Last time: Tricked by the Boys of Summer into a faerie wishing castle, the girls each made a wish, some wiser ones than others.
Part Four (of Nine)
Two Months Later…
“Marina!” they all cried. “Marina! Here! Look at me!”
Marina stepped out of the limousine in her trademark white minidress, heels matching, hair perfect, makeup everything a teen idol primadonna bubblegum bitch needs it to be. Even as she smiled to the crowd behind the velvet ropes, the Electric Heart pulsed with entropy-arresting energy, keeping every skin cell young and forbidding wrinkles from even thinking of forming. It also made twinkly sparks around her that would have made the Cullenist of Edwards jealous.
Ever since Marina had rescued the big name director from the machete-wielding Hollywood assassin Studio Cut and been repaid with a starring role in his next film, the nineteen year old diva had become the toast of America. She had performed at the Nickelodeon Teen Whim Awards (because waiting a year for the next Teen Choice Awards had become too long). She was the musical guest on SNL and did a hilarious sketch with Alec Baldwin spoofing Nabokov’s Lolita. She recorded a single, “Electric Heart,” which she claimed was only the first in a cycle of autobiographic songs. She started dying her golden blonde hair black and then bleaching it back to get that bottle blonde bad roots look.
Something inside her told her this was all a big mistake, and that made her love it all the more.
Marina waved at her fans as she walked down the carpet into the Nell Brinkley Fashion Pavilion. Today she was joining several of the world’s youngest up-and-coming models for a fashion show and photo shoot showcasing “The New Heartbreaker.”
The Electric Heart kept her feet a few inches above the ground as she literally walked on air.
“Marina! Here! I love you!” cried a voice from the crowd. Marina turned to wave just in time to see an almost familiar man in a grubby raincoat raise a handgun and aim it at her.
There was a muzzle flash of light as he fired.
There was something in the way Cassidy smiled at her, when he smiled, that Kate just couldn’t get over.
Literally. She tried. Day after day, she tried, but she couldn’t get over it. He would smile, and all the sensible thoughts she had accumulated would melt right out of her head.
The rest of the time she just hated him as much as she loved him, and she was determined to hold her own.
They were at a party with his friends Donnie and Frankie and a bunch of other couples with whom she had nothing in common with. All the girls were prettier and more interesting than Kate. The conversation seemed to be about American Idol. Again.
“Wonder if Marina’s going to guest host,” Frankie said.
“I just love her!” cooed the girl who kept giving Cassidy the eye.
“I used to work with her,” Kate said, trying to fit into the conversation with the best story she had. “In fact, I was the one who recruited her for the, um, Tesla Girls.”
“She was a Tessa Girl?” the girl who obviously didn’t even like to eat asked.
“Tesla Girl,” Kate corrected to no one’s interest. Cassidy wasn’t even listening, just checking out the flirt-girl’s bottom. “It’s a funny story,” Kate continued. “You see… she had invented this, um, emotion controlled robot, but she hadn’t actually attached the feeling inputs to anything, so it, uh, just kept picking up on whatever people around it were… thinking…”
Kate realized that Cassidy had that look in his eyes where he was bored and coming up with something to say.
“I was the one who suggested she attach it to her, um, heart.”
“Good move,” Cassidy said, taking the pause at the end of Kate’s story as the perfect time to drop it. “Nothing so stable to connect something dangerous to than a teenager’s emotions, am I right?”
The girl everybody thinks so fine laughed and opened the door for everyone else. Kate blushed with humiliation.
“Oh, intelligent input, darling,” she snarked back. “Why don’t you go have another beer then? I’ll just read a book instead.” Kate turned from the sudden awkward silence and stomped to the bedroom where her coat was on the bed with her favorite paperback of Roald Dahl short stories.
“Bitch,” Cassidy said as she walked away, but Kate didn’t care.
She wouldn’t until he smiled at her again.
Dear God, Kate prayed to anyone who would answer to the name, I hope I’m not stuck with this one.
“Go away, I’m busy.”
Whoever was at the door knocked again. “It’s Cliff,” whoever it was said.
“Go away,” Emilie started, not looking up from the device on the desk in front of her. One of her plague rats crawled up her arm to her shoulder and hissed at the interruption.
“…you’re busy, I know,” Cliffhanger said as he walked through the door that Emilie just realized she should have locked.
“I’m not interested in a team-up,” Emilie said in her most dismissive voice.
“I’m not either,” Cliff said, and he sounded almost miserable enough to get her attention. Almost.
“You know,” Emilie said as she continued bending the tiny copper tape into perfectly balanced springs, “it’s all in the semantics.”
“Oh?” Cliff asked, walking closer and looking over Emilie’s shoulder at the gearwork.
“I wished that I could figure out how to prove them wrong. I didn’t wish to know how. I didn’t even wish that I would figure it out. I wished that I could. So I know I can. I just haven’t yet.”
“You know you haven’t left your lab in three weeks, right?” Cliff asked. “Meg is out of her head worried.” Emilie’s girlfriend Meg calling over and over again was the second biggest distraction to finding a solution to the wish magic that had torn the Tesla Girls apart. The first was the love-lorn Cliffhanger.
“Meg is out of her head normally. I’ve got to solve this.”
“You don’t have to solve it all at once,” Cliff said, putting one leather-gloved hand on Emilie’s rat-free shoulder.
“DON’T TOUCH ME!” Emilie screamed as she turned in one motion and backhanded Cliff in the face. He stumbled back, as hurt by the fact of the blow as by the blow itself.
“Oh, God, I’m sorry, Cliffie,” she immediately recanted. “I… I just have to do this. I… I’m their only hope.”
“No,” Cliff said, his mouth twisting into a shape Emilie vaguely remembered, “you’re not.” Despite the trickle of blood running down the corner of it, it was most definitely a grin.
To be continued…
© 2013 by Douglass Barre, All Rights Reserved.