Some Kind of Superstar: Part Five
I run as fast as I can towards Nathalie’s house and pound on the doorbell.
“I got in!” I scream the instant she opens the door.
“Yes!” she cheers, punching the air triumphantly. “Dad!” she shouts over her shoulder. “Kris got the part! I told you she would!” She grins smugly as she turns to face me again. “He bet me a hundred Neopoints that they’d go for someone with more experience. So now you’ve got the part, and I’ve got a hundred Neopoints!” I cheer along with her like it’s a big deal. We both know a hundred Neopoints isn’t, but I’m not saying so. I think she knows, but she wants to feel like she’s got something too.
“Celebratory shopping trip,” I order. “Meet me at Neopia Central tomorrow at twelve, with Neopoints, Neocash and good walking shoes.”
“It’s a deal,” she replies, equally firmly.
We end up going into Pizzaroo first. We order a pizza to share and chatter away about my getting on Caulfield Lane.
“I just cannot believe you got that part!” Nathalie squeals as she sips at her milkshake.
“Tell the whole world, why don’t you,” I mutter, leaning close and whispering. “We’re not meant to broadcast it to everybody. I don’t want everybody to know. Plus they’re only going to release it officially with all the other info for the new season of the show.”
“O-kay.” She grins. Nathalie can’t shut her mouth about it, though. She brings up my casting twice before the pizza arrives, three times while we’re eating, and even while she’s paying for the pizza she whispers in a sing-song voice, “You got on Caulfield Lane!”
“Caulfield Lane, did you say?” asks the dude behind the counter. He’s a Disco Pteri with several piercings and dyed streaks in his feathers. “Nice one, kid. I’ll make sure I watch this week’s episode.” He grins at me as he hands Nathalie her change.
“It probably won’t be on this week. It can take almost a month to film one episode, or so I’m told. Look for me in about six weeks’ time.”
“What’s your name? So I can look in the credits and know you’re in.” The Pteri winks roguishly at me.
“Kristen,” I reply, flattered by his attention. I’ll probably get a lot more of this once I’m actually on the show, but to have this admiration even when I’m not on it yet is special.
“Kristen, Caulfield Lane superstar,” he says, curving the words somehow to give them a very majestic sound. He could be announcing the arrival of King Hagan at Skarl’s court. “Got a bit of a ring to it.” He flashes me another of those toothy grins. The attention is getting a little unnerving, bit I’ll get used to it. Plus it’s kind of nice to have people taking notice of me.
The shopping trip’s a complete and utter success. Nathalie and I go to dozens of shops in the marketplace, often not buying anything and just fingering through the dresses, shirts, makeup, furniture, toys and books we find. Nathalie picks up several bargains on books, managing to get a bookcase for them into the bargain, while I go for an all-out splurge on stuff to decorate my trailer once I move in. Posters; a few beanbags; super-flashy curtains; a 100% washable pen for my Slorg. I’m going to take him with me, provided it’s allowed. Otherwise I’ll visit him and Mum on weekends.
It’s going to be lonely without her. I’ve never really been apart from her for long periods of time; school camps, holidays on Mystery Island with her sister Kerrisala, but nothing apart from that. It’ll be strange without that shoulder to cry on, very strange. I don’t know how I’ll be able to live apart from her. I hope I’ll get used to it. I’ll have to. It would be a bit of a shame to make it into Caulfield Lane, have everything finalized, and have to give it all up because I got homesick. I’ll just have to do without her.
We wind up going home earlier than our seven p.m. deadline because it’s getting really chilly. Nathalie and I walk down the street to her place; it’s closer than mine, plus I like walking on my own sometimes. Living at the studios, it’s going to be hard to get any privacy. Especially if I’m sharing a trailer with somebody. Now that’s going to be interesting. If I get a roommate – or two – that will be very interesting indeed. I don’t share rooms very well. Even at camps, I insist on everybody getting out of the bathroom when I’m using it to brush my teeth, my hair; whatever. And don’t even think about staying up late and talking when I’m in your cabin! I shout at anybody who even whispers.
“Well, I’ll see you later then,” says Nathalie, opening a low gate. The house behind is a nice-looking place; larger than mine, but I can hear other Neopets playing in the back yard; siblings, I assume. I’m an only pet, so my house is smaller.
“Bye, Nathalie.” I wave and she waves back as she walks up the driveway. I hear her distant shout of ‘Dad, I’m home!’ as I cross the road and go down a side street. Hopefully Mum’s got the neomail from the casting people by now. With that in mind, I give up walking and take to the skies. My wings spread out, catching the sunlight and glowing like they’ve been painted with purple highlighter. I can’t help laughing; the fiery light’s so warm on my skin, juxtaposed with the cold air rushing over me as I fly. Then I sober. This is something else I’m not going to have when I’m filming. There’s no sunlight in the underground cave where the studios are, only massive fluorescent lamps. I can’t believe I haven’t thought about this before. I’m going to have to give up so much to achieve my dream! But I suppose that’s part of growing up, when you’re ready to lose things that mean so much to you, so you can get something that may be better or not. And it’s not like I’m losing it permanently or anything. It’s just a short walk through the maze between the studios and the Arts Centre.
My thoughts carry me all the way back home, where I touch down without bothering to slow, roughing up the turf. I ignore it; there are several other skid marks around this lawn. I dash into the house, dumping my purchases over a chair.
“Mum! Mum, have the studios neomailed yet?” I ask excitedly, shouting it through the house at full volume.
“I think you ruptured my eardrum,” says Mum, from just behind me. I grimace and turn around. She’s washing the window next to the door and less than ten feet from me. She’s wincing in pain and holding a hand to the ear facing me.
“Sorry,” I apologize, without any meaning behind it. “Now have the studios neomailed or not?” I’m bouncing up and down on my feet, almost as restless as when I was auditioning for the very first time. It’s unbelievable, but that was less than two weeks ago. Two weeks and that’s all! In two weeks I went from ordinary Neoschoolkid to an actress on one of the most popular shows on Neovision!
“Yes, they have. You’re moving in tomorrow. They’re got a trailer all set out for you. You’ll be sharing with another girl on Caulfield Lane.” Mum hands me a sheet of scribbled notes that looks like they were taken down on a roller coaster, but I guess she was just too busy to write them properly. I glance down the sheet and find my roommate’s name. Seth. That’s weird; I thought that was usually a guy’s name. Oh well. She’s probably been told that a thousand times by now.
My new trailer is very weird, with definite presence of its other occupant, this girl named Seth. Posters are stuck up everywhere, mostly of a punk rock band I don’t recognize. Her clothes are scattered everywhere, from jumpers to socks to shirts to hair ornaments. These are mostly black with little jagged silver bits in them. In fact, everything is mostly back with little jagged silver bits. Everything is black with little jagged silver bits. It’s like everything has been made from the same cloth. Apart from variations between fabrics, of course. I dump my bag on the unused foldout bed at the back and try to look at something other than her clothes. There’s a tiny bathroom at the back, making the inside of the trailer three feet shorter than it should be to make space. We’ve got a miniature fridge; the tiniest I’ve ever seen, with a cupboard next to it. There’s a sink set into the counter above the cupboard.
“Hey, you the new girl on Caulfield Lane?” asks a rough, moderately deep female voice from behind me. I spin and knock my head most uncoolly on a light fitting protruding from the ceiling.
“Yeah,” I reply, rubbing my head. “I’m Kristen. Call me Kris.” I add my preferred, shorter name as quickly as possible so there’s no chance she’ll think of me as Kristen.
“I’m Seth,” says the newcomer, adding with a grin. “Call me Seth.” Seth is a Ghost Kyrii wearing – guess what – black clothes with little jagged silver bits. There’s a slightly larger jagged silver bit stuck through her ear, a bizarre kind of piercing. But it suits her, I guess. It goes with the dark makeup with little silver highlights.
“Who do you play?” I ask, moving away from the door to let Seth in. It’s hard, because it’s seriously cluttered in here; my not-yet-unpacked stuff in boxes, and all of Seth’s junk strewn over the floor.
“I’m Keri,” says Seth. “The rebel one who stays out until four in the morning? Fails school, sarcastic, hangs out with rough pets? Hates her parents and pretty much everybody else too?” I shrug. “Don’t you watch the show you’re in?” She shakes her head incredulously.
“Nope,” I grin. “I actually find it appallingly dull and boring. No offence, of course.”
“Hmm...” Seth appears to think this over. “Good for you!” she cheers at last. “I’ve always thought that. And everybody else is like, ‘No, it’s fascinating, can’t you see the intense social drama and moral issues it raises?’ And I say, ‘No, all I see is a load of idiots who can’t sort out who they want to have kids with.’”
“So true!” I gasp. “It’s like I say, ‘Sitting in your living room, watching other people sitting in their living room is just stupid’.”
“That’s so good! You thought of that? I’ll have to remember that.” Seth sits down on one of my boxes. “Sorry!” she gasps, leaping up again. “Is this one of yours? I’ve been on my own for so long, I’m used to sitting on everything.”
“Yeah, it’s mine,” I say, subtly looking it over and checking for damage. It appears to have escaped Seth’s brief rest without incident.
“Want some help unpacking? Just chuck your stuff wherever. Floor, chairs, my bed, I don’t care.” Seth opens up a box and pulls out a pair of jeans. “Like so.” She proceeds to ‘put them away’ by dropping them next to her feet. “Actually... anything breakable in here?” I shake my head no. “Good.” She grabs the box and empties it in one move onto the floor. “Congratulations, you’ve moved in.” She reaches out a hand and I shake it. I like the sound of that. Moved in. Moved in to the Neovision studios.
To be continued...