Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or any other Stephanie Meyer work. Only the plot is my own.
It's baaaaack! I would like to thank TraciSnow for helping me get the first nineteen chapters of this story back, and Dollybigmomma, for making them readable.
I never got a chance to make a banner for this story. Any takers?
Chapter 1- Starting the Day
"Fuck!" I shouted to myself as my alarm clock went off for the sixth time this morning. Considering the fact that I was not a morning person at all, I wondered how I had gotten into the industry that required me to wake up at the ass crack of dawn every fucking day. But, to be truly honest, I wondered how I had gotten into this business at all. How did an awkward, socially-isolated girl from Georgia end up in Hollywood as a comedienne? I asked myself this same question frequently.
My phone started going off, Lady Gaga's Fashion blaring obnoxiously at me.
Whose ringtone was that?
"Hello?" I asked in my groggy, I'm-still-sleepy voice as I tried not to drop my phone. "Who is this?"
"Hello, Ms. Swan, this is Alice Brandon. I'm your new assistant, remember? I'm calling to finish waking you up. I remember you said that you never wake up on time. I'll be at your house in ten minutes and I'm bringing coffee! Oh, and donuts!" she said in a rushed voice. I didn't think she'd even taken a breath.
Alice Brandon. How could I describe her? If I had to sum her up in one word, I'd say…perky. Yes...very, very, very perky. That was a good quality to have, seeing that it took a whole lot of perk to get my ass out of bed in the morning.
When I was looking for an assistant, I only had two criteria. One, don't be a yes person. Have your own opinion. Two, be able to take a joke. It seemed that in this town, people would do anything to be accepted and would go along with anything someone said to not rock the boat. I needed someone who could keep me in line, still let me have my fun, and have fun themselves. Kind of like a babysitter. I was not a fan of the whatever-you-say-goes attitude of a brown-noser. Also, people took themselves too seriously. Come on. Live a little. I was not saying go out and do coke every other day, but geez!
I found that in Alice…by accident. On a rare occasion when I actually chose to go shopping, I went to Fred Segal. As I was walking around after trying on an outfit, I was tapped on the shoulder by a short, pixie-like woman with jet-black spiky hair. She introduced herself and told me that the jeans I was trying on made my ass look fat. I thought her honesty was funny so we started talking and found that we clicked. So I tested her. I made a joke about how short she was, asking if she had to use two booster seats as a kid. It was harmless. The joke was met with loud laughter. She then told me that I dressed like a homeless street whore. It was love after that. I hired her on the spot.
"Thanks, Alice, but just call me Bella. My mother won't even let anyone call her Mrs. Swan," I said with a small chuckle.
After ending the phone call, I hopped in the shower and let the hot water release the tension in my body. When I was done, I put on a t-shirt that said, "STOP reading my shirt!" along with some blue jeans and red converse and headed downstairs to see Alice waiting for me with the aforementioned coffee and donuts. My German shepherd, Captain, was running in circles around her, sniffing the bag as she tried to keep it out of his reach. She looked terrified.
"Are you okay?" I asked her.
"I just didn't know you had a big dog, that's all," she squeaked as her eyes followed Captain like she was waiting for something bad to happen. I couldn't help but laugh.
"It's okay," I grinned as I took the bag from her and gave the dog a donut. "He's was just sniffing you for drugs."
"Oh, I forgot to tell you. He's an ex-police dog. He was a member of the LAPD K-9 unit. They retired him from the force and were going to take him to the Humane Society. He was too cute for doggie jail so I saved him. He does that to everybody when he first meets them and he doesn't bite. Don't be scared."
I figured I'd have to gradually ease these two together, so I took Captain and put him back in his room. That was right. My dog had his own room in my house. Don't judge me. I loved that damn dog. When I got back, I was met with a much calmer Alice.
"Good morning," she said as she wrapped her small arms around me. "I'm so excited to be working with you. We're going to be great friends."
I couldn't help but share her sentiment. This chick radiated happiness. My dad always told me to surround myself with good people. Alice was a good person. I could tell.
"I think we're gonna be awesome friends, too. You brought me food. I love you already. What's on the agenda today?" I thought today was going to be rough so I wanted to get started as soon as possible.
"Well…" she drawled as she scrolled through Terry the Blackberry, looking at my schedule, "It's not that bad. You have a meeting with the studio at ten o'clock to discuss the finale. Then you have that photo shoot for Glamour at two o'clock. Then we have Jay Leno at eight o'clock to do the promo for your comedy special and Time."
"That's it? Way to go, Alice. Mad props on your scheduling game."
"Thanks, I try," she winked, giggling while popping her invisible collar. "Working smart doesn't mean you have to work hard. Well, I'll wait for you to get dressed and we can get to the meeting. It's almost nine o'clock already so hurry up."
"I am ready." This statement caused her to howl in laughter.
"Oh, my God, you're hilarious in real life, too! Do you write your own material?" she questioned between breaths. "Come on and get dressed. We need to leave in thirty."
"I know. I'm ready."
"You're…not joking. You're really planning on wearing that?" she asked as if my question held the answer to all the world's problems. This was the problem with being a comedienne. People always thought you were joking.
"Yeah? I don't see anything wrong with it."
As soon as the sentence left my mouth, I saw a little black blur heading upstairs into my room. I heard the sound of opening and closing drawers, followed by a loud shriek. After five minutes, I went upstairs to check on her. She'd been up there a long time. I was scared something had happened to her.
When I looked in my room, I noticed my clothes thrown all over the floor with a frustrated Alice in the center of the chaos.
"Jeans and t-shirts, that's all?" she asked me with a pout that made me feel somewhat guilty. I didn't know why I felt guilty, but I did. I'd bet her daddy gave her everything she wanted as a kid. She was good.
"No," I replied. It sounded more like a question. "I prefer comfort over fashion."
"But you don't even own one pair of heels. How can you be twenty-eight years old and not own at least one pair of heels?"
"Alice, you saw that video on YouTube, right?"
Someone out in cyber land thought it would be funny, and it was, to edit together every public fall I'd ever taken and post it on that godforsaken website. I think it had like twenty million views now. They put Fergie's Clumsy as the music in the background. It was a clever choice. "It's okay. You can laugh. I did."
Alice nodded her head and giggled to herself.
"If I can barely stand upright in flats and sneakers, what makes you think I can do it in heels?"
"It's okay. We can go shopping after your meeting with the studio. But right now, we need to get going."
"Alrighty then, let's hit it. Do you want to ride with me?"
As we were leaving, I let the dog out of his room and put food in the bowl for him. Once he was finished, we went into the garage and got into my 1967 Ford GT Mustang and started to make our way into the studio. After we dropped Captain off at the groomer's, we talked and got to know each other further. I almost felt like a normal woman talking to one of her friends. Then we pulled up to the studio and I remembered what I was here for.
"You nervous?" Alice asked with a concerned voice as we were stepping out of the car. She must have sensed my hesitation.
"I'm not nervous, I'm just dreading going up there," I said in a deadpan tone.
"You'll do fine. It's never as bad as you think it is," she reassured me while patting me on the back.
"You're right. It'll probably be worse." I hit my head against my palm repeatedly, trying to prepare myself for the impending torture.
"Stop being a drama queen and go to the damn meeting. You're just going to discuss shit for the series finale of the show. I repeat; it won't be that bad. Do you want me to come with you?"
"You don't have to if you don't want to."
"Oh, please," she said laughing, "The pout won't work with me. I invented it. I'll go."
As we were waiting for the elevator, I took a long and hard look at myself in the mirrored hallway. I was 5 feet 4 inches tall, an average height, and I was an average weight. I had boring brown eyes and a slightly olive-toned complexion due to my grandmother's Jamaican heritage on my father's side.
I considered myself to be an average girl. I didn't know why I was famous. I was not even pretty, really. However, I must mention my hair, which was a thick brown and fell down to my lower back. I was known for my hair…and my rack. People had been saying they were fake for years. Sorry, haters, but my 36DD girls were homegrown and all natural. Personally, I thought it was weird. Maybe Angelina felt the same way when people talked about her lips.
"BELLA!" Alice shouted as she waved her hand in my face. "Stop checking yourself out and get in the elevator," she chuckled and dragged me in.
As we ascended, I stood in complete silence and prayed that this meeting would go well. I just wanted to talk about the finale and do a run-through of the episode, nothing more and nothing less.
In Jesus name I prayed, Amen.
The sound of the elevator's doors opening broke me out of my bubble and we head toward the boardroom, or as I liked to call it, the "Fuck You" room. It seemed that for the past four years, every time I set foot in that room, something had happened to piss me off. The last time was no exception. I was legally prohibited to say what had happened, but let's just say they'd had to call security and everyone who had been present at the time had had to sign a gag order. Yep, we were one big happy TV family, lawyers and all.
I was a part of the NBC hit comedy series, Halfsies. It was about two women, played by Jessica Stanley and Theresa Sanders, who were half-sisters. They didn't know each other existed until the death of their father, who happened to be a famous rock star. They couldn't agree on who got what from the estate so they split everything down the middle and lived in their father's penthouse apartment together. Hilarity ensued. I played their nosy, witty, yet somewhat-ditsy neighbor.
When I thought of how things used to be, it made me both happy and sad. The three of us got along well for the first three of seasons. We were just happy to be on a show that was successful. I still felt that way. Then, egos got in the way. It wasn't long before someone *cough* Jessica *cough* started to become a diva and getting on everybody's nerves. She felt that she was the star of the show and demanded more screen time, in addition to becoming an all-around bitch to any and every one there.
However, the truth was I was the audience's favorite character, so I got more screen time than she did. This caused her to become almost unbearable and twice as bitchy towards me. She'd try to make me miss my cues and tried to steal everyone's lines while we were taping. Everyone got fed up. We'd been under contract for four more seasons, though, so no one could leave without getting sued. It was terrible. When we were given the option to sign on for another two seasons, everyone declined the offer.
Now, after eight years, eight seasons, and two hundred episodes, we were in our last season, preparing for our last two episodes. It was kind of bittersweet.
We finally arrived to the boardroom and took our seats, waiting for the meeting to start.
"Well, well, well," the voice I'd come to loath said from across the table, "Look who finally decided to show up."
"Jessica, it's too early to have to deal with your shit," I replied curtly.
"I'm just saying," she said with a sly grin on her plastic face. "Some of us professionals manage to get here on time. I was an hour early."
"Cut your shit. It's 9:45. No one here is late. The only reason why you were here early is because you were probably blowing a writer or producer for more screen time," I said with a level voice as I surfed the internet on my iPhone. This happened so frequently I didn't even get mad anymore.
The tension in the room was broken by the sound of Alice giggling while covering her mouth. She was trying really hard not to laugh. It was funny.
"Listen, you bitch-"
"Ladies!" Theresa interrupted as she walked through the door, "Let's try and make it through this meeting without security being called, shall we?"
"Okay," we said in unison. Theresa was like the mother on set. Even though she was in the same age group as us, she was the peacemaker. Everyone loved her. She had decided to marry her boyfriend and settle down after the show was over. I wished I was that mature.
After another five minutes of awkward silence, the writers and producers came in and we began the meeting. The producers told us that the last episode would be filmed live. It was always fun filming live so I thought it was a great way to end the show.
After the meeting was over, Alice came over and hugged me. That was the third one today. She was definitely a hugger.
"I'm sorry. It was worse than I thought. She's horrible," Alice offered apologetically.
"It's okay. I won't have to deal with her much longer."
We exited the building and began to drive towards what I considered my personal Hell, Rodeo Drive. As we got closer and closer to the dreaded strip of land, I could feel Alice vibrating with excitement.
"I'm so excited. It's like I'm your personal shopper or something."
"Don't I get a say?" I asked with genuine amusement.
"Honey, that's how we got here in the first place," she deadpanned and then began to laugh at her own joke, by herself.
"It's not that bad."
"Oh, yes it is. It's too bad we only have an hour. I'd like to have more time to shop for you," she nodded as she looked me over. "Have you had a pedicure?"
"No," I replied laughing. "Should I?"
"YES! What if I get you open-toed shoes?" she gasped.
"Well, I'd do-"
"Don't even say it," she interrupted me to send a text on her phone. "I had an appointment today at the nail salon. I just called and gave them your name. You can have my appointment. Go to this address. Meet me in front of Gucci at 1:30pm," she ordered as she wrote down an address and shoved it into my hand before taking my credit card and jumping out of the car.
"O…kay," I replied as I watched her flit away. I sighed and pulled away, heading to the damn salon. For some reason, I was scared of what Alice would have done if I didn't. I liked her, but the chick was a little scary.
After I was finished, it took me twice as long to drive because I didn't want to smear the polish. Why did girls do this? As I pulled up in front of Gucci, I was shocked to see Alice surrounded by at least ten shopping bags. She tossed them into the back seat before she hopped in. I looked at the tags in the bags and gasped at the names and how much everything cost...Gucci, Prada, Louboutin, Fendi, Dior, Louis Vuitton, La Perla, and Chanel. Oh, my God!
She was going to shop me into the poorhouse.
"Alice!" I shrieked in shock. "I can't believe this!" This must have cost a fortune!
"I know, I'm sorry, I only had forty-five minutes so this is the best I could do. I'll buy more next time, I promise."
"Are you serious? You think I'm disappointed there isn't more? I just can't believe you bought this much," I groaned as I looked through the bags. "It all looks good, though. Wow. It takes me an hour and a half to pick out a pair of jeans when I come here and you practically buy me a new wardrobe in half the time. I'm speechless."
"Oh." She relaxed her shoulders, not that she realized she wasn't in trouble. "I brainstormed ideas in the car. I just had to find what I was looking for. If I'd had more time, I could've experimented. I got you the basics."
"Thanks. I've never really gone shopping with anyone before so this whole thing, even if I didn't really go, is new to me."
"Really? Well, we'll fix that quick!" she replied with a far-off glint in her eyes. She looked too excited. I was afraid, very afraid. "Let's get you to this shoot!" she grinned as we drove off to the site of the photo shoot.
I understood that photo shoots were essential to your image in this business. However, it didn't change how much I disliked them. I didn't like being poked, probed, and primped to look like this glamorous person that I was not. It was awkward to say the least.
We arrived at this set with a low-hanging chandelier and red paint on the walls. There was a black grand piano in the corner. It looked like an authentic 1920s lounge. It looked cool. The next stage was set up more like a bedroom. As I looked around the stage, I was approached by a tall woman with light brown hair and blonde highlights. "Hello, Ms. Swan…"
"Please," I said as I politely stopped her, "Just call me Bella."
"Well, Bella," the woman who introduced herself as Bailey started, "Your assistant notified us that you have a very tight schedule today so this won't take long. We only have three different looks for you this afternoon, followed by a short thirty-minute interview."
"Wow!" I said astonished. "That's good. I have the best assistant ever," I winked as I nudged Alice in her ribs.
"You sure do. I am rather awesome. I helps that I have the best boss," Alice smirked.
"Ass kissery gets you nowhere."
"Oh, well," she shrugged, "I tried."
"Okay, let's get started."
After getting my hair and makeup done and signing a few autographs, we finally started the shoot. For the first set of pictures in the lounge scene, they had me wear what looked to be a man's suit jacket that had been tailored to look more like a dress. It was grey with light blue pinstripes and it hit me at mid-thigh. They put my hair up in a side twist and had me don a grey fedora hat with a blue satin border. The outfit was really low-cut in the front, so they tied a light blue tie around my neck and tucked it into the dress.
Next, I posed in a set of black high-wasted shorts and a red bra for the bedroom shoot. They put all my hair up in curlers. I guessed they were going for a vintage glam look. I felt a little weird being around a stage full of people in just my bra, but I got through it. Last, which was my favorite, we took the shoot outside to a garden and I had on a pair of light-washed blue jeans with a thin white wife beater, and my hair was left straight and simple. I liked it; though it would have been better had they allowed me to wear a bra.
What was the deal about my boobs?
Once we were done, I put my original clothes back on before I set out to find the room for the interview so I could get it over with and go home. When I stepped out of the dressing room, I saw a familiar black blur and was stopped by Alice's tiny arms engulfing me. That was the fourth hug today. I saw that I was going to have to get used to this whole hugging thing. I hugged her back.
"Oh, my God! You did so well! You looked so pretty in that dress-jacket thing!"
"Alice, breathe. Thanks for the compliment. Though, I did tell you that kissing my ass won't get you anywhere," I said as I laughed.
"It's not ass-kissing if it's true. We need to make our way to the interview room."
The interview was surprisingly painless. The whole ordeal only took two hours, so I was ready to go home. After I picked up Captain from the groomers, we headed straight to McDonald's.
"Hello, I'll have a Big Mac, a Southern Chicken Sandwich, a large fries, and a large Coke. You want anything, Alice?"
"You're eating that all by yourself?"
"Yep. Captain doesn't like McDonald's. He's more of a Burger King kind of guy."
"I'm not that hungry."
"Okay." I turned to the speaker at the drive thru. "Hello?"
"Yes. Are you done with your order?"
"Yeah. Wait! No! Can you supersize it? And add a Happy Meal on for my friend!" I added as I laughed at the last part, which earned me a punch from Alice.
"What?" I asked. "I'm doing you a favor because if you ask for a bite or sip of anything, I'm gonna say no."
As we pulled up to the cash window, the cashier recognized me. "Oh, shit! You're Bella Swan! Oh, my God, you are so funny! Chart Toppers is like the funniest movie ever! Can I have your autograph?"
"Hey, guys, look! Bella Swan is at drive-thru window one!"
At that moment, five or six more employees came out and started to take pictures with their phones and asking for autographs. As I paid my money, I noticed that the line was backing up behind my car.
"Look, guys, the line is getting pretty hefty." I noticed the drop on their faces. They thought I was leaving. "I'll pull into a parking spot and I'll sign autographs and do pictures. I don't want anyone's food getting cold."
As I pulled into the space, I noticed several employees as well as a few customers come towards the car. I stepped out and posed with my fans for pictures and signed autographs. I even talked with some of the fans and offered advice to a young girl trying out for a school play. Overall, it took around twenty minutes. I didn't want anyone to feel slighted. It made me feel good to see the smiles on their faces. It was times like this that made me glad I did what I did. Another employee thanked me with two fresh-made McGriddles. After ten thirty in the morning? Hell yeah!
Fuck, I loved McGriddles!
After everyone was satisfied, I got back into the car and pulled out onto the street. I couldn't be sure, but I thought I heard a scream coming from inside the restaurant. Weird.
"That was really cool of you, Bella," Alice said as she took a bite of her cheeseburger. Ha! I knew she was hungry. "You didn't have to do that. I knew you were tired."
"It's cool. They're my fans. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for them. I owe them. What's twenty minutes of my time, anyway?" Then, Alice hugged me. Again.
Was this normal?
We made our way back to the house. After my feast, and Captain stealing one of my McGriddles, I started to get the ingredients for cupcakes ready.
"Bella, what are you making?"
"You're still hungry? How do you stay so skinny?"
"They aren't for me. I mean, I'll probably steal a couple, but they aren't for me. They're for the cast, crew, and guests of Jay Leno."
"You bake? You bake cupcakes for Jay Leno?"
"It's my thing. Every time I do a talk show, I bring baked goods. I'm thinking chocolate mint for tonight."
"I know. That's what keeps me somewhat interesting. Now get over here and help me."
After the cupcakes were out of the oven and iced, I noticed Alice lusting over them. "Go on," I said as I waved the heavenly treat in front of her face. "Eat it. You know you want to. Alice…Alice..." I taunted her in a ghostly tone.
"Damn you!" she screamed at me as she snatched the cupcake out of my hand and inhaled half of it in one bite. I took one and joined her.
"Yes! I think my panties just got damp. You could've been a baker with these things. You could make a fortune."
Speaking of fortunes…
"Alice, how much did those clothes cost?"
"I don't know, fifteen, maybe twenty thousand?"
As soon as I heard the word thousand, my legs gave out and I fell to the floor. I'd never spent that much money at once, with the exception of my house. The thought of spending that much money on clothes literally made me feel sick.
"Stop it, Bella! Clothes with labels like that cost money. The first trip always cost the most. I got you basic stuff. The rest will just be icing on the cake. Besides, you got paid like nine hundred thousand dollars per episode of Halfsies for the last two seasons. Then you did I Hope They Serve Martinis in Hell, which was fucking hilarious, and you have another movie coming out. I won't even count royalties. You're set for life. You were in Forbes for Christ sakes. Relax."
"You don't understand. My family didn't have a lot of money coming up. I hate spending money when I don't think it's necessary. Do you know when I bought this house, I cried when I wrote the check? They weren't happy tears."
"This is a nice house. How much did it cost?"
"Three point fucking five million dollars," I said bitterly. I still thought I got fucked on that deal.
"You have money now. I won't make you spend too much. I promise."
"I think you're full of shit, but thanks for trying to make me feel better."
"Shit, I'm tired," I groaned.
"I know. I know. It's 4:45pm now. If you go to sleep now, you can get around forty-five minutes."
"Yay!" I screamed, channeling my inner preschooler. I ran to my room, took my pants off, and literally dove into the bed. As soon as I closed my eyelids, I felt myself drift to sleep.
Sooner rather than later, I felt a presence in my room which forced me to wake up. I did my usual, with the usual results.
"Ahhh!" Alice screamed. "What the Hell? I just walked in here to wake you up and you shot out of the bed like you were going to kill me."
I started to laugh. It had been a long time since I'd had this conversation.
"Sorry. I can't sleep with other people in the room. I know it's weird. I grew up with two older brothers who loved to pull pranks. Most of them were played on me when I was asleep. Now, I'm a very light sleeper. If a pen drops, I'll wake up. Sorry if I scared you. You said it yourself. I'm weird."
After shaking her head and laughing profusely, she told me that I needed to start getting ready. I got out of the bed to start my shower.
"Bella! Where are your pajama pants?"
"They're in the drawer. I can't sleep with pants on."
"Well, get in the shower and wash your hair. It's almost five thirty now and I've got to get you ready. You're wearing some of the clothes I got you today."
I took a shower for the second time today and tried my best to compose myself. This was going to be an important show for me. I needed to do promotions for my comedy special on HBO next week, my new movie, Time, as well as Halfsies. The arena was sold out, but I needed people to watch it from home as well. I was excited, but I was also scared shitless.
I stepped out of the shower and Alice threw me into the chair and began to work on my hair. I told her that I would be cool with just wearing my hair down and going with no makeup and she looked at me like I had slapped her. She told me she'd be "fashionably remiss" if she allowed me to do that.
After about an hour, she had given me natural makeup and had my hair in loose curls. I looked pretty. For my outfit, she had me wearing light grey skinny jeans with a white t-shirt and a dark grey leather jacket. To top it all off, she forced me to wear a pair of death traps she called shoes. They were grey high-heeled boots with studs on the front. They were cute. They were just dangerous. I looked…hot.
Turned out I didn't need that pedicure after all.
"Damn, Alice. You're a good assistant, expert shopper, AND you do hair and makeup. Is there anything you can't do?"
"I couldn't reach the bag of sugar in your cabinet when we were making cupcakes," she said aloof as she inspected my outfit. "You do look good. You're welcome."
"I think we're ready to go. Usually, they want us an hour early."
I got Captain from his room while Alice got in the car and together we made our way to the Jay Leno set.
"Are you bringing Captain with you?" she asked as she ruffled his fur. I knew they'd start to get along.
"Yeah. Normally, they have someone watch the pets. I know. I'm one of those people, but I can't leave him inside alone. He'll trash the whole house looking for food."
We talked for most of the car ride until Alice got a text on the Blackberry.
"Bella, I just got a text from someone named Rosalie. She said she'd meet us at the studio."
Ah, Rosalie Hale. Protector. Friend. Agent. These words and more described this lovely lady. She was with me when I was only a writer in an office at NBC and she had stuck with me ever since. She was the kind of girl that all the girls, and some boys, wanted to be. She was beautiful with a kick-ass body that lowered your self-esteem just by looking at her. She was twice as smart as she was pretty, too. The bitch had a heart of gold…once you got to know her at least.
"Oh, she's my agent. You'll love her. I didn't think she'd be able to make it."
"I'm excited. I've never been backstage at a talk show before. But I'd never been inside NBC Studios or a photo shoot before today, either. I'm just a small-town girl from Biloxi, Mississippi. I didn't really fit in anywhere. This whole thing is kind of surreal for me. Thanks for this opportunity."
"You earned your job, Alice, and you're doing great. You should be proud of yourself. I'm small town, too, if you haven't noticed. This is America. If you're driven and talented enough, you'll succeed."
Like I was expecting, Alice jumped over the console of the car and hugged me. "Thanks for the pep talk. You're a really cool boss. Not many celebrity assistants can say that."
"Well, you're welcome, and thanks for the compliment. Do you know who else is going to be on the show tonight?"
"Tanya Denali is the musical guest…oh, and Edward Cullen is the other guest. I understand you went to high school with him, is that right?"
"Yeah, I did," I sighed.