-Tim Mahn-

Vienna Triton was a hotel heiress who dropped out of private school at fourteen to party and spend money. And after four years of scandals, shopping, and being high, Vienna started to notice that wasn't well liked and that all the attention on her was negative. Wanting to change that she sought a way to get respect and positive attention is there was such thing. She strived to become a bubble gum pop star and shocked the world with a voice so unique and so stunning, she managed to get the right kind of fame…for awhile.

Then this girl from Kansas comes along and achieves all that by mere accident.

"How can that little brat get more press than me?!" Vienna asked on her cell phone while driving her pink Bentley convertible.

"We have bigger problems to discus Vi," her agent pointed on the other line, "You haven't had a new album is over two years, people are starting to talk!"

Vienna's fame was dimming and she was in fear of losing her status.

"Well excuse me if the death of my beloved sister isn't a good enough excuse!"

"That was yesterday and you're kinda doing a bad job at mourning."

"I got it! We'll have a big funeral for her, televise it all and like have a parade in New York, like Princess Di's funeral, and I'll make a huge display crying on her coffin."

"Your father just wants a simple and private service."

"Simple and private my ass! She may have been an ugly twit but even she deserves to go in style on TV."

Her sister Candy was her shadow. The ugly sister who wanted a chunk of her fame like a jealous sibling wants a birthday present too when it isn't their birthday. Candy unlike her sister wasn't as well liked as her sister was(not that her sister actually was, only in her mind), in fact Candy was voted number six on the most hated person list. Even her own relatives hated her. Her father actually wanted to keep it simple because he wasn't sure if anyone was going to show.

"A new album would be easier."

And there is just one minor thing not mentioned…Vienna had no talent what-so-ever and couldn't sing a note. All she really had was bought off good looks, a trust fund, and a power over her family's hotel chain.

"My voice quit and ran off to who knows where! How the hell could we replace her now?! Or even find her?!"

Ruby Shu was the girl hired to be her singing voice. Nowadays many could tell when a bad singer's voice is fixed. So Vienna wanted a voice so naturally brilliant and with no trace of being computer generated. She found this voice in a Japanese foreign exchange student. She did everything to bribe and black mail the girl for her voice. But Ruby wasn't gullible or weak. She knew her worth and the power she had over Vienna…

"The detective is doing his best, he's searching everywhere, checking out every coffee shop and theater from here to there for this Ruby girl."

"He needs to look harder! She couldn't have gone far."

"Obviously Ruby has if even you can't get to her."

"I may not be able to get to her by I sure as hell am able to get to that brat from Hicksville."

"And how are you going to do that?"

She smiled, "I have my ways."

"Vienna just where are you right now?" he asked nervously.

"On highway 39, following that little car thief hick," she laughed.

0o0o0

"So why doesn't this Tori girl talk?" Scarlett asked after I picked her up at her place and we headed off and got on to highway 39.

"She's not allowed to. She's only allowed to film us."

"So is she going to film everything?" Scarlett asked with the camera in her face, while she was sitting in the front seat of the car.

"Unfortunately yes, it takes some getting used to, after awhile you don't notice it."

"Really?" she looked at me skeptically.

"Okay it makes me self conscious and I can't help but contemplate ripping the camera out of her hands and throwing it out the window."

Tori backed away from me.

"I'm not actually going to throw the camera Tori, I was just saying I wanted to."

"Can't say the same about me. You hungry?"

"Yes, why?"

"Take a detour to this town."

"What's in the next town?"

"Just do it."

"Fine, I will."

I drive off the highway to the dirt road leading to a small town called Goodington. A town that was actually smaller than mine. Wow. There were apple trees everywhere with Queen Anne type old houses painted all sorts of bright pastels. And each house was either a bakery, a cafe, a gift shop, a candy and ice cream parlor, or a store all offering this Apple thing or that from apple pie, to apple creams, to apple donuts, to apple pancakes and waffles, to apple juice, to cider, to apple brandy and wine, to caramel apples, to apple jams, to even apple sandwiches!

I pulled the car over to a stand of caramel apples that were making my mouth water. I practically ran out and picked one up, and just when I was about to take a bite an old woman came out.

"Just what do you think you're doing miss?!"

"I'm so sorry, I've been traveling long ways and I'm just so hungry I couldn't help myself. I have the money to pay—"

"That's what they all tell me before they rob me!" she sneered.

"Put it back Thea, you don't want any of those caramel apples. The caramel apples in Terri's Apple Dream shop aren't brown and mushy inside," Scarlett interrupted.

"The caramel apples in Terri's Apple Dream are the frozen generic kind from Costco. Mine are home made with love."

"Well they sure don't taste like it!" Scarlett said back

What was she doing? I didn't know where she was going with this.

"Keep the apple, you won't find a caramel apple like that anywhere else, I promise!"

"Thank you!" I said, really grateful. "You're a genius!" I whispered to Scarlett.

"No, I just had been here many times before enough to know how to get free food."

I took a bite to find that it really was mushy inside and tasted awful, "yuck!" I spit it out.

"Though I forgot to warn you that Terri's Caramel Apples are actually the good ones."

I stopped, something wasn't right. The door of the car was open. I know I close the door behind me, I'm positive I did.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

"I didn't leave the car door open," I said before running to the car. I look in to see someone had ripped out and cut the wires. I looked around to see who could have done it.

Scarlett saw too, "Okay relax, there's a good mechanic near by. He can fix it. You have money right?"

Tori tapped me and pointed to a note on the dashboard. I immediately opened it and read it out loud, "Surrender now Thea before more accidents happen. PS you're fired Scarlett," I looked at Scarlett, "what does she mean you're fired?"

"My lifeguard job that I left was at one the Tritons. I was going to quit anyways. She doesn't scare me; she's too stupid to be a threat to anyone. I mean come on; she trashed your car less than a block away from an auto shop! Close the door, I'll take you to the mechanic."

An hour later…

"This amazing! I can't believe you fixed it," I told Mr. Mahn, the old mechanic and owner of Johnny Appleseed's Auto Shop.

"I'm been known to work miracles," he smiled.

"How much will it be then?" I asked.

"Oh no miss, it's on the house. I can't thank you enough for running over that bitch. She was planning on this town too. I can't imagine what would happen if she did."

"There must be something I could to repay you."

"You did more than enough, trust me."

"Please, I'll feel terrible if I don't pay you," I pushed, not being able to accept charity.

He thought for a moment, "You know there is something you could do for me."

"What? Anything."

"See that boy over there, the one sitting on the steps moping and playing that damn guitar?"

"Yes," I look over to the steps to the good looking boy with big blue eyes that has been there the whole time doing nothing, looking like a statue.

"That's my son, Tim, last year his childhood sweetheart left him to peruse a career in California, and he hasn't gotten over her since. He's been depressed, bitter, and waiting for her to return to him. Been like that for a year now. It's like he lost passion for everything. All he does is work, sleep, and play that guitar. I know she ain't coming back to him and I sure don't want him to be like this forever. Before he was different; before he was so much love for everything, there'd never be a dull day for him. He had so much life in him and now he's like a zombie. I'd be forever in your debt if you could take him to California with you. Maybe getting out will show him that there is life after heartbreak and that will bring him back to the way he was. I'm sure he'll go with you in hopes that he'll find her there and get her back. But I know, he'll get over her as soon as he sees the world beyond this small town and realize that they're other fishes in the sea."

I can do that. He is very cute. "I don't see why not," I agreed.

"Really?"

"Yep, I would love to help."

"You're an angel!... Just one thing, if you take him," he disappears for a minute and rushes back with a bottle of pills, "These are his anti-depressants, he must take one every six hours, and these should get him to lighten up for awhile a temporarily be productive."

Okay, I thought to myself. I really don't know what to think about psychiatric drugs, but I smile anyways…Oh crap why did I say yes? "So what happens when he's off them?"

"He's pretty much like how he is now, moping and unable to do anything but cry and talk about his past with her."

Scarlett returns with a bag of food, "I got enough food for us to last us awhile…" she saw the pills, "What are those for?"

"Those are for our new traveling buddy, Tim," I pointed towards the boy.

"I'll put these in the car," she said sheepishly, unsure of what to make of my decision.

"I'll get his things together while you introduce yourself," Mr. Mahn said.

I slowly walk to Tim, "What song are you playing?"

"I'm playing a song I wrote for my Lorinda. That's a beautiful bracelet," he commented.

"Thank you."

"Lorinda had a bracelet like that," said starting to choke up.

Oh my god!

"I heard she left to go to California."

"Yes, my heart is now in California pursuing a singing career," he sobbed.

"Well I'm going to California, if you're interested in coming too."

He stopped and looked up at me with light in his sky blue eyes, "I'll be able to be with her!"

"Be in the same state as her, yeah that's kinda the idea. I take it you're interested."

The light suddenly died in his eyes, "What's the use? She's probably forgotten me by now."

I wanted to shake him and say "Snap out of it! There's more to life than one girl!"

I decided to play along, "Maybe she hasn't, and maybe she's waiting for you to come to her like you're waiting for her to come back. That could be the case. But you'll never know just sitting here doing nothing. Last I heard love is doing everything to get to your soul mate, not sulking over her absence. You're her knight in shining armor, not the damsel in distress! So get up and go with me!"

"You're right! I should go! I can't get her back waiting for her. I have to go there and win her back! There's so much I have to do! I have to pack!"

"That's the spirit!" I nervously chuckled. Oh god, he's a nutcase.

"I see the pills are kicking in already," his father appeared.

"Some pills," I looked down at them.

0o0o0

"I can't believe you! I didn't think you were serious about dragging him along," Scarlett said for the millionth time. She was driving now and was better at it than I, being good with directions.

"I felt bad. His father did fix this car," I answered.

"What part of California are we going to?" he asked

"Hollywood," I said.

"So what's with the camera?"

"We're on a reality show."

"No way! Awesome," he said a little too laid back.

"That doesn't make you nervous?" Scarlett then asked.

"Naw. So what if I'm on TV. What's this reality show about and why are you on it?"

"It's a funny story, I ran over this girl by accident, she turned out to be this evil owner of the this town she abused, I became a hero, and I got the title of Miss Candyland and now I have to follow this rout to Hollywood ASAP for the chance to win and have all my dreams, and the dreams of the people who accompany me, to come true," I explained in a nutshell.

"Interesting…Lorrinda won the title of Miss Goodington before…never mind," he trailed off.

Wait…Miss Goodington… No way! Wasn't Linda the former Miss Goodington's winner…Linda must be his Lorrinda! Of course! That's why I felt I had to take him with me! I have to bring these two back together.

This proves my theory that everything happens for a reason. I was meant to find him because I can help him. I know how to get him what he actually needs.

0o0o0

Linda was hiding out in her dressing room again crying. She didn't know if she could take another day of this. She was so lonely. How funny. How can someone with millions of fans be lonely and feel so unloved. On bad days like this, she would lock herself in her dressing room and look through her old photo albums and yearbooks.

She felt trapped, trapped in a world of glitz and glam, a world so bright on the outside, so promising, yet was dark on the inside and full of lies. There was no way of breaking out. No way of going back. And here she was, leading another naïve girl into this world, feeding her false promises, and giving the illusion of a better life. She felt sick. It would have been better if it were Candy. It would have been easier on her soul. Candy deserved this not this young girl with sparkles of wonder and hope in her eyes. Linda hoped that this girl was going to wake up soon a see the reality. But part of her didn't, part of her wanted Thea to follow in her footsteps, because if that were to happen Thea could replace her and give her the chance to escape. The scary thing was Linda didn't know if there was enough goodness left in her…

0o0o0

Tim was in the back with Tori, looking out the window in a catatonic state. "Tim are you alright back there?" I asked in concern. It was strange; an hour ago he was really talkative and intent on the subject.

He was as quiet as Tori and loosely gave a thumb up sign, not saying a word and strumming his guitar.

It has been hours since we left and who know when he has his last pill. "Should I give him his pill?" I whispered to Scarlett.

"Hell yes if you don't want him to jump out of the car and kill himself," she looked back at him.

"I just feel wrong about it."

"Who are you Tom Cruise? There's nothing wrong with drugs, he needs to increase his levels of neurotransmitters norepinephrine and serotonin in his brain, and crying, sulking, and eating healthy isn't going to do it."

"So what, is he going to be on these things for life then?"

"No, eventually he'll come to a point where he won't need them."

"When will that be?"

"I don't know; when he gets over her." She shrugged.

"How can he when these pills make him forget about her? He's forever going to be dependant on these drugs."

"Look drugs aren't bad, certain people who abuse them are. Some people need drugs and the drugs help them to make themselves better."

"I agree and yes, but he's vulnerable and those types of people are the ones who abuse them. And for those people, drugs are bad," I said thinking about my Uncle and his past battle with smoking.

"He's not vulnerable, he has an illness. Give him his pills and you'll see the positive difference."

"Can you two stop talking about me and just give me my happy pills?" Tim suddenly said making us both silent in awkwardness.

"Sure," I finally said reluctantly tossing the pill bottle to him. I didn't know what else to say.

"I wouldn't worry Thea, these pills can't hurt me anymore than love ever did."

"How long have you been on them?" I asked.

"A while now. They're not so bad; they get me going and get my mind off emotions and on to better things like working. My father would have kicked me out if it weren't for them. You just caught me at a bad time when I forgot to take them. I'm not always like that."

"Then why did you agree to come with us?"

"I figured it would be good for me, what the hell. My life can't get any worse if I get a life."

"Do you even plan on trying to find Lorinda?" I asked, knowing that he's going to run into her again soon, being that she is the host.

"Why would I want to do that?"

"I don't know, to get closure?" I shrugged.

"What good would closure do me? Closure isn't going to get me up in the morning and through the day," he said before taking a pill. "I'd rather be heartless and productive than an emotional victim frozen in past misery."