The High School:
I pulled into the student parking lot about twenty minutes later. Every head in the courtyard turned towards me. The busses had already dropped all the students off and everyone was waiting for their classes to begin. I turned my car off, opened the door, grabbed my MP3 player and put my headphones in, and then I grabbed my purse and backpack and headed into the building. Mouths opened as I walked by. People were trying to figure out who the new girl was and why they had never seen her before until now. I had a smile on my face as I walked by my fellow peers and into the school and then straight for my locker.
Sheldon was looking at me as I went to open my locker. He had never been standing next to this girl who shared a locker next to him before. He didn't know who I was and I was a little annoyed that not only were all the guys looking at me, but all the girls and teachers were as well.
I put my backpack in my locker and removed my jacket hanging it on the hook and slipped my sunglasses off, putting them in my purse. Then I grabbed the books and notebooks I would need and put some pens and pencils in my purse. I slammed my locker closed and came face to face with a camera, one of the paparazzi that had somehow followed me from France.
"Naoko, why stop acting? Why come to a high school nearly six thousand miles away from your hometown? Why not stay and go to school in Paris?"
"Excuse me, I'm late for class." I said pushing past him. I had history first period and I needed to get in my seat before I was marked tardy.
The paparazzi watched me go and then I heard him talking to someone on the phone, probably getting everyone else there as well. I ignored him as I opened the classroom door and settled into my seat. Casey and Emily were looking at me as if I had been a ghost for the first few weeks of school.
First Period: History Class:
History was one of my favorite subjects and everyone seemed to be watching only me. I finally had to turn around and tell them to stop looking at me. I even threatened to call the cops. That got them to stop looking at me. They even seemed to admire me for finally standing up for myself. I didn't have to be so drastic in standing up for myself, but my cover had already been blown. I had seen a magazine in the grocery store saying that my mother had told the media where they could find me. I was pissed, which is why I had shown up to school that day dressed the way I was. History went by fast and then it was on to second period.
Second Period: Math Class:
Derek and Sam were in my math class and I had to endure them ogling me the whole class. Casey and Emily were also in my math class, but they had stopped staring and even punched Derek and Sam for ogling me. Math class, English class, and creative writing class went by fast and then it was time for lunch. I was happy that I had driven in today because that meant that I could go off campus for lunch, which was going to be extremely hard with all the news stations that had showed up to see me. Paparazzi from around the world were there trying to get a glimpse of me and the local police were having the hardest time trying to keep them off the school grounds and away from me.
My aunt showed up during lunch and promised to take my car home for me. I gave her my keys and since she had taken the bus to get here, I would have to take the bus to get home. She assured me that she would talk to my mother about what was going on. She also promised that she would call my manager and that everything would be sorted out soon. Translated, that meant that I would be going back to France and my career and my stalker. Great, I'm so screwed and all I wanted was a normal life, one that I now realized I would never get.
I saw Derek, Sam, Max, Sheldon, Casey, Emily and Kendra sitting together and walked over to them. My aunt had just left and everyone had seen what was going on between us. Emily spoke up first.
"Are you okay Naoko?"
"No, I have to go back to France, and that is the last thing on my mind right now. I thought I would finally be able to finish high school since the last one I was in I got run out of because of my career. Sometimes I hate being famous."
"It can't be all that bad. You're rich and famous. How bad could it be?" Sheldon asked.
"You aren't being stalked. Look I have to go, my aunts picking me up after lunch so that we can figure out how to get me out of the country without anyone finding out that I left. See you guys if I ever come back."
"Wait, we could sneak you back to our house. You could hide out there for a few days and I'm sure we could get some clothes from your aunt or you could share my clothes. I don't mind sharing. What do you think?" Casey asked.
"That would be great, but sooner or later the paparazzi will find out where I'm at and they'll show up on your front porch. I can't put you through that. It wouldn't be fair. Thanks for the generosity Casey, but it won't work. You don't know my mum. There's a reason my mom isn't on my bank account, there's no telling how much money I would have now if she had been on it. Look, I've got to go."
"You can't give up now. We can sneak you out of here without anyone knowing where you went. We can move you from one house to the next every few weeks until the paparazzi are out of Canada for good. I'm sure our parents won't mind if we're just helping a friend in need. If you had come out about what was really going on, we wouldn't have been so hard on you. We may have been hard on you but not as much as we were." Sam said. A bunch of other kids had gotten in on the conversation so they were putting there two cents in and saying that they were willing to hide me from the media for as long as it took. My manager would be in town by night and if I wasn't at my aunt's house, he wouldn't know where to look for me. But it was touching that so many people cared about how I lived my life. Nobody back home would have done this for me. They would have just turned me right over to the paparazzi and not cared if I was always in the media. I was touched that so many people were willing to put their normal lives on hold to help me, someone they had just met and gotten to know over the past few months.
"Look, if anything, you can call your aunt right now from one of our cells and tell her what we hatched as a plan to keep you out of the media. Here's my cell, use it, let your aunt know where to find you, where to get ahold of you at." Derek said. He had always been nice to me. Despite the fact that he had teased me within the first few weeks of school, we had grown to be close friends and Kendra didn't seem to mind, knowing that I needed all the friends I could possibly get if I wanted to be normal. Kendra was the only person who knew who I really was. She was a big horror fan especially when it came down to my movies.
"Thanks, mind blocking their view though?" I asked pointing to the window where a few cameramen were standing waiting for me to do something embarrassing in front of them. I had never once in my career ever done drugs or gotten drunk or done anything stupid to have rumors spread about me but the media seemed to come up with various reasons why I had disappeared for no reason that they could understand.
"Yeah sure, if you hook your MP3 player up to this radio, we can pretend that we're dancing to the music. It might distract them from what you're really trying to do."
It sounded like a good idea so I plugged my MP3 player in and kids started dancing around me and in front of the camera's view and I was able to get a call in to my aunt and tell her what was going on. She would give Derek, Casey, Max and Emily the keys to my car, enough clothes for me to wear and wash and some cash that night. The paparazzi hadn't been alerted on where she lived and they would be able to sneak my stuff out of the house and back to the McDonald-Venturri house to where I would be safe for a while.
Putting The Plan Into Action:
The rest of the day went by pretty fast. When it was time to head home, Casey gave me a pair of sweats and a sweater she had bought from the school store and I stuffed my clothes into my backpack then I was smuggled out of the school and to Derek's waiting car. The media never saw me leave the school. We first went to my aunt's house and got my stuff and Emily drove my car to Derek and Casey's house and parked it in the garage next to Derek's car. My aunt would call them and tell them when my manager arrived so that Max and Sam could go over and pick him up.
Once at the house, I was settled into the guest room and Derek and Casey helped me put a tarp over my car. The only reason my car was in Canada in the first place was because I had had it shipped to Canada when I had first bought it and had my aunt take care of it so that if I ever came to visit, I would have something to drive. Casey and Derek's parents didn't seem to mind and the fact that Mr. Venturri was a lawyer was an advantage to me, because the media would never think I would go live with a lawyer.