When Audrey breaks up with her musician boyfriend, Evan, he is inspired to write a song about it, a catchy tune that launches his band to the top of the music chartsand that makes Audrey the target of paparazzi and gossip magazinesand the queen bee at school. Although Audrey tries to hide from fame, it finds her anyway (a first date with a co-worker ends with a police escort from a record store, where a crowd has trapped them). Audrey's phenomenal celebrity seems unlikely but she herself feels completely believable, and readers will find her both sympathetic and funny. Benway displays a keen ear for dialogue; this first novelist has a knack for showcasing her characters' wit as well as their sincere concern for one another. Right after Audrey hears Evan's song for the first time, for example, she asks her best friend, "So do I kill myself now, or do I wait and do it in front of Evan so he feels really, really, reallybad?" "You're not going to kill yourself," the friend replies. "Remember in health class, when they talked about how adolescents drink to mask pain? That'swhat you're going to do." (Note to worried adults:they drink a milkshake.) Irresistible. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Audrey, Wait!by Robin Benway
The wait is over for the paperback of this irresistible, fast-paced, hit-worthy debut!
When funny, charming, absolutely-normal Audrey Cuttler dumps her boyfriend Evan, he writes a song about her that becomes a number-one hit-and rockets Audrey to stardom!
Suddenly, tabloid paparazzi are on her tail and Audrey can barely hang with her friends at concerts or… See more details below
The wait is over for the paperback of this irresistible, fast-paced, hit-worthy debut!
When funny, charming, absolutely-normal Audrey Cuttler dumps her boyfriend Evan, he writes a song about her that becomes a number-one hit-and rockets Audrey to stardom!
Suddenly, tabloid paparazzi are on her tail and Audrey can barely hang with her friends at concerts or the movies without getting mobbed-let alone score a date with James, her adorable coworker at the Scooper Dooper. Her life will never be the same-at least, not until Audrey confronts Evan live on MTV and lets the world know exactly who she is!
Gr 9 Up
When 16-year-old Audrey decides to dump her band-singer boyfriend, she has no idea that he will go on to write a chart-topping song about their breakup. Music lovers will appreciate Audrey's passion for her favorite bands and the song lyrics and music references that fill this novel. Other readers-particularly teen girls-will enjoy her reaction to sudden notoriety, as Audrey fends off paparazzi, unexpectedly finds herself in gossip magazines, and attempts to have a normal life despite it all. Her touching romance with an ice-cream-shop coworker hits some snags because of the situation, but Audrey perseveres. There are some good observations here about our society's obsession with famous people, but mostly this is a light read about a high school junior in an unusual situation. While Audrey sometimes comes off as overly passive as she tries to ignore the events around her, and the ending is predictable, the story will keep teens reading. Audrey's parents, her best friend, and her new love interest are all strong characters. An enjoyable first novel that's sure to be a hit.-Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library
- Penguin Young Readers Group
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 8.32(w) x 5.46(h) x 0.88(d)
- Age Range:
- 12 - 17 Years
Read an Excerpt
“Don’t you just love goodbyes?” —Mew, “156”
The day I broke up with my boyfriend Evan was the day he wrote the song. You know, the song. I’m sure you’ve heard it. Maybe you danced to it at prom or sang it in your car on a Friday night when you were driving and feeling like you must be inhuman to be this happy, the windows down and nothing but air around you. Your mom has probably hummed it while cleaning the dryer’s lint trap, and your grandpa has most likely whistled a couple bars. If he’s the whistling type.
According to the poll on the front page of USA Today, sixty-three percent of Americans blame me for the breakup, so let me clear the air right now: they’re right. Sixty-three percent of Americans are no fools when it comes to knowing about my love life, which is really creepy and isn’t helping me sleep well. But it’s true: I broke up with Evan, and eight hours later, he had a song in his head and a guitar in his hand and it snowballed from there.
It took me forever to decide whether or not to break up with him, I can tell you that. It wasn’t like I just woke up one morning and was like, “Hey, let’s liven things up!” Please. I have enough on my plate without all this. I’m a junior, for God’s sakes! It’s not like I have to take the SATs this year or anything. But I had been thinking about it—breaking up—for a while.
“Make a list,” Victoria had said. She’s big on lists and has a folder full of them. They have titles like “Six Colors to Dye My Hair Before I Shrivel Up and Die” and “Five People to Banish From the Face of the Earth” (Evan, according to her, is now número uno). So the day I did it, I sat at Victoria’s kitchen table and wrote down the reasons why I should stay with Evan.
1.He’s a singer/songwriter with a band and actual talent.
2.He has excellent oral hygiene (that one is so important, I can’t even tell you. I can’t imagine ever kissing a non-flosser. So gross.).
3.He says he’s going to write a song about me.
And then I wrote the cons:
1.He smokes too much pot.
2.He’s always “practicing” or “gigging” with his band, the Do-Gooders, especially when I need him.
3.He says “gigging.”
4.He’s mellow about everything. Everything.
5.He makes me be the one to get condoms from the school nurse’s office.
6.He sucks his teeth after he eats, which makes horrible squeaking sounds, like a mouse dying.
And so on. I wrote so many cons that I needed a new piece of paper, and by the time Victoria saw me start a fresh page, she took it away and shook her head. “Audrey,” she told me, “save a tree.”
“Well, can we still be . . . I don’t know, friends? Or something lame like that?” Evan had been cross-legged on his bed when I broke up with him. I was on the opposite side of the room in his desk chair, sitting backwards. We were both crying, but he was the only one who needed tissues. Still, we passed the box back and forth.
“Friends would be great,” I said, and relief flooded through me. Friends were fantastic, friends were not angry at each other and wouldn’t reveal sexual secrets about each other in locker rooms. Friends still talked. Friends drifted apart. “I’d really like being friends.”
He fell on his bed for a minute before sitting back up. “Steve finally got the A&R guy to come to a show of ours. He set up a one-off tonight. You’re really killing my vibe.”
“I’m sorry,” I said, and I meant it. I really did.
“Will you still come?”
“If you want me to, sure.” Anything to make this conversation end, I thought.
Evan nodded and hugged his guitar tighter to him, and I have to admit that in the eleven months we were together, that guitar practically got more action than I did. (Reason number fourteen on the list of cons, by the way.) “You sure you want to do this?”
“Yeah,” I whispered. “I’m sure.”
We didn’t talk for a few minutes, and then I got up and said, “I’m going now.” When he didn’t respond, I left the room and was halfway downstairs before I heard him say, “Audrey, wait!” But I kept going, pretending I didn’t hear him calling for me.
That night, I enlisted Victoria and her boyfriend, Jonah, to come with me to the show for moral support. “Like I wasn’t already going?” Victoria said when I asked her. “I’ve already gotten about fifty million texts and thirty million MySpace bulletins about it. And besides,” she added, “I want details.”
During the drive over to the Jukebox in Jonah’s car (he has an awesome sound system with a subwoofer), she made me recount the breakup word for word, with Jonah wincing every few minutes. “Harsh, man,” he kept saying. “That is so harsh.” Victoria finally whacked him on the shoulder. “Can you please be more sensitive to Audrey’s situation?” she hissed.
“Sorry, Aud.” Jonah smiled at me in the rearview mirror. “Sensitivity controls now engaged.”
“And could you not sound like a dork when you do it?”
“It’s one or the other, babe.”
“Don’t worry about it, Jonah,” I told him. “It’s all good.”
Victoria just shook her head and hung over the backseat. “Either way,” she said, “I cannot believe you agreed to go tonight.”
Half an hour later, packed like sardines inside the Jukebox, we were still talking about it. “Did Evan actually say ‘kill his vibe’?” Victoria asked. By now, she was on her third Diet Coke and I could see the caffeine starting to shoot out of her eyes.
I crossed my arms in front of me and stood by the side of the stage, hoping the Do-Gooders would hurry up and play so we could go home and skip the traffic. “Those words exactly,” I told her. “Plus some other choice phrases.”
“What? Like, ‘Fuck you’?”
“No, more like, ‘How could you do this to me?’ ‘I thought we were gonna be together forever.’ That kind of stuff.” I stirred my melted ice with my straw.
Victoria rolled her eyes in solidarity. “Please. He must be a closet romance novel reader. I’m surprised he didn’t break out a lute and try to woo you.”
“If he had done that, I would’ve been more interested.” I took her drink from her and set it down. “You’re making me nervous with all the addictive stimulants. Don’t you know that NutraSweet can give you cancer?”
“So can sunlight.” She took her drink back and made a big deal out of slurping the rest with her straw. “I hope Jonah’s getting me another one of these.”
“I hope he’s also getting you a side of tranquilizers.” I looked over my shoulder and saw a third of our class standing behind us. No one seemed too interested in me. Yet. “Do you think people know we broke up?”
“Have you told anyone besides me and Jonah?”
“Nope. But Evan might have.”
“You’ve totally ruined the pool that people had going for Cutest Couple in the yearbook, by the way. Not to guilt you out or anything.”
“Not me, I mean. I saw this one coming a long time ago. But people were laying two-to-one odds that you and Evan would be cutest couple.”
“People are betting on yearbook superlatives? Really?”
Victoria nodded. “Now the smart money’s on Dan Milne and Janie Couper. She’s worse than static cling.”
I was about to comment on Janie Couper’s static-clinginess, but just then I saw Sharon Eggleston across the room. Even if you’ve never met Sharon, you know her. Every school, I’m sorry to say, has a girl like her. She’s pretty or hot or whatever word you want to use, and she has this weird ability to make every guy worship her.
Every guy, that is, except Evan.
At least, that was the scuttlebutt (PSAT word) when Evan and I first hooked up. Sharon had apparently set her sights on him, he set his sights on me, I set my sights right back on him, we got together, and Sharon found herself on the outs before she was even on the ins. As you can imagine, she wasn’t thrilled. Even to this day, she still shows up to all the shows and smiles at Evan in the halls and generally is an annoying little gnat. And when I saw her across the room at the show that night, she smiled and did that little wave thing that showed off her French-manicured silk tips.
“What are you looking at?” Victoria asked, craning her neck to see, but luckily Jonah elbowed his way back to Victoria and me with her Diet Coke and my cranberry juice with lime. “See, now, Evan wouldn’t have done this,” Victoria pointed out as she took her drink. “He wouldn’t have noticed that you were even thirsty, much less that I was. I mean, you could both be walking in the goddamn Sahara desert and you’d be dying of thirst and he’d be like, ‘Hey, Aud, I’ve got this killer idea for a song.’ Totally useless.”
I swirled my ice with the straw. “Evan used ‘killer’ last year. This year, everything’s ‘fool-ass.’”
“Okay. Audrey? Let me introduce you to something called The Point. You are missing it.”
It should come as no surprise that when Victoria is asked to spell her name, she says, “Like the queen.” She was on a roll now. “I’m just saying that you’ve been really patient with Evan. More patient than I would’ve been—”
Jonah snorted and then became really interested in his drink.“—and I think you just deserve someone who makes you feel special and wonderful and all those good things that you see on TV.”
“I thought you weren’t watching TV anymore.”
Victoria shrugged. “I fell off the wagon.”
If you ever meet Victoria, do not call her Vick, Vicky, Victor, Victrola, Vicious, or anything other than Victoria. If you’re feeling both immortal and bored, though, call her Vicks VapoRub.
Onstage, Jon, the Do-Gooders’ drummer, started to do a halfhearted sound check. If there is a hell, there will be a drummer sound-checking there, I guarantee you. “Oh, God, kill me now.” Victoria rolled her eyes again.
“I’m a weak, spineless girl, what can I say?” I was quickly downing the cranberry juice and wishing it had a kick to it. The problem with the Jukebox is that it’s so local the bartenders know all of us and, more specifically, how old we are, so alcohol’s not happening. Which is why everyone gets wasted in their driveways afterwards. “Plus, the A&R guy’s here and Steve kept promising that he would come and I want to see him in person.”
A word about Steve: Three months ago, the Do-Gooders played a show at the Jukebox, the one where part of the ceiling caved in during their set and it knocked out their amps and they kept playing anyway. (Maybe you saw the article in the local paper. I was there too, and if you look closely at the picture, you can see my hand in the bottom part of the picture—I was cheering them on with the rest of the crowd. I spent the rest of the night picking insulation out of my hair.)
Anyway, Steve was at the show that night. Steve is a freshman at UCLA who smokes tons of weed, goes to class occasionally, downloads MP3s, and has an uncle who knew someone who did A&R at a record label. Steve thought the Do-Gooders were “a-may-zing dude, fucking a-may-zing!” and after the ceiling collapsed and the amps gave out, they all went and hung out at Steve’s dorm room, where they dreamed big, bet each other $20 to drink the bongwater, and agreed to let Steve manage them. As far as I could tell, though, getting the A&R guy to come to the show was the first managerial thing that Steve had done for them.
It wasn’t the first time that someone from a record label had shown up at the Jukebox. I mean, every third person in our school is either in a band, starting a band, managing a band, or breaking up with his or her band. Most of those bands, however, suck. A couple of years ago, there were three seniors who were way into ska and managed to get signed to some tiny label in San Francisco, but I heard the trombone player started doing way too much cocaine and sold his trombone for a couple of grams of something that killed him.
This fame thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Take it from me and the trombone player.
“Do you think they comp the A&R guy’s drinks?” Jonah wondered.
“Of course not,” Victoria replied. “He blows the bartender like everyone else.”
Both Jonah and I cracked up and Jonah looped his arm around her neck and pulled her into him. She is so tiny that when they hug, you can barely see her. She has to stand on the very tips of her toes just to squeeze his neck. “My crazy, slutty girlfriend,” Jonah said, then kissed the top of her head, and for the first time since I broke up with him that morning, I missed Evan. Not that he would’ve kissed me in public, especially before a show, but sometimes it’s just nice to know there’s potential.
I knew Evan was backstage now, or at least what passes for “backstage” at the Jukebox: the loading dock behind the venue. It always smells like beer and piss and garbage, but there’s something exciting about being back there, adrenaline and nerves rushing around and cramming into your heart. Whenever he was about to play a show, Evan’s hands would shake and he’d hold them out to me and I’d see his fingers vibrate like hummingbird wings. “You’re fine,” I would tell him. “You’re gonna be great.” Sometimes I lied when I said it; other times, I meant it so much that it killed me more than lying.
I was about to say something to Victoria about it, something about how weird it was to be in the crowd before a Do-Gooders show rather than backstage with Evan, when she grabbed my arm. “Space!” she cried, and shoved me about six feet toward the speaker.
If you really want to know something about me, you should know this: I like my music loud. I mean loud. I’m not talking the kind of loud where your parents knock on your bedroom door and ask you to turn it down. Please. That’s amateur hour. When I say loud, I mean you-can’t-hear-your-parents-knocking-and-the-neighbors-are-putting-a-FOR-SALE-sign-on-their-house-and-moving-to-another-block-because-they-can’t-handle-the-constant-noise-anymore loud. You have to turn it up so that your chest shakes and the drums get in between your ribs like a heartbeat and the bass goes up your spine and frizzles your brain and all you can do is dance or spin in a circle or just scream along because you know that however this music makes you feel, it’s exactly right.
If you are not this kind of person, then I don’t think we’ll be great friends.
Victoria and I always turn things up to ten. In fact, it’s getting to be a problem because we’ve already blown out the speakers in my car. Twice. The first time, my parents took pity on me and replaced them, but now I have to dig up the cash to fix it. So Victoria and I use Jonah for his car, or we just ride in mine and sing really loud until we laugh so hard, we want to throw up, and Jonah ducks down in the backseat and pulls his hoodie tighter around his head and looks like he wants to just die.
The lights finally went out and the crowd started whistling and clapping. Next to me, Victoria was grinning and wriggling around. She lives for this moment at shows, when the lights are cut and all you can see is the dim outline of a stage and empty mics waiting to be picked up and abused. When the Do-Gooders came out, shaggy and skinny with their heads down, the applause got louder. Even I let out a few whistles.
“Here comes trouble,” Jonah muttered behind me when Evan came out, and I could see Victoria plow her elbow into his ribs from the corner of my eye.
My resolve took a little nosedive when I saw Evan. God, he was cute. Not even cute: hot. H-A-W-T, hot. His hair was shining under the stage lights and he was wearing his beat-up shoes, the ones that looked horrible and smelled worse. I could see him looking out at the crowd and I didn’t know if I was supposed to make eye contact with him or smile or pretend that I couldn’t see him.
Was Evan looking for me, though? His eyes scanned across stage left and never stopped, and I didn’t wave. Next to me, Victoria reached down and squeezed my hand twice.
Seriously, I love her.
“Hi, we’re the Do-Gooders,” Evan said into the mic, and you could hear some girls giggle and swoon. I had never been jealous of them before, but now I felt a small twist in my stomach. Just get this over with, I begged silently. “The name’s ironic.” Ha ha, hee hee. Oh, Evan, you’re a riot. Please. Stop. My sides.
They played through six songs and the crowd danced and sweated on each other and the bass shook the floors under our feet and the roof over our heads. The Jukebox was approximately the size of my parents’ kitchen and the walls would get slick from the humidity of too many people too close together. Onstage, Evan kept shaking his head back and forth in time to the music, his hair pinwheeling and sending little blue drops of sweat toward Bob, the rhythm guitarist, and Daniel, their bassist.
Here’s something you don’t know about Evan: He used to practice that move in front of the mirror. I’m just saying.
Between songs, I finally saw the A&R guy standing next to Steve. Steve had this big, dopey grin on his face (totally high) and the guy next to him was wearing really expensive jeans and enough product in his hair to make it crunchier than celery, and was texting someone. Was he interested? Was he just returning a favor by coming out to see the band? I nudged Victoria and pointed him out, and she looked back at me and twirled one piece of hair around her finger. “Product!” she mouthed over the crowd noise, then wrinkled her nose. Not that Victoria’s hair is naturally spiky or anything, she was just anti–gel for men. Jonah avoids this problem by shaving his head every month or so, which Victoria greatly appreciates.
Evan’s voice pulled me back toward the stage. “This is usually the point where we go backstage and you clap and we do our encore, but we’re gonna skip that middle part tonight and get straight to the music.”
One more song, I told myself. One more song and then I can go to the In-N-Out drive-thru with Victoria and Jonah and get a grilled cheese and a chocolate shake and blast music until my ears want to fall off and Jonah takes me home. One more song and then I can be a normal, average girl without a boyfriend.“This is a new song for us; I wrote it tonight.”
A new song? Everyone in the crowd was talking a little. The Do-Gooders hadn’t written a new song in at least four months, and we already knew all the words to their stuff. The encore was usually just a cover of Oasis’s “Don’t Go Away,” and I already wasn’t looking forward to watching Evan go all emo with the lyrics.
But new song? This wasn’t in my grilled-cheese-and-loud-music plan.
Victoria, I should point out here, is very smart. Sometimes she’s smarter than me. “Uh-oh,” I heard her say, but before I could turn my head to see what “uh-oh” was about, Evan kept speaking.
“My girlfriend Audrey broke up with me today and—”
You know how in movies, the room will be really crowded and noisy and someone will say something that causes everyone’s heads to whip around and stare at that person? Let me tell you something: That happens in real life, too. And it happened to me when Evan said that. Two hundred people in the room, four hundred eyes (actually 399— Jake Myers lost one in a fishing accident when he was six), all of which were burning into me.
Evan hadn’t shut up yet. “Yeah, she broke up with me right before the biggest night of my life—”
“Harsh,” whispered a voice behind me. Guess who.
“And I always said I’d write a song about her and, well, I hope it’s not too late. This one is called ‘Audrey, Wait!’”
Have you ever had brain freeze? That’s what it felt like when I heard the title of the song. I remembered walking down Evan’s staircase, pretending I didn’t hear him. I had made a huge fucking mistake. I hadn’t listened then, so he was making sure I was listening now.
(Okay, so I also have to admit, I was a little disappointed the song wasn’t titled “Audrey, the Hottest Girl I Ever Met,” or “Audrey, That Time Upstairs at the Party (Was Amazing)” or something like that.)
The bass drum pounded hard, just like my heart, and a thin guitar line sizzled up and sliced through the stage, setting the whole band off. It was like nothing they had ever played before. Evan was changing chords so fast and I thought for the briefest moment, Is that how he loved me? Did he really love me like this? I began imagining our reconciliation scene, making out after the show and giggling about how stupid I was for breaking up with him and—
He started singing.
“You said your piece and now I’ve got to say mine! I had you and you strung me on the liiiiiinnnnneeeeee!”
“We said we loved and it was a lie! I touched your hair and watched you die! You crucified my heart, took every part, and hung them out to drrrrryyyyyyy!”
Oh. My. God.
“‘It’s all good!’ you always say! But save it for another day! ’Cause now I’m watching you walk awaaaaayyyyyy!”
Here’s the worst part: The song was good. I mean, you obviously know that by now—I’m not revealing some big secret or anything. But at the time, the whole crowd was about to have a collective heart attack, they were dancing so hard. Even the bartenders, the mean bartenders who are bitter about life and water down the Cokes, had stopped pouring and were drumming their fingers on the bar top. Even the kids who don’t dance, the ones who refuse to show any emotion about anything but still show up at the Jukebox just for something to do, they were nodding their heads to the beat like they were issuing a mob hit. I could see the A&R guy tapping his foot and watching the stage, hungry. Steve was completely bug-eyed and gaping—he’d had no idea this band could produce this song.
Neither had I.
And then the chorus started. Sing along if you want.
“Audrey, wait! Audrey, wait! You walked out the door and I want you to see me slam it shut! Audrey, wait! Audrey, wait! You can say all you want but I want you to know that this is the cruelest cut!”
I swear, if that song hadn’t been about me, if I had never met Evan, I would’ve been on that stage shaking what my momma gave me, it was that addictive. But instead I was rooted to the floor and my jaw was somewhere around my knees. Victoria was next to me, her eyes wide, and Jonah was bopping around behind us, a little unaware of how dire the situation was. I mean, Evan was standing on the stage and singing about me in front of our entire school! If I had been quicker, I would’ve run up onstage and yanked the wires out of the amp, and while I was at it, body-slammed Evan or knocked over the drum kit or something. But I couldn’t move; I couldn’t cry or cheer or talk. Really, it was like being buried alive, the weight of everything in the world crushing my chest, and Evan had the shovel.
“Audrey, wait! Audrey, wait!”
Now people behind us were singing along, and Evan was totally getting off on the crowd interaction. He used to talk about these kinds of moments sometimes, when we were in his bed underneath his California Angels sheets, the afternoon sun peeking in through the shades. “I want to hold the crowd in my hand,” he whispered, and I had giggled and said, “One day you will,” but I mean, come on. The Do-Gooders had only written three songs by that point. Evan wasn’t exactly at the front of the Rock God line.
I finally turned my head to look at Victoria, who kept glancing from Evan to me. “Holy fuck,” her mouth was saying again and again. But even her foot was tapping the floor. She saw me looking and stopped. I was trying to send her messages with my eyes, like, “I think I’m going to die and I want to leave now, please,” but she wasn’t getting it. The place was too dark and too loud. Damn those speakers. Why couldn’t we listen in the back? Why couldn’t I have broken up with Evan tomorrow? Why couldn’t I be a procrastinator like Victoria?
I bet he lied about flossing, too.
“Audrey, wait! Audrey, wait! Audrey, wait!” The music had stopped now—it was just Evan and a roomful of his new friends, screaming the words at the top of their lungs. The rest of the band was watching the crowd surge back and forth with the kind of look little kids gave Jonah when he took a part-time job as Santa Claus last Christmas. Are you really real? (Side note: Jonah in a Santa costume = Best Christmas Ever.)
“Thank you, we’re the Do-Gooders!” Evan shouted, putting his fist in the air as he pulled his guitar off. The rest of the band walked offstage, but Evan? I swear to God, he strutted.. Just like a chicken.
“Is this really happening?” I grabbed Victoria’s hand and held it in front of me. “Is this a dream? Am I dreaming? Are you about to turn into a Cadillac or is a unicorn gonna run through the room?”
“No, you’re awake.”
I closed my eyes and then opened them wide. “Could you please just lie to me?”Victoria, without taking her eyes off me, pulled on Jonah’s sleeve. “Uh, you might wanna start leading us out of here, sweetie.”
“Is Jonah dreaming? Am I in Jonah’s dream, maybe?” Jonah was holding on to Victoria’s hand, and she had mine, and we were making a little train through the crowd of people.
“No, you’re having a meltdown. You’re going Chernobyl on me. And make your eyes normal—you look like a fish.”
“Is it a bad thing that I can’t feel my feet?”
“Now you’re just being dramatic.”
“Um, excuse me, did you not just see what happened?!”
“Hey, Aud, that was an awesome song!” Kids waved at me as if I’d written The Song. As if I would write it!
“Good thing you broke up with him!”
“Audrey, wait! Audrey, wait!”
I heard that one every time I took a step. Everyone was flushed and excited, like they had just come out of a revival and been saved and had to go tell five friends about what they had seen.
“I’m going to kill them,” I told Victoria.
“No, you’re not.” Jonah tugged her to the left and I zigzagged behind them.
“You’re right,” I agreed. “I’m not going to kill them. I’m going to kill Evan.”
“That would make a fantastic college entrance essay. ‘I Killed My Boyfriend and Still Managed to Maintain a 4.2 GPA and the Lead in the Spring Musical.’”
“Audrey, wait! Audrey, wait!”
“Fuck off, Pete, you asshole!”
“You would never write a song about me, would you, Victoria?”
“I wouldn’t write a song like that about you, that’s for sure.”
“The spring musical?” I was momentarily pulled back from the edge. “When have I ever starred in the spring musical?”
“Fuck if I know. Do we even have a spring musical?”
“They did South Pacific last April.”
Victoria laughed through her nose. “I don’t think I had to be there to know how it went.”
By the time Jonah got us back to the car, I had pulled my hair over my shoulders so that it hung toward my stomach and hid my face. “Buckle up, Cousin Itt,” Jonah said into the rearview mirror.
“Now would be a good time to engage those sensitivity controls again, Jonah.”
Victoria climbed into the backseat with me and we sat facing each other. “So do I kill myself now, or do I wait and do it in front of Evan so he feels really, really, really bad?”
“You’re not going to kill yourself. Remember in health class, when they talked about how us adolescents drink to mask pain? That’s what you’re gonna do.”
“Did they talk about dismembering ex-boyfriends, too?”
“I don’t think we’ll get to that until anatomy next year.”
I laughed as the car lurched forward into traffic. Everyone was looking into our windows and then turning to each other in their cars. I could practically hear what they were saying: “There’s the girl who broke up with Evan! Her, right there!”
“Look,” Jonah said from the front seat. “Don’t worry about this, Aud. It’s just some song. It’s not like those people weren’t gonna find out you broke up, anyway.”
“Listen to the man,” Victoria agreed. “He speaks the truth.”
“Damn straight,” Jonah said. “He’s gonna be so high later that he probably won’t remember the lyrics, anyway.”
“Amen,” Victoria added. “You wanna go to In-N-Out?”
I rested my head against her shoulder and nodded. She knows me so well it’s scary. “Yes. But I have no cash.”
“Neither do I. Jonah, Audrey and I have no cash.”
“Why aren’t I surprised?” he muttered while merging into the intersection.
So while we were in the drive-thru line, while Jonah was yelling our order into the teeny-tiny speaker box, while they were making me a strawberry milkshake instead of the chocolate one I ordered, you probably know what Evan was doing. I mean, he’s talked about it in every single interview he’s ever given. The A&R guy came out onto the Jukebox loading dock and shook all their hands and said things like “You guys rocked!” and dropped some names of label heads and invited them to the office on Monday morning. “Get ready,” he told them. “Your lives are about to change.”
No one told me that my life was about to change, though. They didn’t tell me about paparazzi and magazine editors and publicists and the lawyer my parents would have to hire. They certainly didn’t tell me that all of you people would know my name by the end of the year.
And that’s all you really know: my name.
But not anymore, kiddos.
Here’s my side of the story.
Meet the Author
Robin Benway grew up in Orange County, California and attended college at both NYU & UCLA. At NYU, she won the Seth Barkas Prize for Best Fiction by an Undergraduate. She has worked at Ballantine, Knopf, Borders, and Book Soup in West Hollywood. Robin currently lives in Santa Monica. To the best of her knowledge, no one has written a song about her. Yet.
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