24 | Meet Ginger
“Up! Chase get up!” I whisper-yelled.
It was half six in the morning. The bus was supposed to be here in a half hour, and Chase was still in his bed.
“How did you get into my room?” He groaned, and pulled his blanket over his head.
“Caleb.” I shrugged. “Come on Chase! I hate mornings too, but I’m up! Me!” It was seriously a miracle.
Chase lowered the covers, and pouted.
“I will punch you.” I threatened. He grinned at that. Without warning, he grabbed my arms and pulled me down onto the bed. ” Chase!” I screamed.
“Just ten more minutes.” He murmured, and snuggled into me. I gritted my teeth in annoyance, and tried to escape his hold. Great. I’m stuck.
“Chase let go of me now.” I hissed. I was lying uncomfortable across him, and the closeness was bothering me.
“Am I making you uncomfortable?” Chase mused.
“As a matter of fact? Yes!” I yelled. “Now let go before I cry rape.”
He sighed, and loosened his grip. I jumped out of the bed, and picked up the nearest object and threw it at him.
“Ow!” He wailed, as the shoe hit his head.
“Don’t mess with me Commons!” I hissed. I had just recently learned from Shannon, that Chase’s surname was Commons.
“Are you seriously putting me on last name terms?” He furrowed his eyebrows.
“I’ll put you on asshole terms if you don’t hurry up and get changed!”
He groaned, and clambered out of his bed in only a pair of sweatpants on. My eyes went to his chest, they widened and I blushed deeply, I quickly turned around. Ignoring his chuckles, I stormed to the door and slammed it behind me.
“Is he getting up?” Caleb asked, he was leaning against the gate outside the cabin.
“Yes.” I muttered. “If he isn’t out in ten minutes, throw water at him or something.”
Caleb smirked. “Sure thing.”
I jogged out of the camp, and back to my own. Shannon was standing there, with the crowd who were going to Manhattan. They all had their backpacks and Cassie had her computer, and equipment packet up.
“Why can’t Turn It Up ever be on time?” I complained. “All you guys are ready!”
Max snorted with laughter. “We’re all ready, because if we weren’t we’d be killed by the two scary chicks.”
I glanced at Jessica and Shannon, who both frowned. “I’m with you on that.” I whispered.
Shannon rolled her eyes. “Where is Turn It Up anyway?” She grumbled.
“We’re right here.” Chase called, he walked over with a group of kids behind him. “I can get ready really quick!”
“I care loads.” I muttered sarcastically.
“Your granddad’s bus is just in the car park. Come on.” Jessica ordered, she grabbed Corey’s hand and pulled him out of the camp. Everyone grabbed their items, and headed as quietly as they could, out of the camp.
I swung my old school bag which was full of spare clothes, and contained the homemade sign in it, over my shoulder and followed the campers out the gate. A white bus was parked outside the gate. The door was open, and it was waiting for us to approach.
“Hey my boy!” An old man called, as he slowly climbed out of his bus seat.
“Granddad? Why are you driving?” Chase asked, his voice was laced with astonishment and worry.
“What do you mean?” The man grinned.
“You aren’t meant to drive anymore. Grandma said so.” Chase rolled his eyes.
“Yes well a late order, and there was no one else to drive. Plus it was an emergency. Come on boy! Give a man a break!”
“You’re hiding from Grandma, aren’t you?”
The man sighed, and rubbed his face is irritation. “She won’t leave me alone. Won’t let me eat chocolate, go anywhere without her, do anything!”
I hid my laugh behind my hand, as I watch Chase scold his grandfather. “Okay. Just bring us to Manhattan, and then I’ll keep this from Grandma.”
“And I’ll not tell your father that you only showed up to three of your punishments.”
Chase frowned, “Okay deal.”
We all stood in front of the bus, waiting for the two to quit squabbling. “Okay then. All aboard!” Chase’s granddad shouted. “It’s Mr Commons, or Ken. Whatever you want to call me.”
I chuckled, and sat in the front seat. “Ken?”
“Yeah, I hate it. I used to have my friends call me ‘K’, but I’m too old for nicknames..” He mumbled, as he closed the bus doors, and started the engine.
“Mr Commons it is then!” I laughed. Shane sat down next to me, and Chase sat in the seat just across. Shannon was busy discussing tactics with Josh.
“How long of a drive is this going to be?” Shane wondered, next to me.
“A few hours.” I replied, settling into my seat. “You better get comfortable.”
After hours of repetitive singing of ‘the wheels on the bus’ and some random pop songs, Mr Commons called me out, to ask for directions. I quickly called Kelly, and asked her where she was. After finding her destination, I told it to Mr Commons.
“Okay, we’ll be there in about ten minutes.” He announced.
“About time.” Jessica grumbled.
Everyone began grabbing their bags, and getting ready for the bus to finally stop. “So Kelly will be waiting around the back, we have to act fast and get dressed, she has the makeup team helping too.” I explained, “No one is allowed to wander off, stick together. Okay?”
Everyone nodded. “Here we are kids.” Mr Commons called. I looked out the window, and watched as Mr Commons parked around the back of a fancy building. It was a huge white building, with painted black window sills.
“C’mon.” I ordered. “Thanks Mr Commons!”
“What will you be doing while waiting?” Chase asked him curiously.
“Watching.” Mr Commons shrugged. I smiled, and bid him goodbye.
We all exited the bus, and walked towards the back door. Kelly stood there, arms crossed and a smirk on her face. “Hey kids.” She smirked.
I winked at her as I walked forward. “S’up.” I wrapped my arms around her and gave her a huge hug. She hugged me back happily, but after the while, began to struggle.
“May you’re killing me here.”
I shrugged, and let her go. “Guys meet Ginger AKA Kelly!” I introduced. She grimaced at me before smiling at them, as they stared back curiously.
“You guys look so alike!” Shannon squealed. She came forward and introduced herself. Kelly grinned at her enthusiasm, while I rolled my eyes.
Kelly led us into the dressing room. “Okay so, the boys clothes are over there.” She pointed to a closet in the left corner. “Girls clothes are in that one.”
Shannon skipped over the girl closet, and began rummaging through it, hoping to get the best outfit first. “Damn your parents make good clothes..” She murmured.
“So get dressed quickly, then come to the makeup room. You all need to look perfect, so that you aren’t judged by our parents, and so that the people will take you seriously.”
I nodded in response, and grabbed myself a knee length white top that had the ‘I wash my hands in this weirdness’ quote from Pirates of the Caribbean in black writing, with black elastic leggings and white converse.
“Why didn’t mom ever give me this?” I wailed, as I admired the t-shirt.
Kelly gestured for me to go to the make-up room, while rolling her eyes. “Come on May. You said you didn’t want your Dad to notice you, I’ve a friend in the makeup room.”
I pursed my lips, waited for Melissa and Cassie to finish changing before following Kelly to the room.
“Vanessa, this is my little cousin, May.” Kelly introduced.
“Hi May!” The curly head smiled. “I’ve heard so much about you!”
I smiled at her, not sure how to reply because I had never heard of this girl. “Okay so May wants to look different. Really different as in, no one will notice her different.” Kelly explained.
Vanessa nodded and pointed to the seat in front of a mirror. “I’ll work on her personally.” She smiled.
I glanced over at Shannon who was also sitting down and allowing the make up artist to work. “Just relax.” Vanessa ordered.
I rolled my eyes, but nodded and relaxed back in my seat.
I opened my eyes forty minutes later. My hair was still straight, but it had blonde highlights streaked through it. My lips were bright red, and my eyes were smoky.
“You always have your hair up, so they’ll hardly recognize you when it’s down. The blonde streaks aren’t permanent, they’re wash out.” Kelly explained.
I stroked my fingers through my new hair look. “I like it.” I smiled.
Vanessa grinned at my reply, obviously proud of her work. “Thanks Vanessa.” I straightened up, and stepped out of my seat. Shannon was standing by the door waiting for me, as was everyone else. I looked up at Kelly, questioning her plan.
“I’m going to go and find Mom. I’ll tell her that I got her a surprise, the surprise is supposed to bring more people into the show, blah blah.” She explained. “Once I tell her this, I’ll bring her outside and you guys will already have started performing. People will be taking interest, and will come over.”
She breathed in deeply. “Hopefully you’ll get money, and Mom will be happy.”
I licked my dry lips, “Okay. Will we go out now?”
She nodded. “Yeah, get everything ready. I’ll call you and let you know when you can start.”
I gestured for my crew to follow me, and made my way out the door. “Keep your head down, don’t draw attention.” I ordered as we walked past different people. They obeyed me, and kept walking at a fast pace. Once we were outside, I relaxed slightly. The street was busy, business men and woman were storming by, and others were glancing at the building curiously, but seemed to decide against checking it out.
There was enough space between the building and the sidewalk. Cassie set her computer up on a wall outside the building, and everyone got into their positions. We made a slight few changes. The wall helped a lot, Max and Shane stood on top of it, instead of in front of the group. I sat a guitar case in front of us, with the sign over it. Letting people know that we were looking for donations.
My phone began to ring, and I clicked the accept button. “Yeah?” I spoke into it.
“Mom’s on her way, draw people in or something.” Kelly ordered.
I looked over to Cassie, and nodded my head. She typed a few keys, and music finally began to play.
I took a deep breath. Strangers began to glance in our direction, while others stopped and stared. I put my head downwards, and stared at the ground. Shannon copied me, as did all the group.
“Seems like everybody’s got a price.
I wonder how they sleep at night.
When the sale comes first and the truth comes second. Just stop for a minute and smile.
Everybody look to the left..
Everybody look to the right!
Can you feel that yeah, we’re paying with love tonight.” I sang. The crew all lifted their heads up and stared at the gathering crowd.
“It ain’t about the money!” Melissa added.
“It’s not about the money, money, money.
We don’t need your money, money, money.
We just wanna make the world dance.
Forget about the price tag.” We all sang together, we all criss-crossed our feet, and the girls dropped to the ground and back up.
“It ain’t about the Uh cha-ching, cha-ching.
It ain’t about the Yeah ba-bling, ba-bling.
Wanna make the world dance,
Forget about the price tag.”
I noticed Kelly’s Mom, and my own parents from the corner of my eyes. They were watching curiously, while people were smiling and nodding along to the song. Some were already putting dollar notes into the guitar case.
“Hey, hey, hey, hey.” Cassie sang.
“Won’t you come see about me.
I’ll be alone, dancing you know it baby.
Tell me your troubles and doubts.
Giving me everything inside and out.” Chase sang, with a dazzling smile that could win any person over.
“As you walk on by, will you call my name.
As you walk on by, will you call my name.
As you walk on by, will you call my name.” Jessica sang softly.
Cassie dropped a slow beat, which our dancers had danced to. Once it began to stop, Shane and Max both somersaulted off the wall, earning an applause from the crowd.
“I say la, sha la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la!” The girl from Turn It Up sang.
“Tonight, I will love, love you tonight.
Give me everything tonight.
For all we know, we might not get tomorrow.
Let’s do it tonight.” Shannon cried.
After finishing our remix, the crowd clapped and cheered us on. More people came forward and put money into the suitcase. I glanced up to Kelly, who winked at me. Her Mom patted her on the back and nodded to our direction.
Chase wrapped his arm around me. “You can breath now.” He murmured. I let out a breath in relief.
“Just another seven of them to do.” I chuckled nervously.
The crowd who were watching us, now made their way into the building with an approving smile on their faces.
“It’s a win, win!” Shannon cried, and she made her way over to the case of money. “It’s full guys! It’s actually full! Do we count it now? Or wait until we’ve finished all the performances.”
I made my way over to case. There was hundred dollar bills, and fifty dollars bills filling the guitar case. “We need a bag to put all this in..” I mused, a smile creeping onto my face.
“We have a bag you can use.” My father’s voice interrupted. “Who’s the leader here?”
I knew that my dad would be able to recognize my voice after a while of speaking, so when everyone turned to me, I pointed to Chase.
Chase frowned at me, and I stood on his foot, giving him a hint. “Ow!” He snapped, “I mean me. Yes. Nice to meet you sir.”
“Where are you kids from?”
I shook my head aggressively at Chase. My father would never help if I was involved.
“Were from a music school, down in California?” Chase replied, squinting his eyes as he made sure his choice of words were correct.
“You don’t sound like you’re from California.” My dad pointed out, making me roll my eyes. He’s so inquisitive.
“Were from all around. The schools in California though.”
“Okay. You are helping us out a lot. What’s the catch?”
Chase furrowed his eyebrows. “There’s not catch. As long as we can keep the money we raised.”
“There’s always a catch! If I find out that you’re spying on my company, I will ruin you and your school.”
“We don’t spy sir.”
“You better hope so.”
I shook my head in disbelief. My father everybody!
He turned and stalked off back to the building. I raised an eyebrow.
“Well he’s lovely.” Shannon snorted.
“He’s a Riley.” I grumbled, “Now do you get why I don’t wanna go back?”
Melissa smirked. “He wasn’t too bad. He didn’t go all big bad wolf and take the money.”
“He wouldn’t do that.” I replied. “No matter how bad he is, he only takes money he earned himself.”
My mother came over, holding a huge waterproof money bag. “This should help you kids.” She said, her voice remained business like, yet it was sort of caring. I scoffed at the thought.
“Thank you!” Josh smiled warmly, and she nodded in reply.
“The next show is about five minutes away. You could take your bus if you would like, but it would be easier to walk. I could keep this in the safe until we’re finished.” She gestured towards the bag. Was she actually being.. Nice?
“That would be great Ma’am!” Jessica flashed her a smile. “Thank you very much.”
“It is perfectly fine. You have got us a lot of customers. We owe you. You can watch the show if you want? Before we continue? Or you can go on and get ready.”
Jessica’s eyes widened at the thought of watching a fashions show, and she attempted to pull her boyfriend of in that direction. Shannon shot me her puppy eyes, making me sigh and nod in agreement. She grinned. “We would love to!”
I could hear Shane and Chase groan in protest. But the girls had decided.
“Great!” My mother smiled tightly, “Follow me then.”
I stared after her in pure disbelief. Who was that and what had they done to my mother? Seriously, she was a whole different person! Maybe it was just me. I made her so pissed off that I turned her into a sour cow, but now that I’m gone and she had a break from me, she finally turned back into a normal human being.
Still hadn’t worked for my dad though.
I glanced at Chase who was smirking at me slightly. “What?” I grumbled.
“Aren’t you a ray of sunshine.” He replied before walking off with the others.
I stared after him in confusion. “That doesn’t make sense! I hate him!” I burst out, talking to myself. “Well maybe not hate.. Yes hate! I don’t even know. He’s so infuriating. I hate him.”
“You and me both.” Corey hissed, surprising me. I had forgotten he was even there.
“Oh. Hi.” I muttered awkwardly before skipping on ahead, hoping to get away as quickly as possible. That was embarrassing.