Carla answered her cell phone after the second line of ‘Nobody Weird like Me’, Travis’s favorite song. “Hi, Travis. What’s up?”
“Hey kiddo, nothing much. Just wanted to see how my baby sister was doin’.”
“Oh… fine I guess. Just wish Dad would ease up on me.”
Travis chuckled. “Still skipping classes, aye?”
“You know I hate school, Travis. Why do I need an education to be in movies? It’s”… Carla’s voice trailed off.
“I know, Sis. You just wanna hit the big time now.”
“Yeah, as if that’s going to happen.”
“I gotta go iron my uniform… you know.”
It was Carla’s turn to chuckle. “OK, have fun at boot camp. Don’t let them catch you with your cell phone.”
Carla rested back on her pillows and sighed. She missed Travis, missed his loud music and after school visits to the game parlor when they were supposed to be doing homework.
Her cell phone buzzed. “Hello,” she answered dreamily.
“Hey Carla, you up to some fun?”
It was Toni, a girl she’d met a few weeks ago at the game parlor. Toni wanted to be a model and Carla liked her right off.
“What kind of fun?” Carla answered half-heartedly.
“Yeah, he’s the camera nerd at the parlor. Goes to that snooty school off Main Street.”
“Yep, that’s him.” Toni sounded excited. “He’s making a video for school. His Dad is on the school board, has heaps of money and some neat video equipment. He likes Kevin’s script and wants to enter him in a junior film maker’s competition in Hollywood… Kevin needs some girls to do some acting for him.”
Carla sprang from her bed. “When?”
“We’re meeting them at the parlor in half an hour.
“I’m on my way.” Carla ended the call quickly.
This could be the break I’m looking for. If Kevin wins the competition, Toni and I could be on our way to Hollywood, too.
She entered the noisy parlor and saw Toni talking to Kevin. They were with another guy who was leaning against a soda machine.
Carla smiled at the handsome young man. He reached out to shake her hand. She was mesmerized by his presence. “Hi.”
Kevin broke the spell. “Dad’s waiting for us at home. We’re doing the video there.”
Kevin’s house was a few blocks from the game parlor and on the way Kevin explained his script. “It’s a film I’m doing for my photography and visual effects class. Dad’s helping me with his equipment.” He laughed. “He doesn’t trust me with his precious stuff.”
They arrived at a huge two-story house surrounded by an immaculate garden. The group climbed the stairs and Kevin unlocked the door.
Carla was elated as she stepped into the impressive entry. She looked beyond an archway where two video cameras and a still life camera were set up on tripods facing a sofa… a sofa covered with cushions and satin sheets. Toni grinned at her and winked.
The boys stepped in front of the girls and headed to one of the cameras and began to adjust some dials.
What’s going on, Toni? Where’s Kevin’s father?” Carla began to panic.
“Who needs his father? We have the equipment. We have the opportunity of a lifetime here, Carla.”
“Where’s his father, Toni?” She persisted.
Steve returned to Carla’s side and skimmed his index finger down her cheek and flicked her hair. “Hey Carla, don’t fret. Isn’t this what you wanted? Glamour! Fame! It’s worth a hundred bucks.”
Carla’s heart raced and her breathing quickened. With one sudden movement, she turned and ducked through the still open front door. She raced up the path and onto the street. She turned to see the three of them standing outside. They were laughing at her. Carla gasped and began to run.
When Carla was sure she hadn’t been followed, she slowed her pace. Tears and sweat streamed down her face. She drew in deep breaths and swallowed repeatedly, trying to regain control before returning home.
“I’m home,” Carla called from the front room. “I’ve got an assignment due. I’ll be in my room.”
“OK,” her mother called back from the kitchen. “We’ll be eating at seven. I’m running late.”
Carla entered her bedroom and closed the door. She took her cell phone from her pocket and hit Travis’ speed-dial. Taking a deep breath she struggled to fight back more tears.
“Hey Sis, you just caught me. What’s up?”
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