Kayla Tanner. Have you heard of me? It’s more than likely, I’m famous all over the world. Still doesn’t ring a bell? Well let me refresh your memory. I’m a world renowned country/pop star. Right now, I’m in London, England. Oh yes, I forgot to say I’m only twelve. I’m officially the youngest pop star ever to tour the world.
My parents, Lindsay and Michael Tanner, are super famous movie actors, and are always either practising their lines for their newest sure-to-be-a-blockbuster movie, or going on dates for weeks at a time in some rare exotic place. When they’re off on one of their excursions, I’m in charge of my three little brothers, who are triplets and in the phase where they are halfway potty trained, but still need to use diapers. They have been in that phase for two months, and I’m sick of changing stinky, poop filled diapers. I also have six older brothers who are obsessed with sports. I’m so glad I’m in London.
Anyway, back to me. If you still don’t know who I am, well let me describe myself to you. I have glossy blond hair that reaches down to my waist, because I haven’t cut it since the third grade, and shining blue eyes that mother says looks like the ocean on a warm summer day.
I have a beautiful singing voice that my fans describe as, “So sweet it it will melt your heart away.” Anyway, right now as I said before, I’m in London. I’m in my (very fancy) hotel suite, getting ready for my next show. Lucy, my manager, is running around, making sure everything is ready. Her bee’s nest hairstyle, which is covered in hairspray, wobbles around on top of her head. Right now I can see it bobbing up and down the rows of dresses and crazy outfits my designers want me to wear. They look pretty ugly to me, but I’m sure that I can make them look fabulous.
I stretch out on the patio chair I’m sitting on. The balcony of my hotel room looks out over London’s busy city. The people look so small as they rush around town going on errands, and meeting friends for lunch. All of a sudden, I realize that what I need is a vacation.
I jump off the deck chair and throw open the sliding glass door. I put my fingers to my mouth and whistle one long, shrill, sound that makes everyone in the room freeze and look over at me. I look around, making sure everyone’s eyes are on me. Then I toss my hair, and announce, “I want to stay on Auntie Jamie’s farm this summer.” Immediately, there is an eruption of voices yelling over one another.
“Are you sure Kayla?”
“What about your plans to go to Paris, Kayla?”
“But you need to work on your vocal skills over the summer!”
They are sooo annoying. “I have changed all my plans. Now someone tell me when the next flight is to Colorado.” I spin on my heel, and stalk back outside to my deck chair.
The airport is crowded. There are the usual huge mobs that follow me everywhere, the reporters, cameramen, fans. As I said, the typical crowd. But there are also lines and lines of people with luggage in every shape, size and color. I can see one lady with a hairdo almost as high as Lucy’s standing in line at a Burger King kiosk. She’s wearing a cute, navy blue pant suit, and towing an oversized denim bag covered in travel stickers. But next to her, there is a tall skinny man, whose clothes are hanging off his bony structure. He is sitting on an ugly brown truck that looks like it belongs in Harry Potter. “Kayla!” Lucy snaps her fingers in front of my face. “Don’t stare, and pick up the pace or we’ll miss the flight!” Lucy’s grumpy because she wanted me to get to the plane through the private entrance, but I insisted on going through the public entrance. I make a face at her.
“Remember Lucy, you aren’t allowed to text me, call me, email me, write to me or talk to me through my Bluetooth. This is MY vacation, and I don’t want all your problems interrupting me.” Lucy rolls her eyes, and leads me into a little area filled with uncomfortable looking chairs, and shoves the press away.
“Okay check in with the flight attendant when you arrive in Colorado, and she’ll bring you to where you’ll be meeting your aunt.” I grab my bag from her and stalk away into the cold tunnel that leads to my new summer, tossing a small
“See ya later Lucy” over my shoulder.
The seats Lucy bought for the flight were first class, and right up front. There was a stewardess that stood near the door with a tray of food, ready to rush over and serve someone the minute they asked. The seats were plush blue, and each pulled out into a little bed. “For your comfort!” the too cheery captain said with a huge smile as he demonstrated how to use all the boring equipment. There are five more people in first class, a smartly dressed man with a serious face who might be a mayor, a young lady with extremely high heels, an old women who smells of mothballs and looks like she was just sucking on a lemon, and in the back, sits the woman with the tall hair - with her arms around the tall skinny guy with the ugly trunk!. I sit down in my chair, and stare out the small window next to the headrest. I watch planes take off for a few minutes, until the captain comes back, and tells us to fasten our seatbelts, the plane is leaving in one minute. “And thank you so much for flying with us!” he backs out and I hear him telling the passengers in the back to fasten their seatbelts, and keep quite because “Kayla Tanner is right up front.” I hear a squeal, and then a bunch of “Shhhhs!”
An hour into the two hour flight, I hear little feet pattering up the aisle. “ ‘scuse me.” A little voice says. I turn my head from where I was watching a movie on my tablet to see a little girl with curly brown hair, dimples and an irresistibly cute hopeful smile on her little cheeks. “I wanted to give you dis,” she says “It’s a picture I drew of you playing with me at the playground at my school.” I look at the paper
“See? You’re pushing me on the swing and we are both laughing.” She smiles at me shyly “Do you like it?” The picture she is showing me, is covered in purple squiggles and lines, but I can make out the scene she described - vaguely.
“I love it!” I lean over and give her a big hug. “You already know my name, but what’s yours?” She grins and says in an important voice
“My name is Elizabeth Addison Richison and I’m 5 and a half years old!”
“Elizabeth! There you are, I was so worried don’t ever run off like that again!” Her father comes up and scoops her into his arms, and covers her in kisses.
“Daddy!” Elizabeth shrieks, giggling. “Stop it daddy! I was just talk in to Kayla Tanner!” Her dad tickles her stomach and smiles at me.
“Nice to meet you Kayla!” I force a smile and say
“Nice to meet you to sir, you have a wonderful daughter.” He smiles and Elizabeth hands me her drawing. Together they walk back to their seats, the father still holding his daughter and tickling her all the way. I realize everyone else in first class is staring at me. I glare around, making sure I meet everyone’s eyes, “What?” I snarl and they all turn away. I shove the picture into the back pocket of my jeans, lean back into my seat, and fall asleep.
I wake up to the sound of the captain’s voice over the loudspeaker, telling us the plane is landing. I yawn and stretch and gather my stuff to prepare to exit the plane, just as there’s a jolt of the wheels touching the runway in Colorado. I realize that this the start of my real, normal summer.
I walk through the tunnel connecting the plane to the airport, and step into the bright lights of the Colorado airport. The area we enter smells like someone went a little crazy with the cleaning fluid and is crammed with people looking rumpled from the long flight. I spot the stewardess I’m supposed to meet, and head over. “Hi I’m Kayla Ta-”
“Omigod!!!” the stewardess squeals. “You’re Kayla Tanner! I can’t believe I’m finally meeting you! I know everything about you! I know where you live, what your favorite color is, how old you are, where you buy your groceries, and what color underwear you are wearing!!” I take a few steps back. “I also know who your best friend is and how many peop-”
“Okay! Okay! You are officially on my stalker list!” I look around and spot my aunt Jamie trying to peer over the crowds to find me. “Aunt Jamie! over here!” Her bleached blond hair swings around as her tan face breaks into a big grin.
“Kayla! See if you can get over here, I’m not making any progress.”
“That shouldn’t be any trouble.” I mutter to myself. I take a few steps toward the still grinning flight attendant and whisper in her ear. Her face lights up and she strolls importantly forward.
“Make way people! Make way Kayla Tanner is coming through!” The crowd parts, leaving me a clear path straight to my aunt.
“Hey Aunt Jamie, I’ve missed you.” I give her a quick hug and kiss her on both cheeks.
“Oh Kayla darling, I’ve missed you to!” She smells like barnyard, and pie. “I made cherry pie, your favorite, you can have a slice when we get home.” I grin and take her hand as we head out of the airport.
Driving down the road winding away from the airport, I rest my head on the passenger side window and stare out at the rolling hills and golden fields of swaying wheat. The sun is just starting to set, and it casts an orange glow over everything. We drive past small ranches with old fences tumbling down, gray stone walls crumbling down onto the long over grown grass. It’s all so beautiful and silent, I feel like I’ve lived here my whole life.
We pull into the gravel drive that leads up to the small yellow house covered in vines and flowers. We hop out of the SUV, and I run into the house. Aunt Jamie comes in grunting and lugging my overstuffed duffel bag in one hand and pulling my suitcase in the other. I smile and brush past her into the kitchen. “You can put those in my bedroom, and hurry, I’m hungry.” She heads upstairs and I sit at the table and wait patiently for her to come down.
After we finish eating pie, Aunt Jamie asks me to go into the den and wait for her while she does the dishes. “Okay.” I eyed her carefully, and walked out of the kitchen. I sit on the well worn couch, and cross my feet at the ankle. Three minutes later, Aunt Jamie walks in wiping her hands on her apron. “Sorry to keep you waiting, Kayla.” I just smile politely. “So I need to tell you something really important.” She sits on the floor by my feet. “Do you remember when you were three, and I came to visit?” I did.
“Yeah, but it was boring for me, because Mother wouldn’t let you see me.” I had thought it was strange, but I knew better than to argue with mother.
“Well,” Aunt Jamie said. “She had a reason for that.” Aunt Jamie squirmed. “You see, well, I um.” I sighed “You what?” A silence “She was worried.”
“About me?” I’m confused. “No, about me.” Aunt Jamie tries to smile. Now I’m even more confused. “Why would she be worried about you?”
“She was worried I would take you away.”
“Kayla. You have a right to know this.”
“Know what?” I’m getting frustrated. “Just tell me!”
“Kayla - you are my daughter.”
I’ve been running through the woods behind Aunt Jamie’s house for twenty minutes, stopping every now and again to catch my breath. After Aunt Jamie told me about me being her daughter, I had laughed, thinking it was a joke, but Aunt Jamie was dead serious. “I… I don’t believe you.” I had said, tears coming to my eyes. “You’re lying, you just wish I was your daughter, because I’m so rich and famous.” Aunt Jamie looks sad.
“Please Kayla, just accept it.” She reaches out to touch me, but I jerk away. A hurt expression flashes across her face, but she quickly pastes on a smile. “How about you go upstairs and change out of your travel clothes, and then we can talk about this more.” I’m about to cry like a baby.
“No!” I yell, “I don’t want to talk about this more! I don’t care what you say, you were never my mother and you never will be so just leave me alone!” I run out of the house, and start through the woods. That’s where I am now.
I stop running, and look around. I’m in a small clearing, at the base of a large hill. I’m exhausted from running so much, but manage to drag my feet up the hill. At the top, I find a place with tall grass, and curl up to cry.
I must have fallen asleep, because I wake up to a loud rumbling sound. The ground beneath me is trembling, and I can hear a tree fall deeper into the woods. I realize that I have no idea where I am, or how to get back to Aunt Jamie’s house. Dirt starts tumbling down the side of the hill, and I realize that I’ve got to get off the hill. “Help!” I scream. I walk a few steps, but the ground slides out from under me, and I leap back.
“Kayla?” I hear a voice calling me.
“Aunt Jamie?” I call, peering around the clearing .
“I’m coming honey! Stay there!” I finally spot her on the other side of the clearing. I take a few steps, and then I’m falling. “Kayla!” The last thing I’m aware of is Aunt Jamie running towards me, and searing pain in my left leg.
Swirling colors spiral around. Rainbow patterns jump and black and white spots bounce. Voices laugh, and sing. Beckoning for me to join them. Suddenly there are warm bodies pressing around me. The voices are still singing, and the bodies dance in circles. I laugh and join them, breaking the ring just long enough for me to grasp the hands of the bodies on either side of me. I skip in time with the music, dancing and laughing, and surrounded by people who are just as happy as I am. Then I hear another voice, and the world around me bursts into flames. Everything shrivels and disappears. Everything but the voice. I scream as the happy music, and dancing people explode. Then everything is silent, and I hear what it says. “No time… No time… No Time… No time… No time…” Then I wake up.
I look around my room. Everything is still there, my bookshelves filled with worn and tattered books, my gauzie yellow curtains and my fuzzy white shag rug. I glance out my window. No paparazzi, and no managers holding clipboards. Just the pond, and the thin line of trees bordering our yard. I sigh in relief. I’m not a pop star. My parents are just my parents, and I only have one, sweet little brother. It was all a dream. It was all a dream. I feel a twinge of sadness that I’m not world famous, but brush it away.
“Kayla!” My mother’s sweet voice drifts into the room. “Time for breakfast!” I hop out of bed, and slip my feet into my fuzzy slippers.
“Coming!” I walk into the kitchen.
“Kayla! Kayla!” My little brother, Charlie bounces around my feet. “It’s a snow day, let’s go outside!” I smile
“Just a minute Charlie, let me eat my breakfast.” I sit at the table and dig into a plate of waffles.
Twenty minutes later, Charlie and I have our snow things on. “Ready?” I ask him.
“Yup, let’s go!” We run outside, and I enjoy the rest of the day, with my family.