Loren rushed through the hallway to her locker dodging people saying "hello" and "hey Loren." She used to blend into the walls of the school, but ever since she won the contest and started dating Eddie Duran, everyone wanted to be her friend. It was frustrating and, honestly, rang shallow.
She could understand to a point. It took her weeks to stop being in awe of "Eddie Duran" the pop star. Now he was just Eddie, the boy who gave her butterflies not because he was a super star, but because he made her heart sing. The way his hand caressed her cheek, the way he held her when they had long talks on his couch, and the way he kissed her – oh the way he kissed her – all told her that he was just as crazy about her.
Loren reached her locker and quickly opened it trying to get the books she needed for her weekend homework. Her heart wouldn't stop its rapid rhythm. Eddie said he would pick her up today so they could work on some songs tonight. It was Friday, the weekend. If all went well, they would spend the weekend together working on their albums. There was only a month left of school anyway. The target date for release was the end of June for both their albums with a tour starting in July.
"So what does Mr. Fabulous have planned for you this weekend?" Mel asked with a twinkle in her eye.
"Oh, the usual, songwriting, maybe some recording, you know," Loren answered.
"So does this songwriting include some heavy making out maybe?" Mel giggled.
"Will you stop?" Loren laughed.
"So there won't be any making out?" Mel asked in a serious voice.
"Well, I didn't say that," Loren smiled.
"Hey Loren," Adam said as he walked up. "Do you mind if I steal my girl for the rest of the day?"
"You better be talking about me," Mel said.
"Of course I am," Adam said as he kissed Mel on the cheek.
"Where are you taking her?" Loren asked.
"That is a secret," Adam laughed. "I'm sure she'll tell you in a midnight phone call, but for now, it's a surprise."
"Fine, talk to you later Mel," Loren said as she hugged her best friend.
"Laters," Mel said as she hooked her arm in Adam's and started begging to know where they were going as they walked off.
"Hi, my name is Loren, and I think I am just too perfect for this school," a voice mocked from a few feet away. Adriana stared at Loren with a scowl on her face. Adriana's hate bothered Loren, and she wished it didn't. It started a few years ago. One day Adriana just stopped talking to her and even started a few horrible rumors that had swept through the school. Loren could never figure out what happened or what she did to cause it.
Adriana was without her usual mean girl entourage; now was the perfect time to ask her.
"Adriana, what did I ever do to make you hate me so much?" Loren asked with a sigh.
"Yeah, you know, you hate me now, and you didn't used to. I want to know why."
"I can't just hate you for no reason?" Adriana answered.
"Yeah, I guess you could, but we were actually friends once."
"I was delusional then," Adriana said.
"See, why do you do that?" Loren asked getting frustrated. "You take every chance to put me down."
"You think your life is so perfect," Adriana said. "Especially now that you're with Eddie. How you have him fooled I don't know."
"I never said I was perfect," Loren said.
"You don't have to," Adriana said swinging her hair mocking Loren. "Your life is perfect; your music is perfect, even your mom is perfect. Nobody can live with so much perfection."
"What does my mom have to do with this?" Loren asked.
Adriana's eyes squinted as if she was trying to decide something. Loren had no idea what Adriana was talking about.
"You really don't know, do you?" Adriana asked.
Adriana's face revealed nothing now. She shook her head slightly as if she had decided something.
"Nothing," Adriana said, "Forget about it, ok?"
"No," Loren said as she stepped up and grabbed Adriana's arm, "Let's settle this right now. Tell me what I don't know."
"Whatevs, Loren," Adriana said pulling her arm away. "There's nothing to tell. Just go on with your pathetic music and go try to be a star." Adriana started to walk off, but stopped and said, "I hope you crash and burn so you can learn what it's like to face disappointment. Perfection has a price."
Loren watched as Adriana caught up with Kim and the rest of her group down the hallway. What did Adriana mean when she said Loren didn't know? She was holding something back. Loren looked at her watch and realized it was now ten minutes passed dismissal. She slammed her locker and ran down the hall to the front of the school.
The sun blinded her as she stood on the front walk of the school and looked for Eddie's car. She shielded her eyes with her hand and for a brief moment panicked. At some point she knew she was going to wake up from this dream. The song contest, the record contract, Eddie, it was all an illusion – a fantasy of her mind. It had to be. How else could she explain it?
Just as fear started to creep in, she saw it. The passenger window was rolling down as Loren allowed a smile to spread across her face. She grabbed the strap of her backpack slung over her shoulder and ran to the familiar black car. Sliding into the passenger she let out a "yelp" as a pair of strong hands grabbed her waist and pulled her to the driver side of the car.
"Hi beautiful," Eddie said as he kissed her neck.
The giggle that escaped Loren's lips ended up sounding like a sigh as Eddie kissed his way to her ear.
"I missed you today," Eddie said as he finally lifted his head and smiled.
"Me too," Loren said as she sat back into the passenger seat and tried to control her breathing. "Precalculus just isn't as interesting as you."
"Thanks for the compliment," Eddie laughed.
"It's the truth," Loren said. "So, what are we doing?"
"How do you feel about a road trip?"
"A road trip?" Loren asked. "Where?"
"Just somewhere we can spend some time working on these songs in solitude."
"Eddie," Loren said trying not to worry. "Is the record label putting pressure on you?"
"On us, actually," Eddie said with a laugh. Eddie's laugh always made Loren smile. It was his way of telling her not to worry. "They'll get the songs when they're ready."
"Ok," Loren said. "But do you really think my mom is going to let me go away for the weekend?"
"Don't worry about Nora," Eddie said as put the car in drive. "Pops is going to be keeping her busy."
"Ah, was that part of the plan?" Loren giggled.
Eddie winked. "Something like that. Let's swing by your place so you can get some things and then we'll go."
"You won't even give me a hint?" Loren asked.
Eddie chewed on his bottom lip then said, "Pack a bikini."