I really am on a roll today. This is a little idea I came up with after my English exam. It's not really a cross over. More a dream...
Dream Chronicles Part 1: To Kill a Mocking-Jerk
Chad's Point of View
I pressed my fingers to my head, gently kneading my temples. I wished that the headache would go away, but I knew that it wouldn't thanks to my evil teacher.
"Does anyone know any other books written by Harper Lee?" the teacher (I can't remember her name) asked the class of five.
Portlyn threw her hand into the air. "Harry Potter!" she exclaimed, hand still stuck in the air enthusiastically as if it would gain her more brownie points.
I don't remember why I let her back into MacKenzie Falls after her character disappeared in a mysterious ballooning accident but I knew that it had something to do with Penelope getting taken to jail and our director trying to boost our viewings by bringing one of MacKenzie's love interests back.
"No…" the teacher replied to Portlyn's pathetic response . "Harper Lee wrote no other books besides To Kill a Mockingbird."
Honestly, I hadn't read the book. Chad Dylan Cooper doesn't read anything but his scripts, reviews and his cheques.
"Uh Miss Bitterman," Chastity called out, her hand only just past her shoulder.
Oh that was it, Bitterman. She's the one that Sonny wanted to be broken up with their flustered director.
"In the scene outside the jail, why does Walter Cunningham stand down after Scout talked to him?" Chas continued, unsure if she sounded dumb asking the question.
I honestly didn't mind Chas. She was a good friend and a great actress, but now thanks to her, we had to listen to another longwinded discussion about the stupid book that I didn't read.
I lay my head down on the desk, accidentally knocking my pencil case onto the floor which Ferguson thankfully picked up for me. I didn't know why I had to bother with school. I'm Chad Dylan Cooper, the greatest actor of my generation. I didn't have to do anything unless my parents or Mr Condor made me… but unfortunately, my parents wanted me to get an education no matter how much income I created for the family.
But that didn't mean that I had to necessarily pay attention. So I did what most teenage boys did when bored in class, and fell asleep, dreaming about my girlfriend.
I groaned. Whoever woke me up sounded like that turtle guy in Finding Nemo…not that I saw it.
"Mr Dylan Cooper. Do you mind explaining to the class how Scout treated her teacher and how you are doing almost the same? …Though I'm sure that Miss Caroline didn't have to deal with Scout moaning someone's name over and over again."
I opened my eyes cautiously, one eye at a time. I wish I hadn't. Of course it had to be three o'clock - i.e., the transition from MacKenzie Falls tutoring to So Random! tutoring - so instead of having ten eyes looking at me, I had twenty.
"Uh…" I said intelligently, then cleared my throat. "I'm, er, sorry, Miss Bitterman. It won't, uh, happen again."
She glared at me, but I'm sure that I was partly forgiven as she glared at me even when I did the work. Her eyes suddenly softened. "Look Chad. Just read the book. Even you could learn a valuable life's lesson from it. I'm sure your girlfriend would be very happy if you did." She winked, causing me to flinch back slightly in my chair.
"Can't I just watch the movie?" I asked, scratching the back of my neck at everyone's seemingly hostile gazes. "I'll get the main plot summary that way."
"No, you're reading the book."
It wasn't Miss Bitterman who answered, it was Sonny. She was standing in the doorway, holding her study folder close to her chest with both arms. I hadn't seen her all day but I noticed that she was currently going for the 'Rachel Berry' look from Glee with the short skirt, long socks and cardy. That or Zora had stolen all Sonny's clothes and replaced them with her own. Personally, I liked the look. It suited Sonny in a kind of adorable school girl way.
"Sure whatever," I said, stacking my books and pencil case. "Can I leave now?" I had noticed that most of my cast had snuck out unnoticed while I was checking out Sonny.
"Go ahead," Miss Bitterman said, gesturing at the door. "Just read the book in time for the next English lesson."
"But that's tomorrow!" I complained, a headache already starting at the thought.
"So you'd better get reading," Miss Bitterman said, a satisfied smirk on her face.
As I walked past Sonny, she handed me her copy of the book. "Here," she said, smiling a little at how easily I caved. "You may need this."
"And you don't?" I asked, trying to glare at her but then I noticed the two plaits and it was like trying to stay mad at a kitten.
She shrugged, her plaits bouncing a little at the small movement. "Nah, I'll just use Tawni's. If I don't she'll probably use the pages as a place to test the colour of her eyeliners and lipsticks." She paused on her way to her desk, which was also mine and winked at me.
I winked back as she took her seat.
"So I'll see you tonight?" I asked, pointing and making a clicking noise with my tongue as I turned to face the door.
She smirked, placing her books on her desk which was coincidentally also mine. "Not until you finish the book."
I groaned as I walked out of the classroom. I have an evil girlfriend.
I made my way back to my dressing room and sat down on my lazy boy, taking a swig of my citrus smoothie as I did so. Yeah, I was smooth.
I opened the book to the first page, the words 'To Kill a Mockingbird' leering at me annoyingly. I turned the page again. Part one. What? How many parts were there in this book?
When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.
Well good for him! What does Sonny see in this book? It's about a bird for goodness sake. Who wants to read about a dumb bird? And why was there a picture of a guy's hands sticking out from a jail cell on the front? Dude, this was confusing.
I continued reading the tiny writing, my headache only becoming stronger with each sentence I read.
Once I got to the third sentence, I gave up. What? Three sentences. That's the most Chad Dylan Cooper has read of any book. Personally, I was proud of my progress and I hoped that Sonny was too. Ah well, time to take a break. Sonny wouldn't mind.
"Three sentences? That's all you read? Three flipping sentences!"
Okay, maybe not so pleased with my progress.
"It's the most I've ever read, Sonny," I said, pouting a little in the faint hope that she would forgive me just with the face. "You have to admit, the writing is very small."
"Three sentences," she reminded me, picking up the book and hitting my arm with it. "I was hoping it would be more like three chapters considering I was gone for three hours and even that's being generous, a chapter an hour. I read the whole thing in about seven."
I sighed, taking the book from her before she began attacking me with it again.
"Look, Sonny," I said, putting the book on the table by my lazy boy. "I'm sorry. It's just I've never really read anything but my scripts, reviews and my cheques. This has…" I flipped to the back of the book to see how many pages it had. "…Two hundred and eighty seven pages! Are you kidding me?"
Sonny rolled her eyes, picking up the book again. I shied away, afraid she'd hit me with it harder, but instead she handed it to me. "Please just read it. For me?" She made a puppy dog face.
I tried to resist, but ended up giving in, as always. "Fine," I said, forcing a scowl onto my face, "as long as you read the first chapter to me."
"Fine," she replied, taking the book from me.
When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem's fears of never being able to play football were assuaged…
Eight Hours Later
…He turned out the light and went into Jem's room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked in the morning.
Sonny slammed the book shut. "The end," she croaked, reaching for my smoothie and drinking the rest of it in one breath.
I was impressed. Sonny was just going to read the first chapter, but I kept urging her to read the next one…and the next one until she gave up asking and read the whole thing.
"Thanks, Sonny," I said, but was speaking to no one. Sonny had fallen asleep against my chest. "Goodnight, Sonny," I muttered, taking the finished smoothie from her hand gently and putting it back down on the table. I considered getting up and lying Sonny down properly, but I didn't have the energy, so I just fell asleep where I was, exhausted from the eight hours of listening to the intense tale.
When I awoke I knew immediately that something was afoot. For one thing, I wasn't lying on my lazy boy and for another, there was a strange sound coming from next to me. I looked down to see a young girl of about eight sleeping in my arms. I did a double take. Correction: I looked down to see an eight year old Sonny in my arms. Dude, this was weird.
"Dill, stop it," Sonny was muttering, tossing and turning a little.
Dill? Wasn't that some guy in To Kill a Mockingbird?
"Sonny, wake up," I said, shaking her gently.
She stirred, opening her eyes groggily. "Dill?" she questioned as her sight cleared. "Oh good you're still here! I thought I dreamed the whole thin'."
There was something different about her accent. It sounded almost southern.
"What are you starin' at, Dill?" she asked, frowning a little at my face. "You look like a stunned chicken." She giggled. I grinned. At least she still had the same adorable giggle.
As she continued looking at me, something clicked in my mind. I was in a foreign place, Sonny was calling me Dill, Sonny looked about eight and her accent was southern. I was literally in the book To Kill a Mockingbird, and Sonny was Scout.
"Sorry Scout," I said, mimicking her accent. "I just had a real weird dream."
"What's it about?" she asked, moving closer to me if that was possible.
"Well," I said, being careful to keep my accent for every word. It wasn't too difficult. I was an actor after all. "We were older and we were real famous. We were both actors on television."
"What's television?" Sonny/Scout asked, her eyes so innocent looking it was hard to believe that it was my manipulative girlfriend.
"It's like a movie, but it's in a box right there in your own home," I explained, ignoring my previous thought and trying to concentrate on breaking the news that I wasn't Dill to her gently.
"Wow," Sonny/Scout said, staring at the ceiling, thinking. "That is a weird dream."
"But our names were different," I continued, making her look at me again with the melodious sound of my voice. "My name was Chad Dylan Cooper and your name was…"
"Sonny," Sonny/Scout said simply, as if she'd known all along.
"Yeah…" I said, thinking that perhaps she had. "How'd you guess?"
She grinned, punching my shoulder. "Because I am Sonny, moron. Come on. Let's see how we're going to get out of here."
I stared after her, bewildered as she went cautiously to the door. She was a much better actress than I gave her credit for, even though she looked about eight.
"But how did you know-?" I started, staying exactly where I was on the cot.
"-That we were thrown into To Kill a Mockingbird?" Sonny turned to face me again. "It's because I get thrown into books and movies all the time. This is one hundred times better than last night."
"Why? What was last night?"
"The Lion King." Sonny shuddered, looking stupid cute as her even tinier plaits shook at the movement.
"What's so bad about that?" I asked, more than a little confused. I loved The Lion King.
"I was a baboon."
"So this is just a dream?" I asked cautiously, praying that it was and not some weird parallel universe I had been thrown into.
"Yes," Sonny replied, looking out the door again. "Now if anyone comes, we are just getting a glass of water and if it's Aunt Alexandra, I'll say that you were getting me a glass of water."
"Why?" I was confused. What difference did it make who was getting the water?
"Remember the book?" Sonny asked as if talking to a ten year old, which in a way, she was. "Aunt Alexandra wanted Scout to be more ladylike. Well I thought that I'd have a little fun with it, that's all."
"Is it possible to change the story?" I asked, getting off the cot to stand next to her. This was potentially dangerous if we could. There were many scary characters that I didn't particularly want to get to close to.
"Considering that in one dream I had Snape doing the hula, I think that's plausible," Sonny replied, grabbing my hand. "Now come on, we need to find away to sneak out of here without waking Calpurnia or my 'brother' Jem."
"How exactly do we get out of the dream?" I asked quietly, following Sonny down the hallway.
Sonny cautiously peeked her head around a doorway. "Usually there's one character that can send you into a relaxing dreamless sleep. Sometimes that character is easy - like in last week's Lord of the Rings dream I was Legolas and the person was Gimli. But usually it's the hardest person in the whole thing to find. The thing is that they aren't the only people that know that you're not part of the storyline. There are a couple of characters that can help you find the person to get you back."
"Like who?" I asked, looking behind us to make sure we weren't being followed.
"Well in my Harry Potter dreams it's always Dumbledore."
` "So some philosophical boring character," I reasoned, looking back at Sonny.
Sonny shrugged, peeking around another doorway. "I suppose. But I'm not sure if they're any boring characters in To Kill."
"Sure there are," I said as we moved to the next door. "Atticus."
"He's not boring!" Sonny argued, letting go of my hand as if I had burnt her.
I grinned at the action, loving winding her up. "Sure he is. He's so perfect that he's boring."
Sonny rolled her eyes. "Whatever," she said, refusing to give me the satisfaction of a reaction.
And because of her voice being higher than usual (if that was possible), I couldn't help but laugh at the familiar phrase sounding so foreign on her lips.
"It's just that your voice is about an octave higher than usual," I said, shrugging. "It sounds so weird."
"Well you don't sound perfect either," she said, a grin overtaking her face. "Your voice hasn't broken yet. I should be the one who's laughing."
I cleared my throat self consciously. Sure I had noticed, I'd just tried not to think about it. "So should we talk to Atticus about it?" I asked, attempting to make my voice sound deeper, but ended up enhancing Sonny's amusement.
"That might be a good idea," she replied. "If he has no idea what we are talking about, he'll just think that this is one of our acting games."
"Yet another failed attempt at seeing Boo Radley," I reasoned.
What? I had paid attention. Arthur (Boo) Radley was locked in the house near the one we were in. Over the summers, the kids' main goal was to see him. Atticus was never too fond of this plan.
"What in Heaven's name are you children up to?"
Sonny and I quickly turned around.
"Uh…sorry Aunt Alexandra," Sonny said, widening her eyes to seem more innocent. "Dill here was just getting me a glass of water."
I stared at the woman standing before me. She was looking at me like a character in a fairy tale. Not the princess, the evil step mother.
"I see." She narrowed her eyes at me. "I want to see no hanky-panky, you hear me?"
Sonny widened her eyes even more. "Dill and me wouldn't, Aunty," she said, her bottom lip trembling a little.
I tried not to look too disappointed, but obviously Alexandra was watching for my reaction.
"Just 'cause you're older than her, Charles Baker Harris, doesn't mean you should influence her." She glared at me menacingly and strutted off.
"Gee," I said, rolling my eyes and making an obscene gesture at the woman's back. "Isn't she a keeper? No hanky-panky indeed."
"She used all your three names, Dill," Sonny mocked, taking my hand with hers. "I'd watch out if I were you."
"Ooh I'm shivering in my boots," I replied, folding my fingers around her hand. "Anyway, Chad Dylan Cooper is used to three names. He'd live with no less."
"Right so if I called you Mr Cooper, you'd get annoyed with me?" Sonny asked innocently.
I gasped in mock shock. "My mother would be horrified that you left out her name."
"Ah I forgot," Sonny said, shrugging. "Mommy's boy."
"I am not!" I protested, my voice rising in pitch.
Sonny raised her eyebrows at me.
"Fine," I grumbled. "Maybe I am, but don't we have more important things to concentrate on?"
Sonny grinned. "Right. Atticus."
"Atticus?" Sonny asked cautiously, peeking around a door that she hoped was the living room. According to her, Atticus was often up to late hours reading.
"Come in," came the reply.
We walked into the living room to see a very familiar man sitting in a rocking chair reading a book.
"Marshall?" Sonny asked as we stood in front of the So Random! director. "Boy, I am glad to see you. Of all the weird dreams I've had, the ones that have gone the most smoothly are the ones with you in them."
Marshall looked up at us. "Both of you?" he asked, lowering the glasses he was wearing so he was looking at us over them. "I'm guessing you both fell asleep at the studio?"
Sonny shrugged, letting go of my hand again so she could have a proper conversation. "It happens a lot with me. I'm guessing that Chad fell asleep shortly after. You fell asleep at your desk again?"
Marshall wiped his forehead self consciously. "The paperwork at this time of the year is the worst."
Sonny giggled, which came out as an adorable little squeak from her eight year old voice box. "Do you know who it is this time?" she asked, changing to business in a heartbeat.
Marshall frowned, thinking. "I haven't had much time to look around as I woke up in this chair, but I have a feeling that it's Boo Radley."
I whistled through my teeth. "Great," I said sarcastically. "The one guy that nobody sees until the last chapter."
Marshall looked a little taken aback. "You've read To Kill a Mockingbird?" he asked, the glasses falling off his nose in shock.
I popped my invisible collar. "Well I don't want to brag…"
"I read it to him," Sonny interrupted, punching me not at all lightly in the shoulder. "He only read three sentences in three hours and gave up."
Marshall clicked his tongue at me as he put the spectacles back on. "Well I hope you remember it, Chad, because if you want to have a restful sleep, you'll need to find Boo."
"I assume we can't just walk into his house?" I asked, sitting down on one of the seats opposite Marshall, my feet barely touching the ground.
Sonny thought about it for a moment. "We could," she said, plonking herself on my lap, "but it would probably be suicide."
"What happens if we die in a dream?" I asked, suddenly realising the dangers that could be afoot.
"I don't know," Sonny said simply. "I assume that you just wake up."
I rolled my eyes. "It would almost be worth it."
"Oh come on, Chad," Sonny said, turning to face me, which was kind of awkward considering that she was on my lap and her face was very close to my own. "This will be fun!"
I sighed, wrapping my arms around her tiny eight year old frame. "Fine, but if I get the chance to die, I'm taking it."
I think Sonny got sick of me after a while. We had been re-enacting most of the novel, trying our hardest to remember the exact words the characters said. Of course, I tried to kill myself at every possible moment so I could wake up.
Sonny remembered the story a lot better as she had been listening to the teacher as they did the book study while I had fallen asleep or thrown paper darts at Skyler.
After a while though, we had decided that we should avoid going to the trial at all costs and taking Marshall with us, as he really did not want to have to defend Tom Robinson who was just going to die anyway.
That left us trying to creep into the Radley's place on the afternoon of the trial.
"Ok," Sonny said, peeking her head around the fence. "Jem has gone 'round the corner. Let's get in quickly and find Boo so we can get out of here."
I went first, being the only person who would rather die than walk into the Radley's place.
"All clear," I whispered, turning my head back to face them.
"Ssh!" Marshall and Sonny said at the same time.
I rolled my eyes. "Just come on."
Sonny and I went into the property while Marshall kept guard behind a bush. We thought it would be easier that way as two children are harder to spot than a guy who's meant to be in court defending a black man.
"Okay," Sonny said once we were under the deck of the house. "What should we do?"
I looked at her bewildered. "Seriously?" She gets us this far, then hands it over to me. What on earth was I meant to do?
She nodded enthusiastically. "You're the guy. You plan the recon."
"We need wireless headsets," I muttered.
"Yeah 'cause they had such things in the nineteen thirties," Sonny replied sarcastically. "Look, all we need to do is meet Boo Radley and tell him that we want to go back to the real world."
"How does Marshall even know that Boo's our man?" I demanded, glancing worriedly around me. I hated spiders.
"Because Marshall's Atticus," Sonny said, flicking a spider off her arm casually.
I eyed a spider that was getting particularly close and edged away slightly to avoid contact at all cost.
"…and so he's got Atticus's brain," Sonny continued as if the spider incident hadn't even occurred.
Sonny must have noticed my discomfort as she giggled again. "Too many spiders for your liking, huh?" she asked, obviously amused by my little fear.
I glared at her. "Can we just get out of here, please?"
Sonny chuckled. "Sure," she gave me a sideways hug, "my little phobic boyfriend."
I would have kissed her, but something about kissing an eight year old, even though she was sixteen inside, was just wrong.
We stared at each other awkwardly, neither moving for a good couple of minutes.
"Have you two got in yet?" came the harsh whisper from Marshall.
"Not yet," I whispered back.
"Well…" Sonny said, clearing her throat. "We should probably get moving."
"Right," I said, also clearing my throat. "If we want to get out of here we should probably find Boo."
"Right," Sonny repeated. She grinned at me, giving me a two armed, tight hug. "See you when someone finds us in your dressing room in the morning."
"Oh man," I said, remembering the real world. "We have some explaining to do."
Sonny chuckled. "We'll pull through. Baby steps. First: finding Boo Radley."
It wasn't all that difficult really. I'm sure that To Kill A Mockingbird would have been at least one hundred pages shorter if Atticus had just let the kids into the house when Mr Radley was out on his walk.
Boo was just sitting on the carpet in the living room reading a magazine on model airplanes.
"Seriously?" I asked, pulling my binoculars back. "This is all we had to do. We've been in this dream for weeks and all we had to do is walk in here?"
"It wasn't weeks!" Sonny said, snatching my binoculars and having a look herself. "You know what dreams are like. Some things waffle past in seconds!"
We quickly ducked down again as Boo looked our way.
"I feel kind of sorry for him," Sonny said, putting the binoculars in her backpack. "He was just being a teenager and got locked up for the rest of his life."
I shrugged, peeking back into the house. "It's just a dream, Sonny. We'll be out of here in no time."
In two seconds we had climbed through the window. It took me a little longer. At last I stumbled through, landing oddly and quickly climbing to my feet, straightening myself up as Boo and Sonny gave me a weird look.
"Hey Boo," Sonny said gently. "You think that you could send us and a friend of ours back to the real world?"
Boo looked up at us. His pale complexion made him look like a ghost, and the deep hollows most humans would call eyes were wide with fear.
He must have got the message though, because the next thing I remembered was being awakened by laughter.
"Chad, are you awake?"
I opened my eyes groggily, preparing myself for the worse.
"Chad!" this time the call was more urgent, accompanied by shaking.
"Yeah?" I croaked, happy to hear that my voice had gone back to normal. My eyes refocused in the light to see about ten people looking at me as if I had committed some sort of felony.
Sonny was still on my lap, but was turned around so she could shake me awake.
I looked back up again after smiling at her reassuringly. "Hey guys," I said to the casts of So Random! and MacKenzie Falls who were glaring at Sonny and I.
"What's going on here?" Zora demanded after a pointless staring match.
"We just fell asleep after reading To Kill a Mockingbird," Sonny replied simply, getting off my lap so our two casts wouldn't have the height advantage.
I stood up beside her and put a hand on her shoulder for extra support.
"Chad actually read it?" Chastity asked disbelieving.
Thanks a lot, Chas. Your faith in me is outstanding.
"Actually I read it to him."
And thank you, Sonny. Gee look at all this friendly support.
"Yeah and then we fell asleep," I added, trying to straighten out my matted hair thanks to my uncomfortable sleeping position.
Sonny smirked, helping me spike up the fringe to make it look somewhat normal. "We were then awoken by our insensitive casts. I was perfectly happy in my dreamless sleep."
That's when I remembered what I had dreamed about. Was it true? Was there some weird thing about falling asleep in the studio where you were put into books and movies?
"So nothing happened?" Tawni asked, flipping a stray curl over her shoulder as if she couldn't care less. Which, knowing her, was probably true.
"Of course not," Sonny said, turning around to see what I thought on the matter. "Right Chad?"
"Of course nothing happened. Besides being thrown into a weird dream about To Kill a Mockingbird where I was Dill and Sonny was Scout and we had to find Boo, nothing happened."
"Nothing at all?" Grady asked.
Sonny and I glanced at each other. Hadn't we just explained that? That day it had been proved that Randoms were idiots.
Thankfully Marshall came through the door at that moment to save us from further interrogation.
"Ah: Sonny; Chad. Sorry I'm late: I got lost. I've never been in this part of the studios." He looked around at my dressing room, obviously taken aback by its sheer awesomeness.
"'Morning, Marshall," Sonny said, grabbing my hand with her own and dragging us out of my dressing room with Marshall as if we had some important business to deal to.
Quite frankly, I was glad the dream was over. But besides the danger, I got an adrenaline rush from it and wanted to do it again.
Sonny gave a small smile as we escaped to the commissary for a froyo. It was slightly pained.
It took me a few seconds to realise that she missed the excitement too.
I suppose all we have to do is fall asleep reading again.
And, besides, if all her favourite books are like To Kill, I don't think it will be that difficult.