Summer had gotten off to a nice start for Cody Martin. After finishing his freshman school year out at sea on the S.S. Tipton it had taken a little adjustment to get used to life on dry land once more, but he was managing well. It was great to be back living at the Tipton hotel in Boston, with his Mom and all his friends on the hotel staff. And while he did miss some of his friends from the semester at sea, he was doing well.
Cody's twin brother Zack was not enjoying summer quite as much. He did like being back in Boston, but in his opinion, there was one important element missing from the hotel. A pretty blonde element who usually worked behind the candy counter. Maddie Fitzpatrick was away for the summer, doing volunteer work in Africa with a group she'd signed up with at school. Zack appreciated the fact the Maddie was very dedicated to making the world a better place, but that didn't stop him from missing her. The hotel seemed less exciting without her around.
Of course, neither Zack nor Cody realized that they would be in for plenty of excitement before the summer was over.
It all started with an episode of Yay Me - the web show hosted by Zack and Cody's friend London Tipton. Now that they were all back in Boston, the heiress had asked Cody to be her show's producer once again. He had stepped back into his old job without missing a beat, and London was more than happy with the results. Cody always seemed to make sure that the show ran smoothly, no matter what unexpected difficulties popped up. And besides, London enjoyed Cody's company. Though they were probably as different from one another as two people could be, a very deep friendship had developed between them over time. They were used to one another's personalities and quirks.
For example, Cody was used to London being more than a little vain.
"How do I look?" the heiress asked for what seemed like the hundredth time as she and Cody were preparing for their latest webcast.
"I told you London," Cody answered as he continued to check the computer connections. "You look great."
"You're just saying that," London complained. "You're not even looking at me."
Cody sighed and looked up to face the girl. "I don't know why you're so obsessed with your appearance."
"Appearances are important," she replied. "People won't like you if you don't look fabulous."
"That's a very superficial attitude."
"Thank you," London said cheerfully, unaware of the meaning of 'superficial'.
Cody shook his head but at the same time took a moment to look at his friend. While she was a lovely girl to begin with, she seemed to have put some extra effort into her appearance today. Her raven-dark hair (which looked particularly shiny and lush due to her recent salon visit) was pulled back into a sophisticated updo. Not only did the hairstyle look stunning, it also did an excellent job of spotlighting her beautiful face. Her dark, almond shaped eyes were large and luminous, her cheeks were rosy and her lips glistened.
"You do look fantastic," Cody admitted. "Seriously."
"Are you sure?" She asked again. "It's important I look my best for today's show."
"Because silly, don't you remember who our special guest is today?"
"Sure I do. I..." Cody began, but then smiled knowingly. "Oh, I get it. We have an attractive female guest...and you want to make sure she doesn't show you up."
"You're so smart. Are you sure I look okay?"
"Honestly London," he replied. "You've never looked better."
The heiress smiled, and for a moment she looked like she was going to say something else to Cody, but then the doorbell rang.
"That must be her," Cody said. "It's almost time for the show to start."
The latest episode of Yay Me was almost over and, in Cody's opinion, it was one of the best shows London had ever done. Today's guest had proven to be quite pleasant and engaging, which was a nice surprise considering that she had a bit of a reputation for being difficult.
"And now for the final segment of our show," London announced as she smiled towards the primary webcam. "Viewer Q&A. This is your chance to message us your questions and comments, and we'll answer you right now. So act now if you have anything you'd like to ask my very special guest...Mikayla."
Cody adjusted the camera shot so that it widened to show both London and the pretty teen pop singer seated next to her. Mikayla's hair was just as dark as London's, and looked quite good hanging down to frame her fair complexion. Her eyes were just as large as London's and her face was very lovely. Cody mused that London may have been right to make sure she looked her best before the show started...as Mikayla was the kind of girl who could outshine most others.
But then again, so could London.
"Are the questions coming in, Cody?" the heiress asked.
"Lots of questions for Mikayla," he announced, as numerous messages popped up on the computer screen. "Here's the first one. Londonfan13 wants to know when you'll put out a new CD."
"Good question," London said with a bright smile, as was her habit whenever a viewer wrote in with a question. She then turned to Mikayla to listen to her response.
"I don't actually have anything scheduled right now," the singer said with a practiced smile. "I want to take my time and do the best possible work I can. I think I owe that to my fans."
Cody looked for the next question to ask, but noted that many of the messages were of an unpleasant tone. He felt that many of the questions would not be ones that Mikayla would like to address, and he didn't want to upset her since she had been a very co-operative guest."
"Cody," London said with a slight bit of impatience in her tone. "Don't we have any more questions?"
"Yes, sorry," Cody said as he continued to scan the messages. "Jonasluv95 wants to know why your record label dropped you."
Mikayla's practiced smile stayed in place, though her eyes seemed not quite as bright as they had a moment earlier.
"The music business is very complicated sometimes," she said. "The people at my old label gave me some great opportunities in the past. But I had some different options I wanted to explore, and we all agreed it would be best if I went out on my own for awhile to, uh...follow my creative instincts."
"Next question, Cody," London chimed in.
"I'm still looking," he answered as he tried to find an acceptable message.
London walked over to look at the computer screen. "There are lots of questions here, what's taking so long?"
Cody didn't want to say on air that most of the questions were somewhat inappropriate. Some were even downright insulting to Mikayla. However London didn't give him time to make an explanation.
"Here, I'll pick one," the heiress said. "Efronfan93 wants to know what happened to your movie with Jake Ryan."
Mikayla's smile seemed to become strained. "The movie business is even more complicated than the music business," she said. "The movie went over budget and the production company decided to scrap it. But I'd love to do some more acting in the future."
"Interesting," London said before looking down to pick another question off the screen. "Now, Hannah4ever writes in to say...why don't you drop off the planet because you suck...Hey!" The heiress looked embarrassed for a second and then glared towards the webcam. "Shame on you Hannah4ever! You shouldn't insult my guest. She's been super nice."
"It's okay," Mikayla said, her smile all but gone now. "Not everyone can be a fan, right?"
London and Cody cut short the rest of the Viewer Q&A and the conclusion of the show went off without a hitch.
"Thanks for being on my show," London told Mikayla after taping had stopped.
"Thanks for having me," the singer replied. "I really enjoyed meeting you."
"You were a great guest," Cody added.
Mikayla smiled, but there was a hint of sadness in her eyes. "I don't do as many interviews as I used to. So I try to do a good job when I have the chance."
The singer's cell phone rang and she excused herself to the other room. Cody began to put up the cameras and lights from the show, while London sat back on her couch to relax.
"I think the show went well," she said.
Cody nodded in agreement. "It's just too bad there weren't better questions for the Q&A."
"I know." London reached over to grab her laptop and looked at the many messages that had been written in. "Why did so many people write in those mean things about Mikayla? I think she's nice."
Cody shrugged and he finished putting the show equipment away. "I think she's nice too."
"I was a little worried before I met her," the heiress went on. "I used to read in the gossip magazines that she had an attitude problem. Back when she used to be mentioned the gossip magazines."
"Used to? They don't mention her now?" Cody asked. He'd never had an interest in celebrity gossip.
"No, they haven't for awhile."
Cody frowned. "Sounds like her career isn't going so well."
"That's too bad," London said. Then she cocked her head oddly, as if listening to a faint noise. "Cody? Do you hear that?"
Concentrating to see if he could hear what London did, Cody did indeed pick up a distinct sound from the other room. He got up and went over to the door get a better listen. After a moment, a concerned look appeared on his face and he instinctively opened the door.
"Mikayla! Are you alright?" he said in alarm.
London got off the couch and joined Cody in at the door. What she saw in the other room caused her to gasp. Mikayla was kneeling on the floor, sobbing pitifully. Her cell phone was dropped in front of her.
"What's wrong?" Cody asked as knelt beside the distraught girl.
"My manager just dropped me," she choked out between tears. "I've lost everything!"
To be continued...
author's note: Please review. And I'd like to hear if people think this story should be in regular Suite Life section or in the newer crossover section. Mikayla is going to be a major character in this tale, and some other Hannah Montana characters will play parts in the later chapters...but in my mind this is mainly a Suite Life story with lots of focus on Cody, Zack, London, Carey, etc.