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Author's note: I had to write a fiction short story for school one day and this plot just popped into my head. I'm actually really proud of it. It's short and quick but I hope everyone who reads it like its for a quick cute read.
While other ‘normal’ teenagers spend their Saturday afternoons at the mall or hanging out at the movies, I was waiting at home waiting to chase down the Fed-EX truck that had the next two weeks of my life in it. I’d been waiting anxiously for the past few months and now it was almost here. So, what exactly was I so desperately waiting for? Well the new Skylar Zo novel, Midnight Heart, that’s what.
Her newest romance novel, Midnight Heart, was about a guy and a girl who met in the most unexpected way possible. The New York Times did an early review on it and said it was probably one of her best novels so far. Skylar Zo was my favorite author of all time. She was my inspiration, my idol; she was everything I wanted to be. She’s only five years older than I am and has already written six published novels, each one better than the last. Her writing style is so unique that even if she writes about the simplest concept, she still has her way of putting her special twist on it. I could only hope to be as amazing of a writer as she was when I become a professional writer.
“And with that she let go of her past. Never looking back to the broken life she lived.” I read that last sentence, and then reread it again. My best friend Lily burst through my bedroom door as I was absorbing the brilliance of what I just finished reading,
“Oh my gosh, Sarah. You’ve been locked up in this room for the past two weeks reading a stupid book! It’s summer vacation! You are wasting your precious summer time” she exclaimed, flopping herself onto my twin sized bed.
“I just finished it. And no, I was not wasting my time. I was reading a really good book. You should try it sometime,” I said, sarcastically. I walked over to my bookshelf to place Midnight Heart next to all the other five books I had of hers. They were neatly placed beside each other. I always got a giddy feeling whenever I finished a book and was able to squeeze it onto my bookshelf with all my other books.
“No thanks!” Lily said, with a shrug. “I’d rather be flirting with hotties at the mall. Which, by the way, I want to do right now. So get out of your sweats and let’s go!”
Sometimes I honestly wondered why Lily and I were best friends. We’d met in the5th grade when she moved to our town, Willows Field. Our mothers worked together, then set us up on a play date, ignoring the fact that ten years old don’t usually like play dates. Still, we got along very well on our first play date. After that, we’d started sitting next to each other at lunch. Our friendship was cemented when we started walking home together from school.
It had been just like that for the past seven years, hanging out at home, on weekends and after school. But quite honestly, Lily and I had nothing in common. She was outgoing, and popular, while I didn’t really have many friends besides her. Everyone liked her, especially boys. In fact, Lily had never run across a boy who didn’t think she was fantastic. Boys never really noticed me at all, much less considered me fantastic. She didn’t mind spending every weekend shopping at the mall with groups of girls from school, hanging out at the food court, drinking way too much Starbucks. I, on the other hand, would much rather be reading a book on my couch, or snuggled up in my bed, watching reruns of One Tree Hill.
Yes, Lily was the complete opposite of me. But I suppose we balanced each other out. I helped Lily to relax whenever she got tired of being the social butterfly, while she helped bring me out of my shell
“No way are you turning into an old lady at seventeen, Sarah!” was her favorite thing to say.
“Actually, I was thinking of just going on the Skylar Zo forum and read what everyone else thinks about the new book.” I said quietly, in response to her invitation to the mall.
“You have to be kidding me, Sarah.” Lily rolled her eyes. “Sarah, you are seventeen years old. Do you really want to look back years from now and think you spent all your high school years stuck in your room? Reading stupid romance novels?”
“It wouldn’t bother me at all.” I replied.
“Okay, you know what? Let’s make a deal. You can read up on your little loser forum for the next 30 minutes while I pick you out an outfit for the mall.” She walked up to my closet door. “You are my best friend Sarah. I am not going to let you stay in this house all summer.”
I rolled my eyes, but opened up my laptop and logged onto the Skylar Zo forum right away. I knew the minute Lily picked out my outfit that would be it. I’d have no choice but to start getting ready to make a trip to the mall.
As I scoured the forum, Lily went on and on about a cute outfit at Forever 21 she was ‘for sure’ going mall today. Scott Mosby, a cute lifeguard at she’d met at our community pool, had asked her out to a party tonight.
“I’m desperate for a new outfit! I don’t have a thing to wear”, she sighed. This was a complete lie… Lily’s closet could fit three Forever 21 stores.
I drowned her out her rambling talk about boys and outfits. But then, my heart stopped.
“AHHHH!” I yelled, not believing what I’d just read.
“What the heck?! What is it?” Lily immediately stopped rifling through my closet, and ran over beside me.
“She’s coming here! She’s coming to Willow Fields!” I exclaimed, barely even able to contain myself.
Skylar Zo, my biggest inspiration was coming to my town! The women who made me want to become a writer, whose words made such a connection with me. Skylar Zo was the reason I spent my afternoons working at a crappy coffee shop, with an annoying boss and annoying hipster customers. I used my pay to purchase a Skylar Zo fan club membership. A membership included receiving a signed copy of her books two weeks before their official release, weekly e-letters sent to my email account, and even her book signing itinerary.
Skylar Zo, the woman who wrote that books that offered me a sweet escape from my mediocre life. She was coming to my town!
“She’s coming here!” I told Lily. “Skylar Zo is coming here to Willow Fields.”
I looked back at the forum for more details. “It says she’s going to be staying at the Willow Field Hotel uptown! She’s going to be here for two days doing press for Midnight Heart!” I couldn’t stop grinning from ear to ear. “Oh I wish I could meet her. That would be a dream came true”.
“Why can’t you meet her?” Lily asked, with a shrug.
“She’s only here for press so only press can go in to meet her, obviously.” I gave Lily a “duh” look.
“So what, Sarah? We’ll sneak in!” Lily suggested, excitedly. “This woman is your idol! You need to meet her. This is a once and a lifetime opportunity, right? We’ll come up with some way for you to meet her, no matter what!”
Whenever Lily said things like that it made me realize why I loved her. She was so crazy and out of this world! I’m so paranoid and reserved. ..It would have never occurred to me to try and sneak in to meet her.
“That would be incredible Lil, but you know we can’t do that”, I said, skeptically.
“Yes we can and we will. Sarah, take a risk! What’s the worst that can happen?” Lily insisted, but she sighed when she saw my nervous expression. She looked ready to let it go, so I don’t know where the next word that came out of my mouth came from. The usual me would never agree to a crazy plan like sneaking in to see a celebrity book writer. But I just blurted it out, and once Lily heard it there was no going back.
“Okay. Let’s sneak in!”
“Lily, I don’t think we should do this. Just forget it. I’ll just keep sending her fan mail. She’s bound to write back one day.” I said nervously as we approached the Willow Field Hotel. My initial confidence about sneaking in had disappeared once the moment arrived.
“Calm down Sarah. We’re not going to get in trouble.” Lily said, sipping her last bit of her coffee before we walked into the fancy hotel lobby. She was her usual calm and cool self. I was so nervous I didn’t know what to do with myself.
“Can you stop looking like such a loser, Sarah? Get your hands out of your pocket and stop making that face. You look like you’re going to pee yourself.” Lily whispered to me in annoyance. I tried to look calmer, tried to control my twitching face. I couldn’t help my nervousness, though. I never broke the rules. In fact, I was terrified of breaking the rules. I think it was one of the main reasons I didn’t get along with most of my peers.
We entered the hotel lobby, Lily walking with her usual confident and casual strut, while I trailed and tripped behind her.
“Hello ladies. Can I help you this afternoon?” A tall concierge asked us when we tried walking past the main desk. He raised one eyebrow.
“Oh no thanks.” Lily smiled, showing off her perfectly aligned shiny white teeth. Her killer smile was another reason everyone loved her. It was her one of her secret weapons she used to convince people do things for her. Like having pathetic boys do all her homework assignments for her. I wished I could do that with just a simple smile.
“Our parents are staying here. We’re just going to the dining room to look for them.” That was another one of Lily’s special talents. Lying convincingly.
“Well then. Have a good afternoon and thank you for staying at the Willow Field Hotel. Let me know if
you need anything else.” The concierge said politely, falling for Lily’s smile and confident words.
“That was easy.” Lily smirked, and I could tell she was proud of herself.
“Over there!” I pointed to a sign with Skylar Zo’s picture on it, directing attendants to a conference room. We followed the directions on the sign, and found the large conference room where Skylar Zo’s press for Midnight Heart was being held.
The conference double doors were opened slightly. I could hear people asking her questions, and a soft confident voice responding.
Suddenly I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t move. I was about to see Skylar Zo!
“What’s wrong? Let’s go.” Lily urged when I suddenly stopped in front of the conference door.
“Sorry, I’m just nervous.” I said anxiously.
“Oh please.” Lily rolled her eyes and yanked me by my hand, leading me into the conference room.
And there she was… sitting center stage with a microphone in hand!
“Skylar, how does it feel to know that you are one of the youngest writers to have five New York Times bestsellers?” One interviewer asked pointing his recorder toward her.
“It feels amazing. I love what I do. To know that everyone else loves my writing just as much is such a great and powerful feeling. I’m very blessed.” She answered.
“Wow, she’s a lot prettier then I imagined and younger. And her clothes are super cute!” Lily laughed quietly. “I might start reading her books now!”
Skylar was dressed very nicely. She was wearing a black bohemian dress with a black fedora hat. Her long dark brown hair spilled elegantly from the hat. On top of being a talented writer, Skylar Zo was pretty too! Could she be any cooler?
All of a sudden I noticed Lily had her hand raised to ask a question.
“Lily, what are you doing?” I said through gritted teeth, trying to pull her hand down.
“I want to ask her where she got her hat from. Chill out.” She said, yanking my hand away from hers.
“Yes, young lady in the back” Skylar called out to Lily. I almost passed out. I couldn’t believe Skylar was addressing my best friend!
“Oh, me? Okay well first off this is my best friend Sarah and she like loves you. Like totally is obsessed with your books. Not a creepy fan, but totally your biggest fan” Lily laughed. Skylar and everyone else in the conference laughed. Suddenly all eyes in the room were staring at Lily and me. I blushed.
“But I was just wondering where you got your fedora from? It’s totally cute.” I could have died when Lily asked that. Once again everyone in the room laughed
“Oh, this old thing. I think I picked it up from this old vintage shop in Nolita in New York City.” She answered perkily.
“Can all the questions be this easy?” Skylar laughed to the audience, and everyone laughed with her. I was embarrassed Lily had asked such a frivolous question. We stayed for the rest of the conference and I hoped Lily wouldn’t raise her hand again. She didn’t.
“Wow that was so great. You were right Lily I’m glad we did this.” I said as we were walking out of the conference room once everyone else cleared the room. We were walking down the hall when Lily walked towards the elevator and pressed the UP button.
“What are you doing?” I asked, confused. “The exit is right down the hall.”
“Sarah, you actually think I came all the way down here just so we could sit in some boring conference? You didn’t even get to ask her anything! When everyone was clearing out, I heard her manager say Skylar’s room on was on the sixth floor, room fifteen. You need to get her autograph and I need her to give me the exact name of that store in Nolita she was talking about.”
“Lily, are you crazy! We can’t do that. Look the conference was more than enough! I don’t need to meet her. It’s fine. Please let’s just go” I begged.
Lily walked into the open elevator and shrugged. “Fine, don’t go. But I’m going.”
I jumped into the elevator before the door closed. I didn’t want to be alone downstairs, looking all suspicious. I didn’t have Lily’s brilliant smile and lying abilities.
“I can’t believe we’re doing this.” I said nervously as the elevator made its way to the sixth floor. I could feel my heart beating dangerously fast. I started rubbing my hands against my jeans which was something I always did when I was insanely anxious.
“Oh would you just calm down! We didn’t get in trouble in the conference. Look how easy it was to walk in!”
“That was different Lily. That was a public event. It was easier to blend in. This is her hotel room.” I argued. Lily rolled her eyes but didn’t reply.
“Here we are”. She smirked as the elevator stopped on the 6th floor. I followed her, feeling a panic attack coming on.
“Look it’s the one at the end of the hall. The door is open!” She announced, walking faster down the hall. When we reached the hotel room it was buzzing with people walking in and out. We slipped into the room and everyone was too busy to even notice us standing in the corner. There were people setting up food trays. People on their Blackberries saying things like “Skylar only does book signings for one hour. Not a minute longer” and “No if you want her to show up, we’ll send you her rider. If everything is not to her satisfaction she won’t be staying at your hotel.”
They were making Skylar sound like a diva! Still, they were business people so they were probably just exaggerating.
“There she is.” Lily pointed. Skylar was sitting down in front of a vanity. One woman was doing her hair, while a makeup artist attempted to do Skylar’s makeup. The makeup artist looked like she was having difficulty because Skylar wouldn’t stop texting on her phone. Before we could walk over to her another nervous -looking skinny women stumbled over to Skylar. She had a tall Starbucks cup in her hand.
“Um, Skylar. Here is your frappucino.” The woman said nervously, her hands slightly shaking. Skylar didn’t look up right away, but when she finally did she didn’t looked pleased.
“Are you kidding me? I said iced coffee! Not a frappucino!,” Skylar snapped. “Are you trying to make me gain a thousand pounds with all that whip cream? I told you iced coffee! How hard is that?”
Skylar waved her hand impatiently. “Get that away from me. Thanks! Now my entire day is ruined. Please tell me how I’m going to get through the rest of these lousy interviews when I can’t even get a decent cup of coffee!”
“I’m so sorry Miss Zo. I’ll go and get you a new coffee.” The woman said, looking mortified.
I gulped hearing Skylar speak to the lady like that. Lily also noticed because she gave me a “Can you believe that” face. I just shrugged.
“Well, let’s get this over with before one of these robots notices us.” She said grabbing my hand.
“Excuse me Skylar?” Lilly said knocking the hairdresser out of the way. Once again Skylar didn’t look up right away from her phone. When she did she looked just as annoyed as she did when the coffee lady came in.
“Who are you? Can I help you?” She snapped.
“We’re the girls from the conference earlier? Remember I asked you about your hat?” Lily reminded her.
“How did you get in here?” She demanded angrily, fully facing us.
“Look what do you guys want?” she asked, rudely. “I don’t have time to be dealing with little annoying groupies. Do you want an autographed book or something? “She motioned to a young man standing idly in a corner.
“Michael! Sign a book and give it to this girl.” She snapped. Michael jumped up and started signing a copy of Midnight Heart.
“Um no…we don’t want a signed book. My best friend here just loves your books and wanted to meet you.” Lily said, attitude in her voice this time around.
“Yeah, whatever! You and ten million other stupid teenagers!” Skylar mocked.
I was speechless. I couldn’t believe this was the women I idolized for past two years. How could someone who wrote such amazing and great books be such a jerk? Her books were always so inspirational to me. How could someone who wrote such inspirational books be so… so uninspiring and mean.
“Lily, let’s just get out of here.” I choked storming out of the hotel room.
“Hey, are you okay?” Lily asked once we left the room. I didn’t respond. I knew if I started to talk I would start crying. I didn’t want to start crying.
“I’m really sorry, Sarah. I didn’t know she’d be such a diva. I know you really looked up to her.” Lily said apologetically, rubbing her hand against my back.
“It’s fine.” I mumbled choking back tears.
“You know what? I should go back there and give her a piece of my mind! And demand all the money you’ve given to her back...” Lily said angrily.
“No, forget it. Let’s just get out of here.” I said walking into the elevator when it opened. As we stepped into the elevator the coffee lady was there.
“Is she always such a diva?”, Lily asked her. The lady looked at Lily in confusion.
“Skylar Zo, I mean.” Lily clarified.
“Yes, always. I can’t wait till I can get a new job. I don’t even want to go back in that room. That’s why I’ve been riding this elevator for the last few minutes.” The woman sighed.
“And the worst thing is she doesn’t even write any of her own material. She comes up with a general idea and then her ghost writers write it for her.” The coffee lady gasped and then covered her mouth like she knew she just blew the big secret.
“Please don’t tell anyone I just said that!” She begged, her eyes were wide and anxious.
“We won’t. We promise.” Lily and I said at the same time.
“Okay thank you.” She mumbled in relief.
“I can’t believe I looked up to her for so long. I really thought she was a good person and an amazing writer.” I said sadness overwhelming my voice.
“I understand. I felt the same way before I actually started working with her and seeing who she really was. Look, don’t let it get you too upset. Eventually all her fans will figure out she’s not who she’s portraying herself as.” The coffee lady said without all the nervousness in her voice.
“What she should be is an actress!” Lily snorted.
I unsubscribed from her fan site and threw away all my Skylar Zo books. But to my surprise, despite the experience with Skylar Zo, I was more inspired to get started writing my own novels more than ever. Even though Skylar didn’t turn out to be the wonderful writer and person I thought she was, I eagerly wanted to be an inspiration to other girls out there. The way she was to me before I discovered the ‘real’ her. I wanted to write and make it genuine. Hopefully one day some girl would look up to me the way I did to her. And maybe even sneak in to meet me!