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Dreams Don't Work Unless You Do

“I am the darkness,

You are the light,

Baby, when we’re together

Just feels so right.”

“I Found The Light” By Alpha Centauri

“I can’t believe we got outta there!” Hayden said with a shaky laugh.

We were now speeding through the streets of an unknown neighborhood with the headlights turned off, zipping past tall trees, streetlights, and dark houses. A cloud of cheers, laughter, and applause exploded from the backseat and I couldn’t help the smile slowly spreading across my face. We did it. We actually pulled it off. Alpha’s gonna have a field day over what we did. All we have to do now is wait for the news to hit every entertainment outlet in the country! I placed a hand over my fluttering heart and giggled softly. If we keep this up, then they’ll get more famous, and one day we can finally meet them in person.

One day I’ll finally be able to tell Eden how I really feel about him. It’s crazy—I don’t think I’ve ever loved someone so hard. What if he says no?

I quickly shoved the doubts to the corners of my mind. Happy thoughts, Katie. Happy thoughts. Eden is the sweetest, kindest, hottest, and the most genuine person on this planet. Of course, he won’t say no. Sure, Eden doesn’t know me yet, but I know once we get to know each other, he will feel the same. We’re meant for each other—and I can’t wait for the day he realizes that too.

For now, I’ll be happy knowing that I’m doing everything I can to keep him and his career in the spotlight. I know it makes him happy being on that stage, singing and dancing his beautiful heart out to the world. And that makes me happy too. Successes like these get me one step closer to meeting him. So I’m not backing down.

“Thanks so much for the ride Hayden!” the freckled brunette, Amanda, shouted over the excited squeals and tight hugs. “I dunno what we would’ve done if we didn’t run into you guys when we did!”

Hayden winked at her in the rearview mirror. “We Betas are a family, Amanda, so we should always be there to help one another when we need it. Unlike other nobody fandoms that would go so low to sabotage album sales just so their irrelevant favorites can get ahead.” Her eyes narrowed into dangerous, dark brown slits. “Pathetic, desperate losers. I wish I can catch those bitches outside in the daylight.”

We all nodded in agreement. Dang it. We got what we wanted, but we should have made sure those jump ropes were tight enough. Somehow, while we were cleaning them out, Daphne escaped and managed to call the cops on us. A cold shiver ran down my spine as I remembered the shrill screams of sirens cutting through our shortlived victory. I curled my hands into fists as the anger boiled through my veins. Who do those skanks think they’re dealing with? Let’s see them try that again when our boys release their second album.

“I know, right? Girlfriends are just worthless!” the round-faced Asian, Kendra, hissed through clenched teeth. “Gimme thirty seconds with those desperate prostitutes. I’ll definitely set them straight.” She smashed her fist into the palm of her other hand. “I can’t believe they thought that their stupid plan was gonna work! I hope all Girlfriends crash and burn!”

“Desperate sluts,” Hayden grumbled with a roll of her eyes. “Since their biases are too ugly and untalented to succeed, they prefer to take it out on other people. Boy Toy will never get the jump on Alpha Centauri! Our boys are Michael Jackson legendary, whereas those pendejos are nothing more than mediocre D-Level Opening Acts.”

I laughed and gave Hayden a high-five. Spoken like a real Beta. “You said it! Our Boys are in a league of their own! Those wannabees can only dream of having what Alpha has.”

I got grunts of agreement in response. “This isn’t the first time that those toxic groupies have tried something like this,” Alexis said with a deep frown creasing her forehead. “You guys remember what they tried to do with Flower Power?”

We all groaned in unison. Who doesn’t remember? That’s what gave the Girlfriends the title of ‘Worst Fan Base of All Time.’ Almost a year ago, when word got out that Flower Power wanted to collaborate with a popular boy band, all the fandoms went crazy with excitement. Who wouldn’t be stoked if your favorite boy group had a chance of sharing a stage with the Queens of Feel-Good music? We were all over the moon with the news.

But when their record label, Sunrise Records, announced that they were leaning in the direction of Alpha Centauri, the Girlfriends did the unthinkable: thousands of death threats promising to kill their family and friends, viral suicide attempt videos blaming Flower Power for their deaths, and numerous attempts of trying to boycott them by crashing their live performances and breaking into various stores to steal their merchandise and run over it with their cars. Their jealousy was so bad that they cornered the girls at a meet-and-greet in downtown Los Angeles and managed to throw gasoline in their faces for ‘overlooking their biases.’ Luckily they were arrested and removed from the building before they could light any of the members on fire. The girls were so freaked out that their promotions for the album were canceled by Sunrise Records, who pulled the plug on the project and never mentioned it again.

We still haven’t seen any sign that Flower Power will release a comeback anytime soon.

“Poor girls,” Luna, a chubby Samoan girl, said and wiped the oncoming tears from her eyes. “I’m still surprised that they haven’t disbanded yet. It must be scary having millions of angry strangers threatening to hurt you and your loved ones over a music collaboration! Gosh! People are so crazy these days!”

“Those assholes did take things too far,” Kendra said slowly, “but let’s not act like Flower Power is this innocent, butter-never-melts, girls-next-door group when there are some pretty interesting things coming out about the members lately.”

Hayden slowed the car down to a crawl. “No way,” she said softly as she tightened her grip on the steering wheel.

Amanda gasped and turned to look at her. “What are you talking about? Flower Power hasn’t done anything wrong! Are you sure these things aren’t made up by pissed off Girlfriends?”

I felt my stomach drop to my knees. Flower Power has never had a scandal before—not counting the one with the jealous Girlfriends.

Luna cleared her throat. “Are you sure it’s legit, Kendra?”

Kendra nodded. “Yeah, I think it is. The latest rumor is about the group leader, Iris.”

We all gasped in unison. “W-what are you saying?” Hayden demanded. “Iris?”

Kendra nodded again and pulled out her phone. “It’s been circulating through different blog sites. Apparently, there’s a…sex tape out there showing her messing around with some bigshot Hollywood executives in a hotel suite or something like that. The ones who allegedly saw the video say that you can see her face and hear her voice really clearly. Drunk, but still her.”

The car was silent as Hayden turned another corner, the color draining from her russet-colored skin. Thump-thump. No way. There’s no way Iris would do something like that. Sure, she always came across as flirty but to be caught in a hotel room with unknown sleazeballs when she’s the face of Flower Power and one of the most popular inspirations for girls today? What’s gonna happen to her platform and her career? What about Flower Power? No. Maybe it’s not her. That can be any lookalike on that video.

I refuse to believe that Iris would do such a thing.

“Have you seen the video?” I whispered and turned to look at Kendra.

Kendra shook her head. “No, I haven’t. But for the ones that have—”

“I call bullshit!” Hayden cried as she slowed the car down in front of a two-story rambler with a white minivan parked in the driveway. “I-I think it’s a setup!”

I nodded in agreement. Iris is one of the most attractive, successful, and kind-hearted girls in the industry—and we all know that when you’re the It Girl, you gain a lot of enemies in and out of Hollywood. Alexis shook her head fiercely as if trying to shake the last pieces of a nightmare from her mind. “Whoa,” she said, eyes bulging from her head. “Are we talking about the same person? Iris, leader of Flower Power? Former Pageant Queen, Actress, Singer, Model, Activist, and youngest daughter of the Michael Worden of Worden Brothers Inc—one of the biggest television broadcasting networks in television history!”

Kendra frowned. “Yes, I am! Look it up online if you don’t believe me! It’ll be all over sites like The Talk and Hollywood X-Posed by the end of the week!”

With a huff of annoyance, she jumped out of the car with her two overstuffed backpacks and stomped across the lawn to the side of the house, Amanda close behind her. We watched them until they melted into the shadows and disappeared from sight.

A tense, heavy silence came afterward, pushing aside the happy mood we had just a few moments ago. My mind was spinning with unanswered questions. Yes, many people say that you can’t trust the celebrities of Hollywood—for many reasons. But the ones that say that are also the people who openly envy these people for what they have and who they are. Is Iris really some nasty Hollywood slut now? If that’s the case, what’s the story with the rest of the members? What’s gonna happen to Flower Power now? If the rumors just surfaced, then it’s only a matter of time before this goes viral. Is Hayden right? Could someone be trying to set Iris up by destroying her public image and career? Would someone really go to such lengths to end Flower Power?

I felt the goosebumps break out on my arms. We have to find that video. Someone is trying to destroy our girls—and we’re not gonna let it happen.

“We need to track down that video,” I said and shifted my eyes to Hayden, who nodded without looking back.

“We’re down the street. The last house on the right,” Luna said as Hayden slowly pulled away from the curb and crept down the street.

“This has to be a mistake,” I said under my breath, my ears ringing from the news. “I agree with you, Hay. Someone is definitely trying to set her up!”

“We’ll see you guys at school tomorrow!” Alexis whispered as she climbed out of the car with Luna and their things.

We watched them climbed through the living room window before pulling back onto the road and heading back to our own neighborhood.

“This can’t be happening!” Hayden said as she twisted around and drove off in the direction of our neighborhood a few blocks away. “This so so messed up!”

“I know!” I growled and gritted my teeth together. “I say Iris is innocent!
“Of course she is!” Hayden snapped back. “We all know that the biggest slut of Hollywood is Aubrey Hawkins from Starbright!”

I rolled my eyes. “Just because you don’t like her doesn’t mean she’s a slut, Hay.”

Hayden scowled. “She’s a certified skank! You remember how she was acting with Alex last year when she was dating a member of G.U.Y. at the time!”

I frowned at her. Of course, I remember: Alpha Centauri released their first EP, Long Story Short, last year on September 28 –with three fantastic singles being Back to Basics, No Guarantees, and Beginner’s Luck. They got so popular that they started performing in different venues all across America, including schools and shopping centers. But it wasn’t until they were scouted and sighed with NJ Productions that they start performing on music programs like The Music Room that they eventually won their first awards at the FMA’s (Favorite Music Awards) and YCA (Youth Choice Awards) for ‘Best Rookie Group of the Year’ and ‘Hottest New Stars of Music.’

With this, they appeared on talk shows with people like Helen B. Generous and Hannah Dillon, which got them an opportunity to perform at the iLoveMuzik Festival as the opening act for Starbright. Our poor boys faced backlash from many outraged fandoms and media critics through social media because of the obvious flirting between Aubrey and Alex—and this sparked a lot of heated controversy and rumors of them seeing each other behind the scenes because Audrey was in a very public relationship with Grayson Trevino and Alex was a rookie under NJ Production’s strict 3-Year-No-Dating-Policy.

Luckily, they managed to use their attention to their advantage and climb the charts to where they are today. Yeah. Our boys are amazing like that.

“Hay,” I said and scanned the empty streets with narrowed eyes for any oncoming police officers. “Don’t make any stops today. Just go home. We’ll be in trouble for sure if they see us driving at 1AM with our driver’s permits.”

Scratch that. Hayden’s driver’s permit. Since my mom is your average, run-of-the-mill, overprotective parent, she refuses to teach me how to drive and allow me the independence any girl my age should have. For instance, I’m not allowed to go Trick-or-Treating alone. She’ll insist on taking the car and following my friends and me just to make sure that I don’t end up in the truck of some deranged pedophile’s suspiciously white van. How old does she think I am anyway? Five? Really? The nerve of some people! How can she just go and insult my intelligence like that?

Ugh. Can my mom be any lamer? I should make a petition to have ger institutionalized.

Hayden snorted. “Trust me, chica,” she said and shot me a confident grin. “Those old geezers won’t find us back here! This is a shortcut most people at school take when they don’t wanna get caught on the main roads.” I peeked out the window at the unfamiliar dirt road and tall trees around us, smacking loudly against the front and sides of the convertible.

I hope she’s right. I can see it now: arrested and stuffed into the backseats of a cop cruiser smelling like donuts, coffee, and sweat before being dragged into the county jail to stand in front of a grim-faced police officer in charge of taking our mug shots. I shuddered. Can you imagine wearing those nasty orange jumpsuits and getting in a grimy holding cell with an overweight, gap-toothed inmate named Momma Bear and her wicked sidekick—who would have a huge resemblance to Edward Scissorhands? What would I call her then? Edwina Knifefingers?

I shook the thoughts out of my head and took a deep breath.

Oh god, I moaned inwardly. What can you do in a holding cell anyways? Are you even allowed to shower or shave your legs? I carefully checked myself for peachfuzz and public hairs before sighing with relief. Phew. Good to see that I’ve been keeping up with my personal grooming habits. No hairy sasquatch body for me. Booyah—

“Hello?” Hayden snapped and waved a hand in front of my face as she drove. “Kat? Are you listening to me?”

“Sorry,” I said and checked the rearview mirror to see if we had any stalkers behind us. “I don’t wanna get in trouble with any cops. They’ll throw us in juvie until we’re adults—and how will we meet the boys if we’re locked up?”

The color drained from Hayden’s face. “Y-you’re right,” she said in an unnaturally squeaky voice. “We don’t want any of those bastardos getting in the way of our mission, right?”

I nodded firmly. Not gonna happen.

You see, Hayden and I made a deal with each other when Alpha Centauri debuted with the EP back in the day. As best friends, we promised each other that no matter how hard things get in life or no matter how far away the boys are from this boring little town of ours, we will never stop until we meet them and—if we’re lucky—become their girlfriends.

I know that our outsiders, such a promise can come across as delusional and borderline obsessive—which we are not—but I prefer to think of it more along the lines of an oath between two loving, caring, and dedicated individuals who are willing to do the impossible of unconditionally supporting the ones responsible for out immense happiness. This happiness just happens to come in the form of a perfect boy with wavy blond hair and lively green eyes.

After an eternity of driving, we finally pulled into Hayden’s driveway, and she quickly cut the engine. “Vamonos,” she said as we slowly crept out of the car and tiptoed to the truck to smuggle our Alpha merchandise through the back door of the Martinez-Kelmer family bungalow.

As we approached her bedroom window, she carefully slid the window open and slid our backpacks inside, wincing when they landed loudly on the floor. “Go,” I hissed after she shoved the cardboard cutout of Alpha through the window. “You’re wasting time.”

With a nod, she hoisted herself up and hopped inside, her feet soundlessly landing on the ground like a cat. With a few grunts of effort and help from Hayden, I wiggled in after her though my landing was not as graceful. After snapping the window shut, we quickly kicked off our shoes and climbed on the bed, no longer bothering to silence our manic giggling.

“Where’s the laptop?” I whispered.

“Over here,” Hayden said and pulled it out from underneath her pillow.

We dove under the satin covers of her queen-sized bed, not caring that we were cackling like hyenas at almost two in the morning.

“Hurry, Hay!” I squealed as she quickly plugged in the charger and turned the laptop on.

The screen came to life and we melted when her wallpaper came on: it was a picture of them when they debuted where they sang ‘Back to Basics’ at one of their shopping mall performances in Los Angeles. Eden was on the left in tight black jeans, black Nike sneakers, and a bright green tank top that matched his sparkling eyes. He had his adorably dimpled smile on his face, hair perfect hair pulled back, and a fist in the air.

Next to him, in the middle with the microphone at his lips was Alex, pointing at the camera with a finger as he kept his eyes closed in concentration. His blue button-up shirt was open midway, giving us a glimpse of his sexy beachboy abs. He was wearing ripped denim jeans, combat boots, and his light brown hair in a popular faux hawk haircut.

I licked my lips lustfully.

And last, but never least—and Hayden’s bias in the group—was Kai on the right with his dark curtain of hair slicked back and a red-and-black tie hanging loosely around his elegantly long neck. He was holding out his microphone to the cheering fans as he moved his hips in time to the choreography.

Yum. The three sexiest men alive—and all of them single!

“Let’s get down to business,” I said as Hayden turned to look at me. “We need to check our Love Bucket accounts and see how the other states have done with their album sales. I know we were late, but I’m hoping that Minnesota isn’t left behind because of those stupid Girlfriends.”

Hayden opened her mouth to speak but was interrupted by a sharp knock on her door.

The smile on her face faltered as she kicked back the covers. “Uh oh,” she whispered, her voice shaking with fear.

“Who is that?” I whispered as another sharp knock came. My heart skipped a beat. Did Hayden’s parents hear us come in? Did the police manage to follow us home after all?

Hayden’s eyes watered as she looked at me. “Big Trouble.”

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