Chapter Six

"So please don't kill me but I can't go to the party with you." Katelyn said her eyes bright. I paused midway through putting eye shadow on my eyelids. I was running around my room in my robe, getting ready for the night.

"Why not?" I asked as I finished my make up. "You have to come with me!" I argued. "You are the only person I know aside from Marcus and I can't go to this party alone."

"I'm sorry Christina but Jake asked me to go to this party and I really want to go with him. I like him, you know? I'm sure you understand what it's like when the boy you like finally notices you..." Yea and I also know what it's like when the boy you love cheats on you with your best friend, that doesn't mean I want to relive that. Katelyn's proclamation surprised me since, not only were they best friends, but they also seemed so different from one another. Not that I knew either of them well enough to comment on how different they were. But at first glance anyone could tell that Katelyn and Jake didn't compliment each other. Maybe love really is blind. "Please don't be mad at me. I promise I'll make it up to you."

"I'm not mad." I told her and I was telling the truth. I wasn't mad at her. How could I be mad at her for doing something I knew I would do if I was in her shoes? I guess there's always the next party.

"Thanks Christina. I'll see you there." No you probably won't. Katelyn hopped off my bed and skipped out of my room, going to get ready for her pseudo date. I stood in the middle of the room, all done up with no where to go. The shopping trip was pointless and all the clothes I bought wouldn't be seen tonight. I stepped around the still warm curling iron and headed to my bathroom to take a shower and get the hairspray out of my hair. There was no point of keeping it in my hair if I wasn't going out anymore. For the first time since I went to my first party when I was thirteen, I didn't have the confidence to go to the party alone.

"I have a proposition for you." I turned to see Marcus standing in the doorway. Again he appeared with no warning. The perks of being an angel I guess. I stared at him, waiting for him to continue. "I'll go to the party with you so you won't feel awkward as long as you pretend to be my girlfriend." He sauntered into my room with so much confidence, for the first time he seemed arrogant.

"And why would I want to do that? Who says this party is even that important to me." I pulled the robe closer together, having the strange paranoia that he was undressing me with his mind. When his smile got wider I knew for sure that he was indeed undressing me. Maybe I should give him something to look at. I did it nonchalantly, acting like I didn't even know what I was doing when I was doing it. I loosened my grip on my robe and let one side fall off my shoulder and dip down my arm. I shifted and the other side of the robe slid down my arm. Marcus's eyes widened and his jaw fell a little. He cleared his throat and rubbed his hand over the back of his neck. I sat down on my bed and bent over to pick up my clothes, very much aware that Marcus had a good view of my cleavage. If you got it, flaunt it, that's my motto. He shuffled his feet and cleared his throat again. Without looking at him I already knew that his face was cheery red. "Do you think this skirt will look good on me? I held the barely there material up to my robed body and waited for his reaction. Sweat beaded on his forehead. "I mean I want to look good if I'm going to go to this party with you."

"S-So you'll go with me?" Marcus asked. I shrugged.

"I suppose…I mean I love to make a scene and pretending to be someone's girlfriend seems like it's right up my alley." I unbelted my robe and Marcus nearly choked on the gum he was chewing and I had to laugh. "Now leave." Marcus cocked his head to the side. "Did you really think I was going to change in front of you? What kind of girl do you think I am?"

"I'm not sure yet…but I'm definitely having fun figuring it out." Marcus wiggled his eyebrows and then disappeared just as quickly as he appeared. I shook my head and took off my robe to change into my party clothes. I can't believe that I actually agreed to pretend to be Marcus's girlfriend. Well I always wanted to be an actress, there's no better time to start than right now.

When Marcus and I got to the house, people were flooding everywhere. There wasn't more than a half of an inch apart from one another and it was so hot that, within minutes of arriving, my clothes were clinging to me and damp. I linked my arm around Marcus and leaned into him, nuzzling my head against his neck. If I'm going to act, I might as well as put on a great show. Marcus looked surprised but when I brushed my fingers against his, he laced them together and squeezed gently. As we walked towards the house people were staring at us and whispering behind their hands. I smiled at a few people that I come to know from my classes and winked at the boys who couldn't keep their eyes off of my body. The house itself was huge, taking up most of one block and from what I could see, had a big backyard with an in ground pool. I kept sneaking glances at Marcus, still in disbelief of how good he looked. His Mohawk was sticking straight up and on his tall, lean body was the eye candy to all the girls we passed. I didn't blame them though, with the tight fitting, pin striped collared shirt he wore and the black jeans that hugged his hips, Marcus was definitely the best looking guy that I saw so far.

I knew I would have no problems pretending that he was my boyfriend. My short, layered mini skirt rustled against the warm wind and I discreetly tugged on it to make sure that it wasn't showing anything it shouldn't. If my body was going to be shown off, it was going to me on my own accord. I spied Alicia at the corner of my room and a nudged Marcus's him. He glanced over and I saw his face contort from a smile into some type of frown. Alicia was strung all over Nate, the guy my eye caught nearly from the first time I met him. That's my soon to be boyfriend you're flirting with, slut. Don't even think about it. I watched as she brought her lips close to Nate's cheek and whispered something in his ear before touching his cheek with her lips. I felt Marcus tense up next to me and I squeezed his hand. Calm down was the message that went along with it. So she wants to play dirty does she? Well I'm glad because I am absolutely one hundred percent experienced with playing dirty.

"Are you ready to put on a show?" I asked Marcus as I leaned into him. We walked past people dancing and grinding up against each other. There was the distinct smell of beer in the air along with chlorine. The closer we got to Alicia, the more excited I became to what I was about to do. The scene was already unfolding in my head and if everything went according to my plan, Alicia would be boiling.

"I thought we already were." Marcus said as he smiled at me. Anyone who was looking at us would just think that we were talking and having a nice conversation, not plotting against the most popular girl in the school.

"Honey, you haven't seen anything yet." I cooed. We were a few feet away from Alicia when I opened my mouth.

"You my dear boyfriend, are the sexiest boy I have ever dated. I want you so bad. Come here." With a wink at him, I pulled Marcus by his collar and crashed my lips onto his. With my heeled shoes on, Marcus and I were the same height so kissing him wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. He kissed me back immediately and I heard multiple gasps coming from all sides. I forced myself not to laugh as I kissed him, reminding myself that if I wanted to pull this off, I had to be as serious as I possibly could. I didn't want to screw this up for Marcus and make a complete fool of myself. I snaked my hands around his neck and pushed myself against him so not even the wind could get in between us. My heart was pounding and the only sound I could hear was the blood rushing through my body. Thankfully we were next to the fence so when my legs started to turn to jelly, I leaned up against the fence and pulled Marcus close to me. His hands played with the hem of my shirt and after a barely noticeable nod from me, Marcus slid his hands under my shirt. I shivered from his touch and it was like my body exploded. I wasn't acting anymore. His touch awakened everything new in my body and I found myself grabbing at him, wanting to pull him even closer. I deepened the kiss and my tongue roamed his mouth . The gasps from my peers got more audible and I could hear people talking. Next to me I could hear Alicia actually growling and I wanted to see if someone had to hold her back but I refrained. I didn't want to break the kiss between Marcus and me. My hand found its way into his hair and I rubbed the stubble he had right around his Mohawk. My heart was beating so hard that I was sure it was going to beat right out of my chest. Every kiss we shared was sweet and left me wanting even more. I forgot everyone who was staring at us and only felt Marcus pressed up against me. Our legs intertwined and cat calls could be heard faintly in the distance. For more of the fact that I wasn't sure how much more I could take off it rather than making it believable, I reluctantly pulled away and looked down. My face turn red and I looked up shyly from under my thick, mascara encrusted eyelashes. Marcus gave me a smile and a wink, totally unaware of what the kiss really did to me. For all he knew, my actions from after the kiss were a total act like it was supposed to be.

"That was amazing." Marcus said, his breath felt like fire against my cheek. "You were so good, I almost believed that you really wanted to kiss me." If only you really knew.

"Well I am a good actress after all." I flipped my hair and fixed my crumpled top. Everyone was staring at us but tried to look inconspicuous. Alicia was panting so hard that I was sure that she was going to pass out at any moment. She stomped over to us and I saw Marcus wince away. I, on the other hand, stood straight, my posture erect and my hands curled into fists. I was completely ready to get into with her if it came to that.

"You are such a little slut!" Alicia said. Her breath reeked of alcohol and I waved a hand in front of my face.

"Somebody was obviously a little thirsty." I commented.

"Do you think that you can just come here with your short skirts and slutty shirts and take someone else's boyfriend? Who the hell do you think you are?" I was about to explain to her exactly who I thought I was when Marcus put a hand on my arm. He stepped in front of me, shielding me from Alicia and opened his mouth.

"First of all Alicia you need to shut up. I know you're pretty wasted and probably don't even remember your name but if you remember correctly, you were the one who said you wanted an open relationship, I'm just following what you decided."

"No you weren't supposed to have another girlfriend." Alicia slurred. "You were supposed to wait for me, fight for me."

"Well," I interjected from behind Marcus, "He didn't, and he has me. Maybe it's time that you start fighting if you want him so badly." I stepped around Marcus and got very close to Alicia. "And trust me, you will have to fight for him and it will be a nasty fight so be ready cheerleader." I nudged her slightly with my hand and she stumbled backwards into one of her friends arms. She tried to get back up but she couldn't balance herself and only succeeded in stumbling even more and falling into a pool of someone's vomit. Everyone winced and there were groans coming from the crowd. Tears spurted from Alicia's eyes and I chuckled before taking Marcus's hand and leading him away form the gruesome scene. When our hands touched I became red and I prayed that Marcus didn't notice it. What is going on with me? I don't have feelings for Marcus, I can't! Marcus is everything I hate about guys...he's spineless, arrogant, and he's, he's a punk! Punks are so not my type. I think this Heaven business is screwing with my mind. I need to complete my mission and get out of here before things get even worse. I cannot start liking Marcus, it will screw up my whole reputation, a reputation I worked so hard to build up since I was thirteen. I looked at Marcus. Oh but he's so cute. And his eyes, hey are so entrancing...and that smile...No! Stop thinking like this Christina! These kinds of thoughts will just get you into trouble.

"So I have a surprise for you." Marcus told me. We stopped under a lit tree and sat down on the warm ground. "Your mission has been changed."

"Really? Does that mean I don't have to forgive Luke and Julie?" I asked hopefully. Marcus sighed and rolled his eyes at me.

"No you still have to do that...but you don't have to tell your mother and the rest of your family that you love them...It was discussed and agreed that they already know it. All you have to do now is forgive Julie and Luke. My happiness turned to disappointment and I played with the strings on my skirt. I guess I have no choice but to forgive them. "So do you want to ditch this place and have some fun?"

"Fun? I thought we were already having fun." I said. After brief hesitation, I rested my head on his shoulder, inhaling his sweet scent. There was something about him that just made me feel secure and, dare I say it, loved. I never felt the way I felt with Marcus with Luke. I was always had to keep up a facade when I was with Luke...with Marcus, I felt like I could just be myself. There were no expectations to live up too and if I screwed up, I didn't feel like my whole world was going to end. "I was having fun over at the party too, pretending to be your girlfriend. It was a lot more fun than I thought it would be and seeing that look on Alicia's face? Totally priceless."

"Well I did get more of a scene than I thought I would…your performance…it was…quite a performance."

"And what does that mean?" I asked. "What are you insinuating?" Marcus shifted away from me "Seriously Marcus, what did you mean when you said that?"

"Nothing, really. I just meant that the way you acted like my girlfriend back there was a lot different than any of the girls here act." Marcus talked slowly, as if he was trying to pick each word carefully. "You're a lot…friendlier then other girls around here."

"That's just a nice way of calling me a slut, isn't it?" I grumbled. Suddenly I wasn't having anymore fun with Marcus and all I wanted to do was go home and curl up in a ball. All that time I thought he liked the way I acted for him, but obviously I was horribly wrong. Even the angel thinks I'm a slut. Seriously is that all I look like to everybody? The town slut?

"Hey Christina, are you okay?" Marcus asked. "Listen I didn't mean it as if you were a slut. It's just that, you were all over me and most of the girls here barely kiss guys, and you went above and beyond kissing." The speech gets better and better, doesn't it? My heart squeezed painfully in my chest and there was a surprising lump in my throat. I was disappointed, but because of what, I didn't know. I was just acting, and it shouldn't have bothered me as much but it did. Maybe I'm just taking it too personally. All he's really saying that I'm a sucky actress. I didn't want to act anyway, it's all good. I tried to convince myself of that but it still didn't change my disappointment.

"Well I didn't exactly see you pushing me away or trying to make me slow down. You could have done something too you know, like slow me down if you didn't like it. You could have prevented me from acting like a fool if you knew people were going to look at me strangely." I snapped. I pulled my skirt down and tried to cover myself because I felt exposed. My heart was pounding and my blood was boiling. "I can't believe you let me make a fool of myself when you knew everyone was going to be staring at me when I was pretending you were my boyfriend. You know what, this is all your fault! If I didn't agree to pretend to be your girlfriend this would have never happened. I hate you, now my whole reputation is ruined."

"It's not ruined yet." Marcus said. I tried to tune him out and listen to the outdoors but it wasn't working. All I heard was his voice. "But why did it bother you now? You were just like this when you were on Earth and it never bothered you. Because I want you to think high of me, I want you to like me. The thought popped into my head so fast that I almost wasn't able to brace myself for it. "If you don't like who you are, why not change?"

"Because this is who I am." I told him. "This is all I ever knew myself as. I'm the popular cheerleader, the girl who knows what guys like. I don't know how to be anything else."

"Well here is your chance…you can change your way now and be the person you want to be, not just who you're expected to be." Marcus patted my hand and a bold of electricity traveled through my body. I became warm and I was sure my cheeks felt red. "If nothing else, you have this time to figure out who you really want to be, and if you figure it out, if you go back to Earth, you can change there too."

"I don't think that's possible but thanks for the offer." I smiled at him. "Once you've made a reputation, it's kind of hard to change it, no matter what you do."

"How about this, you show me that you really want to change, and then after Judgment time, if you go back to Earth, I do what I can to help you change your reputation. Deal?" Marcus held out his hand, waiting for me to shake it.

"Deal.' I shook his hand and then he pulled me into a hug. Marcus's lips brushed mine and my heart beat twice before returning to normal. "What was that for?"

"Just to say thank you for pretending to be my girlfriend tonight…I appreciate it." Marcus kissed my temple and then pulled me close as we watched a shooting star pass. Starlight, star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight. I wish that I can change my reputation and become a better person just like my mother knew I could be. I want to be able to be a good role model for my sisters. "You already are a great role model Christina, you just haven't noticed yet." Marcus said and it was then when I realized that he could still read my thoughts.

"Stop doing that, it's an invasion of privacy." I hissed but there was a smile on my face. I think I'm starting to like it here.

"So I saw you getting all hot and heavy with Marcus…what was that about?" Katelyn brushed her hair which she straightened and it shone under the lights of my room. Completely straight and smooth, Katelyn's hair reached a little past her butt and swung like a pendulum when it was in a ponytail. She grinned at me wickedly through the reflection of my vanity mirror. "Are you guys like a couple now? I thought you hated him."

"It's complicated." I said. I turned to my homework trying to signal to Katelyn that I was finished with the conversation. Unfortunately Katelyn was sort of dense and didn't get the clue.

"I'm just really curious because I mean you two seem to have this really wish, hate but love relationship thing going on…mostly hate from you and love from him. But last night, well that was love and a bit more from you. Why the sudden change of heart?" Am I supposed to lie to Katelyn or should I let her in on the little thing? I mean she's sort of my friend and who knows she could be useful.

"Okay do you promise not to say one single word of what I'm going to tell you?"

"Sure, cross my heart." Katelyn turned and leaned forward on the chair she was sitting in, waiting to hear what I was about to tell her. "So tell me, what's the big secret that no one can know about?"

"Well Marcus and I made a deal that I would pretend to be his girlfriend just to get Alicia annoyed and realize what she's missing. I think deep down he wants to try to get her back." I didn't tell Katelyn about the rest of the evening that I shared with Marcus, or about the shooting star. The only thing I would tell her, later on, was the whole reputation thing. I had a thought that she might be able to help me and I was going to need all the help I could get. It was nice to have a friend here, even though I might not have been staying for a while.

"Are you serious? And you agreed to that?" I shrugged, a little perplexed about Katelyn's outburst.

"Yeah so what? What's so bad about it?"

"Oh nothing, I just didn't expect you of all people to agree to that…you don't seem the type to want to help people like Marcus and pretend to date him." She paused for a minute. "But I could see why he asked you and by the show you put on last night, I'm sure everyone thinks you are dating…" another pause. "or that you're screwing around with each other." There it was again, the insinuation that I was some type of slut. It was really starting to get under my skin. Would anyone stop judging me by how I dress or how I flirt and take the time to look at what's under the tanned skin?

"Yeah about that." I looked at her and pushed out my lower lip. Already I could tell that she was on her guard. "I need your help. I need to change my appearance and who I am. I want to change my reputation. No, correction, I need to change my reputation. I don't want to be known as a slut anymore. I am so over that."

"I didn't call you a slut."

"I know but I also know that's sort of what you were insinuating. I don't care, I just want to change. Help me change, please?"

"Fine." Katelyn pulled her hair into a long braid. "But Christina, when are you going to start your mission?"

"Soon…I'm not sure I'm ready to forgive them yet."

"But you have to learn how to go back to Earth and then back here. It takes people a long time to learn that." Katelyn must have seen my panic stricken face because she grinned.

"Don't worry, I'll help you with that too." I hopped off the bed and tackled her into a hug.

"Thanks so much…have I mentioned how great of a friend you are?"

"Yeah but it's always nice to hear it again." Katelyn laughed as she tried to pull me from her. Together, we fell onto the carpeted floor in a bundle of laughs.