When sixteen year old Poppy Douglas writes a song about her ex-boyfriend Cam and ex-friend Nikki, she has no idea that her heartbreak is about to go global.
A local band picks up her song from Youtube and soon she’s along for the ride with her own fanbase as they blow up on the local club scene and hit the international charts. Though it turns out leaving Cam behind isn’t as easy as she had hoped.
Tangled in a web of unfinished homework, ill-considered sexting and a new lead-singer boyfriend, Poppy has a choice to make between the ex that inspired it all and the rock God whose poster lines the inside of half the lockers at school. But as she struggles to keep her emotional dirty laundry private, she learns that the truth can be hard to find when your life is in the headlines.
After a couple of drinks, Mads and the boys and I were feeling loose and were dancing like mental patients. Moshing to Madonna, and doing the sprinkler to LMFAO. We sang/screamed along to songs we knew, it was fun. We had a couple of random people join in, a couple of guys started dancing with us as we did the lawn mower and the shopping cart and that one guy was pretty badass at the robot, we were all cracking each other up. I never actually got their names. Hang on, that could have been something they said. I couldn't hear them or anything else over the doof-doofing beat of the music.
I spotted something that stopped me dead in my tracks, but I really shouldn’t have been that surprised.
‘What are they doing here?’ I yelled into Mads’ ear, screwing up my eyes as they were assaulted by the sight of Nikki dancing, all up in Cam’s business, pressing herself so close to him that it looked like she was trying to merge them into one Cam-Nikki being. Canikki. His forehead was furrowed and he flinched when she threw her hair around and got him in the face, but he gave her a smile when she looked at him and kissed her back when she launched her mouth on his. Why did she have to do that?
‘Dev told them about it, he wanted to come,’ Mads yelled back at me. I looked at Dev. He was smiling at me as he watched me talk to his girlfriend so I forced a smile back. Stupid Dev.
I shook myself out, pretending it was a crazy dance move and got Canikki’s whole annoying presence out of my system, forgetting they even existed.
After a while I was sweating so much I was sure I had drained of my last ounce of water through my skin, that I left the dance floor in search of some aqua. Sculling from a bottle I bought at the bar, I collapsed into a couch along the edge of the dance floor. It was so hot in here, there were so many people. I pulled off my leather jacket and lay it across my lap, airing out my tee shirt. I caught sight of the doorway, as more and more people flooded into the club. I smiled nice and wide, my stomach fluttering and all my insides jiggling as I remembered that they were here for Academy of Lies, and my song, and Ty. Ah, Ty. He did like me, didn’t he? I rubbed at my forearm unconsciously, lost in thought as someone sat beside me and tapped me on my sticky shoulder. Ew. Gross for them. Turning in my seat, I discovered it was Cam. Alone.
‘You’ve been dancing up a storm.’
‘Did you just get here?’ I said.
‘A little while ago, we were hanging at one of Nikki’s friends’ place first. You having fun?’
‘Yeah, I am. What are you even doing here?’
‘Dev invited me,’ he said. ‘I didn’t even know you were going to be here.’
‘Actually that’s a lie, I did know,’ he said. ‘Well, I kind of knew. I heard you talking to that guy the other day. At the bus stop, the one who wrote on your arm.’
He noticed that, huh. ‘What, you were spying on me?’
He rolled his eyes and looked away. ‘Don’t…’
‘Don’t what, Cam?’ I asked. ‘What is it you don’t want me to do?’ I don’t want to go away for a week and find you’ve hooked up with my friend, I thought. Just as I opened my mouth to say it, he spoke again.
‘Do we have to always be like this?’ he said. ‘Can’t we have, I don’t know, a serious conversation? Can’t you be civil with me just this once?’
‘Why should I?’ I said.
‘You know I didn’t mean to hurt you, I didn’t know I would hurt you. I’ve apologized already, what do you want from me?’
He was such a jackass. I didn’t give him an answer, but he seemed determined to get one.
‘Well?’ he said. ‘What do you want?’
‘Nothing! Sorry!’ I swigged some water.
‘Okay. Well do you think we could act like grown ups for a change then?’
I didn’t know what to say to that so I just sat there pouting and called him names under my breath which neither of us could hear over the music.
‘About the song.’
‘Yeah, you’re song. The Kiss Off. I’ve seen it, you know,’ he said.
‘I figured you might have.’
He nodded. ‘It’s good.’
I blinked and looked at him weirdly. He liked it? The song about what a cheating dirt bag he was?
‘Don’t get me wrong – it’s cold. But it’s catchy, good rhythm, the lyrics are hardcore and I like them, you know, when I’m not thinking they’re about me.’
The Kiss Off is available May 15.