It was going on one o'clock in the morning when the Bishop's valet pulled Kendall's father's Rolls Royce up to the front doors of Devon's home. With a long, defeated sigh, Kendall crawled into the backseat, immediately closing her eyes upon shutting the car door, and hoping her parents would leave her be.
The night had not gone well. As she entered the dining room with Chaz and Devon, she immediately noticed the deep scowl on her mother's blue-blooded face. It didn't help when Serena raised her delicate arms up in the air and announced, "Ah, and there are my two little lovebird's!"
No, that had not been good. Kendall's mother's scowl increased to a deep frown, and the cameraman was zooming in on a red-faced Kendall.
It had gone on like that for the entire dinner. Of course, Serena would put Devon sitting right next to Kendall, and unfortunately right across from her mother. Guilt and inferiority swamped Kendall's senses every time she glanced at her mother, and Devon's roaming fingers on her thigh only made things ten times worse.
Chaz, not surprisingly, immediately picked up on Kendall's discomfort and spent the entire night smirking at her and adding more wood to the fire by adding comments to Serena's dialogue about how 'she always knew Kendall and Devon would be adorable together.'
The evening had drained her of any fight she might have had, so as the family sedan pulled on to the main road from the Bishop Estate, Kendall was no match for her mother.
"I want to know right now what is going on between you and Devon Bishop!"
Kendall let out another deep sigh and rolled her tired eyes. "Nothing, mom."
Her mother was not to be stopped however. "Have you heard the rumors circulating about? Do you know what the tabloids are saying? What my clients are saying?"
"Mother, what did you expect?" Kendall snapped. "There are cameras shoved in our faces all day. Of course rumors are going to start!"
"I've not heard any about Jason Armstrong or your other friends. In fact, I've not heard any besides those of you and Devon Bishop. Why is that?"
Kendall shrugged and stared out her darkened window. "How should I know, mother? It's not like I'm the one starting the rumors. Do you think I want them going around?"
Her mother let out a sophisticated snort from the front seat that Kendall found quite offensive. Before she could respond her mother barreled ahead with more lecture. "Do you understand what these rumors can do to your future, young lady? These are not simple high school rumors soon forgotten in the trivial, mundane lives of teenagers. These rumors are aired on national television. They're on the god-forsaken internet, Kendall!"
"I know that mother," Kendall ground out as she gnashed her teeth together.
"We will put a stop to these. I will not allow my daughter to have her future ruined over a few petty comments from horny teenagers. Martin, is there nothing you can do?"
Kendall's dad just shook his head, in no way wanting to get involved in his wife's current tirade.
A moment of silence descended upon the occupants of the Rolls Royce and Kendall began to breathe easier, her teeth no longer clashing together quite so violently.
Unfortunately, the moment was ruined when Mrs. Klein's voice, once again, pierced through the air. "You'll be off to school in the Fall."
Kendall's only response was the quickening of her heart. She recognized her mother's tone. It was her 'planning tone,' and nothing good for Kendall ever came from that tone.
"You were unable to work with me in the office this summer, and I'd hate to send you off to begin your education in law with you rusty."
"Mother, law school is still, technically, four years away," Kendall tried.
Her mother's hand swung up in the air in a wave of indifference. "No matter. I've made my decision. You will be working in the office every day after school."
"Mother! I can't!" Kendall exploded.
"You can, and you will. We are not arguing over this."
"Mom," Kendall moaned, trying to keep her voice at a low octave. "I honestly can't. I have track practice, student government, that takes a lot of my time. The headmaster has just put me in charge of a tutoring program for underclassmen, and somehow I was roped into organizing this year's science fair competition. Mother, I have no spare time!"
"You've had enough time to spend with Devon Bishop, you have enough time to help your mother at the office. You are going to be a lawyer, young lady. You are going to run for government offices. You must learn to make time. No successful lawyer made it without a full plate. This is an excellent learning opportunity for you."
"Da-ad," Kendall whined.
"Meredith, perhaps one day a week in your office would be more realistic?" her father offered.
"Absolutely not! She is my daughter, she is capable of more than that. I expect you to report to Tricia Monday afternoon. Is that clear?"
Kendall grumbled beneath her breath."
"Excuse me?" her mother growled.
"Yes, ma'am," Kendall snapped back, then slunk down in her seat defeated.
Monday morning came far too quickly for Kendall. She had tried talking to her mother twice over the weekend about cutting her some slack, but both times her mother had been harsh in her refusal. The stress Kendall was already under was doubled, and that angered her more than anything. She was just a kid! she ranted frequently in her head while stomping around her massive home. She shouldn't have more responsibility than half the adults in the world! It wasn't fair! And when the hell did she ever say she even wanted to be president?
Her bad mood caused her teeth to grind mercilessly against each other, and her head was, once again, refusing to let out the monster who was ferociously banging on the inside of her skull.
As if sensing her mood, the students gave her a wide berth as she made her way to her locker. She had just managed to grab the books she needed for her first class, when Mrs. Billings, one of the office secretaries, approached her.
"Kendall, dear, you're wanted in the office, right away."
Kendall groaned. She could absolutely not take on anything else! The headmaster was great for talking her into things, but she just couldn't do anymore! Just thinking of all the things that had to be done, just today, caused her head to attempt explosion.
She nodded to the sweet older lady and rubbed her forehead in a helpless attempt to somehow relieve the pressure. Why did she always have a headache?
The hallways were packed with kids, and Kendall spotted Devon and his friends just before she reached the office. It didn't dawn on her until she was inside that she hadn't spotted the cameramen who'd become their shadows.
She nodded to the other office secretary, who gestured for her to go right in, and she walked across the carpeted area and knocked on the headmaster's door.
A mumbled, "Come in," was heard from the other side and Kendall pushed the door open and stepped in.
She immediately discovered why she hadn't seen the cameramen in the hallway, they were standing against the wall in the office, their cameras turned off and on the floor beside them.
There was another man in the room. He was vaguely familiar with a noticeable receding hair line, and an expensive suit. As she took in this man, she also realized the headmaster was not in the room.
Her head, as if sensing the need to think, miraculously stopped hurting, and Kendall easily put two and two together. She wasn't going to be the valedictorian for nothing…
"You must be Tony, the producer."
Tony smiled and stood up, holding his hand out to shake hers. "That I am, and you are the very popular Kendall Klein."
Kendall nodded and crossed over to sit in the last vacant seat besides the headmasters. "Is their a reason I was summoned here without the headmaster?"
"There is," Tony replied cheerily before adjusting himself back down into his seat. "You are aware of how well our show did on its first airing?"
"Yes," Kendall replied, sitting up straight in her chair.
"It's become quite the overnight success, as I'm sure you know."
"Yes," Kendall replied again.
"And a big part of it is this chemistry between you and Devon."
Kendall didn't say anything, just stared at the man with the best poker face she could manage.
"I do believe building on this chemistry will skyrocket our show's success."
"It's already doing quite well," Kendall voiced.
"Yes, yes it is," he agreed, his head bobbing slowly while his elbows rested on the arm of the chair. "But, I want to do better."
"And exactly how do you plan on achieving that goal?" Kendall asked in her most diplomatic voice, even as her heart seemed to pick up its pace in her chest.
"I'd like a few more shots of you and Devon together. Nothing too obvious. Maybe a slight touch on his arm when you think no one's looking. Perhaps a hug that the cameraman only catches the end of. In another week or so, we can have the two of you caught arguing. Things of that nature."
"So you basically want to script your reality show?" Kendall sneered.
"Well, I wouldn't say that…" he started.
Kendall stood up. "I would! It's a reality show. It's supposed to be about our lives, not our lives how you want them. I won't do it! It's immoral. It's lying! Plain and simple."
Tony stood up as well, his face having turned an ugly shade of purple. "How dare you! This show is every bit a reality show, young lady! Almost every single moment caught on tape has been aired, either on TV or the internet. Everything but.."
"But what?" Kendall snapped as the man hesitated.
He glared at the irate teenager. "Everything but a rather hilarious little piece from the lunch room where you, Ms. Klein, were quite inebriated."
Kendall's mouth fell open. "You son of a bitch!" she viciously hissed. "Are you trying to blackmail me?"
The man looked taken aback for seconds before returning his expression to a steely glare. "It's far from blackmail, Ms. Klein. The simple truth is, I have a clip that is quite interesting, that I've chosen not to air at this time. However, if the ratings show signs of dropping, I might be obligated to air it in an attempt to raise them back up."
Kendall took a menacing step forward and pointed her finger at him. "Do you know who my mother is? Who my grandfather is? If you think you can mess with me your far mistaken! I want nothing to do with your show! NOTHING! Do you understand me? Approach me again and my mother will have a law suit shoved so far up your ass you'll taste the ink in your throat!"
With that, Kendall stomped her way to the door, yanked it open and slammed it shut, the noise so loud, it shook the desks of the secretaries.
"Is everything okay, Kendall?" Mrs. Billings asked in concern while reaching out to keep her pencil cup from falling over.
"Just dandy!" Kendall snapped as she continued her stomp right out of the office.
The bell had yet to ring and there were still several students lingering in the halls. Still in her angry tirade, Kendall marched up to Devon where he stood at his locker with Chaz, Tyler, and Pierce Raleigh. "YOU!" she snapped.
Devon turned completely towards Kendall, his eyebrows raised in half-amusement, half-concern. "Me," he joked.
"You stay the hell away from me! All of you! I don't want to see you, your friends, your cameramen, or that stupid, jackass director of yours! Do you understand?"
"What's going on?" Devon asked in concern, all amusement now gone from his eyes.
"Just stay the hell away!" she roared, and then pushed her way down the corridor.
Author's Note: No, I did not fall off the face of the earth. In truth, I've moved. Two states away actually, and until we get our house, I am currently at my grandmother's. Which is far from ideal, but I'm learning to live with it. I'm so sorry for the long delay in posting, but it feels weird using someone else's computer and I haven't felt inspired to write. But, I have talked myself into at least attempting to push through some chapters.
Again, I apologize for the enormous gap between updates.
Things to look forward to: 1. A new student. (dun, dun, dun!) 2. A pissed-off Devon (fun!) 3. Tyler's revenge (yes, he's not been forgotten!)