I entered my science class the next day and stumbled toward my seat in the back, next to Ria. I was in no mood whatsoever to be back in school. Not now that I knew my school was haunted and that only I could see the ghost that roamed the halls. I couldn’t get the girl with the curly hair out of my head all night and when my mind wasn’t on her it was on the twelve-year-old science fiction loving ghost, resulting in two hours of rough sleep.
“You okay?” Ria asked as I sat down. “You don’t look so good.”
“Nightmares,” I lied sleepily, pulling out my binder. “Tons of them.”
“Is it your ESP working up?” Ria asked, half-serious.
I bit my lip and shook my head. I wasn’t even comfortable with the fact that I could see ghosts. I didn’t want to bring Ria into my troubles as well.
Mr. Fisher, the science teacher, bored us all stupid with his lecture of the Periodic Table and the different elements. I tried to take my usual notes, but wasn’t able to really focus. Not only was I too distracted by all the undead stuff going on, but I was completely exhausted. Maybe I would grab a soda during break or something.
It turned out that I didn’t need the caffeine. Half-way through class, I was woken up completely by a scream. I snapped out of my torpor at once, thinking it was more ghosts, but it turned out not to be that kind of scream. It was high-pitched girly scream of delight coming from the other end of the classroom by a girl who was staring at someone who just came in the door.
“I’m so sorry,” said a strangely-familiar voice through the doorway. “It seems I’m a little on the late side.”
My insides froze. I remembered that voice. I’d heard it only a few nights ago! At the pizza bar! Oh, no! Please! Don’t tell me that that voice did, indeed, belong to …
“I don’t believe it!” squealed the girl who had cried out. “It’s … it’s AQUADEUS!”
Aquadeus, the popular singing sensation himself, was leaning causally in the doorway of the classroom. He was dressed plainly in jeans and a white shirt, but was over accessorized with chains hanging near his belt, at least five necklaces, and gaudy sliver rings. Girls rose out of their desks in amazement and threw themselves at Aquadeus and he would have been trampled if Mr. Fisher hadn’t come to the rescue, throwing himself before the girls and shielding him.
“Everyone, EVERYONE!” Mr. Fisher bellowed. “Settle down! Settle down this instant! Get back into your seats! Get back I say! Get back now or it’s detention for the whole class!”
“Easy, easy,” said Aquadeus behind him. “Slow down now, girls, there’s no need to get over excited. And please, Teach, take it easy. The whole class isn’t up, don’t punish them all.”
That was true. I was one of only five people who had remained in their seats. Three of them were boys, who were staring at the mob and looking dumbstruck. The last person to remain still was a girl with long hair that was a violent shade of orange, who was too absorbed in coloring a white T-shirt with a yellow highlighter.
It took almost twenty-minutes to get everyone back in their seats, when they finally settled down, a flustered and suddenly exhausted looking Mr. Fisher cleared his throat at the head of the classroom.
“Now, ladies and gentlemen, as you have clearly seen we … we have … a … new student,” he said it like he was forcing himself to deliver the worst news ever.
“WHAT!” cried Kitty Cormack, the cheer captain. “You … you mean …!”
Aquadeus smirked just like he had back in the pizza bar. “That’s right,” he said. “Starting today I am the newest student here at Ammonville High. The name is Cameron Tithe, but you can call me …”
“AQUADEUS!” yelled Samantha Scully, another cheerleader, to tumultuous applause.
I buried my head in my arms. Aquadeus, the rock star, coming to my town and going to my school! It was ridiculous! Didn’t famous people only ever live in big cities like New York and Los Angelus? What the heck was he doing here!?
Aquadeus came over and sat just in front of the orange-haired girl, so that he stared directly at me. He eyed me with those violet eyes and winked cheekily at me. I wanted to disappear with the embarrassment. The rest of science class was a complete waste of time. Everybody’s undivided attention was on Aquadeus, and I had to endure Ria sitting next to me and saying, “I got this close to touching him, Gina. This close!”
The news that a rock star was going to our high school spread like wildfire. By midday, there were cars parked completely around the school, filled with all types of people, even some of the parents, trying to catch of glimpse of him. The police even had to show up and keep them from all bursting into the school.
Personally, I thought we could use a few officers on the inside of the school too. Almost every single girl in the school was ready to kill to get a chance to touch him. But Aquadeus had come prepared with five body guards that shielded him from the more crazy of them all. But just by looking at him, you would have thought that Aquadeus was merely taking a leisurely stroll in the park. His bodyguards cleared a path for him from class to class and he would wave politely at the screaming, clawing, crying fan girls that surrounded him.
As I was trying to avoid the guy, I had it easy. Everyone else was following him; I was able to make it to my classes in almost empty hallways. I made Ria come with me, even though she didn’t like it.
“I just want his autograph this time!” Ria wailed. “When we saw him at the pizza bar I just stared at him, gawking like an idiot! Do you think there’s any chance he’d even remember us?”
“I don’t really care,” I admitted. “Why? Why did he have to come HERE!? To Ammonville? It doesn’t make any sense.”
“Who CARES why he’s here?” Ria said, exasperated. “All that matters is that he IS here. In our school! It’s a dream come true! This has got to be the most exciting thing that ever happened to this forsaken little town.”
“But I like the fact that our town is little,” I said, wistfully. “I like that it’s quiet here. Now it’s going to be filled up with paparazzi and crazy people trying to get a look at Aquadeus,” I made little finger quote marks around his name. “And I don’t know if I like him very much.”
“What!?” Ria exploded. “Gina, babe, you have his CD!”
“That was before I met him and found out how arrogant he is,” I replied.
Ria sighed. “What am I going to do with you? I just don’t know how you can be so negative about this. Where’s your spunk gone these days?”
I sighed. She was right. After meeting Aaron and all this ghost hoo-ha that’s been happening in my life, I definitely did feel a little less like myself. The rock star’s surprise appearance in my hometown was just adding to my negativity.
At lunch, Ria and I got our food and sat as far from Cameron “Aquadeus” as possible. He was sitting near the front of the huge room, surrounded by his guards, but all he seemed to be eating was a Tootsie Roll Pop.
“He’s got a massive love of sweets,” Ria explained as she watched him from afar, her eyes all dreamy. “In his bio on the official Aquadeus website, it says that he always eats at least one candy bar before going on stage and his favorite sweets include Tootsie Roll Pops, Skittles, Pay Days, and Butterfingers!”
“It’s a miracle he’s not fat,” I grumbled, setting my plate with a slice of pizza and a bottle of pop on the far table.
“Oh, it’s not fair!” whined Ria. “If I could just get close enough to ask him if he remembers me…!”
I just let her rant. She could fan girl all over Aquadeus all she wanted, but I wouldn’t have to join her. Wanting to look someplace other than at that show-off, I looked around the cafeteria, looking for something to distract me enough to lift my spirits.
When I looked over toward the vending machines, I almost choked on my pizza. Standing near the machine was the curly haired girl…and she was talking to a guy nearby! What was more, the guy was talking back. Did that mean…maybe she wasn’t a ghost after all?
“Ria!” I cried, taking my friend’s arm and spinning her around to look at the girl.
“Wh-wh-what?” said Ria, her mind still half on Aquadeus. “What is it?”
“That girl! By the vending machine! With the curly black hair…do you see her?”
Ria looked over and seemed to understand what I was asking of her. “Huh? Oh, are you talking about Corrine?”
“You…you know her?” I asked.
“Yeah,” said Ria. “She’s in my algebra class. She transferred to this school after Christmas.”
“Really?” I said. What did this mean? Was she not a ghost after all? But then how could she walk through a wall?
“Yeah, Corrine Mathis. She got kicked out of her old, private school because her disorder made her grades drop too low,” Ria told me.
“Narcolepsy,” Ria explained. “She falls asleep at random times. I’ve seen her do it. One minute, she’ll be awake and listening, and the next she’s out like a light.”
“Narcolepsy? Really?” I said. It was hard to believe what I was hearing.
“Yeah, she used to fall asleep during tests at her old school, so they kicked her out,” Ria went on. “Falls asleep during the tests here, too. But she never stays asleep for too long though. Why? Do you know her?”
I couldn’t explain. That didn’t make any sense. Was my school not haunted after all? But how did that explain what I saw? I was getting really, really scared now. I was starting to question my sanity all over again.
“Gina, babe, what is up?” said Ria, now looking concerned. “You’re really not acting like yourself lately. Is something wrong?”
“I…I’m sorry, Ria,” I said, tearing my eyes away from Corrine Mathis. “I’m…I’ve got a lot of confusing stuff going on in my life. There are things that…”
“Oh, I see,” said Ria, wisely. “I know what this is all about.”
“You do?” I said, startled.
“It’s the hormones, isn’t it?” Ria said. “Don’t worry, babe, we all go through it. We’re teenagers, right?”
The bell rang to announce our freedom from yet another long day of school but, for once, nobody seemed to want to leave. They were all still looking for Aquadeus. I, however, went outside to meet with Ria like normal. But, as it turned out, my bad luck continued when I found the rock star talking to Ria in the parking lot.
Aquadeus noticed me before I could try to slip by. “Ah, speak of the devil,” he said, grinning. “Your friend and I were just talking about you…Gina, right?”
“Ah…um, yeah,” I said. Although the guy’s personality rubbed me the wrong way, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still just a little star struck by him.
“He remembers us!” cried Ria, bouncing up and down. “He really remembered me! Aquadeus remembers meee!”
“Of course,” said Aquadeus. “I wouldn’t forget that lovely performance from the other night. You look good in black, I have to admit.” He was still looking at me.
“Um,” I said. “L-look, Aquadeus…
“Oh, please,” he said, frowning and waving his hand. “Call me Cameron. Nobody here has yet.”
“Ah, alright,” I said. “Cameron, we have to get go…”
“No we don’t!” snapped Ria, looking at me like I was crazy.
“No, no, I understand,” said Aquadeus (or I guess Cameron now). “I have to get back myself. I have to see if the movers have finished with all my stuff.”
“Movers?” I said, surprised. “You…moved here?”
“Well, naturally,” said Cameron. “How can I go to school here if I don’t also live here?”
Cameron laughed. “The good thing about money is that I can pretty much get away with doing whatever I like. The commute will just take a little longer, that’s all. Listen, Ria and Gina, I’ve moved into 719 Cherry Road Drive. Please, do come visit me this weekend.”
“We’d LOVE to!” cried Ria, before I could get the opportunity to speak. Probably because she knew I would decline…which I would have.
“Splendid,” said Cameron. “I’ll see you later then Ria…and Gina.”
He winked at me again then walked over to where a black limousine was waiting for him in the parking lot. It only made me grind my teeth. First ghosts…now this…