AN: Wait a minute, it's by dutchesscourtney and 'Line' is nowhere in the title? I know, this is NOT a marching band story, but I'd like to think that I've developed something of an audience in this genre. All of your opinions mean a lot to me, and I would not be posting this story here if I didn't feel that you would all enjoy it. That being said, it doesn't have marching band elements. If this means you are not interested in reading, than I respect and understand.
However, if you are interested in reading...continue on!
My friend Susie and I are working on this together -- we'll be alternating chapters. She's written the first one and I think it's awesome! We're having a lot of fun with the characters and where things are going to go.The concept of Mulholland Creek, manuscript, and all characters (like all my other stories) have been registered to WGAw.
Take One at Mulholland Creek
Chapter 1: Ali
"Oh, no, she did NOT just do that!" Sarah screamed besides me, making me duck away and cover my ears, laughing.
"Are you kidding me?" Jen said, looking incredulously between me, Sarah and Steph and the television set in front of us all. On the screen, a deep orange sun sank into the Pacific Ocean, framing the incredibly sculpted, heartbroken silhouette of Blade Mathers, possibly the hottest 16-year-old guy on the face of the planet. We'd gotten together for our summertime Sunday night tradition: to watch the newest episode of the reality show "Mulholland Creek."
For the past three months we had watched, spellbound, as the series followed eight incredibly wealthy, incredibly lucky and incredibly attractive high school students as they maneuvered their way through the social demands of teenage life in the exclusive oceanside community of Mulholland Creek, California.
In this episode, Blade Mathers had finally confessed his feelings for Chloe Winterhaven at a romantic picnic he'd set up on the beach. Chloe was by far the prettiest girl on the show, with flawless tan skin, long, toned legs, pale blue-grey eyes, and the kind of blond, sun streaked hair that was so highly desired by teenage girls across America that hair salons were now advertising "Chloe highlights" as if "Chloe" were an actual color.
We, of course, hated Chloe.
We hated her even more after tonight's episode. After Blade told her he loved her, she rolled her eyes, flipped her hair, and walked away – without saying a word!
"Can you believe she just rolled her eyes when Blade asked her out?" Jen yelled.
"Or how about the fact that she didn't even have the decency to say anything to him before she completely ditched him?" Sarah screamed again, jumping up from her seat and onto the couch to emphasize her words.
"You are so pulling a Tom Cruise over this, Sarah," I said, catching Steph's eyes as we both burst out laughing. Sarah had a tendency to go a little wacko over things she felt strongly about. It was a good thing to do in drama club – not such a good thing in other circles. To Sarah's credit, she was in drama club, as were all the rest of us. Fortunately for Sarah, she'd finally found a guy who was similarly Tom Cruise-ish during acting camp this summer. She and Jack Barton were so perfect for each other in their over-enthusiasm for everything that just the night before Steph and I had practically died laughing at the thought of the two of them making out.
"I'm serious, though," Jen said, when we'd finally stopped laughing. "I mean, can you even imagine a guy as hot as Blade asking you out? I mean, I can't even imagine not wetting my pants if he smiled at me."
"Totally," Steph said, and we were all silent a moment – no doubt each of us lost in our own fantasies of Blade Mathers. It was hard to imagine being able to keep it together in the presence of those mahogany eyes, long, thick eyelashes, and that tall, lean, completely Abercrombie-worthy body. Blade Mathers was the kind of guy you didn't just lust after during the 30-minute long weekly airings of Mulholland Creek, but the kind of guy you physically ached for when he entered your mind during the week. My own stomach flipped just thinking about him right then.
"Why can't we live in Mulholland Creek?" I asked. In the other room, the telephone rang and we could hear Jen's mom answer it. "I'd show that Chloe what a girl should do when a guy like Blade asks you out."
"Yeah," everyone agreed.
Just then, Jen's mom walked into the room.
"Ali," she said, "that was your Dad on the phone. He asked that you come home right after the show ends. He said he's got some news to share with the family," Mrs. Johnson smiled at me. I raised my eyebrows and looked around at the others.
"I guess something more than dinner's cooking at the Harvist house tonight, girls," I said. I imagined it was another one of my Dad's updates on his attempt to sell the recipe for his famous salad dressings and sauces. My Dad is a chef at a breakfast and lunch place in town, and people go nuts over his honey-dijon and southwestern ranch dressings. Lately, Dad's been working on a business plan to start selling them in grocery stores, like Newman's Own or something. I have to admit, as farfetched as the idea of seeing my Dad's name on grocery store shelves seems, he really is a pretty good chef – you know, for being a total dork and all.
As I rode my bike back home through the neighborhood, I thought about all the fun we'd had his summer. Between Sarah nabbing her first boyfriend, Steph and I working the same part-time shifts at the Daily Scoop, and Jen's ongoing soap-opera-style lust for Ramon Sanchez, there had been no lack of excitement over the past few months. I think all of us were so relieved to have actually survived our freshmen year at Hoover High that we knew things could only get better. Our sophomore year would start in only two weeks, and I could hardly wait to see what Mrs. Simons had lined up for this year's drama club productions. Maybe I'd actually be able to score a leading role, now that the seniors had graduated. Maybe, I thought, I'd even get lucky enough to have a handsome leading man. Since I still hadn't officially had my first kiss ("officially" meaning something beyond the truth or dare game that landed Harold Wiedermeyer's fat lips on mine at the drama club overnight at the Y last May), I often entertained the thought of experiencing my first true love in a highly dramatic leading man falls for leading lady fashion.
As I played through the assorted first-kiss scenarios that always seemed to replay in my mind, my thoughts wandered back (how could they not?) to Blade Mathers. Not that I had any kind of whacked-out idea that Blade Mathers would actually take part in any of these first kiss scenarios, but a girl could dream, couldn't she? Blade was such the perfect guy: tall, dark, and handsome didn't even begin to describe his strengths. He was athletic, funny, and had this lopsided smile that showed off his one (yes one!) dimple in a way that made my blood rush and my face turn bright pink – and that was just from watching him on TV! If I blushed so hard watching him on TV, I'd probably turn into a complete lobster if I met him in person. Once again, I wondered what, exactly, was wrong with Chloe Winterhaven – beyond being a completely spoiled brat. As I came around the final bend onto my street I swung my left leg back over the bike seat and glided up the driveway in my signature stance, standing up on one pedal.
That was when I had my first clue that something was totally amiss at the Harvist house.
Not only were all the lights on the first floor blazing (which is weird in my house because my mom is a complete energy-saving freak – she makes us turn off every light when we leave a room and completely gets on our cases if we leave a light on in a room we're not currently in. She says it's to save money, but I think it's just my because my mom needs something to obsess over since she quit smoking two years ago), but also because there was an Anthony's Pizza (Middleton's best!) delivery car parked in the driveway and my Dad was actually paying him at the door! What you have to understand about my Dad to know how totally weird this was, is that my Dad is just as weird as my mom about turning off lights – only his weirdness is all about how we have to have a sit-down dinner together every night and we need to eat something he's cooked himself. Not that I have a problem with my Dad's cooking – like I said, he's a pretty good chef – it's just that he also insists that all of us – my older brother Steven, my mom and I all give detailed reports on our entire day. He also makes us each say one thing we're grateful for before we're allowed to leave the table. I'm telling you – my family is weird.
So anyways, that's how I first knew something was completely off at my house that evening.
"Um, Dad?" I said as I skidded to a stop by him, "Are you, uh, feeing alright?" When he smiled at me, I realized I had actually been worried something bad had happened. Now, I was just curious.
"Ali-bally-bo-bally, I hope you've got your adventure hat on tonight! We're about to embark on a great one!" This is actually the way my Dad talks. No joke. It's not always this bad, but it's definitely worse when he's in a good mood.
"Um, okay," I said, "Are we really going to be allowed to eat Anthony's pizza tonight?" I was still a little bit in shock.
"Oh, I know sweetie," my Dad scowled down at the box in his hand. I couldn't help but notice that it smelled incredibly good, "It's not what we're used to, but I promise you it's worth it just for tonight," His lips spread back into a huge grin, "I have got some unbelievable news – and you, of all people, I know, will love it!"
I couldn't help but get a little caught up in my Dad's excitement as I followed him inside and he yelled to the rest of the house for my mom and brother to join us.
"Steven, Barb, come on into the kitchen! Ali's home! It's time to announce the good news!"
As I sat in one of the chairs my Dad had set out for us, I caught a glimpse of something even weirder in the dining room. Beyond the fact that no one was even in there and every single light was actually still on, there was a humongous stack of what looked like flattened cardboard boxes leaning against the far wall. Boxes? My mind leapt ahead. Were those for shipping out my Dad's sauces or something? I had a feeling I might already know what my Dad was going to announce. Somebody had finally offered to back his business plan.
So, being as sure as I was of what I was about to hear, I wasn't at all surprised when the first words my Dad said were, "Kids, your mother and I have something very important to tell you. Our lives are about to make a huge change for the better." I smiled up at my Dad. Despite the fact that I knew what he was taking so long to get at, I didn't want to ruin his big moment.
"Kids, a man came into my deli this week who could not get enough of my honey-dijon. He liked it so much he bought a case of it and shipped it to his friend Charlie in California. His friend was so impressed with it, he asked for my number and called me yesterday. After a lot of talking and hashing out details, he's offered me a chance to start up my business!"
"Yeah, Dad!" I yelled. I couldn't help it. Deep down, I'm just as dorky as my Dad.
"That's right, Ali-oop! And what's even better, he's offered me a way to have full ownership of the company in a few years through sweat equity."
"What's that mean?" Steven asked. He scowled up at Dad, peering through his thick glasses. As I looked over at Steven's acne-ridden face, I couldn't help but feel thankful once again that I, somehow, had managed not to inherit the bad acne gene from my parents. Steven's an alright brother, despite the fact that he's a complete genius and makes me look like a dunce every time report cards come out, but he definitely got the short end of the stick when it comes to looks. Not that I'm any sort of babe – I'm pretty much as average as they come – but next to Steven, I don't have anything to complain about. I'll take my brown hair, brown eyes, average height, average weight, slightly-too-small chest and stick legs over his acne any day.
"Basically, what it means, Steven, is that I'll do a certain amount of work in return for ownership of the company, instead of getting paid for the work. In the meantime, it also means that Charlie will put up the money I need to get my business off the ground!"
"I don't get it, Dad," Steven said. "What's the catch?" Steven's like that. He always wonders what the trick is in things. He's definitely the person to take with you when you want to buy something expensive. My parents completely rely on Steven to do the negotiations when the family has to buy a car.
"The trick, Steven, is actually almost as good as the rest of the deal. My work in return for ownership of the company will be to serve as the personal chef to Charlie's family. In return for cooking all their meals and doing their weekly grocery shopping, I will not only become the owner of my new company, but we all will be moving into an amazing new house, in one of the prettiest towns in southern California, which, your mother has already researched and discovered has one of the top public high schools in the country!"
What did he say? Did he just say something about MOVING? No, he could not mean all of us moving – maybe just he's moving. That's got to be it – just my Dad, and the rest of us will stay here. There's no way my parents would make me move and go to a new high school!
"Um, gee, Dad, we'll, uh, miss you," I said. My Dad looked at me like I had just spoken another language.
"Ali, that's just it, sweetie," my Dad knelt down in front of me and rubbed my hair. I was in such shock I didn't even remember to tell him to stop. It's totally annoying to have a Dad who messes up your already hopeless hair when you spend half the time you're in the bathroom trying to make it look not so hopeless.
"You see, "he went on, "the great thing about it is that I don't have to go alone – all of us – the whole family," with this, he stopped and smiled at my mom and brother before going on, "Will be moving to California together! We'll have a nice, rent-free place to stay on the grounds of Charlie's estate, which – he tells me – has a beautiful outdoor pool and a view of the ocean – and, what's more, Charlie even has a daughter about your age! And I know you'll love it because it's in that town you always talk about from that show you watch, Mulberry Creek!"
"Mulholland Creek, Dad," I could not believe he was acting so annoyingly happy about something that pretty much signified the end of my social life.
"Right, Mulholland Creek! That's it! Charlie told me his daughter has even been on the show before! I thought you'd be really happy about that, Ali. You should have a lot to talk about with his daughter." My Dad was looking so excited, I was actually starting to think he might be going crazy. He had to be kidding me if he thought I'd actually be happy leaving all of my friends behind just so I could become best buds with some girl who has been in the background of some M.C. episode.
"You've got to be kidding me!" I was suddenly starting to realize what my Dad was saying. That he was actually serious about all of us moving away, right in the middle of my high school years! I looked at my mom for some hint of sanity. She was looking at my Dad like he was some kind of hero, saving us all from the despairs of life in Middleton, Ohio.
"Are you guys serious?" I practically yelled. My mom and Dad jumped at my voice. "Are you really, seriously, actually thinking of moving? What if I don't want to move? What if I'm happy here in Middleton?" I was starting to go a little Tom Cruise myself here – I couldn't help it. This was the most terrible thing my parents had done to me yet! "What if I refuse to go?"
Even Steven was staring at me now. My mom's jaw hung open for a second, before she finally seemed to snap out of her disbelief at my reaction.
"Ali, honey, we've already made the plans. I called Mulholland High today, and they're expecting you in two weeks. This really is best for us in the long run, and I really think you'll like it there. They've got an amazing drama club!" She stepped forward and put her arm around my shoulder before continuing, "And, whether you like it or not, you're moving with us."
I couldn't believe this was happening to me. I hardly had time to absorb the idea of moving, let alone start thinking about my new high school.
Meanwhile, Steven was taking this way better than I would've expected him to, especially considering it meant moving across the country for his senior year.
"You mean, I'll have a chance to establish California residency before applying to Cal Tech?" Steven asked. He said it the same way I might say, "You mean I get to eat every dessert I want for the rest of my life and never get fat?" Like I said, Steven's a nice guy, but we're definitely not at all alike.
My mind started replaying what my mother had said to me. Mulholland High? Wait a second. Did she say Mulholland High? The high school Blade Mathers goes to?
"Um, mom, what did you say the school was called?" I asked.
"See honey, I knew you'd start to come around to the idea! It's called Mulholland High. I think it's the same school that's on that show you and our friends watch," my mom was practically beaming with relief. I have to admit, I was starting to see some possible benefits of this move after all. Namely, the possibility of having class with Blade Mathers! But really, this was too much to take in by myself. My fingers were practically itching to grab the phone and call Steph.
"Um, mom, Dad, can I call Steph and tell her the news?" I was trying to keep it together on the outside. On the inside, I was freaking out. Would I really be leaving all my friends behind? Was I actually going to Mulholland High?
Sure, sweetie, do what you need to," My mom cooed at me.
"You bet, Ali-oop," my Dad chimed in, "you do whatever you need. I know this is a lot to take in."
As I closed the door to my bedroom, phone in hand, I heard my Dad yelling up at me from downstairs.
"Oh, Ali, actually, one other thing," my Dad's voice floated up the stairwell. My fingers hovered over the first digits in Steph's phone number. "If Charlie, er, Mr. Winterhaven to you, I guess, calls on the other line, make sure to let me talk to him. I have a few more details I need to sort out tonight."
"Okay, Dad," I yelled back. I was practically bursting with the news and had to talk to Steph right away. As I dialed her number, it seemed like even pushing the numbers took too long. When I could finally hear the phone ringing on Steph's end, I relaxed.
And that's when what my Dad had just said hit me.
Mr. Winterhaven? As in, Chloe Winterhaven?
AN: We're dying to know what you think! Please review! Chapter 2 will be up shortly.