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Authors: Lori Folkman

Generations 2.7 kindle

Wilder Times

Book One



Lori Folkman

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.


Copyright © 2011 by Lori Folkman

Dreams are memories of days long past

Haunted by that which will never last

Dreams are thoughts of what may be

Wishes finding their way into reality


Chapter One ……


e’d ditched her. Again. Katrina Hayes didn’t have enough fingers to count the number of times she’d been stood up within the past twenty-four hours. It was an odd thought to have, but she wished she was a mutant with ten fingers on each hand. That would make it easier to track just how many times Jackson Scott hadn’t been where he was supposed to be. Plus, double digits would make for a really cool slap mark across his cheek. Which was what he deserved right about now.

The halls were nearly empty: everyone had gone to lunch. Everyone but Katrina. She felt like a pathetic loser, standing friendless at her locker. Apparently Jackson wasn’t meeting her here today—even though he’d met her here every day for the past two-and-a-half years. She slammed her locker shut and stormed to the cafeteria.

The lunch lines were ridiculously long. She looked toward the cluster of tables near the center of the lunch room. There he was, setting out his sack lunch.
A growl escaped from her clenched mouth—the kind of growl that Jackson said made her sound like Marge Simpson’s sister. Katrina knew she should avoid making this unflattering noise, but this particular growl was warranted. Not only had Jackson come to the cafeteria alone, he was also eating lunch without her. If she went through the lunch line, he’d be gone by the time she got her food. And obviously that was his intention.

Katrina ignored her rumbling stomach and went straight to their table. She slid up next to Jackson, bumping her hip on his. “Thanks for waiting for me,” she said, not even bothering to hide the irritation in her voice.

“Sorry,” he said with a cracker crowding his mouth. “I was starving.” He chewed the cracker and gave her a smug grin—a grin that said he wasn’t one bit sorry.

“And it would have killed you to wait five minutes?” she asked.

“Probably. I didn’t have breakfast.”

Ooh. Perfect set-up. “So where were you this morning, Jack?”

“I slept in.”

Right. Jackson sleeping in? That was about as likely as Katrina waking up on time. “Because you were out too late last night?” she prodded.

“Nope. I got home on time. I just couldn’t … sleep.” Again, the smug grin.

“So …”

“So what?” He played blonde. It was decidedly irritating.

“Who is it?”

“What do you mean, ‘who’s it?’ Are we playing tag?”

“Jackson!” She bumped him with her knee. Why was he keeping this from her? This was like the biggest news, ever. Nothing could top this. And he seemed to want to keep her in the dark.

Well this much she knew—Jackson had won this amazing contest through the school’s videography club. It was sponsored by a state-wide foundation of the arts. The fact that Jackson had won this contest out of thousands of other teens was a huge honor. Huge. But. There was one major drawback: mystery. The winner was to “write and co-direct the video treatment for a CJ recording artist.” And that recording artist could be anyone. So either this could be the most amazing opportunity for Jackson, or it could turn out to be the worst kind of torture imaginable. Like if he had to do a video for the cheesy country band Slim Pickins. Jackson had sworn he’d gouge out his eardrums if that were the case.

Last night, Jackson was supposed to meet with the execs from CJ Records. So he would have found out which artist he would be working with. But he hadn’t told Katrina. And he’d promised (more than once) to meet up with her and give her the low-down. Now that she had him cornered, she still didn’t know anything more than she had five minutes ago. With the exception that Jackson had a tiny nick on his chin from a razor—and she’d never known before now that Jackson was mature enough to shave. So that was something new.

“Why won’t you tell me?” she asked. It probably didn’t sound like a question as much as it sounded like begging. Or desperate pleading.

“Too many people around.”

“But nobody knows about it.”

“Exactly. Let’s keep it that way, shall we?”

She hated it when he did that—went all formal on her. Like he was an English bloke or something. “Jack, just tell me the name of the band. No one will figure it out.”

He glanced over his shoulder. Was he making sure no one was close enough to hear? She felt her stomach bubble. This was it. The band is ….

Nope. He shook his head. “Not now. After school.”

Big, hopeless sigh.

If he wasn’t going to tell her, maybe she could guess. After all, she’d been the one who made a list of bands who were the most likely candidates. It had been her way of helping Jackson prepare for his meeting last night—so he wouldn’t walk in blindly. Plus, having the candidates numbered on paper helped Katrina keep her zealousness at a manageable level. But that could only last so long.

Essentially, four recording artists had release dates coinciding with this project. Now all she had to do was guess the right one. She’d say the name and Honest Abe Jr. would have to acknowledge it. Easy.

While Jackson immersed himself in de-crusting his PB&J (In public. In the junior section of the cafeteria. And he cared not.), Katrina began to scrutinize his appearance. There had to be a clue ingrained in his behavior.

He did look tired—like he should have slept in a bit longer. His eyes were slightly bloodshot and underscored with darkness. But there was a happy sparkle to them. Like he was excited. And he looked well groomed. Not at all frumpy like he typically looked when he was depressed or overly stressed. So that meant that she could cross the cheesy bands off her list. He would be grumpy if he had to spend the next few weeks with a band that he loathed.

She did a double-take when she realized what shirt he was wearing. It was the one she gave him for his birthday. The one that she had seen him wear an exact total of zero times. He said it was a little “mod” for him. Probably because it had buttons. He looked like he had spent a few extra minutes on his hair. Maybe even blow-dried it. All in all, he looked good. Dang good. She’d even go as far as saying he looked hot. Except it was Jackson.

If Jackson looked rather impressive, then he must have hit the big time. “Rosie Hearst,” Katrina thought out loud. Rosie had won last year’s
American Star
. And Jackson had said that he thought Rosie was gorgeous. That totally had to be it. No wonder Jackson had started shaving. He had to look manly for the diva. “You met her, huh? What was she like? Was she pretty in person?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Jackson grumbled, keeping his eyes on his food.

“You at least have to tell me what song it is,” she demanded.

“I don’t have to tell you anything, Kat.”

She stifled another growl. This wasn’t working. She needed to push it—she had to get something out of him. “I’m just going to yell it,” she threatened, “to the entire cafeteria. I’m going to tell everyone that you are doing a video for Rosie Hearst.”

“Would you? That would save me from having to make the announcement. Thanks, chum.”

English again. She bit on her cheek. Who would have guessed that Jack could be so good at evading interrogation? Shy of learning telepathy, she didn’t know that she’d get this figured out. He was being completely obstinate.

She tried another approach, “So you wouldn’t care if I stood up right now and told everyone that you met Rosie Hearst?”

“Not at all. If you feel like making a fool of yourself, go right ahead.”

“So it’s not her?” Katrina slouched. Dang. She was so sure.

“I didn’t say that.”

“But you said ...”

“That you should go ahead and make a fool of yourself.” Then he turned his body away from her and rested his elbow on the table. He made a wall with his head and arm. Rude! He was shunning her!

So she stomped on his foot. He didn’t even say “ow.” And that was his most used word. He was busy eating his sandwich. Busy ignoring her. Kat was dumfounded. She couldn’t believe the way Jack was treating her. It was … preposterous. Absurd. Uncalled for. After all she’d done to help him get ready for this project! She felt like laying him out right here in the cafeteria. She’d get him to say “ow.”

to figure this out. There was no way she could wait until after school. Three more hours! That was forever.

“Well, I know it’s not Peppagirlz.” She tried to sound triumphant. Like she knew something.

“How do you know that?” he asked.

“Because you’re not bummed.” And Peppagirlz would be even worse than a country band. Because their songs essentially consisted of the same lyrics, repeated over and over and over again. Kat could feel her mind melt when listening to Peppagirlz.

“I’m not? I missed two classes today. I was so depressed I couldn’t even get out of bed.” Even as he said this, his lips curled up. He couldn’t tell a lie even under the threat of death. Or worse: pain.

“Right,” Kat said. “I can also count out Slim Pickins … and,”—her heart fluttered just thinking about the next one—“Ben Wilder.” She watched Jackson closely when she said that last name. He had to give away something. But nope. He didn’t even flinch.

“For the same reason?” he asked.

“Yeah. Well, sort-of. You’d be complaining like a pregnant lady.”

Jackson laughed. “Right. Because Slim Pickins might as well pick their own noses to make music … it’d sound better.”

She’d heard that one before.

“And Ben Wilder … why would I do a video for a guy whose name is a homonym? It’s like Ima Hogg. Or Dusty Rhoades. Only worse.”

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