Writing Up a Storm


Alexis still couldn't believe it.

"Oh, my, GOD!!!"

She was practically hyperventilating. Her father wasn't sure whether or not he wanted her to hyperventilate or not. He tried to calm her down.

"Alexis, do you think you could, maybe, keep it down a little? You're hurting my ears."

Alexis giggled. "But dad, this is so exciting! I'm writing for Damian Barre!"

David couldn't help but smile at his daughter's endless enthusiasm, especially for this project of hers. "I get it, I get it. This is pretty fun for you, isn't it? Well, now that we've sorted your whole job deal sorted out, you should try to concentrate on school now. You know how your mother gets when the grades fall by even one point," he reminded her.

Alexis made a face. "Ugh, how can I forget? Mom can really be a nag sometimes." She caught the look on her dad's face and quickly added, "But, you know, grades are important and all that, so yeah. I'm going to do my homework now, bye!" She hurried upstairs.

Once in her room, she opened her mail to see if any messages had arrived, maybe from Jennifer. No new messages. Alexis huffed.

If that's how she wanted it, fine! She was just jealous, anyways! And this was going to be so much fun that Jennifer would have no choice but to apologize to join in!

I hate her! She went and spoiled everything, but now, I really do get to write for him! Ha! See how you like that, Jennifer! But still…ohmygod Damian Barre! She began squealing again, but quickly stopped when she remembered her dad's 'advice.' Sighing, she went back to studying.

Elsewhere, though still in the same nondescript town, Jennifer was fuming. It wasn't Alexis that was getting her mad, nor was it Michael, or Laura, or anything else. It was those stupid math problems. Jennifer scrunched her expression into a snarl. She hated math!

She felt like throwing the book out the window and stomping on it! She didn't know why, she just didn't get it!

She sighed. Maybe another walk would help her clear her mind. Okay, so the last one hadn't worked, and she hadn't managed to do anything more on her homework, but maybe with a bit of fresh air in her brain, she would think clearer.

As an excuse, she lugged a notebook and her math book along with her. "Bye, mom! I'm going to study with Alexis!" she called. Before her mom could argue, she was out the door and gone.

Okay, she felt a bit weird carrying her books with her, but she had been planning to study. She remembered Michael's math homework with more than a little jealousy. Now, she thought sarcastically, if this were some sort of Hallmark movie, then Michael would probably be walking right around the corner.

She looked around warily, then chuckled to herself. Yeah, this was definitely real life. She sighed and sat down on a park bench. She lay down on the seat and got comfortable. After staring at the book aimlessly for a few minutes, Jennifer somehow managed to fall asleep. It might have stemmed from getting no less than four hours of sleep the night before, or just feeling generally stressed out.

By the time she awoke, it was already dark. She groaned, rubbing her head. She felt like she'd slept on a bench! …Which, actually, she had.

"Oh, God, you're not one of those freaky hobo students, are you?"

A voice. A male voice, which sounded exactly like…

"Michael? What the hell is wrong with you!?" Jennifer snapped. "And I'm not a hobo! God! This is the first time I've fallen asleep on a bench, okay? Shut up."

Michael made a mock hissing sound and backed away. "Alright, but jeez, you sure are grumpy. Any reason why you're here?"

Jennifer glared. "Math book, sleeping on a bench at night, still in the clothes I wore from school, you put it together! My math book kidnapped me while I was trying to study! Now get lost." Jennifer growled and stalked away. Michael was pretty much left at a loss. What a weirdo.

The next few weeks passed by without much activity. Alexis was still waiting for Jennifer to apologize, but was enjoying herself writing songs for Damian. Melinda met with her writers once a fortnight to check up on them. Jennifer struggled with her math and managed to scrape a D for the first quarter. Michael didn't see much more of Jennifer apart from ignoring her during class. Damian Barre was busy preparing and picking his songs from the poems given to him.

The first big incident occurred one week into the second quarter.

Vivian Cole stood alone outside the Barnes household. It was around five in the afternoon, and she was busy photographing some uninteresting house curtains. Of course, a boring town like this? Curtains would certainly make the front page. As she left the cover of the trees, her journalist senses turned her towards a fancy-looking limousine. Well, in a place like this, any limousine would look fancy, but this was big star fancy.

Vivian could practically hear a story brewing, and she pictured the headlines: Mysterious Car Outside Unremarkable House. She put the zoom feature on her camera to good use. The number plate read "BARRE3" and the window had a little picture of Damian Barre on it. Damian Barre! Here? Vivian shook her head. This could really turn out to be something! She made a snap decision and slunk closer to the Barnes's house. Too bad the curtains were in the way. She quietly placed her recorder by the door, and waited from a safe distance. She was rewarded with a woman letting herself out of the house, and a younger girl shaking her hand. Vivian had been waiting for this bit of contact, and snapped a quick shot. She hoped her recorder would pick up what words they exchanged, then waited for everyone to go back to business.

Once the woman had driven away in her limousine, and the girl had gone back into her house, Vivian went to collect her recorder. As she listened to it, she couldn't believe her luck. This time, she would write a real story!

Laura and Elizabeth sat at their usual table for homeroom.

"Laura! Laura! Oh my God, you have to come see this!!!" Elizabeth, Laura's closest friend, slid her a copy of the day's paper. The headline read, "Barnes Daughter Dealing with Superstars." It was about some girl named Alexis Barnes having this meeting, or something, with Damian Barre. Damian Barre!!!

"Okay, question one, who is this Barnes girl, and why don't we know her?" Laura thought about it. "Oh wait! Isn't she that dork girl who went around with Steven Denny for half of last year? No…Oh! She's friends with that Jennifer girl!"

Interestingly enough (because Jennifer is a pretty common name), there was only one Jennifer at that school. Jennifer Robins.

Elizabeth gasped. "Oh, god, not that fashion freak! Well, I guess it really is the freaks who get it all."

Laura rolled her eyes. "Come on. We want to be famous, don't we? I mean, pop stars, actresses, whatever. We've always wanted the attention."

Elizabeth gave a half-snort. "Duh! It's going to be my major!" Let it be known at this point that Elizabeth was the least intelligent of the popular crowd. People don't get popular just because of looks.

"Okay, so obviously if we become friends with her, then we can probably get some press coverage too. Now, look sharp, because she's here!"

Alexis took one step into the classroom and was immediately swamped by a lot of people. Apparently, several other people had also gotten the same idea.

"Alexis! Oh, my god, it's you! Hey! Remember me?"

"Alexis, hi! Yeah, you're in the paper, can you believe it?"

"Alexis! So nice to see you again!"

"Lexi! How was your summer!"


Shocked as she was by all the people talking at her, Alexis only barely managed to pick out that urgent tone. "Cassandra?" Now a more popular girl, Cassandra used to be good friends with Alexis.

"Alexis! Hey! Do you still have your copy of that sheet Mrs. Summerfield gave to us? I need it really badly! Oh, and congrats on that writing thing!" Cassandra got the sheet she came to look for and quickly slid out the door. Alexis was forced back into her crowd of 'fans.' She saw a cutting from the day's paper.

Oh, god, is that me!? Oh no! Someone found out! Or saw us! Or something! What do I do?

One girl managed to stand out of the crowd. It was Laura. "Hey, Alexis! I know you probably don't know me, but I saw your picture! I'd just like to say that it's really great, you know?" Alexis nodded numbly, hoping against hope that some teacher might try to get them to sit down again.

Suddenly, Ryan came in the door. Ryan was also a senior, but was pretty up there in terms of popularity. He was pretty much the average playboy jock, except he also dabbled in music and the arts, which added even more appeal. Alexis' mouth went dry and her eyes grew wider as he approached her, a winning grin on his face.

As Laura watched them, she saw how Alexis gave only stuttered responses and how she didn't seem to be able to think properly. Laura began to hatch a plan. After all, why let a girl like that snatch all the fame, especially when you could have it yourself?

Ah, yes. The infamous and probably much too overused evil plotter! Oh well, you can't win everything, especially not in a pseudo-highschool like this.

Please comment if you feel it is getting much too predictable. Oh, and if you wish, give predictions on how it will all pan out. I will see if you have a hidden gift!!