Reid Theatre, 8:00 P.M.
Chapter 1: "There are No Accidents"
Slamming the door behind her, Traci heaved a sigh. Being a pop star really put on the pressure.
"Miss Gracefield, would you like to have something to drink?" asked her manager's assistant, Todd Renkins.
"No, thanks,"she told him. "I just want some rest."
"Very well."He left the room. Traci grinned.
"And now..." she said softly, "for the grand finale!"
Vwimmm... A light wind rustled her hair and skirt. The room filled with pale blue light.
Now, Traci stood a half-foot taller than her usual five foot three inches, her normally flaxen hair a honey-blond. Her eyes gleamed a shade lighter than their typical blue.
"Applause accepted," she said, smiling coyly.
Vanity Fashion Show, 9:00 P.M.
"And once again, thank you for watching the fashion show by Vanity!" the MC finished. Marla, relieved, removed her uncomfortable high heels. Cursing at the sight of the large blisters that had formed on her heels, she hobbled over to her far more comfortable loafers.
"Fantastic job!" said the store manager. "You're a spectacular model!"
"Thanks, but I need to get home. It's already getting late."
"See you tomorrow!" the tall woman said.
"Maybe," Marla muttered. "Maybe."
Once she was in an empty room, she, too, became tall and willowy. Her black curls fluttered and turned chestnut, and her normally green eyes became aqua. "Supermodel fame is too much for me..." she said.
Royale Ballet Theatre, 9:00 P.M.
"Ow!" Katie gasped as she removed her pointe shoes.
"It can't hurt that bad," Anne commented sharply.
"Yes, it can," she gasped. "You have no idea."
"Sure, I don't. Jump in a lake, Katie." Anne's slender figure stalked out of sight.
"Alone. Whew," Katie said. She stood up. A light green glow filled the room. Katie grew a quarter of a foot, now standing at five and a half feet. Her hair, usually mouse-brown, fell in crimson waves to her waist. Her eyes, once blue, now glinted chocolate.
"And that's all for tonight, my friends..." she announced softly.
She slung her bag over her shoulder and walked out of the dressing room, cutting a much more impressive figure than Anne ever could.
National Amphitheater, 10:00 P.M.
"Oh, Romeo, oh, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?" Helen teased.
"Shut up!" said Christian, her face glowing red.
"But swear me your love and I'll no longer be a Capulet!"
"I said 'shut up', Helen!"
"Too bad. When's the wedding, Juliet?" Rebecca joined in.
"Come on, girls, our leading star should be left in peace," Julie quipped, not meaning a word of it. The girls walked out of the dressing room. Immediately, pale purple light illuminated the room.
Christian was six feet, taller by a foot and higher up than even Julia. Her hair, usually auburn, was hanging in black springs. Her eyes were hazel now instead of amber. She was much more elegant than she normally was.
"Juliet here is not going to tolerate that anymore," she declared.
Saint Catherine's Boarding School, 8:00 A.M.
"Class, we have a new student," the teacher announced. "Meet Traci Rooks."
Traci gazed out at the crowd of students, chin raised defiantly. A few eyed her curiously; most ignored her. Only one girl, with glossy chestnut curls and aqua eyes, seemed to truly be interested in the newcomer. She pointed to the desk beside hers. "Hey. I'm Marla. Nice to meet ya."
Traci sat down and noticed a boy near the front smiling at her.
"Hey, looks like Tony likes you," Marla said, grinning.
"Tony?" Traci repeated.
"Yup. One of the hottest guys here. He never smiles at any of the other girls."
"Oh." She glanced back over at Tony. "He is pretty cute."
"Yeah. So, hey, where're you from?" Marla asked.
"Oh, the Big Apple, huh?"
"Well, we're not as classy here at Saint Catherine's, but we're close enough you'll feel at home. Three square meals, an endless supply of cute boys..."
Traci giggled. "That's NY, all right!"
"Well, hey, California's my home. Hollywood's not that different from the Big Apple. I know what it's like."
"I think we're gonna get along mighty well, Marla."
"Yeah, Traci, we probably will."
"Want to be friends?"
Marla looked startled, then she grinned. "Of course, Traci."
Saint Catherine's Boarding School Dormitories, 9:00 P.M.
"Okay, so, this is our room," Marla said, flicking on the lights. "Four girls per room, but it's just us for now."
The room was decorated with rich orange draperies. The bedsheets were a bright red. Four desks sat one in each corner. A yellow throw rug laid on the floor.
Before she could finish, an extremely tall, black-haired girl came in the room. She looked shocked at the sight of Traci and Marla. "Oh, hey. Are you staying here, too? I'm Christian Lukemian."
"Lukemian?" Marla wrinkled her nose. "Sounds like a disease!"
"I know." Christian grimaced. "By the way, another girl's coming in this dormitory tomorrow."
"Oh, lovely," Marla said. "Yet less space for us all to live in cheap luxury." Traci and Christian giggled.
Once she had recovered, Christian added, "But she doesn't come until tomorrow. I only just got here. I think I'm in your homeroom. I hate high school class systems!"
"You should see the middle schools," Marla commented. "You think this is bad...Bluck! It's amaze at middle school!"
"I don't even want to hear about elementary schools, then," Traci said, only half joking.
"Oh! We didn't introduce ourselves, did we? I'm Marla. Marla Ann Jacobsen."
"I'm Traci Lauren Rooks."
"Christian May Lukemian, if we're going into middle names."
None of them realized they were each thinking the same thing: How can I sneak out to perform with these two around?
Saint Catherine's Boarding School Dormitories, 8:00 P.M.
The door creaked open just as Marla bellowed, "Pillow fight!" and dive-bombed Traci witha fluffy pink pillow. In stepped a tall, thin redheaded girl while Traci was tackled, giggling.
"Uh, hello?" the girl said. Marla, Traci, and Christian looked at her. The newcomer fidgeted. "Is this Dormitory A-17? I'm kinda lost..."
"You have arrived at your destination,"Marla said, doing her best "car GPS system stewardess" voice (as she liked to call it).
"Oh! Um, I'm Katie Beth Taylor, nice to meet you all."
"Traci Lauren Rooks."
"Christian May Lukemian."
"Marla Ann Jacobsen."
Katie grinned broadly. Traci thought, she looks friendly! Nice girl, Marla pondered. She looks like she's pretty nice, Christian decided.
As she looked around the room, Katie accidentally knocked down one of Traci's many collectible faerie figurines. "Oh, I am so sorry! Did I break it? I'm really klutzy. I'm really, really, really sorry, Traci!" she exclaimed breathlessly. Traci shrugged.
"It's okay. I don't mind. They're only plastic. I can buy a new one. And it's not broken, anyway."
"Oh, good. I would've felt so bad if I broke it."
"Well, it's kinda hard to break something made out of plastic," Marla pointed out. Katie looked embarrassed.
"I didn't know it was plastic!" she defended herself. "Which one's my bunk?"
Saint Catherine's Boarding School Dormitories, 10:00 P.M.
Do they ever fall asleep?! Katie wondered. I have a performance in an hour! I've gotta leave!
Good grief, they just don't fall asleep! Traci thought.
All I have to do is wait till I can't see the whites of their eyes, Christian thought. Which may take awhile.
I'm gonna be late! Marla panicked. If they don't fall asleep soon, I'm gonna be fired!
Finally, Katie couldn't stand it any more.
"All right, guys, I've had enough. Don't freak out on me." Green light illuminated the stunned faces of Christian, Marla, and Traci. Marla gasped.
Katie was now only 5'2", with mouse-colored hair hanging in loose waves. Her eyes were a startling blue. You couldn't have imagined someone who looked more different from the Katie who had been standing there a second ago.
"I have to go. If I don't get back till later, tell the teacher I'm ill in bed," she said.
"But, but you're Katie Alton, that famous dancer! The one who's, like, a worldwide sensation!" Traci exclaimed.
"Ssshhh! I'm not even supposed to be here. If I'm caught..." She shuddered. "Let's just say I wouldn't be a very happy camper anymore." She opened the window. "See you later."
"Well, if we're going to get bold..." Marla said, slipping off her bunk noiselessly. "She's not the only one who's going to be late." With that, pink light flooded the room. When it subsided, Marla was a mere 5'4", black hair in glossy curls. Her eyes had become green.
"Oh my gosh, you're Marla Johnson!" Traci exclaimed in a whisper. She was starting to feel lightheaded from the sudden appearance of two other celebrities. "The model who works for Heartland Pro Agency!"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, but please," Marla whispered, "no autographs." And she, too, vanished through the window.
Traci heaved a sigh. One more celebrity wouldn't give Christiana heart attack.
Purple and blue light mingled as both Traci and Christian transformed.
Traci was 5'3", with flaxen hair and dark blue eyes.
Christian was 5'0" exactly, with auburn curls and amber eyes.
"You're the singer Traci Gracefield,the one who sang 'On Top'! I love your music!"
"And you're Christian Anderson! Your performance as Juliet in your last play was just amazing!"
The two grinned at each other, then climbed one after another out the window.
National Theatre, 10:30 P.M.
"And now, ladies and gentlemen, 'The Rose', performed by the National Ballet Company. Starring Katie Alton as Princess Olivia!" The crowd went wild as Katie performed a flawless pique turn to center stage. She beamed and curtsied gracefully.
"Anne Clarinski as Princess Helena!"
Anne glided onto the stage and curtsied, tripping Katie in the process.
Royale Amphitheatre, 10:45 P.M.
"And now, presenting Christian Anderson and Jacob Lee, starring as Romeo and Juliet!"
Christian tried not to blush too much as she and Jacob linked arms and walked onstage. The lights were blinding.
"Nervous?" Jacob whispered.
"Yes," she whispered back.
"Relax. You'll do great. You always do."
What?! Christian thought. Does he mean...
"Bow," he whispered.
"Oh, right!" She bowed hurriedly, blushing even harder in embarrassment.
"HEADSUP!" a voice bellowed.
Hearing the stage command, Christian and Jacob looked up just in time to see the backstage light set plummeting towards them.
Cherry Creek Auditorium, 10:30 P.M.
"Now, representing Starlit Co., Traci Gracefield!"
As Traci walked out, she was bombarded with cheers.
"'On Top' and 'Fly High', performed live by Traci herself!"
Traci recognized her cue and started singing.
"I'm never gonna give up, found my motivation. Gonna climb those stairs, never gonna give up. I'm gonna go higher and higher, until I'm...on top! Never lose sight of my dreams, I'm on top! Rocking the house, I'm on top! It is my destiny..."
The crowd cheered wildly as she went to the second verse.
"There's a star up high, gonna reach for it." Suddenly, there was a bright surge of electricity, then everything went completely black.
Westshore Mall Fashion Show, 10:40 P.M.
"And to start off our show tonight, we have Marla Johnson!" Marla practically strutted out onto the catwalk.
"Miss Johnson is wearing a silk blue blouse made by Raeten Co. accented with faux rhinestone buttons. Her jeans are L'Oreal flares, custom-made. And to polish off the look, check out those boots. Mudd designed, and perfect for any formal occasion. Thank you, Marla!" She tossed a glittering smile over her shoulder, causing several boys in the front row to blush and swoon.
"Marla! Hurry it up, girl!" her manager called. marla walked as fast as she could in boots to the backstage area.
"Marla, I don't know how to tell you this," the older woman gasped. "All of your modeling outfits have been stolen!"
Saint Catherine's Boarding School Dormitories, 1:00 A.M.
Traci stormed in angrily, turning into her alias as she did so. "'No accidents'! Can you believe what that infernal manager told me?!" she asked the others.
"What?" Katie asked, holding an ice pack to her head.
"'There are no accidents, dear'," Traci quoted, imitating her manager's nasal voice. "Can you believe it?"
"Now, that," Marla said, "is just plain rude."
"A blackout, and all she says is, 'sorry, dear, but you can't perform tonight'. I say, 'but it was an accident! They didn't mean to shut off the electricity.' Then Iget 'there are no accidents, dear'. Ugh!"
"I do not envy you," Katie told her. "But I got tripped and fell, splat, on my head."
"Ha! You're lucky!" Christian scoffed. "I was hit in the head by a light set!"
"I think I need a replay," Traci said, slightly nonplussed.
"Anne, a fellow dancer, tripped me during the introduction."
"During the pre-show curtain call, a whole light set fell on my head."
"Oooh, that's got to hurt."
"Yeah, it does. Be a miracle if there's not a bump on my head."
"My clothes were stolen," Marla said. She was wrapped up in a large blanket. A mug of tea sat in her hands. "I had to run back here in my manager's bathrobe. Thankfully no one saw me!"
"That is really lucky for you," Traci said.
"Yeah, I know."
Katie spoke up. "Traci, I was thinking about what your manager said. You know, that there aren't any accidents? Well, she was kinda right. I mean, we're all celebrities here. If we had been sent to different dormitories, we might not have made it to our shows at all! So...even if it seemed like an accident, it was no coincidence that we were all assigned to this one."
Traci just sat there, digesting this new point of view. Then she smiled.
"I guess you're right, Katie. I guess you're right."
End Chapter 1