more concerned teachers. She swiftly wove her way through the packed hallways and drifted into the lunchroom, stopping by the concession stand to grab a bagel and bottled water. Turning around she scanned the lunchroom for any sign of her friends, spotting the hot pink shirt that could only belong to Aimee she headed towards them, grinning. "Hey guys!"

            She got a few muffled hellos in return for they were all huddled together, fighting to look at a magazine. "Hey guys!" she tried again, this time, gaining the attention of two of the girls. Aimee and Emma were still bent over the page, gawking over some movie star probably.

            "Hey Kay." Ashley said, sitting down across from her. "Have you seen the latest teen people?"

            Confused, Kay shook her head. "No, why? Is Johnny Depp on the cover or something?"

            "Or something. He was on the cover last month." She grinned deviously at Kay. She was the only one that knew Kay's little secret. "Let's just say you'll scream when you see it."

            Her eyes widened and she snatched the magazine from Emma's hands. "Oh my… God….  Crap!" On the cover was a picture of her, with her dead straight hair twisted into ringlets and her blue eyes covered with brown contacts. Underneath the photograph, the headline displayed: 'Kaylin Land, the young, uprising star on the music charts has just gone Platinum!'  Relieved that she was in show outfit, in disguise, and they had printed her stage alias made her let out a breath of relief. She wasn't ready for everyone to know.  Heading out of the Lunchroom, magazine in hand, she darted down the now empty hallways to find Ms. Brandon. She would take her up on that offer.

The classroom appeared to be empty at first sight, but at second glance, Kay found the teacher standing in a corner pinning up a poster of George Washington. "Excuse me, Ms. Brandon?"

            Ms. Brandon nearly dropped all the tacks in her mouth from surprise, she quickly finished pinning the poster, then turned to face Kay. "Well, hello there. I didn't expect you to come back so soon. It's only been about ten minutes."

            "Well, I decided to take you up on your offer. I need to get some things off my back… Can you keep a secret?" Kay asked, not looking the teacher in the eye.

            "It depends. By law if you tell me certain things, I must disclose them to the authorities, but, if this… problem… you are here with, isn't in the above category… then, yes, I can." She frowned, looking Kaydence up and down. Kaydence handed her the magazine. "What's this for?"

            "Look at the cover. Who do you see?" She pointed at the face on the cover.

            "I see Kaylin Land… she has a great voice… in fact, I just bought her CD yesterday." She smiled, "I really like that one song… what was it called… One Wish… I think that was it. Yes, that was it… such a pretty song. Quite sad though…" She trailed off, then regained her notice of the original subject. "May I ask why felt the need to come and point this out to me?"

            Kay looked her in the eye. "Take a closer look at the picture." She instructed, then when her teachers eyes were averted on the cover, she checked to make sure the classroom door was closed, and when she was sure of it, she slowly began to sing.

            "If I could have any one thing,

If I could fly on golden wings,

If I could have any one thing,

If I could raise my arms and sing,

If I could grant just one wish,

If I could have any one wish,

A close embrace, or a kiss,

If I could have just one wish that's true,

I would ask to spend one more day with you,

That way I wouldn't have to miss,

I wouldn't have to spend one more day,

One more day, without you,"

She completed the second verse then dropped her head, not wanting to look Ms. Brandon in the eye. "I like that song too… I wrote it last summer… when I was on tour. It was written the week of my best friend's death. He died while I was away… so the pain was still raw, I never got to say goodbye, go to the funeral or anything… It was hard." Kay quickly swiped at a single lonely tear that had formed. She took a deep breath and composed herself, falling into actress mode.

"I see it now." Her teacher commented with a small, sad smile.

"You see what now?"

"The resemblance. This is you on the cover… and if I had any doubts, they were all erased from hearing you sing." She stopped, and tried to get Kaydence to look her in the eye. "The only difference, is your hair is curled, you have brown eyes, and too much make-up on in the picture." She grinned, trying to ease the mood. "Now, tell me why you haven't told anyone about this… record deal you have here?"

Kay shrugged, "I don't know… I guess for a few reasons. I have told a few people, of course my parents know… Ashley knows, and so did Jed…" She trailed off then, began again. "I guess I don't tell many people, because I don't know how they'd react. I don't want to be surrounded by screaming fans or paparazzi unless I'm at a concert or the Grammys or something. I still want my normal life, which is why I change my appearance, and use an alias." 

"I guess that makes sense… but at the same time, you can't live your life being a recluse. You will only live a half, unrewarding and unhappy life if you don't tell anyone. You have to be true to yourself."

I smile, agreeing, and began to tell my story.